An Analysis of “Finding Alternatives”


A photo taken by Dorothea Lange during the Great Depression in America, shows two men smiling and standing side-by-side. In “Finding Alternatives”, the two men does not only represent George and Lennie, the main characters in the book Of Mice and Men, it also relates to the historical context of the book. After analyzing the photo and connecting it to the book, you can see that Lange tried to give a positive mood during the Great Depression, by showing two dominant elements (the two men smiling) that are the focal point of this photo. Throughout this time period, there were dust storms that ruined all the crops on the farms and lost hope of the American Dream. People like George, Lennie, Slim, Candy, and other characters in the book dreamed to “‘live offa the fatta the lan’.’” (Steinbeck 65). They migrated to California to live a better life after the dust storm, but they were unwanted and lived in a California labor camp. The mise-en-scene of the photo are two men posing next to each other and smiling. In the background, the subordinate element is the truck that is partly covered by the men on the left. We can infer that these two men were traveling together just like George and Lennie. Even thought the two men don’t look exactly like George and Lennie, one is taller than the other, they both look dirty and dusty, with wrinkly dry hands, and it connects to how they travel together. The irony of this photo are the face expressions on the men’s face and the time period they are in. The Great Depression was a time when America was economically unstable. Many farmers and ranchers had to move from farm to farm to earn money like George and Lennie. They had no freedom and choice, just like the characters in Of Mice and Men, the men on the farm worked together and had to sleep in the same bunk house. Furthermore, the photo “Finding Alternatives” taken by Lange deeply connects to the historical context of the book Of Mice and Men and both show how people lived and survived during the Great Depression.






Chocolate Chip Cookie, A Short Story

Imagine life as an orphan, surviving with another companion in the streets for 8 years. Poppy tries her best to survive with another girl, Rosie. The story is about an abandoned girl waiting for her mother to eventually come back, but she then realizes that the person closest to her was more important than her mother. In the short story, the short story chronology unfolds into four different sections as the time moves on. Throughout my short story, I used various figurative language (e.g. imagery. Simile, and metaphor) to help create an image that helps develop the setting, mood, characterization, conflict, motif, and theme.

As you can see, the exposition of the story starts off with a flashback. It’s a memory of Poppy’s childhood when she was a little girl abandoned on the streets. During the flashback, the connotation of “rain”, “puddle”, “haze”, and “smog” described the setting as well as the mood. The purpose of the mood was for the reader to understand that this moment was a devastating memory of her childhood and it affected Poppy, by giving her anxiety and negative thoughts in her head. As she waits for her parents to come back, “The rain fell in heavy, each drop hitting her umbrella like a drum.” Using a simile to compare the raindrops to the sound of a drum.


Towards the end of the story, Poppy found her mother but has to decide if she wants to live her life with her mother or Rosie. This conflict impacts the choices she has to make. Throughout the story, there are moments describing the relationship between Poppy and Rosie and how they are as close as sisters. The motif of the story is mentioned many times in the story, the cookie symbolizes who she trusted and who was important to her. In the beginning, her parents gave her a cookie which meant that she trusted them and their words. But after they left her, Rosie was the one who gave her the cookie, and Rosie was the closest person to her, however, she wasn’t related to her. This connects to the theme of the story, ‘trust’. She only trusted her parents when she was young, but everything changed when they left her.  “The cookie was gone. Just like her parents.”


Chocolate Chip Cookies

Poppy’s frail fingers wrapped around the umbrella handle, “Will you come back?”

“Yes dear, here have this cookie, you’ll be hungry soon.” Jenny smiled softly from behind a curtain of silver-blonde hair, handing her the warm chocolate chip cookie.

“We’ll come back,” her father, Charlie said kissing her on the forehead.

“We promise,” her loving mother looking into her and touched her soft, delicate face.

She took a bite out of her cookie, and watched the crumbs tumble down her sunflower dress and into a puddle.

“They’ll come back,” she assured herself, staring at her reflection in the puddle, blue eyes piercing through the gray haze of the skyscrapers that hid behind the clouds. The cookie felt warm in her hands. She watched the car drive away, into the smog, and disappeared into the city of New York. Poppy waited and didn’t move a single muscle, listening to her mother’s words echoing inside her head,

                “We promise”

The rain fell in heavy, each drop hitting her umbrella like a drum. She took another bite of the cookie, and it was cold.

