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Point Of View In "The Bright Forever"

In Lee Martin’s “The Bright Forever”, Martin uses point of view to communicate to the readers in an unique way. He intertwines each of the characters’ stories in order to give a single, well-rounded one. The characters all seem to have a single purpose though, to figure out who murdered little Katie Mackey. This makes it an interesting tale to the reader because the multiple perspectives allow for the reader’s own judgement and assumptions to be challenged. The multiple points of view in the book are the most important aspect of it and without it, the way the reader understands the book would be completely different.

A single, first person point of view gives the reader a chance to experience the life of that one person. Compared to one point of view, the multiple points of view in “The Bright Forever” gives the reader a glimpse into the lives of nearly all of the characters. Each character has a different life and therefore, has a different story to tell on it. Gilley Mackey, Katie’s older brother, is one of the narrators of the book. He gives a deep, personal recollection of what he remembers and how he and his family experiences the events of the story. On the other hand, Katie’s tutor, Mr. Dees has a story that is not as intimately told. This is because he is not exposed to the things that take place in the Mackey household for he is not a part of the family. For example, Gilley says, “We were eating supper. That’s what I remember, the four of us sitting at the table: Mom and Dad and me and Katie.” Only the members of the family were there at that time, so nobody else can tell that part of the story. The events of the household can only be told by a member of the family. If the author were to have Mr. Dees narrate the entire book, the reader would miss out on parts like this.

A person can only put trust in what they hear from others if they were not there to witness an event themselves. Even though this may not be true, there is nothing more that person can do because of the fact they were not there also. This makes the person that tells the story the only point of view, and by default, the correct variation of the story. Since this is often the case, multiple points of view are very useful when telling a story. The multiple points of view let the reader give their own opinion on the story. The acclaimed murderer, Raymond R. doesn’t think that he hurt Katie. He says this, “And I still can’t see anything that involves me in any way in this thing other than the fact that I was a neighbor to Henry Dees.” If Raymond R was the lone narrator, the reader may take this as true because this is the only point of view they encounter. Although, since there are various points of view throughout the book, the reader can use the other points of view to make their opinion more solid. With numerous points of view, the reader has more sources to call on when making an opinion.

The multiple points of view are used in the story to the reader’s advantage. There is never just one side to any story. This is the case in “The Bright Forever” as well. A popular and anonymous quote says, “There are always three sides to a story. Your side, the other person’s side, and the truth.” The perspective for each person is different and is almost always biased too. A person in the wrong can strongly believe that what they are saying is correct. The same goes for the opposing side of the story. If they both claim that they are correct, you can never be sure of who actually is. You can only base your opinion off of both sides because you can never be certain which one is correct. This is the case with “The Bright Forever.” The acclaimed murdered has the mentality that he did not hurt the child, even if everyone else is saying that he did. He believes this and you cannot change his mind because he thinks that he is telling the truth. On the other hand, the victim’s family believes that he is the person who killed her. With all the evidence in the world, or even if they were making false accusations, you cannot change their minds either. The truth is that neither one of the stories may be fully accurate, both being biased to fit their own beliefs.

The point of view in any story can make the whole thing different. When telling a story, people have the option to tell the truth or to tell a lie. Most people tell lies when they are put in a situation that they are trying to get out of. Mr. Dees lies to Gilley so he doesn’t have to answer to Gilley’s parents after sneaking into their house. Mr. Dees says to the reader, “I knew immediately that I could tell him any lie, and he would believe me.” Mr. Dees had the option to tell Gilley the truth and have further questions asked, or tell him a lie to avoid these questions. He chose to do the latter. If Mr. Dees were to tell the truth about his presence in the Mackey house, the whole story would be different. The book may have had a different series of events instead of what actually occurred. To Mr. Dees, the best option was to tell a lie. By telling this lie, he helped himself more than anyone else. To him, he believed that this was the best option. This is how he viewed the situation. To the reader, the decision may have been stupid but to Mr. Dees, he was doing right. His point of view at that time was that he would be in trouble if he didn’t lie, so he lied. If another person was to make a different decision, the whole story would have changed. 

The point of view in the story is what makes the reader experience the book in an effective way. The point of view structures the book so that the reader can not only dive into the lives of multiple characters, but use the points of view to create a better opinion on the events that take place in the story. If the book had been written from a singular point of view, the reader would be left without the feelings of some characters. If the story had been written from a complete third person narration, the reader would be left without knowing what goes on in the characters’ minds. The reader has more room for judgement of the events and people in the story because there are various points of view.

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The Chronological Order of "The Soloist"

Steve Lopez’s book The Soloist is about the true story on when the author met a Juilliard student turned homeless and mentally-ill musician, Nathaniel Ayers.  The story begins when Steve, a writer for the L.A Times, first noticed Nathan playing violin in Pershing Square in the downtown section of the city.  He was interested in him just for a story for the newspaper, but after his story gained popularity and people came out and wanted to help Nathan out, it soon turned into something more.  They become friends and the book is set up in chronological order but includes flashbacks.  This allows reader can get a image in their head of the events in the book, the two characters’ friendship grow and see Nathan deal with his schizophrenia.

When Steve first noticed Nathan playing his instrument in Pershing Square, he decides to come back later.  He comes back  but he isn’t there.  Steve Lopez writes “But when I come back to look for the violinist in Pershing Square I come up empty.  His disappearance only makes the mystery more provocative.  Who was he? Where did he go? What is his story?”.  Steve and Nathan finally meet three weeks later. This is when the story begins.  They get to know each other better and become friends. They talk, go to concerts and other things.

As the story progresses you can see that both of the main characters grow, even if it sometimes rocky because of Nathan’s schizophrenia.  At the beginning, Nathan did not want any help from the Lamp Foundation, an agency that helps the homeless in the Los Angeles area.  But as time goes on he lets not just from the Lamp Foundation but others.  As the story goes on, Steve grows as well.  Even with the ups and downs he goes through with Nathan he helps him.  He learns how to deal with Nathan when he is having problems. He finds out that he has a soft spot for him and likes to help those with mental illness including Nathan.

The story is told by Steve Lopez, so the story is told in his point of view of the events.  “The way Steve (Lopez) writes the story, he also uses a timeline, but in a unusual way” says a writer on  “He finds a way to incorporate flashbacks about Nathaniel in the story.  Steve also incorporates events that were happening to himself at the time”.  An example of a flashback about Nathan from the book.   “The Juilliard pressure was gone, the spirit was light, the mood was festive.  And when the pianist finished his piece, Russo turned to Nathanael (and said) “Boy, doesn’t that sound beautiful”.”  Nathan demanded “What do you mean by saying “boy” are you racist?”  Steve added this to the story as a flashback because it shows the beginning of Nathan dealing with his mental-illness.  Nathan accused his best friend of being something he wasn’t. Turning a happy holiday party into a very awkward situation for not just him and his friend, Russo, but everyone else there too.  During this time, Steve was on the other side of the country.  “ While Nathaniel was at Juillard, the rare black student in the elite world of conservatory, I was at a junior college in the San Francisco Bay Area, where white suburban kids who couldn’t crack four-year schools were killing time while avoiding the draft.”  The author adds this because they were both in the same situation.  They were different.  Nathan was one of the only black kids in all white school studying a type of music only played by white people.  Steve was in college where kids more privilaged than and less smart did nothing while he worked hard.  They were both in similar situations at the same time.

Many stories are told in chronological order.  A great example of this is the Harry Potter series.  There are seven books in the series.  Harry goes to The Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry for seven years to graduate.  Each book represents a year and tells the story of Harry and his friends. If the Harry Potter story wasn’t told in chronological order, readers would get confused when reading.  Same can be said for this book.  John Friedlander of Southwest Tennessee Community College said “It naturally fits in narration, because when we tell a story, we usually follow the order in which events occur. Chronological order applies to process in the same way, because when we describe or explain how something happens or works, we usually follow the order in which the events occur”.  This is true.  Telling a story in the order of which the events happened is the most natural way to tell a story and also the most effective.  If you went from one point in the story then in the next paragraph something completely different is going on, the reader is going to be confused and not want to read.  When you tell a story it is more interesting when you can use the most detail you can.  The Soloist does a great job in telling the story it wants to tell.

The Soloist by Steve Lopez is a fantastic story on a really unlikely friendship between the author himself and former Juilliard student, Nathaniel Ayers.  From the start to the end it will make you want to read more and more.  The chronological order, which allows the reader to understand the events of the book more.  Flashbacks are also key to the story because it allows readers to understand the characters and their actions.  The chronological order also allows the reader to watch the two main characters go from total strangers to really good friends.


Lopez, Steve. The Soloist. New York: Berkley, 2008. Print.

Friedland, John. "Principles of Organization." Principles of Organization. Southwest Tennessee Community College, n.d. Web. 15 Jan. 2015. <>

The Soloist by Steve Lopez." Teenink, n.d. Web. 15 Jan. 2015.



Understanding Robert Peace Through Jeff Hobbs

Benjamin Simon

The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace is a biography that captures the story of a young man from the rough, crime ridden neighborhood of East Orange, New Jersey. Robert Peace later defies all odds and goes on to Yale, but is later shot after he had slipt into the drug trade back in his hometown, at the age of thirty. The point of view of author Jeff Hobbs allows the reader to understand Robert Peace’s adaption to new cultures. The technique of point of view is often used to tell a story through a person’s eyes. The first person perspective of Jeff Hobbs creates a fantastic view on Robert Peace’s life. Their relationship started in college, when they became roommates at Yale, and later best friends. Hobbs is from the suburbs of Pennsylvania, a small private school, and a family of Yale graduates. With Robert’s mother working endless hour shifts and his father in jail for manslaughter, no one expected him to shine. But instead, he ventured off to one of the most prestigious universities in the country. The contrast between the two allows the reader to better understand how hard it was for Robert Peace to adapt to Yale and other cultures.

During the first weeks at Yale, while author Jeff Hobbs got to know Rob (the name he was most commonly referred to as), he noticed many differences between him and the other students at Yale. Hobbs describes this in many scenes throughout the book. “I didn’t know him well but I appreciated the quietude that surrounded him. Any other table in the dining hall carried the threat of having to perform for new acquaintances, to prove how clever or worldly or socially connected you were in the context of conversations about social policy. With Rob, there was no judging” (p.135) This quote shows the distance between the cultures Rob and Hobbs grew up in. Hobbs appreciates the ability to step out of the world he has known for his whole life and speak with someone who doesn’t hold him to such standards. In addition, the quote demonstrates the contrast between him and regular “Yalies” and is not adapting to the common attitude of these students. He holds the same demeanor he had in East Orange. The perspective of Hobbs helps the reader to understand how different it is for him to be around Rob, along with how detached Rob is from other Yale students.

In the first months at Yale, Rob had a girlfriend. This girl was annoying and frustrating to Rob. It always perplexed him why he went out with her. “I asked him once, with carefully premeditated phrasing, ‘What do you and Zina do for fun?’... He said, ‘She’s a real woman, not like these other Yalie b*tches’” (p. 137) This shows how Hobbs thinks that Rob sees this girl as someone he wants to spend his whole life with. He thinks this is a real girlfriend to Rob. In light of this, Hobbs doesn’t understand why they go out, because Zina is such a pest. However, Rob’s response shows how Zina, a black woman, is an outlet for him. A way for Rob to not forget his roots and avoid assimilating into the Yale community. Hobbs’s perspective gives the reader a better understanding into how Rob is reacting to a new culture, while it isn’t that different for Jeff.

There have been many reviews surrounding The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace.  Multiple mentioned the perspective of Hobbs as influential on the readers understanding, but Kirkus Reviews perfectly summarized this. “Hobbs contrasts his personal relationship with Robert with a cutting critique of university life, for the privileged and less so, capturing the absurd remove that ‘model minority’ and working-class students experience.” This shows how Jeff Hobbs was able to step back, use his personal experiences, and paint a perspective of Rob’s life as a student at Yale. It demonstrates how Hobbs was able to accurately compate Rob’s life to the “common privileged” student at Yale. In addition, he noted how hard it is for minorities to fit in at schools this. It also touches on Hobbs’s critique of Rob’s transition, by comparing the privileged and the less off.

After Yale, Rob and Hobbs grew apart. Rob found the drug trade back in East Orange and Hobbs struggled to write and sell new books. This quote shows how Hobbs viewed their changing and struggling lives. “The distance between us and the maleness of our friendship precluded revealing anything that truly matter, and at the time I was too naive to know that if you were friends with someone - truly friends - then you told them what was going on... Instead I thought that by concisely presenting the most easygoing and put-together version of myself, I was being ‘all good’. Really, I was fronting. And Rob was going the same.” (p. 295-296) This quote shows how both of their new cultures has separated them from each other. The perspective of Hobbs accurately displays how he views why they have changed and how they have struggled to adapt to new worlds. Hobb’s opinion conveys how they have moved on, and have new lives to attend to. It demonstrates how they are embarrassed that they have not done more with their life.

Later, Rob ventures off to Brazil. Hobbs use his own opinion, along with an objective one to describe Rob’s comfort level there. “He didn’t stand out for being black and wearing a skully, as he had at Yale.” (p.222) This quote shows how Hobbs saw Rob at Yale. Unfortunately, he stood out and didn’t fit in. As an outsider to Rob’s world, and an insider to the normal Yale student, Hobbs’s perspective here helps the reader to better understand how Rob fit in at Yale. It also conveys how he can step back and write from an objective point of view to describe an atmosphere. Despite not being in Brazil at the time, through conducted research he is able to properly inform the reader about the experience of a black man in Brazil.  

