Kadija`s Q2 Benchmark: Self and the Changing World

Analytical Essay:

Imagination is a source that the brain strays from reality. In the book, The Things They Carried by Tim O'brien , dreaming and imaging are constant survival tips that help people from thinking about emotions that soldiers deal with everyday, such as death and pain. In society, people use imagination for everything, especially children. Whether it may be imagining your mom`s vegetables were candy or imaging that someone that died was still here. Imagining can put a perfect world in perspective. It can eliminate the negative things that one may not want to deal with. A perfect world can easily be dreamt and created through the mind and elude any change that may not be wanted. Fantasies and dreaming is a commonly used escape mechanism that individuals use to stray away from the harsh reality of the changing world.

Imagining  someone is still alive is something so many people use to deal with hurt and pain. In the book, O'brien does this a lot. With the character Linda in the book, it brings back unwanted and wanted memories for O`brien. Linda is imagined to be alive and living, because in a perfect world for O'brien, tumors and the disease that killed her would not exist. “ And yet right here, in the spell of memory and imagination, I can still see her as if through ice, as if I'm gazing into some other world, a place where there are no brain tumors and no funeral homes, where there are no bodies at all..” (pg. 245) Tim O'brien sees a place inside his head where disease and dying are a mere faded memory. He plants a seed inside his brain that stimulates a world where unhappiness is impossible. Imagination is used to dismiss the bad things that cause pain or hurt. In war pain and hurt are always emotions that run through the mind and if one can seemingly turn it off by imaging that will be the case. O'brien does this throughout the book where he shows a different world where he is comfortable, because in war , comfort are only found in those that are dead, or those who dodged the bullet, but only for a brief moment.

Again the power that one has over their dreams and what could be reality are astonishing. O`brien clearly has the ability to make his own reality and make the things he want to come true, to be true, by dreaming. “Lying in bed at night, I made up elaborate stories to bring Linda alive in my sleep. I invented my own dreams. It sounds impossible, I know , but I did it.” (pg. 243)

O'brien has a powerful way to dream up what he imagines a perfect scenario that depicts happy people and a happy time. Linda was a escape. She was the dream that made the mind stray away from the unhappy events of war. O'brien uses his imagination with his classmate in from middle school to tell a story about how one can just simply dream that those horrible events never happened and that death is no longer involved. O`brien places himself in a comfortable place where he can control everything, because in war everything is out of your control. When someone can place something in their control and make things easy for them to cope with, that would be the best idea to do.

In the book, a lot of  stories are based again on imagination. Memory has to do with the start of it, but when the brain starts to flow, there is a lot of dreaming and creative power. O'brien definitely isolates that tool. “ The memory-traffic feeds into a rotary up on your head, where it goes in circles for a while, then pretty soon imagination flows in and the traffic merges and shoots off down a thousand different streets. As a writer, all one can do is pick a street and go for the ride, putting things down as they come at you. That`s the real obsession. All those stories.”(pg.35) A lot if the stories are based off of imagination. O'brien says that memory only plays so much into the story before involving imagination.  As a writer O'brien is using his imagination to make the story telling even more true. It makes the reader go on a journey and believe, rather than read a story with chronological events and facts. O`brien grasped the idea of the story and then dreaming and imagination took hold and creates something more deeper and truer to the self.

Creating a world designed specifically for your wants and needs is something incredible. In the book, O'brien makes it seem that all he ever dreams and imagines comes alive through his storytelling. It shifts and makes the mind believe what is wants to believe, conveyed in imagination. Pretending also doesn't have to be bad, people do it all the time. Acting is a way that people imagine also. It allows people to experience lives that they wish the had or pretend to have through imagination. This may even be the reason people love watching movies and going to see them at the movie theaters. If someone could spend 3 hours watching a movie that had a setting that was not the norm of their world, they would go see it. For instance action movies are so exciting because not every day people jump from skyscrapers and save presidents from assassination. If people could even be able to see that on a screen, it would be cool.

Imagination is important in a couple of ways. One way is as a psychological means of escape. If you can lose yourself in a fantasy, then you're no longer trapped in the horror of, say, Vietnam. You're back home with your girlfriend, eating a nice dinner at the Ritz instead of C-rations. Whenever people testify about their life in the concentration camps, they say much the same thing. The one way to3 psychologically endure it all is to escape in your head, in your imagination.” (interview 2)

Imagination is a powerful tool that people use to escape things that they may not want to come in turn with. Especially war soldiers that are not trying to imagine something that they come in contact with and witness everyday, death. Dreaming and imagining is a paradise where anything that someone wants to be real is real, where one can make what is true and what is not. A world where war is non existent. War obviously is something that was so unpredictable. Some days people would be like sitting on the sidewalk talking and others soldiers could lose their best friend right in front of you. While imaging and dreaming people would be able to imagine that  their dead best friend was still alive and both of them would be back home sitting on the sidewalk talking. Someone could imagine their loved ones all here with them, watching over them. One could imagine that the war was all but a bad nightmare and they could wake up in your cozy bed, instead of a dust cot with 45 other men.

Imagination again is a very powerfully designed tool that people use to blur the harsh realities that they don't want to deal with. For kids imagination is at its all time high, because reality is something that is not always fun, for anybody as far as that goes. For O'brien he uses women as a comfort for the harsh reality of war, such as Kathleen and Linda. In other scenarios, a lot of the men in the stories use objects to help stimulate a happy event that once was associated with that object. In a case like mine, imagination was simply beautiful. As a young child, eating your vegetables and such wasn't exactly fun. A child would imagine that that vegetables were tablets that made them big and tall and have super powers, so they could save the world from evil villains. The same thing with cleaning. Lots of children absolutely dreaded chores, so if they could place themselves in a different world, like O'brien did, then they would. Some children would sometimes even go as far as to  put on a different outfit to better grasp their imagination. People loved doing this, it could make them feel like nothing could go wrong. One could also go deeper and still imagine that their deceased loved one, like a grandfather was still alive.

