Control Leads to Rebellion

 

Imagine you are in a room alone, in front of you is a big red button, beside it sticks a yellow sticky note with big red letters “DO NOT CLICK”, you are not told what are the consequences of clicking it. You know that there’s something to do with the button, and it is hard controlling yourself from leaving it alone. This is because of the curiosity in your mind. Generally, people don’t like being controlled. They are born rebellious. When they are told not to do something, it empowers curiosity on the contrary. This was what happened to the story Fahrenheit 451, where the main character fireman Montag, once a loyal society-follower, became a rebellious criminal to the government. The theme of this story is the censorship of government, the banning of knowledge, motivates curiosity and encourages people to seek it.

 

In the beginning, Montag wasn’t quite aware of the deformation of the society. It wasn’t until Clarisse McClellan, a ‘crazy’ teenager who inspired Montag at first. Clarisse is different than others, it seems like that she is open to the world. Clarisse once said to Montag, “So many people are. Afraid of firemen, I mean. But you’re just a man, after all” (11) It was Clarisse who asked Montag “ ‘Are you happy?’ She said” (Bradbury 14) It was also Clarisse who first mentioned the idea to Montag about taking away a book from the burnt houses. This changed Montag’s rigid thought of books; drove Montag into thinking whether if his job as a fireman was meaningful; and whether the society was a perfect one with people receiving extra knowledge. After burning down the old woman’s house and herself, Montag completely changed. Montag felt passionate towards the old woman and wanted to help her. But the old woman refused and chose to become grey ashes with her books. “The fumes of kerosene bloomed up about her.”( 43) From then on, Montag felt deeply about her and started questioning his job. He was provoked from this experience and wanted to give more thought to the present status of the society. Eventually, Montag decided to stop blindly following the orders of the government. “Where the path of kerosene lay like the track of some evil snail” (43) Montag took away a book, The Bible, and started reading, which was something that was not permitted. And discovered all of the knowledge in it, even when it was hard to understand the words in the beginning. As Montag knew more, he wanted even more and became rebellious.

 

Montag started to read more together with the help of another person who supported book reading. However, Montag’s wife Mildred was addicted to technology, being with her ‘relatives’ in the walls was one of her hobbies. Mildred was isolated in her own box and had a false sense of what’s is happening in the society. “Does your family love you, love you very much, love you with all their heart and soul, Millie?” (79) Mildred is a contrast to her husband. After being reported by her, Montag’s idea of rebelling became stronger and is ready for the battle with captain Beatty and the government. When he leaves the destroyed bombed city, he realizes that “It is not burning. It was warming” (147) What he believes now was that the destruction of dystopian society will be reborn of a new, better world. Montag thought “It was a pleasure to burn”(7) at first, but Montag, in the end, escaped the deformed society which was destroyed.

 

One connection is the censorship in China. The communist party has blocked websites for the Chinese people, and established its own search engines and chat apps. Why would they do so? To take control of the people, to stop them from knowing, preventing characters like Montag who was a threat to the government in Fahrenheit 451. There is no liberty in China, what people say and write on the multimedia are all seen from the government.

 

An insightful discovery I’ve found from this story was that the word “god” has appeared several times in the book, often used as an expression before a phrase. “God knows why” (27)

“God, I’m hungry” (22) Fairly, the first ever book Montag has taken home was The Bible. So has Montag discovered the origin of how they speak each day, and discovered the meaning of “religion”?

 

Overall, Fahrenheit is a book with simple words but deep meaning within it. When governments use censorship it may seem to be an easy way to control people. Censorship really works on people, but it is also easier for citizens to find out the flaws of the society. So why not just give liberty.

Twilight: The End And The Beginning

Here is 4 of photos originally made by me. It surrounds the theme of Twilight.

