Symbolism in "The Outsiders"

S.E Hinton’s The Outsiders is a book about a boy named Ponyboy who is apart of a gang called the Greasers. Through symbolism, the main character in the book sees his true potential and how he should never lose who he is. But, in an environment where crime runs rampant, and discrimination between gangs is the norm it turns out to be harder to stay the person he wants to be most in life.

During one scene in the book (Pg 77) Ponyboy recites a poem to Johnny. Neither of them get what it means, until Johnny says ”Stay gold, ponyboy, stay gold…” on his death bed to Ponyboy (Pg 148). At first Ponyboy has know idea what he was talking about, until he receives an old letter from Johnny in his Gone with the Wind book. Johnny wrote it before he died. It explains what he thinks the poem meant, and what he meant by “stay gold”. One interpretation  behind this quote was to stay who you are no matter what pushes you not to be. Johnny believed in Ponyboy, that he could always be himself, that he would never be changed by all these outside forces. Every moment of our lives are precious, and we shouldn't waste them being someone else because of the unsatisfying circumstances we may live in.

After finding out Cherry has become a “spy” for the greasers, Ponyboy is in shock wondering why Cherry would do such a thing. “No, it wasn’t cherry the soc who was helping, it was Cherry the dreamer who watched sunsets, and couldn’t stand fights. It was hard to believe a soc would help us, even a Soc who dug sunsets. “ This quote really got to me because it brought up a recurring topic in the story; sunsets. Throughout the book certain characters, especially ponyboy talk about sunsets, particularly how they like to watch them. He also uses it on other characters, like Cherry. It seems to be used as a good, redeeming quality. It shows how lighthearted both characters are, even one from a rival gang. It is also used it johnny’s explanation for “staying gold”. Watching sunsets is one of Ponyboy’s many qualities to keep Johnny in believing in him. Watching sunsets is a way to show a person’s softer side, a way to give the characters dreams and aspirations, not to just live in the moment, but for the new ones too.

This isn’t a quote, but an object in the book that is surrounded by multiple quotes. It is the book Gone with the Wind. It particularly has to do with the character johnny. On pages 75 to 76 It talks about how he loves the book and he can truly understand and relate to it. The book also shows ponyboy how deep of a person johnny is when analyzing it. Then on pages 178 to 179 you see the letter Johnny left for Ponyboy before he died. It was in between one of the pages of the book Gone with the wind. He left it in the book that represented him the most when it came to who he was on the inside. He may have seemed like just some “dumb greaser” to most people, and even to some of his friends he wasn’t any better than that. But, within that book he is so much more. He’s kind, thoughtful, and deep person, and the only other person who knew that was Ponyboy, the person who the letter in Gone with the Wind is directed too. He also mentions Dally, one of the other characters he was also close to, who may have understood him more than people thought. Overall this book represented a different side to Johnny, and even a different side we have in all of us.

There are other people who share my ideas with symbolism and the meaning of the book and well as have conflict with them. Michael J. Twinsburg from Teen Ink said The book has a strong message of staying young and innocent. It teaches us not to create a shell to block emotions and the importance of friendship.” The book did have a message of staying young and innocent, but I also thought it was saying it is possible to stay true to yourself for the rest of your life. But, it does teach us the importance of friendship, seeing how much of a strong bond the whole gang has, especially Ponyboy, and johnny.

Symbolism is important to the book because without it there are no central ideas you get from it. Sure you could state it through text, but it’s so much more realistic and interesting to figure out what it means. I think this story does a great job at using symbolism, at taking small details and making some of them the main theme of the book. We see a main focus of identity, people acting one way for some people, and another way to other. The main character is unsure who he is, who he wants to be, or he will inevitably become. Without symbolism I don’t think I could ever get the real effect from this theme. From just sunsets, gone with the wind, and a letter I see no matter who you are, or what situation you are in you should always be the best version of yourself, which for Ponyboy is who he is right now.

