An Analysis of Dorothea Lange’s Photograph: Ball Game

My annotation of a picture taken in Shafter migrant camp, California, by Dorothea Lange

My annotation of a picture taken in Shafter migrant camp, California, by Dorothea Lange

In the photo above,  photographer Dorothea Lange utilizes framing, focal point, contrast, and visual weight to emphasize the simplicity of entertainment during America’s Great Depression.  In this picture, it is evident that Lange utilizes framing and focus to establish the dominant and subordinate element in the middle ground, which are the spectators and the batter . First off, the batter is framed in the middle of the picture to pop out from the crowd; however, the focus is on the group of men behind and right of the batter. In other words, although Lange focused on the men behind rather than the batter, the focal point is still directed towards him. This indicates the importance of the batter, as he is the main character. Secondly, utilizing a very simple and bright back and foreground, Lange creates contrast in colors between the people and the land and sky, which further develops the image of simplicity in a baseball game of the old days. The contrast also creates a silhouette, which gives visual weight to the picture for more emphasis on the people. The body positioning and facial expressions of people create a warm atmosphere, making the game of ball look even more interesting.

From this photograph, we can also see lots of historical context, which we can connect to some parts of the novel “Of Mice and Men”. Firstly, from the geographical features of the picture, and by looking at the way people dressed suggests that this picture was taken in the kind of setting as in the book; A Ranch in California. This picture also tells us a lot about life back in the days. It was mentioned many times throughout the book that people are isolated and lonely, so they will get together and play games of “horseshoes” during the day and cards at night to entertain themselves. Just like in the book, in this picture, we can see that many people are getting together to play and watch a game of baseball. The simplicity of the game, the bat and a ball in this picture, or a horseshoe and a pit in the case of the book, suggests that people were satisfied by little things and mainly getting together with others. Through the utilization of many filming techniques, Dorothea Lange successfully creates and highlights the loneliness and boredom of people during the American Depression, and how many overcame it by playing games of what they loved.

A Smile of Redemption, short story

“’Filthy Asian!’ I felt a rush of fire build inside of me as his shrill voice pierced through my ears.” (1) Imagine getting put in a situation where you are the only Asian kid in the entire middle school. How would react if somebody called you a “Filthy Asian”? 

This story is about a kid who gets discriminated in middle school because of his skin color. He suffers physically and mentally to stand up for himself, because he knows nobody understands and experiences the same struggles as him of being “the only Asian”. The theme of my story is “Stand up and Believe”. But there are many others that you may be able to come across, such as “The significance of Perspective”. My short story tells readers the importance of standing up and believing in themselves.

I was able to apply many of the techniques I had learned in class. First off was the formatting of the story. I was able to maintain the audiences’ focus by starting and ending with a physical scene, while filling the middle with flashbacks. Second off was the figurative language I used to create vivid imagery. “I watched the window. Watched the raindrops dribbling down, the raindrops that were once pure, falling into a puddle of mud as my childhood and purity drained away.” The setting of the story was also hinted to the readers in different ways. “Pokemon cards… Brown paper lunch bags” (1) showed it was in the early 2000s, the rain and the chilliness suggested that the season was autumn. I also used flashbacks and dialogues in my head, to create a person vs self-conflict, which enhanced the story in various ways. A pair of glasses was the motif in the story. It symbolized perspective, and how each individual saw things in different ways from others. The glasses were mentioned throughout the story, concentrated more in the beginning and ending.

I plugged in a few onomatopoeias, like “Boom” (1) and “bam” (1) to show the physicality of certain scenes. Connotations such as “petrichor” (1) and “outpour of rage” (2) to set a mixture of cold but lively mood. I was also able to use metaphors and similes such as “crashed into him with the force of a mad rhino”, (1) “the yellow of his jaguar-like eyes”, (2) and “like a wolf thirsty for blood” (6). Again, to describe the intensity of the scenes by comparing them to violent animals.

I finished the story with an appropriate resolution, leaving readers with satisfaction and a food for thought. The last sentence referred back to the title of the story. “A Smile of Redemption.” (8)

A Smile of Redemption

By: Hirotake Wang

Word Count: 1732

Boom! Pokémon cards soared through the air, textbooks slammed, and peanut butter jelly sandwiches flew out from brown paper bags. I had crashed into him with the force of a mad rhino. The sheer impact of the collision threw him into the bulletin board and left me splattered across the cold tiled floor. I reached for my special glasses that had been damaged quite badly, and stroked through my spiky hair, hoping my skull hadn’t cracked open. As I fidgeted around the frame of my glasses, I came to a realization that without looking into them, the color and shapes of people changed. I squinted my eyes and scanned around the narrow hallway for a familiar face, only to meet cold eyes glancing back at the mess I’ve made.

He sat there rested on the wall, with his left hand wrapped around his shoulder. He groaned, as I observed him and wondered in confusion; how was my tiny body able to handle him? He was big­—not in a muscular way, but lanky; wore a black jacket, a pair of half-sagging ripped jeans, and purple vans that had multiple holes in them. His piercing eyes and gelled blonde hair emitted an ominous energy. Still feeling disoriented, I pushed off from the ground and limped toward him.

