MASS EFFECT

Intro

So the game I will be talking about is Mass Effect (just the first one). This was released on November 20, 2007 in North America. I actually didn’t get it till after Mass Effect 2 which was January 26th 2010… which I actually didn’t play till 2011 and it was only because my mother (bless her gaming soul) rented and told me to play it. Now ME2 rocked my world I LOVED IT actually I still do XD but I decided after talking to some friends to buy and play ME. Now this was before they had it on ps3 which I played ME2 on but I have a XBOX 360 so I bought the game for 5 bucks. So took it home and thank god I did not have school as I played the hell out of it, and loved every minute of it; anyway on with the game then my actual thoughts of the game.

Little bit about Bioware


Okay so BioWare is a Canadian video game developer that was founded in February 1995 by newly graduated medical doctors Ray Muzyka (retired in 2012), Greg Zeschuk(retired in 2012), and Augustine Yip(retired in 1997). You read that right though founders where Doctors go Docs. Anyway it is currently owned by the American company Electronic Arts aka EA. Now this company, Bioware that is specializes in role-playing video games (which are my thing), and became famous for launching highly praised and successful licensed franchises, Baldur’s Gate, Neverwinter Nights, and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. They continued to make several other successful games based on original IP: Jade Empire, the Mass Effect series, and the Dragon Age series. It was only in 2011 that BioWare launched their first MMORPG, Star Wars: The Old Republic which is now free to play. (may post more about Bioware later on but right now it’s about the game.)

Release

So Mass Effect was released on November 20, 2007 in North America, November 22, 2007 in Australia and New Zealand and on November 23, 2007 in Europe. There was even a Limited Collector’s Edition, which containing bonus materials such as an art book and the Galactic Codex: Essentials Edition 2183 booklet, which apparently gives a background look on the Mass Effect universe. (I did not get this as I had no idea about the game till later, but by looking up that’s what most people who did get it said that what they got.)

Okay so the game was later re-released by BioWare and Demiurge Studios for the PC (whoot PC power XD joking), and the PC version was released in summer 2008. Also by 2008 there were versions of the game translated into Spanish, French and Italian, thus spreading the love. A Japanese-language version was in development for the Xbox 360 only; all I can say about this is wow really no PC like come on. A Platinum Hits version of Mass Effect for Xbox 360 (this is what I got later one apparently) was also released, and included a bonus disc containing the game’s soundtrack, the Bring Down the Sky DLC pack, trailers for the game, and pictures and themes for Xbox Live profiles (do to mine being 5 buck and second hand I didn’t get any of this though later on bought it all).

Now Mass Effect is included in the Mass Effect Trilogy, which is a boxed set containing all three Mass Effect games. The Trilogy was released on November 6, 2012 for Xbox 360 and PC. Later on December 4 2012 it came to PlayStation 3 which made Mass Effect playable on the PS3 for the first time (I bought the digital copy so I did not get the trilogy, this was released the same day) worldwide, oh and the release date was December 7, 2012 in Europe.

Okay so on to the game itself!

The world of Mass Effect Edit

Okay so the game is set in the year 2183 CE, this is 35 years after humans discovered ruins of an ancient spacefaring race called the Protheans on Mars. So of course with the technology from these ruins, humanity became knowledgeable to the secrets of mass effect physics and element zero. This allowed them to unlocking faster-than-light travel. They also discovered the mass relay network that threaded through out the galaxy which permitting instantaneous passage across thousands of light-years, and so humanity began its journey among the stars. Allowing them to encounter several alien races and establishing itself on the galactic stage.

Race against Time you say

So you, the player, takes on the role of Commander Shepard (male or female your choice) onboard the SSV Normandy. You start out doing a routine mission (like most Space sci-fi theme game/tv show/movie does) to recover a Prothean beacon on Eden Prime. And of course like I said about the Space theme everything goes cockeyed when Shepard is attacked by geth (which are bad ass) forces led by a rogue turian Spectre by the name Saren Arterius and of course they are also after the beacon.
When Shepard locates the beacon it activates, giving you cut scenes of a strange vision of synthetics slaughtering organics in Shepard’s mind before becoming inactive. Later on you find out that Saren is trying to find the Conduit, a mysterious device that will lead to the return of the Reapers, an ancient machine race is believed to be behind the Protheans’ expiration. Of course Shepard becomes the first human Spectre and is given command of the Normandy with orders to hunt down the butt muncher Saren (actually I kinda love him XD). So now this mission is no longer just about bringing one extra-terrestrial to justice, but also to save a galaxy from annihilation.

Your Squad members

Okay so Shepard is able to recruit up to six companions to assist in the mission to stop Saren:

You will start out with Kaidan Alenko (you can romance him if your female). You will then run into Ashley Williams (male romance option) on Eden Prime, she’ll be fighting some geth off and Alenko and you will run up and help her. Now when you get the Citidel you can recuite Tali’Zorah nar Rayya, Garrus Vakarian, and Urdnot Wrex. Now I have heard you can miss recruiting Garrus I cannot confirm this as I always recruit him. Now the last one you will get is Liara T’Soni (romance for male and female) you get her via one of the storyline quests. You will get attached and also you will have favorites. There will be a part were it might a hard chose or a easy chose depending on how you feel about certain characters.

