Bud,Not Buddy Character Devolpement

There are many young orphans who have lost their mother and their father are no longer in the picture. Those young orphans always hope that their father will return, but they don’t have the power to go look for them. Bud not buddy is an inspiring and humorous book about a young boy who has had enough of bouncing from house to house. He lost his mother but he still has the hope of his father through a small briefcase that he carries with him. Christopher Curtis use little aspects to build his characters even if they are only mentioned in the book.

Bud has been adopted to live with Amoses, they have a son who is two years older than Bud. Todd isn’t very happy that there is a new boy in his house so he bullies Bud. Todd and Bud start fighting and got caught by Mrs. Amoses, his suitcase was taken and he was thrown into the shed. Bud soon escapes from the shed in search for his belongings. He find them but “I could tell right away that someone had been fumbling through my things. First off, whenever I put the blanket in, I always fold it so that it stops all the other things from banging up against each other” Bud is very particular of where things are placed in his briefcase. It mentions that  “I could tell right away that someone had been fumbling through my things.” This shows he is observant and delicate with the things he care about. In his mind everything has it’s place and he know when it’s not the way he wants or had it. For someone to know exactly how everything is means that they care a great deal about it. Bud obviously treasures the things in the briefcase because he has an exact order the things are suppose to be in, “first..whenever I put the blanket in, I always fold it so it stops...things from banging.” This show the expert care Bud takes of the suitcase. He does want anything banging against each other and getting damage because it’s important to him.

Bud comes off as a very respectful child, but he is really looking for a way to get himself out of a bad situation. He makes up so many rules for the lies he creates he calls them Bud Caldwell's Rules and Things to Have a Funner Life and Make a Better Liar of Yourself. He has been beaten up by Todd and when Mrs. Amoses comes in Todd tells his mother lies to get him out of trouble. Bud is surprised when it seem that Todd know his rules to getting out of trouble. “It seemed like he knew some of the  same things I know, the things I think of all the time and try to remember so I don't make the same mistake more than seven or eight times” This shows that Bud is smart and is a learner, he takes in knowledge on how to please to other people. He only needs something to happen “seven or eight times” and then from that experience he determines if he has to lie or not. Bud even calls himself the best liars in the world. To be the best at something you have to learn when to use it. To learn when to use it Bud had to practice, showing that Bud can also be selfish and deceitful. So it surprises him when other people know how to do the same thing.

Bud has left the Amoses house and is on the lame as he puts it. Before he can do anything else he looks in his suitcase. In his suitcase is a picture of his mom as a young girl. While looking at this picture he has a flashback to a conversation he and his mom would always have. She say “Bud is your name and don't you ever let anyone call you anything outside of that either...Especially don't you ever let anyone call you Buddy, I may have some problems but being stupid isn't one of them, I would've added that dy onto the end of your name if I intended for it to be there.” Bud’s mothers name is Angela Janet Caldwell. Even though she isn’t alive in the book you get to know her characters through Bud’s  flashback. For example the sentence “I may have some problems but being stupid isn’t one of them, I would’ve added that dy onto the end of your name if I intended for it to be there” informs you that Bud’s mom may have had some schooling so she was smart. You also see how sassy she was through the sentence “Bud is your name and don't you ever let anyone call you anything outside of that either...I would’ve added the dy onto the end of your name if I intended for it to be there.” If she wanted something to happen or be there then she would have put it there, if she didn’t put it there don’t say it. You can also see how obedient Bud is because throughout the whole book he tells people “My name is Bud, not Buddy.” He especially isn’t letting anyone call him Buddy because that’s not what his mother wanted.

There are very few who seem to realize Bud being as polite as he tries to be. One of those people are Herman C. Calloway. Bud has been through a long journey to find a man who he thinks is his father. He keeps a flier of Mr. Calloway in his suitcase and knows where he may be. Bud has been with Mr. Calloway for a few days and has gotten on his last nerve. He says “You throw a lot of ‘sirs’ around but you’ve still got a real strong, real smart-mouthed, disrespectful streak in you boy.” Mr. Calloways sees that Bud has “disrespectful streak” in him that no one else sees. This proves Mr. Calloways character of being a grouchy older man but also shows he doesn’t take any nonsense from others. It also show that he isn’t a very patient man because Bud has only been with him a few days. On the other hand you see some who sees Bud as being disrespectful and smart mouthed. Which Bud is he just hides that side of himself.