The cookie was gone.

Just like her parents.


     “Cookies! Cookies! Chocolate chip cookies for $2,” Poppy shouted into the megaphone. The sun was shining on her naturally curly hair sitting on her shoulder, it was even lighter than it already was. She looked just like her mother, or so she thought. She could only remember her silver-blonde hair, but it was a blurry memory. Her hair matched her pale skin, but she always looked sick. It was unusual for the sun to shine so brightly, since it was mid-September, and golden red leaves falling to the ground.

           Poppy set her cookie stand in the middle of the street of, exactly where she was standing when she was looking into her reflection in the puddle. But that was years ago, it felt like a memory of a dream instead of the past. Seeing the kids opening the doors wide open, laughing and holding hands, finding their mother and going to ballet classes. She had mix feelings about it, didn’t know if it made her smile to see them happy, or mad because she never had that memory of her own. She looked down at her her shadow, the sunlight hitting her back. She shook her head and ignored all the thoughts in her head and continued on selling her cookies. She needed the money to continue to live her life as an orphan.

Poppy stood there for hours, waiting for someone to come by and buy a cookie, but no one did. Not a single person. But why? Who didn’t want a piece of warm chocolate chip cookie melting in their mouth during an afternoon on a breezy day in fall?

The sun was starting to set, and little droplets started to fall from the sky. Poppy looked up into the grey cotton clouds as the rain started to fall on her face. She hurriedly packed her cookies back into a container and her cookie stand and ran to the nearest shelter. She opened a random shop door and went in, hoping she wasn’t soaked in rain.

“Just walk around and see what you can find,” Rosie yelled over the drumming noise of the heater, as she was counting the money in her hands.

“Hey Rosie, it’s me,” Poppy said as she was taking off her beanie and setting it on the counter.

“How many cookies did you sell today?”

“Sold 4 cookies! You think my parents will ever come back? Do I still look like my 6-year-old self?”

“Poppy, come on that was 8 years ago, when they left you. You just have to admit the fact that they are not coming back anymore.” Rosie was right, but Poppy couldn’t stop thinking about them. She looked up at the ceiling hoping she could hold back the tears that were falling from her cheeks. Poppy knew she was a weak and emotional girl, but she always used the excuses of her parents abandoning her. When she was left on the streets, she remembered a girl tapping on her shoulders. She turned around and saw a cookie held in front of her. She still remembered Rosie’s words,

“Here have another cookie, you’ll feel better.”


           Rosie was always there for her, she was like Poppy’s old sister. Whenever she was crying she would hug her and tell her stories. Her comforting lullaby voice always made her feel safe. She would sing to her, and make her laugh. Even though it was hard surviving without an adult, Rosie always seemed to make everything work out. She got a job in a convenient store down the street. Each day, the owner would give her $8 daily salary. It felt like millions of dollars to both of the girls. They would buy a $2 burger set and they would share it for lunch and dinner. They would buy a pack of cookies for $6 dollars and sold them for $2. The two of them were like two peas in a pod, they always stayed together and that would never change. She remembered jumping into puddles, catching raindrops, and counting the number of yellow cabs passing by them on rainy days. Poppy was happy when she was with Rosie, yet every night she would cry.

“Stop crying Poppy, it’s not going to help. Stop dreaming about your parents, think of happy thoughts and go back to sleep.”

“I-I want m-my pa-parents,” Poppy tried to breathe, but it was hard when she was crying and talking at the same time.