Other characters

Okay so there are many other characters that are introduced during the game that will become important in Shepard’s struggle against the return of the Reapers. I’ll just put a quick list of names up: Engineer Adams, David Anderson, Administrator Anoleis,   Saren Arterius, Balak, Lizbeth Baynham, Matriarch Benezia, Kate Bowman, Doctor Chakwas, Citadel Council, Fai Dan, Fist, Admiral Hackett, Harkin, Captain Kirrahe, Khalisah Bint Sinan al-Jilani, Nihlus Kryik, Jeff “Joker” Moreau, Gianna Parasini, Navigator Pressly, Lorik Qui’in, The Rachni Queen, Dr. Saleon, Sha’ira, Shiala, The Thorian, Donnel Udina, Conrad Verner, Barla Von and the reporter Emily Wong.

Now some you will love other will be awesome and the rest well should just be dead, well that’s what I felt.

Locations you will visit

So Commander Shepard and the team visit a wide variety of locations in Mass Effect, again just doing a list: The Citadel, Eden Prime, Feros, Ilos, Luna, Noveria, Virmire, Therum, Asteroid X571 (if I remember correctly I believe this is only accessible if you buy the Bring Down the Sky DLC), and the Pinnacle Station which is a DLC also doesn’t seem to be on the ps3 version.

Okay now let’s move on to the Gameplay

Combat for your gaming

So this game is a third-person shooter where the player’s means of offense are in a range of weapons and talents. Now the weapons and talent ability is kind of determined by the player’s selection of one of six classes you get to choose from; Soldier, Infiltrator, Vanguard, Adept, Engineer, and Sentinel. Of course some of classes are experts in one field of combat, while others feature a mix of capabilities. An example being that Soldiers can become skilled with all four weapon types (Assault Rifles, Shotguns, Sniper Rifles, and Pistols), but lack biotic and tech abilities while in contrast, the Adept class excels at using biotics (I like to think of it being kind of like the force), but they can only make effective use of Pistols. Oh also the class is also affected by which types of Armor the player employs.

Advancement in the game

Okay so as you the player progress, you will be earning experience points (whoot points, who doesn’t love EXP) by crushing your enemies and completing missions, assignments, and mini-games. When you have enough experience, Shepard is promoted to the next level and rewarded with points which you can spend on unlocking and improving talents. Now the level cap is locked at 50 until the game is completed for the first time though it is elevated to 60 afterwards. Now achieving the level cap requires multiple playthroughs, but the reward of having a higher level is that it grants access to more powerful weapons and armor.

My Thoughts!

Okay so I loved this game, and still play it on my xbox, though I am playing it on my ps3 slowly as I am playing for someone who wants to know the store and that but doesn’t like shooter games. The game play is easy (unless you’re on hard-core still trying to beat that XD) I’ve played casual and normal, I am still playing it but on hard-core slowly. This game also had me get attached to the characters and made me excited to replay ME2 with my transfer character and pre-order the CE for ME3 at the time. I suggest to anyone that likes RPGs to at least try it. You get to have a chose whether to be good, evil or in the middle and your chose affect your story. So far all most of the people I have talked to and have played the game have loved it, also come one SPACE with ALIENS what is not to like. You get to save the galaxy and maybe have some fun on the side. But no really if you haven’t played this still you should or at least find a way to rent or borrow it and have fun. I know its 2015 and you probably have the ps4 or xbox one but that’s no excuse. If your reading this you have a PC so play it on PC it’s not that hard. Now to tell you how ME crazy I am I have this game on Xbox 360, PS3 and PC.

Love Book Project

So in my Philosophy of Love class the end project was that everyone in the class had to write a poem and explain it. So I figured why not share what I did.

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Star Moon Sun


The sun goes down,
the moon shines bright,
the stars fall from the sky.

When we cry,
the stars shall fall,
the moon shall bleed,
the sun will hide,
behind the clouds that weep.

Love ones are lost,
but also gained,
new ones come,
even when old ones leave.

By JC. Volkman

This poem was written to express the ever changing relationships of love, whether it be love for a friend, lover or ones family. It tells of the feelings of love ones lost and how their loss changes us and the world around us. It makes reference to the many types of love by comparing them to the sunset, moonlight, and the star lite sky. The first stanza of the poem relates to the ebb and flow of love. The line the “sun goes down” refers to the loss of a loved one where as the “moon shines bright” makes note of idea of love that is new and “stars fall from the sky” raises the idea of love dying. The middle verse relates to our feelings when love dies, while the final verse gives us hope that even though we have lost loved ones we can also gain the love of others. The poem is meant to be a reflection of how I comprehend love as it ebbs and flows through the journey of life. Love like life is ever changing for “new ones come, / even when old ones leave”. Just as people we love pass through our lives so does the way we respond to those we love.

