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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

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.

Russian revolution || journal entry four

The scratch-scratch of the inked pen is all that can be heard in the room.

Scratch. Scratch. Scratchhhh.

It’s almost like we’re frozen, air held back tightly in our throats and our eyes staring in bewilderment. Pairs of eyes that stretch wider and wider in recognition of the pen scratching against the paper.

The scratching stops.

A stoic blank faced man with a cropped square mustache straightens up and nods tightly. My breath pushes against my mouth and my lungs plead for me to breathe, but I do not dare to make a sound.

“You agree to give us Poland, yes?” I turn to my right to look at Stalin while he speaks and I spot his left eye twitching in agitation. He’s weary. I’m weary. No. I’m terrified.

The man with the mustache huffs out a quick breath, which can either be a sigh or a laugh.

“Half of Poland”, sweeping his eyes at the other officers as if sending a silent threat. “I trust this will be confidential?”

Stalin replies through clenched teeth, “obviously”.

  ~X~

I can’t really walk, let alone stand after the meeting. Stumbling down the streets to my little flat that I share with my one sister, Elize, who goes to help the Kolkhoz nearby sometimes. We’re polar opposites, she goes to help the peasants while I do service to the one’s who put them there.

I can see peasants even on the street in front of me in ragged, mangy clothing. My sunken blue eyes rake over their faces. Despair and grief glistening on their wrinkled faces, despair and grief on too many. Too many.

I push past them in the heavy crowd, disturbed, as all their faces become little flashes of colors, like little city lights shining in rain. I fumble on the keyhole of the murky brown door, and I hear a little squeak. A scratch.

No.

No.

No.

NO.

No more scratches!

Hot waves of anger seethe through my body, a red aura outlining my shape. Whipping my body around, I snarl and scream as the sound echoes through the alleyway. I search for a figure to release my anger on and I find one within seconds.

“You! I hate you so much.” Expressionless eyes stare back at me, a bored frown on his face as he blinks disappointedly but I don’t listen. I charge on, screaming.

“You promised me a life! With my parents, a good life for being a loyal soldier”, my voice cracking as I grow louder with tears that well up in my eyes, “I don’t want this. I never wanted this.”

I charge my way toward him, my hand turning into a fist, ready to feel the satisfaction of the hearing the crack of his cheekbone.

He merely stares back, indifferent, no sign of agitation. Not even the tell-tale sign of his left eye twitching.

“You gave me a meaningless life. I know that you sent my parents to the Gulag, to get them beaten, to get them killed. You sent my brother of to the army, because you wanted him dead. Why? We’ve been so loyal, do you not care about how I helped you draft up the five year plan? How I brought the men of the show trials together for you! I did it all! You made me stop practicing my religion, burn my own god!”

He lifts the corner of his mouth, a sort of smile? “It was fun.”

“What!” I screech, my fists clenching and unclenching, nostrils flaring.

“I killed them because it was fun. I do have immense power. Hitler is merely the asset, I need 0to sustain it. I killed them because I could. He walks toward me, giving me an opportunity to squeeze the life out of him, my eyes shine brightly at merely the thought. “Come on, go ahead. Kill me.”

Red is all I see as I clasp my hands tightly around his throat, feeling his pulse fading away by the seconds. I close my eyes, squeezing his neck tighter and tighter. Until he’s no longer there.   

Until all I see is a small black cat, that I cornered against the wall. It sprints away and I realized I imagined it all. That I am never going to get out of this.

discussion of reaction activity

Statements like “True leaders lead by example.” and “TV advertisements and magazine ads are the most powerful and influential devices of persuasion” were the most thought provoking as all people had many different ideas. The debate was in a word was very heated and lots of different perspectives but it was moderately civil. I would say that my argument was the most different out of all, as the other group mates were saying that leading by example is something that happens with all leaders and they can be right or wrong in their actions but I think that the definition of “true” means genuine and if the leader is wrong in his ways that does not mean he/she is true and that means they do not qualify for the statements. The wording of the statement could also be taken differently as “example” means that they take on the thoughts of other leaders and take in their example to lead. However, if the actions that they take are in a bad motive then it is not qualifying the example. All arguments were affective and there was sense in the team’s arguments however, I still stick to my opinion.

