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. <>.

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. <>.

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.

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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Screen Shot 2015-01-15 at 8.34.51 AM

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.


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.

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. <>.

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.

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. <>.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.  

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

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.

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.

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.  

Quarter 2 English Benchmark

Analytical Essay:

Love, hate, courage, and fear - all of these are emotions that a human can feel. When a person is in or going into a war, or even an personal battle, they encounter a plethora of feelings. Shame and embarrassment may be principle emotions that they experience. These negative feelings can be forces that propel a character into discovering their true identity because their reaction pushes them to discover new things about themselves. In the sentimental and intimate book, The Things they Carried by Tim O’Brien, soldiers fighting in the Vietnam war experience shame and embarrassment which pushes them into growth and new discoveries.

At the age of twenty one, Tim O’Brien was just graduating from college, he was Phi Beta Kappa and summa cum laude of his class, and he had a full scholarship for graduate studies at Harvard. Suddenly on a June day, he received a draft notice that would halt the course of his life. So he tried to run away to Canada in order to escape deployment. “Even in my imagination, the shore just 20 yards away, I couldn’t make myself be brave. It had nothing to do with mortality. Embarrassment, that’s all it was. And right then I submitted. I would go to the war. I would kill and maybe die - because I was too embarrassed not to.” (page 59) Because Tim was embarrassed of what people would think of him, he decided to respond to the call of duty in Vietnam. This choice pushed him to figure out his identity, who he truly was. In Vietnam, his learned that he never strongly opposed the war to the point that he wouldn’t go or flee to Canada. He found out that he was a man with feelings. He felt bad about making fun of dead bodies. He also could never forgive himself for killing a man. Ultimately, Tim’s feelings of embarrassment led him to discover new things about himself.

Soldiers are often portrayed as heroic men and brave comrades in movies, stories, and etc. However, Tim O’Brien describes them as men afraid for their lives. “For the most part they carried themselves with poise, a kind of dignity. Now and then, however, there were times of panic, when they squealed or wanted to squeal but couldn’t, when they twitched and made moaning sounds…They would touch their bodies, feeling shame, then quickly hiding it.” (page 19) Usually one would think that soldiers are always brave and heroic. However, they are very scared. When they are afraid in battle, they panic and duck for cover. When peace arises, they are ashamed that they got scared, but they find out that they are still alive, and that is all that matters.

The lieutenant of Tim’s platoon, Jimmy Cross, was not mentally present in the war, even though he was physically in the war. He was present in his imagination with his love, Martha. He would dream about her day and night, longing to be with her. But that all ended when one of his soldiers died because of his negligence. “In part, he was grieving for Ted Lavender, but mostly for Martha and for himself, because she belonged to another world… and because he realized she didn’t love him and never would.” (pg. 17) Lieutenant Cross blamed himself for Ted Lavender’s death because he was so busy fantasizing about Martha. Not only did he feel ashamed and embarrassed that this happened, but he was also felt very sorry and grieved. Because of this he decided to cast Martha out of his mind, which forced him to become a stricter and better lieutenant. On marches he would impose stricter disciple, he would be careful to send out flank security, he would keep them moving at a proper pace and interval, and also would demand the men to clean their weapons. He also accepted the blame for what happened to the soldier that died because of his negligence. Being ashamed helped Lieutenant Cross become a better commander.

In an interview about Tim’s intentions behind the book, he talks about how war is an instant catapult to pressuring a character to change. In a war story, there are life and death stakes built in immediately, which apply just by the framework of the story. There is a pressure on characters that in other kinds of fiction one would have to meticulously build. Some of the pressures that the characters face in war cause them to change. Shame is a pressure that was presented in the book. Many of the soldiers felt shame which caused them to mature and develop into better soldiers and men. For instance, an on field medic, Bobby Jorgenson, was ‘incompetent and sacred’. When Tim O’Brien got shot in a battle, he was too sacred to operate on him. He lay there bleeding and almost dead, while Bobby was staring at him in fear and terror, unable to move. It took him ten minutes to finally touch Tim and when he did, he had already lost a lot of blood. Months later after Tim recuperated and could no longer fight, he saw Bobby again and they talked. Bobby was ashamed, to the point of having nightmares about him lying on the ground. So he deeply apologized for what he did. This shame pushed him to mature and become a better medic. In the future, he got pass his fears and helped keep a soldier, named Morty Phillips, alive.

Shame and embarrassment are often emotions that causes someone to change. They help push a character into development because their reaction allows them to discover new things about themselves. The book, The Things They Carried, perfectly captures a ones development from shame to maturity in the setting of combat.

Works Cited for Analytical Essay:

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

  • "Tim O'Brien Article #3." N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Jan. 2015. <>.