Through out the whole book you see a young determined orphan who is just trying to find his father but he has also gone through a lot to get there. One review from a parent  on the Barnes and Nobles website says “Bud he’s an adventurous boy. He's brave. He's strong. He's determined to do anything. He's determined to find his father. Read this book and you'll find out how he goes from adventure to adventure. From foster home to foster home. Feel as if you're Bud as you read the book. And enjoy it.” This review breaks down Bud’s character perfectly because he is brave, he went on a search for his father not knowing what he would face. He is strong because even when he was separated from his friend he found his own way to make things work. He is determine because nothing stopped him from getting to his destination.

I recommend this book to everyone, it’s a must read because Christopher Curtis uses multiple aspects to improve his book. Aspects like symbolism, flashbacks, but most importantly character development. He makes you feel the emotions that Bud feels, the boy who is obedient but also disrespectful in his own way. Not only does Christopher Curtis give you a view of the characters living in the book but also the one who isn’t, Bud’s mother, Angela Caldwell or  Calloway. If the characters wouldn’t have been developed right then the book wouldn’t have enough emotion and adventure in it to leave the lasting impression that you can do what you put your mind to.

English Benchmark About Ja Rule's Book ¨Unruly¨

   This book is called Unruly, and it’s written by Ja Rule. This story also uses uses an incredibly unique structure in this book. Ja Rule does not use the regular order of things. He sometimes places later events before earlier events. Even though he does this, he keeps the story interesting and readable. He doesn’t feel the need to follow the rules. He feels that he should do what he thinks makes his life sound good and honest. Because of his originality, his book became an original masterpiece in literature in my opinion. He is not afraid to put certain events before other events. He is also not afraid to have prison letters in between his chapters. This style seems to be unnoticed by a lot of people, which also lets me know that he did a good job. It shows that the style has not interfered with the main story for the worse.

    This technique makes it so that the reader feels how he supposed to feel. He/she feels excited about what will happen next, so they are sucked in. The prison letters in between also gives the reader a really good time to reflect on Ja Rule’s views, as well as to feel sympathy for him. This style helps prove that he is a human, and that success is not everything. He is not afraid to admit that at all. So because of this, the use of prison letters is very unique and interesting. There is so much to this man, and this style presents that. That is the cool thing about this style. Most people would never use this style in their autobiographies or their TV shows. So he took a dare when he wrote his book like that, and it paid off.

    This style is not used often. People usually keep the entire story in order without making such changes. So, this is not really a normal technique at all. This is what makes him so original. You usually don’t see tv shows styling their episodes this way. They usually keep things in the order of 1rst to last events. Family Guy sort of uses this style. Similar to how Ja Rule has prison letters in between his chapters, Family Guy has cutaway gags. Prodigy, a rapper who also wrote a book, had prison letters in between his chaptes, and he also kept the letters in order. So, he has also sort have incorperated this style into his book. He just uses this style in a way that makes the story cool and interesting. The style is really contributing because it puts the events in a good place. That, and the unorderly style in general, do this because as you read it, you feel like it’s the right time to learn about this. Especially since Ja Rule also talks about so many different themes and situations that have appeared in his life.

   There are no quotes in the book about Ja Rule’s style. Ja Rule does not reference it, but there were a lot of qotes I can use to present the order that he used in the book. One quote is,¨The beef between me and 50 was all over the news.¨ This quote talks about a rap rivalry that was very damaging, but it also shows the type of order he uses at times. This quote was about 2003, but the next quote is about events that took place in 1999, and in 2000. ¨I was in Los Angeles recording my second album, Rule 3:36¨, was that quote. And these two quotes are in the exact order. They are because those chapters were right next to each other. The one about beef was before the one about Los Angeles. ¨Ḧis body moved slowly, and he was no longer in good shape¨, is the final quote I will use. That took place in 2002, and that is in the very next chapter after the previous one. This proves that Ja Rule does not use chronological order when writing. The effect it has is making you fell excited to hear more about the past. More things that have not been discussed earlier. This style does contribute to the story this man has to tell in such a great way. That might be one of the reasons I love this book