Russian revolution narrative four lead

The scratch-scratch of the inked pen is all that can be heard in the room.

Scratch. Scratch. Scratchhhh.

It’s almost like we’re frozen, air held back tightly in our throats and our eyes staring in bewilderment. Pairs of eyes that stretch wider and wider in recognition of the pen scratching against the paper.

The scratching stops.

A stoic blank faced man with a cropped square mustache straightens up and nods tightly. My breath pushes against my mouth and my lungs plead for me to breathe, but I do not dare to make a sound.

“You agree to give us Poland, yes?” I turn to my right to look at Stalin while he speaks and spots his left eye twitching in agitation. He’s weary. I’m weary. No. I’m terrified.

The man with the mustache huffs out a quick breath, which can either be a sigh or a laugh.

“Half of Poland”, sweeping his eyes at the other officers as if sending a silent threat. “I trust this will be confidential?”

Stalin replies through clenched teeth, “obviously”.

my internal conflict / part three narrative

January 31, 1924.

And with Josef’s death following my father’s, I never really felt the same.

Like the world had drained me of everything I had. I felt numb. I feel numb. Until the day of January 24th, when my fellow high ranked officer, Nigel, had broken the news to the Red Army that Lenin had passed away.

Regarding my behavior, I heard my brothers and sisters ask about me in the hushed serenity of our cramped kitchen. There would be concerned whispers traveling like mist.

“He doesn’t really feel anymore does he, Ma”,  Albert grunted softly and glanced to his mother waiting for a response.

“Albert! Of course he does, he’s your brother. He’s just well…” She paused, “-he’s been through a lot.”

“But, Ma, he’s filled with so much pain. Why

“Go set the table, dear. There is to be no more discussion of this.”

I was unfortunate enough to eavesdrop on countless conversations like these after coming back from long hours in the army. We tried to make the majority of Russia believe that the Soviets were right and to support the Sovnarkom was to support the people. It was ironic really, the broadcaster of the statements didn’t believe them in the first place.  When civil war broke out, I was inwardly screaming in triumph for the Czechs and anti-soviets who had taken a step forward, praying that I could once be on their side because I had lost respect for mine.

Transferred to the heart of the chaos and selected as a high ranking officer in the Red Army to fight the anti-soviets down, I tried to convince myself I was fulfilling my father’s dream but the nightmares of the bullet decimating my brother made me feel confusion and pain. The act of  even grasping Lenin’s hand in a firm agreement to take the Tsar’s family into the basement and murder them was torture, I felt like whatever I did I had betrayed either my father or my brother.

Nonetheless, I carried on, with an indifferent stare at all who dared to question my loyalty to Lenin. I showed similar disregard to the Cheka who were widely feared amongst Russia. The Soviets had gotten desperate and showed no hint of mercy. I wasn’t harmed, the others however, weren’t so lucky. Families plucked apart, turncoat soldiers shot dead. The consequences of rebellion were far too much and I couldn’t handle the death of another loved one or Trotsky’s suspicious gaze whenever I walked into the meeting room. That man is downright vicious, so vicious, that he took out one anti-soviet group after another and leave the whole White Army in shambles.

“What do you mean there isn’t a way you can get more food?”

“Well, Alexander, the food is being rationed.” My little sister had cowered in fright at the force of my question.

Rationed!” My voice had transformed into a loud piercing screech. “The family has six people and they are only giving out rations for three! Why didn’t Ma tell me!”

Beth cringed at my voice ringing in her ears and quietly replied, “S-she says you have too much to think about, she didn’t want you to worry”.

