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facilitation reflection

This week’s topic was on Warm Bodies the movie. Throughout the movie you see the main character R, go through a change from zombie to human. Within that process, he also falls in love with a girl name Julie. My initial reaction before having to view this movie for class was its definitely a Rom-Com. But after talking about the novel in class I realize it was a twist on Romeo and Juliet. In the begging R was seen as just another zombie in the airport, but he wanted more than that. He wanted something to live for. Only having one friend M who he occasionally had some type of conversation with was all he had until he met Julie. R saves Julie from being attacked by another zombie and that somehow triggered the change to becoming human inside of R.

The next article I read was “Diagnosis Zombie” by Megan Gannon. This article had a whole different twist to it and I picked it because it also ties in coping mechanism when dealing with family having cancer. Which is something we have talked about many of times.” He couldn’t cure his wife’s cancer, Schlozman thought, but maybe he could tackle the zombie problem (Gannon, 2013).” Another reason why I really liked this article because it ties in neurological problems and how contagion is spread. He states in his article how these viruses spread and the most logical way to spread them. [The spread of an airborne virus, such as influenza, meanwhile, could spread rapidly across a region, he added. That’s the model he chose for “The Zombie Autopsies.” (Gannon, 2013)]. I personally though this was an overall well article that gets you thinking.

When it comes to my reaction to the movie and materials, it was really affected by the critical articles that were read for class. The article that was posted was Monstro by Junot Diaz. This article was very surprising. I learned the new way of zombie literature. At first reading the article described something as the zombie plague, but didn’t seem like one. It just seemed like some illness that struck a poor country. It was very interesting how he ties in realistic events with the kind of scifi events. For instance dropping the bomb in the hot zone or where all of the infested were, to the infected simultaneously yelling together in a sequence, or them turning into 40 feet creatures. I hated how it ended because it left me wanting to read more! This by far was my favorite unit. I enjoyed the different contrast we got to see between the articles and the movie. Zombie literature can be pictured in many ways and its nice when you get to see a variety of them.




Diaz, Junot. “Monstro.” The New Yorker (4 June 2012): 29pp.   www.newyorker.com web.

Gannon, Megan. “Diagnosis Zombie: The Science Behind the Undead Apocalypse” Livescience.com 8 Aug 2013. Web.

Marion, Isaac. Warm Bodies: A Novel. Atria, 2011.


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Unit Wrap up

Wrapping up this unit we focused more on mental illnesses that are not so main stream. Such as depression and bipolar disorder. In this unit we read Marbles and American splendor. Both of these deal with the how a person with a mental disorder life plays out. Ellen Forney, the author of Marbles which is a comic book style novel, writes about her experience with Bipolar disorder. Harvey Pekar, is the main character in the film American Splendor where his life story is told through a series of different styles. This film contain graphic like comics, documentary scenes, and of course film.

Ellen Forney Marbles shows her life and coping with bipolar disorder. In this graphic novel, you get to experience the highs and lows of depression. Ellen is perceived to be this outgoing, bold, and expressive type of girl. While reading Marbles you realize that there are some many Ellen Forney’s out there self-medicating, thinking that the meds will make them lose who they are. This graphic novel really gives you a great insight on bipolar disorder if you never knew how bad it was.

American Splendor tells the story of Harvey Pekar’s life and how he was a no body and became a somebody. It’s very hard to see that this is a film about depression due to the fact that he seems like a normal guy who really just complains a lot. Depression is overlooked in many cases and mostly seen as someone who seeks attention, but in reality it is a very serious disease that needs to be treated. In this movie depression is something different. His depression leads him down a road most people without it would love to be on. It’s the map that leads him to what we could call happiness. It brings him a wife and a child, it brings him hope so you would think, but he still isn’t satisfied.