This structure sets up a perfect illustration of many atmospheres through the book. The perspective of Jeff Hobbs helps to convey how transitioning to a new culture is so difficult for people that have never seen or witnessed it. Without this message, the reader wouldn’t understand how different of a change it was for the privileged students at Yale and the small number of students from poor backgrounds. The point of view of Hobbs also demonstrates how people tend to lean on the culture and community they know best. Hobbs notices this first hand and tackles the idea, through his perspective and an objective one. Coming from two different backgrounds, the journey and background of Hobbs helps the reader better understand Robert Peace’s struggle to transition into new environments.


"Kirkus Review." Kirkus Reviews. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Jan. 2015. <>.

Hobbs, Jeff. The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace: A Brilliant Young Man Who Left Newark for the Ivy League. N.p.: Simon & Schuster, 2014. Print.

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Imagine Imagery

In Patricia McCormick’s, Never Fall Down, this story is written from the perspective of a little kid that lives in Cambodia. The Khmer Rouge of Cambodia, led by Pol Pot, was a bloody and shameful genocide to its own people. Historians estimated 2.2 million deaths during the era of this horrible war against its own citizens. Arn Chorn Pond was one of the lucky survivors of this war. This story is told in his perspective. One of the very unique things about this book is, it has the trait of survival. The main character suffers through so many things to live another day, and that is what makes this story so suspenseful. Because of that death can occur in any second, and just by a simple cause. The imagery of death that comes up often in the text, influence the reader to wonder and relate back to the purpose of this written story.

In the beginning of the story, the author talks more about the condition that the main character, Arn, is in, and how death is closely related to his environment and his actions. This story is clearly written to tell the reader that living is not a easy thing to do at the time of the Khmer Rouge era, and that it should be very well appreciated that a person can wake up to see another day. Arn was still a little child when he witnessed death. He might be scared at the time of this event occurring, but as the story goes on, he slowly challenge his fears, and slowly become more of a hero around his community of people. As Arn arrived at the camp with lots of people dead behind him along the way there, this is what he observed, “World is upside down. Being rich now is no good. Being poor, this can save your life. The list in the black book, that’s how they decide who live, who die.” This quote was written in the beginning of the book, still introducing the environment that Arn is living in. This tells the reader that this biography came from a person that didn’t live in a very wealthy condition. He had to make uses of everything he have. He is here today because sacrifices are important to remember and appreciate. He could have been killed in his early years, but because of his friends, he was able to survive through the Khmer Rouge struggle. Of course, like everyone else, the main character in this story does not like the action of death, but in his conditions, he learns to embrace. He might not have a clear understanding on the situation he is in as a kid, but as he grew up, he never learned to be afraid of death, but to challenge it because there are people around him that is like him, that might not see another day.

In this biography, Arn was luckily chosen to learn a special talent that may have given him an advantage into surviving the Khmer Rouge. Arn was required to learn the Cambodian Flute for the Khmer Rouge band as entertainment. Because entertainment was really important to the Khmer Rouge, Arn was “famously” known around the group of Khmer Rouge soldiers guarding his station of people. In the story, as Arn ran out one night to grab some resources for his friend that is close to death, he encountered this, “‘Traitor,’ he says. ‘Come out and show your face.’ This is death. To be out alone at night is death. To run, that’s also death.” Arn slowly turned around after hearing the soldier’s voice. The soldier ended up letting him go because he recognized him as the “Flute Boy” that played in the band. If it is not for that, Arn would simply be killed in the scene trying to bring back resources for his friend. The purpose of all biographies are to learn about ones life and to think deeply about yours, and what you can do to keep on improving. Never in my life, have I read a biography so intense like this one. Maybe because death can easily be a punishment to a character, but the purpose of book was to tell people about his life, so that they can learn from his dangerous and heroic experiences. Arn sacrificed his life to gather resources for his friend, so that he is able to see another day.

Like I mentioned before, this story shows a lot of reflecting and appreciation. Arn made lots of friends in the camp, that he now calls family. They might not have been friends for a long time, but they all wake up with the same goal everyday, and that is to survive. They are about to walk into war because the Vietnam are slowly attacking. “He says only march, and he keep his shark eyes on me so I don’t look back. Like brother to me, Siv and Kha, And not even a chance to say good-bye.” Because of the family that he made in the camp, he have come across lots of sacrifices for them, but now he might not be able to thank them because they are stepping into a battlefield which can cause them their lives. Maybe kids his age have their mom cooking for you everyday, dressing you, and getting you ready for school, the main character in this story lost his real family members, and only have his friends that help him live through each day, not knowing if they will survive another.

As some of the reader read through the story, they use the violence to help them understand the book better. For example, like what Paul Hankins suggested, “Look for descriptions and depictions of violence and torture.” Not all parts of this book are sprinkled with violence, but what the character do in those situations really determines their personality.

Imagery is a really important structure about this book because it make the reader envision the scene, so that they can understand it better, especially for the book being a biography. This book is written through the eyes of a survivor, making it so much more intense and suspenseful for the reader to simply imagine his experiences. If this book contain no imagery or if any biography contain no imagery, I wouldn’t think anyone would want to read it. You picked up a biography because you want to learn about another person’s lives, and in order for you to do that, you must experience it with them through imagery. I can guarantee this book will leave the reader the urge to meet this character in person because, believe it or not, he is still alive today.

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The Effect of Francesca Lia Block's Immersion Techniques

Calamity Rose Jung-Allen

January 15, 2015

English 2: Silver Stream, A Band

Literary Structure Essay

In her novella Echo, author Francesca Lia Block spins a stunning realistic tale centered around the modern misadventures of a young girl whose name correlates to the book’s title. Our naieve protagonist ages throughout this piece from a child to a teenager to an adult, and her experiences are organized into multiple short stories that are weaved together expertly in a mix of magic and metaphor. Block uses a technique that employs quick transitions between subject and setting, fantasy and reality, and uncommon sensory reactions to invoke complex immersion in the reader.

The exposition of Echo explains the relationship that she and her mother share between the both of them. The latter is filling their home with rejuvenating crystals, plants, and her own natural brand of enchantment to create a spellbound atmosphere for her and her family. “The house was a mess of rainbows. Rainbows poured across the walls. The crystals reminded me of tiny cities with cathedrals and towers … Delicate watery music spilled through the house. The rooms smelled of lavender and aloe and eucalyptus.” (17) In this particular portion of the story, Block uses sensory reactions as her boldest point to create this ethereal mood. A tactic that is used extremely often in this author’s work is to describe objects, people, settings or feeling with adjectives that are not necessarily used to describe them in everyday life. This includes choosing to elaborate on something’s texture when it is almost always never touched, or a sound by its look. For example, music is not tangible and therefore has no consistency. It is very rarely used in the same sentence as a description that could be interchangeable with an object, but here it is labelled as watery. This adduces a clear feeling of uneasiness with the audience, in that they cannot possibly predict the next sentence or event. Consequently, they are further immersed in the story and its descriptions.

In this moment, Echo is observing her surroundings, making special note of the playing children, the tunes in the air and the colors that envelop her emotions in that second.  “In the smoggy violet of summer evenings they sat on the dilapidated porch playing guitar and singing. The children from the neighborhood came and hid behind the posts, peering out with dark eyes eyes, peering at the whiteness -- the flash of what looked like diamonds at Wendy’s and Suze’s throats and wrists and in Smoke’s ear, at their bleached hair.” (93) This chosen passages uses the quick transitions as its focal point, specializing in the bridge between fantasy and reality and making the tone both confusing and fascinating to the point of, again, immersion. One of the most obvious transitions it makes it between describing the actual setting of the children running around to the comparison to the white color describing Wendy and Suze’s throats and wrists and bleached hair. This quick switch creates a similar sense of unease that is surprisingly realistic when pertaining to one’s thoughts.

Here, Block illustrates a character’s appearance while utilizing this approach, giving us another insight into a different aspect of her descriptive style and the elements involved. When Echo meets a new man she may be interested in, her feelings and his appearance are described in minute, intertwining detail. “The veins in his arms had a thorny blue glow. He led her to the bar and grabbed a bottle of gin, pouring it, straight, into a paper cup. It flared electric in her head and he was watching her. His eyes were like full-blown poppies, like sleep.” (120) In this scene, Block is describing a person and not a setting, so, again, we receive a more in depth view into what she may see in a character’s vibes and total look, and how thought association may occur in that respect. She employs a similar tactic to the first example, where she uses uncommon and unusual adjectives and matches them with uncommon and unusual subjects. For instance, here we see that color does not have a shape nor texture, but she describes the hue of blue as thorny, which insinuates an unpredictable feeling to her writing.

In a published conversation with Interview Magazine, Francesca Lia Block commented on her use of metaphors to show magic in her writing. She said, “Metaphors are an interesting example of creating magic in prose. You can use a simile to say, "It felt like the house was on fire," or you can actually set the house on fire in the story. You can say, "He made me feel like roses were growing out of my heart," or you can actually have roses grow out of the character's heart. As writers we have the opportunity to make magic happen every day.” These quick transitions between reality and fantasy creates the atmosphere of magic she describes here. This further proves and explains her technique of skipping the formalities of similes and jumping straight into metaphors. It explains the unusual matches between adjectives and subjects, because she realizes that both of these techniques work together as a unit, and aid each other in producing the overall effect of her work.

The tone that contributes to the overall mood and atmosphere is so important because without it the story wouldn’t hold the same gravity or attitude. It is what makes the writing so interesting, and without it, a story may be dull. Often, a transition can occur unexplained when association occurs, but it is never explained. We never feel the need to explain ourselves. In that way, Block is such a captivating author, because she embodies the role of thoughts unable and unwilling to make sense of themselves. Or in other words, everyone’s minds. It plays to our deepest and more instinct drives as avid readers, and lets us be a part of the story instead of in the audience.

Works Cited:

1. "Francesca Lia Block's Elements of Style." Interview Magazine. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Jan. 2015.

2. Block, Francesca Lia. Echo. New York: Joanna Cotler /HarperCollins, 2001. Print.


Lyrical Creativity

The memoir of MK Asante, called Buck, is a beautiful, twisted, and creative story of his life. Although it is written in his perspective, we also see the perspective of famous rappers as well. MK Asante uses famous lyrics from songs he has heard throughout his life to explain or show how he is feeling or to present a certain situation in a more creative way to appeal to the reader. Music is very powerful way of expressing yourself because anyone can do it however they want. It could be saying a poem over a beat, singing, rapping, freestyling, and even screaming at the top of your lungs. The author Mk Asante is moved by music and used lyrics as another opportunity to get his feeling across to the world. This is very important because it adds creativity and uniqueness to keep the reader interested. Not only does this keep the reader interested but it also adds a soundtrack, an image, and a view of life from famous celebrities into the readers mind.

Throughout the  book, there are multiple instances where he uses these lyrics but some seem to stand out more than others. For example, around this time in the book, the writers brother is on trial. Mk states that he wishes he was a black panther and so he could just go into the courtroom and take what is his, which is his brother. Right after, he uses a like from 2Pac’s song called ¨Panther Power¨: ¨I strike America like a case of heart disease, panther power is running through my arteries...¨. Not only does this put a soundtrack into the readers’ minds but it also is a deeper way of telling how the writer was feeling at the time. 2Pac states that that he strikes American like ¨a case of heart disease¨, by this he is implying how much power the Black Panther Party has. He then says that he has the ¨Panther power¨ flowing throughout his body...implying that the panther blood is what makes him so powerful. This ties into the writer’s (Mk Asante) statement of wishing he was in the Black Panther party because he knows of their power. Their purpose was to protect African Americans from police brutality and that is what he wanted to do...protect his older brother and stop him from being pronounced guilty.

Almost in the middle of the book, the writer was going through a time of his life when he believed that money meant everything to him. Mk believed that money could buy any woman, any car, clothes, land and freedom as well. He has gotten into a business run by drugs and money and that is what he lived by. Here, Mk uses a line that the rapper AZ said in Nas’ ¨Life’s a B*tch¨: ¨Visualizin’ the realism of life and actuality, f*ck who’s the baddest a person’s status depends on salary...¨. Again, adding lyrics shows the reader the more creative side of the writer Mk Asante as he tells us how he feels through rap lines. The author at this time has had a realization of life. This lyric implies that life can only be real to a person if they actualize it, that is if they fully immerse themselves in the living experience. He is beginning to see that everyone dies at some point and he wants to live it up any way possible and that is by getting as much money as he can. At this time of Mk’s life he believed that a high status could get him whatever he needed or wanted. He was driven by status and status is driven by money.

Towards the end, Mk starts telling us about the time of his life when he mentally started ¨growing up¨. He started seeing family, love and appreciation as the true meaning of life. He also began to open his eyes and see all the problems and hate that is in the world. The writer himself added a line to explain how life in ¨the hood¨ was perceived by him: ¨Against all odds, the math’s off, forcing us into the night, where we bargain against death for discounts on life, we get half off...¨. This quote is different from all the others in the book because it is by the author who is not as famous as the other lyricist’s lyrics he added into the book. Since many people have not heard the author rap over a beat, it does not add music or a soundtrack into the reader’s mind unlike the other famous lyrics from actual famous songs. Even though people cannot create an image as easily with this lyric, it still shows the more creative side of the author. He implies that living in the hood is a constant fight for survival. The ¨thugs¨ go out at night for their money but the risks are high since they could be in danger at all times. The line ¨we get half off¨ shows/tells the reader that the life that these men are living is not worth is not worth is because their lifespan is cut in half because of the danger they are putting themselves in.

TA - Nehisi Coates, author of ¨The Beautiful Struggle¨ says that ¨Buck takes the daily words of the American streets and forges something low and lovely, angry, profane, and beautiful, it honors the best of hip-hop’s literary canon by producing work worthy of inclusion.¨ Nehisi Coates implies (in more detail) that this book shows all the emotion of the author and taps into the emotion of the reader not only by telling a great story but through hip-hop as well. As stated before, this book is amazingly creative and the use of the best lyrics in hip-hop only strengthen this book allowing it to be one of the more creative and artistic books created.