A familiar shadow of disgust washed over me. I hated that Lenin didn’t even stop to think about the ramifications of the war communism policy including rationing of food or the famine that ravaged Russia killing seven million people, and my little sister was facing the brunt of it at a mere seven years of age.

Lenin’s body was sent to be embalmed and feelings stirred inside me. I felt like I was on fire consumed with confusion. Russia had been renamed; the USSR, with the hope of a promising future for the people. But I felt disillusioned.

I don’t know which one is worse, this government or being led by no one.

review on coaching process / about narrative copies

What changes did I make on my journal? How was the coaching process?

I changed a number of grammatical errors and made my sentences make more sense in the context. This helped me improve on the organization and the sentence fluency of the rubric. The coaching process was really helpful and the information back was very informative and it helped me make my writing more concise and by working in additional facts. 

alexander’s conflicted emotions / narrative two / edited copy

I glance towards the bedridden soldiers, weaving my way through the small beds that fill up a tightly compact room. I shouldn’t be here. My eyes follow the trail of bodies on beds until I reach a rolling compartment. I grasp the handle and it creaks like a musty old door, the man lying on the thin sheet of clothing is dead. Dead. Now I know for sure. Tears drop hotly down the corner of my eyelids while I read the tag on the clothing, Josef, it says. I ferociously blink the tears away.

When Papa died, I was determined that the road of a revolutionary was the only road to take. However, I could have never expected that we would be getting land and food because of our new Prime Minister Stolypin. I remember thinking to myself, ‘why are we getting land, we’re just measly peasants’. Alas, I was alive and well. My twenty year old self thought that that was enough and the pain of my father’s death ebbed away and so did my promise of joining the revolutionaries.

I behaved selfishly and my disgusting behavior didn’t deserve a pardon.

The circumstances that followed Stolypin’s assassination gave my family a fate worse than death.

Rasputin was not good for my family. We were in a lousy shelter with hardly any food while my elder brother; Josef, left to fight in the battles against Germany. My other siblings were sent home from the factories due to lack of raw materials. My mother was in a state of severe hypothermia with no access to treatment. Everyone was livid and helpless, the mutiny of soldiers spread unabated. I heard the soldiers discussing animatedly amongst each other. Rasputin died? The provisional government succeeded in overthrowing the tsar? This was just the calm before the storm.

I had resorted to stealing to survive and I don’t regret it.

On a cold afternoon in August 1917, everything changed for me. Men walked on the street while carrying loaves of bread and piroshki and were distributing it among the people. The pies made my mouth water. They offered me one, they were the Soviets. The man introduced himself as Vladimir Lenin, he enthusiastically explained that he could make Russia a land with enough resources for everyone by taking the provisional government out of power. He extended his hand out towards me as a sign of recruitment. I accepted. 

I was taken into the group of advisors and brought out of my peasantry to help take over the government. Planning the Bolshevik revolution was my duty. I was doing this for papa, for my family. We planned the armed uprising in the disused Smolny institute with the help of inside soldiers and fortress guards. I commanded the Red Guards to barge straight into the palace. I heard a voice through the misty fog, “Alexander! eh! Is that you?” My brother Josef was running towards me, grinning with delight at the sight of seeing me after ages. I found my lips forming a grin but the loud crack of a gunshot echoing around the palace made my heart skip a beat. Josef stopped square in his tracks, a mortified expression on his face and blood dripping steadily from his mouth.

The war ended with Bolsheviks coming to power. But the man, that once was my brother is now gone. For more hours than I can count, I stand rooted to the spot, where my brother lies in the mortuary, my tears meandering their way down and staining my cheeks.

alexander’s conflicted emotions / narrative two.

I glance towards the bedridden soldiers, weaving my way through the small beds that fill up a tightly compact room. I shouldn’t be here. My eyes follow the trail of bodies on beds until I reach a rolling compartment. I grasp the handle and it creaks like a musty old door, the man lying on the thin sheet of clothing is dead. Dead. Now I know for sure. Tears drop hotly down the corner of my eyelid while I read the tag on the clothing, Josef it says. I ferociously blink the tears away.