  On Goodreads.com, there was a good quote about Ja Rule’s writing style, which was written by Andrew Hicks. ¨The book moves chronologically, but between each chapter is an italicized “present-tense” interlude written from prison, as Ja serves 26 months for a weapons charge and tax evasion¨ He is right about the prison letters. They are in between each chapter. That makes the story different from other biographies. This is an original form of writing which I like about it. That is why it is so good. But he also places some later events before earlier events. That is also what Andrew Hicks should touched on as well. But he was correct about the prison letters. Those letters are in order, but the storyline is not. And that is one of the interesting things about this book. Also, there is a beginning, middle, and end to this book. Although structured differently, you clearly know where the end and beginning is. When CG Blake said ¨The non-linear narrative is a challenge.¨, he was right. But, that was clearly a challenge that Ja Rule could handle. He used it properly, and that’s what makes the book so good.

 The prison letters carry on for 2 years, which is how long Ja Rule was in jail. These letters really show who he is as a person. You get to see his intellect, and you get to know how he is thinking after knowing he won’t be in the same house as his family for 2 years. He talks about how terribly he misses his son and daughter, and how his wife and mother were emotionally destroyed by this. Ja Rule lets you see the pain in his heart, and you can see how much regret he has for a lot of the decisions he made. Because of this, it was important he included them in this autobiography. But, it might be better that he kept those in order. Things could get confusing if he just placing them in random places because they are supposed to show his journey in prison. So, things would not quite be right if they were placed in random order. There is something about them each being in order that I really like. I think it helps see how he has matured throughout these two years. I would not see that if these letters were out of order, and put in random order.

       This book contains a very rare style of writing. My conclusion is that it can really make a book that much more interesting if done properly. The prison letters can help you think about Ja Rule’s life and choices, and the order of the events can make them seem as if they were in order. I know because Ja Rule did that, and now his book is a classic piece of American literature in my opinion.


Sources In MLA Format

Rule, Ja. Unruly: The Highs and Lows of Becoming a Man. Hardcover ed. New York: HarperCollins, 2014. 1 to 242. Print.

Hicks, Andrew. "A Review of Unruly: The Highs and Lows of Becoming a Man." Goodreads.com. Goodreads Inc, 6 Nov. 2014. Web. 14 Jan. 2015. <http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1058310816?book_show_action=true&page=1>.

Blake, CG. "Linear vs. Non-linear Narrative." A New Fiction Writers Forum. A New Fiction Writers Forum, 5 Dec. 2011. Web. 21 Jan. 2015. <https://cgblake.wordpress.com/2011/12/06/linear-vs-non-linear-narrative/>.

The Use of Illustration in Kurt Vonnegut's "Breakfast of Champions"

Ella Donesky


A - Band


Readers generally refer to Kurt Vonnegut, the author, not Kurt Vonnegut, the illustrator. However, Kurt Vonnegut conveys something very similar in both of his mediums. The images are very straightforward, and the writing style is plain, but the story is still engrossing. Historically, illustrations more commonly appeared in children’s books, books covers, or at chapter heads. Their use in adult literature, or what was considered to be more “intellectual” and “serious,” began to decline, as illustrations were not seen as so. This dilemma often arises when comparing the television and film adaptations of books, as well. Kurt Vonnegut’s use of illustrations in Breakfast of Champions changes the overall tone of the writing and enhances the reader’s experience, but also deepens their understanding of the story and the symbols and themes expressed.
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Screenshot 2015-01-19 at 9.10.42 PM
In the first chapter, Kurt Vonnegut discusses the country in which Dwayne Hoover and Kilgore Trout live, the United States of America. This prompts a further analysis into America as a country, it’s values, and symbols you may find on the dollar bill. Following the illustration of the US flag, he includes the illuminati pyramid found on the US dollar. If you were to flip through Breakfast of Champions, given that the images are the most prominent pieces on the page (they take up about half of the page), they would seem random. This is unlike many illustrations, where you don’t need to read the words to understand the story. Kurt Vonnegut’s drawings appear as being completely without context, therefore the images are very integrated into the story, which provides the context. This is very closely linked with the tone of the story. Even with the context, the drawings seem almost comically simple, though necessary, and add to the tone of the story.  Childlike drawings of a lamb, a flamingo, a pair of sunglasses, a coat embroidered with the words “Pluto Gang,” and a pair of roughly sketched speech bubbles with scrawled out cursive don’t present themselves as serious, because as technical drawings, they are colorless and undetailed, and the illustrations only depict one object, as opposed to entire scenes. Accompanying the drawing is a sort of introduction. Vonnegut usually writes, “This was it,” or “It looked like this,” or “Here’s what it said.” None of the images included are ones that could not be identified from the story he describes and in that way, Vonnegut pokes fun at us, using the images to convey a sort of irony, humorously suggesting that we cannot understand the depth.
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Screenshot 2015-01-19 at 9.15.04 PM