Both of these works give us an insight on what it is like living with mental illnesses. Marbles shows you the poles of bipolar disorder while American Splendor doesn’t really show you the extremes, but rather the common. This unit gave me a better understanding of what people with these disorders go through. I thought I had a good idea on what this disease does to people, but after seeing and reading these works, I realized I only knew the stereotype. One thing I can really say about these genres that I liked was the family support that the characters got. With Marbles she had her mom who also self- diagnosed herself, her dad, and her brother all supporting her through the good and the bad days. With American Splendor his family was little different, because it wasn’t really his family well not till later on in the movie. After his wife left he had his friends to talk to especially Toby who always seemed to be there for him. After meeting his new wife, you could say his support system grew. I think it’s necessary to have that support system when going through something like this. These are great body f works to really get an insight on what it’s like to live with these disorders.



Forney, Ellen. Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me: A Graphic Memoir. New York: Gotham, 2012. Print.

American Splendor. Dir. Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini. Perf. Paul Giamatti, Hope Davis, Harvey Pekar, Joyce Brabner. New Line Cinema, 2003. DVD

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possible final research project

For my final project, I want to do something with contagion and fear along with the movie warm bodies and the movie Word War Z. I want to focus on the military/ science that is always a part of these genres. I want to bring in how usually these epidemics start off with some type of virus and the way it is spread. I also would somehow like to tie in the military aspect of it. In every zombie movie one of the branches are called in to help with the contagion. I’m thinking I would like to compare and contrast the similarities in zombie movies but how they go about controlling the contagion and fear.

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Warm Bodies: Novel

In this unit we start off with Warm bodies, a novel written by Isaac Marion about a zombie named R who is very different from your normal zombie. The plot takes place in a world where the human population is scarce and zombies and bonies are the dominant group. R is the main character in the novel who get to now through his thoughts which I enjoy. We get to view what it’s like being him. R has this urge to be more than just a zombie he tries to talk even though much doesn’t come out we could say he’s more advanced than any of the other zombies. “Living speech has always been a sonic pheromone to me, and I spasm briefly when it hits my ears. I’ve yet to meet another zombie who shares my appreciation for those silky rhythms” (Marion 15).

The first time I see R change into becoming more human is when R is thinking about what to do, and he ends it with “ I made a choice” (Marion 15). He decides to save Julie, a human who is close to being attacked by zombies. He made a decision which is something only the living can do. This is the beginning of not only the love story of Julie and R, but his journey of becoming human again. As the novel goes on you can start to see R’s feelings developing for Julie, he believes in her vision and that progresses his journey even more to becoming human.

After reading Pokornowski’s Insecure Lives, it made me realize the fear of contagion will never die. This was a great reading an article about microbiology. In this field of science we are able to look at the tiniest strain of a virus, and like most zombie novels and movies for example World War Z, Resident Evil, Dawn of the Dead, etc. the outbreak is due to a virus. So combining those themes are only right. We always see some type of scientific scene in these types of genres and it’s safe to say this side of a zombie thriller is still just as fascinating.

Poornowski gives us an insight in real life horror when talking about the many different microorganism that are in this world and the ones that have not yet been discovered. To imagine something so small that can’t be seen with the naked eye affecting the human body, could there be something out there that could do this to our race.





Marion, Isaac. Warm Bodies: A Novel. New York: Atria, 2011. Print.

Poomowski, S. (2014). Insecure Lives: Zombies, Global Health, and the Totalitarianism of Generalization (pp. 1-14). John Hopkins University Press.


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American Splendor

The film American Splendor is a mixture of reality and fantasy based on the life of Harvey Pekar. Harvey Pekar is a man who uses a comic book style mixed with realism to tell his life story. Through the use of callouts and the directors Shari Berman and Robert Pulcini could dramatize the scene they were featured in to draw in the audience. The comic style of the film is what really drew me in, it kept me interested. What I really enjoyed about this film is even though depression is the main focus, you see it shined a light on many mental illnesses, with each character having a problem of their own as stated by Harvey’s wife in the film.


