Bee Movie and Puppet Shows

In today’s class, we started with a discussion over a few housekeeping issues. We are nearing the end of the semester, which means that grades are going to post very soon. Class participation and respectfulness are going to be factored into final grades. Also, the course evaluation is open and should be filled out as soon as possible and with as much honesty as is possible.

Following this discussion, we had a wonderful presentation over Bee Movie. The presenters described a few facts about the movie, such as the fact that it was released in 2007 and made $287.6 million dollars in the box office. Next, they reviewed the plot of the movie, which is as follows: Barry B. Benson is a bee who has just graduated from college and is about to begin work as a worker bee in the colony. While he is out with the other bees, he meets Vanessa Bloome, a florist, after she saves him from being squashed by her boyfriend. He speaks with her and thus breaks the rules of the colony, but they become friends regardless. After Barry has been out in the human world, he realizes that humans are making a large profit off of the honey that he and his fellow bees make and is angry about it. He and his fellow bees file a lawsuit against the big honey companies, which they win. After winning the trial, the bees have no jobs due to a honey stockpile, and therefore, honey production stops and the flowers have no way to get pollenated. This creates an environment in which the flowers are rapidly dying. Barry and Vanessa begin a journey to save the flowers, and in the end, all is well. The day is saved by Barry the bee (and eventual bee lawyer) and Vanessa!

The group also enlightened us to a few controversies surrounding the movie, but the most interesting part of the presentation was the discussion of memes and the internet’s fascination with this strange movie. There have been countless YouTube videos making fun of the movie and memes that make fun of the characters themselves. Despite these funny internet shenanigans, there is one that tops them all. There is a conspiracy theory that links the characters of Bee Movie with a few characters on iCarly, implying that Barry and Vanessa have a child and that child is Freddie Benson from iCarly. The actor who played Freddie ultimately “confirmed” the conspiracy via Twitter, but the jury is still out on the authenticity of those claims…

After this fabulous presentation, the puppet shows began. Today, four groups presented their shows, and there were laughs all around. First, a show of Little Red Riding Hood by Roald Dahl featured precious puppets made from popsicle sticks and paper. The characters went through their plot which featured the Wolf, Grandma, and Little Red Riding Hood herself. Though Grandma wasn’t so lucky, Red escaped with the help of a gun and a little confidence. This presentation got many laughs and was very well written and performed.

Appropriately, the next show was based upon The Three Little Pigs by Roald Dahl. In the same way, this presentation was wonderful. The puppets were made from paper bags and worked very well for the show. The show followed three pigs and their attempts to escape the Wolf with his huffing and puffing. His first two brothers were not so lucky, but the third pig was able to escape thanks again to Red and her gun. As with the first, this presentation was very funny and adapted well to today’s modern conveniences, as shown in the third pig’s cell phone.

Third, we were treated to a performance of Snow White by The Brothers Grimm. These were my favorite puppets, especially the 7 Dwarves in all their gloved glory. This story ended just as fortunately as The Brothers Grimm intended, which the death of the Stepmother. I believe, however, that the 7 Dwarves stole the show.

Lastly, there was a rendition of The Happy Little Prince. This group showed a great artistic ability with their puppets, and gave a great performance of this story. There was even a small change of season in this performance, shown by the throwing of paper and the exclamation “winter!”. The ending, however, was no happier than originally written. Both the Happy Little Prince and the bird died, despite their best efforts.

Today’s class was filled with laughter and a lot of fun moments. I am sure that the next round of puppet shows will not disappoint!

Class 03-30

Today’s class began with a presentation of The Pink Panther in its various adaptations over the years. Matt and Steven showed a video of the main theme song from the 1963 adaptation, which is one of the catchiest songs known to man. This story was based upon the story of Sir Charles Lytton and his attempt to steal the Pink Panther diamond. There have been many films based upon this story, some successful and some unsuccessful, but all in all, this is a timeless franchise. The film’s propriety is somewhat debatable, but is ultimately up to the parent’s discretion. We still aren’t sure whether or not the movie was nominated for a Golden Globe award or a Golden Glove award…

Before we began our discussion of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Professor Soudabeh cleared up some confusion regarding our book presentations, to take place the last two days of class. After a feeling of general panic, everyone got a grip on the assignment and we now understand that each individual will pick a topic from eLC, choose a children’s book covering it, and give a 3-4 minute presentation over it. Some students chose their topics and let Professor Soudabeh know, but there will be a sign up sheet in class on April 4th. Books are available at the main library and at the children’s literature collection in Aderhold Hall.

Next, we truly began our discussion of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. For this class, we were to have read through page 79, or chapter 17. Everyone in the class broke off into pairs to discuss one chapter of the novel, summarize its events, and choose the most important event in the chapter. My partner Lindsey and I were assigned chapter 14, and we discussed what Jim and Huck were up to in this chapter, including stealing from the shipwreck. Lindsey and I felt that the most important thing that happened in this chapter had to do with character development rather than plot development. Huck and Jim sit on the bank and discuss whether or not the French speak English. While Huck thinks that they do speak English, and Jim is convinced that the French do not speak English. The fact that the two characters are having this discussion creates a situation in which readers can see the two different viewpoints they have of the world.

Each group presented their chapter, and through this we were able to discuss many different topics. Some of the most notable questions/discussions are as follows:

  • What is the purpose of the gang in terms of identity?
  • Do the children feel that they are adults because they are a part of the gang?
  • Are readers afraid of what the children will do?
  • What is the significance of Huck’s relationship with his father?
  • Huck vs. Jim
  • Is Huck’s fortune a positive or negative thing in his life?
  • What is the role of foreshadowing?
  • How does Huck change through this river adventure?
  • What is the role of the robbers in the shipwreck scene?

Through discussion of each of these questions, many students in the class were able to share their thoughts. Many of my classmates feel that identity and the struggle to find one’s identity is a large part of Huck’s adventure in the novel. His father, however, is something that holds him back in this endeavor. Despite this, it isn’t clear whether or not his caretakers, Widow Douglass and Miss Watson, are really individuals who are encouraging him to create his own identity. Additionally, we discussed the ways that Huck is already changing in this adventure. For example, he can see the importance of attempting to save the robbers despite their bad behaviors, thinking to himself that Miss Watson and Widow Douglass would be proud of him for doing so.

Seeing that a few of the students in the class have already read this novel, it is interesting to see how their impressions of the characters and the plot has changed through a second reading at a different stage in their lives. I’m sure that the class would agree that this reading is a little different from their reading in high school. Having already read this book, I am interested to see how the rest of the class reacts to the rest of this novel! I know that the discussions will be very enlightening.