Photo Analysis: “A Life of Labor and Loneliness”


This is a photo captured by Dorothea Lange during “The Great Depression” in Calipatria, Imperial Valley.

In this photo, Lange uses framing, contrast, and point-of-view to create a lonely mood. The man sitting on the opening of the train is framed in the right of the photo. However, the focus of the photo is on the train. In this case, the man is not really the center of this photo and could be considered a subordinate element. This creates a strong contrast between the man and the train, making the man look small and insignificant. The word “MOBILE” on the top left of this photo is a focal point. There is a strong contrast between the white bolded word and the black train. The train and the man are both part of the middle ground. The bundle of clothes and fabric placed on the middle foreground is a subordinate element. It is placed in a very unusual spot. The straight lines on the train’s doors are leading lines that lead to the man. It enhances the composition and attract the reader. The lines of the doors and the lines of the railway creates a unity feeling. The point-of-view of this photo is slightly below. This makes the viewer feel as if the subject in control of a situation. It imparts a feeling of smallness and a sense of unobtainable. The facial expression of the man is unclear, but he does not look sad.

In the description of this photo, it gave a little background of this photo. This is a train siding across tracks from pea packing plant. The man in the photo is a twenty-five-year-old itinerant, originally from Oregon. “On the road eight years, all over the country, every state in the union, back and forth, pick up a job here and there, traveling all the time.” This also creates the mood of unsettled, insignificant, and lonely.

The life of this man is very relatable to the story of the two main characters in John Steinbeck’s Of The Mice and Men. The book and this photo are both from California during “The Great Depression”. In the book, the two main characters, George and Lennie, travelled from Weed, California, to a ranch in Soledad, looking for a new job. The life of the two characters illustrated in the book is much similar to the life of the man in the photo.

Through using many visualization techniques, Lange portrayed the life of an ordinary worker in California during “The Great Depression”.

The Storage, A Short Story

After waking up from her supposed death, June discovered the dirty and frightening secret of her world that makes her question humanity… “The Storage” is set in the future world, where humans are overpopulated. Everyone has their death date printed on them when they are born. The main character “died”, but found her self alive again in a storage. This story explores the theme of humanity.

Throughout the story I used many creative choices to develop the theme. The story is told from June’s view and focuses on her feelings. I chose to write the story from first person view because I think it will make the readers feel closer to her and be in the story but not watching it from a distance. Throughout the story, I used many words and phrases such as “formalin and underground sewer smells”, “eerily loud in this dead silence”, “gloomy and empty hallway” that has a negative feeling to set the mood of this story and create suspense. I introduced the motif of this story in the exposition when June noticed the bold and red letters painted on the storage wall “STORAGE 21”. “STORAGE 21” was mentioned several times throughout the story.

I also used some figurative language to create an image in the reader’s mind. e.g. “The cracked gray wall with paint peeling off looked like the brown and lifeless drought land.” “They came out with bodies piled together on the cart like a heap of trash left at the alley end.” The dialogue in the beginning introduces the setting, “‘We still got a lot of work to do. 28 delivered from Clentwood an hour ago.’” “…Clentwood is my hometown.” The dialogue between June and the other person in the resolution of this story describes her struggle to understand humanity which leads to the theme of this story.

The Storage:


I opened my eyes and gasped. This isn’t my room. It was completely black, except for a few dim lights above me that seem to stretch forever in both directions. Where am I? I tried to think, but nothing came to me. I feel the cold concrete ground that I’m lying on. The air was filled with formalin and underground sewers smells. Sounds of water dropping rhythmically was eerily loud in this dead silence. TAP. TAP. TAP. I looked to my left and saw the shape of a body. I gasped but was too afraid to make any sounds.


My eyes started to adjust and I sat up. And then, I couldn’t help but scream. Endless rows of bodies lined in straight lines that seemed to fill the whole room. They were still with their eyes closed. The body to the left of me was a middle aged man. His expression looked peaceful almost, as if he’s sleeping. Brown and gray rusted pipes ran across the ceiling and the walls like blood vessels in my body. Something caught my eyes, STORAGE 21 was painted in red on the wall. Storage? Before I can think anymore, cracking sounds interrupted my thoughts. I quickly lied back down, half closing my eyes and tried to breathe as lightly as I could. There were sounds of keys clicking and locks opening. After a few seconds, the door opened. Even though I’m not looking that way, I felt the bright light that shined in this room. Two figures covered in white wearing masks and goggles walked in. The sounds of their boots hitting the floor echoed in the room, louder and louder. Stomp. Stomp. Stomp.


