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live for yourself

Category: Humanities (page 1 of 2)

Wondering about Wanderlust

During the magazine project, I learned a lot of things about myself and about others. I’m especially proud of my ability to put together a magazine, with no prior experience. It was pretty hectic and I had to put together 6 different documents. Additionally, some of my groupmates didn’t have the design layout we agreed on, so that had to be added as well. I think I could’ve planned my personal piece better, as the design wasn’t as good as it could’ve been. It was a full three pages of text (with only one picture), and after that, three pages of the infographic and map. I could’ve planned it so the map or infographic went first so it won’t look as busy. The lesson I learned is that not all people work at the same pace as others, so to make sure everyone gets their work done in time, we should have daily check-in sessions so we know where everyone is. Overall, this was a very rewarding experience and I discovered numerous things about myself, about my groupmates, and about working in a team.

The Mysterious, Magnificent, and Marvelous Truth

warning: spoiler alert!

The thing about the truth, however unwanted it is, is that it can never be hidden for too long. The truth will always rise to the top eventually, and when it does, it can change a person significantly. If only one of the protagonists of The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, by the talented Agatha Christie, knew this very important theme beforehand…

Hercule Poirot, the esteemed detective, introduces this theme by saying, “‘Understand this, I mean to arrive at the truth. The truth, however ugly in itself, is always curious and beautiful to the seeker after it’” (Christie 145). Poirot was talking to a few of the witnesses and suspects involved in the case of the murder of Roger Ackroyd. One of the witnesses, Flora Ackroyd, Roger’s niece, said that she did not like where all the evidence was pointing, as the suspect was someone very close to her. She hinted at wanting Poirot to look in another direction; however, he was very persistent on finding the truth, and nothing but the truth. This a respectable action, as he cared about finding out what actually happened more than he wanted to have a bias to protect someone. Not many of us are able to do that. Using this very well-put together quote, Hercule Poirot introduced us to the theme that the truth can never be hidden for too long.

Dr. Sheppard, one of the protagonists of this novel, only realized this theme when it was too late, after he killed Ackroyd: “A strange end to my manuscript. I meant it to be published some day as the history of one of Poirot’s failures! Odd, how things pan out” (283). All along, he believed that his murder of Roger Ackroyd was brilliant (which it was) and smartly planned out. He played along as a witness and thought no one would ever guess it was him, as he was a good friend of Roger Ackroyd, and he had no direct motive. However, he did not realize that the truth would always rise above, sooner or later, especially with the help of Hercule Poirot. After this, Sheppard learns that it was useless to try to conceal things, as the truth will be figured out eventually. It’s safe to assume that he learned a valuable lesson after this, although it would be of no use, as he ended his life soon after.

The theme of this story has applied to me, multiple times. There have been times when I’ve lied, or done something morally wrong. I thought I would get away with it, but the truth has always found its way to the top. There was one significant time about 7 years ago when my friend and I ganged up against a girl. We forced her to give us her stuff, like her toys or jewelry. She did give us her prized possessions, and we took it without a second thought. I thought I had gotten away with it; however, my mom figured out, and even though I kept denying it, she knew that I did bully the girl. Because of that one time, I’ve learned that the truth will always be known eventually, and now, I try my best not to do many things that I know I’ll regret.

Agatha Christie shows us this theme, and how this affects the character, repeatedly, through the suspenseful and chilling story of The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. ‘The truth will always be uncovered in the end’ is a concept that many of us should remember to live by, before we do anything irrational, from saying something somewhat mean to murder.

Surprising Styles

For this multimedia post, I decided to compare and contrast page 72 of a graphic novel called Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi, and page 37 of the informational article called Iran Through the Looking Glass.

Although they are both talking about the American Hostage Crisis, Persepolis is much more biased, and in a very angry and abhorring tone, while the informational article is more objective. The two pieces both have simple sentences, but because Persepolis is a graphic novel, it cannot have sentences that are too long, while Iran Through the Looking Glass has longer sentences with sentence structures of both simple and compound. The word choice of Persepolis is quite casual, and it includes some swears and prejudiced language. Iran Through the Looking Glass has a neutral diction — it does not include any really difficult vocabulary, but still is written in a way so that we will understand clearly what they’re trying to say.

It was interesting to see a part of the Iranian Revolution in two different ways: one that is biased opinionated, and another that plainly states the facts. After comparing Persepolis and Through the Looking Glass, I not only understand more about the American Hostage Crisis (and the revolution), but I also understand more about why historians would want to analyze multiple sources about one topic.

Sources: www.canva.com

The Days of War and Protest

She was a lot of things. She was a victim of war; she was a developing teenager; she was a citizen of Iran. But above all, she was a confused girl with no experience and too many ideas and too many decisions to make. Her parents were extremely anti-shah, forcing her to go to protests every week. But she did not agree with her parent’s ideas. No, of course not. How could she, when she believed that the shah’s made all of the right decisions? But she was just a teenager. All she could do was write journal entries about her life as a bystander of the Iranian Revolution. And now, after all these years, she finally decided to publish it for the world to see.