The casting of this film in my opinion was great. For instance you could tell Judah Friedlander really took on the roll as Toby Radloff. When they showed the real Toby and Harvey talking in the documentary clips, it was amazing how well he could portray him. Harvey’s second wife Joyce was different for me. When you see the character of Joyce being displayed in the film she seems somewhat normal beside the fact that she marries a guy she barely knew. But when I watched the scene of the actual Joyce, she seemed so monotone which threw me off a bit because of how well Toby’s character was portrayed.


Once scene I could really relate to is the grocery line scene, because we’ve all been through that moment where you have to make a decision on whether to get behind the one old lady or the long line. Having chosen wrong just like Harvey, I found myself thinking of how my life was wasting away and I could be doing so much more with this moment unfortunately I didn’t have the graphic images Harvey had to really portray how I was really feeling like Harvey did. After some contemplating, Harvey decides to leave his items and walk out. Even though this is a very relatable scenario, the use of the graphic images make it somewhat of a fantasy.

I really enjoyed Harvey’s journey throughout the film, it was almost as if he was lost and he finally found himself. Depression is overlooked in many cases and mostly seen as something bad that is just treated with medicine. In this movie depression is something different. It’s the map that leads him to happiness. It brings him a wife and a child, it brings him hope.

In my opinion the comic book style and graphic pictures are what really kept me intrigued. Even though I enjoyed the message, I don’t know if I would have actually watched the movie if it was just a regular film sometimes for me to be really intrigued I need to see expressionism, and I got that with this film.


American Splendor (2003). Film.

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Ellen Forney Marbles shows her life and coping with bipolar disorder. This novel really shows the highs and lows someone with bipolar disorder goes through on a daily basis. Ellen is perceived to be this outgoing, bold, and expressive type of girl. Brave to say the least as her first tattoo is a full back piece which is very impressive. It takes many years to finally do a back piece because of the time and pane involved. Someone that bold and courageous in my opinion seems like they are living on cloud nine and nothing can stop them. But with a high that high it is very possible to have low that will make you not recognize that person. It was in a way kind of sad to see how this disease could turn someone who was so outgoing into someone so unrecognizable. If someone described her to me at her high and her low I would never believe what was being described to me could be the same person. It’s sad to think she thinks this disease is her fault because it ran on her side of her family. It’s kind of the same blame we’ve seen throughout our units in way. The “what did you do to get this disease” kind of aspect to it.

One thing that I really liked about this novel is the family aspect and how they had so much love for and supported her through her high and lows. She threw this Gatsby like birthday party and they all flew in and the support and love was just so unbelievable. Some families would call her out on what they could possibly say to be nonsense, but they don’t. Her family’s reaction to the news of her disease was very realistic to me. Her mother reacted in a way that all mothers would act being scared for her daughter crying behind closed doors but putting on a brave face in front of her daughter. The fathers and the brothers reaction was very realistic to me because you could imagine any father telling his little girl he loves her and will always be there while her brother jokes a little bit about it.

One of the struggle I think anyone who is dealing with a disease is trying not to lose themselves in the process of getting better. Like many other in her position, She didn’t want to take the medicine that would help control her episodes She thought it would change that crazy person she can be. She felt that’s when she got most of her creativity from, when she created some of her best work. But you see a change in her, a change I was kind of sad to see because I felt like I was losing her to the fight she was fighting. She states that “For me, mania is a dormant volcano, and I’d like it to stay asleep.” (Forney, p.232) She later explains how this disease is a blessing and a curse but it makes her the woman she is in every aspect of life. To me that would be remarkable advice for anyone going through something like this. You would not be the person you are without that disease, and that can be taken in many ways but hopefully in the most positive way.

I believe I connected with this story so much because I loved the fight she had and I loved the vulnerability that we get to see. Not knowing what this disease is like up close in personal I believe Marbles has definitely opened my eyes up to so much more. This work of art is a great piece for someone who is going through this disease unlike W;T was for people going through cancer. This piece is more realistic in every aspect and is quite entertaining to say the least.


Work Cited



Forney, Ellen. Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me: A Graphic Memoir. New York: Gotham, 2012. Print.