Narrative Essay:

My heart was pounding. Ba boom. Ba boom. My knees were shaking and violently grinding against each other. Creek, snap. Creek Snap. My lungs were rasping for breath. Heww huu. Heww huu.

When I first started running, it was one of the most traumatic experiences of my life. I was young, dumb (I thought), and slow. Every time I took a step, my feet felt like they were running barefoot on a floor of nails. It felt like someone was stabbing me with a two-edged dagger in my stomach, and my calf muscles felt like they were being viciously ripped away from my bones.

Because of the pain that I suffered, I became too embarrassed to run. I would compare myself to those who were better and more elite than me and notice how they would never feel any pain. I thought that I was some kind of awkward child because my body was so weak and prone to pain. So I wanted to stop running.

“Mrs. Dunda, I want to quit,” I told my coach.

“Why?” She asked.

“Because it’s painful,” I said in frustration.

“I don’t think you should though.”

“Well I am.” I stormed out of the room.

So that was the end of my running career. Everyday when I came home after school, I headed to the refrigerator, grab a ton of food, ate, and sleep until I was full. This routine became a habit. Go home. Head to the refrigerator. Eat. Sleep. l loved doing this everyday because it was a great way for me to calm my nerves after a stressful day at school. After a month of my gluttony, I gained a ton of weight. I would struggle to put my jeans on, my muscles turned into fat tissue, and I always felt tired. That was the point when I really felt embarrassed because I was no longer the small child I used to.

I tried to everything to lose the weight. I would go on Youtube and follow along with workout videos. I tried almost every diet in the book, from the smoothie diet to just eating a bunch of vegetables. Then I resorted to not eating at all. I would starve myself all day until dinner time, where I would just push the food around on my plate. I wanted to be skinny again, but nothing was working. I considered to run again but I was too embarrassed to feel the pain.

A few weeks went by full of depression because I was fat. So I resorted to my last option: running. It was so hard to take that first step but I did. Soon I found out that when everyone starts running, they feel intense pain, however, when you continue to run, your body is conditioning itself and you no longer feel pain. As I kept running, the pain went away. I became so good that I ran a marathon. Then I kept on running, that I ran my second marathon.

All of the embarrassment that I felt lead me to an shameful season of my life, full of wasted time and a lot of gained weight. But my embarrassment pushed me to become a better athlete and accomplish something that most people will never do.

English Benchmark

Analytical Essay:

Gender stereotypes are a straight line that separate boys from girls; this has been engrained in our society at a young age. An example of a gender stereotype would be if a person had to choose between a doll or a matchbox car, the gender stereotype for the girl would be to choose a doll and the boy to chose the car. Gender stereotypes don’t give people a choice to pick the toy that they would want to play with. A boy would have to play with the matchbox car because playing with the doll is a sign of weakness, and is something that a girl would do, not a boy, because girls are “mommies” and take care of babies. Compared to the past, gender stereotypes have changed, and the mindset of our society is different as well.

In the book “Things they Carried” by Tim O'Brien, Mary Ann comes from America to Vietnam as a sweet seventeen year old girly girl. After living in Vietnam and being around guys with no female role model,  she starts to act more like the boys. This is because she is trying to conform to society’s rules about being social and fitting in with her peers. Since her peers are males, she gradually begins to act more masculine. She also may be acting more this way so the guys don’t perceive her as being weak. Yet, society also makes us conform to gender roles that shape us in the way that other people perceive others. Mary ann doesn’t have a female role model that helped her so she found a male role model to look up to and it changed her behavior from feminine to more masculine.

In Tim O’Brian’s book, the era was different than it is today. This can be seen from this quote on page 90 where the male soldiers say this about Mary Ann:

“I swear to God, man, she's got on culottes. White culottes and this sexy pink sweater. There she is." "No lie," he muttered. "Culottes."”   

During that time, the guys were surprised to see a girl wearing “pants”, as most women only wore skirts and dresses, because that was the stereotype of how females should look and dress.. A girl wearing “culottes” was seen as dressing like a man, and she was noticed and judged for that. But since she didn’t have any female role models and was trying to protect herself, Mary Ann dressed more like the males and broke out of the stereotype.  Another description of Mary Ann’s changing gender stereotypes appears on pg.98, which describes more changes that Mary Ann began to experience:  “Other things, too. The way she quickly fell into the habits of the bush. No cosmetics, no fingernail filing. She stopped wearing jewelry, cut her hair short and wrapped it in a dark green bandanna. Hygiene became a matter of small consequence.”  Mary Ann’s environment started changing her right in the beginning because she is adapting to her environment .She is leaving behind all the things that used to be important to her as a girl, and burying it.  

