Behind Pretty

A world where everyone’s ugly. And then they’re not. Scott Westerfeld is the author of this book, Uglies, Pretties, Specials, Extras are the New York Times bestselling series. Do you ever wonder what could hide under beautiful covers? There are always secrets and sacrifices. In the novel, Tally Youngblood is about to turn sixteen, and she’s desperately wanting to turn from repellent ugly into a stunning pretty, then all she need is to have fun. But her friend Shay ran away because she doesn’t want to become pretty. On the way to find Shay, Tally discovered the true secrets about turning pretty… Not very pretty.

 

When you glaze at the bright stars, Tally is one of the sparkle ones. When Shay was going to leave the city and go to the Smoke, Tally persuaded so hard for her to stay, she attaches importance into friendship. Even when Special Circumstances forced Tally to betray the Smoke, or else she’s not getting her wish – be pretty, she still set foot on her journey. She followed her dream on life-changing conflicts. When she reached the smoke and decided to stay, this is flexibility. After the Smokies got captured Tally and David still risked their life to save them even all the Smokies already hated them; this is trustworthy. When Maddy found the uncertain cure, Tally immediately decided she will be the willing subject; this is courage. Tally is a brave girl who always want to find out the actual truth. She’s never afraid of conflicts and risks, carless about losing everything, willing to try things that might sacrifice herself. David fell in love of her because of her personality, not physical appearance. Shay treasures her friendship with Tally because of her pure heart. The Smokies respect Tally because she showed in-depth determination to find what is really wrong of being pretty, and what’s really wrong with herself and the world around her.

Secrets are always hidden under beautiful covers. In this book, Special Circumstances took full control of New Pretty Town and Uglyville. Each child would receive an operation when they reach sixteen to turn to attractive pretties, and this was always a dream for all the Uglies. In the city, Pretties could have as much fun as they like, no rules and no expectations lay ahead of them, anything can come out from magic walls in the city to meet Pretties’ needs. Every citizen is required to wear an interface ring – not only to bring in personal demands, but also to let government track where everyone is. The main character Tally desperately wanted to turn pretty. She played all kinds of tricks to try to sneak in New Pretty Town, staring out through her window imagining what it would feel like to be beautiful. Until, she met Shay. Shay doesn’t want to become pretty. She was confident with her face and her future, Shay decided to leave this under-control city and go to a place called the Smoke, where everyone’s ugly for their whole life. No one knew if this place actually exists or not, only rumors in Uglyville says previously a few Uglies also escaped. Still longing to turn pretty, Tally stayed, but Special Circumstances demanded Tally to find Shay and the Smoke otherwise they won’t give Tally the operation forever, which meant Tally would need to betray her friend. [“And I didn’t go with her, because I just… wanted… to be pretty!” – (Westerfeld, 127)] When Tally finally reached the Smoke unwillingly, she changed her mind and wanted to stay. Tally made new friends with Croy and David, she also learnt David is a pre-rusty, he was born in the Smoke and never went to a city before. This is also when Tally fully understood what turning pretty truly means after a conversation with David’s parents. [“I found that there were complications from the anesthetic used in the operation. Tiny lesions in the brain. Barely visible, even with the best machines.” – (Westerfeld, 250)] It turns out turning pretty is just an excuse for the operation, what operation really does is it changes your mind, making you rely on this city and Special Circumstances, no other thoughts except for enjoying in New Pretty Town. David’s parents have been studying this lesion for their whole life. They used to work with Special Circumstances until they realized the actual truth, so they ran away and transformed themselves back to ugly. [David lowered his voice. “Maybe they didn’t want you to realize that every civilization has its weakness. There’s always one thing we depend on. And if someone takes it away, all that’s left is some story in a history class. – (Westerfeld, 330)] Special Circumstances does not want people to know their weakness, they prefer it better as a secret. What actually had the operation done to you was also a… Beautiful secret.

This dystopian fiction is very similar to our now society in some countries. There are many governments in world now who still put lies on their own people to control their thoughts, try to cover up previous ugly truths. They do not teach specifically histories in school. They fake history to make their leader look great. Websites are band immediately if it contains reactionary speech/telling the truth. Citizens are not allowed to speak ill of government leaders. If caught, the punishment is imprisoning. There is no freedom of speech, government decides everything. You cannot learn any “real” history on that country’s local websites. Although previous government leaders did something wrong himself and caused harm, he’s still the “hero” and kept away from blame. The government wants you to live in fantastic bubbles that feels like to be a prefect society, but most of the secrets are hidden forever. Do you really know everything about this world? Or perhaps just a tip of the iceberg?

Finding Your Own Choice

In times of our life we all need to make choices. Choices could drive people apart, or bring things together. There’s not a thing called a good choice or a bad choice, it only depends what attitude you want to face it. Deciding what you want to do, and who you want to be is always important. In this story called “The Fifth of March”, Ann Rinaldi will show you what choices could bring you, but how influential choices could be. Think attentively while making choices during your life!

<<Some brief outline of the story>>

Main Characters:

Rachel- An American colonist who had friends on both sides (British & American). She was working at the Adams’ but later got expired because she accommodated help for the British.

Mr. Adams- He was a lawyer, played an important role in the Continental Congress. Being a kind and impartial person, he took the case to defend British soldiers who caused injuries during the Boston Massacre on court.