“I thought I heard something.” A male voice said.

“You have to be wrong. There’s no way that they are alive. Probably just a rat.” Another much deeper male voice said.

“Hmm. Weird.”

“We still got a lot of work to do. 28 delivered from Clentwood an hour ago.”

Clentwood? That sounds familiar.

“Call over some more people. We’ll get ’em to the disinfection room.”


The sounds of their boots hitting the floor echoed the room again. It fades away, Stomp, Stomp, Stomp, until the sounds of the door opening and shuts close. The room returns back to silence, except for the water still dripping rhythmically. Tap. Tap. Tap.


“Clentwood. Clentwood. Clentwood.” I murmured quietly. I remembered, Clentwood is my hometown. Memories started to come back.


Who am I?

I’m June.


I frowned.

I’m supposed to be dead.


Continue reading

8th Grade Hacks



Some tips for y’all:

1.) TIME MANAGEMENT. I’m not even kidding. You are going to suffer if you don’t manage your time well.


2.) If you have Mr. Schroeder as your humanities teacher, enjoy Mr. Schroeder talking about history, (Revolutions especially) It’s *coughs* “VERY INTERESTING” *coughs*


3.) Do your homework on time. CHECK STUDYWIZ IT’S VERY IMPORTANT.


4.) Get sleep. It’s very very very important.


5.) Be organized. Organize files on your computers and get folders or binders for every subject.


Have fun! This is your last year of middle school. CHERISH IT


Journal #4-Final Reflections

We have finished making our final prototype and the infomercial! Even though Emily and I had some struggles throughout the process of creating the prototypes, we were both very satisfied about our final prototype.

The first step of the engineering design cycle is defining ideas. We were given the project goal of design a polymer that can be used as a comfortable grip for something. Our first idea was to design a polymer that can be used for opening things such as cans. But we found out that this was too hard. After we discussed, we decided that our specific purpose is to design a polymer that can be used as a comfortable and easy grip for daily necessities, not only opening things.

After we decided on our specific goal, we started developing solutions, which is the second step of the engineering design cycle. We organized the data from the tests of the basic polymers (Oobleck, Gloop, Boogers, Super Slime) and decided which should be our base polymer. We decided that our final polymer should have to characteristics of Boogers and Gloop. We had 10 prototypes in total. We tried to improve each prototype to get the characteristics we want.

The third and last step of the engineering design cycle is optimizing prototypes. We compared the characteristics of each prototype and decided that our best prototypes are prototype 8.1 and 8.2. Prototype 8.1 and 8.2 were the same as prototype 8 but 8.1 was dusted with guar gum and 8.2 was dusted with cornstarch. Prototype 8.1 and 8.2 both work very well and there was hardly any difference. For our final prototype we put both guar gum and corn starch.

Throughout the making of the prototypes, we’ve encountered many struggles. For instance, our first few prototypes were no where close to our expectations. Some of our prototypes were complete failures. Prototype 1 was too moist, but hard to mold, prototype 2 was very wet and squishy, prototype 3 was too soft and wet to be able to form into a blob…Prototype 7 and 8 were the best ones, but 7 was not moldable enough and 8 was too soft. After adding cornstarch and guar gum, prototype 8 was pretty much perfect.

Other than the process of making the prototypes, Emily and I also learned a lot from the Dream On presentation day. We watched other groups’ infomercial and got different ideas on how to make ours better. We also learned that we should prepare our polymers before the presentations started. In between the presentations, we added cornstarch to our polymer because it will make it at the best state.