Works Cited for Analytical Essay:

Klay, Phil. "After War, a Failure of the Imagination." The New York Times. The New York Times, 8 Feb. 2014. Web. 9 Jan. 2015.

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

"Leadership University." Leadership University. Web. 13 Jan. 2015.

Narrative Essay:

Remember Kadija, I will always be with you. Just remember these words, Always believe in yourself and when you don`t think you can do it, just imagine me there with you.” said my grandfather, laying in the hospital bed.

I hated seeing my hero like this. My grandfather had been diagnosed with lung cancer and was very ill. He had been in the hospital now for about 2 months in and out. I loved him so much. I didn`t know why God did this to such a great man.

The walls were this yucky white color, not the clean holy white color, but the nasty kind that made you feel even worse. The nurses had to make sure to be very careful, because the medicine had made him very frail and weak.

As he told me that, I could see that he really meant it, that he wanted me to succeed and not to let myself go because he was no longer physically here. He will still always be in my heart, because I love him.

“I love you grandpa, you will always be in my heart.”

Those were the last words that I said to him before he died. He died 2 years ago, and I am now in high school. I miss him everyday, but I still can see him sitting on that same chair on the patio every morning. This is when I really started to use my imagination. It made me feel more at ease, to know that my grandfather would always be with me.  

“Girl, go get the shoes that I just put down over there.” my mom said as she put her purse down at the cashier.

My grandfather`s death really hurt my mom the most, going off of the fact that he is her father. I could tell she wanted to be strong for my brother and I, but sometimes at night I could hear her crying softly. She had told us that he would always be here and that he would never be lost.

“ These or the blue ones.”

“The blue ones, I don't wear that kind of stuff, you know that.” mom said angrily.

I'd imagined she'd  say that, but I just wanted to make a joke. I quickly grabbed the blue ones and ran back to the cashier. My mom took out her coupons as she always had. Which reminded me so much of my grandfather, because he was cheap also.

When we got home there was so much stuff on the floor from our yorkie, Fendi. She was so playful and energetic, sometimes even too much sometimes. She had ripped all the paper towels up and messed her food basket all over the floor. I know it was my responsibility to clean after her, so I didn't even fuss. My imagination had come into play when I cleaned. I hated cleaning, but if I'd imagined doing something else, cleaning wouldn't be so bad. When I would sweep, I'd imagine that it was a big tornado and I had to get the little dust ghosts off the floor or they would try and attack me, and I didn't want that. Sooner or later, I would be finished cleaning, so imagining things like that made it easier for me.

When it really helped to use my imagination is when I was getting ready to perform in my ballet group. I was now in 10th grade and I had been in this dance group called Eye Candy Chicks. It was super fun and I got to do what I loved, dance. We had our first real dance show in November of 2013. I had never performed for more than 300 people before. I was panicking and didn`t know if I could do it.

“Ok, your group is next.” said the stage coordinator.

Everything was happening so fast. I looked out on stage from the back and saw how big the crowd was. Everybody was cheering for the people who were performing. They were doing great, I was just wondering if I would be able to be as great. I looked up and closed my eyes. Someone who I loved so much came into my mind, it was my grandfather.

“Hey baby girl, you scared, aren't you?”

It was like he was standing right here with me. He knew exactly how I was feeling.

“Grandpa, is that you?” I asked

“Yes, it`s me, granddad. Something told me that you needed a little advice before your big day.”

“Oh, grandpa, I miss you everyday. I know I could count on you, when I needed you.”

“Yes, baby. What did I say to you when we were at the hospital. Tha-”

“That you would always be in my heart. How could I forget that, and you are always in my heart.”

“Yes, I am, but what else did I say?”

“You said, you said to always believe in myself and never to give up on myself.”

“That`s right pumpkin. Never, never stop believing in yourself. Now go out there and make us proud!”

“Alright, you guys are on in 1 minute.” said the stage coordinator.

I opened my eyes and felt more determined than ever. I looked around at my team and said a little prayer. We held hands and told each other that we believed in one another. My imagination was something that I knew I would always be thankful for. It helped me in so many ways.

“I love you grandpa.” I whispered to myself as we walked on stage.

That night we went out to celebrate. I had finally overcome that fear that I had. Thanks to my grandad, we made first place in our division. Everyone was so proud, just like how my grandad wanted. I could imagine a world where nothing could go wrong, and for the first time, I felt like I was living in it.

“I`m so proud of you sweetheart,” my mom said, as she hugged and kissed on me.

“I talked to grandpa before I went on stage. I was scared, but grandpa talked to me before I went on stage.” I said holding her hand

“Oh, honey. I'm so glad. I`m very happy. You know we all miss and love your grandad.” she said.

She had a little tear in her eye and I know how much she missed grandad. She never really talked to me about him, I guess that was just her way of grieving and coping.

“I know mom, but he`s always going to be right here.” I said as I pointed to her heart and smiled.

I am now enrolled in college at Oklahoma City University of American Dance and Arts Management. I absolutely loved it there. I majored in ballet. The story of my first time performing has followed me this far. I know perform in concerts and I am planning on having my own studio to teach girls that may not be as privileged. I always think of my grandfather and still does all my family. He will be missed, but never forgotten and never gone.

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