Castle of Bed Sheets and Land of Pillows


Light shined through the thinly spread out blanket, illuminating the castle within with green and white plaid designs. The blanket was the roof, the pillows were the walls and the little girl was the princess. Crawling into it, she was careful, she was slow, aware that a single mishap would cause the castle to come crumbling down. Once she got inside she would close the opening with another pillow, locking herself inside. The fortress was dark, for the only light sources came from the limited space between each pillow and the light that shined through the blanket. As she craws back and forth through the endless hall constructed by vibrantly colored pillows, her elbows glided through the bumpy patterned on them, feathers aroused from the wool carpet below her. It was like stepping on clouds, like marshmallows. It was soft, fluffy but most of all warm and cozy.

After a while, the enclosed atmosphere started to giving of the refreshing smell of chlorine. The spacing was limited but that did not stop the little girl from stuffing the fort with all of her most precious treasures. The little girl adored her castle, it was all to herself, neither of her parents or her sister could crawl in.  However, when night falls her fortress would be destroyed, each pillow returned to their original owner, and the little girl returned to her bed as well. She would wait until the day came again when she would rebuild her castle, one that would be even bigger even strong than ever before.

What clues are provided to highlight a character’s goal and/ or true motivation

Dear Mr. Schroeder and Mr. Stotsak,

In the book, The Red Necklace, by Sally Gardner, I have chosen two of the strongest quotes that give clues on the character’s characterization by their motive or goal. The first quote surrounds the main antagonist of the story, Count Kalliovski; “It didn’t take him long to discover that Kalliovski was a mere amateur, with no natural gift” (Gardner 309). Through this quote, the author was able to portray Yan finding out how much Kalliovski wanted to have the power to control the strings of light. Showing that his one and only motive for over 20 years has been to learn to use this power, and even resorting to killing human beings. Through all this commotion, it shows how strong jealousy affected him and possessed him to do such actions.

The second quote talks about the main protagonist, Yan, showing how persistent and brave he is; “Letters, Love letters written by Armand…” (Gardner 303). Through this quote, the author made the readers aware of how motivated Yan was to save Sido from her horrid state. Demonstrating how he never forgets his goal; not even when is he was in extreme pain after being shot in the shoulder.

In conclusion from these two quotes, the author executed the two character’s characterization quite well by showing their motives behind their dialogue and action.

Proud sailor of the Battleship Potemkin?


I cannot believe the officers. Selfish, utterly selfish. I used to be a proud sailor of the battleship Potemkin, but now I have lost my faith in the Tsar and our officers. Potemkin was famous among the battleships, it was known for its firepower, it was known for its power in people. Our ship was the pride and honor of the black sea fleet. Well, until we lose to Japan. Losing this battle was a complete disgrace, it was totally unexpected, uncalled for. We never thought we would ever lose. I mean Japan is less than a half our size. Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean we deserve to get treated like this.


Now it is the year 1905, we are in the Black Sea. The atmosphere on the ship was gloomy, we just experience the worst loss. Not only that but I just got word of the event Bloody Sunday. Everyone is against the workers I mean this whole thing was clearly the Tsar’s fault. I don’t understand why the Tsar did such a greediest act, I mean aren’t we all supposed to stick together? He killed up to 500 peaceful protesters, and all they were asking for was food. We were being treated just like these protesters. We sailors of the battleship Potemkin, work day and night, we clean, we risk our lives for our country and what do we get in return? We get rotten meat. With worms on it!


When we first saw the meat, we thought this must have been a mistake. Thinking back, I can’t believe how foolish I was to have believed in our officers. I thought they wouldn’t give us such revolting food, there must be some kind of misunderstanding. When we showed it to our officer, he said, with no hesitation, “It’s perfectly fine, they are only maggots. Wash them out and it will be fine, you guys shouldn’t be complaining.” Can you believe what he said? I mean the Russian soldiers captured by Japan probably had better food than us!


For the next few days we asked and asked for better food but they ignored us, all we could eat was bread and canned food. One of the officers even gave the order to shoot me and a few others for, not wanting to eat rotten meat. Can you believe this man?


I remember that day as if it was yesterday. At that moment, I came to an understanding, I knew now that the officers were treating us as pets. To them, we were just pets they needed to feed in order for us to obey them, to do what they wanted. This whole time, while we were suffering, they were probably having a feast. Just like how the Tsar is treating the workers.


Time froze and the officer shouted “fire!”, I closed my eyes, I thought I would have died for sure but nothing happened it was as if time froze. I heard people yelling “overboard”, heard people saying “no, stop! Do you have any idea what you are doing?” I opened my eye, it was a complete disaster there was no order at all. The sailors had refused the order and started an uprising. Using our advantage, in numbers, we pushed all the officers overboard. Now we are sailing towards the Tsar. We were ready for a battle we had, rifles, cannons and our desire for revenge all ready to fire at any given moment.




