Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Alchemist: Reflection Questions

I believe that dreams do come at a cost.  Nothing in life is free.  Even if you aren't giving up money to achieve your dream, your body is giving itself up to an emotional transformation.  The simple things in life like love and air are free, but achieving your dreams will come at a cost no matter what.  We make daily sacrifices to better our lives. We may enjoy the places where we live, but we pay taxes and mortgages.  We may enjoy the air we breathe, but we may medical bills too make sure we can live the longest life possible.  Life is an ongoing relationship of giving and receiving.  

Yes, I do believe that the act of life is a spiritual experience by choice.  Only people who are brave enough to challenge themselves to take their journey.  I would argue that a spiritual journey is not for everyone because people get to decide how they live their lives.   I think that the purpose of life is to live everyday to the fullest, and achieve your personal goals and dreams.  

I do believe in fate/ destiny, and I believe that everything happens for a reason.  The fate or destiny that one achieves is a result of personal choices.  Each small decision made in life is part of a greater plan.  In his book, Coelho writes about each individual having their own destiny and journey to take.  Coelho writes in the way of cause and affect.  If Santiago's money had never been stolen, then he would have never met the crystal merchant. Although something bad happened to Santiago, it kicked started good luck that in the end, helped Santiago.  

I believe that Coelho is sexiest in his portrayal of Fatima because she should be given the same opportunities as the other characters in the book.  Paulo writes Fatima as a character who just waits around for her husband.  Fatima should be able to travel and achieve her own dreams, especially since she is extremely supportive of the dreams of others.  

From Coelho's text, the theme of perseverance can be seen.  Coelho supports that if you fall down seven times, you should get up eight.  Never give up on what you think you can achieve.  I believe that all people should be given the chance to conquer what they desire.  It does not matter what religion someone is, this idea fits everybody because it is fair and valid.  I can apply messages like these to my own life when in school or on the sports field.  If you believe in yourself and work hard, you can achieve great things. 

I believe that I do have a personal legend and purpose.  Everyone on this Earth has a purpose, even if it doesn't seem like it.  I think i may be too young to know my personal legend or purpose at this point in my life, but I will one day find out. I don't think that my legend has already been written for me.  I believe that it is what I do in my youth that will later affect my fate and destiny.  

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Romeo and Juliet in Baghdad

Because of the death of their children, Capulet and Montagues have come to the understanding that the feud between their families is nonsense.  They realize that because of the hate the families have for each other they both lose the children they love.  Human nature takes the ones you love as sacrifice to make people learn about the important things in life and how they should be cherished. The production of Romeo and Juliet that includes Sunni and Shias strikes me as being much different from the original play.  The Iraqi version is more political because it mentions the two groups that actually have had a feud throughout history.  This production of Romeo and Juliet has helped to heal Iraq because it makes people realize how ridiculous their arguments are. This production speaks to the timeless quality of the play because it was developed based off of the 400 year old play.  The orginal Romeo and Juliet still holds meaning today, and that is why many movies and renditions of the play have been made off of it.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

First Semester Reflection

Throughout the first marking period, I've learned many skills that have helped me develop as a thinker.  One of the most important skills I have learned is how to write a thesis statement.  Going into english at the beginning of the year, I thought that three prong thesis statements were acceptable, but I now know that your paper is more convincing and more supported when your thesis is not in three parts. This skill will help me beyond this class because writing a proper thesis applies to state exams and essays in other classes.  