In an interview with soundcheck staff of WNYC, Mk speaks about his own book and adding hip-hop lyrics within the story:

¨Hip hop has always been a soundtrack to my life -- everybody I know growing up, we have what we call hip hop Tourettes. That means that we're just chillin', doing something, chopping onions, walking to the store, and we're just going to be spitting lyrics out, they just jump out of us at random times we can't control it. That was a realistic thing for me then -- and even now -- that I wanted that to be a part of the story. So I tried to find lyrics and songs that I listened to then. Those songs, from your childhood -- you don't forget them. It was easy to revisit those lyrics and put them in the book.¨

The lyrics within the book were one of the main aspects recognized by the reader. Mk Asante says: ¨I tried to find lyrics and songs that I listened to then. Those songs, from your childhood -- you don't forget them. It was easy to revisit those lyrics and put them in the book.¨  

This tells the reader about how connected Mk Asante is to music and lyrics specifically. He was moved by the ¨art form¨ of rap and that is exactly what he wants the reader to he was moved by rap. He tried to include lyrics that defined moments in his life and he found the perfect ones because each one corresponds to what is happening in the book in a deeper way of thinking. At times you can’t understand what Mk is trying to say and that is when the lyrics come along, and at times you may not understand the lyrics and that is when Mk is there to explain. Music is a movement that connects with everyone in some type of way, Buck is the perfect example of that. Everyone is somehow connected with music even if have not realized is yet, everyone has their music and that was also something that the story tells the reader. Mk Asante’s music is hip-hop and rap, and by incorporating that into the story it almost motivates the reader to go out and find ¨their music¨ or explore or further explore the world of hip-hop and rap.

From start to finish, Buck will have the reader wanting to read more and more. The tale of Mk Asante is one that will be remembered because of this book. As the reader ventures more and more into this book they will find either something to relate to or something to attach their emotion to. If the reader is familiar with the lyrics he incorporates then it would allow the reader to almost create a bond with Mk Asante. That allows the reader to fully relate to Mk even if they have not gone through the same experiences as he did. Throughout his life, he has been through terrible situations that some readers might not have been through but at the end of the day music is a form of art that everyone can enjoy, therefore the ¨soundtrack¨ added into the story only allows the reader to connect with him and the story he is trying to tell. This is a story to love and remember because as the famous Maya Angelou said, ¨this is a story of surviving and thriving with passion, compassion, wit, and style.¨

Works Cited for Analytical Essay:

  • Asante, Mk. Buck. New York: Random House, Inc; Spiegel & Grau. 2013. Print.

"MK Asante's Hip Hop Memoir, 'Buck'" Soundcheck. WNYC, 11 July 2014. Web. 15 Jan. 2015. <>.

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The Effects of Point of View in George R.R. Martins' "A Storm Of Swords"

George R.R. Martins’ novel A Storm of Swords is written in third person multiple point of view. This is when a writer writes a story from multiple characters point of views. This technique allows the reader to feel more attached to multiple characters and understand why they do certain things. It influences the reader to make them more attached to the book and want to finish the characters story. It lets the reader understand the way the character feels and it allows the reading to be all-knowing. It also affects the way certain events play out. The reader is only able to see things through one character's point of view at a time. So the reader is only able to see things through their biases.

In A Storm of Swords there are three Kings fighting for the throne. The book covers many characters and different sides to the ongoing war. Robb Stark is one of the Kings, they call him the King of the North. He made an alliance with the House Frey. The terms are, after the fighting is over and the war is won, Robb Stark will marry one of the Freys. However while in battle, Robb broke his oath and wed another woman. Catelyn, his mother was furious. She thought to herself “If you had to fall into a woman’s arms, my son why couldn't they have been Margaery Tyrell’s? The wealth and power of the Highgarden could have made all the difference in the fighting yet to come.” (pg. 200) The reader is able to see the effect that this has on the one side of the war, through a mothers eyes. Catelyn Stark is a unique mother however, she asks herself why her son could not have fell in love with a Tyrell who comes from a bigger house with more swords. She understands that this would have allowed them to gain soldiers and have a leg up in the war. All of this the reader sees through her eyes. This is a unique take because Catelyn is experiencing loss. The Lannisters hold her daughters hostage. The reader understands the struggles the North is now facing.

Tyrion was in a meeting with his Father, where they discussed marriage. Lord Tywin wanted Tyrion to marry Sansa Stark but Tyrion was a little hesitant due to her age. Lord Tywin put those worries to rest.  “The Young Wolf has taken Gawen Westerling’s eldest daughter to wife. For a moment Tyrion could not believe he’d heard his father right. ‘He broke his sworn word?’ He said incredulous. ‘He threw away the Freys for…’ Words failed him.” (pg. 271) From this quote the reader can see how both sides react to the news of Robb Stark’s betrayal. Not only has Robb angered his best ally, he has also sent this news to his enemy. Through this third person multiple point of view the reader is able to see the benefits of each side of the war as well as know secrets that many in the Kingdom may not know. This information also allowed the character to proceed with certain actions that may otherwise not have occurred.

Throughout the story there have been many battles, won and lost. Stannis had recently lost a huge battle against the Lannisters. He was in hiding gathering his troops. He named Davos his Hand(trusted advisor) and they talk about battle strategies. “Another battle will be the end of us all, thought Davos. Lord Alester saw that much true enough. ‘Your Grace  asked for honest counsel. In honesty then...we lack the strength for another battle against the Lannisters.’” (pg.499-500) In this quote, the reader can see how certain decisions are made, they figure out when one side of the battle is weak and may not survive. This allows the reader to have key information that another King in the story may not have. It lets the reader believe they know the outcome of a battle. However, this allows the writer to surprise the reader with an unexpected outcome. This is another reason why third person multiple point of view is so complex but allows for a good read.

It is difficult to achieve a successful third person multiple point of view. Some ground rules are, the writer must to be able to skillfully switch point of views without getting the reader confused. The writer will need to create multiple plot charts. Another difficulty of this style of writing is the fact that a reader will have less time to get to know a certain character and this can result in a loss of interest. The writer must make sure that they are giving an equal amount of time to each character to giving the reader a nice balance. The key to this point of view is to keep the focus throughout the entire story. This is a unique technique when it is accomplished.

In A Storm of Swords, each chapter is dedicated to a different character. This enables the reader to better understand the story. It also helps the reader predict actions that may happen in the chapter. Mark Terry commented on this technique Each chapter is labeled whose POV it is, so it works. While we're in each chapter, it doesn't wander from that character's POV.” The reader has the ability to oppose certain character through this technique. That is one aspect that makes the read so enjoyable. For example Lord Tywin is glad that Robb has broken his oath to the Freys because this gives him a larger chance at winning the war. If the reader was on team Robb, then they would be disappointed. This gives the reader more emotion throughout the story and they will feel more connected to the story.

This structure is important to the book because it gives the reader a sense of how each problem affects all sides of the kingdom. It also allows the reader to understand the reason behind a certain character's actions. If the book had been written in another point of view in my opinion, no one would be interested in reading the book because we would see simple solutions to the problems that arise because it would always benefit the protagonist, no conflicts would occur. It would result in a boring read. Because each chapter is through the eyes of a different character, it may seem as if the reader is going back through time when the same conflict gets discussed through a different character's viewpoint, however this is not the case. The third person multiple point of view leaves the reader on their toes wondering what will happen and how characters will react.


Martin, George R. R. A Storm of Swords. Vol. 3. New York: Bantam, 2000. Print. A Game of Thrones.

"This Writing Life." This Writing Life. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Jan. 2015. <>.

Harper, Tara K. "TARA K. HARPERWRITER'S WORKSHOP Multiple Points of View." Multiple Points of View. N.p., 2004. Web. 18 Jan. 2015. <>.

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The Secrets of Character Development

Donna Tartt (the author) only gives you little pieces of a character, she takes her time to reveal them slowly. This technique gives the reader a better connection with the characters, but she also mimics characters in real life. People are very complex and Donna only scratches the surface of the character by not giving us the character as a whole.We follow the story by way of the protagonist Richard Papen and discover the characters along with him. This not only makes you more curious to read the story, but helps your understanding of the book. So that you are better able to understand the characters motivation behind their actions.

Donna Tartt wrote this text with the fact that Richard Papen would eventually be assimilated into the group of scholars that are studying Greece. Once he is finally apart of this group, he wonders if he is truly “in” the group. “That is to say: I wanted to maintain the illusion that their dealing with me were straightforward; that we were all friends, no secrets, though the plain fact of it was that there were plenty of things they didn’t let me in on and would not for sometime.” This mimics and models human behavior because people are tentatively careful and  cautious. It also speaks of how secretive we are. People in ways are excluded from some things, if that purpose might be for lack of trust or for protection. But to ¨maintain the illusion¨ shows that everyone puts up an allusion even a mask, waiting for someone right to finally take it down, someone they can trust.   

In the book Richard asks about the group that is studying Greece’s culture and language. The teacher only picked five students to teach every year, Richard arrived too late, and wasn’t able to be in the class. But to be around the idea of the Greece or its study enticed him. “I suddenly wanted to know what they were saying. I went to the bookshelf behind their table ...My back to them, I picked up a book at random- a ridiculous sociological text, as it happened- and pretended to study the index.” This reveals the type of character Richard Papen is. Slowly you get to see different aspects of his character, him being cautious and curious. He takes time out of his day to to listen to them, to learn who they are. Mainly for the fact that he yearns for something more, something that he doesn’t have. To be apart of their group.

As Richard slowly adjusted to college life, he realized he didn’t see the Greek scholars in any of his classes. But when he did happen to see them, he watched them with interest. “All of them, to me, seemed highly unapproachable. But I watched them with interest whenever I happened to see them: Francis, stooping to talk to a cat on a doorstep; Henry dashing past year the wheel of a little white car, which Julian in the passenger’s seat; Bunny leaning out of a an upstairs window to yell something at the twins on the lawn below. Slowly more information came my way.” Ricard noticed certain things about people which builds the characters of the people. What they did and what their habits are. This relates to natural human emotions because Donna Tartt gives them typical human qualities and emotion, but gives a brief blurb of who they are so almost anyone can connect to them. Richard Papen states that the they seem “highly unapproachable”, typically in general are unapproachable. Because it’s easy to form an opinion of someone without actually getting to know them.

According to a book review from Carlos Mock on a Barnes and Noble, his opinion of The Secret History “... is overwhelmed by character development. Donna Tartt is able to get inside these peoples heads to a point where we feel we are there with them. We know what they do, what they think, why they drink; what they like and dislike about each one of them,and how they interact as a group, which will explain why they did what they did.” This identifies and outlines the very bases to everybody. Donna Tartt connects us to the character by doing the simplest things, because we  can relate to them the most. She builds the characters from the ground up.

If the book was written with a different type of character development, I feel as though the story would be less enticing. The complexity of the characters is what draws you into the text. I would’ve struggled to finish reading this book if it wasn't for the character development. Donna Tartt style of writing pulls you in mainly because you can connect to those complex people, she make the characters life like. Gradually meeting and getting to know each character. It was like meeting a person in real life, for the first time. You can have a magnificent story line, but the characters that make a text, a story.
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Without Chekhov's Gun

“The Elephant Vanishes,” by Haruki Murakami, is a bunch of short stories compiled together in one book. None of them connect to each other but the author makes all the stories have something in common. Though all of the stories add random selections of unnecessary information, the reader might think it will end up to bring up a different ending, but actually, the information never relates back, which confuses the reader. Throughout almost every story, he breaks the rule of Chekhov’s gun. Chekhov’s Gun is a rule that states, “You must not put a loaded rifle on the stage if noone is thinking of firing it.” This basically means that the writer should not put unnecessary information in the writing if nothing is done with it. Haruki Murakami shows in almost all of his stories that you can break this rule in order to maybe fascinate or confuse the reader. The way he breaks the rule can make the reader believe that it isn’t needed. But, if the stories didn’t have that information, it is believed that the stories would be boring.

In almost all of the stories he does this in, he starts off by talking about one subject, then in just one short sentence, he completely flips the script. He somehow changes everything you were thinking about and makes you feel like you missed some vital information. This either leaves you fascinated by the writer and his ability to do this in such short time, or confused on why the author thought to do this. In the story, “The Kangaroo Communique,” he starts off talking about kangaroos and all the things he can think about. Then, in one sentence, he changes the whole story. For example, the protagonist in this story says, “Strange isn’t it? Allow me to introduce myself.”(page 115) In this one short sentence, he goes from talking about kangaroos to talking about himself. The information about the kangaroos doesn’t follow up in the story after this sentence except for at the ending when he gives a little more information about the kangaroo. It is completely labeled as unnecessary information but makes the reader ask questions about why it is even there.

Some suggest that the author just took ordinary stories that wouldn’t seem appealing in any way, put something that would make the reader ask questions of why this was put here, and that would be the whole point of the book. Parallel worlds abound in these stories; this is ordinary life, but ordinary life fraught with unexpected and unsettling views,” says a reviewer of the book from Barnes & Noble Reviews. This shows that each reader, when reading this book, has the same feeling of confusion. The author reached the goal of confusing his readers through finding a different pathway to tell this story. The author can take an ordinary life, tell it in a weird way, and thats how readers would know that the reason they are so engaged in the book is because this is an ordinary life with a twist.