Bitten Hand

Bella’s hand got bitten by James, a vampire tracker who thirsts Bella’s blood. Bella is a human girl, but she has a fragrant scent, attracting vampires for her blood and also trouble. When a vampire’s fangs enter the flesh, so does the venom, and it makes an intolerable pain to the victim. Here, Edward is forced to make a tough decision between trying to suck the venom out of Bella’s body or not. Leaving the venom will make Bella into a vampire, which gives her a body of immortality, but she will have no soul. On the other hand, although having the venom out of Bella’s body will save Bella back to human, Edward fears that he will be unstoppable once he tastes such delicious blood, drinking it all down, which will kill Bella. Edward once promised: ‘“Don’t be afraid,” he murmured, his velvet voice unintentionally seductive. “I promise…” he hesitated. “I swear not to hurt you.”’ (264) Will Edward be able to save Bella and continue this forbidden love?

Edward x Bella

This is a portrait of Edward and Bella in the last scene – the prom where the two talks about their love for each other. Bella and Edward look into each other’s eyes closely. With hearts indicating love in the background, the scene also describes the two main characters’ physical features. Edward is pale with messy hair. His eyes are yellow when he’s no longer hungry, after feeding on animal blood, and he is abler to control his emotions. Bella is with long brown hair and has a pale complexion too, but not as pale as Edward, since she is a human.

The Meadow

The meadow is where the confessions happen. Edward and Bella are holding hands, with the sun beaming on their skin, and the couple tells each other their secret and facts about themselves. Edward shows Bella how he looks like under the sun. “His skin, white despite the faint flush from yesterday’s hunting trip, literally sparkled, like thousands of tiny diamonds were embedded in the surface.” (260) Shown in the photo too, Edwards hand on the left is shimmering with light. In the meadow, the sparks of their love develop further too.

Baseball

Vampires love playing baseball too! With a thunderstorm as the weather, the vampire family uses the lightning to play a tense and thrilling baseball game. As the Edward and Emmet take vigorous strides through the field on the edge of the forest, and Alice throws a perfect arch of the ball, three human predator vampires approach to them, they soon smell an appetizing, mouthwatering odor of the only human upon them, Bella. However, under the protection and support of the Cullen family, Bella is temporarily safe. The Cullens really agree with Edward and Bella’s love for each other and they try their best to help this relationship lead to happiness. ‘“She’s with us.” Carlisle’s firm rebuff was directed toward James.’ (Meyer, 379) Edward taking Bella to play baseball with the Cullen family was the cause of the following danger Bella encounters.

The theme of Stephanie Meyer’s book Twilight is that forbidden love could be successful with an understanding between the two and a family’s support. “About three things I was positive. First, Edward was a vampire. Second, there was a part of him – and I didn’t know how potent that part might be -that thirsted for my blood. And third, I was unconditionally and irrevocably in love with him.” (195) The lovers seek hope in the darkness of their love. The Vampire Cullen family unites together, and together they help a family member’s lover, human Bella. Also, Vampires are supposed to hunt for humans, but Edward resists his hunger, and Bella isn’t afraid either. The lovers had to understand each other and acknowledge and accept their differences.

A connection between Twilight and another story is The Shape of Water, which is about the love between a human being and a half-fish-half-human creature. The creature is supposed to be for experiments, but when the human falls in love with the creature, the love is faced with many barriers. The two main characters understand each other and help each other in the forbidden love they hold.

Siting: (The baseball in the air)

The Journey to a Dream

 