Gall, Amy. “Ellen Forney: Losing One’s Marbles.” Lambda Literary (16 Dec. 2012). Web

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metaphors in Conatgion

After reading aids and its metaphors, I realized that over time our country has made the stigma of aids into a reality. One who might be infected, dealing with the time of unknowing can be more than difficult. A wide range of emotions could be felt as this time. But the two most felt are shame and judgment. Shame that they now are put into this category of a risk group, and being judged for contacting this disease where labels of homosexuality, promiscuity, irresponsible, and unsafe are worn on the backs of the ill like a cape.

Most men denied it like Roy Cohn played by Al Pacino in the HBO Angels in America. Roy Cohn who secretly a homosexual that was denying the fact he was diagnosed with AIDs believing himself that it was just Liver Cancer and trying to make others believe as well. This is a sign of defiance to me.  He’s denying the fact that he has AIDs, and the way he was infected with it. He essentially becomes what he spent his time  doing as a crooked lawyer, hunting down the gays in government. He tries to stop his case from going to court with the help of his prodigy . Later on you see Roy Cohn in his hospital bed dying of Aid where he’s visited by the ghost of Ethel Rosenberg  the case that put him on the map , where its almost as she’s taking satisfaction in his misery almost a since of karma for what he did.

Another disease was brought up in this article that we’ve talked about a lot which was cancer. Susan Sontag states that “getting cancer too, is sometimes is sometimes understood as the fault of someone who has indulged in unsafe behavior.” I remember when we were discussing W;T and the stigmas that went along with having different types of cancer. For instance if you had lung cancer you were automatically a smoker, or if you have cancer of the liver or kidney you were an alcoholic, or if you were a women it was automatically breast cancer! These were the stigmas of cancer that can easily be compared to the stigma of AIDs.

If you were a male with AIDs in the 80’s it was because you were a homosexual indulging in delinquency, if you were a woman with AIDs it was either you were into drugs or you husband was in the closet, and if you were a child with it well the only person to blame was your mother. But what about those who contracted the disease through blood transfusions? Do they hold the same shame as someone who contracted it through intercourse? You would think no they couldn’t possible it wasn’t their fault. But one doesn’t see a person’s story when they find out they have Aids, one does a disease that holds so much stigma.

When someone had the virus it was known to be separated into 3 parts. HIV, ARC, and AIDs. ARC was a phase within the disease where within 3-5 years that person would have full blown AIDs. But overtime this phase was destroyed the disease now only had two names HIV and AIDS. This Disease became a reality very quick. People who had the disease that worked for the D.O.D were fired due to the sensitivity of the job. This was the reality now, people were afraid of coming out about their disease because it could mean losing their jobs and everything they had because of this disease

Another sexually transmitted disease that was talked about in this article was syphilis. Doors with metal handles were removed from naval ship and replaced with swinging doors, metal cups were no longer used along with public water fountains. Layering a public toilet with paper before using it so you wouldn’t contract that disease was the norm. Fast forward to now that is the reality people line toilets all the time, and if you ask them why they will most likely say because of germs. But asked them where it came from and they probably could tell you. Over time that stigma became a reality.


Work Cited

Mike Nichols. Dir. Perf. Al Pacino, Meryl Streep, Emma Thompson, Mary-Louise Parker, Jeffrey Wright, Justin Kirk, Ben Shenkman, Patrick Wilson. Angels in America. New York, NY: HBO Video, 2003.

Sontag, Susan. “AIDS and its Metaphors.” The Disability Studies Reader. Ed. Lennard Davis. New York: Routledge, 2006

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Death Before Dying

When you think of AID’s the first thing that comes to mind is death. An incurable disease that has been taking the lives of men, women, and children for over 30 years. In the article dead before dying, you get a view of the “social and cultural factors that have undermined effective treatment and care for persons living with AIDS in South Africa.” Niehaus suggest that denial, silence, fear and fatalism have stemmed from the construction of persons living with AIDS as being ‘dead before dying. (Niehaus, 845)

