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“If you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely." – Roald Dahl

literary element // the crucible // grade 10

Tread Lightly (pages version)

Tread Lightly (pdf version)

(text version is located below this Rationale)

Rationale:

The element of The Crucible that I chose to discuss is the characterization of Tituba through flash fiction. My research of nonfiction texts brought me towards multiple articles that discussed Tituba’s motives — specifically on she confessed to working with the Devil. I am delving into her mind and writing a few crisp and important scenes (some are prior to the trials and take place in her daily life) to show my understanding of her character. I have inferred that she confessed because of her already low stance in society (clear by explicit themes of power and reputation in the script). Historical context suggests that she is the regarded as the lowest member of society because of her race and her occupation. She is characterized as a scared, oppressed colored slave who’s value is akin to nothing.

I use a “face” in multiple scenes to give an actual face to all of the townspeople. Tituba knows that her race and position is why she is so isolated, and in the scenes she feels that she has no choice but to melt back into the colors that the public associates her with. Other than Betty, no one values Tituba, she feels as if she has nothing to lose. She uses her persecution to get Parris into trouble, and to keep herself alive. The title is of this piece is “Tread Lightly,” this is because usually when faced with a bitter unknown or a beast, one has to tread lightly.

 

text version of Tread Lightly:

 

Tread Lightly

I can see a face in the sail of the ship. It shifts and morphs with the gale. There are eyebrows, eyes and a mouth. It taunts me. The wind blows the mouth open, and the words flow into my ears.

We think you are disgusting.

You are not like us.

Mr Parris fishes in his pocket for a handkerchief — he wipes the run of snot caused by the chilled air. He looks over to me and I wrench my eyes to the floor. I will an affectless stare to wash my face. He sits on the stool, and I sit on the floorboards that are muddy and tread-on. I think of the sun and the trees in Barbados, and I am sad.

_

It seems as if the world is drowning in sound. I walk down the gravel road to the market. The soft crunch of hooves on straw, my plain shoes squeaking, and a sustained silence fills the grounds. I look up, and the people are muted, staring. Black.

Should I hide myself? I clench the basket tighter when the whispers grow. I look down at my shoes, and they are white. I look at my dress, and it is white. I look down at my battered hands and see that they are dark. I know with their biting eyes they see this too. Filthy. I see Abigail and brighten at a familiar face, but she draws her bonnet up higher and busies herself with another stall.

When I walk to buy the bread and meat, they jeer, and raucous anger takes home in my ears. Slave.

The days are long because there is no one to talk to. I am alone.

_

Mr Parris is angry. Mr Parris is always angry. He typhoons into the kitchen and bangs all the pans to the floor.

He tells me the work I am doing is useless, and when he sees his house, everything is always left in disarray. He tells me nothing is clean, and Betty is behaving worse than before.

The barbed face has reappeared and it takes form in the markings of the white floor and in Mr Parris’s face. My legs are giving away to blend into the wood of the floor.

Elizabeth runs to me from the top stair, and screams out my anger. She did nothing! Tituba takes care of me! You blame her for everything!

__

I clean the bedsheets of the makeshift beds on the floor. I sleep next to Betty, and I worry. She is sick again. Blood has suffused up her cheeks, and her eyebrows are wet with hot sweat.

I nurse her until she is sleeping soundly. The winter has wasted Betty away. The girls are interested in dancing, and I engage with them happily. They dance and dance, but I am weary now. They are asking for pain, and they are asking for murder.

__

The girls are crying – they are saving themselves and sending me down to hell with the blame. They spit in anger. Tituba has made us do it. Tituba has lead us to the Devil. Their faces have morphed from their flushed innocence to the same angled eyebrows and barbed mouth. Parris nods in agreement that the girls have done no wrong, and I have. They have all tried to save themselves, and left me with the rope around my neck and a ledge below my feet.

But at my last stride, I will defeat them. Because while I have nothing, they have everything to lose.

__

Official Intro to Tutor Training

Hey everyone! This is a little intro to who I am and why I joined tutor training: 

I’ve wanted to learn how to teach people for a long time. In elementary school, I idolised teachers. I could not understand how some of them were so good that they could teach me entirely new concepts in a short amount of time and provide effortlessly comprehendible explanations. In middle school, I gave it a go. As per class requirement, each student was given a respective younger student to buddy up with for a period. Most of the students decided to use this time to go out and play (the older ones would teach soccer and basketball). My buddy and I were heavily interested in reading. Every other day for a school year, we read books together. When there was a difficult word or a reference to something new, I would be there to try to provide an answer. It was fun and rewarding; my buddy and I built a tight relationship, and the discussions over the books we read were thought-provoking.