The imagery in Breakfast of Champions doesn’t appear as drawings, exclusively. The first example is in the title of the book itself. “Breakfast of Champions” is a trademark slogan, not meant to reference General Mills, however, the expression is it’s own sort of trademark stamp, an image. Most Americans can recognize the trademark. Furthermore, on some book covers, and certainly in every copy, on the page following the publisher’s page, the slogan appears on a t-shirt. It’s a very familiar phrase, almost invisible. Perhaps Vonnegut’s use of it is meant to defamiliarize and lend it an ironic meaning. He recontextualizes it, and in this way, the title becomes a device, a symbol which provides a deeper understanding of the characters and the ironic tone. Hoover and Trout are regular people, they aren’t champions. The recontextualized imagery contrasts between the branding typical of American culture, and the lives that are actually lived.

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Screenshot 2015-01-19 at 9.05.47 PM

The first image of the book appears in the preface, not in the actual story. It is Vonnegut’s depiction of an asshole, the image above. Earlier in the preface, he dedicates the book to a woman, Phoebe Hurty. He writes, “She would talk bawdily to me and her sons...She was funny. She was liberating. She taught us to be impolite in conversation not only about sexual matters, but about American history and famous heros, about the distribution of wealth, about school, about everything.” Upon reading this statement, it is very clear what Vonnegut’s intentions are through writing and drawing. It communicates the purpose of the images. The image of the asshole, specifically, alludes to his earlier sentiment of maturity and humor, in his friend, Phoebe. Furthermore, it is important to mention that the image wasn’t included in the story itself, but in the preface, where Vonnegut’s explains his purpose in writing the book. The images seem deliberately crude, in contrast to the aspirations of most illustrators, who want to their work to appear of higher skills and sophistication. This almost expands his job as the narrator, because he isn’t simply having access to the character’s thoughts, he is the author, a character in himself. In this way, the imagery is used not to enhance the plotline, but to deepen our understanding of the story, as the reader, because we are more connected to the author.

Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, an editor and critic (among other things), gave a commentary on Kurt Vonnegut’s use of drawings in Breakfast of Champions. This is what he said, “Even those dumb, lovable drawings began to pall after a time. I think I understand what he is getting at--that fictional art simply won't serve an more as he approaches middle age and a deeper insight to his own motives for writing...that the persona who is creating ‘Breakfast of Champions’ is trying to get a last desperate grip on the most simple rudiments of storytelling. But there is a certain coyness in this desperation, especially since it is surrounded by so much polish and inventiveness.” As mentioned earlier, Vonnegut’s style of writing by many is considered to be polished. However, it’s deceptively so. It doesn’t seem flowery or ornate, in most cases, it just reads plainly and straightforwardly. This is also represented in his illustrations. If at first glance, it appears as if his illustrations and stories are crude and simple, but both are actually polished. It’s so plainly written, you don’t notice it, and it’s the characters and the storytelling which become more clear.

Kurt Vonnegut’s use of simple and crude images in Breakfast of Champions, provides the reader with a new interpretation of the author’s purpose and the nature of the characters. Furthermore, it improves our understanding of the book, shifts the tone, and changes the traditional use of images in stories.

