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Aongus Mui

Tourism and the Semiotics of Tourism by John Frow

Progym: Impersonation/Description

I took a seat on the third step of my front door. I felt the soft chills of the wind push the top of my hair over my eyes. I looked into the distance, into the red leaves of october. A single leaf, bright red, floated sided to side gently landing atop the grass. I was instantly reminded of autumn and all the joy that it brings with it; the crisp air, the pumpkins, and the caramel apples. The autumn season has always had a special place within me. I recalled my previous memories in autumn, walking through a road of leaves with the warmth of a cup of coffee in my hands, it was the perfect way to clear my mind. Just me, alone with my thoughts on a walk through nature. I remembered the air being so perfect, not too cold or too hot. I reminisce on all my autumn memories with the sight of a single red leaf.

I tried to impersonate John Frow’s writing on page 124 about the time he reminisced upon a pine tree. “I was immediately reminded of the Priest Noin who had grieved to find upon his second visit this same tree.” This is an example of when Frow got a sense of nostalgia about something that he had seen before. I tried to impersonate what he had done in the poem. Frow’s main point was that nostalgia not only helps us become better tourists but it also helps us in our daily life. “For the perspectives of our everyday life, the unique heritage object has aura.” Frow explains that seeing certain objects from our past helps remind us of how simple our life might have been. In the passage that I wrote i wanted to show how something as simple as a leaf could bring me back to the times where happiness was easily accessible, where I was stress free.

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Aongus Mui

The Semiotics of Tourism, Jonathan Culler

Progym: Confirmation

Tourism, a simple yet complex concept. Jonathan Culler does a phenomenal job illustrating that tourists sometimes unknowingly interpret signs. He goes in depth on one of the more specific parts of tourism which is the symbolism that comes along with it. Culler goes through the perspective of multiple individuals to give us a detailed conclusion of tourism. Many tourists go to famous landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower, Grand Canyon, and the Statue of Liberty. The tourists go here expecting something based on someone else’s critic. Another interesting theme that Cullen included in his writing is that “tourism reveals difficulties of appreciating otherness except through signifying structures that mark and reduce it.” Cullen explains that as tourists we often fail to fully understand the culture of the place that we are visiting. As a person who has been a tourist many times, I find Cullen’s perspective to be fitting, and logical. When I travel, I think of all the known places like the beaches of Aruba or the night lights of Las Vegas, tourists are hardwired with the desire to seek out the spots that other people have told them are “amazing” or “beautiful.” We never fully dive into the culture or connect with the people there. The reading helped me reevaluate my mindset when it comes to travel, showing me that there is more than just sightseeing to being a tourist.

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Aongus Mui

The Tourist Gaze by John Urry

The Tourist Gaze
John Urry

Progym: Narrative

As a person who travels multiple times in a year, I have seen some truly amazing views. A couple of summers ago my family and I vacationed to The Dominican Republic. We left our house while it was still dark out to catch an early flight. The weather in Boston was beginning to cool down towards the end of summer. When we arrived in Dominican I remember the humid air and warmth of the blazing sun. We stayed in a beach side hotel, I will never forget the view at the right hours. I would wake up earlier than normal to try and catch the sunrise. It was an unforgettable view, there weren’t many people because of how early it was, giving me a clear view of the sunrise with almost no distractions. It was the perfect time to lose my worries and just gaze at the picture perfect landscape. The bright golden rays of the sun, white sand, and the sound of crashing waves made it all feel like a dream. It was quite a challenge to not get lost in the moment.

After a day passed I started to notice that just seeing a photogenic view was not good enough. I wanted to explore The Dominican Republic, outside of the beaches. On day five of the trip we took a tour to the middle of the island. Although the view was nowhere as close to the one from my hotel room, I enjoyed it ten times more. The common city smell, and the locals made it more real for me. I got to try local food and get indulged in the culture. This is one of the main things that I took from the vacation, it’s not always about the scenic views or getting the perfect picture. It was more about learning about the traditions of the place and truly getting the full experience.

John Urry advises us to not only go to the known locations but we should enjoy every aspect of travel, and all the little things that come with it. One of the things that stood out from Urry’s writing is that he advises us to take the time to just enjoy where we are, scenic or not. I chose to write a narrative on how I related to some of Urry’s points For instance, Urry covers what is “suitable” for the “tourist gaze.” My personal answer to that would be everything, from the nature of the destination to the more urban section. The “tourist gaze” is a matter of perspective, it differs for each person depending on what they find intriguing.

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Aongus Mui

The Rhetoric of an Image (Proverb)

Proverb of Breaking Down an Image

One of the most revolutionary items in modern day is a simple image. Images are made up of countless elements like color, mood, and most importantly context. Images are part of our daily lives. According to Jenna Pack Sheffield, “Visual rhetoric is a means of communication that uses images to create meaning or to make an argument.” (Sheffield) This is one of the main themes in her passage. Sheffield stated this to demonstrate that even though pictures seem ordinary, many of them have a far deeper meaning and can persuade us without our knowledge.

Humans are all hardwired to keep memories, it is only natural for us. But how many memories can you recall before some begin to slip away? This is where images come in, they help us secure our brightest moments, with no chance of being forgotten. Something that is often related to images are texts. Texts like articles or poems may be able to paint a picture in your mind but they will never be able to fully recreate an image that the author has in mind. Images are one of a kind, they show off many different types of components. Some of the components mentioned by Sheffield are purpose, tone, and scale; all of which are crucial to creating an image. The power of images are displayed by how all of the elements fit together, giving the audience a particular feeling only achievable by vision.