“I am extremely sorry. I wasn’t paying attention walking down the hallway because I was looking down adjusting my glasses.”

I apologized with the sincerest tone and gave him a hand with a sense of embarrassment.

“Filthy Asian!”

I felt a rush of fire build inside of me as his shrill voice pierced through my ears.

“Don’t you dare say that to me, ever again!” I roared and made sure my saliva stuck onto his face. He smirked, stared right through my shaded thick glasses and into my eyes. He tested me by slowly saying out the words. My adrenaline pumped in unison with the blood in my veins, as I clenched my teeth and fist with rage. Bam! I knocked a tooth out of his mouth before he could get a chance to say it once more.

***

I watched the rain drizzle outside of the window. I sat next to him in a dark room, feeling the shaking of his legs and the beating of his heart. I glimpsed into the yellows of his jaguar-like eyes, feeling them try to break through my glasses and into my eyes. I was distracted by the rain, the tension, and the whole atmosphere. The Principle’s words ran through my head without being processed.

“Eddie, are you listening to me?” I turned my head toward the voice, trying to guess what he said.

“I, yes, I-I agree?”

“Eddie, this is a very serious situation. I don’t want this to happen, ever again in our school. Do you understand me?

“I understand.”

“You and Jack are both dismissed.”

The cool drops of water trickled down my body and petrichor plumed through my nose. I wondered in my head, as a flashback of the hallway incident played in the back of my head. Was it really my fault? I quickly denied it, because I knew he was the one who started attacking me verbally. I hopped on my bike and started peddling, but soon lost balance and crashed hard onto the cold ground. What is wrong with my glasses today, I thought; they have made me disoriented. Mud smeared across my blue jacket and stuck to my face.

“Filthy Asian!”

 That same mocking voice again.  I managed to pull myself together, although it took a while to stumble back onto my feet. The drizzle five minutes ago had now become a shower, which drenched my bag and I. I felt no urge to find shelter or to save my soggy textbooks; my mind was simply too busy dealing with the outpour of raging memories.

I was only eight at that time, pure and innocent, unaware of the creeping shadows of darkness and cruelty. One day, however, while I was walking to school, Josh and Harold had blocked my way. They showered me with bolts of hostility and enmity.

“Dirty Jap! You look like someone took a piss on you!”

 They were all unknown vocabulary to me then, but the way they said it to me. So full of evil and hatred, I instantly realized the meaning. Before I knew it, I felt a cold slap to the face and merciless kick to my stomach. I groaned on the cold sidewalk. Rolling in pain. The rain started mixing with my tears, creating a muddy solution. I crawled back home in agony and managed to suppress my tears so my mother would not worry, but the red mark on my cheek and the dried tears on my face was a dead giveaway. While my mom prepared bandages and medicine, I watched the window. Watched the raindrops dribbling down, the raindrops that were once pure, falling into a puddle of mud as my childhood and purity drained away.

Drip-drop, drip-drop. The rain neared its end, and I got back from the past. My fists were still clenched firmly on the bike handles. Beads of sweat rolled down from my cheek. Completely soaked, I trudged back home in misery, leaving the floating autumn leaves behind me. After slinging my soaked bag onto the floor, I threw myself onto bed. I thought hard to think of a way to stop Jack’s discrimination towards people in school. As I got more paranoid about it, suddenly, a weird question popped out of my mind. Do Jack and I see people differently? Is there a difference between looking with and without glasses? The answer hit me, as parts of the hallway incident played back in my head. I remembered what things looked like without glasses; stupid and weird. I figured It must be the opposite for people without glasses.

I allowed myself a grin; it was my turn to retaliate.

Next day at school, I walked around the corridors with excitement and ecstasy, although a hum of anxiety also buzzed around me. There was always the “what if I fail” phrase trying to poke its way through my brain, but I did my best to block the cowardly side of myself. There was no more time to dwell on my anxiety issues; nevertheless, it was time for it to happen. I knew my destination, the piazza, where all the students would be. The time was 11:43 a.m., 17 minutes before Jack would walk out of the door with his brown paper bag lunch. The cool chilly air soaked into my jacket as I strolled outside. I quickly spotted Jack’s groups of friends and some other familiar faces.

“Okay.”

I told myself as I took a deep breath, checked the time, and fixed my glasses. It was time.

“Can you all please do me a huge favor and listen?” I screamed from the top of my lungs. The whole piazza turned dead silent. It was my stage now.

“For all of you that don’t wear glasses. Do you want to see what things look like with them?”

Heads slowly turn to our direction as gasps and whispers arose, but nothing stopped me.

“I will hand a pair of glasses to each of you guys, but don’t wear them yet. I will tell you when to put them on and which direction to look!”

