Apr 28, 2017

The Oregon trail

nasa topo Oregon trail
In the first half of the 19th century thousands of Americans left their homes in the East and travelled westwards. Some of them were going to California where gold deposits had been discovered, some others were going to settle in the Oregon country where they could find fertile land and pleasant climate.
Few migrants travelled alone. Most went in parties with a guide who knew where to find water and grass for the animals. The first large party went over the Oregon trail in 1843. There were 200 families (about 1,000 persons) and they travelled in 120 covered wagons. They had almost 800 cattle and 700 oxen.
Pioneers used oxen to carry their wagons because Indians did not know how to use these animals and therefore they would not steal them. Moreover, oxen would be very useful to pioneers when they reached Oregon and began farming.
The migrants moved like an army; they camped; at night arranging their wagons in a circle to defend themselves and their cattle from the Indians. It was hard to avoid the Indians as caravans travelled slowly and kicked up enough dust to he seen for miles.
Some Indian tribes were very fierce and hated the Whites as, on their way to Oregon, they killed many buffalo that the Indians lived on. 
The Indian chief Colorow said: Colorow owns this country. Buffalo are Indian cattle. White man’s cattle eat all grass. Buffalo die, no food. No hunting, no meat, no robes. 
Oregon trail

Apr 24, 2017

The English at Home

The English don’t like to live in busy city streets. They dislike blocks of flats which are all alike and have no individuality. They prefer to buy or to rent a small house on the outskirts, away from the noise and the traffic of the town centre.
United Kingdom
The typical suburban house is a two-storey building with six rooms and two gardens: a front garden full of flowers and a back garden with fruit-trees and vegetables.
Instead of a number each house has a pretty name which distinguishes it from the house next door: “May Flowers”, “Red Roses”, “The Cottage”, and the like.
The first thing an Englishman does with his house is to surround it with a fence or a hedge in order “to shut out the neighbours” and to preserve his privacy and freedom. Freedom, in fact, for an Englishman means above all the right to live his private life, a private life into which he refuses to admit any but his closest friends.
Behind the closed door of his “castle” the Englishman enjoys being alone with his family, looking after his pets, reading his favourite newspaper, smoking his pipe, or spending a quiet evening sitting in front of the television set.
In summer, when the weather is nice and sunny, he likes to spend his spare time in the garden, watering the flowers, cutting the hedge or mowing the lawn. He loves flowers, and gardening is one of his favourite hobbies.
Sometimes he has tea in the garden with his wife, while his children play on the grass with their pets. Pets live in the house and are considered members of the family. English people are very fond of animals, and you can hardly find any English family who does not have a dog, a goldfish, a bird or even a pony as a pet. 
Source: R. Colle – I. Vay, L’esame di inglese, Lattes, an old Italian book 1974. 