Works Cited for Analytical Essay:

  1. Hinton, S. E. The Outsiders. New York: Viking, 1967. Print.

  2. Twinsburg, Michael J. "The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton." The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. Teen Ink, n.d. Web. 15 Jan. 2015.

Q2: Self and the Changing World


Analytical Essay:

Unfortunately  we as humans are forced to adapt to change in order to continue living. In The Yellow Birds, Bartle serves as a machine gunner in Iraq with his friend Murch while keeping a promise to his best friends Mother. Promising to bring Murph home and to keep him safe. Bartle’s responsibilities are now altered for now he must take care of two people instead of one; himself and Murph. With a new weight on him shoulders, Bartle is hit with another level of anxiety and stress. Everyday life is always at a constant state of change. We as humans have no choice but to adapt to this change especially if it changes for the worse. As a result of choosing to adapt to change, humans live a melancholic lifestyle as a part of them still living in the past.

In order to accept change, the person needs to accept the future leave the past behind. However it is not always the easiest thing for a person to comprehend. “I didnt want to believe that I was watching the actions of someone who was already dead, so I searched for evidence that would contradict this; I searched for some grasp, at least, at life.” (p.159) Bartle doesn’t want to believe that Murph was gone. Even when Bartle went to go talk to his sergeant, the Sergeant basically shut him down and told him to give up on Murph.

A quote of Kevin Powers is “As human beings, we have 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.” How quickly one can adapt to any type of situation is a skill most if not all soldiers require while serving. Powers is trying to get across that all soldiers are faced with physical and mental pain and they have no choice but to adapt to the melancholy environment.

In conclusion, Kevin Powers’s message through the book is how fast something can change and how humans adapt to the environment. That change come unexpected and no matter how extreme the circumstances are, they eventually become normal.

Luke Risher, Gold, english benchmark (A band)

Analytical Essay:

In David Sedaris’s When You Are Engulfed In Flames, he shows himself to be an unusually skilled writer. The book is a collection of twenty-two essays from over many years of his life, covering a range of topics. The author has a unique voice which uses elaborate metaphors, fringe content, and unusual description. David Sedaris breaks the normal rules of fiction through structure, writing style, and content. This is what makes the writing appealing and keeps the reader interested.

The selection below comes from an essay in the book called “Town and Country,” a short section where the author describes his companions on a plane ride. He thought that they were sophisticated, but they sat next to him and cursed like sailors. In this quote he is making his final reflections on them.

“I wished I could spend a week or two invisibly following behind them and seeing the world through their eyes. ‘Thanksgiving dinner my ass,’ I imagined them saying.

It was late afternoon by the time we arrived at LaGuardia.” (p. 168)

This is an example of the unique storyline. It would require the whole chapter to truly illustrate the vastness of the irregular storyline; but in this selection one sees how the author moves off the topic of the couple and starts a different part. The space between the sentences is how it is read. One story drops off and the other starts. This new part is a completely separate story about a cab driver that lectured Sedaris on sex. The cab driver brags about his sex life, this and that story climaxes with him yelling at the cab driver. Then the essay goes on and talks about his humorous discussion on sex with his sister. The last two are woven together in the end. He talks about how he was very negative to the taxi driver who told him to have a drink and watch porn, yet he was at his sister’s house laughing at an animal porn magazine. This larger essay has several examples of the writer’s unique style. Firstly, the storyline is not at all linear. The events are in chronological order, but not related. You have the entire storyline of the old couple and then the driver, then him at his sister’s house. Only the taxi story has a climax. The scene at his sister’s ends with a reflection on the parallels between the taxi driver’s suggestion and his situation. The first scene has some reflection, but mostly is just stating the story. A main characteristic of David Sedaris’s writing is he doesn’t connect it to larger ideas or talk about any larger concept of life or morals. Most writers (when recounting a story like this) consider the “resolution” part of the story line a solution. A greater idea is conveyed, the readers come away with something learned. David Sedaris just leaves the story sitting, without themes. In a way, he is saying, I will write for the sake of using words to tell just a scene.

