Two 1789s, Which One is Better?

As shown above, I’ve compared pages 19-22 of the novel, The Pale Assassin, by Patricia Elliot, with a textbook called The French Revolution (Heinemann History Study Units) by Peter Mantin. From both texts, I took out the sections that had to deal with the first year of the French Revolution: 1789. When comparing the sentence types in the passages, I noticed that the book had way more sentence variation than the textbook. Peter Mantin describes the history of the French Revolution in short and brief sentences, compared to the beautifully structured sentences of Patricia’s. Because The Pale Assassin centers around a fourteen-year-old noble, you can sense an overall tone of scary or being worried. Also, because the reader is supposed to sympathize with the protagonist, the dialogue was tinged with a little royal bias and child-like innocence. On the other hand, the textbook is objective, teaching you the timeline and events that happened in 1789. Speaking of teaching, since all you need to learn about the French Revolution is the facts, the textbook barely includes any figurative language, other than prepositional phrases that give a sense of date and time. This contrasts the rich words and language in the book — appositive phrases, prepositional phrases, and personification. As well as literary devices, Elliot uses a big range of vocabulary to paint the picture her book depicts. I was disappointed to find out that the textbook did not do this too, as a non-fiction source should be the text that would give you the most detail. But alas, The French Revolution is only meant for you to learn the gist of the history of France, unlike the novel, a historical-fiction genre tale.

Not surprisingly, the two texts have very limited similarities. Both of the passages are about 1789, the period of the first turning points in the revolution. Both do show most of the facts, but this is because they take place in the French Revolution. What more can you get out of it?

 

12 Years a Peasant

In the country of France, located on a small narrow street, there lied an old bakery owned by a husband and wife and their son. They were just like any other family on the street: shop-owners who were not too rich. They were all part of the Third Estate, a huge chunk of the population who had to fight in wars and pay taxes, unlike the First and Second Estates. Unbeknownst to anyone, revolution was coming. Pierre Gabin, a 12 year old boy, son of the baker man, may have been living an ordinary life in 1788, but the boy in the bakery experiences more of the French Revolution than almost everyone else.

Eventually, what did the French Revolution lead to? Not a lot of change, really. But like all revolutions, there had to be some change.

Obviously, the was a HUGE change in the social structure of France. There was no more First, Second and Third Estate, as everyone had more or less the same amount of power and wealth. But alas, that meant everyone was poor. Instead of making the poor people rich, the revolution made the rich people poor. The economy was still horrible: France still was in debt, and bread prices were very high as always. Money wasn’t the only thing that hasn’t changed. France went through multiple stages of governments, all coming with their own faults.  Because Napoleon claimed dictatorship, France is now under control of one person. King Louis is gone, and is replaced by the ‘petite’ war hero. After 10 years of bloody conflict, France had swapped a corrupt sovereign, for another corrupt sovereign. On the also-as equally-not-so-bright side, France’s society was cracked into their own sides after the revolution. The influential Jacobins and Girondins had very different political views during the Reign of Terror, and their opinions did not fade away even after the terror passed.

Overall, the French Revolution was about making life fair for everyone. The Third Estate were the only ones suffering, and wanted to change that. But hey, like the saying, life’s unfair.

Meme 2.0

For this post, I decided to create a summary of MILA 2.0 by Debra Driza up until the climax using memes. By mixing classic, Twitter, and recent trending memes, here’s the gist of what happens in the exposition and rising action of the former physical therapist’s book.

Warning: SPOILERS AHEAD

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From Thin Air

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The non-fiction book that I’m reading is The Boy Who Fell Out of the Sky by Ken Dornstein. The plot of the book is protagonist Ken Dornstein unearthing his brother’s past. Ken’s brother, David, died in the crash of Pan Am Flight 103, right in the small town in Lockerbie on December 21, 1988. The cause? A terrorist bombing that was planned about 10 years before. That day, 270 innocent people died, and some of them weren’t even on the plane. Fortunately, people were held responsible and were judged in court on May 2000. Ken Dornstein wrote this book to commemorate his brother and reflect on his life before and after the life-changing incident.

I created a little poster-art to show the central idea of the book. Using 4 quotes, I supported the idea as well as providing explanations for the quotes. (See image attached above)

Clipper Maid of the Seas photo: “Pan Am Flight 103.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 7 Dec. 2016. Web. 08 Dec. 2016.

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Lost and Found Secrets

ad-1ad-2  ad-3For my blog post, I decided to create 3 print ads that represent motifs that support the theme of Lost Luggage by Jordi Punti and as clearly stated in all 3 ads, the theme is “everyone has a reason to keep their own secrets”. The ads are meant to convince people to read the book, and I tried to do that by partially revealing some secrets that would lure in readers who are curious or want to learn more.