I grinned and opened up my backpack, which was filled with around 30 of the same type of glasses I had on. I dashed through tables and chairs, handing as many people as many glasses I could. I couldn’t have asked for a better audience; by the time it was 12 p.m., everybody had their glasses on, facing the right direction.

The moment Jack pushed through the doors, laughter burst out all across the piazza.

     “How does it feel to be different and laughed at Jack?”

I questioned him with my eyes locked dead on his evil face. Boos and jeers scattered across the piazza.

“I never knew Jack’s face was a tomato!” Somebody in the back joked.

I finished my last sentence with confidence.

 “You need to stop discriminating against people just because they don’t look or act the same way you do! I didn’t do this to start another fight. I just wanted you to know how we felt, being laughed and joked at!”

Jack raged at once and went inside the canteen to get something. A knife. Sharp and shiny, just liked his jaguar yellow eyes and gelled blonde hair. Jack charged toward me like a wolf thirsty for blood and let out a malevolent howl, before viscously drawing the slender knife through my body. I felt the sudden comparative relief as the knife got pulled away. People screamed and dispersed and ran away from the enraged monster of Jack. I took a peek at my injury under the blood-drenched shirt. The knife had entered below my rib cage, leaving a gash in my flesh.

I collapsed on the pavement with my cold hands clutched onto my stomach. I tried to stop the enormous stream of blood, but it kept on flowing like lava down a volcano. Jack said nothing and remained standing. His cruel heartless eyes stared down at me, just like he used to when we were in elementary school. I looked into the sky and tried to cry out, but only a bubbling of blood burst between my dry cracked lips.

 Rain drizzled again from the thick stormy clouds above, and the stinging yet satisfying pain of cool droplets soothed my burning wound and heart. I grasped for air and cleared up everything in my brain for one last notion.

“I had stood up for myself; stood up for what I believed in. This day will get remembered, and change would take place.”

I continued speaking in my head, as my vision slowly blurred out of focus. All I could see was the vague color of blue and red, and a long-wailing scream that pierced through the stillness of the scene.

“I had made the most of my lifetime.”

I finished off the last of my thoughts, and lifted my cheeks by draining all of my energy. I dozed into a deep sleep with a smile. A Smile of Redemption.

The Meaning of Life

There are many ways to answer the question; what is the meaning of life? Some people may give you broad answers like being happy or being with your loved ones, while others may be more specific. This is how Steve Redhead answered, “To create your own meaning of life.” I believe that this statement is true, and is something that many people can understand and relate to; however, I also believe that not a lot of people would truly know what meaning they have given to life. In the book Life of Pi by Yann Martel, the protagonist Pi also struggles to find the true meaning of life, as he is conflicted with many problems like religion and the need to survive; “I know zoos are no longer in people’s good graces. Religion faces the same problem. Certain illusions about freedom plague them both.” (19, Martel). Going back to the topic of giving meaning to life, sure you can plan everything out and follow what you think the meaning of life should be. But in my opinion, life shouldn’t be something that you manipulate, it should be something that flows along naturally.

Although I was never stranded on a life boat in the middle of the of Pacific Ocean, I also have similarities with Pi that I could connect with regarding the topic of the meaning of life.

The first thing is having parents that believe in a religion. Growing up with a mom that believes in Buddhism and a dad that follows Christianity was a bit confusing. As I had to follow two completely different beliefs while doing different traditions. A good example is going to the funeral. When I attend a Christian funeral, I often have to pray and believe that the soul of the person who passed away will go to heaven. On the other hand, when I participate in Buddhist funerals, the way they think and do things are completely different. Just like this, different religions have different ways of doing things and because of these small beliefs, each’s religions meaning of life can be very different. All of these religions don’t have a right or wrong way of thinking, making it very hard for me to follow each religion’s “meaning of life”.

As a boy who believed in many gods, Pi also felt the same way about religion; The pandit spoke first. “Mr. Patel, Piscine’s piety is admirable. In these troubled times it’s good to see a boy so keen on God. We all agree on that.” The imam and the priest nodded. “But he can’t be a Hindu, a Christian and a Muslim. It’s impossible. He must choose.” (68, Martel). In this passage, we can see that Pi’s priest, imam and pandit accidentally meet on the street, putting Pi in a difficult situation of choosing one religion. Despite the fact that he embarrassed himself, Pi was able to answer the question truthfully; “Bapu Gandhi said, ‘All religions are true.’ I just want to love God,” (69, Martel). Similar to me, Pi also have hard times following one specific religion, as he knows that all religions are true and equal. This begs us the question; having to believe in multiple religions, what is the meaning of life for Pi?

In one of the first scenes of the book, Pi met a man at the zoo, Mr. Kumar. The atheist man was confusing him about what Pi thought was the meaning of life for so long. Suddenly he wondered what religion truly was, and Mr. Kumar’s view on religion startled him. “Darkness? I was puzzled. I thought, Darkness is the last thing that religion is. Religion is light. Was he testing me?” (27, Martel)

Much like what Pi was going through, in my own life, there were moments where I got confused about what the meaning of life was for me. To me, the meaning of life is often what my family goes with, which ultimately is the combination of the meaning of life from both Christianity and Buddhism. In the bible, the meaning of life is to love god and love one another whether the race or religion. In Buddhism, the meaning of life is to end suffering for a path to enlightenment. I try to live my life using what the books say as a mindset, but there are times when I start to doubt this. Is this really possible? Is it really possible to love everyone you meet? Has anyone ever achieved enlightenment by ending the state of suffering?