Matthew- A British soldier who fell in love with Rachel but later escorted back to England.

American Revolution (Common Craft Video)

We all must admit that history could be a bit confusing at times… Especially when there are all sorts of dates to remember and teachers trying to explain simple events in technological terms. So here is a video about the American Revolution in plain and simple English. It contains most of the key events that happened during this revolution, hope you like it~

In this time era, America’s government changed from monarchy to democracy. There’s no king anymore, many laws existed to make people’s lives better. The change was important because then America became the first country in the world that has a president,  and American finally became independent, not part of British, relying on anyone anymore.

*Key points that are included:

-Townshend Acts

-Boston Massacre

-The Declaration of Independence

-Battle of Saratoga

-Battle of Yorktown

-The Treaty of Paris

Earth Should Not Die in Our Own Hands

This is a non-fiction book called “The New Ocean”. It’s written by Bryn Barnard and it tells about the fate of life in a changing sea. When technology became more advanced, there’s one problem that we didn’t pay attention: environmental issue. Pollution, global warming, overfishing is all creating a New Ocean that will look very different from the beautiful blue seas we now today… Unless we change. This book is called “The New Ocean” for a reason. We humans are changing to ocean, transforming it into a hotter region, and emptying it. If we want to avoid extinction, change should start now. Because human extinction event may actually begin ten thousand years ago, when people invented agriculture. The idea of the book is telling us we should all contribute something to the ocean.

In the book author included 6 types of sea animals, 4 types of them are already endangered. Orcas gets broke up in Marine parks, their tanks are, from orcas’ point of view, the size of bathtubs, soon they die from hopelessness and boredom. Turtles swim into plastic six-pack rings, which can stay on their body for their entire life. Humans catch 40000 million tons of tuna per year, wiping out variety species of tuna. Coral reefs gets killed because of global warming…

“Study nature. Study science. Science helps us understand what is happening to the Earth. Science helps us find solutions to problems. Science is our best hope of survival. We need science. We need you.” (Barnard, page 21)

This is also why the author wrote this book, and what this book is about. Earth should not die in our own hands.

Image source: GOOGLE

Hyperlink citations:

“Climate Change Conferences in 2019|Climate Change Congress| Entomology Conferences 2019| Europe | Helsinki | Finland |USA | Asia Pacific | Middle East | UK.” Solutions to Climate Changes | Global Events | USA| Europe | Middle East|Asia Pacific, climatechange.earthscienceconferences.com/events-list/global-warming-and-its-effects.

Patricia, et al. “10 Endangered Ocean Species and Marine Animals.” Marine Insight, Marine Insight, 16 Apr. 2018, www.marineinsight.com/environment/10-endangered-ocean-species-and-marine-animals/.

WAS THE RUSSIAN REVOLUTION WORTH IT?

What had changed in Russia from 1905-1939?

Stalin destroyed the Politburo, and now he was the supreme leader of the USSR. The aims were to increase industrialization and share a country’s wealth equally among its people. Five-Year Plans were set up, workers have to work harder, but everyone had a job. The whole country was focusing on industrialization, farmers’ population decreased. Collectivization was introduced: peasants would sell their grain to the government at a fixed low price. There were labor camps in every part of the USSR, but the conditions for the zeks were harsh. Religious worship was strongly discouraged, nearly 40000 Christian churches were closed down. All writers had to belong to the Union of Soviet Writers, books could only support the ideas of Communism. Wedding rings were abolished, abortion became available on demand. Divorce was made more difficult; tax exemptions were given to families with large numbers of children. There was a free health service for all, there were holidays with pay for many workers, and an insurance scheme against accidents at work. Space became crowded, families often had to share flats, one family to a room in the cities. There were few consumer goods – clothes and domestic appliances, for example – on sale in the shops.

 What had stayed the same in Russia from 1905-1939?

Still, around 100 million Soviet people were peasants. Most were poor, and they get taxed. Workers still have to work very hard and overtime, there were still no equal rights shared between citizens. Famine still always happen; people starves to death often. The workers still receive miserable wages and generally live in an overcrowded state. It’s common to see persons living in one room and sleeping in one bed. There was one family in each room, sharing kitchen, bathroom and toilet. People were living under hunger and fear: before it was the fear of Tsar, now it was the fear of Stalin.

In 1939, how were Sergie’s and Alexander’s lives the same or different from 1905?

Alexander is now working on a kolkhoz – a collective farm. Instead of making profits by selling his grain at market, he now sells his grain to the government at a fixed low price. He would receive wages for their work. Collective farms consisted of 50 to 100 families, together farming an average 450 hectares of land. The collective farm was intended to be more efficient than the old individual farms. Also Alexander’s children now receive education with strict methods of discipline. His family received a range of new benefits under Stalin: there was a free health service. But there were few consumer goods, it’s harder to buy equipment in the store.

Was the Russian Revolution worth it?

 I think the Russian Revolution was still worth it. Conditions did improve, after all, most importantly the government and politics. Before the revolution employers could easily replace some troublesome workers who complained: there were always long queues of unemployed people outside their factory gates looking for work. But right now, everyone has a job! Even in America, Europe, Asia and the Far East, a massive economic slump put many millions of people out of work for the duration of the 1930s. Unemployment in the USA reached 13 million in 1933. In the USSR, in contrast, there was no unemployment.

Picture source:

Baidu(百度百科)