Throughout the book, the author seems to have many concepts in using ways to change the subject in the story. It is most evident that he does this because no two stories change the subject in the same way, all of the protagonists in the story seem very different from each other but are all capable of making a new point in the story. In the story, “Hitler’s Invasion of Poland,” the story changes in the same way, through one sentence, but the difference is the way the story changes, through different thought of mind. In that story, the story changes when the protagonist says, “That does it. I let out another sigh. And I continued with my diary, thinking I’d better just finish logging it in. Saturday, Hitler’s armored divisions invaded Poland. Dive bombers over Warsaw-.”(page 233) The quote is a very different way of changing the subject because the protagonist just starts from talking about him writing in his diary to talking about a piece of history. When the reader reads this, they might think why was this put here? But, they never ask what if this wasn’t put here? With this second question, you try to read the story without it, and you might see it as boring. So, without the rule of Chekhov’s Gun, the story wouldn’t be as appealing.

The author did very much excell in finding different ways of flipping the story in every story that was stated before. He could have chosen to change the story easily or in a very difficult way. He exemplifies all types throughout the book. It was hard to find one that was easily used to change the story. In the story, “A Window,” he chooses a simple transition. He starts off the story having the protagonist talking about a hamburger steak restaurant that he has heard of and decided he will go try out this famous hamburger steak. He starts to talk about how when he goes to the famous restaurant, they are out of the original hamburger steak. Instead, he must settle for a hawaiian hamburger steak without the pineapple. As the protagonist says in the book “Thanks to your letter, what I wanted most of all was an utterly normal hamburger steak made by you. By contrast, the passage on the National Railways’ automatic ticket machines struck me as a bit superficial.”(page 376) In an instant, the point of the story changes. First, the protagonist is mad that he couldn’t have a normal hamburger steak, into talking about how fake it looks on the ads. The author probably did not have much difficulty thinking of a way to make a small transition for the other part of the story. The author again, shows how you can put unneeded information and do nothing with it.

In conclusion, without this structure in the book, the book could have been construed as a fairly ordinary boring book that anybody could have written. It was important to note that this was a way of capturing the reader's attention in a way of confusion, but also made the reader want to continue reading the book. This book leaves the reader with the thought in the back of their head of what made this book so interesting. Without this key structure, it could have been compared to most books as similar, but with the structure, the reader can have the question of “How would this book have changed if it was written with parts played with the rule of “Chekhov's Gun”.” Some could agree that the author reached the goal of confusing his readers through finding a different way to path a story. Duly noted, readers can now hold this book as a bar to what books could look like.

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Leah Kelly Food Project

Instructions on how to make Nigerian Suya:

Caution: Very spicy

-Strips of beef (however many you please)
-Suya spice **
-Groundnut oil

** If Suya spice is unavailable in your area, the following can be used to make the spice:
-5 tablespoons of crushed Kuli Kuli (groundnut powder)
-5 tablespoons of ginger powder
-2 tablespoons cayenne pepper flakes
-10 strands of African Pepper
-1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Cut the beef into thin fillets and thread them onto skewers.
2. Put some groundnut oil in a bowl and add a dash of salt.
3. Using a cooking brush, rub the oil on the strips of beef (this will help the suya spice stick to it).
4. In a wide dish or counter, spread the suya spice and dab the strips of beef in it so that the suya covers as much of the meat as possible.
5. Place the spiced meat on a plate and let sit for an hour.
6. Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
7. Place the beef flat on the oven rack to roast for 15-20 minutes. 
8. After 15-20 minutes, flip the beef over to cook the underside for another 15-20 minutes.
9. Rub a small amount of groundnut oil on both sides of the beef, turn the oven up to 325 degrees F and roast for another 5 minutes.
10. Enjoy!

Suya is commonly served with chunks of onions, tomatoes, cabbage or cucumbers.
Analysis of my Ingredients:

Overall, this meal is extremely healthy especially since it is commonly served with lots of vegetables. To begin with, suya is made from all natural ingredients. It depends on where the beef is purchased from, but it is completely possible for the meat to be free range and organic, which means that there will not be preservatives. In addition to the beef, there are only three other ingredients: a small bit of oil, salt and spice, which are all natural. So overall, my entire meal is whole food.
While red meat is not always the best for you, it is certainly a great source of protein and your body will process it well. The only major thing that could affect your body is the spice, which may cause some heartburn and depending on what your body is used to, you might not be able to eat this every day.
Depending on whether or not his meal is being prepared in Nigeria or America, the ingredients may have traveled from far away. In America, there are Nigerian stores that sell suya spice that has traveled all the way from Nigeria, but they are in small packages that would not impact the environment in major ways during transport.
This meal is not very expensive to make but does take some searching for the ingredients, especially if you have to make your own suya spice. In my opinion it tastes better and is definitely healthier for you than fast food but unfortunately, most people would choose fast food because it is simply more convenient. Overall, however, the people who would be financially benefiting from this meal would be Nigerians either working in the store or in the country preparing the spice.
Since this meal is such a large part of the Nigerian culture, it is nearly impossible for someone to grow or gather all of the ingredients themselves. However in terms of the beef there could be lots of corruption along the line of production because of the mistreatment of some animals in some slaughterhouses.
Overall, this meal is extremely healthy and although it is hard to gather the ingredients, it is certainly worth it for this amazing meal.

I have sincerely enjoyed this unit because I love learning and health and nutrition. However, it was a little hard to watch the TED Talk called “Teach Every Child About Food” because it was heartbreaking to me the food lives that some of these children have and in some cases, how it is slowly killing them. It inspires me to want to make changes wherever I can to improve the health of children nationwide.

Through this unit, I have actually learned different ways to help. First of all, in our Organic Food warmup, some very specific and helpful things were pointed out in the New York Times article. First of all, that not everything “local” is organic, and not everything organic is local. This brings up a stereotype that many people simply believe because that’s how it is advertised. Speaking of advertising, there is tons of false advertising in the industry. Products that are in fact not organic are labeled as so due to lack of clarity in the rules of what “organic” is. Another thing that I can do to change the food industry is to sign petitions and join in movements that will require companies to correctly label their products.

In addition, that is one way that I am going to improve my own “food life”: reading the label. Through this unit, I have learned to not always trust the advertisements and the words on the front of the packaging, but to instead fully read the label and understand the ingredients. Also, the “Food Rule Slides” that our class created really made me thing about what I eat and what restrictions I should put on what I eat. Specifically I loved Ron’s, “You’re only as real as the food you eat.” That made me reevaluate what I’m putting into my body and will cause me to make changes about what I’m eating.

Moving forward, I feel much more knowledgeable and therefore much more confident about what I know about healthy food and will adjust my life and diet accordingly.

The following is my food rule, which is to not drink your fruits because fruit juice or soda is not nearly as good as the real thing because it loses a lot of the fiber and other nutrients and adds sugars and artificial flavors and colors.
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Analytical Essay:

The relationship between self and and the changing world could be very simple or very complex. In a changing world you have 2 types of people the people who adapt to the new changes of the world and the people who decide not to change through all of the changes the world offers and it is a struggle deciphering which of the two is the better choice.

In the changing world  the decision to stay in the behind the world or stay with current times is essential. This is important because this decision could affect your lifestyle with no turning back. I people who tend to make this decision are making the wrong one with the exception of some. A good example of this is the movie “Kickin it old school.” This movie is about a 13 year old boy in 1988 who break dances then slips it coma after a performance. After 15 years he makes the decision to keep breakdancing and make a living off of that. this decision only works for some like him. Another example is a ex-convict getting released from a 10 year or plus sentence and doesn’t really know what to do since he is out. Him not trying to catch up with current times will make him live a life a crime and he is eventually going to be resentenced in jail. So sometimes that decision could change someone's life in a negative way.

In the changing world you have to envision your future at a young age that way when you have to make this decision you will not have a hard time choosing if you rather keep up with current times or to just be left behind by the world. A model example of this are athletes. I say this because athletes can’t just become athletes in the spot. It takes years of practice and training to become at least mediocre at whatever sport you are playing. Sometimes even when you keep up with the world it isn’t a good decision. A excellent example of this is in the book “The things we carried.” In one chapter the pack of soldiers are traveling through a water filled farm and one of the soldiers gets shot the wound was not fatal but they still left him there to die. They did this because they knew they would be shot to if they went back to help the wounded soldier.

In the changing world you must make the decision the decision to be different or to be like everyone else. Both of these decisions could make you miserable. For example say you go to school for being a lawyer being like everyone else you will finish law school but will be very unhappy with the career with choice you have made. Another example is going to law school and you are trying to be different from the rest of the students so you drop out and become an art student you realize that this isn’t going to make you any money to support your self therefore leaving you to drop out and find a minimum wage job and struggle through life.

So in a changing world you have to stay true to yourself or you are going to change your life in a negative way. So in the changing world change for the better.

Works Cited for Analytical Essay:

SparkNotes. SparkNotes, n.d. Web. 15 Jan. 2015.

"Kickin It Old Skool." Metacritic. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Jan. 2015.

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The relationship between self and and the changing world could be very simple or very complex. In a changing world you have 2 types of people the people who adapt to the new changes of the world and the people who decide not to change through all of the changes the world offers and it is a struggle deciphering which of the two is the better choice.

The changing world has effected my life in many different ways. I say that because I live in an urban inner city area. In my area there are a lot of gangs and drugs around in parks and other public area’s. In changing world being the same will help you survive because if you are not like all the other people around my neighborhood you will be confronted and easily in danger.

A good example is one time i witnessed someone almost get jumped. A gang crowded around him and ask where he was from and he said he was from “7 duce” . This relates to my thesis because since he is like everyone else he avoided being hurt.

The changing world has affected me in a positive as well. In 6th grade we used to have a lot of vocabulary quizzes. Only 2 out of 40 students passed these quizzes. So everyone started to cheat and got great results after cheating. I was the only one not cheating on these test. After going over my grades and seeing that the vocabulary quizzes was bringing down a significant amount of my grade i decided to cheat. The next day we had a quiz and i was ready. I cheated and came to realize I received a 10/10 on the quiz. This relates to my thesis because In a changing world I followed what everyone else was doing and it worked out for the better.

In a changing world there has been some negative decisions that the changing world influenced me to do. Since i choose to be like most people the  changing world i followed thing that were trending. A really vivid example is when a certain shoe was very popular. I when i was about 12 years old a certain of shoe called fubu was very popular. Everyone was wearing them which was ironic because to be different you had to have a pair. So after a couple of weeks of begging my mom for the shoe she finally brought me a pair. Funny thing is I never actually liked the shoe but since everyone had a pair i convinced myself these were something i wanted. When I finally got a chance to wear the shoes the style was already played out. So I got no recognition for the sneakers on my feet and they were actually very uncomfortable. This relates to my thesis because trying to fit in with the changing world got me a bad pair of sneakers and disappointment.   

In a changing world being different is an option as well as being the same. Sometimes it doesn’t work out for someone who is different to be normal. Also sometimes we need to be normal to realize that we are different inside. We only know what’s good for ourselves and this is why this decision is so hard for people because we only know what is best for us. So Internally only we can decide what's best for us in the changing world.

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Looking Closer at the Writing Style of “Thirteen Reasons Why”

People are not perfect. People’s speech and thoughts are also not perfect. But that is what makes them personable. If everyone spoke without errors, then they would speak without feelings or emotions. If there was no emotion in people’s conversations, then there wouldn’t be any real emotional connections. In the book, Thirteen Reasons Why, the author, Jay Asher, is able to harness the choppy, perfect-imperfections of human emotions. He uses the characters behavior to write a conversation of emotions and thoughts. This “conversation” makes it so that the reader is able to connect to the characters easily. It also makes it easier to understand the characters’ emotions. The imperfect conversational style allows the text to have more emotion, which makes the book more personal.

Conversational writing is when there is two or more voices either communicating, telling the same story from different perspectives, and/or one voice reacting to the other voice. It is typically used in writing or films to show the audience multiple different perspectives. Authors tend to use this style of writing if they feel that it will enhance the emotions or quality of writing. In Thirteen Reasons Why, the whole story is told in a conversational manner. The “conversation” is an exchange of not only speech, but also emotions, and experiences. We hear Hannah narrate her experiences, and we see how Clay reacts to Hannah’s story.

If we look deeper into the book, we can find many instances where conversational writing shines through, and is very successful. One example of this is on page 69, “Why would you want to mail out a bunch of tapes blaming you in a suicide? You wouldn’t. But Hannah wants us, those of us on the list, to hear what she has to say. And we’ll do what she says if only to keep them away from the people not on the list.” This quote shows us how Clay had to process what Hannah was saying, in order to respond. In this instance, the conversation is between Clay and the audience. We can also see how Jay Asher used an informal voice for Clay.

Later on in the story is another great example of how conversational writing is used to connect to the reader. On page 761 Clay says, “But now it's too late. And that's why at this moment I feel so much hate. Toward myself. I deserve to be on this list. Because if I hadn't been so afraid of everyone else, I might have told Hannah that someone cared.” This shows us how much Clay cared for Hannah. As stated earlier, using conversational writing allows the reader to feel the emotions very deeply. Notice how the use of fragment sentences in this quote makes it more dramatic. Jay Asher also starts his sentences with “and” and “because.” This technique adds to the writing style that leads to a story and characters that we can connect and relate to.

Another example of a text that uses conversational writing is the short story, A Telephone Call by Dorothy Parker. In this story, the conversation is between a woman and God. The author of this short story uses a one-sided conversation to communicate the woman’s feelings. The character is waiting for a call from a man. She is so impatient that as she waits, she is praying to God that the man will call. The short, choppy sentences used in the story, makes the reader feel just as antsy and anxious as the woman in the story is. This shows how conversational writing is used to do the same thing, in different plot lines.

