Solomus’ Door

Can the man who can do anything make a door he can’t open?

There once was a mighty warrior. He was strong, intelligent, cunning, all that he needed to be and more. It was said that he could do anything. It was this knowledge that lead to his demise.

He let it get to his head; he acted superior to those he protected, started asking payment and reward for the deeds he was out on earth to do, rewards that came in the form of whatever he fancied, be it sex, money, marriage and what not. It became so prominent that one day he made his final statement of power: To all those who angered him or refused him he said ‘Watch out or I will open the gates of Hell and engulf you.’

Only one man can open the gates of Hell, Hades, and he did not take kindly to such talk.

He planned to teach this warrior a lesson, he planned to kill him and send him to burn at his gates as a reminder as all the riches and women he had worked to gain lay just outside the inferno within reach but never quite; he planned to burn his entire village for believing such nonsense, but Athena knew better. She knew that if that was his plan all would believe this impudent warrior did it and thus nothing would be solved. No, she had a better plan.

She came to him as a beauteous woman cloaked in jewels and laden in wealth right outside his door, and she told him that she was a psychic. The warrior, instantly in love with this maiden, listened. Athena then proceeded to tell him that a great evil was coming to this village, namely Hades, and that he needed to build a barrier, and then a door, and this door would have to be so powerful that even he could not open it. The villain would only enter by the door, and if he accomplished this she would marry him and share her momentous wealth. The proud warrior jumped at the chance to dazzle this lady with his skills, and thus worked 20 days and 20 nights constructing a door out of diamond and rock and steel and bronze and all amounts of magical alloys. He fortified it with shape and for good measure added an impenetrable and complex lock that could only be opened by a series of steps. It was a magnificent feat.

Presently however, Hades approached and try as he might he could not pass the barrier or enter the door. He left mortified and angry and the village hailed this man as a hero, even named the village after him. They were putty in his hands. Athena watched on, impressed, but ready to destroy this man for his insolence.

He then told the man that her father was coming and he had all her riches so he would need to open the now closed door. The man with his inflated head proudly walked towards the door and tried to open it, but he could not. He tried for 40 days and 40 nights but the door stood tall and proud. Food could not get in; neither could merchants with goods or family members. All the world was shut out and the village was closed in. Soon the town began to resent this man and hissed profanities when he walked by, even pelting him with stones, and when he threatened to open the gates of hell they told him to open the door. He tried to ask the maiden for help but she was gone. Soon the town perished, all excepted he, as he knew how to survive, he could do anything, but forever he lives in a prison he created driven mad by the door he made in a town death cannot enter.

This man’s name was Solomus, in the village of Solo Hollow, guarded by Solomus’ Door.

Just got me thinking.

Heartless

I have just experienced a tragedy in my family: the untimely death of my cousin, killed at the young age of 33. She was strolling home after a meal with her husband and three children in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; the two youngest children left early with an aunt leaving the eldest, being eight, to drive home with her mother and father. The family were standing upon the sidewalk when, suddenly, a set of racing vehicles blew past them, running over the family. My cousin was the hardest hit: she died instantly upon the scene. Her eldest child and husband sustained minor injuries.
My mother told me about the tragedy in the car on the way home from school. As soon as she had spoken the accursed words, she had begun to cry. And I? I remained emotionless. I felt no astonishment at the loss of my cousin; no denial, disbelief, or sorrow; nor anger, vengeance, or anguish. I felt nothing.
Then I think: am I heartless? At the death of my cousin I was not even surprised let along begin to cry. Certainly, it is true that I have only met her once and the meeting was brief, however, to not even cry at a loss of life or pity her children is truly cruel and cold-blooded on my part. And yet, a day after the report of the catastrophe I was met with another: the arrival of my report card. At the sight of my grades my heart began to wrench and twist into a painful knot of disappointment, self-pity, and anger. At the thought of that, I realized that I was a conceited and selfish brat who cares for nothing else but herself and what would benefit her.
And I am horrified at myself and my heartlessness.