Mary Ann is breaking society’s rules. and this is highlighting that at that time, there really was an issue with the way men thought of woman and how gender roles are applied. The example from Pg   “You got these blinders on about women. How gentle and peaceful they are. All that crap about how if we had a (GIRL) for president there wouldn't be no more wars. Pure garbage. You got to get rid of that sexist attitude."  Men in that era stereotyped woman, thinking that they can’t be stronger than a man. Basically, women were considered weak and unable to act like a man  or do what men do in any way. This quote shows that there was a changing mindset about women, showing that maybe they could not be emotional about problems like war, and maybe behave the same as men. This shows that the stereotypes about gender roles were changing and that women may be looked at as leaders.

In an interview that Tim O'brien talked about the book.

DB: It's interesting that in "Sweetheart of the Song Tra Bong" a woman actually comes from America to Vietnam.

O'Brien: Right, that story is an example of a woman's presence, but this is striking only because women are so rare. The story's also one of the few cases in the book that is based on reality. A woman did in fact come to Vietnam, an ex-cheerleader, just out of high school, pretty much as I described it. But the rest of the story I invented. I had fun doing it.”

The interview stated that the story about Mary Ann was made up, except for coming into the war. This is just proving that the world is changing and that the mindsets are changing as well. --- NEED MORE..

In conclusion, as shown in Tim O’Brien’s book, the concept of gender roles is a complex issue. and can be influenced by environment, culture, and change. But every day the issue gets smaller and smaller. as the world is becoming  more lenient and the gender stereotypes are not as strong as they used to be. That line is becoming more fluid between men and women.

Works Cited for Analytical Essay:

O'Brien, Tim' The Things They Carried. New York: H, 1990. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Web.

"The Things They Carried." Google Books. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Jan. 2015.

Narrative Essay:

Up in the trees, I could see the world. I was in my own world, nothing else mattered.  My mother came out the door and started yelling at me to get out of the tree.

“You are going to ruin your new dress, Carolyn! Get down NOW!” she yelled.

“ But mom… I don’t even like wearing dresses why do I have to wear them?” I said.

I jumped out of the 10 foot tree. My mother yelled at me after because what I did was reckless and I could have broken something. But I wasn’t scared of anything. My mother is a very nice woman but she didn’t like to be buying new dresses because I get stains she can’t get out. At the ripe old  age of 7, I was an adventurous child, I still am!

I was not a typical girl like all my friends from school. I didn’t like to wear dresses and I didn’t like to paint my nails and get all dolled up. I loved to be outside, in the trees and go into the field that was behind my garage and play baseball with the guys. I was a tomboy and I loved being one. My best friend was a guy, his name was Sean. We would do all the stuff that girls  shouldn’t do like. have a mud fight in the backyard and ruin the grass that my father worked hard on.

          I really couldn’t get along with the girls at my school because they were so boring - all they talked about was clothes and their American Girl dolls. One day at school, I went to talk to the girls. They were talking about how one of the girls likes to play fetch with her puppy. “Ew that’s so gross! All that dirt!”, one of the girls said.

“I play baseball and my best friend Sean and I had a giant mud fight in my backyard! It was so fun! So a little dirt never hurt anyone! “ I said.

“Girls don’t like to play in the mud or play baseball.. That’s what boys do,
one of the girls said.

“Why?” I said.

“I don’t know, that’s just what my mom said,” the girl said.

At the age of 10. I started to become a more “girly girl” because I wanted to fit in now that I was in my double digits. I had to act more adult! One day my mother was putting on makeup.  I asked her “Why do you draw on your face, Mom?” She responded in a calm voice, “I’m just putting on makeup. It’s what women do!” Now of course, I wanted to be more of a grownup woman,  and I did hear the girls talk about how they weren't aloud to wear makeup to school. The next morning, I raided my mother’s makeup stash.  I had no idea what to do or how to even apply it. I saw the blush and since I saw my mother putting some on the previous day. I knew it went on cheeks, so I put some on mine. Correction, I put a lot on mine! My mom walked into the bathroom and saw my face.

“ What are you doing, Carolyn?” She said in a stern voice.  

“I want to show how cool to the other kids that I’m wearing makeup!” I said.

“Here, take this off, you put on way too much red blush! I’ll do your makeup.” She said.

I walked into school feeling all cool, by having makeup on. All the girls were talking in the reading corner and I walked up to them.

“ Omg, are you wearing makeup?” one of the girls said.

“Yes.” I said, all confident.

“That’s so cool. My mom won’t let me wear any.” she said.

“My mom actually gave me some -  would you girls like to try it?” I said.

From that day forward, I fit more into that group. I also got some of the girls to play baseball with me even if It is a boy thing! So  I learned that I can still like both guy and girl things, and that was fine.