We can find many examples in Thirteen Reasons Why, other books, and movies where conversational writing is used. But why is this style of writing so successful? According to the Creating Passionate Users blog, “Books written in a conversational style are more likely to be retained and recalled than books written on the same topics in a more formal tone.” The article goes on to explain that the reason conversational writing is more interesting to most readers is because the reader’s brain thinks it is a conversation. If the reader is reading a book that uses very technical terms, it will start to feel like a lecture. Not only is having a conversation much more enjoyable than being lectured, but you also feel emotion when you are having a conversation. This is because in a conversation, everyone is more engaged. When the reader is engaged in what the characters are saying and hearing, they are able to feel connected to the story.

The conversational structure is very important to this book, and many others, because it allows the reader to understand the story more easily. It gives the reader a deeper connection because it shows us all of the characters’ emotions. If Thirteen Reasons Why was not written conversationally, then it would not be as interesting. By using this writing technique, we get to hear Hannah’s story, and how Clay reacts to it. We feel the rollercoaster of emotions Hannah went through. But we also get to feel the emotions of the person who is listening to the tapes. The dueling emotions leave a lasting impression on you. Since the reader is able to feel these emotions so deeply, they connect to the book and characters on a deeper level, and remember the  book more.

Works Cited for Analytical Essay:

  1. Asher, Jay. Thirteen Reasons Why. N.p.: Random House Penguin Group, 2007. Print.

  2. "Creating Passionate Users." : Conversational Writing Kicks Formal Writing's Ass. Web. 13 Jan. 2015. <>.

  3. "Conversational Writing Tips."YourDictionary. Web. 13 Jan. 2015. <>.

  4. "A Telephone Call--Dorothy Parker (1893-1967)." A Telephone Call--Dorothy Parker (1893-1967). Web. 15 Jan. 2015. <>.

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Self and the Changing World


The things they carried were what was needed to survive. Carrying them around made the soldiers feel safe, secure, and in some cases comfortable. This shows that there are two types of soldiers. Ones who carry keepsakes and things with meaning to them, and ones who strictly carry weapons to be brought onto the battlefield.  Each individual soldier had to decide if protection or comfort was more important. Each was given basic weapons, but some decided that extra was needed. Pocket knives, steel helmets, fatigue jackets, flack jackets, .45-caliber pistols, and M-60’s were carried for protection. The ones carrying these may have been viewed as brave and war ready, but in reality were the ones who were likely the most scared. People who carry around weapons don’t do it to fight with them, but instead to intimidate their opponent. Soldiers who do this lack courage, and eventually are the ones who become paranoid on and off the battlefield.

Other soldiers decided to carry other things on their journeys. Carrying love letters and Bibles gave the soldiers the motivation to make it back home. It reminded the soldiers that there was more to live for in life. Love and religion are just two of the many things that gave the soldiers hope. This motivation and hope eventually turns into courage. When enough courage is built up a soldier is now able to make it through the war. "They were tough. They carried all the emotional baggage of men who might die. Grief, terror, love, longing--these were intangibles, but the intangibles had their own mass and specific gravity, they had tangible weight. They carried shameful memories . Soldiers in the armed forces are taught and trained to believe fear is a weakness. If fear is spotted in the heart of a soldier, they are considered cowards and have to live on with this reputation forever. In battle, if a soldier sees fear in the eyes of his opponent they are almost certain that they will be victorious. Fear is not something soldiers will admit to, but it is a feeling that is inside of them. This shows that soldiers covered there true feelings by acting brave and heroic, when in actuality they were scared.  These men were put in a situation where they were most likely to die. This would put fear in the heart of anyone. The courageous and confident soldiers were the ones who survived. The determination kept them mentally able to handle the situation and survive the war.  

Courage can be the best weapon on the battlefield if it is used correctly. This is why it is that that It's not the size of the dog in the fight; but the size of the fight in the dog. Courage and determination are stronger than any weapon that can be used on the battlefield. I survived, but it's not a happy ending. I was a coward. I went to the war." This quote shows that when in war, you must not show any emotions of fear towards your opposition. This also proves that having courage and not being afraid are two separate things.  

Soldiers who carry around things inspirational to them are more likely to survive than those who don't. This is because they have spunk. Courage is a soldiers best friend. It’s not always easy to have courage though, thats why imagination is needed to keep sanity.

Citations - 

Brien, Tim. The Things They Carried: A Work of Fiction. New York: Broadway, 1998. Print.

"The Things They Carried Quotes." BookRags. BookRags. Web. 16 Jan. 2015. <>.


“But why mom? Do I have to? It doesn’t taste good!” This is what you would hear if you sat down at my dinner table every night for the first 7 years of my life. Everything would be going so well until disgusting green foods would be put onto my plate. I am not so sure why I hated them, but like most children I just knew I did. Maybe it could have been because the beans were wet and slimy, or maybe because it just didn’t quite taste like pizza or french fries.

I would sit and stare at my plate for as long I can remember making sure I did not accidentally touch a piece of one of the slimy beans on my plate. My mom would start off by telling me that they were good for me, and I needed to eat them, but as the night progressed she would find herself telling me I couldn’t leave the table without eating them or that if I got up it would be my dinner for tomorrow. I would sit there for hours and eventually begin to poke at my food hoping somehow this would make it disappear. Some nights, after an hour of sitting I would just begin to doze off.

I used this time to imagine. I would think of floating in space on a N.A.S.A spaceship, or being a knight in a jousting tournament. I would block out everything else that was going on around me and focus on my daydreams. It was like I had my own little world, one where I did not have to eat vegetables. In these worlds, I could be whatever I wanted to be, and had no one who could stop me. Those times seemed like the best in the world. I was i my happy place and did not want to leave.

On nights when I would be given spinach, I would daydream about eating it and becoming Popeye the Sailor. Often times, I would enjoy doing this and would end up eating my vegetables. Not because I liked the way it tasted, but because I my imagination overpowered my reality. It was like I would eat the leaves of of impulse. While chewing the leaves, I would taste a sugary flavor and begin to enjoy the food. I think my imagination made me think that spinach wasn’t all that bad after all. My mom would come downstairs and say “see, that wasn’t bad at all. You could have been done hour ago”. Most times, I would ignore her and try to get back to my imagination. It was better than anything else around, and unlike TV the episodes were always new and original.

Now that I look back, I see that mind over matter actually works. This all comes from imagination. Tricking your brain into thinking something is actually happening. When you do this you may be able to do things you never thought were possible. If you try it one day it might work out for you.

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Me, Myself, And I Slide #2

Me Myself And I
I changed very little of my slide. I basically kept my slide the same. The only feedback that I was given was to maybe ameliorate my photos in the bottom corner. I didn't want the slide to be crammed with too many things to distract people from its purpose. So I kept the photos of activities small but still outstandingly noticeable.
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POV in The Maze Runner

Point of View, or POV, is a critical part of stories. It determines how the reader feels about various characters, and what they know. Often, when the author wants the reader to connect with the main character better, the book will be written in the first person POV of the main character. James Dashner’s The Maze Runner does not follow this convention. It is written in the 3rd person limited, following the main character, Thomas. Despite the the fact that Thomas is not telling the reader the story directly, there is almost no detachment from the story. Instead, the reader feels as if they are experiencing and learning everything with Thomas. The use of Thomas’s 3rd person limited POV in this story allows the reader to feel like they are a part of the story, and therefore, more invested.

In the first two chapters of the book, the only thing Thomas knows about himself is his name. In the third chapter, Thomas asks Chuck, one of the other characters, how old he thinks he is. Chuck answers the question somewhat blandly, not knowing how shocking the answer would be to Thomas. “Thomas was so stunned he’d barely heard the last part. Sixteen? He was only sixteen? He felt so much older.” Thomas thinks with the intelligence and maturity of an adult, yet all the boys in the Glade are just that, boys. Logic tells the reader that Thomas has to be around the same as the rest of them, but since the story is told through what Thomas sees and thinks, it feels like he is older than he really is. His age is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to things Thomas and the reader have to learn about the Glade and the Maze. A review of The Maze Runner in The Guardian perfectly summarizes this. At one point, the review states, “Thomas knew NOTHING and nobody would tell him what he wanted to know so I kinda ended up getting as frustrated as Thomas.” In the first several chapters of the story, Thomas is still learning and adjusting to the new language and surroundings. He is curious, as is the reader. However, the Gladers are a very secretive group. He has to learn like the rest of them did. That sentiment is a large part of the reason why the reader feels like they are a part of the story. They are learning as Thomas learns, and are feeling the same irritation and annoyance as him.

Later in the novel, Thomas is stuck in the Maze, at night, with an unconscious Alby, the Glade’s leader, and a panicked Minho, the Keeper of the Runners. Minho told him it was pretty much fend for yourself and ran off, leaving Thomas alone with Alby. Minho did not try to help Thomas at all, leaving him with no experience or advice. “A sudden dislike for the guy swelled up inside him. Minho was the veteran in this place, a Runner. Thomas was a Newbie, just a few days in the Glade, a few minutes in the Maze. Yet of the two of them, Minho had broken down and panicked, only to run off at the first sign of trouble.” Through out the novel, the Gladers put immense amounts of emphasis on the danger of the Maze. No one but the Runners are supposed to go out there. And no one is ever supposed to go out there at night. The worst punishment they have in the Glade is banishing someone into the Maze for a night. They never come back. Thomas, who was aware of the danger of the Maze, went out to help Alby and Minho anyway. The fact that Minho leaves him at the first sign of danger leaves both Thomas and the reader feeling betrayed. Thomas had grown to trust and like Minho, and because of the way Dashner writes Thomas’s experience, so did the reader. This is a bit surprising, because with most 3rd person POVS, even 3rd person limited, are normally detached and slightly distant from the characters. However, the perspective gained using the 3rd person is very useful throughout the novel. Dashner’s ability to combine emotion and thoughts with perspective guides the reader, allowing them to understand the story like Thomas, and making them feel like Newbies as well.

After the events that transpired in the Maze, the Keepers try to figure out what they should do with Thomas. He did break the biggest rule they had, but he also saved two of the most important people in the Glade. Everyone was arguing about what should happen to him. Minho suggested that Thomas take his place as Keeper of the Runners. This did not go over well with everyone. “When everyone started talking at once, Thomas put his head in his hands to wait it out, awed and terrified at the same time. Why had Minho said that? Has to be a joke, he thought.” This is one of the best examples of the emotional description of Thomas. Dashner uses the perspective that any 3rd person POV gives the reader, and combines it masterfully with the emotion Thomas is experiencing. This allows the reader to feel as if they are in the room with Thomas, watching everything happen. The lack of in depth description of emotion allows the reader to put themselves in Thomas’s shoes, and feel the emotions they would feel in his place. Because of the way Dashner wrote this scene, each reader interprets it in their own way. They can each come up with different scenarios for what they believe is going to happen. Dashner provides a base, a jumping board of sorts, allowing the reader to experience the story with Thomas.

Dashner’s use of POV in this novel immerses the reader in the experience of being new to the Glade and the Maze. The reader does not know much of anything at first, which allows them to sympathize with Thomas, and understand him and the whole experience better. If it was told from any other character's POV, the reader would have felt like Thomas was annoying and strange, since they would not be able understand the inner workings of his mind. Following Thomas also allowed the reader to fully understand the process all of the boys went through.The 3rd person limited POV gives a necessary perspective to the story, but does not separate the reader from the story or Thomas. The reader learns every bit of information as Thomas does, often at a slow and antagonizing pace. This immerses them in the experience of the Glade and the Maze, and allows them to become part of the story.

Dashner, James. The Maze Runner. First ed. New York: Delacorte, 2009. Print. The Maze Runner Ser.

"The Maze Runner by James Dashner - Review." The Guardian. Guardian News and Media Limited, 15 Sept. 2014. Web. 08 Jan. 2015. <>.

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Evil Never Wins

Throughout the course of their career in writing fairy tales, the Brothers Grimm have made it clear that no matter how hard they try, those with evil in their hearts will never win. Even when life does not appear to be as much of a bed of roses as some would think it ought to be, the tides will eventually turn and someone, or something, will come along and see to it that the evil ones receive their just and true rewards. This theme has occurred in a great majority of all fairy tales by the Grimm Brothers, especially in those about characters who perform a heroic deed in exchange for fortune and glory. Unfortunately for them, some of the villains would try to kill the true victors and reap the rewards of the protagonists. Fortunately, through some form of divine intervention, the antagonist’s wicked deeds always come back to haunt them and another (sometimes supporting) protagonist sees to it that justice is meted out and the villains receive the only rewards they truly deserve. According to an analysis of Grimm fairy tales from a book review website called, when the antagonists are punished, the punishment is almost as severe as the crime and therefore fits it. Most of the time, the punishment in question involves sentencing the antagonists to a horrifyingly gruesome death.

One very prominent example of these types of villains appears in a long adventure tale known as The Two Brothers. The Grimm Brothers most likely use the concept of wicked people never winning to set an example of what happens when a wicked deed is performed. That way, the readers will know the consequences of indecent actions and will be discouraged from repeating them. It is possible that the Grimm Brothers also use this concept to give the readers much more faith in humanity and to encourage them to adopt a more optimistic outlook on life. If the Grimm Brothers allowed the antagonists to triumph in any way, the readers would develop a pessimistic outlook on life and would lose all faith in the human capacity to do good and accomplish great things. This method by the Brothers Grimm has been based off of, copied, and repeated by a great variety of authors throughout the entire history of literature. The following essay will explore the theme of evil never winning in The Two Brothers and the readers may get a sense that every deed they accomplish, benevolent or malicious, will always come back to them in one way or another.