This is where I started to get my inner conflicts. All along my life, there were people I thought I didn’t get along with for various reasons, and even now, it’s hard to love everyone I meet. I have also have suffered many times in my life both physically and mentally, from losing close members of my family and so on. This confused me, and also frustrated me that I did not have the ability to live by what our god, Buddha asked from us humans. Are what the books say true about the meaning of life? How are we all different if the meaning of our lives were all the same?

For days I searched and pondered on the meaning of life. There was a meaning I was supposed to live by, and I knew what that was. But I felt like there was another meaning of life for me. Reflecting back at moments in my life, there were many ups and downs. Some memories were full of excitement and happiness, while other memories were more depressing and sad. Each moment in my life was meant to be there for a purpose and by that, even the smallest things counts as well. I remember one day, I did math homework until the time was quite late. The questions on the homework was very difficult and I had to struggle through every problem on my own, as nobody else was there to help me. When I was finally done, I felt a rush of satisfaction and happiness, I was proud with what I did, because I stuck with it. I immediately climbed onto my bed and started dozing off. Then suddenly popped up an idea about the meaning of life. Maybe moments like that, small moments of proudness made up why we lived on this earth. Other days it wasn’t just proudness. I felt relaxed during a day of laid-back room cleaning. I felt a sense of accomplishment after hitting a 167 kilometer serve in tennis.

This was when the big idea hit me. The bible stated a meaning of life out of the many others. In other words, there isn’t just one meaning of life, there are multiple ones that you can choose to follow. Coming back to Steve Redhead’s perspective on life, I also believe that the meaning of life, is to create your own meaning of life. In my perfect but imperfect definition, the meaning of life is to treasure every single moment that you are in, as it is meant to be there for a purpose.

 

*Spoiler Alert

In the resolution of the book, Pi shares an alternate ending with a choice to make at the end. To ask for which story you think is the real story. This comes back to the theme of the book, which is knowing what the meaning of life is for you; It shows you that you have to make the right choices for yourself and that in the end, you have the power to decide for your own life.

A book cover that I created with keynote and a free for use image

A book cover that I created with keynote and a free for use image.

Martel, Yann. Life of Pi: A Novel. Toronto: Vintage Canada, 2002. Print.

Metrejean, Cameron. “Life of Pi Alternate Ending.” YouTube. YouTube, 18 Dec. 2015. Web. 10 Feb. 2016.

Slick, Matt. “What Is the Meaning and Purpose of Life?” CARM. Cristian Apologetics, 21 July 2013. Web. 10 Feb. 2016.

Yong, Michael. “Meaning of Life (Buddhism).” Meaning of Life (Buddhism). Religionfacts, 17 Mar. 2015. Web. 10 Feb. 2016.

 

 

Never Lose Hope

You are on a life raft in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, stuck with a bunch of dangerous animals with limited amount of recourses to survive for 227 days. Do you think you will survive? I bet you wouldn’t. No one would. Except, that was exactly what happened to Pi Patel, the protagonist of Yann Martel’s novel, Life of Pi. All survivors go through a very common phase when they are in critical condition, and that is desperation. Whether you are on a life raft without food or stuck in a boulder without water, in both situations, you need help. When you are desperately in need of something, you hope for the best that what you need will come to you. In this story, the author portrays the importance to never lose hope.

 

Phase 1: the “Bubble of Hope”

After Pi boarded a Japanese cargo ship with his family to move from India to Canada, they encountered a storm and “the ship sunk” (121, Martel). Pi was lucky enough to escape to a lifeboat, only to find that a Bengal tiger, a spotted hyena, an injured zebra and an orangutan were aboard. For the first few days of drifting on the scorching hot surface of the Pacific Ocean, Pi let himself stay in his “bubble of hope”. Unstable mentally and physically, all he could do was to pray for rescue to come. Although he did find happiness with the Orangutan’s human-characteristic-like companionship, things got worse and more complicated as they drifted. Pi’s only friend Orange Juice, (Orangutan) and the innocent zebra was killed. Shortly after, the Hyena also died.

 

Phase 2: Man vs Wild

Now, Pi was left with the animal he feared the most, “With a tiger aboard, my life was over. That being settled, why not do something about my parched throat?” (135, Martel). Thanks to Richard Parker, that was the moment where Pi, in losing complete hope and accepting his fate, actually saved himself, as he no longer needed to worry about the future and could take action on his current problems. First up was dealing with Richard Parker. From what he remembered in zoology class, Pi recognized the tiger’s snort of prusten, “a puff through the nose to express friendliness and harmless intentions” (164, Martel). This was when he knew that taming Richard Parker was a necessity; “We were, literally and figuratively, in the same boat. We would live – or we would die – together” (165, Martel). Again, because why should Pi simply give up on a full grown tiger full of potential?