Apr 20, 2017

Robinson Crusoe. Focus on the text

Robinson Crusoe (by Daniel Defoe) is probably the most famous adventure story in the English literature. It tells the story of a man who is shipwrecked off a desert island where he spends the next 28 years before being rescued. The story is divided into three parts.
Robinson Crusoe. Focus on the text
In the first part we are told briefly about Crusoe’s early life and about how lie runs away from home to sea rather than accept the life of leisure his father promises him. After a series of adventures Crusoe finds himself in Brazil where he becomes a plantation owner, an occupation which he does not really like but which brings him prosperity. From there he sets off for Africa with some other plantation owners to procure slaves to work for them. It is on this journey that he is shipwrecked. Whashed ashore on a desert island, he is the only survivor.
The second part of the book is in the form of a journal in which Crusoe writes about life on the island; how he uses his strength and intelligence to overcome the difficulties of his situation and eventually become master of the island. It is in this part that he encounters a ‘savage’, whom he calls Friday and whom he resolves to convert to Christianity, teaching him the rudiments of his language and culture, including how to use a gun to hunt animals for food and later to defend themselves from attack.
The third and final part of the book tells of their rescue and of Crusoe’s return to Brazil with Friday as his servant.
Stylistic features
Like Defoe’s other novels Robinson Crusoe is written in the first-person in the form of spiritual autobiography. As he does with Moll Flanders, Defoe adds a preface which states ‘The editor believes this thing to be a just History of fact; neither is there any appearance of fiction in it.’ So we are led to believe that this is the story of a real man, and that Defoe is merely the editor.
The style of the narrative is very matter of fact. We are given little or no access to Crusoe’s inner thoughts or feelings, he generally tells us only about his actions and about what physically happens to him. Occasionally he reflects on religious questions. Indeed one of the themes of the book is the Puritan idea of man’s redemption on earth. Another interesting feature is the organisation of the story: there is no real novelistic plot; rather, Crusoe’s journal merely recounts the things that happen to him in a diary-like sequence. In this respect Robinson Crusoe is formally quite unsophisticated, unlike, for example, the novels of Henry Fielding.
Robinson Crusoe’s enduring popularity is undoubtedly due to the fact that, like all classics, in the words of Italo Calvino ‘it has never finished saying what it has to say.’
Below are three of the most common interpretations that have been given to the text.
Interpretations. Three lines.
Robinson Crusoe Daniel Defoe
1) The religious allegory. The book has been interpreted as a religious allegory, a Puritan tract about man’s redemption from sin. The Puritans had a very down to earth view of religion. Their view was that man must save himself from original sin on Earth, regaining the paradise he has lost through his labour and self-reliance. The island on which Crusoe is shipwrecked is at first an ‘island of despair’. But gradually, through his virtues of resilience, intelligence and hard work he gradually transforms it into a paradise of which he is master. As a Puritan, Crusoe’s religious beliefs are very different from those of the Roman Catholic religion. He does not ask God for salvation but relies only upon his own labours.
2) The economic allegory. The book also functions as an allegory of merchant capitalism: the mini-civilisation, which Crusoe establishes on the island, is similar to the society from which he comes. After he has arrived on the island he begins to regard it as his property. He builds himself an improvised house with a fence round it. He gathers wealth in the form of stocks of food and supplies. He even gives himself an arduous work routine, although he has no boss. When he meets the savage, Friday, he employs him as a servant. In this sense Crusoe embodies the values of the self-made man. He is like a businessman who, starting from nothing, slowly builds himself an empire.
3) The imperialist allegory. More recently Robinson Crusoe has been considered as an allegory of British imperialism because it attempts to demonstrate the white, Christian Crusoe’s inherent superiority over the savage Friday, who must be civilised and converted to Christianity. Robinson sees it as his right to be lord and master of the island despite the fact that Friday was there before him. His logic follows that of the British government who saw it as their right to conquer and control most of Africa and later India. The indigenous inhabitants of these countries were generally regarded as savages who had to be civilised. In Robinson Crusoe the savage Friday does not really have a voice. He only learns to speak when Crusoe teaches him English. The master-slave relationship is reminiscent of that between Prospero and Caliban in Shakespeare’s play The Tempest but Friday, unlike Caliban, does not learn to curse his master.  
Source: Thomson – Maglioni, Literary Links. Literature in time and space, Cideb, an old Italian book 2000. 

Apr 16, 2017


Scarcelle Pasqua con ovetto Silvana Calabrese Blog

     Easter or Resurrection Sunday is a holiday celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ after his crucifixion as is describing in the Holy Bible.
     It represents the culmination of the Passion of Christ, preceded by Lent (a forty-day period of prayer and fasting.
     The whole week before Easter is named Holy Week.

     In proximity of this holiday the cuisine is extreme, but the results are spectacular and impeccable taste. Native of Puglia is the scarcella, an Easter cake baked and variously decorated on which lies a boiled egg or small chocolate eggs. 
     In the group of typically Italian Easter cakes it places the dove, whose mixture lies inside a mold and decorate with almonds and sugar grains.
Scarcelle e colomba Pasqua Silvana Calabrese - Blog

Apr 12, 2017

Stand by me soundtrack – Ben E. King

Stand By meWhen the night has come
And the land is dark
And the moon is the only light we'll see
No I won't be afraid, no I won't be afraid
Just as long as you stand, stand by me