To conclude, images are all around us, we see them digitally, in stores, and quite frankly everywhere. Pictures can be of great influence to us, they exhibit many moods and objects specifically put there. Advertisements for example are images that have persuasion, they encourage consumers to buy a product. Images have the ability to influence us into wanting to do something or vice versa.

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Aongus Mui

Alain de Botton: The Art of Travel

Alain the Botton: The Art of Travel

In the short film taken by Alain de Botton, he discusses what he searches for on a vacation. In the first ten minutes of the video, he explains that one of the biggest things that he wants is to be away from himself. “Wherever we chose to go, perhaps the underlying wish is for me to get away from me.” (de Botton 6:19) He is going about how he wants to forget his worries and his struggles with his life and within himself. De Botton turns to travel to relax without any problems lingering in his mind. Another point that he talks about is how travellers only see the good side of travel. Tourists always see brochures or advertisements about certain places but when in reality the place is not as good as the advertisements make it seem like. He claims that people never consider the downsides of a vacation, as in the substandard parts of a location like the crowds and loud traffic of the place. One of the main themes that I picked up from de Botton is to never expect too much from a certain place, otherwise it could end up being something you didn’t quite enjoy and the place no longer feels as special or loved.

Something that I related to was when de Botton stated “Hotels offer a particular opportunity to experience anonymity and to speculate about the anonymous others around us.” (de Botton 32:19) As someone who has travelled many places and visited many hotels, I noticed that hotels were almost always comforting. Hotels have a way of making you feel at ease even though you are in a room that you’ve never been in before. In a way, you are just left with yourself and your thoughts, allowing you to reflect on yourself. “Something about being away from our ordinary habitat sets us free to release bits of ourselves that don’t get an airing in everyday life.” (de Botton 34:18) Time and time again, travel proves to be the most efficient way to discover and learn more about ourselves, things that would otherwise stay hidden in our familiarized pattern of life.

Travelling helps people loosen up and let their guard down just enough to uncover bits and pieces of our hidden self.

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Aongus Mui

Birthplace of the American Vacation

Where was the Birthplace of American Vacation and The Art of Loving the Beach

Vacation is a word that is commonly thrown around with friends and family but the ideal vacation is different for everyone. For instance, WIlliam H.H Murray changed the opinions of many people who thought staying in the city was far more exciting than staying in nature. Murray was able to paint a picture inside of the readers head and show them how peaceful nature could be. “Readers were enthralled by his vision of a pure, Edenic world in the Adirondacks, where hundreds of forest-swathed lakes were gleaming.” (Tony Perrottet) The people were too familiarized in the city and needed a change of environment. This prompted the change of environment from urban life to wildlife. Murray showed people how to enjoy the ups and downs of nature.

I personally think that it is one of the best feelings to go somewhere unknown, where you have no idea what to expect. It forces me to live in the present and not worry about the future. Judging from past vacation experiences, I’ve noticed that the unknown has always helped me clear my mind. Being in nature, away from all the skyscrapers gave me a real sense of peace and clarity of mind. I agree with what Perrottet is saying in his Smithsonian article. The elegance of nature can be far more relaxing than the sight of the busy city.

I feel that you should escape the loud and crowded city every once in a while and give yourself the opportunity to experience everything nature has to offer.

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Aongus Mui

The Foreign Spell

The Foreign Spell

The article Foreign Spell written by Pico Iyer focuses on the idea of being a foreigner, more importantly, the struggles and benefits that come along with it. Iyer expresses what it is like to be a foreigner and reminisce about his own personal experiences of being a foreigner. He believes that being an outsider gives him a new perspective to experience the culture that many locals tend to overlook and take for granted. The progym used for this is Encomium. The author tells the story of his upbringing and what has shaped him into the person into who he is. In this case, Iyer is forged into the person he is by living as a foreigner who never really got a chance to settle in one place.
Since foreigners do not grow up locally, they get to see the place as new and unfamiliar. As someone that grows up as a local, your surroundings have been familiarized and it is not exciting to see the same things every single day. Iyer describes himself as a foreigner and claims that he is a foreigner every place he goes. This shows that he is always able to see the place in a way that the locals will not understand. He is given an opportunity to be exposed to a new culture as an outsider. The element of surprise from each place he visited never got old because he never knew what to expect. “Foreignness became not just my second home, but my theme, my fascination, a way of looking at every place as many locals could not.” (Iyer) He never let his sense of being an outsider stop him from enjoying the new places that he gets to explore. In my opinion, Iyer is very fortunate to be able to see places with a fresh pair of eyes. Living in the same place for a while makes everything dull and routine.

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Aongus Mui

An Autumn Effect

An Autumn Effect

In the reading An Autumn Effect The author uses the Progymnasmata of Description to paint an image into the reader’s mind. In many instances the author wrote about scenic places, using full detail to display what they might have seen. I think that one of the main reasons the author did this was to awe the reader and try to tell them in writing the view of the place. For instance, “Single trees thrown out against the customary sunset of a Japanese picture… over water and level land” (M. Andre Theuriet) the author describes the setting that he sees and puts it in word for the readers to mentally picture. Another example of this would be “A little faint vapor lay among the slim tree-stems in the bottom of the hollow.” (M. Andre Theuriet) The details are vividly described to help the reader visualize and maybe even take in some of the emotions the writer is feeling. The use of expressive details also assists the writer in channeling his perspective and further increases his persuasiveness by appealing to the reader psychologically. It makes the reader feel more comfortable when mentally put into a pleasant setting, making them more compliant.