The following section was taken from an essay titled “The Understudy.” Sedaris is recalling an experience with a baby sitter. She was not the regular one, and in this story he shows how she was a remarkably bad one. This section is where he is describing how he and his sibling wrote down their observations and theories about the baby sitter in a notebook. “There were pages of them, all written in desperate scrawl, with lots of exclamation points and underlined words. It was the sort of writing you might do when the ship is going down, the sort that would give your surviving loved ones an actual chill” (pg. 22). He uses strong language--“desperate scrawl” for example. This is also an extensive metaphor. It requires the reader to keep up with what is happening. While this isn’t unheard of it is more uncommon. This shows the flourishes that David Sedaris uses in his writing. It would have meant the same thing if he had said it was written sloppily, but the way he wrote it was much more interesting. The reader is intrigued by the way things are written, and how the author uses such uncommon descriptions.

This section is the very start of an essay titled “What I learned.” In it, David Sedaris talks about his experience of his college and post-college years. This is the very start of the essay. “as when I went to Princeton things were completely different. This chapel, for instance—I remember when it was just a clearing, cordoned off with sharp sticks. … this was before Jesus Christ. We worshipped a God named Sashatiba, who had five eyes, including one right here, on the Adam’s apple. None of us ever met him, but word had it that he might appear at any moment, so we were always at the ready. Whatever you do, don’t look at his neck, I used to tell myself.” This shows the kind of crazy metaphors that are used. This entire passage has little to do with what the writer is actually trying to communicate. It is an  elaborate metaphor., but also it is described in such depth. It is almost as if it were a truth. This style of using a metaphor for a very long time, or going into a strange description is used through out the book. Many readers will find this section  amusing purely because the absurdity of it. “We worshipped a God named Sashatiba” (made up) and “don’t look at his neck” are completely random details.  Any teacher would tell their pupils to take this out as it was confusing to the reader and had no real purpose. These elaborate metaphors keep the reader interested because they require one’s  attention. As a reader you might skim over this and be confused or lost, as stated the absurdity is funny. These seemingly random long descriptions provide humor, require thinking, and interest the reader. This is a large part of David Sedaris's writing and a reason why he is a good writer.

This is a book review of When You Are Engulfed In Flames published through the Independent, a mainstream UK news website. “David Sedaris is like being tickled on the ribs by someone you love: you laugh hysterically, feel a mixture of excitement and irritation, and instinctively wriggle away as exhaustion sets in. Sedaris writes about his everyday life, the co-stars being his family, partner Hugh, friends and neighbours.” The way Sedaris writes is what causes the “excitement” and humor. His way of writing is so different and counter to standard methods it creates these feelings. The quote says “a mixture of excitement and irritation.” The “irritation” comes from not being able to understand the interlaying and random paths of the story. It’s not  the way our brains are wired or taught to read in. It provides a break from the norm and excitement because of that. Although Sedaris writes about his “everyday life,” the book is very interesting. The way he uses metaphors and throws in seemingly random thoughts is fresh, unexpected, and exciting.

The way the book was written has a drastic impact on the reader. The peculiar writing style of David Sedaris brings out a level of interest that is deeper than the specific interest in  events of the story. These stories could not be standard on a  usual story-structure map. The stories go in too many directions and don’t have enough action to be centralized in a climax. In many cases, multiple separate stories are told in one section. Unique flourishes of language and complex  metaphors engage the reader. The way David Sedaris writes using metaphors, storyline (or lack there of), and description is the key to his success as a writer.


Sedaris, David. When You Are Engulfed in Flames. New York: Little, Brown, 2008. 323. Print.

"When You Are Engulfed In Flames, by David Sedaris." The Independent. Independent Digital News and Media. Web. 16 Jan. 2015. <>.

Flashback Writing Technique in 'Their Eyes Were Watching God'

A story sometimes begins with an ending. You see the result before knowing the cause. In ‘Their Eyes Were Watching God’, this a technique used to introduce the reader to the main character, Janie. Starting with the end leads into a flashback on Janie’s life. Flashbacks provide the cause for the effect.