One thing that really stood out to me was when Niehaus visited George Bila who eventually died from AID’s in South Africa. The Nurse ho as treating him grew tired of taking care of him. I find myself wondering how? That is your job as a nurse to take care of the sick. Due to her incompetence in my opinion, George was taken home to be cared for by his family. But the way he was treated by his family was horrible. George was locked in a room fed once a day and only given one glass of water. Lying in

His own diarrhea, his parents wouldn’t even clean him. Thankfully he had a sister that cared enough to feed him and clean him even though the smell was unbearable. She stated she felt she owed him that since George Bila paid for his sisters’ education. It was safe to say Bila’s parents were waiting for him to die so they could receive his pension money.

AIDS was said to be spread through sexual activities. Whether it is heterosexual or homosexual intercourse it can be spread. It is now the highest killer of men, women and children, where it use to be infectious diseases and malnutrition were the predominant killer of children, accidents and violence in adolescents and young adults, and heart diseases in adults. In South Africa, the men are known into polygamous. They also believe that “multiple sexual liaisons as a sign of masculine success” Due to this stereotype, President Mbeki’s denies the existence of AIDS due to the stereotypes of Africans as “promiscuous carriers of germs, who display ‘uncontrollable devotion to the sin of lust” (Niehaus, 847)

Another thing that stood out to me in an uncomfortable way was when Niehaus asked some of the elderly why they replied with “that women bite. They say that a woman can make you ill and give you STDs [sexually transmitted diseases]. You can even die if she has committed an abortion. With women there is also AIDS. They say it is safe with a young boy. He won’t transfer any diseases to you.” (Niehaus, 853) this to me was very disturbing to think having sexual intercourse with a young boy is better than a women. Those young boys who they think are disease free can contract AID’s just like those women who bite. The amount of ignorance is very obvious.

The social and cultural factors that have undermined effective treatment and care for persons living with AIDS in South Africa is still going on. The association of AIDS with dying is likely the source of its stigma which explains a lot of people’s responses to AIDS. In my opinion the only way to break that stigma is through knowledge

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Cancer unit Wrap Up

Last Class we wrapped up our first unit which was we have been discussing Cancer through many forms. As we went through our first unit of this class, it really opened my eyes more to what this disease does to people and how it affects them in different ways. The Cancer journals and Margret Edson’s W;t describes how individuals deal with their process of going through cancer and how the process is life changing. A couple things stood out to me.

One was a comparison of the two main characters from W;T, and the Cancer Journals. In the novel W;t by Margaret Edson, the main character Dr. Vivian Bearing is a professor at a university. Bearing’s hard exterior and nonchalant attitude was a cover to what she was really feeling inside. Bearing was cold hearted through most of the novel until the very end when she finally broke down her walls and let herself be vulnerable right before she dies.

In the Cancer Journals you see a wide arrange of emotions. The one thing you get from this particular reading unlike W;T is a sense of hope that she will overcome this process you can see Throughout this whole journey, Lorde shows that she is still human. Just like with any disease you have good days and Lorde is a real human with real emotions and it shows. She doesn’t do is except defeat, but in my opinion Vivian did. It was like she was ok with it. I couldn’t really connect with W;T until we watched the clips in class. Seeing the emotions is easier to understand than reading it. Connecting with the Cancer journal was really easy due to the fact that you could empathize with Lorde. Everything she was going through you could truly feel sorry for her, and I did.

None the less both these readings gave me a great insight on not on just what this disease can do to you both mentally and physically. These two readings really opened my eyes up to the stigma of cancer and how others react to your disease. To contribute to that, it also showed me that everyone deals with it in their own way. Every path is not the same and that is proven with these two body of works.

The second point that really stood out to me was in the movie The Fault in our Stars. A romantic comedy-drama based on the novel by John Green. Two teens with cancer who fall in love and have this sort of last love experience. In this movie a quote really stood out to me “Pain is meant to be felt.” You first see this meaning of the quote being used when Hazel believes she should feel the pain created by her cancer, because it was put there for a reason. The second time you see this quote come alive is when Isaac, also a cancer patient goes through a breakup. When his friend Gus sees that video games aren’t working to release his pain, Gus suggest the pain is meant to be felt. Giving him some old basketball trophies, he lets Isaac smash them up. This lets Isaac release the pain through a physically action because, Pain is mean to be felt, and once it is felt the only thing left to feel is relief.