Ever since the Iranian Revolution, a lot things have changed but some things stayed the same. One thing in particular that changed was that there were elections for Iran’s leaders and government. Women have more rights now and can be part of the Iranian government and parliament. There is also a legislature, prime minister, and president. Unfortunately, one main thing stayed the same. They had presidents and parliaments; however, Ayatollah Khomeini was the only one with actual power. He was a supreme leader, and had the power to appoint leaders of TV stations (this means a lot of propaganda), armies, and more. Khomeini made the Islamic Revolutionary Guard and Hezbollah, which was a police force that started off with a good cause, but ended up just oppressing the powerless citizens.

The Interesting, Intriguing, and Important Iranian Revolution


Our country was made to educate others on the Iranian Revolution. Before the revolution, Iranians were mad because there were a lot of countries influencing Iran, and the government was quite corrupt. The reasons so many countries wanted to be involved with Iran is because Iran is a country with a lot of oil, and oil is extremely valuable. They did not have the power at that time, though. All they wanted was to get rid of all outer influences and actually have a say in what’s going on in their country. At that time, the society was quite unstable, as there were sporadic protests all around Iran. Also, the shah (the name for their ruler) made a secret police to opress anyone who opposed him.

There were people who supported the shah, too, and thought that he made Iran a better place for everybody. However, most citizens of Iran were poor and the victim of the shah’s reforms to make Iran a ‘better’ country. Eventually, large-scale protests broke out and the revolution started.

The revolution was only about a year long, though, but Iran has been indirectly controlled by other countries since 1905. During 1905 to 1980, there were six main leaders of Iran and four countries involved with Iran. Obviously, the citizens have been dissatisfied since, about 75 years before the actual revolution, so when they had the chance to end this once and for all, they went all out.

Finally, the Iranians took back what was meant to be theirs all along and everything was fine again. The Iranians were glad because they finally lived in a country where instead of being pushed around, they had an actual voice.

All the Hidden Emotions

“Don’t judge a book by its cover”. This is a cliche that all of us have heard at least a few dozen times in our lives. All the Bright Places, by novelist Jennifer Niven puts a new twist to this old platitude by incorporating this theme into the story.

One of the protagonists, Violet Markey hides the depressed side of her by saying, “No one likes messy. They like smiling Violet. I wonder what Ryan would do if he knew Finch was the one who talked me [into not committing suicide] and not the other way around” (Niven 49). When Violet was on the bell tower to commit suicide by jumping off, she meets the infamous quirky Theodore Finch, who is known to be odd and abnormally fascinated by death and how it works, and it was he who talked her out of jumping. Everyone thinks that it was Violet who saved Finch (Theodore goes by his last name), as Violet puts on a fake persona that you would never expect to commit suicide. All of their classmates, teachers, and the counselor assumed there was no possible way that the ‘mentally-stable’ Violet could ever attempt suicide, however, they never stopped to think that maybe, just maybe, she was also fighting a battle internally. This shows that we can never ‘judge a book by its cover’.

Similary, even Amanda Monk, a seemingly ‘perfect and happy’ girl, is fighting a battle within: “‘If I didn’t think about [commiting suicide], I wouldn’t be [at this support group]’” (286). Again, it has always been assumed that she was this dumb, popular student that really didn’t care what anyone think, and everyone liked her, but obviously, that is not the case. Some might actually see her as one of the smaller antagonists of the story, because she is not exactly nice to Finch. I both agree and disagree — she did call Finch a freak a few times, but this isn’t enough to become an antagonist. What no one could have guessed was that she was also troubled. She has experienced name-calling, and actually has deep insecurities. It’s hard to believe that someone with so many friends could ever have attempted suicide. The theme ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ is shown once more with this intriguing character.

The theme of this story has definitely applied to me. More than once I have judged someone based on the little knowledge I have of them after knowing them for only a while. It’s embarrassing to say that sometimes I assume things about people that are not necessarily true. For example, last year, there was a girl I knew who I never talked to. One time, when I saw her, I said, “Hello, how’s it going?”, and she kind of shrugged and walked away. I presumed it was because she wasn’t nice and just did not want to make light conversation with me, but now I know it was because she was actually quite shy back then and did not know how to react when I, a near stranger, said hi. It was more than half a year before I realized that I shouldn’t form my entire opinion of someone based on the one time I interacted with them.

This is a very important message that everyone should learn. We can never know what’s truly going on inside someone, and it’s horrible just to judge them by the part of themselves they put out to the world. Jennifer Niven put this concept in words beautifully, and I don’t think any of us will forget how significant the old saying ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ really is.