Flashbacks are used to give a first person point of view on an event that has already happened to a character. An example of a flashback is the ballad, ‘A Cruel Mother. In this the mother looks back on her child’s birth, life, and death. The different about the flashback in ‘Their Eyes Were Watching God’ is that the flashbacks are in third person point of view. By having it this way, you don’t get to see one specific character’s point of view. This allows for an overview of the overall event.

For some people the beginning of the ‘Their Eyes Were Watching God’ might be a bit confusing. As George Stevens of The Saturday Review of Literature had stated, ‘ begins awkwardly with a confusing and unnecessary preview of the end…..’. Some people might find it a bit confusing but it gives the reader a lead to the flashback. It is also a way to show what people thought of Janie’s decisions and the flashback gives the explanation.

Events form people’s opinion around a certain thing. When the neighbors see Janie walking back to her house in the first chapter, they start to criticize her because of her choices. Those choices are pulled out of context until we are given a look back into Janie’s life, “Naw, ‘tain’t nothin’ lak you might think. So ‘tain’t no use in me telling you somethin’ unless Ah give you de understandin’ to go ‘long wid it.” Janie’s choices and motivation are unknown to the reader when you first start to read. Flashback allows the motivation to slowly be shown and allows us to see what decisions Janie made in her life.

In ‘Their Eyes Were Watching God’ not even some of the characters knew the entire story. They just knew Janie off of the decisions she made while she was around them, but those decisions were influenced by events further in her past. “Ah know exactly what Ah git to tell yuh, but it’s hard to know where to start at.” When Janie tries to explain herself, she is not sure where to start for people  to be able to understand her basis for all decisions. She knew people didn’t understand and that they were judge  her for that and in order to explain there was a point in her life when she learned a lesson and used that lesson throughout her life.

Coming home, the only person who seems to want to understand Janie is her friend Pheoby. The other women in the town gossip about what she had down, running away with a younger man. On the other hand Pheoby knows that there are probably reasons and just because Janie isn’t telling anymore it doesn’t mean there aren’t any. “It’s hard for me to understand what you mean, de way you tell it. And then again Ah’m hard of understanding’ at times.” When Janie gives an explanation of why she is gone so long, it doesn’t make as much sense until Janie goes further back into her past.

Flashbacks give imagery to a book. Without them, we can only see the effects instead of the reasons. Sometimes a flashback not only helps the reader but the character as well. ‘Thier Eyes Were Watching God’ is a perfect example of that. We are shown characters in the first chapter who only saw the effects of Janie’s decisions and never the intentions. In order for them to fully see Janie and understand her, Janie has to go further in her life to give those intentions that they are missing from the overall full story. In explaining to the characters, she is also explaining through the reader. Thus the characters are discovering a new side to Janie at the same time that the reader is.


Hurston, Zora Neale. Their Eyes Were Watching God: A Novel. New York: Perennial Library, 1990. Print.

"Hurston Reviews." Hurston Reviews. Web. 12 Jan. 2015. <>.

Perceptiveness and Symbolism

Harper Lee’s famous novel To Kill A Mockingbird is simply iconic. It is known for its ability to portray innocence interpreting the depths of racism. It is also known for its theme of appearance vs. reality. With a 9 year old narrator living in the 1930’s in a small southern town, readers would think this would be a fairly easy read. However, the amount of symbolism and imagery in this story makes the reader take a second look into the life of the small town. The symbolism in To Kill A Mockingbird helps the reader understand the naivety of the narrator, and also helps them realize that they must look from a different perspective to fully grasp the idea of symbols. This is important to the experience of the reader because it shows them how to see multiple outlooks of various characters in the story.

