Author Archives: Hillary Fowler

From Dickens to Educational Technology


This summer, I was required to take a class focusing on technology in the classroom. I consider myself pretty techonology savvy, but I even got to spruce up my technological skills. We had a variety of assignments that mostly centered around a unit plan, which we had to create. Below, I am going to discuss the high points and low points of the class, as well as my favorite and least favorite assignments.

The high point of the class for me was getting to work on the projects. I learn better by doing, rather than listening. This class was the perfect format for my learning style. Anything hands-on makes me comprehend information far better. So, basically, the times I got to sit at a computer and play around with my projects,while learning new things in the process, was a high point for me.

I really wish I could point out a specific low point in the class. I really have no complaints. I don’t like that it was during the summer – but, then again it was one of the better classes I could have taken for summer, because I got to work at home. Honestly, the most bothersome part of the class was other students. That seems harsh. The instructions were clear from  the beginning, but I  felt like things had to be rehashed a couple of times of day.

My favorite assignment of the class was the Jing presentation. I had really not experienced or come in contact that type of software before. So, getting to learn something new is always a highlight for me. Also, I feel like  this is the software I will most use in the future.

My least favorite assignment of the class was the Windows Movie Maker. I really love Windows Movie Maker, but I have used it more times than I can count. So, I guess I just felt bored with it. But, the assignment was a great assignment, I just felt like I already knew how to do it.

Overall, I really enjoyed the class. Technology is right up my alley, so I enjoyed all aspects. Now, if Russ could just remove the demons from my personal computer, the class would be complete! 😉


Creating a “Sketch”


While filtering through Sketches by Boz, I stumbled upon “The Streets – Morning.” I also read “The Streets – Night,” but I was far more intrigued and impressed with the “morning” version. I truly felt like I was immersed in a portrait. Dickens so vividly describes the surroundins, that I can visualize it. The setting is beautiful. All the homeless, drunks, and trouble-makers have disappeared. All of the workers are not up for their day yet. All the hustle and bustle is invisible and that is what makes it beautiful. Dickens creates a comparison in this writing, by saying all the things that are missing – all the things that are only visible during normal business hours.  Also, his commentary on weather (sunlight, clouds, etc) is reflective of the later work we see from him. Reading about the sun touching the tips of buildings makes me envision a sunrise. As Dickens talks about the carts making their way down the streets, I can hear the noises ringing through my ears. Including animals just makes me happy – because I love animals.

Overall, I have seen this type of writing in some of Dickens later novels, but never to this extent. Reading Sketches by Boz, gives me a whole new perspective on Dickens. I now see him not only as a writer, but an artist of words.

Trudging Through Rudge


Had we read Barnaby Rudge in the beginning of the semester, it probably would have been one of my favorite books. I am a far bigger fan of Dickens’ writings in his earlier life, rather than the latter. I like his sense of humor, rather than the darker, more gloomy writing. Is it just me, or is everyone counting down the days to the end of the semester? I feel like I have to force myself to get up and read. I really like this book, I just don’t want to do anymore school work. I’m over it. But, enough complaining. I’m about to give you some positive feedback from Barnaby Rudge, instead of using this blog to vent.

  • Once again, Dickens uses weather to foreshadow events and set the mood. Right from the start we are immersed in a foggy night at The Maypole. Then, immediately, Dickens set us up for a murder mystery. Love his use of weather. He always places it in perfect context.
  • From the beginning of this story, it seems that the gardeners is the murderer of Reuben. But, once again, is Dickens really ever that obvious? Since he (the gardener) went “missing” after the crime, readers are led to believe he fled due to the murder. (Or at least that is the impression that I got). But, I feel like my first impression is always wrong when it comes to Dickens’ writings.
  • Joe is your typical teenager. His character is relatable. He just wants his independence and is tired of being treated like a child. However, his rash decision to go be a soldier seems impulsive. We will see how that works out for him.
  • The relationship between Emma and Edward screams Romeo and Juliet. Fueding families keeping the two lovebirds apart immediately grabs my attention. I adore a good love story.
  • Barnaby Rudge is my comic relief in this story. However, I am struggling to keep up with his mother’s relationship with the murder victim and how she all fits in.

Overall, I really do like this book. It’s intriguing and enjoyable. I just need some motivation to finish these next 2 weeks. AH!

Prison Chat


Ok, so I must admit, I am at a little bit of an advantage this week with the blogging. Recently, I finished my second research paper entitled “Crime and Punishment in Victorian England.” If you have not seen it yet, go check it out. It has all kind of information about the most common prisons, most common crimes, and execution. Instead of reiterating what I already wrote, I decided to delve into the symbolism of prisons in the writings of Dickens’ works. I do not know much about it, but from reading your guy’s blogs and listening to your presentations, I gather that Dickens visited prisons frequently. It does not surprise me, considering he puts every legal injustice on blast. But, how does it appear in his writing?

The Obvious

In A Tale of Two Cities, we see the harsh reality of what the prison system can do to you. Mr. Mannette became obsessed with his shoes and work bench. This is totally representative of the time. While exploring for my research paper, I found out that many prisoners had to do monotonous tasks – such as winding a crank all day. Now, that will drive you up the wall. Anyway, we got a vivid look inside the courtroom and the harsh reality of punishment in prison.