And darlin', darlin', stand by me, 
oh now now stand by me
Stand by me, stand by me

If the sky that we look upon
Should tumble and fall
And the mountains should crumble to the sea
I won't cry, I won't cry, no I won't shed a tear
Just as long as you stand, stand by me

And darlin', darlin', stand by me, oh stand by me
Stand by me, stand by me, stand by me-e, yeah

Whenever you're in trouble won't you stand by me,
oh now now stand by me
Oh stand by me, stand by me, stand by me

Darlin', darlin', stand by me-e, stand by me 
Oh stand by me, stand by me, stand by me

Apr 8, 2017

Robinson Crusoe

Robinson Crusoe
Robinson Crusoe was a sailor. During one of his voyages he was shipwrecked in a storm and all his companions were drowned.
He reached a desert island and, before the ship sank, he succeeded in bringing ashore some tools, guns, food and also a cat and a dog. After living alone for many years, one day he saw some canoes approaching the island. He hid behind a bush and from there, shortly after, he saw some savages landing. They had some captives with them and Robinson realized that they were going to kill and eat them. Al of a sudden one of the captives ran away. Two cannibals pursued him and were going to catch him but Robinson fired at them and saved the captive. As all this happened on a Friday, Robinson named the savage he had saved Friday and took him as his servant. Robinson taught Friday to speak English and baptized him. 
The two men lived together on the island until a ship anchored off shore. The crew had mutinied and were going to kill their captain. Robinson and Friday saved him and so they were able to leave the island. 
Robinson Crusoe Loving San Francisco

Apr 4, 2017

“Will Hunting” Monologue, Robin Williams

will hunting
Sean and Will sit in the bleachers at the mostly empty park. They look out over a small pond, in which a group of schoolchildren on a field trip ride the famous Swan Boats.
WILL: So what's with this place? You have a swan fetish? Is this something you'd like to talk about?
SEAN: I was thinking about what you said to me the other day, about my painting. I stayed up half the night thinking about it and then something occurred to me and I fell into a deep peaceful sleep and haven't thought about you since. You know what occurred to me?
SEAN: You're just a boy. You don't have the faintest idea what you're talking about.
WILL: Why thank you.
SEAN: You've never been out of Boston.
SEAN: So if I asked you about art you could give me the skinny on every art book ever written...Michelangelo? You know a lot about him I bet. Life's work, criticisms, political aspirations. But you couldn't tell me what it smells like in the Sistine Chapel. You've never stood there and looked up at that beautiful ceiling. And if I asked you about women I'm sure you could give me a syllabus of your personal favorites, and maybe you've been laid a few times too. But you couldn't tell me how it feels to wake up next to a woman and be truly happy. If I asked you about war you could refer me to a bevy of fictional and non-fictional material, but you've never been in  one. You've never held your best friend's head in your lap and watched him draw his last breath, looking to you for help. And if I asked you about love I'd get a sonnet, but you've never looked at a woman and been truly vulnerable. Known that someone could kill you with a look. That someone could rescue you from grief. That God had put an angel on Earth just for you. And you wouldn't know how it felt to be her angel. To have the love be there for her forever. Through anything, through cancer. You wouldn't know about sleeping sitting up in a hospital room for two months holding her hand and not leaving because the doctors could see in your eyes that the term "visiting hours" didn't apply to you. And you wouldn't know about real loss, because that only occurs when you lose something you love more than yourself, and you've never dared to love anything that much. I look at you and I don't see an intelligent confident man, I don't see a peer, and I don't see my equal. I see a boy. Nobody could possibly understand you, right Will? Yet you presume to know so much about me because of a painting you saw. You must know everything about me. You're an orphan, right?
Will nods quietly.
SEAN: (cont'd) Do you think I would presume to know the first thing about who you are because I read "Oliver Twist?" And I don't buy the argument that you don't want to be here, because I think you like all the attention you're getting. Personally, I don't care. There's nothing you can tell me that I can't read somewhere else. Unless we talk about your life. But you won't do that. Maybe you're afraid of what you might say.
Sean stands,
SEAN: (cont'd) It's up to you. 
And walks away.