As I got older, I learned that gender roles are more about who you are, what you like, who is in your environment and how you adapt to that. Yet, who says we have to adapt? I am still that adventurous girl who loves the outdoors! I also like all the girly stuff too, like wearing dresses and painting my nails. Society expects us to be a certain way and I say who cares! Who cares what people think of you because in the end, it’s what you think of yourself.

The things they carried essay's

Analytical Essay:

The men that go off and face war have not changed from back then to modern day today. They not only face different battles because of new technology, yet they all still love and breathe the same way. It needs to be acknowledged that love never changes and all forms of love are constant throughout life. Love always seemed to be the safety net to our leap of faith with partners in a relationship. Having that scenario play out may seem different... love might have the outer shell of being different but overall in the end, going back to the basics. It is the same as it always has been.

This scene is in the intro and is Jimmy cross giving an explanation of why he has the photographs. He goes into depth of how his love is consistent with Martha. He talks about how he thinks about her all the time. He can’t get her out of his mind. He explains the definition of “humping photographs” which means to carry the pictures around. “Almost everyone humped photographs. In his wallet, Lieutenant cross carried two photographs of Martha. At night, sometimes, lieutenant cross wondered who had taken the picture, because he loved her so much and because he could see the shadow of the picture taker spreading out against the brick wall.” (pg. 4) This whole quote is an example of the love that Jimmy cross felt for Martha as he was in the vietnam war. This is something that many soldiers did at the time. They felt that they needed to focus on love as they were over in battle. It may be seen as an odd thing to do but it is perfectly reasonable and it is needed to focus on the idea of love, not whether or not it is creepy but that it is their way to survive the war and their way of just being humans. Soldiers try to survive any way possible and this is one of the ways that they are able to. Soldiers back then all the way up to current day still use this technique. It makes them feel alive when they are in a desolate place. Love may vary for who loves who, love may vary for whether its successful or not, but love never changes. Whether love is successful or not doesn't mean where and how long they went out for. It means whether they stuck together, through thick and then for each other. A successful relationship is one that is faithful and pure.

Jimmy Cross is time flashing forward into the future. Jimmy cross is talking to Tim O’brien, and he is admitting that he still loves her even after the war. “They’d run into each other, he said, at a college reunion in 1979. Nothing had changed. He still loved her. For eight or nine hours, he told him, they spent most of their time together. There was a banquet and then a dance and then afterward they took a walk across the campus and talked about their lives. “ (pg. 28.) This is a case of love never failing. Even sometimes after the war soldiers will continue their love. Love is strange in the sense that people can pick it up almost anywhere. People tend to automatically lean to hatred so when love comes along, they try and grasp it for all their might. Other’s try and deny love.  Love is all they can rely on when they are told to do the opposite. When people are separated from their loved ones that is the true challenge and test of their faith for each other. It is testing that not only will they stay loyal to each other but it is testing that they will keep interest in each other. Again, it makes them feel human. Love is an instinct for every person and it is in our DNA to love.

Lieutenant cross in this quote, is off in another world. He is stationed in vietnam, but his mind is afar, thinking about Martha. “Lieutenant Cross gazed at the tunnel. But he was not there. He was buried with Martha under the white sand at the jersey shore. They were pressed together, and the pebble in his mouth was her tongue.” (pg. 12) This is another example of Lieutenant Cross being faced with the struggle of not being able to be with his “girl”. He is doing whatever he can to think of Martha. He was picturing himself with her and a pebble as martha’s tongue to stimulate the emotion of actually being with her. But this is also a good example of how love stays constant. He loved Martha with a deep passion and he loved her so deeply that he put a pebble in his mouth just to feel like he was with her. He represented the love that he created in his mind around her completely with just one pebble. The ironic thing about love is that love doesn’t just come out of anywhere either. It has to be based off of something. There needs to be a spark to light the fuse. And with Martha there was no spark, but the spark that lit Cross’ fuse was when he touched Martha’s leg in their so called date.

Love has always stayed constant throughout life. It is the people who translate it into different scenarios. It is them being afraid of facing love. They are not ready for love. It is something that they are cowering from. In the things they carried, Martha is the one that is cowering from love and Lieutenant Cross is embracing it. Love is sure as hell not a piece of cake, but it isn’t that difficult to achieve. Love comes naturally. All it takes is a little bit of effort from both parties. Love is not something that can just fade out. It has it’s ups and downs but stays pure throughout the end. Lieutenant stayed faithful to Martha (even though they weren’t “together”). He kept his promise and he was able to focus on her and her alone.