Trench warfare

Trench warfare is a form of warfare whereby conflicting troops fight one another from trenches facing each other. This style of warfare is characterized by a plot of land in between two opposing trenches commonly referred to as no man’s land. The opposing forces would fight from theses trenches crossing no man’s land trying to break through the enemy’s front line. In ancient times forms of this style of warfare were used they were not seen on such a large scale.

Ancient and medieval trench warfare had not been developed to the extent it was following the development of firearm technology in the mid-nineteenth century. It was during the American Civil War that the changes can be seen. By the end of the American Civil War the style of fighting became more like the trench style of warfare seen in the First World War. It was during the First World War that trench warfare was used on such a large scale.

There were two major factors which lead in part to the trench warfare seen during the First World War. The first was the use of the breech-loading loading firearm which significantly increase the ability of a small force to hold off a larger force if they were entrenched or had a barrier in which to conceal themselves. The other major impact on warfare was the introduction of the machine gun, this rapid firing weapon allowed small troops to keep larger forces at bay as long as they were concealed. These two inventions, rapid-firing small arms and machine guns made the traditional style of infantry fighting impossible. Another invention barbed wire paid a role in the use of trench warfare. Barbed wire was placed in no-man’s land and along the top of my trenches and it significantly slowed down the advancement of the opposing forces. Breech-loading high velocity artillery was another development which impacted the use of trenches during war.

It was the use of these weapons which basically immobilize the infantry, forcing them to build defences (trenches). Once built the trenches provide the infantry with a form of defence away from the rapid-firing small arms and artillery. World War One was the first major trench warfare as both sides reached a stalemate.

Introduction of the various rapid-firing arms and artillery which made the infantry have to dig in, building an elaborate trench system which stretched for miles across the various military fronts. Both sides began to utilize means such as gas to attempt to infiltrate the opposing army’s trenches. Tanks were brought in to try to eradicate the other army’s trenches. Meanwhile both sides were attempting to produce better and better weapons to fight trench warfare. Greater forces of artillery were brought in by both the German and Allied forces to try to breach the opposing forces defensive line.

The trenches on the Western Front of the WWI essentially started out as small shallow dips in the land which later evolved into large holes in the ground with an elaborate system of tunnels and trenches joined together. This allowed the soldier to move without exposing themselves to the barrage of artillery rained down on them from the opposing forces.

The barrage of attacks by the artillery on the conflicting forces meant that no man’s land became a sea of churned up land and mud. This slowed any attempts by the conflicting forces to attack the others trenches and left the advancing forces exposed to the enemy’s barrage of machine gun fire, artillery and small arms fire.

Large frontal attacks by the opposing sides would result in enormous losses with trivial territorial gains. Poisonous gas and massive artillery barrages were used to try and soften up the enemy prior to placing a frontal attack were also introduced during this time. These huge frontal

attached produced large casualties and troop sizes began to dwindle. The Allies began to impose ever-harsher conscription laws and troops were brought in from the British colonies and eventually even the United States, in the hope that one more attack and artillery barrage would finally overrun the enemy’s trench lines.

Trench lines were breached by the opposing forces but they never seemed to last long as reinforcements would be brought up threw the elaborate trench and tunnelling system. This pattern would continue in the hopes that one of these breaches would finally have the desired results; trench life for the soldiers was very frightening with large period of rest followed by short intense periods of fighting. The trenches themselves evolved from being unconnected holes in the ground to an elaborate system laid out in a zigzag pattern to decrease the impact of the artillery barrages.

The World War One trenches became an elaborate system of zigzagging holes in the ground with a secondary line behind the front line. The zigzagging not only decreased the impact from the artillery barrages but also meant that in a section of the trench was breached they couldn’t just shot down a straight line. Trenches were dug into the ground 4 to 5 feet with a topper of sandbags added to give an additional 3 feet. Wooden boards would be placed to form a walkway over the sludge of mud and steps were placed to allow the soldiers to see over the parapet of sandbags to fire on the advancing enemy. Periscopes were used to watch the opposing side without exposing themselves to enemy fire. Dugouts were used to shelter the troops but the trenches were not only within the range of fire by the artillery but also by enemy snipers. These conditions along with the infestation of rats and other pests made the trenches, especially the front line one of the most nerve racking places to be assigned.

While in the trenches the soldiers were relatively safe but forays were made against the enemy lines, sometimes only involving a few men anther times would involve hundreds of soldiers attacking in multiple groups all at once. The endless waiting and tension in the front line trenches caused great stress amongst those in the front line trenches therefore troops were rotated in and out of the front line to give them a relief from the high tension front line.

When the troops were ordered to attack they poured out of the trenches going over the top and began to advance towards enemy lines in through the crater and muddy no man’s land. This slowed the troops down and some losses by some units were extremely high in just a few hours.