When Papa died, I was determined that the road of a revolutionary was the only road to take. I never expected that we would be getting land and food because of our new Prime Minister Stolypin. I remember thinking to myself, ‘why are we getting land, we are peasants’. I was incredulous but I was alive and well. My twenty year old self thought that was enough and the pain of my father’s death ebbed away along with the promise of joining the revolutionaries.

I was an ignorant and it was disgusting behavior.

Stolypin was assassinated and what replaced him gave my family a fate worse than death.

Rasputin, the leader left my family and I with a lousy shelter and hardly any food while my older brother; Josef left to fight in the battles against Germany. My siblings who worked in the factories would be sent back home because the factories closed due to lack of material and my mother was in a state of severe hypothermia with no access to treatment. Families like ours were everywhere and they were livid, everyone turned against each other and mutiny of soldiers filled the air. I heard soldiers talking about how Rasputin died and in a flurry the provisional government succeeded in overthrowing the tsar but it was the calm before the storm.

My family was still exceedingly poor so I had resorted to stealing. I had to, I don’t regret it. I stole anything and everything.

Until I was recruited to the Bolsheviks party on an afternoon in August 1917. Men trudged on the street while carrying loaves of bread and small pies. The piroshki’s made my mouth water and they offered me one while explaining that they were the Soviets who gave out more than enough food for the poor, I was elated and graciously took the bread. The man introduced himself as Vladimir Lenin, he enthusiastically explained that he could make Russia a land with enough resources for everyone by taking the provisional government out of power. Extending his hand out towards me as a sign of recruitment I accepted. 

I was taken into the group of advisors and brought out of my peasantry to help take over the government, planning the bolshevik revolution was my duty. I was doing this for papa, for my family. We planned to uprise in the disused Smolny institute with the help of revolted soldiers and fortress guards. The revolution went brilliantly, I commanded the red guards to barge straight in towards the palace. The mist of the day traveled around me and I heard a voice, “Alexander! eh! Is that you?” My brother Josef was running towards me, grinning with delight at the sight of seeing me but I had heard a shot echoing around the palace and he stopped in his tracks, a mortified expression on his face and blood pooling out of his mouth.

The war had finished, the bolsheviks have won but my I’ve lost more of my family because of them and the Bolsheviks are only to blame. I stand next to the body for hours more than I can count.

Rachel the film.

And next..on “Truthful News” is our section of THE HORRORS OF HIGH SCHOOL!

AN EMBARRASSMENT TO THOUGHTFUL FILMS EVERYWHERE. 

Sunday January 14, 2012-

A socially awkward, narcissistic senior at Benson High School is pressured into creating a good bye documentary of a
girl; Rachel Kushnar who suffers from life threatening cancer called Leukemia. The film consists of mismatched 
patchwork elements such as  documentary footage, confessionals and puppetry all put into one. The prologue of the film
are the directors of the film apologizing for their attempt on the film as it is incoherent and badly organized.  

Draft Statements from documentary that never really got in, include (to Rachel): 
"I have to say I don't know you that well" (222). 

"You're in my class, but we've never really talked" (222). 

"In eighth period, I wrote a song that I want to sing to you. Are we ready? Can I sing it? OK. 
Rachel Kushner / Don't you push her / She's got leukemia / and she probably wants to scream-ia / 
But she's everybody's friend! / You know her life's not gonna end!!!" (222). 

(Rachel's Mother) "She was never really much of a fighter, she's a;ways been a quiet girl, just so sweet, never 
wanting to fight and now I don't know what to do. I can't make her fight, Greg" (226). 