***SPOILERS***

Ad #1 details a mother no longer being able to bear the pain of a lost child. Instead of moving on, she masked with the sadness by adopting another child, 9-year-old Gabriel, and naming him after her dead son Cristóbal. Soon after adoption, newly named Cristóbal discovered about his predecessor and unwittingly confronts his “mother” with her secret.

Ad #2 is about how 18-year-old Conrad, who suffered from early age baldness, hid his wig from his father who is a barber. Being a barber, Martí should’ve had a natural strong dislike towards wigs and toupees and that was exactly what caused his son Conrad to hide his top-secret toupee.

Finally, Ad #3 represents Gabriel, 30 years after abandoning them after birth, meeting his four sons after they rescued him from gamblers. He reveals to them that he was afraid to talk or even meet them as he was sure that the Christophers had a passionate hatred towards him. So, he hid… just a couple of meters away in the room right next to the Christopher’s headquarters for tracking down their father.

When these print ads’ subtexts (motifs) are put together, it should stick the theme into your head. If not, then read the book. If the motifs of the theme sound interesting, read the book. If you’re not sure on whether to read the book, read it.

Photo credit: tomorca <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/94059371@N04/30116456831″>Symbol tree</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=“https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a>

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Exposing Expósito and Extras

29961919166_d0709a36cb_bIn the book Lost Luggage by Jordi Punti, protagonist (or maybe even antagonist?), Gabriel Delacruz Expósito, a seemingly average man, was born on a dim October morning in the Spanish cod market of 1941. However, he isn’t so average if you take a closer look into his life throughout events and flashbacks in the book.

For 17 years, Gabriel grew and flourished in The House of Charity orphanage; having said that, it is later revealed that he had a secret resentment towards the place. One fateful day, he and his best friend Bundo were called to the office of Sister Elvira, where both boys were told that they must leave the orphanage before the end of the month. “Their faces began to light up but they quickly masked it. So leaving, getting away, getting the h*** away from the home – at last, at last!” (75, 76 Punti). The narrative describes the joy and relief they felt. However, the feeling is elaborated further by including a strong word, h***, which shows the fear or hatred of their home and the desperation to leave. What could’ve possibly led Gabriel to loathe his home? This sudden display of feelings show that Gabriel can hide his feelings quite well. As well as hiding his feelings, Gabriel hides a much bigger part of his life. Like Bundo, Gabriel is a ladies’ man who is always on the move; consequently, this led to him fathering to 4 known sons. This buried truth of Gabriel’s was uncovered when 25 years later, his own son Cristòfol discovered “another folder… [which] held a pile of documents… names, addresses, birth certificates, photos, drawings. It wasn’t long before the other three names appeared… Cristof, Christophe, Christopher” (35, 36). Cristófol, already suspicious of his father, discovered that he has 3 step-brothers. To find out that after your father left, he did the same to 3 other families must be harsh. Gabriel, a simple Spanish driver, lived a quadruple life. But that’s not all… a fifth brother exists! A few weeks into the search for their father, Christof finds another brother named “’Christoffini. He was born in Italy…’” (136). After discovering another step-brother, who knows how many heartbroken children and families Gabriel left? Keeping all of his descendants from knowing each other shows that Gabriel is a crafty man and he cannot be trusted.

To put it very bluntly, I am in no way similar to Gabriel Delacruz. The way he selfishly and cold-heartedly left his families completely contrasts my friendly nature. For instance, ever since I joined my friend group, Grounders Squad, I have never turned my back on them. I’ve gone out of my way to go to concerts, last minute birthdays, and weekend hangouts with the squad at school, and more. Even with all my faults, I consider myself as a WAY better person than Gabriel.

Events and stories unfold one after another. Mysteries are found and solved. All of these things connect and disconnect, constantly shaping the character we know as Gabriel Delacruz Expósito. We might think of him as the cruel antagonist, but people can change… you never know.

Photo credit: simbiosc <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/46950055@N02/29961919166″>Thebackpack</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a>

Easy Reads: Bean’s Buddy Blowout


I chose to rewrite “Shadow of the Hegemon” by Orson Scott Card as a rhyming 4-7 year-old children’s book. The theme, hold on to the people you love and care, or else you may find it to be too late, was expressed in the book by [spoilers!] the death of Bean’s friends. I tried to keep the main plot, which was Bean in hiding, trying to rescue his friends especially Petra from the clutches of Achilles the antagonist in the adaptation and also tried to make the theme obvious by also stating it in the end, which nicely flows in the children’s version.