The introduction of rapid-fire weapons and mass-produced barbed wire in part responsible for the end of trench warfare and it could be argued the introduction of the tank. Tanks were available early in the conflict but it was not until later in the war that they became more commonly used as the number of tanks available increased and generals began to see the advantages of deploying them to fight against the enemy trenches. Although the tank certainly assisted in the death of trench warfare it was not the only tactic that was utilized. Surprise attacks on the enemy’s weakest points while by-passing his strongest points and the ability to achieve tactical surprise was also a contributing factor in trench warfare’s demise. In fact it was a combination of various tactics that made trench warfare obsolete. The combination of closer cooperation between the infantry, light artillery, air support and if possible tanks all lead to making trench warfare obsolete.


Sources:

“trench warfare.” The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. 2012. Encyclopedia.com. (November 22, 2012). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1E1-trenchwa.html

John Whiteclay Chambers II. “Trench Warfare.” The Oxford Companion to American Military History. 2000. Encyclopedia.com. (November 22, 2012). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O126-TrenchWarfare.html

“Trench warfare”. http://www.encyclopedia4u.com/t/trench-warfare.html

Library and Archives Canada, Military and Peacekeeping :Oral Histories of the First World War http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/first-world-war/interviews/025015-1500-e.html#a.essay

Faryon, Cynthia J. Mysteries,Legends And Myths Of The First World War: Canadian soldiers in the trenches and in the air. James Loimer & Company Ltd. Publishers Torotnto

Dyer, Gwynne. WAR: The New Edition. Vintage Canada Edition, 2005

Shephard, Norma Hillyer. Dear Harry: The Firsthand Account of a Worl War I Infantryman. Brigham Press. Canada. 2003.

Religion versus Science and Technology (Van Helsing) *Spoliers for the book Dracula*

In Bram Stokers “Dracula”, his character, Dr. Van Helsing believes that modern technology, science is faulty as it does not take into account the need to acknowledge history, in specific religious beliefs and the affect they have on modern society. When speaking to Stewart in Chapter XVIII he remarks on how God fashioned Madam Mina for a purpose with her man’s brain. The doctor refers to god, religion and then goes on later to make mention of the power presented by science and self –devotion. Dr. Van Helsing himself seems to utilize science, technology and religion depending upon what type of statement he wishes to make. He seems to feel that both have a place within the modern world. Religion based solely on faith, traditions and superstitions versus a modern world where by if science and technology cannot explain it then it does not exist.

When the friends meet in Dr. Steward’s study, Dr. (professor) Van Helsing states that since everyone knows the facts up to now, he will tell them about the history of Dracula. He then proposes after they have not only the facts but also the history of Dracula, they will be able to come up with a plan of action. He begins his history by saying that vampires exist and we all have proof in our previous dealings with Dracula and if that were not enough we also have “teachings and records of the past”. (Stoker) Van Helsing’s belief in science made him skeptical of the existence of vampires and it was only through undeniable proof and the validation from historical accounts as well as his open mindedness that leads him to the conclusion that vampires do indeed exist. Although his scientific mind allows him to analyze the data to the conclusion of the existence of vampires, he does bring into the discussion how if they fail not only might they end up like Dracula “-without hear or conscience, preying on the bodies and souls of those we love best. To us for ever are the gates of heaven shut; for who shall open them to us again? We go on for all time abhorred by all; a blot on the face of God’s sunshine; an arrow in the side of Him who died for man.” (Stoker) In this Van Helsing shows both his belief in religion and his belief in the observations of science and the influence of modern technology.

Van Helsing gives the group going to vanquish Dracula even though the vampire is a powerful being by reminding the group of the powers they have such as science and the ability to think and act rationally in both the daylight and night hours, he also reminds them they have their faith, superstitions and traditions upon which they can rely. For they should not forget what they had observed, his ability to become different animals such as a wolf or a bat; how he can become mist or even “elemental dust” (Stoker) and let us not forget that he can see in the dark. Superstition tells them that a vampire cannot enter where he has not been invited (although once invited in he can come and go as he pleases), nor can he go about during the daylight hours and can only change at various times, he also is not supposed to be able to cross running water unless it is at the ebb or low tide. All of these things have either been observed by the group or have been found in the teachings and history. Stoker uses Van Helsing to add a voice of reason and wisdom into the group, he also uses the professor (Dr.) to direct our attention to god, the role he plays. The Dr. (professor) reminds the group that they will be denied entrance to heaven if they become a vampire and loss their soul. Van Helsing’s faith in religion, scientific and modern technologies are the weapons he believes they can use to defeat Dracula and end his reign of terror.

When Mina and Van Helsing travel to Transylvania and Dracula’s castle, they do so with the hope they can kill him and thereby free Mina from his hold. Van Helsing observes how she begins to eat less, become paler, sleep more during the day. In a bid to save her the professor (Dr.) creates a circle of faith (Holy circle) to keep the three female vampires from enticing Mina away from the protective Holy circle. The next morning Val Helsing goes to the castle and finds their resting place and kills them. At Mina’s urging they begin to travel away from the castle to try to meet up with the other members of their party. Mina senses her husband is near and is eager to meet up with them. Van Helsing’s use of the Holy circle shows how he truly believes in the trappings of religion and how important they are to maintain, for sometimes it is only faith that keeps you going. Using Van Helsing’s glasses they are able to see the race between Dracula’s minions and rest of the men of their group.