Now that I have read and seen the play that is often referred to as the "greatest love story ever told", I can voice my opinion and say that I believe Romeo and Juliet truly did love each other.  I think that this play is so popular because of the hidden literary devices that are used, making it the perfect book to use as a teaching aid. The play also draws the attention of many readers because Shakespeare portrays love in a timeless way.  After studying Romeo and Juliet, I understood how to identify and breakdown literary devices. This skill will help me throughout my life as I read literature.  As a critic, I would give this play a positive rating because it was exciting and inspiring.  Once I became used to the Shakespearean language, I thought the play was easy to understand.  If it were up to me, students would continue to read Romeo and Juliet in the future because there are many literary devices that can be learned along the way.  Before reading Romeo and Juliet, I had no idea what a prologue was, but I now know that it is a paragraph that introduces the play. This play is 400 years old and still read today, so why not keep reading for years to come.  The play about Romeo and his dear Juliet draws students into a fascinating story that they can learn from along the way. 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Upstanders Project

For our upstander project, Allison, Amanda and I have chosen to research Kailash Satyarthi as our human rights activist.  Kailash is "an Indian children's rights advocate and an activist against child labour" (wikipedia). He gave up his teaching career to fund a mission to save Indian children in 1980.  He links his efforts against child labor to his belief in education for all. Kailash was motivated to help children because he thinks that slavery is an unexceptable crime.  Back when he was six, he noticed a boy sitting on steps cleaning shoes, and child labor has bothered him ever since.  In an interview he said, "Child trafficking is the worst form of human rights violation. It makes me cry when children are taken away and sold cheaper than cattle". At 60 years old, Kailash has provided safety for thousands of children with his foundation called Save the Childhoood Movement.
Just like Gandhi, Kailash saw something unethical and unfair, and created a movement to change it.  He is standing up for the children that are unable to defend themselves. Kailash can be connected to Atticus in the way they both defend people, even if society thinks its wrong.  As I research information about Kailash, I am excited to learn what connections I have to him in my own life. 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014


In the novel To Kill a Mockingbird, I believe Harper Lee inserted Boo Radley's voice as the "missing voices in the air."  Throughout the book, Boo is the mysterious man that never leaves the house, but by the end of the novel he exchanges short conversation with Scout.  Harper especially captures Scout's voice when she writes Scout as saying, "Hey Boo".  This was a simple line in the novel that showed the reader how a young girl would look past rumors and lies and see the true greatness of a person.  In this TED, the speaker mentions setting mockingbirds free to help people, and this relates to Tom Robinson and Boo Radley because they were the mockingbirds of the novel.  In terms of the national conversation of the 1960s, these voices acted as "Molotov cocktails" because they bring together different opinions of controversial topics.  The mockingbirds are harmless and all they do is make people happy, although some may disagree.  It is important to uncover the missing voices so that you understand their perspective and views on topics.  This benefits the listener because they get to take a walk in each characters shoes.

TKMB Film Response

I think that the film version of To Kill a Mockingbird was such a great success because it made the book come to life.  The film put a face to everyone of the characters.  I believe this film, although not including every part of the book, does a great job at capturing the cultural tensions of the time period.  This helps the audience truly understand the meaning of the book, and the lesson of not judging people unless you walk around in their shoes first. Because the film is narrated by the adult Scout, it does a great job at helping the viewer understand the thought of a child in an adult's mind. The film version of To Kill a Mockingbird deserved every award it won because of the powerful message it sent across America, and the start of a human rights movement. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Atticus' Vision of Justice

The results of the Duke University study suggest that the ethnicity of those placed on a courtroom jury affect the outcome of the defendant.  These findings are problematic because black people are being convicted for crimes they did not do. The information shows that when a jury consists of only white people, blacks were convicted guilty 81% of the time whereas whites were only convicted guilty 66% of the time.  The conviction rates were identical when the jury included at least one black person.  I feel as if this information implies that when there are not black people on the jury, a black defendant has a greater chance of being convicted.  The information provided by Duke University show that there is clearly a bias between black and white people 
This information connects to Atticus' speech because he states that white people assume black people are liars, and guilty.  The Duke study shows that when a black person was included in the jury, the jury made decisions based on the information provided in court, not personal beliefs.  When a black person is placed on trial in front of an all white jury, I feel as if a black person is thought of as being less of a person. The thought of a criminal is usually associated with a black man.