“Poppy please, I need to work tomorrow, we both do. Just go to sleep okay?” Rosie was exhausted after a whole day of working in the store. She needed to sleep so she would have the energy to work tomorrow. Poppy crawled into the torn sleeping bag they had found in the dumpster. They were lucky enough to find a blanket to keep warm during the night. Rosie hugged Poppy was tight as she could, keeping each other warm and making sure Poppy wouldn’t catch a cold during the night. They had found a dumpster in an alleyway and build a fort with used, torn pillows. The rusty dumpster was used to block the wind and cover them from the outside world. Every day, they would wake up to the sound of the dumpster truck driving closer and closer. It was normally 6 A.M. in the morning and they would tidy up their space and get ready for a new day. They would go into the convenient store and microwave the cookies, so the chocolate chips would melt into the cookie. Waiting for the chocolate chips to melt, memories of Poppy’s parents moving around and around like a horse on a carousel in her head. Sometimes, she would tilt to the side and fall on the ground and stay there until Rosie came and woke her up. It was dangerous for Poppy to think about her parents, anything could happen to her if she fell on the streets.


           “Wait, Ro-Rosie look, over there, that lady with that blue sweater!” Poppy padded her shoulder with her strength as she was tip-toeing, trying to see where the lady was going. “Rosie, look!”

“What! What am I looking at?” She looked at Poppy with her olive green eyes, trying to figure out what she’s looking at.

“That lady with the blue sweater!” Poppy pointed straight ahead and Rosie’s eyes following her finger.

“What about that lady with the blue sweater?”

“I think she’s m-my mom…She had the same color hair, she looks just like me, I remember her.” Rosie rolled her eyes, irritated when Poppy talked about her parents. She loved Poppy like she was her sister, but she couldn’t stand another word about a silver-blonde hair lady. She ignored Poppy’s and counted the money that was left in her pocket. “Are you mad at me Rosie?”

“Me? No, of course not,” trying her best not to sound like she was lying.

“Thank god, I hate it when you’re mad at me,” Poppy placed a hand on her heart, relieved that Rosie wasn’t mad. “Wait a minute, that lady is coming over!” She gasped as she saw the blue sweater lady crossing the street. Her heart began to be faster and faster, her breath was deeper, and her hands closed together. She could feel her nails biting into her hand, she ignored the pain and watched the lady walk closer. Noticing her braided hair to her side, and her black sunglasses covering the top half of her face. She remembered seeing the exact same braid before. Her mother in the bathroom, humming a song while looking into the mirror and braiding her hair. Poppy, lost her balance and nearly fell to the ground. When she got her balanced back and looked up she saw her. The same blue sapphire eyes and silver-blond braid hair was standing right in front of her. Is that really my mother? Why is she finding me now?

“Mother? Is th-that you?”

“Poppy?” the lady whispered. Poppy’s eyes grew bigger, she couldn’t imagine after all these years, her mother is right in front of her. Is this a dream? She pinched herself on the hand, the pain punched her. This can’t be real. Her mother hugged her, crying and saying her name.

“Oh my dear Poppy, I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean to leave you there on the streets.” She felt her tears dropping on her back, her mother’s voice ringing in her ear. Poppy couldn’t believe this was happening. She couldn’t believe that this was real. How is this possible? She has so many questions swirling in her mind, she needed answers now. “Poppy, would you like to come home? I can answer all your questions when we get there.”

“Sure,” Poppy had waited for this moment for her entire life, and finally her wish came true. Rosie couldn’t take it anymore, she could never imagine Poppy leaving her after all she has done for her. All the memories they had, all the things Rosie sacrificed for Poppy, and in return Poppy abandons her? Rosie wasn’t going to let this happen, she couldn’t. She was furious, the fire in her started to rise, all the anger in her built up, she felt like crying because she regretted all the things she had done for Poppy.

           Crash. She backed away from her mother and turned her head to the noise, cookies flew through the air, hitting the ground, and Rosie running away.

“Rosie! Where are you going?She screamed at the top of the lungs, covering her mouth with her hands and her voice echoing. But she kept on running. Oh no, oh no, oh no, what am I going to do! Her fingers were pulling her hair, trying to figure out a way to bring Rosie back without leaving her mother. She couldn’t run and catch up with Rosie because she would leave her mother. But Rosie…How could she ever leave Rosie? The girl who was always there for her for 8 years, who took care of her, and kept her safe during the night. Rosie was the only person how was the closest to her, not her mother. The lady who abandoned her, but why did she come back? Why now, at this moment? I wish I could stop time. But she knew that was impossible. It’s now or never.