In the The Two Brothers, the Brothers Grimm narrate the story of two huntsman, each with different wild animals as pets. They decide to go their separate ways and eventually reunite. One of the huntsman comes to a kingdom draped in black shrouds, as the princess is scheduled to be sacrificed to a seven-headed dragon. With the help of his animals, he slays the dragon and his future as king is assured. Unfortunately, a cowardly marshal to the king conspires to take the throne for himself, so he kills the huntsman in his sleep and coerces the princess into telling her father that he slew the dragon. What the treacherous official does not count on is that, through divine intervention (in this case, a rare medicinal root fetched by the wild pets), the huntsman returns from death to claim his prize.

This story by the Grimm Brothers use a type of villain prominent in many of their fairy tales; one who cheats and lies in order to get what he desires, no matter the cost. The text explained that due to the marshal being, “wicked and godless he took his sword, cut off the huntsman’s head, and seized the maiden in his arms, and carried her down the hill. Then he drew his sword, and threatened to kill her if she did not obey him, and so compelled that she promised it.” This trademark scene shows the main antagonist attempting to reap the stolen rewards of the fallen protagonist, believing that he is currently untouchable and his liquidity has been assured by his wicked deeds. Nevertheless, the Grimm Brothers let no evil deed go unpunished, so after the huntsman is revived, he comes to the king’s court to test and expose the marshal for the cowardly fraud he truly is. When the dragon’s seven heads are presented to the king, each of its tongues missing, the marshal claims “Dragons have no tongues.” The huntsman, on the other hand, presents the tongues to the king and matches each one with the corresponding head. He also tells the marshal that “Liars ought to have no tongues.” This quote was an obvious viewpoint exhibited by the Grimm Brothers’ viewpoints on those who lie, cheat, steal, and deceive decent members of society. After the king sees that the huntsman is the true victor, he betrothes his daughter to him, as they had planned when the huntsman first rescued her from the dragon. The deceptive marshal, on the other hand, is found guilty of conspiracy and high treason to the crown. He is therefore sentenced to be “torn to pieces by four bulls.” This is a punishment befitting of the crime, according to the Grimm Brothers. Fortunately for the huntsman, as he is married to the princess, he becomes the future king and officially “named him his viceroy over the whole kingdom.”

Works Cited for Analytical Essay:

Grimm, Wilhelm and Jacob Grimm. Grimm’s Complete Fairy Tales. New York: Barnes and Noble, Inc., 2009. Print.

“Grimms’ Fairy Tales Summary.” Shmoop. Shmoop University, 2015. Web. 15 January 2015.

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Darius Purnell Literary Structure Essay: Havoc

In most murder shows, the episode starts out with either the murder happening or the police/detectives investigating the murder. Only a few times do we have an episode where it starts off with the killing and as far back of what provoked the killer. Killing is still argued as bad but we would at least see the motive and the killer’s view point. In the book before Havoc, which was called Malice, children were being taken away to a comic world brought to life by a character named Tall Jake who becomes the main protagonist. The book focused on the children being killed in the world of Malice and how in the real world the disappearances have became a huge conundrum. The main characters continually blamed Tall Jake for all of it and this influenced the point of view for the reader when beginning to read the second book, Malice. Their point of view was that everything that is happening in both worlds was Tall Jake’s fault and he needs to be stopped. As you continue farther into the second book they slowly ease the thought to the reader that Tall Jake isn’t much of a villain and is doing what he is told. Soon enough the book just eventually flat out have Tall Jake say himself that he is just doing what the children want. They called on him and did the ritual. He is just responding to the call and what they want. Which makes the new point to the reader that the problems you have in life are caused by you, not life itself.

In the book Havoc, the main characters Seth, Justin, and Kady have just finished battling Tall Jake in the world of Malice and returned to the real world . They have just rescued Alicia who is a friend of Seth in the lair of Tall Jake’s henchmen and have reached the room of Grendel who is the creator of the comic. They were about to develop a plan to finish off Tall Jake when he enters the room with his henchmen, Tall Jake catches them by surprise by appearing behind him. Seth then has a conversation with Tall Jake and blamed him for the death of his friend Luke who was taken into Malice. Tall Jake then responds with the following quote. “No. I did not take anyone who did not ask. It was made very clear to all of you: If you perform the ritual. I will take you away. And yet so many of you asked me anyway. You just had to risk it, didn’t you? .... I am not asking for your pardon. But I did not kill them. I tested them, as they asked. Some failed. Some like yourselves did not.” (Page 373). Tall Jake replies to Seth saying that Luke was taken because he asked. Luke knew the risk of surviving in Malice and knew the challenging tests ahead, but he still called on Tall Jake. Also Tall Jake brought up the point that people asked him to take them. From what he is saying, he wouldn’t just randomly target people. He wouldn’t have came if no one hasn’t done the ritual. He made it clear to everyone what will happen. Everyone who did the ritual knew of the consequences. They wanted to take the risks and because of that they made their own problem.

In the book Havoc, the narrator is recapping what happened in between the books Malice and Havoc. The narrator is telling the reader what Justin and Kady did after Seth left. The narrator talks about how they traveled to the city and stopped by a village where they were taken in by the villagers. The villagers were strangers to them but still gave them food and advice about traveling through Malice. The narrator then tells the reader Kady’s thoughts and what she reflected from that experience by saying the following. “The kindness of the villagers encouraged Kady. Maybe Malice wasn’t all horror and misery, after all” (Page 36). In the book of Malice, Kady saw nothing but only death and chaos both when reading the comic and when she was taken into the world, so she came to a point of view that Malice is all horror and misery. The narrator is slowly changing the viewpoint of Malice by simply slipping in that Kady’s thought that Malice may not be about just only chaos and might be a nice place. Kady and Justin moved away from all the chaos into a village where there is peace. They could have easily done this earlier but instead stayed where all the chaos was giving us the first impression of Malice as evil.

In the book Havoc Alicia decided to assist Seth with his mission to get back to Malice after saving him from a monster. They are on their way to Birmingham to an abandon factory and Alicia is talking to Seth worried about lying to her parents. “It’s all crazy. This whole thing is crazy.’ she went on. She shook her head sorrowfully. ‘I lied to my parents. I never lie to my parents. If they knew I was skipping study and going to Birmingham with some boy I barely know, they’d kill me.” (Page 74). Alicia is worried and feels bad about lying to her parents and traveling with Seth. Yet no one told her to lie or help him, she made the choice herself. She could had just left Seth where he was after saving him and could do what she had to do. Instead however, she lied causing her to be in the situation she is in and later get kidnapped.

A French existentialist philosopher named Jean-Paul Sartre known for his work which, rich in ideas and filled with the spirit of freedom and the quest for truth quoted “Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does.” Connecting this quote to Havoc, Seth blamed Tall Jake for his friend Luke’s death and Tall Jake said he was only testing him and his downfall was his own. Tall Jake almost says the quote by Sartre in his own words. It wasn’t tall Jake’s fault, it was only Luke’s. We are all responsible for our own lives and the choices we make. Luke made his choices, he made the choice to do the ritual, he made the choices in Malice on how to survive. What end up happening was he made the a choice that caused him to meet his end.

This structure is important because it adds a spin to the whole story. The new point of view makes you think of everything you read into a whole other way. It makes Tall Jake not such as a bad person. He did what people want, not his own thing. Also it makes you think that the “heroes” weren’t in the situation by fate.They were in the situation because they were looking for trouble not because they were thrown into it. Another point thrown at the reader is that we are responsible for our choices and lives not others. We are the reason for our dilemmas in our existence and it is our choice to make them dyer, severe, or just drop them.

Chris Wooding & Dan Chernett. Havoc. New York: Scholastic Press, 2010. Print

Satre, Jean Paul. "Existentialism Is a Humanism, Jean-Paul Sarte 1946." Existentialism Is a Humanism. World Publishing Company, Feb. 2005. Web. 14 Jan. 2015.

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Net Neutrality Blog

As I reflect on net neutrality I feel like we should retain our internet given right to get all of our bits at the same pace. But, that is just my opinion in a simple form. Over the past couple of years our Net Neutrality has been tampered with. Yet 8 out of 10 people don't know this nor do they actually know about Net Neutrality. Crazy right? So this is my opinionated article on Net Neutrality. 
From personal experience I know that Comcast has been slowing down my internet which is against Net Neutrality. Net Neutrality is to protect us from having to pay to get faster internet. I say to this company that it is a disgrace to even do this to consumers, and worse of all they, along with other service providers, slow down Netflix. They slow down Netflix because they are loosing money because they usually also provide cable and people have stopped buying cable. All in all it makes me just disapointed that Net Neutrality rules are still in place until proven otherwise by the FCC, and they are already selling premium internet boxes to get ¨faster internet¨"which is what we had before. Its plain old disgusting to even do this and this should be taken off the market because it is violating multiple rules.
But as my personal blog post comes to an end I ask that you keep yourselves updates on all the happenings of Net Neutrality because, this will affect generations to come. Try to sign petitions that you come across that best help your stance. Though I would say you vote against big corporations slowing down our internet. Since that means laggy Call of Duty, or slow Netflix. Which is what I know the average American citizen does not want.
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Q2: Self and Changing World

Throughout history, mankind has had to adapt, however, in many cases adaption is not in the best interest of the world, or the individuals in it. Imagine how detrimental adaption would have been to society, if great minds like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, and Malcolm X ‘adapted’ to the laws imposed against African-Americans during the civil rights, or if society adapted to the wrath of Adolf Hitler and did not express the draconian living conditions for Jews during the Holocaust. Moreover, determining when to adapt and when to change, becomes gray, as neither action ever, is totally appropriate. So, the question becomes, is there a general way to decide which is appropriate, or should the decision be on an individual basis?

Looking back in retrospect, all of the means that activists took to get to the end that many refer to as ‘equality’ are justifiable. However, at the time, adaption would have been the easier way out. The easier way out was not up for consideration. The same thing applies for the characters in The Yellow Birds. Throughout the novel, author Kevin Powers tells a story about soldiers in war. It shows the emotions of soldiers, and the way they adapt and change.

In the novel, Bartle states, “And then I was there, simply and without qualification. I sat with my cheeks in my hands out by the smoking area, distracting myself…” Page 108.  Bartle is adapting to the world around him. He has allowed for external forces to compromise his well being, in many cases, this may appear to be inevitable, however, this is still a choice, a choice that he is making that could be systemic.

This quote then corroborated by another, in a darker context. The narrator states, "I feel like I'm being eaten from the inside out and I can't tell anyone what's going on..." Page 154. The context in which this quote was used was figurative; Bartle was  the things he experienced when in the war zone, specifically the death of his colleague Sterling. This is just an example of someone in between a rock and a hard place. after the observation of one's state is made, one must choose whether they want to change or to adapt.

Powers furthers, in an interview he states,  "As human beings, we have the blessing and the curse that we're able to adapt to almost anything" This shows that adapting is not always best, sometimes you may have to roll with the punches, however, sometimes, you have to roll with the punches. But in any cases you have to contribute to change. However, the more appropriate choice of the two actions depends on the specific situation. 

In conclusion, it is up to the person to decide if they want to adapt or change. One may simply do both, however, within the things that truly matter, it is strictly black and white. One can roll with the punches, or one can give out the punches.


“What do you want"

“What the hell do I want” I thought pondering about my future high school career. “Nashay, what do you want out of life?” Ms. Crandall asked. I responded as only I could “To go shopping.” She stared briefly, and chuckled. She asked again “Nashay, really, what do you want?” I responded seriously this time, “All I want, is to be happy and successful at whatever I want.”  I had never really wanted to much for myself, I just felt like one could never want too much, because you can’t put a price on someone or their dreams. But little did I know that the journey getting to those dreams, would be all, so, difficult.

“How do I get there?”

I knew what I wanted, however, I was not sure on how I intended on getting there. “I don’t know which school to chose” I told Ms. Crandall. She then handed me the book of high school selections and I flipped through, unenthused” I thought, “There is nothing here for me.” She then directed me to SLA on the admissions booklet. “Is this a charter school” I asked. “I don’t wanna go to a charter school.” “No! This might actually be perfect for you.” I went on the website, and I saw all of these cool projects and awards and I thought “She might actually be right.” Every step after that, was just preparing for the interview because I instantly wrote it as my first choice.

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Q2: Self and the Changing World


There’s a lot of expectations of who we should be as people or how we should react to things. All teenagers are moody, want nothing to do with their families and spend all day on the internet. All women are expected to want to be married, do their makeup, wear heels, and have kids.  Asians are supposed to be smart. People are supposed to be happy to come home and see their families when they spend a long time away. People also spend a lot of time trying to break these molds,John Bartle, main protagonist of The Yellow Birds, was one of those people. In the book “the Yellow birds” the author Kevin  Powers has shown people in the book that free themselves from the stereotypes because they want to be their own, independent person.

In John Bartle’s case hJohn Bartle, main protagonist of The Yellow Birds, was one of those people. He spent 13 months at war; away from friends, family, pets, and anything he’d ever know. The expectation was that he was going to be thrilled to come home. His mom couldn’t wait to have her son back, he was finally going to be at home in a safe, stable environment, and his friends were finally there to support him. But he wasn’t happy. Author Kevin Powers, a veteran himself, says “As human beings, we have both the blessing and the curse that we're able to adapt to almost anything. No matter how extreme the circumstances you're in, they become normal. Then there's a sense that coming home is a letdown—because you've been in this kind of heightened state for so long, just the ordinary nature of everyday life can be confusing and frustrating.” For Bartle, war was normal. He’d adapted to the constant danger, so when he came home, he had to confront the emotions he didn’t have time to deal with while he was serving in Iraq. He had to face the death of fellow soldier Daniel Murphy. Before he left, Bartle had promised to return Murphy home safe to his mother. So hHe had to deal with the emotions that came with the failure to keep that promise.