As someone who has seen this disease up close and personal I can really understand why this quote is so powerful. But this quote can relate to so much more than just cancer like Isaac’s breakup. “Pain is meant to be felt” can be associated with anything you are going through. Sometimes feeling that pain or letting it out can stop that numbing feeling, bring you out of limbo, and back to reality. Sometime that pain is what you need to get your life back on track.

I believe I connected a lot with the Fault in out Stars because one it was something all teen and young adults could relate to, love and  going through hard times. The Fault in Our Stars was by far my favorite piece in this unit.


Work Cited




Campell, Patty. “YA Lit and the Deathly Fellows” The Horn Book Magazine 84:3 (May/Jun

2008): 357- MLA International Bibliography. Web.

The Fault In Our Stars. Dir. Josh Boone. Perf. Ansel Elgort, Shailene Woodley. 2014. Film

Edson, Margaret. W;t. New York: Faber and Faber, Inc., 1999. Print.

Lorde, Audre. The Cancer Journals. Argyle, NY: Spinsters, Ink, 1980. 1-15.Print

Category:  response     

Contagion and Fear



Our second unit we began to explore is the “Fear and Contagion”. And as Criminal Justice Forensic Science major I’m very intrigued with this unit. This week’s unit we are introduced to Aids. One thing to remember with outbreak narratives, especially the recent ones are just as much about globalization as the actual disease

In “Contagion and the Necessary Accident” the epidemic of AIDS was put on the front page by the media. The attention AID were getting grew at such a rapid rate. “And the Band Played On” and the “Contagion and the Necessary Accident” both bring up how a disease begins. The “Contagion and the Necessary Accident” focus on “sensation text” which involves the effects of the contagion on the body. In Richard Preston’s 1994 “The Hot Zone” the film links the culture with disease. This is just one of the Aids work are valuable look into the Aids era.

In the movie “And the Band Played On” you can see how Ebola and Aids are very similar. In the movies we began in an Africa village where Ebola has infected and killed everyone in the village. Don Francis was the doctor who was sent to Africa who later on is tied to the epidemic of AIDS. His scene is very dramatic and in my opinion unrealistic. A real doctor isn’t going to sit there and ponder after having anf infected woman spit up blood on him. He’s going to quickly find a way to sanitize himself and make sure he is taking the proper percussion to not get infected. As a CJFS major we have this saying no matter how careful you are taking something out of a scene you will always leave something behind. It unintended of course but it happens and we try very hard in this field not to leave traces of things that don’t belong. The one thing that surprised me the most id that the other Doctor was going from patient to patient without taking the proper percussions to not spread things. I do realize that it is just a movie and perhaps that being done lead to a bigger underlying message.

Don Francis shows a lot of compassion throughout the movie. You can tell his goal is to keep people alive. He sent his samples over to the French because in the science word that’s expected. His urge to find out where this disease came from was very prominent throughout the movie. Unlike Doctor Gallo’s whose only intention was to take credit for the research and discovery of the disease. It seemed like the lives that he was saving was covered by the fame he wanted. The Media, public, and other doctors in a way play the role of antagonist. Not giving their support and going against everything he did. The gay community was one of his biggest enemies due to the fact that this was a sexually transmitted disease. It was very hard to get the community to listen and understand because of the equal right movement going on at the time within the gay community. These works really put you right in the middle of contagion and fear and the madness that goes along with it.







Work Cited

And the Band Played on. Dir. Roger Spottiswoode. Perf. Matthew Modine and Alan Alda. HBO, 1993.

Albertini, Bill. “Contagion and the Necessary Accident.” N.P., 23 Oct. 2009. Web. 05 Feb. 2015.

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