Dracula is intercepted before the sun can set, so he is at his most vulnerable, the team at Van Helsing’s urging has used a number of methods to predict and plot not only Dracula’s return to his castle but also how they can arrive at the castle before him. The men arm themselves with modern weapons (technology) and follow the trail while relying on their faith to assist them in staying safe. The death of Dracula is described as “..like a miracle, but before our very eyes, and almost in the drawing of a breath, the whole body crumbled into dust and passed from our sight.” (Stoker) This scene where Dracula is killed has visual reminders of modern technology for the gypsies transporting the vampire home are held at bay with rifles while Hawkins and Morris fight their way to the cart and the box which contains Dracula, who is then killed with two knives.

Throughout Stoker’s story we see various occasions that when the use of modern technology and science fails, religion is used. Van Helsing himself time and time again falls back on religion and the historical accounting when he cannot explain what has occurred by using science. The idea of a vampire is certainly not one which is the first appears to be a rational conclusion to what happened to Lucy but it is the conclusion which is reach following the recounting of various instances of Dracula turning into an animal; disappearing into thin air (as either elemental dust or mist); his lack of a shadow and his inability to have a reflection in a mirror. When science fails to label Dracula, Van Helsing turns to the historical documents of the church and it there he finds the answer in what Dracula is. Van Helsing himself uses science until he cannot find a logical reason for what he has observed and then he turns to his religious teachings and historical documents to find his answers. He himself uses a Holy circle to protect Mina from the female vampires who come and try to lure her to Dracula’s castle.

Van Helsing’s character although seemingly simplistic in nature provides the perfect adversary to his monster character, Dracula. Stoker moves Dracula from rural Transylvania to London, England during the Victorian Era because most individuals during this time relied upon the observation of science and the dictates of modern technology to address their problems and it is only when Van Helsing arrives with his willingness and open mindedness that the problem begins to be solved. Lucy’s strange aliment cannot be explained by modern technology and science therefore he turns to historical accountants of similar cases and it is with this knowledge that he begins to comprehend the nature of Lucy’s illness and the vileness of Dracula. Once the evil of Dracula is acknowledged, Van Helsing and his friends begin to formulate a plan to destroy him. For the plan to succeed they use a combination of (scientific skills) clinical observation, modern technologies such as rifles and of course religion (their personal faith in god).


Stoker, Bram. Dracula. Herfordshire: Woodsworth Editions Limited, 1st published 1897; republished edition 1993. book. p. 211, 212, 214,333

Favourite Book: Silence of the Lambs *SPOILERS*

  SotL

     Thomas Harris’ book Silence of the Lambs is my favourite book.
When compared to the other novels and short stories that we have
read, Harris’ main characters and plot keep you engaged in this tale of the
search for a serial killer. The development of the main characters, language
used and the idea of using one serial killer to find another was an interesting
concept. The relationship which develops between the main characters and how
they interact with one another as well as the development of their individual
character is a thought-provoking one. This combined with the public’s
fascination with idea of serial killers and how their minds work have all added
to making this book a success and the movie based on it an even bigger success.

The language used with in the story is more modern then that of
other stories and the story line follows one character at a time while travelling
along a specific time line. Harris doesn’t jump from one character to another
nor does he utilize a writing style like that of Stoker in Dracula where all the
characters in the story tell the tale and one of the main characters story
appears to be told by those around him.
Other stories we read also use this singular time line and character development
style and it is one that I personally find easier to read. This style of writing
with one or two main characters is easier for readers to follow and doesn’t
require the reader to continually shift through the writer’s ideas to find and
follow the main characters development. The more direct writing style used by
Mr. Harris helps the reader to follow the plot while still giving him the
ability to add layers to his characters and not have the reader confused as to
which character he is discussing. Unlike, Stoker where the plot is not always
easy to figure out mainly due to the writer’s swapping continually back and
forth between characters which makes it easy to lose part of the story while
trying to remember which character is currently being discussed.

This style of writing is difficult to follow and many times you become more
involved as a reader trying to figure out the characters than you do in
following the specific story line. In my opinion many readers today tend to
appreciate the story lines which are more straight forward and follow one or two
main characters rather than a group of characters all telling their sides of the
story. The style of writing employed by Harris allows the reader to be led in
the direction the author wants without the reader having to decipher the main
character through the eyes of another character.

Harris not only tells the story of the hunt for a serial killer but he also
develops a relationship between the two main characters as he does this. The
relationship which develops between Clarice Starling and Hannibal Lector is not
one which easily descripted. Clarice is the young, haunted FBI trainee while
Lector is this complex serial killer locked in a cell in maximum security of an
asylum.