Teen Gossip Magazine


Ashely, one of the main protagonist, in the book We are all Made of Molecules by Susin Nielsen is the cover girl of this magazine. Ashely is a typical teenage girl, the age of rebellion and lots of screaming. 14 is the age where we turn from a child to a teenager, it is one of the most complicated moments of life. This is the age where we try to find the new us, were the most important thing to a typical girl is gossip, popularity, and fashion. This is why for a typical 14-year-old such as Ashely, I thought it would be perfect for me to create a fashion magazine called Teen Gossip Magazine.

I put the title “Boost your Confidence” because Ashely is not humble at all, she knows she is pretty and is not afraid to own it. Although most of the time she has too much self-confidence and is unable to find anything wrong with herself, I believe she would be the ideal person to teach and help boost girls reading this to find more confidence in themselves. For example, when her friend Claudia complimented her and said their other friend was Lauren is like the poor man’s version of her, saying how Lauren was not as pretty nor as popular. Ashely responded by saying “If I am being totally one hundred percent honest, I would have to say that Claudia hit the nail on the head” (Nielsen 37).

I put “How to get to the top” in this magazine as well because Ashely is beautiful and she knows it. Ashely would be the perfect person to interview and get tips or ideas for this title. Even from a small age of 12, Ashely was able to use this special power of hers, to climb to the top of the social ladder. She quickly learned that her beauty gave her power and used it to her advantage; “practically one hundred percent immediately, I was perched right on top of the ladder” (73). Another way she stays on the top of the Social Ladder is by surrounding herself with people worse than her, making her look better; “Being around her always makes me feel good about myself because I’m always just a little bit better than her” (37).

I thought the title “How to stay at the top of the Social Ladder” would be perfect to put in this magazine because Ashely’s social status is quite high and she was able to maintain her place for over one year. Even though Ashely is popular and is admired by many people she doesn’t trust anyone. Ashely knows that being on the top of the social ladder meant she couldn’t really trust anyone, she believed that everyone wanted to be at the top and throw her down. For example, when Lauren, her best friend, wanted to buy a skirt she told her it looked bad on her because she thought even though, “They looked good on her. Really good. But I had to remember the social ladder” (75). She even hid the fact that her father was gay only because she was afraid that other people in the school and her “friends” would use that as a reason to kick her out of the top.

I put the title “How to be more Selfless” because it wouldn’t hurt for Ashely to learn how to be more selfless because Ashely is extremely selfish and she doesn’t care much about other people’s feeling. For example, when she yelled and screamed at Stewart her new brother she stomped upstairs. All she thought about was “Now I could hardly go back down and watch America’s next top model, which is only my favorite show of the week” (27). Not even considering what Stewart might be feeling. Plus, the only reason Ashely didn’t start yelling at Stewart right when she saw him was because she didn’t want to lose her allowance of that week to buy a skirt she really wanted.

I wrote the title “How to deal with a Nerdy Brother” because Ashely thought that having a brother like Stewart who is unable to read social signs and is a complete nerd, would threaten her place at the top. Ashely was heartless and used Stewart to her advantage. She tried locking him out of the house, tried ignoring him and even threatened him to not tell anybody about their relationship, saying, “if you wreck it for me, I swear I’ll kill you” (130). Eventually, she learned how to use her brother to her advantage, using him as a messenger between her and Jared, and also asking Stewart to invite Jared over as a friend when her parents are home so she wouldn’t get in trouble.




Out Break

Isn’t the past what makes the present? We are nothing today if it hasn’t been for the mistakes of the past. The author of the book Out Break, Bryn Barnard, believes that the experiences of the past affected and improved the present in many ways. While this theme can be shown in our daily lives, it could also be portrayed in a series of matter of death situations.