Secondly, Pi needed to know how to survive. He read through all of the survival tips on the life raft and tried to figure out how to actually survive on his own. Inside of the packet included canned water and food, ropes, along with many other survival items. As months past, Pi began to know more about the sea, along with how to keep himself alive. From fishing and killing, creating freshwater, to showing Richard Parker who the real boss was. Although Pi was considerably doing well surviving on his own, gradually, he became to realize that he was running out of everything from basic needs like food and water, to other survival items.

 

Phase 3: No Sign of Hope

The loneliness of the sea, the unpredictable whether, and the uncertainty of god drained every bit of energy out of Pi; “Faith in God is an opening up, a letting go, a deep trust, a free act of love – but sometimes it was hard to love. Sometimes my heart was sinking so fast with anger, desolation and weariness, I was afraid it would sink to the very bottom of the Pacific and I would not be able to lift it back up” (208, Martel). Pi was gradually starting to lose his faith in god because after many days of struggling, God didn’t seem to notice him. This quote helps the readers to have empathy to understand why Pi was struggling to believe. All along from the day the ship sank, the only thing that was in Pi’s mind was hope. Hope that somebody will come to rescue him, hope that he wouldn’t end up dying like everybody else. He has been patiently waiting for the moment, but it never came. Pi was almost convinced that there was no more hope left in him.

 

Phase 4: God to the Rescue

Leaning towards the climax of the book, a huge storm hit and Pi had lost everything. From the reader’s perspective, it was the end of Pi’s journey; however, that was when God started giving back what Pi had been hoping for the past months. God sent him a ship to send Pi the message that he was still there. God made a path for the raft to bump into an island, full of fruits and vegetables. That was when Pi knew, “Even when God seemed to have abandoned me, he was watching. Even when he seemed indifferent to my suffering, he was watching. And when I was beyond all hope of saving, he gave me the rest Then gave me a sign to continue my journey” (239, Martel). During the rough times, it may have seemed like Pi was praying to a god that no longer wanted to existed; however, god was always on Pi’s side, watching over him and helping him in extreme circumstances.

 

To summarize the phases that Pi went through in the rising action/climax, this is a quote that I came up with: It is very hard not to lose hope, when all you have is nothing, but hope. This may sound a bit odd and confusing at first; however, when you read it slowly and over again, it may start to make more sense. Hope is the desire for a certain thing to happen, and is not something that you can literally touch and have. In other words, hope is intangible. A question that you may be wondering is: How could you lose hope when you have hope more than anything else? My 6th grade teacher once told me in humanities class when we were reading an article; “Only highlight the important parts of the article…you don’t want to highlight everything… it is the same as highlighting nothing.” If you think about it literally, it is not true, as you are highlighting all of the words on the paper. But on the other hand, if you think about it figuratively, what he means is that by highlighting all of the article, you are defeating the purpose of highlighting. This is the same for hope. Hope is there for you to get you closer to you goal. You can’t abuse and only rely on hope, but at the same time, you will never be able to have a clear vision of what you want if you don’t have any hope.

In conclusion, you need to be able to maintain a balance. Pi went through many phases, from starting off with only having hope, to having no hope what so ever along his journey. But ultimately, Pi was able to maintain a balance by having hope as a way to get to his desire, while getting out of his comfort zone to keep himself alive.

 

 

Free for reuse, Google Images

Ralston, Aron. “127 Hours Tumblr.” Pinterest. Fox Searchlight, 7 Oct. 2010. Web. 23 Jan. 2016.

Wang, Hiro Take. “Get Off Facebook Pissing.” Blog.isb.bj.edu.cn. ISB, 14 Jan. 2016. Web. 24 Jan. 2016.

Martel, Yann. Life of Pi: A Novel. Toronto: Vintage Canada, 2002. Print.

 

 

 

Get Off Facebook Pissing!

Life of Pi by Yann Martel is a novel about a young boy named Piscine Molitor Patel (Pi). The main text of the book begins with Pi’s stating that he has suffered a great deal, leaving him downhearted. Pi tells us that he continued his religious and zoological studies, in addition to how; “I (Pi) was a very good student, if I may say to myself. I was tops at St. Michael’s College four years in a row. I got every possible student award from the Department of Zoology. If I got none from the Department of Religious Studies, it is simply because there are no student awards in this department.” (Martel, 5). He speaks at length about sloths and how wonderful they are as creatures, along with how “He’s an excellent cook…” (Martel, 24) Pi is now working, though he does not say anything about his profession. We also learn that Pi misses India and loves Canada, and that he remembers/ misses someone named Richard Parker; “Richard Parker has stayed with me. I’ve never forgotten him…I miss him, I still see him in my dreams…I still cannot understand how the could abandon me so unceremoniously, without looking back even once.” (Martel, 6)