We first met Clarice when she is entering the Behavioural Science division
offices of the FBI, fresh off the firing range. Clarice had been summoned by the
head of the department, Jack Crawford to the office who stated she should come
to see him “now”. This summons precipitate’s Clarice’s eventual meeting with
Hannibal, she is summon by Crawford mainly because of her background and her
familiarity with the way mental institutions work. She is sent by Crawford to go
and interview Lector and to write a report to be given to him and possibly the
director if he deems it worthy. He reminds her to listen to the instructions
given by Dr. Chilton and not get too close to Lector and follow the rules
surrounding Lector’s care.

Her meeting with “Dr. Fredrick Chilton, fifty- eight, administrator of the
Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane” (8) doesn’t go as well as
she would have liked, she did not read him as well as she could have and once
she turned down his request for her phone number or a way she could be
contacted, his tune changes to one of dismissal. Clarice beats herself up over
what she perceives to be her inability to have read him “better”. Clinton
dismisses her very quickly after that once he has given her the security
measures in place. He leaves her with the orderly for the area where Hannibal is
contained. In order for Clarice to get to Hannibal’s cell she has to walk down a
corridor with cells on both sides. The inmates call out obscenities as she walks
toward Lector’s cell. She introduces herself to Lector and they have a brief
conversation before he sends her away. It is not until she is leaving and one of
the other inmates behaves inappropriately that Dr. Lector calls her back and
designs to speak with her. He talks about Valentine’s Day and tells her to look
Raspial’s car.

Raspial is a former patient of Dr. Lector‘s, that he had eventually
killed. Lector leads Clarice to expand her knowledge of herself and of what she
is willing to do in order to accomplish her goals. The dialogue which takes
between herself and Lector doesn’t always reveal something about the serial
killer but it does help the reader to better understand Clarice and her character.

In the discussion with Lector, Crawford, and her own internal dialogue
we are able to discover the development of her character from an unsure but
determined trainee to a woman full of confidence in her own behaviour and her
abilities. In her interviews with Lector and her interactions with Crawford you
begin to see not only her determination to accomplish what she had set out to do
but her budding confidence in herself as a woman and the power that she has. She
is a stubborn individual and she uses this trait to push herself and to learn
from those around her. She is not above requesting help in finding out how to
accomplish her goals, for example, when she was first looking for Raspial’s car
she did not know how to find it because she did not have a valid registration
number, the only number she had was the vehicle’s serial number and make of the
car to find the answer she need. Clarice asks one of her instructors at the FBI
academy. When he gives her the answer, he asks”.. “How‘d you know to ask me?”
“You were ICC enforcement; I figured you’d traced a lot of vehicles” (25) this
shows her determination to find answers and that she is not afraid to ask for
instruction on how to find the answers. Clarice knows how to use the resources
around her which includes using Lector and putting up with his games in order to
find a serial killer.

Just as Lector helps to mould Clarice so too does Crawford, both men assist
in moulding Clarice in becoming the woman she is at the end of the book. Crawford
by sending and taking her out into the field, showing her how profilers in the
behavioural science division work and Lector by his cryptic clues which sends her
out to find answers. There almost seem to be a competition between Crawford and
Lector as to exhibits the most influence over Clarice. She is useful to Crawford
because Lector willing talks to her. Lector likes to barter with her for
information regarding her past and uses her to break up the boredom of his life
within the asylum’s cell. Crawford on the other hand uses her to get insights
into the serial killer they are after in the hope that he will give information
to Clarice that can be used to find the killer.

Lector helps with the investigation into the serial killer “Buffalo Bill”
in trade for some information about Clarice and some concession to his care.
Lector leads Clarice towards the answers to her questions regarding the serial
killer without giving her the killer’s name, which he knows as Raspial had given
it to him. Clarice plays along with Lector determined to stop the serial killer.
Her character changes from that of an unsure young woman to confident young
women and by the end of the book she has resolved her nightmares about her early
childhood memories of the sound of lambs being slaughtered. This is in part due
to the self-analysis she goes through when she is trading her childhood memories
for assistance from Lector in the hunt for the serial killer.

Dr. Hannibal Lector is a more complex character than Clarice, for not only
is he a former psychiatrist but he is also as Dr. Chilton says a “pure
sociopath” and this makes his character more difficult to understand. At one
point, Harris describes him as a man with “extensive internal resources and can
entertain himself for years at a time. His thoughts were no more bound by fear
or kindness that Milton’s were by physics. He was free in his head.” (172) When
he first meets Clarice, he was very polite and had impeccable manners. It was in
fact his perception of the discourtesy done by another inmate which had him call
Clarice back and give her the information about Raspail’s car and starts the
whole process between them.