Bartle says “to understand the world, one’s place in it, is to be always at the risk of drowning.” When he returns home, he really has to confront how bad war really was. In that moment, when he was facing attack from the enemies, he wasn’t thinking about how he’d rather be home safe in his bed. He was thinking about survival. When he was there, war didn’t seem so bad. Things don’t ever really seem so bad until you have a comparison. Coming home, he was faced with a flood of emotions; relief that he was finally safe, joy to be home with his mother, overwhelming depression, and a feeling of disappointment. When he understood where he was and what he had done, he was drowning in his own head. “Or should I have said that I wanted to die, not in the sense of wanting to throw myself off of that train bridge over there, but more like wanting to be asleep forever because there isn’t any making up for killing women or even watching women get killed, or for that matter killing men and shooting them in the back and shooting them more times than necessary to actually kill them and it was like just trying to kill everything you saw sometimes because it felt like there was acid seeping down into your soul and then your soul is gone and knowing from being taught your whole life that there is no making up for what you are doing…” He knows that although what he didn’t wasn’t a mistake, he was trying to save himself, there was no bringing those these people back to life. Good or not,those  these people were people with families, and hopes and dreams and lives to live. Instead of feeling carefree and overjoyed and that he could now do whatever he wanted, he faced feeling hopeless and suicidal.

When Powers continues to talk about his book, he says, "I wanted to show the whole picture. It's not just: you get off the plane, you're back home, everything's fine. Maybe the physical danger ends, but soldiers are still deeply at risk of being injured in a different way. I thought it was important to acknowledge that." Most p People don’t realize the psychological damage that comes from war. Many veterans go as far as to say that they’d rather be physically disabled because then at least people know what your problem issource needed. Powers himself struggled with the emotional trauma of war when he came back and he wanted to share a minimal fraction with t least a tenth of an understanding with the general public.

The details of war are a thing that soldiers don’t really realize in the moment. How many bullets you shoot, how much mud is on your boots, how many people on the enemy side die. When faced with a matter of life and death, these are things that are seemingly irrelevant. “The details of the world in which we live are always secondary to the fact that we must live in them.” These, however, are still things they have to live with. Bartle and the other men he stood beside had to live for the rest of their lives wondering if they’d killed someone or how many people they killed or how many people will live the rest of their lives injured because of their actions. The folks at home don’t think about these things, they think about how our men should be happy to be coming home. To civilians, this seems like something they should just be able to put beside them, to leave overseas. However, these memories, thoughts, ideas, and emotions continue to be incredibly painful.


Who exactly are you?

I feel like that’s a question that has plagued every teenager to have ever lived. There’s a lot of ideas about who I should be, but who exactly am I? According to TV, I’m a juvenile delinquent. I should smoke pot and drink and being have unprotected sex. Everybody knows teenagers are nothing but trouble. According to colleges, I should have straight A’s and be on the debate team and speak at least 2 languages and volunteer and have a great SAT score, but all while I try to find time to do homework, sleep, and spend time with my family. According to my parents, I should be myself, but no, not like my actual self. Like they want me to be. I should have amazing grades, and be skinny and beautiful. Find a boyfriend, join robotics, be a total teachers pet, babysit all the neighborhood kids, dress in the newest and nicest clothes, and have a job.

According to me, I don’t really know.

I like science, I also really like cheerleading. I go out on those blue matts in my sparkly red and black bow, yell my heart out, dance, stunt andbe more specific for a general audience that might not know what this is tumble. One of the girls on my team told me I was too smart to be a cheerleader. Cheerleaders are supposed to be dumb. I guess I never thought about it, I just liked the sport. I never considered my intellect to be a property that determines what sport I play. I might be a massive geek, but that’s okay. I don’t mind it. I work at TFI as well. I code virtual realities. I wouldn’t say I exactly fit the bill for a programmer either. I’m not afraid of talking to boys, I don’t play Dungeons and Dragons, I prefer Mac to Windows any day of the week, and I think I have some social skills.

My Ddad had this idea that I was going to be class president. I was going to date the Ccaptain of the Ffootball team, I was going to go out every Friday night and curl my hair and do my makeup. Much to his dismay, I chose a weird high school. I hate doing makeup. I’ll never be Cclass Ppresident. I’ll never be the daughter that makes him proud. I’m never going to pretty enough or talented enough. I’ve spent the past few years trying to prove, in fact, that I might actually be talented. I’m just not who he wants me to be.

When I went to see the psychiatrist the first time, literally every other question was “do you smoke pot?” Granted, the therapist did forewarn me he thought all kids smoked pot, “because of the news.” Do you drink? No. Smoke pot? No. Have a boyfriend? Yes. Does your mother know? Yes. Smoke pot? No. How’s school? Fine, sir. I guess. Smoke pot? No. Self harm? We’ll talk about this later. Smoke pot? Jesus fucking Christ, I swear if you ask one more time. All the time I’ve spent with the man has been me trying to convince him that a) I wasn’t pregnant b) I didn’t smoke pot and c) I knew that smoking pot increased your chances to be diagnosed with schizophrenia.

Alright, despite the fact that I, like most teenagers, spend so much time trying to declare my independence, I’m going to be typical. I feel like adolescence is an age span that’s not really understood by people real well. Being a teenager is great, don’t get me wrong. I can do things on my own and go out, but my mom still pays for things. But it’s difficult; but junior year we’re so stressed about college that sleep is non-existent. We’re encouraged to be ourselves, so long as we meet our parents idea and college’s idea. But you know what, I’m going to be myself. I don’t really care about whatever people think. Power to the science geeks.  

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Net Neutrality


Net neutrality is the process in which internet companies have a direct connection to the use of internet that goes to customers of major companies who need access to internet. The people in control of this are the FCC. They work to try to promote fairness and equality for the internet companies and distributors. They are working on regulating the rules so that everyone agrees and benefits from them.If net Neutrality continues teens won’t be able to get onyo social media websites which is their life.  

At the moment there are significant discrepancies between the ways things should be run and the way they are happening. One being the people in control of the internet flow, and the others being those trying to sell or give internet to their customers. The problem is that one side feels that they are being unfairly forced to pay for a service that should be given. Companies like Comcast and Verizon can if they want, slow down their internet services to companies like Netflix.

The unfair way of the system has caused each side to fight with the other. Because there is conflict, everyone is looking forward to the new rules to be announced soon. Tom Wheeler, chairman of the fcc, is going to make things even between the companies. This is known supposed to fix the issues that are currently taking place, so they both sides can be treated fairly. The FCC is going to make

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Changing the World Essay

Analytical Essay:

Friendships and companionship are a large part of what keeps humans mentally stable. Whether they admit it  or not, people can’t function without some type of companionship. When people are under pressure and in tough situation they start to change their behavior and the way they act toward certain people.  People manipulate each other in order to get what they want.  Friendships aren’t seen as an outlet but as a necessary tool for survival. When under pressure and hard circumstance people don’t look for friends for genuine companionship but to fulfil their own selfish needs

In the book “The Things They Carried” two characters named Jensen and Strunk became good friends after a series of events. They didn’t become friends straight off the back. Before they became friends they got into a brawl over a stolen knife that Strunk was caught stealing from jensen. “Eventually, after a week of this, the strain began to create problems. Jensen couldn’t relax. Like fighting two different wars..”. The pressure of war made it feel like he was fighting two battles. He was trying to protect himself against his known enemies of the war and his own comrades. The circumstances changed Struck and made him steal from someone who was on his very own team.

When Jensen saw Struck stealing his knife he became angry and the two got into a fight. Jensen won the fight and broke Strunk’s nose.  After that happened the two became very suspicious of each other. There were no threats, no vows of revenge, just silent tension between them that made Jensen take special precautions”. To avoid all the tension they decided to just become friends. This was a smart move because they both had one less person who was out to kill them. They didn’t become friends because they particularly liked each other but because it was a safe choice and it benefited themselves. They knew that being in war was all about survival, not victory.

In the world many people are vindictive motives and may pretend to like you to get what they want. It may be for money, sex, or even for connections to other people. In the book there are some representations of that theory. Jensen and Strunk used each other and helped each other get through the war. They would make fox holes to sleep in together and they eventually learned how to trust each other. They even made a vow that if one of them became wheelchair bound that the able one would kill the injured one  to put them out of their misery. Later on when Strunk actually gets his leg blown off, Jensen fails to  fulfill the vow and do what he promised he would do. When Strunk sought out to get medical attention he was pronounced dead. “Later we heard that Strunk died somewhere over Chu Lai, which seemed to relieve Dave Jensen of an enormous weight”. When Jensen finds out that Stunk is dead he is relieved. Jensen didn’t show any signs of grief for his lost and very close friend. Since Strunk was now dead there was nothing else he could possibly do for Jensen. Stuck was no longer a valuable contact for Jensen.

Sometimes friendships aren’t all about the laughs, the memories, and companionship. Sometimes friendships are what’s just simply necessary in order to survive in tough situations. When things aren’t going well people will look to other people for help and they won’t think twice about stabbing someone in the back to get what they need.

Narrative Essay:

Fear is one of the most harmful things in the world. Fear has held many from pursuing the goals that they were put on this earth to fulfill. In many moments in my life I’ve been afraid to do somethings because of what people might think of me. I’ve found myself in the same place when I could be experiencing new levels in life. A character that I admire in the book “The Things They Carried” is Tim O’brien. In the beginning of the book he talks about his fear of going to war after her found out that he was drafted into the Vietnam War. Tim O’brien says that the summer was the worse one of his life. Tim O’Brien didn’t have any excuses to get out of going. The only choice he had was to run away or face his fears. Tim O’Brien decided to face his fears and be strong and fight for his country.

In my life I have been challenged to come out of my comfort zone. When I was a freshman two classes in my grade were asked to perform at the Wilma theater. I was in a group with people that were in my class and we were talking about our families. I was nervous about performing there and speaking up in front of my classmates. It was a new school, in a new environment, and with very new and interesting people. The day we had to perform I was contemplating whether or not I was coming to school. I really wanted to stay home and avoid the whole situation, especially since I was talking about a very touchy situation which was my dad. I was afraid to open up about my personal life and I was way too concerned about what others might think of me. Anyway I built up enough courage to come to school and perform at the Wilma Theater. I may have froze on stage but I did it and went through with it.

Another character building situation was a church. At church I’m very involved with the choir and  praise and worship team. I stated the singing with the children’s choir when I was around five and I started the praise and worship team when I was about eleven. When I was eleven my church took a big hit. A beloved member, Alma Blain had passed.  This was an awesome women. She preached, directed the choir, and could throw down in the kitchen on Sunday afternoons. Everyone just loved her and after she passed the church wasn’t the same. After her passing all of her daughters left who were also very involved in the church. One of her daughters was the organist and the other one was our church drummer. And along with them leaving about half of the church’s regular members left too. It was up to the faithful few to get the church up and running again. We needed a new organist, drummer, choir direction, and new praise and worship leaders. I loved my church and wanted to help but it just seemed like I was too young to fill any of the positions. I was only eleven and barely even knew my time tables.  Anyway, my mom encouraged me to join the praise and worship team with her. I didn’t really want to do it but I liked singing so I tried it.  A few other members were on the praise and worship team too but they were around eight year older than me. To see this was sort of intimidating. I started off shy but as I grew up my voice has gotten stronger and I’ve come to love what I do. I have developed a bond with the other members and together we have worked together to build our church back up.  Just as Tim O’brien had to step up to defend his country I had to step up and take a role in my church,

Ever since I was ten years old I’ve been going to Teen Haven Camp. Me and my childhood best friend started going at a young age and loved it. They had great food, the staff was nice, and the activities were fun. The camp didn’t have a lot of money or fancy things but, the friends you made and the people you met is what kept you coming back. When I was thirteen my camp director Chanea asked me to become a junior counselor. Some of the old counselors had graduated high school and were going to college. They needed new kids to fill their places. When Chanea asked me I was happy that she considered me as being a good candidate considering my young age of thirteen. I immediately said yes.  Afterward, I began to think of the duties of my job. The camp went up to the age of seventeen and I was only thirteen. That meant I had to help and be over girls that were significantly older than me.  “This job may be harder than I think” I thought to myself. But, I went through it anyway.  I enjoyed my job as a junior counselor and continued doing it until the camp closed and I was the age of sixteen. There may have been some ups and downs during those three years but I was glad that I stuck it out until the end. It was proud that I never gave up.

The challenges in life make people stronger, wiser, and better than they were before. Without those experiences I would not be the person that I am today. I may have had to shed some tears to get where I am but, I don’t regret any of my decisions. Tim O’brien said in an interview,  “My conscience kept telling me not to go, but my whole upbringing told me I had to. That horrible summer made me a writer”.  Without him going to War he would have not be where he is today. Tim O’brien has won many awards and honors for his creativeness in writing skills. He’s won the National Book Award for Fiction in 1979 and he’s won The Guggenheim Fellowship for Creative Arts, US & Canada in 1981. He also has written over seven books. If Tim O’Brien never went to war he wouldn’t have or be where he is today. Tim O’Brien has encouraged me to take on every challenge and obstacle with the best of my ability.

Work Cited

The Book “The Things They Carried”

Bruckner, D.J. "A Storyteller For the War That Won't End." New York Times Online. The New York Times. April 3, 1990. Web. October 20, 2009.

O'Brien, Tim. The Things They Carried: A Work of Fiction. New York: Broadway, 1998. Print.

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Q2 Benchmark - The Self and the Changing World

The world often chooses to tell the narrative of the wholeheartedness of people, when evidence poses a very different reality. Often we think of mothers who transform into heroes for their children, lifting cars off of their kids and saving their lives; many mothers, however, are guilty of leaving their children in cars during sweltering summer days. We exalt the good Samaritans of the ASPCA, but fail to analyze those who cause a need for the organization’s work in the first place. The symbiosis between one person and the changing world can be a volatile one when the world tells a story that does not correspond with how that individual sees themselves. The Yellow Birds, a novel by ex-soldier and poet Kevin Powers paints the picture of a man who goes through the tug-of-war of being a picturesque soldier as described by the Marines and being a man battling with the psychological conflict that stems from trying to live up to that narrative.