Works Cited for Analytical Essay:

Narrative Essay:

Love was never something I experienced as I was growing up. Don’t get me wrong, my parents are the most loving parents(most of the time) you could get, but when you’re a short chubby blonde kid, nobody wants be “boyfriend and girlfriend” with you. I never understood just even close to what the general idea of love. I realized in 9th grade that the idea of love is not just a specific idea. Or at least at the time, i thought love was just a bunch of crazy awesome ideas mashed into one. I lived about a year under the impression of this. And then Anna Sugrue said something to me in a conversation we were having about love. Somehow the conversation lead into the necessities of love and thats when she told me her definition of love. “Love is a complex theory. I compare love to how i love a family member of mine. If one of these family members were to die, I would be absolutely devastated and would want to die. Now of course, if the person I “loved” died, i would be disappointed and sad but only could I say I loved them if I could not love without them. If they were to die so shall I.” After she said this, I pondered over it for the next couple of days. I was honestly dumbfounded. I knew she was right, she had completely stumped me. I had said it in a previous relationship and I knew right away that I didn’t mean it. Of course I thought I meant it, but my heart didn’t mean it. It was at this point did I realize that there is a fine line between liking somebody, and loving them. In this essence, love is always constant in whether love is present or not.

As a child of divorce and remarriage I have seen love die and then form again. My parents became separated on january 11th, 2001. My parents were together for 11 years and married for 4 and a half years. When they separated, I was 3 years of age. I don’t really remember much of the separation but I remember going back and forth from house to house. At that time, and still currently, I live my life around going back and forth. My life schedule revolves around every other week. I automatically had two of everything. A common misconception that I have heard from first hand experience is that divorce is good because of getting two of everything. “You get two birthday’s, two christmas’, etc..”(-Serge) This statement needs to be put to rest. Man is not meant to go through divorce and separation. Man is supposed to be with their spouse through death after marriage. As a christian, I believe that the bond between a man and his wife is something eternal. It is not something that you can just leave and not still be attached to. I do not believe in divorce. I have realized that when you are a child of divorce you grow up in 4 different states of minds, two of which can collaborate with each other. “The lack of attention due to the divorce. 2. Too much attention due to the divorce. 3. Growing up in the state of mind that they have to keep people at arms length. 4 And the last one is to feel that they have no love and constantly have to fill that void.” I realized these state of minds when I was in 9th grade and ever since then i have tried watching kids through divorce and separation and see how they cope with it. I started to notice these state of minds because they were state of minds that I had previously lived my life through.

One of my ex’s lives through number’s 1 and 4. Though her parents are not divorced she is adopted and I noticed that through just that she started to live in that state of mind. This also affects your relationships as well. This affects your entire life. It is how you communicate to people. When we were in a relationship I noticed that she dove in right away. She is not the easiest person to be friends with because of the fact that she is always looking for love, she will end up cheating too find love from anybody that is willing to give her love, and to rehash old drama to get more attention which she would then convert to love.

The Yellow Birds BM

Analytical Essay:

No one ever stays the same. With people, it is common find that they are different depending on their years; someone aged 12 will be different than 22 or very different than 42 and even more different at 82. Aside from genetics, much of this comes through circumstance and change resulting around them. Some of this results in more worldly circumstances, like a leader in rights movement, others is more personal, like becoming  mature after becoming a parent. In the book “The Yellow Birds” by Kevin Powers it’s main character, Private Bartle, specifically dramatic changes as the result of his circumstances. Thoughtout the book, the author demonstrates that one’s self will either adjust to the changing world; or it will not, the former of which will be easier than the later.  

In the Book “The Yellow Birds,” Bartle begins to recant his decision to join the army, remembering when he was bullied; “Pushed you around in the cafeteria,... because you liked reading books and poems… they’d call you fag.”(Pg. 145) This circumstance in Bartle's life, caused a big shift in his identity to show his manliness, and begins to set in motion the entire book. So his identity would forever be altered by this change in his world.

Kevin Powers later shows the change war has on people with the, self explanatory saying from Private Murph, with the thoughts from Private Bartle, “Holy shit, that bitch got murdered.” Murph said. There was no grief, or anguish, or pity in that statement.” (Pg.22) In sections that showed who Private Murph, demonstrated he was more on the sensitive side, who even kept a token of his old girlfriend with him, so to him to such a relaxed attitude to death, especially one so sudden is a bit of a culture shock for the readers. The author has shown this, in order to demonstrate how one needs to adjust to how their world has changed. Bartle and Murph would never have been able to survive as long as they did, or at all had they not trained themselves to see death on such a large and grand scale. And while it would have been hard to adjust to such a grim reality, not doing so would almost certainly have resulted in their death or at least a much more traumatic experience for the soldiers by the fact of having to adjust to such a dark reality in the moments that they lived in them. In this case “Bliss through Ignorance” is a common phrase that fits this situation.