Brown Girl Dreaming, written by Jacqueline Woodson, and the winner of the Newberry Honor, National Book Award, and Coretta Scott King Award, tells the story of the author’s childhood in the form of lyrical freestyle poetry. While facing the loss of family members, a brown skin, and the how people disregard her, she still holds her dream tight. The theme of Brown Girl Dreaming is that her story is like a complicated journey, where every single memory of her brings her one step closer to her dream: becoming a writer.  “And somehow, one day, it’s just here speckled black and white, the paper inside smelling like something I could fall right in to live there- inside those clean white pages” (Woodson, 164). While dealing with the ups and downs of childhood, Jacqueline gains confidence not only from family and friends but also through writing. “Every dandelion blown, each star light, star bright, the first star I see tonight. My wish is always the same. Every fallen eyelash and first firefly of summer… The dream remains. What did you wish for? To be a writer” (313) For every wish, Jacqueline hopes for the only thing – to be a writer. Jacqueline’s story reminds me of Woodrow Prater, the boy in the book Belle Prater’s Boy. The Woodrow’s mother had disappeared from town, and he had to live with his aunt.  People in town talk about him a lot because of his mother, and he had a hard time during his childhood.  But he eventually found himself friends with his cousin, just like how in Brown Girl Dreaming Jacqueline found herself friends with paper and pencil.  My movie trailer represents the theme of the book, while in the beginning the trailer gives descriptions of the memories that the author had encountered, the story slowly evolves and the theme and main point uncovers. I put in the extra sound effects, and the background music to show the deep emotions into the story.

Nature and Nurture – What We Are Made Of

Personality is composed of nature and nurture.” (Francis Galton 1822-1911)

This theory by Francis Galton appeared in and was explained in the book The Psychology Book by Catherine Collin, Voula Grand, Nigel Benson, Merrin Lazyan, Joannah Ginsburg, Marcus Weeks. Galton was first interested in the concept of whether abilities of people are either inborn or learned after birth. He was inspired by his relatives, because many of them were gifted individuals, including the famous evolutionary biologist Charles Darwin. Galton was the first person to give the thought of identifying “nature” and “nurture”, the two ingredients to compose the personality of a person. Nature is what is inherited within the person; nurture is what is experienced after the birth of the person, this may be the environment he lives in, or what he learns etc. These two sources differ from each other particularly.

When Galton was doing research towards inherited traits for his book Hereditary Genius, he found that most of the highly talented individuals were often in certain families, certain growing environments. These people’s intelligence was certainly not only from their nature but also from their privileged home environment, which was how they were nurtured. Galton once stated that “Characteristics cling to families.” (Galton, 1822-1911) Many examples are pieces of evidence that support this claim, even including himself, a great polymath grew up in a wealthy environment and was able to receive unusually high education, which was not accessible to most of the people.

Although Galton suggested that both nature and nurture are very important components of a person’s personality, the balance is also questioned. Therefore, Galton’s theory explains both elements are indispensable. First of all, nature may set the limit to how we develop in the world, for example, no matter how hard a person practices, how much he puts effort towards swimming, how well his coach works trains him, if he has no talent towards swimming, he will never become better than the other swimmer who is talented and works hard. Hence, nature limits on how a person may thrive amongst the community. However, it is also essential to realize that even with highest natural gifts may be badly affected by “starved by defective nurture.” (Galton, 1822-1911) For instance, if a person has an extraordinary intelligence, but his family’s condition could not afford the fees for him to receive education, then his gift is completely wasted. Thus, if the talent is not through education, then it has no use upon the person. The debate of “which component is the determining factor” continues even to nowadays. Some people agree that to receive an education is more important than ever, while others think that there’re no gifted people in this world, everyone is fairly treated.

I think Galton’s idea relates to me, I need to thank my family for providing me such a nice source of education by giving me the opportunity to go to ISB. I cannot say that I am talented, but with the knowledge, I am given to learn every day at school, will help me thrive in life one day. With such education, I think it is crucial for all students here to precious it, and we should be grateful and use this chance efficiently.

As a conclusion, Francis Galton’s concept is true and relatable. He devoted most of his life to philosophy, and his theory of a person’s personality is composed of nature and nurture is still influential today. And nature and nurture are both vital components of a human’s personality.