Our Infomercial:

A recap of the polymer project:

The Extraordinary Province of China

With its extraordinary mix of people and beautiful landscapes, Yunnan is perhaps to most diverse province in China. The contrasts of the land itself and the different minority cultures makes Yunnan a must visit place. Yunnan is one of the most popular destinations in China. Many people come here just to get a glimpse of the stunning landscapes. From the Mekong River to Xishuangbanna, Shilin to the Jade Dragon Snow-capped mountain. Yunnan is the most southwestern province in China. It borders Tibet, Burma, Vietnam and Laos. Yunnan also has the highest number of ethnic groups among the provinces and autonomous areas in China. Yunnan, the extraordinary province of China, is a place you should not miss. 

Journal #3-Optimizing Prototypes

After many testing and experiments, we finally made our last and final prototype. Throughout the process of making each prototype, we experimented with different materials and the amount to make a polymer that meets our requirements.


In total, we had 9 prototypes. For the first prototype, we wanted to combine the characteristics of Gloop and Boogers so we used 15ml laundry starch, 5ml borax, 1.5ml glue and 2ml water. Prototype 1 was moist, stretchy, but also hard to form back after breaking apart.

Prototype 1

We wanted our polymer to be moldable so we decided not to use Borax for our next prototype. Prototype 2 was very wet and squishy and did not meet our requirements. For prototype 3, we decided to still use borax, but lessen the amount. Prototype 3 was too soft and wet to be able to form in a blob. For the next prototype, we used the materials for Gloop. Prototype 4 had a good texture for a grip, but similar to the first prototype, it was hard to form back. The next prototype which is prototype 5 was a complete failure. It was stringy, and couldn’t form into a blob.


Prototype 6 was way too soft for a comfortable grip. Prototype 7 overall meet our requirements but it was still hard to mold. Prototype 8 was very smooth, easy to mold, but the only thing that wasn’t quite good was it was too soft for a comfortable grip.

After Emily and I made prototype 8, we went to Ms. Cox for some suggestions on how to make it firmer. Ms. Cox suggested that we could use some guar gum or cornstarch. We took two parts of prototype 8 and kneaded it with guar gum and cornstarch. Prototype 8.1 is the one with guar gum and prototype 8.2 is the one with cornstarch. After comparing the two, we decided that we liked prototype 8.1 better as a grip. The guar gum helped the make the texture smoother and less sticky and also made the polymer firmer. Prototype 8.1 became our final model. As we were making our final prototype, we found out that adding both guar gum and cornstarch made the polymer even better.

Prototype 8 (bottom), 8.1 (left), 8.2 (right)


Materials used for final prototype (prototype 9):

-28ml laundry starch

-1cm glue

-Sprinkles of guar gum and cornstarch

Final Prototype (prototype 9):


Journal Entry #2–Developing Solutions

Our project goal is to design a polymer that can be used as a comfortable and easy grip for daily necessities. To achieve that, our polymer has to have some of the characteristics of some of the basic polymers that we made.

In class, we did tests on the basic polymers Oobleck, Gloop, Boogers and Super Slime. Oobleck wasn’t a solid nor a liquid, it changes form by the amount of force you apply to it. Gloop was smooth, elastic and was hard to form back after breaking apart. Boogers was also smooth but softer compared to Gloop. Super Slime was translucent and slimy. After organizing our data from the tests of the basic polymers and compared their characteristics, we decided that our final prototype should have the characteristics of Boogers and Gloop. We want our polymer to be smooth and easy to mold like Boogers but since Boogers is too soft for a comfortable grip, we also decided our final product should feel like Gloop.

In order to combine the characteristics of Gloop and Boogers, we decided to mix the materials used for Boogers and Gloop. Boogers used 1cm white glue and 20ml laundry starch, Gloop used 1cm white glue, 8ml borax and 7ml water. For our first experiment, we decided to use 1.5ml white glue, 15ml laundry starch, 2ml water and 5ml borax. We will adjust accordingly to the results.

To test the effectiveness of our prototypes, we decided to try how well each prototype works. First, we will mold them around daily necessities such as pens and water bottles and record how well each prototype is. Second, we will do poke tests and pull tests to see how flexible each prototype is. Third, we will break the polymers apart and see how well they mold back together. After each prototype, we will take notes and come up with ideas to improve the design.


Gloop vs. Boogers