May she rest in peace.

Synthesis Essay

I reflect upon the endeavours of gender reform in the last two centuries. The feminist movement has revolutionized the rights of the female gender and dispelled the sexual segregation between men and women; women now have the equality rights to pursue the education and careers that once was deemed unfeminine and too masculine. However, in the midst of this revolution, the male gender has been neglected and there are no reforms to alter the stereotypical perspectives upon men – the perspectives that thwart the male embrace of femininity. What is it to be a man? “It means: Be stupid, be unfeeling, obedient, soldierly and stop thinking.” (Source F) Yet, there is no ‘movement’ or ‘revolution’ to change these clichéd beliefs, if truth be told, it is also the feminist movement that is causing men to be unable to partake in the activates that they adore. Unfair, is it not?
Stereotypical views upon the male character has oppressed men from presenting their true, unique individuality and forced them to conform to society’s expectations. Society, itself, is at fault for the stereotypes faced by men – stereotypes of being manly. It commences at the fragile period of the individual’s youth: the point in time which defines the child’s identity. At this stage, boys are confronted with the choice of either becoming the clichéd strong athlete or the typical computer nerd in order to achieve notice by the opposite gender. However, why are these stereotypes affecting the boys? Thus: to gain respect from the opposite gender. I, myself, am guilty of the crime of searching for a man who is can play decently well in sports. “In a nutshell, the girls liked the jocks the best, and sometimes deigned to give the time of day to the other team, the computer nerds.” (Source G) Rebecca Walker’s young son is faced with the choice when he was only eleven years old. Young boys are influenced to disregard their interest in everything that is not related to sports or game in order to do something as superficial as impressing the girls. (Source G)
However, both sports and computer games require the act of conflict and battle. The act of competition. Thus, Rebecca Walker feels that her son it has engaged in a battle between deciding to “…fight actually in sport, or fight virtually on the computer…” (Source G) Appealing to masculinity will always be about engaging in competition or confrontation. Walker is specifically worried about her son’s individuality will be loss in the mass of attempting to overcome the competition. It is implied that Walker feels that competition is a terrible and dreadful thing; just as Theroux also believes that competition and sports that boys engage in will “…creat[e] bad marriages, social misfits, moral degeneration, sadists, latent rapists, and just plain louts.” (Source F)
What causes my intrigue is that these options – which are society’s expectations –have not spoken about allowing the intellect of men to flourish. Before the feminist revolution, men were intellectually superior due to their ability to receive the education; however, since the feminist movement and the turn of the 21st century, the likelihood of males attaining a graduate or professional degree is 29.4% compared to the female 42.3%, which is significantly higher. (Source D) However, some may say that the reason for these statistics is that the “…educational system is overly feminized…” (Source B) Even from the phrase “Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus” is it obvious the idea both genders are different in their way of thinking. So why is society forcing both genders sit for hours in the type of educational environment they cannot thrive in? Boys are less likely to continue reading after high school due to the type of literature they were exposed to; There are “No military valour, no high adventure.” (Source A) Not only that, there are only some career choices which are deemed masculine enough for men to pursue, thus becoming a writer is considered too feminine. Consequently for some, like Theroux, they cannot find the courage to confess that they enjoy something so feminine in fear of losing masculinity. (Source F)
Thus, it is because of these unceasing stereotypes and the feminized education that men are oppressed from embracing gentility and femininity. As stated by Theroux: “…of course women have justified grievances, but most men believe – and with reason – that their lives are just as bad. (Source F)

Source A:
Bauerlein, M., & Stotsky, S. (2008). Why Johnny Won’t Read. In R. H. Shea, L. Scanlon, & R. D. Aufses, The Language of Composition . Bedfords / St. Martin’s.

Source B:
Brooks, D. (2008). Mind over Muscle . In R. H. Shea, L. Scanlon, & R. D. Aufses, The Language of Composition . Bedfords / St. Martin’s.