Pi’s narration continues, as he reflects on his boyhood in India and the origin of his name. Santosh Patel, Pi’s father used to run the Pondicherry Zoo, and Pi explains how growing up in a zoo was paradise. He remembers waking up to sounds of different animals, all the fun he had observing them, along with how he defends zoos against those who would rather have animals were kept in the wild. His parents did not like water, but he learned to swim from Francis Adirubasamy, a family friend and a champion swimmer, whom Pi calls Mamaji. Long story short, because of his unexpected passion in swimming; “I (Pi) was named after a swimming pool” (Martel, 8) Pi moves on to describes the teasing he received as a boy, because of his full name, Piscine, which children in his school turned into Pissing. He explained how he trained his classmates and teachers to call him Pi by writing it on the chalkboard of each of his classrooms.

As you can see, just from the first 25 pages or 6 chapters of the book, we can already imagine what type of a person Pi is. Talkative, intelligent, experienced, you name it! This is the reason I decided to create a fake facebook page for my Pi. Fakebook allows you to show all aspects of a character. In the present world, you can actually look at someone’s Facebook page and learn quite a bit about them! I tried my best to imagine what kind of a person Donovan is by adding a few pictures according to the text; “He’s a small, slim man…Dark hair, dark eyes…can’t be older than forty…expressive face…” (Martel, 8) Along with pictures of himself, I also added pictures that relates to his interests, short conversations from some of the characters from the book and so on. Overall, this fakebook page is mainly focused around Pi’s personality and characteristics.

It you were on facebook and happened to scroll through Pi’s page, would you send a friend request to him? Enjoy!

Pi’s FakeBook

Source: http://www.shmoop.com/life-of-pi/piscine-pi-molitor-patel.html

Click here to watch the movie trailer of the novel!

We are so Different, Yet the Same

Screen Shot 2015-11-02 at 9.46.43 PM

This is my version of the Ender’s Game Book Cover. Click Here for a closer look and comparison

Through out the story of the book, everybody in Ender’s world wanted to end the invasion of aliens or what they call the “Buggers” for once, and for all. With hours of training in the battle school with simulators and practice sessions, Ender was trained, or what we can now call manipulated to win. For the multi media response in the resolution and theme of Ender’s Game, I decided to create a book cover. A book cover that could be easily expressed by a few words and a simple picture.

When you first look at this book cover, it may seem like the final showdown and the conflict of Ender and the buggers, which is correct. But on the other hand, I also made this book cover so that it could also make sense the other way around. If you take a closer look at it after finish reading the book, you will start to see that it represents the opposite of war, which is peace.

Here is a good quote to give you a better example. “In the moment when I truly understand my enemy, understand enough to defeat him, then in that very moment, I also love him.” (Card 238) When Ender finally understood his enemies in the invasion and defeated them, that was when he realized he had “destroyed” them. That was when he recognized the fact that he was responsible for wiping out the whole specie of the Buggers. When there was still a chance to create peace with what we all have, love. At the end of the book, the theme dramatically changes and “winning”, what seemed most important in the rising action/climax becomes very abstract.

So what it the theme of this book? Honestly speaking, I thought this book was about war and peace, which in not wrong. However after creating this book cover, my understanding of the theme changed. I think the message that the author wanted to send us is, “We are so different, Yet the same.” I came to this quote because although Ender and the Buggers don’t speak the same language, don’t look the same, or mostly don’t have many things in common. But in the bottom of our hearts, nobody really wants war, when we can easily create peace by creating a connection.

This is why I used a picture of half of Ender and the Queen of the Bugger’s face as the backdrop, for the readers to see the physical difference of the two characters. Then using keynote to add a simple title, the name of the author, and the quote to finalize it. This book cover is for letting readers enjoy the story of the book from different perspectives, every time they see the book cover to flip to their pages!

The breaking point of Ender

Spoiler Alert*

Have you ever had a coach or mentor that had no mercy on you? Somebody that always did something to push you out of your comfort zone for you to achieve your limit, or in other words your very best? In the book, Ender’s Game, the author Orson Scott Card beats and takes out every ounce of intelligence out of the 11-year-old boy’s brain, Ender Wiggin. By isolating him from others, lying to him to change his way of thinking, and turning him into a blind weapon.

All along from the day he joins, Ender isn’t so gullible. He knows that they are isolating him on purpose to have less distraction and more time to improve. He knows that Valentine is used to persuade him to stay in the battle school, and he also knows all of their other brilliant plans.

But in the end, due to Ender’s large amounts of mental stress from training, commanding and lack of rest, Ender was swallowed into Major Rackham and Colonel Graff’s simple plan. To trick him into thinking that he was just practicing and preparing for the actual invasion, when he was really fighting against the buggers with real men on his starships. At first, Ender didn’t quite understand why men in uniforms were cheering out loud for their victory, when it was just the last simulation for the invasion. But as he pieced it all up and began repeating the words that Major Rackham shouted out to him after their victory, “All over? Beat them?…I beat you[Major Rackham]?” (Card 296) And looked at the picture of the situation, he finally realized that he was being tricked and used again. “Like a gun… functioning perfectly but not knowing what you [Ender] were aimed at. We aimed you…” (Card 298).