The author also touched on this in an interview about the book, in which he stated “I was interested in trying to describe this state between apprehension and comprehension. That is one of the primary characteristics of the experience of being at war: it's so intense and you don't have time to process.” What the author is saying here is that trying to process it, like previously mentioned, is almost impossible to do, due to the traumatising atmosphere that war breeds and creates. Trying to process what happened in such a chaotic and volatile situation isn’t good for the human mind to take, so the book truly follows in the thesis and “adjusts) to the changing world”, in this case the changing world is the war that they are in and are forced to adjust to this extreme circumstance.

The changing world thesis can be attributed to the the basic theory of evolution- and how those that are able to adapt are also the ones the survive. In the book “The Yellow Birds”  Kevin Powers has shown how changing world and circumstance has affected his characters and the reasoning behind it. Within an individual's lifetime the world will likely change and sift many times, either in political, social or some other kind of feeling many times, as shown in “The Yellow Birds” and demonstrates how important for an individual's lifespan to evolve with the times.

Works Cited for Analytical Essay:

Narrative Essay:

Evolution's a funny thing isn't it? How nature becomes the ultimate judgement on what stays and what leaves. Try try as we might, eventually nature, both outside and; in this case specifically to ourselves chooses what stays and what leaves. Within the past few years I have; evolved so much so that I consider myself almost, if not completely different from the boy I was, even five years ago. Most, if not all of it included changes to my own world, big and small, that would have lasting effects in me.

For a long time I was bullied, because I was perceived as being gay, even though I wasn’t comfortable even thinking about the possibility myself. I had this terrible notion, from what I gathered from being around those classmates, that being gay meant I couldn't be the best of myself, that I couldn’t be the “ultimate me” in a sense. However on one of our last class trips as part of our 8th grade perks, I began to feel sad I would have to say goodbye to a particular classmate. I didn’t know him particularly well, nor did I consider myself to be good friends with him, but I felt a twinge of sadness at the prospect of saying goodbye, more so than many other classmates.

Eventually on the trip I had considered the idea that I might be attracted to him but kept going back and forth on it. Eventually when we got to the restaurant, a Chinese one at that, a received a fortune cookie. And would you have it I received the most, situation appropriate fortune. “In order to get the Rainbow, you have to get through the rain.” And when I saw it I felt as though the fates were whispering, or more accurately screaming at me and through it I felt a wide cocktail of feelings that pointed towards that I might be a little, if not completely gay. To delay the inevitable is to prolong needless suffering, I’ve often found. In this case it was very soon, that I started to accept who I was and it made life easier for myself a lot more than if I had continued to neglect that part of my life.

After coming out i was able to be more open with myself and to others, I felt more risk taking and felt I could connect to people since connecting to myself. I often think of it as if my ribs were broken open and my soul flew free. Allowing myself to be stuck inside of what I had as a pre-notion of my life wouldn’t have been at beneficially to me, instead it ultimately would have been harmful for my mental well being. Adapting to my changing world was unquestionably for the better and am glad I did so.

Self And Changing World BM Angelo Casasanto

Analytical Essay:

The world that in which all of us live in is constantly changing. Take a step back and look at the ways that the whole world strives to be aligned with the latest in technology advancements, and the most recent ideals that even go so far to question the idea of war and death as a part of life. The majority of the world will almost always come up with something that helps them hang on for a while. Humans have such an unquenchable thirst for the newest, most entertaining ideals that they tend to forget about the past or the things that happened to them that really matter.

In the book, The Yellow Birds, war veteran Kevin Powers really brought across his thinking and actions during the war through his writing, which is something no other veteran it seems was able to.  On page eleven of the book the main character, Bartle says,"I was not surprised by the cruelty of my ambivalence back then. Nothing seemed more natural than someone getting killed." When he speaks of this ambivalence he simply means that in the state of war his character was overwhelmed by his surroundings and the seriousness of it all that he began to question his original feelings of being there in the first place. He originally didn’t care for death but as the world around him began to change, he quickly began to rethink his position on death.

Later in the book, after Bartle had been sensitized to war, he saw a lot of death and destruction, and he even watched his good friend die. Afterwards he said the following. "It made me feel fine to be walking alone in the rain that day... I began to feel a kind of calm when I passed the townspeople. I couldn't have placed it then, but now, looking back, there was a peace in the absence of talk." After being on the war front for a while he doesn’t seem to understand that people are actually losing their lives and that his friends and team are the one there causing that damage. When he was put into this new environment he slowly began to change. The old Bartle before the war wouldn’t have found peace in the absence of talk, he would have found the opposite.  