Dignity and Integrity

“Scholars read the great words of the world. But you and I must learn to read the world itself.” (Park, 7)

 

The theme of A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park is the integrity of the person. Winner of the John Newberry Award, the book is about living under the bridge, with ragged clothes, and merely enough to eat, Tree-ear and his friend Crane-man live with and follow Crane-man’s faith and ethical beliefs. They will spend and enjoy what they worked hard for, and will not take any unearned gains.

 

When Tree-ear came back under the bridge with a bag of rice, the most precious food that the two friends could ever get, Crane-man was gratified, but also puzzled with Tree-ear’s good fortune. Tree-ear told Crane-man the unusual story: It all began in the early morning when Tree-ear met a man carrying a heavy load on a jiggeh, a “framed backpack made of branches” (Park 4), but the rice was leaking, forming a marked white-dotted path. Tree-ear followed, but his conscience was shaking. He helped the man repair the jiggeh. Surprisingly, Tree-ear is free to take the rice on the ground. Good deserves good. Tree-ear’s unselfishness deserved the bag of rice. “Foraging in the woods and rubbish heaps, gathering fallen grain-heads in the autumn-these were honourable ways to garner a meal, requiring time and work. But stealing and begging, Crane-man said, made a man no better than a dog.” (Park, 5)

 

When Tree-ear saw his master Min’s rival Kang with his tremendous design, he didn’t choose to help and tell Min Kang’s secret, but instead he kept it to himself. “If a man is keeping an idea to himself, and that idea is taken by stealth or trickery-I say it is stealing. But once a man has revealed his idea to others, it is no longer his alone. It belongs to the world” (Park, 64) Stealing didn’t only include stealing items and objects, but also included the stealing of a thought, an idea. Although Tree-ear was desperate to help Min to win the emissary’s appreciation. But telling Min meant letting him steal Kang’s innovation. And theft was the worse a man could do. Therefore, Tree-ear cannot risk his beliefs and moral sense and tell Kang’s pottery idea.

 

The main character in this book, Tree-ear’s friend, Crane-man is not a scholar, but he is as wise as one. This connects to our society because it is a present situation that many people who did not even go to school have very good thoughts. Many talented people who are in bad conditions was unable to receive education, and couldn’t prove their intelligence to the society. If Crane-man’s thoughts were told to his society, his philosophical theories would be wide-spread.

 

Tree-ear’s noble actions earned him great accomplishments. After helping to deliver Min’s vase to the royal emissary, Tree-ear was finally earned Min’s acceptance and had the chance to be Min’s apprentice. Tree-ear’s dignity made him a person with integrity.

Changing is a Part of Life

“She could never talk again. Not after what happened.” (Marsden, cover). The theme of So Much to Tell You by John Marsden is to face the unexpected changes in life no matter how hard it is. Marina is a strong character that has been through so many changes physically and emotionally. First of all, in the beginning of the book, right after what happened, her face is different. Not only is she self-abased of her looks, she was also excluded from her peers and they stare at her because of her looks. Marina is scarred, in shock, and refuse to speak to others. Which even leads Marina to a worse state. Also, she despises her father who poured acid on her. However, as the girls in the dormitory and her teachers support her with all their love, Marina is getting better step by step and is much more socialized. She eventually finds her original identity and is more open to others. Furthermore, every time when Marina thinks of her father and the memories of the two, those unpleasant of him feelings fade away. And Marina eventually finds her pathway to meet with her father, and restore their relationship. Although quiet, Marina was tough and accepted all the changes. While in the beginning, Marina thinks that “I make people uncomfortable” (Marsden 11), in the end, she completely changed, “I’m so glad I came here now!” (Marsden 112). This book was deeply moving, and it connects to real-world problems. Just like in the world, every individual is made to face multiple changes and adjust themselves into that estate. Marina’s story shows a girl with harsh conditions but made rapid changes that helped her thrive in her society in the end. In my book cover, it shows Marina walking through a dark tunnel, but she sees light at the other end. Hope surrounds her and she is changing herself back to her bright, normal self.