Egan, Robert, and Kurt Vonnegut. Breakfast of Champions. New York (45 W. 25th St., New York 10010): S. French, 1984. Print.

Lehmann-Haupt, Christopher. "Is Kurt Vonnegut Kidding Us?" The New York Times. N.p., 2 May 1973. Web. 15 Jan. 2015. <http%3A%2F%2Fwww.nytimes.com%2Fbooks%2F97%2F09%2F28%2Flifetimes%2Fvonnegut-breakfast.html>.

Where the Sidewalk Ends

By: Toby Mast
In 1974, Shel Silverstein wrote Where the Sidewalk Ends. The book was published  as  a collection of short poems for children. The poetry, however, is very beautiful and can be enjoyed by all ages. When readers grow older they begin to realize the quality of the work. The poetry is skillfully manipulated to generate emotion, enticing the reader in the beauty of the poetry..  Silverstein often uses an unexpected  plot twist as the poem resolves, and  this idea promotes persuasiveness, humour, compassion and suspense throughout the whole book.

He uses the unforeseen ending to make the work humourus and end stronger then it started. For example,  in the poem “True Story,”  the narrator is stuck in a series of inescapable situations and manages to escape only to be delivered into the next situation. The poem's ending goes like this:

But he dropped me in a boiling lake 
A thousand miles wide
And you'll never guess what I did then then-

This ending of the poem rapidly changes the flow of the story. The piece stretches a whole page and would have ended weakly with something like “and dropped me hundred miles that way, I ran to talk to you today.”  The plot twist makes  the poem more humorous because of the irony of the fact that he would finally die after the other situations,  along with the contradiction in someone informing the reader that they had died. This humor improves the poems quality by invoking emotion. Emotion is vital to all writing.

He also improves the quality of poems with foreseen endings. In a poem “Boa Constrictor,” a person  dictates  what occurs as he is being eaten by a boa constrictor. He does get eaten in the end after a steady build up:

Oh, fiddle
It’s up to my middle
Oh, heck
It’s up to my neck
Oh, dread
It’s up mmmmm fffffffffffff

The build up was foreseen though humorous (the entirety of the poem is much longer).  The endings humor was not based on the plot of the poem but on the idea of someone trying to declare that they have been eaten while inside a snake. He kept the reader interested in order to reach the entertaining end in two ways. The first idea was using rhyme scheme and repetition, and the second was using suspense.  The reader asks “Is the man actually going to be eaten or was he going to escape like the person in the previous poem did so many times?”  The effective use of plot twists to make even more straightforward forward poems carries  the emotional roller coaster suspense.

Silverstein also uses these endings to trick the reader into a train of thought, then trapping them inside that same thought but leading into a different resolution than they expected. .This plot reversal is written in a  poem called “Listen’ to the Mustn’ts.”  This poem is written as a series of instructions: Listen to the MUSTN’TS, listen to the DON'TS.   This pattern continues until he reverses the poem when it is said(the poem is told from a perspective of an authoritative adult)

Now listen to me child 
Anything can happen, Child
In this poem he attacks the contradiction of telling a child what they cannot do, while telling them anything is possible. Most adult readers would have agreed with him for the first part of the poem, thinking that the child should not do things that are unsafe or dangerous. Then he traps the reader  by pointing out that adults often say  that anything could be. This leads to an overall more persuasive, and therefore better writing.

He also also also uses  a form of persuasiveness in the plot ending to change readers’ hearts rather than their minds. The usefulness of this technique is displayed in a poem titled and about “Poor Angus.”  The poem takes the form of an interview where the author is asking question and Angus is responding.

Oh what do you wear, Poor Angus,
When the winds blow down the hills?
“I sew myself a warm cloak, sir.
Of hope and daffodils.”

Oh who do you love, Poor Angus
When Catherine's left the moor?
"Ah, there,sir, there’s the only time,
 I feel really poor.”