When I entered 7th grade, the coursework picked up. I was struggling to write good essays and stories in English class. My parents helped me out in that regard and taught me how to write interesting and concise pieces. Most of the knowledge I have today is due to the proficiency of teachers. When I entered 9th grade, I finally gave tutoring in a formal setting a try. My goal was to teach an individual how to write creatively. It took a lot of thought and effort to plan daily lessons, and at one point I questioned if there was progress. The end product (student’s piece) was successful, and I am proud of the drive I had. However, I want to learn how exactly to tutor someone. I think it is essential to understand what goes into teaching someone (how to plan, how to access the student’s strengths, what exercises to do as a result of that). I went into the activity with a laid back attitude that because I fully appreciate and understand creative writing (through my practice and reading of countless books) that I can teach a person with just that. But it does not work like that. The tutor needs to plan thoroughly and take time to reflect on past lessons.

I believe that through this course, I will be able to define exactly what I need to tutor a student effectively. I understand that tutoring is different from teaching, but the reason to do it is still the same. Helping someone learn brings benefits to the tutor as well as the student. The tutor learns necessary skills for life (how to communicate, teach and plan) and also is further along the path to mastering the subject being discussed. There is also the very important part that a tutor can heighten the student’s desire to learn. Learning something new is truly a great experience if you are interested the topic.

I have a small bio on my home page addressing who I am, but I’ll sum it up quickly here. I love learning. I’m most interested in English Literature, Humanities and Science. Most of my time is spent reading. This is a bit problematic because I have no problem picking up and starting two more books while I’m halfway through another one. I’m currently reading The Shining, The Da Vinci Code and just recently finished The Crucible. I am a visual and auditory learner (if someone gives me a textbook or explains the topic, I work better). I also like to swim and act in theatre.

I’m excited to build up my skills in tutor training this year!

Tutor Training (TT): #1

It is January 7th, 2019 (10th grade) and I am starting tutor training I. 🙂

They Hear Me Loud and Clear

They Hear Me Loud and Clear

November 15th 2013, 6:25pm

I suffer a fit whenever I abrade my newly cut nails on fabric. I don’t know how to fully describe to you how I feel, but simply put, I hate it. It sets my teeth on edge. I had cut them that same morning.

I remember how my triangle shaped nails sank into the fabric of the red-black plaid I was wearing. I remember how I was shaking behind those curtains of the school auditorium, my faint heart threatening an outburst. I remember clutching my oversized shirt tight enough that it stretched far over my middle and the sudden laugh that bubbled out of me when I heard my mama in my mind telling me to “stop fiddling with your shirt, Khushi.”

I remember that it was dark back there, the darkness was constant, engulfing, and my only comfort was the familiar feeling of my mama’s voice and the snaking of my nail.

The curtains opened and with baited breath, I was pushed into the light.

——

 November 15th 2013, 4:30pm

“Have you charged the camera?”  

Mama’s always asking that question. I imagine that a while before the show, they are sitting on the black Ikea chairs that we have circulating our dining table.

My papa will hum an agreement and there’s a content silence afterwards. If they weren’t going out later, they’d be on the big beige monster in front of the television, determining what newly released movies they want to watch: Captain Phillips or Now You See Me?

Their hands are warmed by the hot milky tea that they love. They welcome the serenity that forms on their windows in the form of small droplets.

I’ve always thought that it was funny that my family drinks so much tea. We chug it down like its water, three times a day without fail. What’s even funnier is this one special mug that we have. I went mental the first time I saw the little insignia that reads “there’s always time for coffee” on the front of the portly mug. It was a little ridiculous that when they went shopping, they bought this out of everything, they probably have a method to their madness.

“This is good for her, I’m happy she’s getting this chance, we should get ready, there’s only two hours left.”

That’s right papa, only two hours left.

That’s a daunting sentence if I’ve ever heard one. Don’t you think?

——

 November 10th 2013, 9:05am

Mama hates unkempt nails. And as I’ve said earlier, I cringe at the feeling after they’ve been cut. When I tell her that I would rather keep them unruly and natural because they look better that way, she jabs: “the naked truth? you’re just lazy.”

My face rumples up at the accusation. I’m a big drama queen. She’s telling me she doesn’t like that face I’m making either.

By now, we’re glaring daggers at each other. I wish she would just leave it. She tells me to cut them. I tell her they look fine. Then she brings papa into it.

I end up cutting my nails. I work at them, brooding. Then she walks right up and informs me to “cut them in three steps, a clip on the right side, a clip on the left and then a small one in the middle.” What a ridiculous way to cut fingernails. I’m about to tell her that but when I look up, I only see her heart of gold, and an involuntary smile lights up my face.

I feel that same ghosting happiness even now, when I have someone who cares enough to nag me.