Once Clarice finds the head in Raspail’s car and the Senator’s daughter is
taken by the “Buffalo Bill” serial killer then Lector and Clarice’s relationship
begins. Lector gives Clarice clues in the serial killer’s motives which she
passes on to Crawford and exchange for small concessions given to Lector.
Crawford gives Clarice insight into Lector’s reasons for offering to help them
with the case; he is doing this for fun in Crawford’s opinion and will not
snitch on the other serial killer. Lector was a successful psychiatrist who did
numerous psychiatric evaluations for the courts up and down the East Coast prior
to being caught. Crawford figures that he knows who the killer is but will not
“snitch “on a fellow serial killer, he might give them clues to the killer is
but to Lector this is all “fun”. Harris proves Lector’s intelligence and memory
skills by having him run an internal dialogue about Raspail’s last session and
how he would play with the information he would give to Clarice and ultimately
Crawford.

Lector’s plans change when Dr. Chilton makes a deal with the assistance
of Senator Martin to have Lector transferred to Tennessee. Dr. Lector shows how
much control he has over those around him by choosing to answer or not to answer
their questions. What Dr. Clinton failed to recognize is that Lector’s one
weakness is his lack of tolerance to boredom. As the orderly, Barney tried to
explain to Clinton prior to him taking Lector away to Tennessee and the
interview with Senator Martin. Lector is extremely intelligent and what the
Senator and Clinton seem to have forgotten is that he has nothing to lose and
everything to gain. He also has an incredible amount of patients which is shown
when he escapes using items collected over a number of years. He bided his time
waiting for the right moment when he could escape.

Lector’s character is very complex. Although he is a sociopath, he doesn’t
exhibit all of the normal characteristics of one. His ability to plan and wait
for what he wants is an example of this. He sees those around him as pieces in a
game, one which he manipulates. Like a master chess player he plays with the
individuals around him purely for the amusement it gives him. Unlike Clarice’s
character, Lector is exposed to us fairly quickly and it is the differences in
his behaviour we notice, those that do not meet our expectations. Things such as
his courtesy to Clarice and his acknowledgement of Barney’s “many courtesies at
the asylum”. (366) His letter to Clarice is another example of this, he states
“I have no plans to call on you, Clarice, the world being more interesting with
you in it. Be sure you extend me the same courtesy.” All of this shows Lector’s
total preoccupation with his wants and needs and his disregard for those around him.
All in all this style of psychological thriller is far more interesting to read
than any other. The story gives insight into the minds of the both the
investigators and the killers. Through Lector we are given a window into the
thought processes of a serial killer while with Clarice and Crawford we get a
look at what the investigators of these killing look at and how they go about
investigating the deaths of the victims.

We also get insight into the minds of two very different serial killers,
Lector who is very controlled and precise. When asked by Clarice early in the
book “what happened to you”, Lector replies “Nothing happened to me, Officer
Starling, I happened. You can’t reduce me to a set of influences.” (21) Harris
leads us to believe that Lector killed because he could that he played games
only he had the rules to. For example, we are told of Raspail’s death, he was
“the first flutist for the Baltimore Philharmonic Orchestra” and after his death
he was found in a church sitting in a pew with two of his organs missing. It was
believed by the Baltimore detective that these same sweetbreads (organ meat)
were fed to the conductor and president of the Baltimore Philharmonic Orchestra,
the evening after Raspail had disappeared. Not only is this type of serial
killer very rare but the fact that he was able to not be caught for a number of
years and run a very successful psychiatric practice during this time is quite
amazing. This is totally unlike the “Buffalo Bill” killer who although he has
been killing for years was beginning to unravel during the time of the book. He
is leaving clues that are easily discerned by Lector and with a little
investigating we can see how he is beginning to fall apart mentally.

This style of writing is one that I personally find interesting and
psychological thrillers always seem to be more disturbing to me than the slash
and gore style. Maybe it is because of the reality factor, we can all imagine or
have read of real life cases about serial killers and the horrific things they
have done. Examples of cannibalistic serial killers are not as common but they
are out there, in real life killers such as Dahmer, Bundy and Rader many who are
only caught by coincidence. Like many other members of the public, I am
horrified but interested in why they did the things they did and was going on in
their head and why they chose the victims they did.


Works Cited:
Thomas Harries. Silence of the Lambs. St. Martin’s Press edition. June 1989

Psychology Journal Article Summary

In the article “Monkeys reject unequal pay”, Sarah F. Bronsnan and Frans B.M. de Waal, attempt to prove the theory that cooperative animals, such as humans and monkeys have a sense of fair play. They tested their theory using pairs of monkeys; the subjects exchanged tokens for food, whereby one food type was preferred over the second. The testing pairs of monkeys proved that like humans they too had a sense of fair play.

When they tested the pairs of monkeys a small number of them either refused to return the token or refused to eat the exchanged food. In the first part of the testing the pairs were given the same food when they exchanged their tokens but in the second testing one of the pair was given a more preferred food while the other was given a less continued to receive the same food given the previous testing. One unexpected result was the observation that the female monkeys were more reluctant to exchange food during the second testing where there was an inequality in the food reward given to the other monkey in their pairing. The data regarding the female monkeys was discarded as it was felt that there was not enough data which could prove the perceived observation that the idea of fair play was more pronounced. The testing itself proved that just like their human cousins, monkeys in general did have a sense of fair play.