The reason why he joined battle school was to fight the buggers, to end the invasion for once and for all, and he knew that. But he never really knew it until it was happening, until he saw it with his own bare eyes. He struggled to admit the truth that he was a killer inside even if he didn’t want to be one, “I killed them all, didn’t I… I didn’t want to kill anybody, I’m not a killer!” (Card 197) The only event that could explain the whole confusing situation was from the conversation between Ender and Valentine in Chapter 13. “In the moment when I truly understand my enemy, understand him well enough to defeat him, then in that very moment I also love them…In that moment when I love them…I destroy them…I grind them and grind them until they don’t exist” (Card 238)

All ender ever wanted to do was end the war and create peace, however not in Peter’s violent way. Throughout the rising action and climax, ender struggles to find self confidence while constantly doubting himself. Ender, finally reached his limit.


Below is a link to the movie trailer, “Ender’s Game”. The movie is based on this novel, and is a very fun and interesting movie to watch!

Click on the hyperlinks to find out more about the characters in the book!

Ender’s Endeavours

The book Ender’s Game is a science fiction novel about an intelligent young boy named Andrew Wiggin, who lived in a world where the human race fought for justice against aliens. Andrew, known as ender in the book is a 6-year-old elementary student, born as a third child in the United States. The country only permitted families of two children each, which meant that his existence required permission from the government, causing Ender and his family to have trouble in their school/ social life. His brother Peter was evil and cruel, always threatening to kill Ender because he was the “third”. But on the other hand, Ender also had an older sister called valentine, who he had a special connection with, probably a better relationship than any other siblings in the world. The three of them were as ordinary as other brothers and sisters, always fighting here and there with the two against one. “Ender and I [Valentine] aren’t stupid… You’re not the smartest, Peter, just the biggest.” (Card 13)

The book cover of Ender's Game

The book cover of Ender’s Game

Just when their family thought things finally settled down with his monitor taken off from the battle school scouting program. A colonel from the International Fleet Battle school personally asked Ender to be apart of the battle school. Although Ender was still very young, the IF believed that intelligent children was the key to winning their last fight against the aliens, also known as the “Buggers”. Ender had some time to think after he talked to Colonel Graff, “Ender Wiggin, if it were a matter of choosing the best and happiest future for you, stay here, grow up, be happy. There are worse things than being a Third…Battle School is one of those worse things.”

From the day he launched into space and arrived into the battle school, things were never the same. Training was tough from early in the morning to late at night, it was hard to keep up with all the new things that Ender had to learn, and most of all, Ender was alone. He had no friends, everybody disliked him, and he was always on his own. The school believed that for Ender to be pushed to the limit, they needed to “Isolate him enough that he remains creative – otherwise he’ll adopt the system here and we’ll lose him.” (Card 27). In other words, isolate him until he became the best of the best, earning respect from there on his own. After years of hard work, training, and isolation, he was finally ready for his last test, to destroy the specie of Buggers.

Every Action Matters

Have you ever regretted an action that you wanted to take back? Whether it was a stupid small mistake, a misunderstanding from another person, or something that lead to many more regrets? In the book, “A sound of Thunder”, the author Ray Bradbury constantly reminds us of how important every little thing is. In other words, it is important to think carefully about the consequences of your actions, in this sensitive world.

 

As Eckels comes back from the past to the present, he realizes that many things were different from when they had left. “… There was a thing to the air, a chemical taint so subtle, that only a faint cry of his subliminal senses warned him it was there…”(Bradbury,16). He knew what action he had done wrong in the safari, but he didn’t think that such a small action would affect our sensitive nature. He starts to wonder and all of a sudden he sees for himself. “Embedded in the mud, glistening green and gold and black, was a butterfly, very beautiful and very dead”(Bradbury,17).

He begged Travis to bring back the butterfly to the past again. But who can guaranty what’s going to happen again if they do something wrong in the safari, maybe this time even worse. In addition, even if they could travel back in time and make this butterfly flying again, it wouldn’t be possible to go back to the world it once was. As going back again to the past will affect the environment in the tiniest way possible, which would end up altering it.

 

I feel like it is accurate to say that every single action that we make leads us to the present day. However, at the same time, I also believe that it isn’t possible for us to really know what actions brought us here, as we make decisions and do things every minute without clearly thinking of the consequences. This gives us the space to think that you really need to choose your actions wisely, to bring you a brighter consequence even though you may not realize it.

We live in a sensitive world that constantly depends on our actions, knowing that even killing a butterfly in the past could affect the color, air, and events of our future. As we know from the book that we can’t change things from the past, we really need to think before we make our decisions. Because even if you have a working time machine, you can never change things from the past, however only in the future.

Click here to see the movie trailer, “The butterfly effect”. It is about how going back to the past to change the future doesn’t always end up going as planned. It is short and worth taking a look at!