The Not-So-Obvious

In most all of Dickens’ works, it seems that women are “imprisoned” in one way or another. The society restrictions kept them bound the same way bars imprison inmates. The authoritarian style of husbands is similar to wardens in a jailhouse.The ridiculous expectations of a woman’s role reminds me of the expectations of prisoners on death row. This is stretching the symbolism, but I can see it. What about you guys?

Emily Bronte


July 20, 1818 –  December 19, 1848

Yorkshire, England


  • Wuthering Heights  – DUH.


  • Her sister, Charlotte, wrote Jane Eyre.
  • Mother died early on.
  • Emily and 3 sisters were sent to Clergy Daughters’ School, where they were abused. A typhus epidemic spread throughout the school sending everyone packing. Two of her sisters – Maria and Elizabeth both caught it, developed tuberculosis, and died. Only Emily and Charlotte survived. Anne the youngest sister did not experience this.
  • Father spent his time alone – didn’t like the girly stuff.
  • Entertained herself by reading Shakespeare, Virgil, and the Bible.
  • The three sisters dreamed of opening up their own school one day. Charlotte started teaching and Emily attended her classes, until he got homesick.
  • Her brother became addicted to alcohol and opium, leading to depression, and mad-ravings in the house and ultimately his death.
  • She moved back in with her father and started writing, leading to publishing Wuthering Heights in 1847.


Emily’s immune system had been contaminated from living in poor conditions her entire life. She had grown up on drinking contaminated water from a runoff in the nearby graveyard. She rejected all forms of medicine, saying she did not want a “poison doctor” around her. She finally died of tuberculosis – Just like her sisters.

Possible Dickens Connection

Charles Dickens published works in 1841, 1842,1843,1844,1845,1846, & 1848. What’s missing? 1847 – When Emily Bronte chose to publish Wuthering Heights.

Both wrote sensation fiction. Possibly she was inspired by him.

Ode to OMF


I was scrolling back through my recent blog posts and realized I have not given much attention to Our Mutual Friend. The little attention I have given has been negative – I have complained and criticized every aspect that I can. Well, I take it all back. Well, most of it. I think I got so frustrated with this book because I was reading so little of it. This weekend I spent time just reading it and I really got back into it. Maybe it it because everything is finally coming to fruition. All the characters are coming alive and have their respective place within the novel. I like that! So, this blog post is all about OMF. No complaining, no criticizing, just observations.

The Lammle’s

Hahaha! Their little game of climbing the social ladder is all over now. FINALLY! Penniless and embarrassed is what they are, even stooping so low to take hand-outs. The girl they have plotted and planned against (Georgiana Podsnap) is the one who decides to give them money, when all this time the Lammle’s were planning to take her money. Oh, how the tides have turned and I love it!

Bella and John 

I love these two! Bella has finally made her comeback and I could not be happier for her. She has given up her dreams of being a rich socialite to be with the one she truly loves. (but, I have a feeling that fortune may be coming their way!) Also, I love that their wedding was so secret and private. It really fits the way of their relationship. John has some serious skeletons in his closet and Bella has past behavior that is really unbecoming. So, them eloping together symbolizes a new start – just the two of them. Forgetting about all the people in the past who have brought them down and starting their own little family. (Possibly a family of 3 soon?)

Headstone vs. Wrayburn

This little rival has turned pure crazy! Headstone is a certified, psychotic stalker. The man has gone crazy. He is that creepy guy in every scary movie, who is always right around the corner with a sharp object held above his head – waiting to strike. Well, this time he did strike. Poor Eugene, unsuspecting of the fatal blow that was coming his way. Although, I wonder what happened in their altercation. I wish Dickens would have given us a sneak peak. It broke my heart when Lizzie told Wrayburn she had to break it off, because she wasn’t good enough. Have some confidence girl! (I’m rooting for her)

The Boffins

Ok, I must admit, I am a little confused with the whole will/Wegg/Venus/secrets thing. Someone please feel free to set me straight. I think I am getting lost in translation. All I know is I don’t like Mr. Boffin – take all his money away for all I care.


Power Against Panem


Where are my Hunger Game fans at? If you are, I warn you about reading any further into this blog, if you have not finished the series.

In class Wednesday, we all discussed Dickens being a spokesperson for Public Annoucements. As we were talking about this, I could not help but think about the Hunger Games. I just finished the series and I must admit, I’m pretty obsessed with the books. I started to think where Dickens would fit in within the series. In his personal life, Dickens was all about bringing to light social injustices. In almost every book, he exposes a judicial system or spotlights a nation in poverty. So, obviously, if Dickens was placed within the Panem Districts – he would be against the Capitol in Panem. He would be a survivor fighting his way to District 13. I can see him comparible to Boggs – working close with Katniss to help destroy the Capitol – willing to give up his life justo to bring down a dictator. I think he could have a perfect role in this book. More importantly, I see him writing and creating the public annoucements to overide the Panem programming.What about you guys, are you thinking the same thing? Also, can’t you just see him being made over to be camera-ready, like all the others were. ha!