She took a cookie from the table and ran, never losing sight of Rosie. Looking down at the cookie still in her hand, she followed Rosie down the blocks. Apologizing people for pushing them, finding a way to run around the crowds, she couldn’t lose Rosie, if she did her world would end. She jumped up and down, finding for Rosie, looking for a grey hoodie, but she couldn’t see anything. She ran down the streets, looking west to east. Which way did she go? She circled around the block, trying to find Rosie. The clouds were angry and turned grey, raindrops started to fall from the sky, but Poppy didn’t stop running. She ran to the dumpster to check if she was home, but no one was there. She circles around the block again, but she was nowhere to be seen. Poppy was worried sick, hoping that she was okay. Tears and raindrops fell down her face, she slapped herself in the face hard. You stupid, selfish girl. Stop thinking about your parents and care of Rosie for once. She regretted the moments when she talked about her parents to Rosie. She needed Rosie more than anyone else. Poppy turned around and head back to the cookie stand, still holding the cookie in her hand. Whenever she was sad, Rosie would always try to find a cookie to cheer her up, to remind her that one day her parents would come back, and they did. But right now, she need Rosie to come back.

Poppy sat next to the cookie stand, sitting on the sidewalk, and rain falling down on her. She couldn’t tell if it was tears or rain running down her face, but she was mad at herself.  She had lost her mother and Rosie today. This was all your fault, it wouldn’t have happened if you listened to Rosie and stopped worrying about your parents. She covered her face with her hand, it was harder to breath, but she didn’t care.  She sat on the sidewalk for minutes that felt like an eternity. She was tired from running and chasing after Rosie, she wanted to sleep on the streets, and pretended everything that happened today was all a dream.

All of a sudden, she felt a tap on her shoulder. Poppy lifted her head from her arms, her eyes still squinting. She saw a figure of girl and a cookie in her hand. She rubbed her eyes and looked up.

“Want a piece of cookie?”

“Rosie!” She smiled and threw herself on Rosie. She hugged her as tight as she could, never letting go. The warmth of her body made her feel safe again. “Please don’t ever run away.”

“I promise I won’t. Hey, where’s you mother?” Rosie pulled away from Poppy, and whipped the tears away from her face.

“I don’t know, when you ran away I chased after you and left my mom,” She looked down on the ground at the cookies, trying not to cry again.

“I’m Sorry, I know how important your mother is to you,” Rosie handed her the cookie and tried to give her a comforting smile. Poppy took a bite out of the cookie and smiled back. Every time she received a cookie from Rosie, everything gets better.

“It’s okay, just as long as you give me a cookie, everything will be okay.”

Featured image here

Books to read

 The Midnight Star by Marie Lu

Girl Online by Zoe Sugg

Girl Online: On Tour by Zoe Sugg

City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare

City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare

The Selection by Kiera Cass

The Elite by Kiera Cass

The One by Kiera Cass

The Heir by Kiera Cass

The Crown  by Kiera Cass

13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Everything, Everything by Nicole Yoon

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare

Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare

Tips to Pass 8th Grade

Here are some tips to help you survive the last year of Middle School



Don’t sleep in class… you’ll embarrass yourself…

Don’t Procrastinate. Finish all your homework that is due the next day.

Always study for your tests

Pay attention in Class. You might miss something important that the teacher said.

Be organize. Don’t forget to bring your homework to school.

Don’t stress out too much. It’s not going to help finish your homework.

Don’t disappoint your teachers. Always try your best at everything.

Only listen to music if the teacher allows you to. And don’t play on your phone.

Don’t be afraid to make friends



Now you are ready for 8th grade!! GOOD LUCK, HAVE FUN, AND MAKE NEW MEMORIES!!


Out N’ About

The travel magazine above is made by Emily, Esther, Serena, and Jessie.

Enjoy reading our magazine!

City Tower – Pingyao

The video above is about the City Tower in Pingyao. It includes a time-lapse video and a few pictures of my own. Enjoy watching the video!