November 15th 2013, 6:25pm

An announcement booms out of the speakers and into the 600 seater auditorium and I feel weightless. Mobile phones switched off, as there are only fifteen minutes left, please take your seats and deep breaths, because I can do this.

The premier of Ten Years Later is beginning shortly, the actors have spent nights on memorizing and attended long rehearsals. The lights are buzzing and the speakers crackle.

I can steel myself.

The curtains open and there is black amongst the red seats. I search and search and then I find. In the fifth row, dead center, my parents are there with their large bulky cameras and I walk out smiling, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.

I purposely trip over my feet as I’ve been directed to, and see the unpleasant red mush of my shirt when I look down, the red color triggers an alarm bell in my brain and that feeling of failure resurfaces.

But my natural instincts kick-in, egging my tongue to lose the lethargy and I feel the first words of my monologue surge out of me. I look to the familiar faces in the middle section of the audience and the fear gnawing at my neck drains away swathed by the warm smiles. And I know that I have broken out of the darkness of the curtain, I know that they can hear me loud and clear and a warm glow of anticipation of thunderous applause envelopes me.

 

Rationale of “They Hear Me Loud and Clear”

The narrative details the most important month of my middle school life: when I first begin to put myself out there by acting in theatre productions. The internal conflict is the always present fear of failure that prevents me from trying my best. The exposition is set behind the school auditorium, and multiple words such as “hate”, “dark” , “fainthearted” and “bated breath” all fall under the semantic field of the uneasiness of my character. The mention of my nails and my parents serves as a contrast to the fear of failure, as I aim to distract myself with scenarios that I am comfortable in. There is evidence of me doing this in the text, specifically this sentence: “I remember that it was dark back there, the darkness was constant, engulfing”, and the contrast being, “my only comfort: the familiar feeling of my mama’s voice and the snaking of my nail.” This in effect, gives the reader insight into my character, I initially seem weak and timid, but grow into someone who is strong and motivated by the support of individuals who care about her.

I aimed to include many literary techniques including artistic pacing (as the number of details explaining each section are all different and the jump between events are purposeful), flashbacks (with respective time stamps throughout) with suspense as I cut the section before the show starts and go to another section, engaging dialogue (between me and my parents) that all help to characterize me as a round character who is caustic in her humor, soft for her family, and ambitious and brave when there is need for it.

Additionally, to accentuate the idea of theatre as a main focus in this piece, some of my word choice is directly linked to Shakespeare, some examples would be: “heart of gold”, “naked truth”, “method to their madness” “glaring daggers” etc. Imagery is used to bring the auditorium and the living room alive, and the inclusion of my smart comments and opinionated remarks give the experiences a more realistic feel.

the special fives for the summer

books to read:

  1.  Rites of Passage by Joy N. Hensley
  2.  Genesis by Bernard Beckett
  3.  We Are The Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson 
  4.  Seven Ways We Lie by Riley Redgate
  5.  Asking for It by Kate Harding

podcasts to listen to:

  1. In the Dark 
  2. Pop Culture Happy Hour 
  3. Ask Me Another
  4. Four Finger Discount 
  5. Serial

documentaries:

  1. Food Inc. 
  2. The Hunting Ground
  3. Fed Up 
  4.  The Imposter 
  5. Girl Rising 

memories:

  1. Pingyao Trip 
  2. Via Ferrata 
  3. Observatory Trip 
  4. Everyday School Routine 
  5. Lunch 

explorer’s insight // our final project

Our last few weeks of humanities class consisted of magazine making. We created a magazine packed with travel logs, maps and compare and contrast infographics. We started the process with an educational field trip to the ethnic park where we picked an ethnic group to explore. Hopefully, our hard work paid off into making a glossy, professional, interesting magazine which showcased understanding of geographic and cultural features in different mediums.

—-be the judge

split // an emotional punch

An obscure blog that reviews books lead me to Split; by Swati Avasthi. I was reluctant to pick the book up at first as it deals explicitly with domestic violence but the descriptions, characterization and overall writing style tells the tale perfectly with hints of humor sifted into a serious topic. Jace Witherspoon, the narrator, runs away from his abusive father and drives across the country to find his brother who “disappeared one night, out of school, out of the house” (Avasthi 9). They drawback, however, is that their mom is still stuck with their father and refuses to leave him. Along with trying to get their mother to safety, Jace has to deal with a rocky relationship with his brother, his own abusive instincts and the threat of their dad finding where they are. Jace Witherspoon isn’t a good person but he isn’t evil either. He says, “Isn’t it too convenient just to forgive yourself, let yourself off the hook? What will keep you from doing it again, then?” (234). He feels guilt and remorse when he hits his girlfriend. I am in no way saying that this behavior is accepted. Jace’s tendencies have been groomed by taking the blows from his father.