Here Silverstein uses the unexpected plot twist to generate compassion. The poem had been following the pattern where the author inquires on how Angus survives when his poverty affects him. Then Angus replies that he hopes and  finds joy in other things to tolerate it.  The reader can see  on how Agnus survives the weather.  He replies that he hopes for the future and enjoys the benefits of nature rather than the disadvantages. Then here the plot takes a surprising turn when he describes himself as feeling poor when Catherine leaves.  This generates compassion  for Angus as someone who survives on little but loves so much. The ability to bring out emotion is good writing.
The increased suspense along with the humor and persuasiveness increases the overall quality of the book. This good writing made  it to sell well. Where the Sidewalk Ends received 4.5/5 stars on the Barnes and Noble website and 5/5 stars on the Amazon website with 802 reviews. Abebooks official review describes the book as  “This classic poetry collection, which is both outrageously funny and profound, has been the most beloved of Shel Silverstein's poetry.”  This method of writing, if done correctly,  is very effective and should be used more often through poetry and fiction.

Works Cited

Silverstein, Shel. Where the Sidewalk Ends: The Poems & Drawings of Shel Silverstein. 1st ed. New York: Harper and Row, 1974. Print.

“Where the Sidewalk Ends: Poems and Drawings." AbeBooks. AbeBooks Inc., 1 Jan. 1996. Web. 19 Jan. 2015.

"Where the Sidewalk Ends: Poems and Drawings." Amazon. Amazon.com, 18 Jan. 2015. Web. 19 Jan. 2015.

"Where the Sidewalk Ends: Poems and Drawings." Barnes and Noble. Barnesandnoble.com, 1 Jan. 2015. Web. 19 Jan. 2015.

How the Past Reveals the Present

The structure of the Lord of the Rings is chronological with flashbacks;  this adds suspense, understanding and provides a purpose to an imaginative yet dark tale. The reader moves from event to event but we do not know the outcome. The chronology, nevertheless, increases understanding; the reader can return to earlier chapters to make an educated guess about what might happen.  While the book is not entirely chronological, such as when  Sméagol kills his friend, the structure helps the reader foresee the dangers of power. The flashbacks let the reader know how events occurred and how characters developed.

We all have flashbacks, joyful ones and even nightmares. They remind of what was and may inform us about where we are today. In the Lord of The Rings, flashbacks are used for background on characters and to develop the ongoing story. Flashbacks are included in many events ultimately shaped the outcome of the book. The flashbacks show us there where and why of the present; they bring depth to a story. Tolkien used flashbacks as a reminder of what occurred and to provide insight into why it occurred. Tolkien used his flashbacks early on because “If the flashback occurs later in the story, it can bog down the story and quickly become something that an editor or someone who is critiquing the text to abhor.” Tolkien decided to use flashbacks early on because otherwise we’d ask  “why does this ring even matter and why is it here if Sauron supposedly died?” Flashbacks started the story, but the adventure of Frodo ended it.

You know the saying “Don’t even kill a fly because it could alter the past.” You could say that about flashbacks;  they happened a certain way. Flashbacks also add suspense.  For example, when Isildur chose not to throw the ring, as Elrond said “For Isildur would not surrender it to Elrond or Cirdan who stood by. They Counselled him to cast it into the fire…” This choice in the past made by Isildur saved the rings life and led to the road Frodo takes now.  At this point, the reader did not know who would rise in power.  To “kill a fly” would have been to cast it into the fire which would have ended Sauron’s reign. When Tolkien portrayed this flashback, he provided the “why”  for a fuller journalistic summary of the events.  Tolkien helped us  understand why the fellowship aimed to reach Mordor.

Flashbacks also provide the reader with the characters’ attitudes toward life in general and insights into their life experiences that lead to the present day.   For example, the reader gains insights into Gandalf, a major character,  and Gollum, a minor character, through flashbacks. Gollum’s first flashback occurs while he and his friend fight over the ring.  To obtain the ring of power, Gollum kills his friend.  Gollum then lived half a millenia loving the “precious” ring. What Gollum lost was himself the moment he and his friend found a ring below the lake.   Another example of a flashback is when Gandalf talks about Gollum.  Gandalf said: “ Pity? It was pity that stayed in hand. Pity and mercy, not to strike without need.”  Tolkien used to compare Gollum’s era with the ring and Bilbo’s. The difference is nobody died when Bilbo obtained and left the ring. This flashback tells me how and why Gollum’s life had been miserable. The ring is dangerous;  it is what ultimately led to Gollum’s demise.