An Extremely Stiff Blog Post

stiff-blog-postIn the multimedia post I’ve created for the non-fiction book Stiff, by Mary Roach, I used many examples to show the central idea: You can help people – even after death – by donating your body to science. I found three quotes that perfectly matched this idea, so I marked them and wrote a description about why I thought it supported the idea. The book itself was about what would happen to your body if you donated it after death, and each chapter was a new example. The chapters had a wide variety, from doctors practicing surgery to human cadavers being eaten to prevent illnesses, and it was certainly interesting to read. I still can’t believe a book as intriguing as this exists.

Resources used: padlet.com.

Secrets of the Universe

aristotle-2-secrets-of-the-universe-2-picIn the magazine cover for the novel Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, I’ve shown how the theme relates to the plot of the story. The theme of this story, obviously, is to accept yourself for who you are, because at first our protagonist, Ari, doesn’t accept himself, but then learns to, and we also learn through the eyes of him. The plot of this story is showed by the two quotes I’ve chosen. Ari is first ashamed of being gay but then learns that it’s okay. This clearly shows that the theme relates to the plot. I think the two quotes I used are well chosen because even though they are both located at the very end of the story, they correctly summarize the plot. Over a span of time, Ari understands more about himself, and comes to peace with it. He knows there is nothing he can do to change the fact that he’s gay.

Aristotle Discovers the Secrets of Himself

A lot of incidents have to happen in order for two teenage guys to discover themselves. Benjamin Alire Sáenz, author of the novel Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, does an excellent job in writing exciting incidents that will force the main characters to make decisions that will later on prove to be a turning point in their lives.

Protagonist Aristotle, nicknamed Ari, knows little about himself and thinks he’s a heartless, selfish creature, until the day Dante almost got hit by a car: “[Ari] remember[ed] the car swerving around the corner… [he] woke up in a hospital room. Both of [his] legs were in a cast” (Sáenz 110). Ari didn’t even realize he saved Dante’s life. When his parents and Dante’s parents ask why he did it, he denies that he actually made the choice, and it was more of a reflex. Deep, deep down, though, he knew that it was his choice to save Dante’s life. This is a very dramatic incident, and it is only then when he started getting to know himself. The event forced him to make a decision – to save Dante or not. After no hesitation, he decided to save Dante. This really shows his character, and how he has a heart and just wants others to be safe and happy. Even though he acts like an uncaring teenager on the outside, he’s a very kind and selfless person, and that’s what really matters.

After that depressing incident, Dante’s father relocated to Chicago. That means 8 months that Ari and Dante have to be apart. Here, our very indecisive protagonist is faced with another challenge. Ari’s mom asks if he’s written back to Dante yet, and he replies with a simple “‘Not yet’” (180) and “I don’t need Dante” (183). Dante’s moved far away, and he writes to Ari once a week, obviously trying to keep in touch. Ari doesn’t reply at all, until far after along the story. The author doesn’t state why, but context clues suggest it’s because Ari’s still mad at Dante for being extra nice to him after the car crash accident. He feels like Dante wouldn’t be his friend if he didn’t save his life. Of course, that’s not true, but who knows what’s going on inside of Ari’s mind. Weeks and weeks of resentment go by, and he’s yet to answer the letter. This shows that Ari holds a lot of grudges and doesn’t forgive and forget. He’s the type of person who needs an actual apology (for something that probably isn’t even true) before he can move on. This is not a very good character trait, but it makes Ari more realistic and relatable.

I think I am dissimilar to Ari, because I’ve mostly never had to face difficult decisions in my life. Obviously, I know my personality, my likes and dislikes, my talents, but this is in no way similar to fighting your heart about if you’re gay in the 1980s, when people are extremely homophobic. My life has been pretty straightforward leading up to now, and the conflicts I’ve had to resolve are all very simple. For example, as of this moment, my struggle is if I should aim for an ‘Extending the Standards’ or not. Every struggle I have is either school, friendship, or family related. Compared to Ari’s dilemmas, my struggles as a 13 year old girl are nothing.

These two are not the only decisions Ari has to make to shape his future, but these are definitely two of the most important and most remembered ones. As the story goes on, we will travel with Ari and see how his character changes to become a more open and more forgiving person. Until then, we can just imagine.

The Misleading Match


In this text message conversation I’ve made, you can see how the climax is resolved in Matched, by Ally Condie. Towards the middle of the book, the problem is introduced to us: Cassia has to choose between following her heart or following the rules. Cassia contemplates the decision carefully, and after knowing what was at stake, she makes an informed decision to follow her heart. I chose to make text messages, because I think this is a very clear way to represent the ‘antagonist’, the society, in the series. Cassia makes statements for what she believes, but the officials kept waving it away, showing the society does not think much of an individual’s idea. This proves that in this ‘utopian’ world, the government wants to be in control of everything, and being different is highly frowned upon. Cassia is the only one ever to think maybe the community isn’t perfect, and this thought shapes her character, and the choice she makes will resolve the climax.


“Create Text Conversations.” Fake IPhone Text Messages. N.p., 2012. Web. 28 Sept. 2016.

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