The ending is less than satisfying but I respect the decisions that the author made as life doesn’t always go the way one wants. Jace frequently sends emails to his mother to get her out and they arrange for her to drive away on Thanksgiving but she doesn’t. As a result, the brothers drive to try and force her back. Her mother persists on digging her own grave and in a way, she is too deep to climb out. Domestic abuse rarely end happily after in real life. The characters are dysfunctional and some of the parts are painful and raw.

~~~

Bibliography:

Avasthi, Swati. Split. 1st ed., New York, Knopf Books For Young Readers, 2013,.

the bad queen // characterization letter

Dear Mr.Schroeder,

In “The Bad Queen” written by Carolyn Meyer, the main character is Marie Antoinette. The book has five parts each consisting of a different period of her life: from a thirteen year old who has to marry the dauphin of France to being found guilty at thirty five and executed. She starts off as a very naive, whimsical teenage girl who’s life is dictated by her mother. She is required to marry the dauphin of France at a very young age. When she is at the alter, she says, “After years of being the generally ignored fifteenth child, I loved being the center of attention” (Meyer 43).  This generally stayed the same, she “intended to make my own rules” (174) when she reigned and thus, spent the countries’ money on extravagant parties. As a result of this, the people of the court and the public hated her. When she is asked to stop spending so much, she replies with “I have no such wish. The king has given permission for these entertainments, and the expenses involved are not my concern” (180). This in turn shows that she only cares about her own enjoyment and disregards the needs of the public.

However, when the people stormed the castle to hurt and imprison her, she sees that they hate her but she believes “they would believe about me whatever they wanted to believe. I decided it was best to ignore them. If they chose to despise me nothing would change their minds” (276). She believes that she doesn’t have any fault to play and the public just hates her because she is from Austria. She is selfish and dimwitted but a good mother and she does teach the right morals to her children and she’s feels regret about her actions because her children face horrible consequences as well. In the author’s note, the author describes her as “seriously flawed-but not evil” (419), which I agree with. I don’t know for sure if she regrets how she behaved but she definitely behaved differently at the end -from naive and high spirited to miserable and apologetic.

Sincerely,

Khush

the friend of the people // all journals

The Friend of the People

L’Ami du Peuple

(1789-1794)

Read here: the friend of people

(or alternatively, here: The friend of the people)

 “The Friend of the People” is a mystery that sets itself up in the French Revolution with the suspicious character of Charles. Charles can’t bear the sight of blood. His colleagues, his friends, his family, quite frankly even the town people know this fact. Charles is harmless and merely a shadow. He doesn’t walk to the public executions for entertainment like the rest of the town does. He doesn’t engage in the heated meetings of the revolutionaries. He sits tight in his cramped boxy journalist office working for hours at end instead. Everyone knows this, which is why when Charles is proven guilty for the assassination of Jean Paul Marat, they splutter and squawk in disbelief. Many gossip, but everyone knows that there must be some sort of mistake. They swear on it, that it’s a mistake. Surely not a harmless innocent workaholic could do something like this? Right? But do they know him really?

Appearances are deceitful and people lie. A lesson that we all should learn in life.

Let me publish these four journal entries to discover who killed Jean Paul Marat during the French Revolution, why Charles has disappeared from the country two days after his sentence and what a women clutching her bag tightly while scurrying away from the Bastille has to do with any of it.

____

Change and Continuity:

The French Revolution goes through a lot of changes, in terms of the government and the social situations but there are a lot of similarities. In the beginning of the revolution, the estates were divided into the nobility, clergy and everyone else. This continued on throughout the revolution but most royals and clergy got executed as the revolutionary parties rebelled at set everyone to the guillotine. So in a sense, there was a decrease in the already small population of the rich people. As the nobility spent a lot of money on their luxurious life, the third estate was left penniless most days and decided to take charge and form an assembly. The two events that caused the most destruction were: “The Storming of the Bastille” and “the March of Versailles”. These was critical in bringing down the nobility, which they did but it didn’t help the life that the poor people were living. Many people of France were still in poverty and the Directory (new form of government) was still corrupt and the leaders of the revolution were dead themselves, as the rivalry of the Jacobins and Girondists was the cause for many bloody days.

french revolution in plain english // explanatory paragraph

our video!

Our turning points for the video were The meeting of the States General, Tennis court oath and the Storming of the Bastille. We also had explanations of the groups in the revolutionaries, the social classes of France, with entertaining jokes and characters. The process was time efficient, as we started with the gathering and drawing of the icons (Anthea drew the icons, while Molly and I found images), then we started on the script and edited it. Afterwards, we started the filming of the video and then we edited it together with music and easy transitions. I would say that our group was very good at cooperating and we all split our work equally with an easy going attitude that still got the job done.

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