The Yellow Birds seems full of open-ended statements and unfinished prose, but many of those statements are often some of the most profound within the book. Those short, small pieces of thought from Bartle make the book that much more personal. One quote that stuck out during reading was “I might realize that to understand the world, one’s place in it, is to be always at the risk of drowning.” The obvious follow-up question is drowning in what? Drowning in that unequivocally difficult mental battle between the self and the world. On that page, Bartle describes the bloody murder of a helpless man by him and two of his fellow marines. A gruesome picture was painted of that murder, ruthless and unmerciful. That page is not one of the stories often told of American troops. Troops return home with invisible capes as heroes, their backs embellished with a bold-face “H.” However, Bartle seems to consistently and truly understand not only that what he’s going is a problem, but that finding one’s place in the world could often lead to the generation of confused young men driven by trying to stay afloat with their morals, but being weighted down and drowned by an unwanted paradigm that has been drilled into them. This is also seen when Bartle and his closest friend during the war, Murph, review some mail sent from back home. The war seems to have rendered Murph slightly numb to circumstances that may be troubling for other men.

“We spoke like children. We looked at each other as if into a dim mirror.” “Her other hand on the small of his back. Alive. There was an expression on his face that I have been seen before or since.’  (pp.80-81) In these excerpts, Murph has just read the letter his girlfriend sent him from the States saying they should break up because she’s going to be attending college and moving to one to what she wants to do with their relationship.  Bartle says Murph to the letter well. Sterling tried to contest his nonchalant attitude, Murph seemed to just be okay with everything, mentioning that there’s nothing he could do. That short conversation between Murph and Bartle brought about a new sense of camaraderie between the two of them. Again, those military relationships between soldier and civilian is another strong example of how stories about war are misconstrued and how the hero doesn’t always  come home to the treasures they left behind. At this point, Murph’s world is the war that he’s immersed and saturated in wartime and war feelings (or lack thereof) have crowded hs judgement into the world that lies in wait for him outside of the war. He, at this point, finds that there are more important things for him to worry about other than having someone to call “baby” when he got back to the US. Throughout all of this, Murph is unperturbed to the extent where he almost seems careless and unconcerned with the situation as a whole. The aura of these pages conveys a very raw sense of disconnection between war and everything that surrounds it, but poetry and prose still shine through the writing. This was no accident on the author’s end. In an interview with Foyles, Powers was asked if the “deeply lyrical quality” of his writing was “intended in counterpoint to the rawness of the dialogue.” Powers answered,

“I intended it not just as counterpoint to the rawness of the dialogue, but also to the rawness of the experience. In that respect it is more point than counterpoint. In trying to demonstrate Bartle's mental state, I felt very strongly that the language would have to be prominent” Perhaps this is not a comparison between the self and the changing world and the stern differences therein, but more of an explanation of the symbiosis between those two. The Yellow Birds is a novel entrenched in the idea of the world’s perception of a specific entity- whether that entity is one man, one group, one population, or one idea. Powers found it of the utmost importance that he made the schism between those two things evident in his writing; no book can be classified as just one thing- not just the words on the page, not just the cover illustration, and not the structure of the writing alone- The Yellow Birds is no exception to that rule.

Works Cited:

Powers, Kevin. 4: September 2004 - Al Tafar, Nineveh Province, Iraq. The Yellow Birds. New York: Little, Brown, 2012. 80-81. Print.

Personal Narrative:

“Can anyone tell me what a Credo is?” Mr. Kunkle bellowed from the back of the classroom. People were still dribbling in from lunch, from orchestra practice- from whatever was more important than 8th grade Theology. I was in my seat, pen and paper ready 4 minutes before class even began.

I shot my hand up. Theology wasn’t just Theology. to me- it was Philosophy 101; it seemed I was always playing devil’s advocate for some reason, and that made it all the more tantalizing. Since I’ve been in 8th grade, that position of “table-turner” has always been attractive to me, especially in terms of religion and personal credo. About 3 years ago, my ideas about things that I’d been taught day-in and day-out completely shifted and it was one of the most important shifts of my life.

“Stephanie, wanna tell everyone what a credo is?” Kunkle asked, only half listening to me while preparing his class notes for the day.

“A credo is like a truth. Maybe not fact, but something that you hold to be true for yourself. It’s a statement of your beliefs.”

“Right! Yes, a statement of your beliefs. Like the Apostle’s Creed. Credo is latin for ‘I believe’; it’s what keeps you grounded, where your morals come from, what you go back to when you’re at a crossroads- it’s a creed.”  

I knew all this- at this point, it was old gold mumbo jumbo- the same things I’d been hearing for the past two years. This year, however, I hadn’t grown tired of it. In eighth grade I found myself looking past the orthodox teachings of my school; ‘faith’ wasn’t something that could help me hold fast to the ideals that’d been drilled into my head, no matter how many years I’d been getting spoon-fed. However, that didn’t stop me from doing further research on religion and theology and how my perception of the world was- and is- drastically different from many of my Christian peers.

“So,” Kunkle bellowed out after chatter buzzed amongst the classroom. “It’s time to figure out what you believe. This is not a testimonial, this is an outlined description of your beliefs and why you believe them. It’s important to make this objective and universal, but make sure that it is your own.”

That was my cue. My Credo was 5 pages of a religious potluck. If anything, it was more of a history paper than a statement of my religious beliefs. Above all, it contested every Christian belief that I’d been spoonfed. It included the teachings of Jesus in tandem with those of Mohammed, refuted the entire Old Testament, and upheld Egyptian, Greek, Hindu, and Buddhist deities. It exalted the unity in Islam and contested the morality of Catholicism throughout history in conjunction (or disjunction) with the religion.

When proofreading others’ documents, I saw four or five pages of praise to God accompanied by few facts and little actual knowledge. I saw four or five pages of what our teacher asked for the opposite of. While editing their pieces, I realized that few of them put any actual thought and offered them some enlightenment, but the “education” that we’d been receiving forced any opposing thought out of their minds. I was disgusted by my classmates at first, but realized that the assignment had been titled your “Personal Credo,” and found myself rinsed of my disdain. In 8th grade, I fully understood that, in order to understand someone’s personal truth, I didn’t have to accept it. I turned my assignment in on time, final draft pristine.

“Stephanie, we may need to have a talk about your assignment,” my teacher wrote in red ink on my paper. I got a fantastic grade- 98 and only two points off for a few grammatical errors. Yet, the “talk” we had was about the sacrilegious content. A small talk was conducted in the office with the dean, who was concerned about my “spiritual well being” and I found that he was doing the complete opposite of what I’d learned- he was not understanding what I was saying, nor was he accepting my beliefs. For the rest of my eighth grade year I found side eyes from every student and faculty member, I was kicked off the praise band for what my music teacher essentially saw as blasphemy, and comments made on my report card for the final semester of the year were generally along the lines of “Stephanie is such a wonderful student, but I often find that her mind wandered a bit too much during this marking period,” when my work and work ethic was virtually identical if not improved from the beginning of the year.

During my 8th grade year, I found a personal conviction that was a moshing of convictions from other beliefs and very few of the ones I grew up with. My morals and personal beliefs were untainted in my opinion, but because they varied so drastically from those of my school, I was at fault. Despite this divergence between my personal ideals and those of the school, and despite the backlash I received from it, I didn’t drown under the pressure of a different narrative being more popular than my own.

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Pilar Analytical and Narrative Essay

Pilar Carroll

Air Stream

In the book, The Things They Carried, by Tim O’brien, there were a lot of stories about death, and love, and what war was really like. There are multiple changes that happen in the lives of these soldiers. With each change there was a different reaction. But all the changes showed the reaction that, when the world is changing, one can be affected at the same amount when seeing the change happen, and hearing about the change. However, at times people will not acknowledge change to protect themselves.

Jimmy Cross, the Lieutenant is in love with a girl from his college town, Martha. They write each other letters back and forth, but she never asks him about the war, or about anything going on in his life right now. “In those burned letters Martha Had never mentioned the war, except to say, Jimmy, take care of yourself. She wasn’t involved.” (The Things They Carried 23) Martha didn’t want to get involved in the war, because she knows acting about it would put a traumatic picture in her head. It wasn’t how she wanted to see america, and the army. She didn’t want to have a prime source into the gory stories. And the feel the hurt Jimmy feels.

Dave Jensen, a soldier was suppose to kill a vietnamese soldier, but instead he let him go. Later, the soldiers heard that someone else killed the man, and Jensen was relieved. “Later we heard that Strunk died somewhere over Chu Lai, which seemed to relieve Dave Jensen of an enormous weight.” (Friends.13) Dave Jensen was suppose to kill a vietnamese soldier, but did not for some reason. When Jensen heard that the man was dead, he felt relief. Jensen felt relief because the man was dead, and the relief he felt would be the same if he saw in die. All he wanted was the man dead.  

Someone in the platoon died, gilt was being passed."When a man died, there had to be blame.  Jimmy Cross understood this.  You could blame the war… A moment of carelessness or bad judgment or plain stupidity carried consequences that lasted forever." (In the Field.115) When someone dies, everyone has that feeling of regret, though being responsible is deadly. So trying to pin a death on an event or someone else is common, regardless of being in the moment or hearing about it later, there is always something/someone to blame.

Tim O’brien was speaking in an interview, about how things were in the war, talking about behavior and imagination."It's important because the things we imagine determine our behavior in the future. If you're in medical school and you can't imagine putting your hands into pus and gore and blood, I'd say you're not going to finish med school." (Tim O'Brien) People in situations or hearing about situations, have images in their heads when reflecting on the situation. Like reading a non picture book, the reader images the situations, settings, what characters and scenarios look like. So when hearing about changes, or seeing change, there is that same gory image.

The Things they carried shows a clear view on change, and reactions. The book is showing many different scenarios, of change, and many different reactions, from Martha’s neglect, To Jimmy Crosses’ blame. All proving, when the world is changing, one can be affected at the same amount when seeing the change happen, and hearing about the change. However, at times people will not acknowledge change to protect themselves.

Works Cited for Analytical Essay:

O'Brien, Tim. The Things They Carried: A Work of Fiction. New York: Broadway, 1998. Print.

Sawyer, Scott. "In The Name Of Love." Mars Hill Review, 1998. Web. 10 Jan. 2015.

Narrative Essay:

“Pilar put that down, we don’t have any money.” My mother has a sad look in her eyes. Knowing those words disappointed her more and more. I didn’t notice, I was mad at her. I just wanted my normal life  back. But she couldn’t take her job. Her, not coming home at until nine pm, the long commute to jersey. Her boss is taking credit for every single thing she would do, not even acknowledging she was there. I did the same exact thing. I blocked out every time she would talk to me about her losing her job. That Christmas, I requested a lot. My world is changing, and I refused to let it, or let it seem apparent.

The only income we had was from my father working and he was working every day, not even taking sick days. But I still payed no attention. I was so used to the lifestyle of getting what I wanted. I was never appreciative. And on Christmas when I opened my presents. I gave a noticeable fake smile when I only got a $100 and a few gifts. My cousin ,got a camera, a kindle. Why couldn’t I have what she had? My mother told me it was only temporary, so I treated it as such. My birthday rolled around, still no job, instead of being sympathetic I was mad. My mother was so wrapped up in this business, and volunteering, it wasn’t bringing home the bacon.

I started to accept that this is forever. I still hated it. I refused to act like we had less money. I flaunted how big my house was, how many cars we have, making and my grandparents taking me to Bermuda for the summer was just the icing on the cake to my “lie”. To me I was poor. We couldn’t afford the food I wanted, or the clothes, So I started working for my neighbors, anything I could do. I started thrifting, but not telling anyone. I needed my image. Friends would ask,”Where did you get that?”, when claiming I didn’t remember, I would feel mad at my family for making my life “hard” making me feel embarrassed because we are “poor”.

At the end of my 10th grade year, I turned 16. Finally! I was old enough to get a real job. I was so convinced, my mother was just lazy, not really trying for a job, when over and over again she would get rejected. I only applied to one job: Chill on the Hill Frozen Yogurt in Chestnut Hill. Mother was telling me to apply to more, but why listen to her? Look at her success rate. After a month they called me back, telling me there were no spots. My mom told me but I still refused to get the picture.

In World history class, we were shown a video that has the percentage of people in The United States, and the average income of that group of people. 1% of the USA has more more money than everyone else combined. When I got home I showed my family the video, and my father showed me where we landed on the graphs. I was finally hit with the reality that we were “poor” and when I said that, in utter disappointment, my mother said,” We are not poor.” Look at the children in Africa, And even some kids who live in Philly. Some kids who went to Wissahickon Charter, some were homeless. You live in a house, with heat, and you never miss a meal, you have parents who love you, and will do everything to protect you,” she started to cry,” We are much richer the most people in the US! So when you would pout and scream because you didn’t get the jacket you wanted, that wasn’t us being poor, that was you being spoiled. I busted my ass to give you children everything you wanted, and you just wanted more. The fact I couldn’t take the work anymore was just icing on the cake to teach you all a lesson about what you want and what you need. Most of these kids with the new phones, new clothes, most of their parents can’t even pay the electric bill, so you need to get your priorities straight.”

After that, I finally got it. If I would have stopped to hear what she was saying, and stop being scared about the idea of being poor, I would have realized that we weren't. I would have realized I was being judgmental and selfish to my mother. She was trying as hard as she could to get a job but she realizes that we don’t need that the things we want. And I needed to realize that too, If only I had listened sooner.