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. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


Given that she is simply an eight-year-old girl, Scout's character is so signifigant because she changes the view of how girls should act.  Speakers in the video say, "She speaks first with her fists...a passionate tomboy...her character has done more for southern woman-hood than any other character in literature" (Hey Boo). Scout wears pants instead of dresses, and plays outside, instead of learning how to prepare food.  Harper Lee introduced a new vision of young girls to American Literature.  The New Yorker says, "Harper Lee and Louise Fitzhugh taught their readers that difference, nonconformity, and even subversion should be celebrated in young girls."  Scout's character is so remarkable because she doesn't care about being "normal".  This abnormal view of young girls made many American readers think about why girls have to fit in the image society models for them.  For instance, why is it an insult to be told you run like a girl, or throw like a girl.  Our society views women as being less than men.  Any women has the ability to be as athletic, if not more athletic than a man.  Regardless of gender, we are all humans that have the potential to achieve amazing things, and much of this information was realized after Harper Lee's amazing literature was published.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

TKAM: Morals

Although society views the word "retarded" as an acceptable term, I believe it is morally wrong to say such an awful term.  Retardation is a serious disease and using the phrase "retard" is an insult to the people affected by this devastating condition. It is a common human behavoir to preach such an insult in daily life.  Most people don’t even think twice before teasingly insulting their friend with this very offensive word. I think we should be cautious about the things we say and what we view as acceptable in society. The words we use can be extremely offensive to those who are diagnosed with this mental sickness. I know I've accidentally said this before, but it is wrong. I feel like the public opinion on this topic will change overtime. There is awareness of how this is such a controversial term.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Book Thief: Refugees

Psychologically, I think Max and Liesel are both traumatized by the events of their past. Both Liesel and Max suffer from nightmares that won't let them move on.  To cope with her nightmares, Liesel turns to stealing and then reading books, whereas Max starts working out and becoming fit in an attempt to beat Hitler in a "fight".  
If I was torn from my home and family I would be extremely upset, as would anyone.  I think it would be hard to adapt to a new environment without the structure and familiarity of my home.  We all go about a routine, getting up, going to school, etc.  If suddenly my routine of seeing my family, sleeping in my house, and going to school changed, I'd most likely be in a state of shock.
I believe I am a product of my environment, I am the person I am because of the beliefs and teachings of my family. To a large degree, I have many of the same interests as my family members.  For example, I started playing soccer and lacrosse because of role models in my family.  As corny as it sounds, I truly believe I wouldn’t be the person I am today, without my family.