The film was shown in front of entire school at formal assembly. Filmmakers; Greg Gaines and Earl Jackson squirmed 
in the seats while other students glared intensely at them both for the entire length (forty-five minutes) of 
the film. Students thought it was "weird and confusing" (270), teachers put on a facade of liking it because the 
directors made an effort of making it. The filmmakers later fled from the site and sources say that Gaines later
disposes of all his previous films as this incident is evidently "extremely embarrassing" and the thought is 
"unbearable".  Greg has not been seen at school for days.

Update!

Rachel Kushnar has passed away to Leukemia. "Rachel The Film" will be remembered.

~~~~~~~~~

Please understand that while I did write this in the template of a News Broadcast. News reporters are not as blandly critical and snarky as this section. This was merely a different approach to explain the climax of the story.

Bibliography:

Andrews, Jesse. Me And Earl And The Dying Girl. 1st ed. New York: Amulet Books, 2012. Print.

the story of success.

Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers, talks about how to achieve success through real life compelling examples. A fantastic book, that “opened my eyes” and was most certainly “inspiring (and) revelatory” as it claims on the front cover. The key to success does not just consist of genius and natural talent. But Upbringing, Lucky Opportunities, Timing and 10,000 hours of practice in the profession. An interesting point that was brought up was, in middle class and wealthy families, children are more likely to speak out and be assertive. Gladwell explains that when a family took their child to the doctor, the child [Alex] was encouraged to “ask him anything you want. Don’t be shy. You can ask him anything” (Gladwell 121). The child was encouraged to speak up and assert his thoughts, regardless of the fact that the doctor was older and in a higher position.  Being firm and bold made a person prepared for the real world and successful, as proved in this video where they ask the American public what is paramount.

Unfortunately, I didn’t understand that until an overseas trip to meet my cousins in Michigan. My dad suggested, “We’ve been thinking to take a tour around the University of Michigan since your uncle used to work there and it could be a great insight to the future”. The tour went beautifully, I took every chance to marvel at the beautiful architecture and facilities. What happened after the tour is what really solidified my understanding that being meek was not an option to survive in the world. The tour guide gave each family a feedback sheet, all yellow and professional. He said, “Please submit the sheet to the front desk to help us improve our tours”. My dad finished filling it out and asked me to submit it. I wasn’t thrilled, to be honest, I was slightly mortifiedThe front desk consisted of three preoccupied managers, one speaking rapidly on the telephone and the other two tending to the large swamp of tall, loud visitors that surrounded the desk. I sheepishly glided toward the man on the phone and waited for him to finish his call but he had other plans. The second I stepped over, he flung his hand right in front of my face and gave me a disapproving glare.  I thought approaching another attendee after this would be overbearingly rude and so instead I looked around to find the submission box myself and dropped it in. My dad watched the exchange and when I approached him, he looked irate and disappointed. The conversation went a bit like this:

DAD: I saw you go up to the desk, why didn’t you ask them?

ME: All of them looked really busy.

DAD: You are still allowed to ask them, Khushi. Even if they are busy, that’s what the front desk is there for.

ME: The man was on the phone and there were too many people around the other ladies.

DAD: There were only a few people around the desk, you should be able to calmly wait and assert yourself to ask your question. Asking a genuine question is not considered rude if they are there to help you for that purpose. This is the sort of skill you need to have later on, if you don’t persist and be firm and bold then how are you going to get your point across in any situation?

And now I know that he’s right. There weren’t so many people around that desk. It just felt like that because all of them were much older and taller than I was. In the book, the same boy that is being taken to the doctor has learned entitlement and can talk to adults with equal ease as he would be talking to his parents. Being confident and determined is what mattered, because even if this was a query about where to hand in a paper, the habit would stick. As Gladwell says about the boy being taken to the doctor, “Alex has those skills because over the course of his young life, his mother and father have painstakingly taught them to him, nudging and prodding and encouraging and showing him the rules of the game” (123). To which, I am thankful to my own family for enlightening me to the rules of life.

~~~

Bibliography:

Gladwell, Malcolm. Outliers. 1st ed. New York: Little, Brown and Co., 2008. Print.

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