Out Break supported this theme with many examples in the form of different epidemics. In 1300, “Pope Boniface VIII had forbidden the dissection of human cadavers (pigs were used instead)” (Barnard 6), leaving the function of many organs and the circulation of blood for humans to stay a mystery. Although, later on, because of the severe numbers of deaths, “Pope clement VI lifted the ban on human dissection” (9). The Black Death was the reason he lifted the diction Pope Boniface VIII had set and the reason to why today many people would donate their bodies to doctors and scientists for research. These donations are the reason why today we are able to uncover so many antidotes and secrets to numerous diseases. The Back Death is one of the deadliest plagues that ever existed, “Europeans who experienced The Black Death had no idea what caused the disease, but they had some inventive guesses” (7). Although they were unable to find a cure for this disease, their investigations, methods of solving, and symptoms of The Black Death helped our scientist today understand this disease so they could make antidotes. Not only this but because of The Black Death fewer hands were available and so, “the lot of peasants improved” (8).  Then slowly “class of people, status and power was measured not in land, titles and familial connections but money” (8). This gave the peasants room to change their fate by hard work, not by where they were born into. This affected the present by allowing the words freedom and equality to come true. Another plague that had a huge impact on today would be The Blue River. Before, “Chadwick’s reforms with the first Public Health Act of 1848” (25) when The Blue fever came spreading around, no one even knew of the word sanitary. People rarely washed their hands and large families were encouraged after the numerous number of deaths caused by The Black Death. This produced many germs. Living in a confined area with several people squished together, germs were easily spread and a new plague began. Chadwick’s reforms with the first Public Health Act is the reason why today everyone is aware of sanitation and cleanness. Not only this but their lack of knowledge towards sanitation caused many women giving birth at hospitals to die at more than the average rate of childbirth deaths.  This was because people believed “for surgeons, bloody aprons were a sign of professional prowess—the redder the better” (26). After “Semmelwieis ordered his subordinates to wash their hands in chlorinated water before entering his wards. The maternal death rate dropped from 30 percent to 1 percent” (26). Ignaz Semmelwieis was the first to introduce the modern hand washing, then, later on, everyone started to wash their hands. They believed that is was a cheaper yet effective way of stopping illness, and this is why we today still wash our hands.

However, The Black Death and The Blue Fever were not the only ones that helped improve and teach, the occurrence of many other diseases such as Yellow Fever, Small Pox, Tuberculosis and The Spanish Lady were also able to help improve and teach the present plenty of new knowledge.

As the saying goes, the one that makes the most mistakes are the wisest and smartest of them all. Just like in the book Out Break, everybody in this world fails and is not always right. The times we are right is because we failed once and learned from our mistakes. Failing and making mistakes is equivalent to learning, without failing no one would learn. The mistakes each individual makes in their past is what shapes everything about them today. Making each and every one of us unique, all the way from our appearance to our personalities and thoughts. This statement is also shown in everyday likes and dislikes. When I enjoyed eating a certain food as a young child, I was more likely to eat it in the future, and when I didn’t the food I would not order it anymore. I wouldn’t have known if I liked it or not if I had not ordered it. Similarly, in the book Out Break, from the methods they used to cure the different plagues we are now able to learn that some were useful such as public health care and the importance of sanitation, which we still keep today. While some were useless and can even cause extreme negative effects such as “usual unproductive methods to stop smallpox- bleeding, enemas, purgatives and prayers” (14). So we have learned that some medical treatments were positive and continued using them, while some were negative and we stopped using them. Another example would be shown starting from the time we are born into this world. Do you ever wonder, why you know falling will hurt, or why you know stabbing yourself with a knife would be painful? Well, it is, just like in the book Out Break, the reason we today know so many plagues are because the people in the past suffered from it. The reason we know it is going to hurt is because we experienced pain and knows what it feels like, never wanting to feel it again. Although the connection I have made might seem like two completely different, one being a matter of life or death, the other is like that of a bread crumb, nothing important, they both have an equal amount of importance for the shaping of each and every individual.

Resolution of Maggot Moon

In the resolution, Standish went to save Hector who was captured and tortured by the government. This allowed Standish to learn and uncover all the secrets of the government. Later on, as Standish tried to escape with Hector and Mr. Lush but was shot and killed. I was not satisfied with the resolution of Maggot Moon. The author was so good as to making the reader attach to the characters and their unique personality, so that when I read that Standish had died and that Hector was captured I was incredibly sad. I wanted to see a happy ending with both Standish and Hector a live and living.

Maggot Moon explaining theme

The author of the book Maggot Moon believes that in a futuristic society humanity will be alienated when they show the slightest of individuality. This theme was portrayed by the main protagonist, Standish: “A kid with different- colored eyes: one blue eye, one brown, and the dubious honor of being the only boy in the whole of his class of fifteen-year-olds who couldn’t spell, couldn’t write” (Gardner 21).  This got him a lot of negative attention, he was alienated and was never given the chance to even make any friends. The only friend he had was hector who was later taken away from him. Alienated by his classmates and bullied by his teacher he came to the understanding: “I’d sat at the back of the class long enough to know I’d become all but invisible. Only when Mr. Gunnell’s army tank arms were in need of some exercise did I come into focus” (Gardner 10).” The citizens of zone seven all knew of the unspoken law and the consequences of breaking it. To them people who showed any sights individuality was impure and would, later on, be punished or taken for re-education.  One of the negative attention Standish got due to his individuality was being spied by the government: “One of the men in the car had a pair of binoculars. He was lip reading” (Gardner 133). This gave him no privacy and he had to hide his feelings, his thoughts, just so he wouldn’t get sent to re-education.