 

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Being Bean

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Have you ever wondered what a child prodigy would seem like? Yes? No? Well, in the book “Shadow of the Hegemon” by Orson Scott Card, Bean, a child genius, is a very calculated and risk-taking character.

Although Bean may be around 13 years old, he shows a very strong calculating characteristic in his personality. In the exposition, after his family’s house was blown up in attempt to assassinate him, Bean, the protagonist, devises a plan “‘to keep moving. No more than a few week in any one place,’ said Bean. ‘And I have to get on the nets new identities every time we move, so no one can track the pattern’” (Card 61). The text reveals that despite being tracked by antagonist Achilles (pronounced ah-shEELS), who kidnapped most of the Battle School graduates, Bean has created a hiding plan on the spot to ensure the safety of his family and friends. This shows that Bean cares a lot about his family and can think outside the box. To be a child prodigy, you must be clever; however, Bean is also a very risk-taking character. After Bean proposed a mission to save Petra, Peter said, “‘You never know a military mission will succeed. And that’s not what worries me… you’re making the assumption Petra wants to be rescued’” (205). In the text, it is implied that Peter thinks that Bean is a stubborn, daring person as Bean planned an almost-impossible mission without knowing all the details; although, Bean is actually non-verbally expressing that no matter what happens, if Petra does or doesn’t want to be saved, he will bring her back. Now that’s true friendship right there.

Although I can never be as great and influential as Bean, we both share one characteristic, which is being very calculating. Like Bean’s hiding plan, I calculate a lot with my swimming sprint times. Whenever I want to improve on my times during a swim meet, I would split up the distance into intervals. If I need to swim a 200m freestyle under 2:20, I would divide the distance by time, and I would get eight 25m freestyles in 17.5 seconds each, which would then help me pace and reach my goal time.

Throughout the whole plot of the book, Bean is characterized as a calculating and risk-taking character, which helps explain his actions and emphasize many scenes. Despite being fictional, Bean is one of the most clever and considerate characters I know.

 

Picture Credit: Card, Orson Scott. “Ender’s Shadow Quotes.” Quotesgram. Quotesgram, n.d. Web. 20 Sept. 2016.

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Chinese Chess Child

Imagine if the next chess Grandmaster was a 9-year-old girl… unbelievable. Yet in the story “Rules of the Game” by Amy Tan, protagonist Waverly is not just a young chess child prodigy, as she is also humble and zealous in her character; however, between these two characteristics, I feel like I share only a zealous characteristic with Waverly.12789618913_c056d2298f_b

If you look carefully into the text, Waverly constantly shows humble and zealous characteristics throughout the story. When she was walking with her mother in the market, her mother would say, “’This is my daughter Wave-ly Jong’… to whoever looked her way” (Tan 9) that Waverly was her daughter, which to Waverly’s replied, “’I wish you wouldn’t do that’” (9). Waverly’s humility or humbleness is shown by telling her mother, who is bragging to people that Waverly’s a chess champion, that she doesn’t want people to know that she is the national chess champion. Back track to the rising action, when Waverly started to learn the rules of chess, when “[Waverly] read the rules and looked up all the big words in a dictionary. [Waverly] borrowed books from the Chinatown library. [Waverly] studied each chess piece, trying to absorb the power each contained” (5). In the text, Waverly’s dedication to learning chess makes her spend hours just examining and learning. If she doesn’t understand a word in the rulebook, she would then take the time to go through a dictionary, further highlighting how she takes learning chess seriously. When Waverly’s chess skills win her to championships, she still “[went] directly home to learn new chess secrets, cleverly concealed advantages, more escape routes” (8), showing that she humbly knew that she had more to learn, and that she was determined to learn more every day.

Although Waverly is a 9-year-old chess champion living in America, I feel like I am similar to Waverly because I think of myself as a somewhat zealous person. In the story, Waverly takes interest in chess and soon she starts to look more into it. She heads to the library, reads the rule book over and over again, and not to mention staring at the wall for hours imagining imaginary chess battles. This reminds me of me because when I REALLY take interest in something, or I REALLY need to finish something, I would cut chunks of time and effort for just that something. Take for example a 6th grade history project on a civilization: homework, swimming, hobbies would move down a notch on the to-do list as I would spend hours just mindlessly “improving” my project.

In sum it all up, 9-year-old chess champion Waverly Jong has a lot of characteristics to her character; the most prominent of them being humble and zealous, which are uncommon to a young charismatic girl like her. Do you have a character you relate to?

 

 

 

 

Photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/33124677@N00/12789618913″>Chess</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a>

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