Jane's Blog

live for yourself

Tag: Humanities

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.

Miraculously Matched

bubble-matched

In the utopian community of Matched by Ally Condie, everybody has similar traits and spends every moment of their lives obeying the society’s rules, except for Cassia Reyes, who is thoughtful and has a special personality.

Cassia, the protagonist, is kind and wants to help others: “‘And help him fit in?’…’I will’” (Condie 58). This was when Ky just moved to their city when they were six, and didn’t have any friends. Cassia’s mother asked her to help him fit in, and almost immediately, Cassia agreed. She didn’t even know who Ky was, and yet she already wanted to help him. She sympathized with him, and imagined just how lonely and sad he was, to have to move to another city and abandon the life he lived. Most kindergarteners only want to do what makes them happy, and don’t even pause to think about other lonely kids. This shows that she wants to make everybody feel included and welcome. Even though she is kind and seems passive, she has her own strong opinions.

She generally likes things that are more special, even the dress salesperson says, “‘You’ve picked things outside of the majority in the past’” (25). This proves that everyone thinks Cassia is unlike others. Even someone who only knows her based on her case file assumes that she isn’t superficial and shallow like other girls in the community. She chooses what she wants, and sticks with it. This will help shape the rest of the story, as she has to choose between the path she’s always known and marry Xander, or follow her heart, and choose Ky instead. It’s unheard of for someone to disobey the society’s rules about who they have to marry, but for someone like Cassia, this is a possibility.

Cassia is very different from me, but we share one similar trait: we both want to help others. A recent example is during summer, I became three peers’ summer email buddy because I wanted to assist them into transitioning to ISB. I talked to them in school so they wouldn’t feel sad or lonely. Of course, Cassia is braver than me and more special, but being kind is one similarity I can easily spot.

Cassia has a conflict that will shape her life coming up, but with these examples of her being kind and differing from her peers, I can trust that she’ll make the right decision.

Sources:

Bubble Matched. Digital image. Matched. N.p., n.d. Web.

Waverly and I

Many who’ve read short story “Rules of the Game” by Amy Tan have looked at me and decided I was nothing like Waverly. Well, I’d beg to differ – the similarities between protagonist Waverly and I don’t just end at our ethnicity.

Amy Tan’s characterization portrays Waverly Jong as hardworking. She takes initiative to learn, as “[she] borrowed books from the Chinatown library. [She] studied each chess piece…” (Tan 5). As her interest in chess grew, instead of asking her brothers or mother like any other seven year old would do, she took the initiative to go down to their library. She studied all different tactics and played with the community chess players until she improved. This proves that she’s persistent, and when she wants to learn something, she won’t stop until she does. Even though her brothers often discouraged her, she never gave up. It is hinted that they always insulted her: “‘Why is the sky blue? Why must you always ask stupid questions?’ asked Vincent” (4). As seen, she’s the one in the family who’s always thought of as ‘dumb’ and ‘annoying’. His brother not only dismissed her question but also insulted her and her curiosity. The ‘always’ proves that her brothers (specifically, Vincent), see less of her, and always thinks her interest is annoying. If it weren’t for her inquisitive nature, she would’ve given up. This, again, proves her persistence.

I, too, am hardworking. Even though I’m not one that wants to acquire all the knowledge I can, I still will research about a topic I’m interested in. For example, a few years back, when my family went to Singapore, I was persistent on learning all about the tourist stops, and spent two days collecting all the information I could. I taught my family all about the history and acted as a tour guide on the entire trip. My curiosity didn’t stop there. I can spend multiple afternoons researching about a topic I’m suddenly interested in. Just last week, I suddenly wanted to learn all that I could about my favorite TV show F.R.I.E.N.D.S cast, so I spent three hours researching them, their families, and other shows they’ve acted in. Now, I know countless trivia facts about them, thanks to my interest.

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