The testing attempted to explain the how fair play was perceived by the higher functioning animals, such as humans and monkeys. Fair play or equality versus inequality showed the animals becoming reluctant to trade their tokens when they did not receive the same reward as their testing partner. The animal receiving the lesser treat eventually stopped accepting the reward when exchanging the token if they did not receive the better reward.


References

Brosnan, Sarah F. & de Wall, Frans B. M. (2003). Monkeys reject unequal. Nature, 425, 297-299

Confucius and Kautilya

Confucius and Kautilya both provide examples of how they believe a country should be ruled and how the King and his officials should act. They tell of the realities of governing a country and the idealism on which they were based, a comparative between ideologies of ancient Chinese and Indian rulers. Both have a set of ideas for the rulers to follow and how to rule ones subjects and how to keep said subjects in order. The ideas presented by Kautilya and Confucius seemed to be those which helped to shape the way in which their countries were ruled.

Kautilya’s Arthashatra and the handout both described the various layers of a how a country should be governed from the villages to the ruler himself. They describe a country where the rulers should have layers of spies in order to help “maintain the integrity of the country’s officers”(1) basically; it states that officers should have spies who report on their behaviour and the manner in which they conduct their business. The readings also described the manner in which the ruler himself should attend to his personal security, how foreigners and those not related to him should not be able to be part of the personal security detail. The passage describes how the ruler’s safety is to be obtains and maintained. Some of Kaautilya’s ideas appear to be comparable with those of Confucius. The Analects have passages which seem to impart ideals similar to those of Kaytilya’s Arthashatra, thou they do differ in manner in which they believe a ruler should manage his subjects. Confucius, in my opinion seems to impart his wisdom in a more direct manner and promotes the idea of education of the officials. Kautilya’s ideals seem more complex and complicated to understand, and one teaching seems to have several meanings.

The uniformity of the Harappan seems to be evident when you look at the way in which the villages, towns, and cities all seem to have been built using the same template. They all seem to have used the same grid with the main roads running from north to south or east to west. These roads were laid out in strict patterns and were of uniform width. This uniformity seemed to be seen as well in their diets, trade, identity and government. “As with other early urban cultures, there appears to have been a close relationship among the religious, political, and social spheres of Harappan society.”(2) This ancient Indian civilization like it Chinese counterpart seems steeped in symbolic ideologies. The Harappan society like its cities appears to have strict boundaries and rules it follows. Kautilya’s Arthashastra debates such things as monetary and fiscal policies, welfare, international relations, and war strategies in detail while also outlining the duties of a ruler.

Confucius’ Analects are not really just a rule book for the rulers but also a guild for the officials and others to study in hopes to improve the way in which the government of the Chinese didn’t have corruption and a sort of self-governing of oneself. For punishment was to be dealt harshly when needed and rewarding as well. Not one person other than the empire should have complete power, the officials are there to help govern each other and advise the empire. Anyone could become an official as they would test the intellect of a person and pay no attention to the class. Though of course, one could think that not everyone was educated in the ideological way of Confucius’ Analects. Confucius’ teaching were not just political, they could also be viewed at ethical teachings as well. His moral teachings underlined self-cultivation, simulation of moral examples, and the realization of skilled judgment rather than awareness of rules. Confucian ethics could be a well-thought-out type of virtue in ethics. As his instructions seldom rely on reasoned arguments and ethical ideals and methods that are secondarily, through suggestion, hint, and even repetition. My readings showed me some similarities and differences between Kautilya’s Arthasha and Confucius’ Analects. Chapter three of the text stated that Kautilya promoted the rulers to follow his teachings to better the empire; while Chapter 6 of the text has Confucius promoting the empire to have educated officials to help him keep the population in control and to punish those who break the rules (as set out by the readings). Whereas India was set in the cast system and no one was able to advance in this system if one was born in the lower casts. In China it was the opposite, for all you needed was education and an understanding of Confucius’ Analects and an adaptation of them to take a test which would allow you to climb the political ladder. In a way I prefer the Analects to Kautilya’s writings for at least an individual had a chance of bettering themselves by advancing within the levels of the system. Unlike the writings of Kautilya, Confucius’ writings give an individual hope that they could advance within the system, while still maintaining the rulers and regulations as outlined by the writings. Both can be seen as not only an ideology but as based in to religion practice as well.


1 How to Rule an Empire: Kaytilya and Ashoka, 103
2  Peter Von Sivers, et al, Patterns of World History, Volume 1: To 1600 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012), 78


Bibliolgraph:

Von Sivers, Peter et al, Patterns of World History, Volume 1: To 1600, New York: Oxford University Press, 2012

Gregory, Candace et al, Sources in Patterns of World History Volume 1: To 1600, New York: Oxford University Press, 2012

How to Rule an Empire: Kaytilya and Ashoka, Handout from HIST 1101 course from prof (no other info was given)