In an interview conducted by in which they interviewed Kevin Powers in realation to his book. In that interview he said, "The most meaningful praise I've gotten is from other vets who've said that I was able to articulate something that they had been feeling for a really long time but hadn't been able to express." The reason that he was able to articulate these feelings that other vets have is he was there just like they were and he understands that although he was stationed there and it was his job, war is a hard thing to handle. And these vets, just like he did, made up emotions or ideals that allowed them to cope with the devastation.

          In conclusion, although veterans and people who never been to war have totally different ideals, it still relates to them because the whole world can think back to a point in their lives when they strived for something other than what they currently think/have. Humans have such an unquenchable thirst for the newest, most entertaining ideals that they tend to forget about the past or the things that happened to them that really matter.

Works Cited for Analytical Essay:

"'Yellow Birds' Author Kevin Powers Talks about Iraq War, Returning Vets."KNS. Knoxnews, n.d. Web. 14 Jan. 2015. <>.

Powers, Kevin. The Yellow Birds: A Novel. New York: Little, Brown, 2012. Print.

Narrative Essay:

In my life there has always been a way for me to drown out the struggles of the real world. Weather it be my family life, school work, friendships and hardships. Technology has been a key factor in this problem. It gives us the opportunity to escape from the real world and immerse ourselves in a cyber paradise that mostly all of us have been to. Just like in The Yellow Birds where Bartle and his co-soldiers escape to a place in their minds where they can accept what is happening to them on another level.

In the year 2008, my father had a stroke. It was very serious, in fact he was in the hospital for almost an entire year due to a brain aneurysm rupture. Now I was young and this was very hard for me to handle. For the first couple months my brothers and I didn’t even know what was going on. Then when we didn’t see dad for a while, and our out of state family started flying in we knew something was wrong. I’ll never forget when my Aunt Linda took me and my older brother out on the front step and said, “Guys, your dad is in the hospital and it doesn’t look like he’s going to make it.” Joe and I looked at each other and couldn’t believe our ears.

For a while I was sad, very sad, I would cry my eyes out at night because I knew that my dad might never come home. This was when I became a really big video game person. The first game I bought after this was the very first Rock Band 2 bundle for the Xbox 360. If it wasn’t for this game, for the entirety of the year 2009 I would have been very depressed. But every time I started thinking of my dad I would just turn the Xbox on and play like 20 songs on the drum kit and then sing a couple, this was the only way I could keep my mind off of my dad. Then he came home after a few more months, the doctors said it was a miracle, he had a 95% chance of dying. It was odd though, when I first saw him after all this I felt like he was never gone to begin with.

Not to make whoever’s reading this pity me but I had a pretty rough childhood. After all that brain aneurysm business, my parents split up. Only 6 months or so after my dad got home. I guess being away from each other for so long killed the love. Anyway when they filed for divorce I was angry. Angry enough to get suspended from school. I fought some kid Alex in sixth grade because he said something about my parents. Then 2010 began the cycle of switching between houses. I hated it. This was around the time that I just started to make friends, I started to make my own life outside of my family. I just couldn't deal with all of the fighting and problems anymore. I met this kid Paul who was going through similar problems with his family and to this day we are still friends. We stuck through it all and I'm still switching houses, which sucks but sometimes in life you don't get a choice and you just have to keep rolling with the changes.

All throughout my childhood life I've had hardships. Some that would make most people insane. But with a little help from my friends, technology, and a positive attitude I got through it all and I'm still trucking.

Self And Changing World BM

Analytical Essay:

War is a dangerous place. It is not only a place of life or death physically but also mentally. As it has been proven time and time again soldiers coming “home” from war are likely to have psychological issues. This is a topic that is talked about a lot in “The Yellow Birds” by Kevin Powers. The main character Bartle struggled immensely with returning home after war. “Home” is in quotation marks because as Bartle says throughout many of the chapters in the book, the home he left from never felt the same when he returned. His world changed the moment he joined and would never be the same.  As the world changes around a person it can be a shock to the system. People deal with this change differently, some may be ready to face their fears and face the change head on. Others that aren’t as ready to face the change seclude themselves so they do not to have to face the reality of their world changing. But the time will come, sooner or later, that they will have to face the change.

Bartle was in his early 20’s when he came back from his tour in Iraq. He had witnessed things that a civilian should never have to witness. When he was deployed he, and others, would often talk about going home and being reunited with love ones. What they didn’t know was how it would feel to be back home. Home was unrecognizable. Everything he had thought about as his home, now seemed to be totally different. “I was disappearing. It was as if I stripped myself away in that darkened bedroom… I would be another number for the cable news shows.”(pg.111) Bartle was going into a new phase in his life he felt as though everything he knew before, he was losing. He felt like he was losing himself. It is interesting how the one thing Bartle and his friends talked about was going home, but now that he was there, he wanted to be anywhere else. Such a big part of what was his entire life was before, was now changing right in front of him but he didn’t feel ready or comfortable with the change.  