Polymer Journal Entry 4

In the beginning, Esther and I were confused and lost. We didn’t know what to do and we couldn’t think of any ideas. First, we wanted to make a polymer that could fit in your eat when you sleep. However, it would be dangerous to put a polymer in your ear because it’s not safe. On April 15, I thought of an idea. I realized that many students bring their phones in class and sometimes their phone rings. It happens all the time and all over the world. I told Esther about my idea of making a polymer that blocks the sound from your phone. Later on, we had class time to experiment on our polymer.

The first prototype was Gloop. We went into another room and used the Gloop to cover the part of the phone that produced sound. We were amazed that it worked on the Samsung, but it didn’t work on the iPhone. Next, we used all the different ingredients and the results were horrible. It looked ugly and disgusting and we regretted making a prototype using all the ingredients. We moved on to making Boogers. Boogers was the same as Gloop and didn’t have a big difference. The only difference was that it had more characteristics that we wanted. Then we changed the ingredients to make it better. We added 50 ml laundry starch, 2 cm of glue, and a few drops of food coloring. We mixed it all together and then placed it on paper towels to absorb all the excess laundry soap. Then we used our hands to make it into a ball. When class was over we put the new prototype in a plastic bag. The next class, the prototype became wet and sticky so we used the paper towel again to absorb the stickiness. Every time we made a prototype we would follow this procedure. In total, we made four different colors for our prototype, blue, purple, green, and pink.

This is when we started making our commercial. I wanted our audience to relate and connect to our commercial so we thought of real life situation. The commercial started off in a school environment and a student’s phone starts ringing. The teacher gets mad and the student is embarrassed. Then the student’s classmate introduces a product called ‘Sinslate’. We have a before and after video of the student using the product. We use this story line and add little bits of information in the video. For example, the price, colors, company’s name, etc. The name ‘Sinslate’ came from the words: Sound and Insulator. In the beginning, it was ‘Sonslate’, but it didn’t sound good so we changed it to ‘Sinslate’. Our company name is ‘Isoler’ because it means isolate in French.  

On the day we presented our product, I learned that the best commercials were the ones that had real life connections and the ones that had the target market audience in the video. For example, there was one group who had little kids as their target market audience. So they had a child in the video instead of a middle schooler acting like a little kid. Comparing from where we finished to where we started was a huge improvement. I learned many things along the way in this project.

The Magical Province

The Powerpoint above talks about the most magical province in China, Heilongjiang. Heilongjiang is known for how cold it is in the winter. When you look through the slideshow, you will see some the natural environment of Heilongjiang, human-created environment, how to move around the province, the negatives and positives, and the types of travelers that should visit Heilongjiang. Without further or due, please enjoy reading through the powerpoint.

Travel Writing Reflection

After reading and annotating many traveling articles, I now know what a good article is. I’ve read different travel articles about different places. All of them have a good hook, images, theme, imagery, attitude, and describes the place very well. Some articles are all about the author’s experience, some include the author’s experience, but mostly about the destination’s culture. However, my traveling writing was completely different. I only talked about where I was going, what I did, and places I went. I didn’t talk about how I got there, what I felt, the weather, clothes that I wore, and most importantly I didn’t describe the place I was going to. I didn’t give any information about their culture or some information you should know when traveling there. After reading all the other travel articles I learned what a good article is. Next time, I will describe the place I’m going, have more attitude, have some data, add images, and write why I liked this trip and what I felt when I was there.

Black Necked Cranes and Pebble Storms

The Bhutan article was mainly about black-necked cranes. The beginning of the article started off describing the festival. Then it talked about the black-necked cranes, the author’s stay in Bhutan, more in-depth about the festival, and then the population of the cranes. The article had 7 seven pictures and included some tips for the type of clothing you should bring, the price of going to Bhutan, and where to go for the festival.

In the Russia article, it was all about the author’s experience. He talked about how he decided to go to Klyuchevskaya Sopka, getting his visa, buying skiing equipment, and his journey. He also talked about his camera, the slope of the mountain, how cold it was, and the pebble storm. This was very different from the Bhutan Article. The Bhutan told a little bit about her trip, but mostly explained information of the culture. In this article, it was all about the author’s trip.

 Both articles talked about the authors trip, had good quality pictures, and had the same format. The two articles are different in some areas, but both did a fine job on describing the place and it lets the reader understand the place better.

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