Symbolism is used everyday in all media.  It is the use of a relatable or popular topic, comparing it to what a story is trying to portray, and letting a subject or audience interpret it. It appears on almost every page in To Kill A Mockingbird, because the narrator, Scout, is 9 years old and cannot comprehend some of the racist attitudes going around in her town. The reader becomes immersed in her mind because they see through her eyes. Atticus, her father, is the main source of symbolism for her in the story. He explains much of what she does not understand to her and gives her many life lessons she can use throughout the book. One lesson he gives her is, “It’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.” When she did not understand this she asked her neighbor what it meant. Her neighbor explained, “Mockingbirds don't do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don't eat up people's gardens, don't nest in corncribs, they don't do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That's why it's a sin to kill a mockingbird." Anyone would interpret this as do not kill a certain type of bird with a slingshot, but it is a key example of symbolism in the book. As the reader begins to see certain racially biased events unfold in the town, they understand that innocent people are being harmed and wronged. They slowly make the realization, with the help of Scout, that these innocent people are “mockingbirds” and that to be a mockingbird means that someone does no harm to anyone but it punished anyway. In order to grasp this ideal, they must look from a different perspective.

The naivety of Scout helps the reader to step outside of their own minds, and jump into a younger one. However it can hinder their ability to decipher what some symbolic effects really stand for. Thomas DiPiero, an English professor at the University of Rochester stated, “The challenge in reading this great American novel is not to be beguiled by its form. Remember that it’s precisely when you think you’ve understood others’ perspectives that you must recall you are not in their skin.” DiPiero is expressing that once the reader thinks they understand something in the story, they need to take a step back and look at it from another character's point of view. They must think, “Is this really what I think it is, or am I just not seeing the big picture?” The “big picture” includes all of the characters in To Kill A Mockingbird. Many readers find themselves just looking at Scout’s small corner. They must take a step back, analyze the situation, and look from every character’s experience and perspective in it.

One example of symbolism within the story is explained in this small passage, “Mr. Underwood simply figured it was a sin to kill cripples, be they standing, sitting, or escaping. He likened Tom's death to the senseless slaughter of songbirds by hunters and children.” This example shows one perspective from a character explaining another’s death. Mr. Underwood likened the murder of a cripple to the killing of a mockingbird. Again, the reader must look from his perspective, as well as others. They must ask themselves why was the cripple was murdered? Did they do something wrong? And even if they did they were defenseless and could not protect themselves. They need to measure the situation not just from Underwood’s description, but from their own as well.

One example of perceptiveness is how Scout interprets this passage. Scout was listening to her brother describe someone he had never seen before. “Jem gave a reasonable description of Boo: Boo was about six-and-a-half feet tall, judging from his tracks; he dined on raw squirrels and any cats he could catch, that's why his hands were bloodstained—if you ate an animal raw, you could never wash the blood off. There was a long jagged scar that ran across his face; what teeth he had were yellow and rotten; his eyes popped, and he drooled most of the time.” The reader can interpret this in two different ways. Jem is being completely serious, or he is messing with his sister. This is also an example of symbolism as Jem has never met Boo. Jem is judging Boo when he could just be another innocent mockingbird. However many people make assumptions based on the fact that Boo is never seen outside. This is another situation where the reader must think about the entire setting and where certain characters stand in it.

Overall To Kill A Mockingbird is all about perspective. The perspective of the reader, narrator, and all characters in the story. When the reader is interpreting a passage that involves symbolism they must look at the entirety to decipher it. The symbolism in To Kill A Mockingbird helps the reader realize that they must look from a different perspective to fully grasp the idea of symbols.

Point Of View In "The Bright Forever"

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Chronological Order of "The Soloist"

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


Understanding Robert Peace Through Jeff Hobbs

Benjamin Simon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Imagine Imagery

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Effect of Francesca Lia Block's Immersion Techniques

Calamity Rose Jung-Allen

January 15, 2015

English 2: Silver Stream, A Band

Literary Structure Essay

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

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

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

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

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

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

Works Cited:

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

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

Lyrical Creativity

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Works Cited for Analytical Essay:

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

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

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.