 

“The mighty T-Rex” by AzDude is licensed under Creative Commons 2

Bibliography

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B8_dgqfPXFg. N.p., n.d. Web.http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1630.Ray_Bradbury

 

 

 

 

Futures Academy Reflection

Futures Academy Reflection

This year has been an amazing journey for the facilitators. Our hope was that it was equally amazing for all of you. Take the appropriate time to reflect on your year while discussing ways in which you have grown. (1 page minimum)

L21 Skills:

 

  • Communication
  • Collaboration
  • Leadership and Responsibility
  • Critical Thinking
  • Inquiry and Problem Solving
  • Innovation and Creativity

 

  1. Which L21 skills (2) do you think you have developed the most this year? Give evidence for how you have developed in this skill:

 

I think for this year, not only did I learn one l21 skill, I learned 3. Communication, collaboration, and leadership responsibility. I developed these skills when working with others in a project. I think I developed these skills significantly on the social enterprise unit. This was because I wasn’t very used to working with some of the people in my group. Most of the projects that I have done previously were with people that I knew and I liked, so it was very easy for me to do work with them. But for this unit, I worked with people that I didn’t necessarily like working with. At first it was very hard for me to work with them since I couldn’t find the right way to communicate with them to divide our work. Sometimes, they wouldn’t even bring in the work that I had assigned to them, which ended up into me doing all of the work. But soon, I realized that this wasn’t the way I do things. So I came up and used different types of communication skills, instead of asking them to do this or that over and over again. I made sure that I wouldn’t do any of the work that my group didn’t do, as I tried many other things. At the end of the project, this experience resulted me into being a better leader, collaborator, and communicator.

 

  1. Which L21 skills do you think you still need to improve/ work on? How will you develop these skills?

 

I think I still need to work on Inquiry, innovation, and creativity. This is because for 6 years, I have been learning in a way that was so traditional, learning, studying, and doing tests. As I joined Futures Academy, I think it already improved a lot, but I still want to be able to think of more questions, be more curious, and create different ideas when I look at things. My big goal for these L21 skills is to look at our life in a different perspective, a vision that normal people may not look at. For example, instead finding a way to protect yourself from a deadly disease like ebola, I would one day want to ask myself a question, how could I find a affordable and easy cure for people. (Sorry it sounds very cliché)

 

Whole Child:

 

  1. What have you learned about yourself this year?

 

I have always thought that school will most likely be always like this until I become an adult. Sitting in class, doing homework, and taking tests. But in Futures Academy, I feel like I learned that I could change myself, for example how I get educated, how I look at things differently, and how I can do it, instead of planning and thinking of it. I learned that I actually am not bad at creating projects and doing many things on my own.

 

 

  1. In what ways have you grown academically? In what areas do you need to continue to grow?

 

I think academically, I improved a lot in humanities. I feel like I really improved on writing essays and putting research into the writing, while making the essay sound very professional. I also improved a lot in reading, learning how to analyze the text, and so on. I feel like I also improved a lot in Chinese, especially during the homestays. I feel like I got more connected to the Chinese culture in class, as I experienced many things with locals. For science, I didn’t see significant improvement, but I was able to keep up with everybody. Last but not least, for my math, I felt like I could continue to grow more. I need to put in more time in my math, as it is not my favorite subject.

 

 

  1. In what ways have you grown socially? In what ways can you improve?

 

I think socially, I have made many friends in our class, that I never knew I would be friends with. Honestly, in the beginning of the year, there were some people that I never clicked with, but as the year progressed along, I started to like them and become friends with them. I think I could improve socially by getting away from my best friends sometimes and getting different friends, so that I wouldn’t be lonely when they are gone.

 

Chinese Integration:

 

  1. In what ways have you connected to China over the past year? Do you feel more connected to China?

 

I feel more connected to China because of our field trip and outside of school learning experiences. Two main ones that I really felt was good were the village visit and the homestays. Because you could really walk in a normal Chinese person’s shoes and look at what their life is like.

 

Individualized Learning:

 

  1. What is your passion? How have you developed your passion this year in Futures Academy?

I have a lot of passion, but most of the times it is very hard for me to achieve it since I have too many. I feel like I could improve on my passion by focusing more on one at a time by taking more time planning.

 

Project Based Learning:

 

  • Identity Project
  • Project Blue Sky
  • Empathy Project
  • Social Enterprise Project

 

  1. In which project did you feel the most successful this year? Why? What have you learned about project/ time management?

 

I feel like I did very well in my project blue sky this year. I feel this way because we were able to do research, make creative ideas, and do things very professionally, pitching our ideas to panelists. As for the project management, I feel like it is very hard to manage many things that are going on at once. So it is very important to finish things before the due dates as much as possible, instead of waiting till the last minute.

 

  1. Do you feel more capable of directing your own learning? Why or why not?

 

Yes. Because futures academy is all about doing things at your own pace and being responsible for your own work and education. I think I was able to achieve this.