In addition, Tolkien used personification in this book series.  For example, Tolkien described a tree that could move and talk as any man. Tolkien’s use of personification was also disguised.  The ring had a “desire” and a “mind” of its own. The ring was capable of seducing and swindling a man for itself rather than riches or power. The feeling of holding it was too much for someone to refuse. The ring I could compare to a disease where the only goal is to survive. Gandalf also mentions what may be interpreted as personification when he says “The Ring has awoken, it’s heard its masters call.” The ring has “awoken” is an act of a living thing. A golden ring can’t be awoken. Personification is essential to the elevation of the ring.

The ring is relevant to  flashbacks for a few reasons. One, it was involved in all other major flashbacks that molded Frodo’s quest. Two, the ring of power is a character in itself.  In all major flashbacks in the book, there were not false memories; the ring was the real culprit.  Everything occurs because of the ring. Isildur’s mind was swindled by a ring that his people swore to destroy. As with Gollum, the ring only took life. While Gollum teetered between loving and hating the ring, he could never let the ring go. In the flashbacks with Gollum, he is smitten when he sees this ring. Gollum’s eyes glowed with a  passion for the ring;  the ring convinced Gollum that he was meant to carry the ring. This shows the choice Gollum made; this choice impacted present day Middle Earth. The ring of power was proven to be its own being;  it entirely controlled people. It deceives the minds of all, and carries part of the dark lord Sauron beneath its golden inside. The ring isn’t just the flashback;  it’s the synopsis and summary of the story. All the answers to the chronological pattern in this book lie within a ring!

Tolkien took an typical non-fiction pattern, chronological, and combined it with flashbacks to add understanding, suspense and a purpose to a piece of fictional, fantasy literature.  Personification illuminates the fantasy while providing more insights into the human and humanoid characters. While the reader experiences a retelling of a story, we do not know the outcome. The flashbacks add suspense even though they are often expected or logical within the context of the story.  At the same time, the chronology, provides understanding. The earlier chapters provides a road map for the reader while the content encourages the reader to conjecture about what will happen.   For example, the chronological pattern assist the reader in understanding the power - and danger - of the ring. The combination of a chronological pattern with flashbacks and personification enable the reader to stay with a complicated, fanciful, dark story.


"A Word About Flashbacks." Writing Is Hard Work. Writing Is Hard Work, 06 Feb. 2013. Web. 15 Jan. 2015.

Tolkien, J. R. R. The Fellowship of the Ring: Being the First Part of The Lord of the Rings. Vol. 1. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1993. Print.

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. <http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/reviews/when-you-are-engulfed-in-flames-by-david-sedaris-856803.html>.

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, ‘....it 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. <http://people.virginia.edu/~sfr/enam854/summer/hurston.html>.

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 teenink.com.  “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. <http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/composition/organization.stm>

The Soloist by Steve Lopez." Teenink.com. 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. <https://www.kirkusreviews.com/tv/video/kirkus-tv-jeff-hobbs/>.

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 experience...how 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. <http://soundcheck.wnyc.org/story/314985-mk-asantes-buck/>.

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. <http://markterrybooks.blogspot.com/2013/01/game-of-thrones-point-of-view.html>.

Harper, Tara K. "TARA K. HARPERWRITER'S WORKSHOP Multiple Points of View." Multiple Points of View. N.p., 2004. Web. 18 Jan. 2015. <http://www.tarakharper.com/k_pov.htm>.

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. <http://headrush.typepad.com/creating_passionate_users/2005/09/conversational_.html>.

  3. "Conversational Writing Tips."YourDictionary. Web. 13 Jan. 2015. <http://grammar.yourdictionary.com/grammar-rules-and-tips/conversational-writing-tips.html>.

  4. "A Telephone Call--Dorothy Parker (1893-1967)." A Telephone Call--Dorothy Parker (1893-1967). Web. 15 Jan. 2015. <http://www.classicshorts.com/stories/teleycal.html>.

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. <http://www.bookrags.com/notes/tttc/quo.html#gsc.tab=0>.


“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.