Bartle thought on at least one occasion that the life he was now living, at home, wasn’t real. The mindset of being at war had taken over his mind and there was no going back. “The rest is history, they say. Bullshit, I say. It’s imagination or it’s nothing, and must be, because what is created in this world, or made, can be undone, unmade.” (pg. 100) Bartle is mad at the world. He is mad that it’s changing, and even more importantly, his world is changing. His world isn’t changing in a small way either, it is changing in a sever way in which it will never be the world he lived in before he went to the war.

He had gone through many different traumatic incidents but when one of the most traumatic happen his world changed possibly the most. He didn’t handle it well. “By the time autumn came again I was firmly settled in the old gasworks building at the edge of the river. My life was small. I lived in an apartment on an upper floor and had little in the way companionship.” (pg. 177) Bartle feels like he no longer fit in anywhere so he separated himself from everyone. He wanted to run away from the reality of his life. His real life was quickly changing and he felt as though he could not handle it. The best way for him to deal with this was to simply shut it out for as long as possible.

In an interview with the author, Kevin Powers, he said, "The most meaningful praise I've gotten is from other vets who've said that I was able to articulate something that they had been feeling for a really long time but hadn't been able to express." This shows that the author's motivation for writing this book was to articulate something that other soldiers and vets didn't know how to put into words. This gave other veterans a voice that they didn't have before. The story was written as his outlet. It isn’t always necessary for a support system to be a human being but anyway to talk about the feelings bottled up inside.

People deal with changes in the world differently and there are factors that play into the way they handle the situation. Some people that are  in the midst of a change, will introvert themselves and not share what they are going through with anyone. This leads to their emotions being bottled up. People that have found a way to talk about what they are going through usually have a healthier life. People have a different way of going through change, Bartle handled it one way and the author a different way.

Works Cited for Analytical Essay:

Narrative Essay:

Change is scary. When I changed from elementary school to high school, I happened to go with a lot of my friends. For a while I would only hang out with my friends from elementary school because I felt comfortable around them. I had known them for years, they were familiar. We all stuck together, we had planned to do that for the next four years. I would say what we did was common. Not many people branched out at first. I think this helped me a lot. I could get over fear of being in high school and then I would later find new friends and branch out.

Bartle did not do this. He wanted no recollection of what happened abroad and would try his hardest to forget. This meant not getting back together with friends from his platoon. I think if he had gotten together with them it would have made the transition easier, like it did for me and my friends. When you have a support system around you it makes it a lot easier for you to be able to talk and face changes head on and feel more comfortable about who you are and the situation you are in. When you surround yourself with people that understand what you are going through they can not only be there for you but you can also be there for them. It makes the change easier to get through and less painful when you can talk about it.

My grandfather has been in a wheelchair my entire life. When I was little I didn’t like how much attention would be brought on me when I was out with him. I felt like everyone was looking at me, my solution was to hide. I would hide behind coat racks, my mom, anything I could find. Since he lives in England I didn’t ever have time to get used to it, by the time I would get any less uncomfortable, we would be coming home. It wasn’t until I became much more sure of myself that I was comfortable with others staring at us as when we were out. I realized that the most important thing was to have self confidence. When Bartle came home he was uncomfortable with himself, which made him want to hide. He became introverted and didn’t want to be around others.

Going to my Grandfather’s house was always like going to a new land, everything seemed to be new. I felt uncomfortable and didn’t know how to handle it. I, much like Bartle, handled my discomfort internally. I was uncomfortable with being somewhere new, Bartle wasn’t somewhere new, he was in the place he grew up the same place he had spent so much of his life. But to him it wasn’t old it was a whole new place with because he changed, he wasn’t the same. He wasn’t comfortable with what he had become into.

I was 12 when my step father moved in with my mom and I. It was the biggest change I have ever encountered. It had been my mom and I since I was 6 months old and I wasn’t ready for that to change. I felt like he was invading my world. My step dad is a really nice person, but he was a major change in my world. I couldn’t talk to my mom about it because she would think I was just being mean. I kept it all to myself and it felt like at any moment I might explode.

Nothing is ever the same after the life change. The thing that distinguishes people is how they deal with it. For me in different situation I react differently. Bartle bottled his up all of the time and the author wrote all of his feelings in a book. There may not be a clear idea at the time of what to do but if you talk about what you are going through it will have a positive effect on your physical and mental health.