Souce C:
Ehrlich, G. (2008). About Men. In R. H. Shea, L. Scanlon, & R. D. Aufses, The Language of Composition . Bedford / St Martin’s .

Source D:
Hulbert, A. (2008). Boy Problems . In R. H. Shea, L. Scanlon, & R. D. Aufses, The Language of Composition . Bedfords / St. Martin’s.

Source E:
Tannen, D. (2008). There Is No Unmarked Woman . In R. H. Shea, L. Scanlon, & R. D. Aufses, The Language of Composition . Bedfords / St. Martin’s .

Source F:
Theroux, P. (2008). Being a Man. In L. Scanlon, R. D. Aufses, & R. H. Shea, The Language of Composition. Bedford / St. Martin’s.

Source G:
Walker, R. (2008). Putting Down the Gun. In R. H. Shea, L. Scanlon, & R. D. Aufses, The Language of Composition . Bedfords / St. Martin’s.

Egypt and Revolutionary Internationalism

Protests in Egypt continue

If there was ever a time for social studies to have a real world application it would be now. Revolutionary internationalism, as defined by our social studies textbook, is the belief that internal conflict is the result of external influences. And in my opinion, nothing more accurately defines the protests in Egypt.

The protests are part of something being called the Lavender Revolution which began in Tunisia after the coup d’état of last week. The coup sparked Arab indignation across the Middle East and became the catalyst for Egyptian protests against Hosni Mubarak’s authoritarian regime. The people of Egypt, especially in its central hubs of Alexandria and Cairo, are now defying the previous limitations of their old regimes by holding violent demonstrations past the imposed curfew time. The Egyptians are fighting for something taken so lightly in places like Canada. Democracy has become the jihad of the Egyptian people. Many condemn the actions of Egypt’s citizen’s, but I believe they should in fact be supported. This is a fight for democracy we are talking about, and Canada is one the world’s biggest advocators of democracy. Egyptians have had their rights suppressed for years, deepening the divide between wealthy and poor within Egypt. And now they have an opportunity for change.

There is even more than democracy at stake here for Egypt and the Middle East. For once the fighting is not about a religion, nor is it just about the singular actions of Mubarak. From Yemen, to Jordan, to Egypt, to Tunisia there is a sense of unified Arab identity blooming within the protests. “A collective voice is being heard again,” says Fadel Shallak, a Lebanese writer and former government minister. These once disparate countries are now bound with more than just a common language.

As important as it is to the Egyptian people to oust Mubarak, it is who is going to replace him that should begin to concern them. With Egypt in such turmoil, it will be very easy for an extremist religious group, similar to the Taliban, to gain the support of the people and become the ruling party of Egypt. The majority of these extremist groups have the ability to make Mubarak’s regime look preferable. While implementing authoritarian practices, Mubarak did in fact do a lot to appose militant Islamic fundamentalism in Egypt and with him no longer in power it paves the way for the rebirth of this fundamentalism. And this is where we need to watch more closely than ever. It is not just about the tear gas and tanks we see on the television anymore. It is about who is conspiring behind the façade of protest.

Critical

Mary Shelley’s romantic and gothic novel, Frankenstein, explores the consequences of when an individual lacks nurture they are unable to cultivate, therefore, benevolence and innocence will be lost, through the account the creation’s journey from innocence to experience, use of allegory to religion, and figurative language and diction choices that produce the emotion of pity.
Frankenstein was written as a Bildungsroman novel, and due to this rhetorical style, Victor Frankenstein’s creation was able to argue his position and benevolence to his creator. By using this approach as a narrative of the ‘coming to age’, the theme of innocence to experience was addressed. The stylistic technique displayed the purity that the Daemon once had: that when he had tried to articulate the same humming of the “…little winged animals” he was frightened by the sound of his own voice. However, over the course of attaining more knowledge, the Daemon’s innocence and benevolence was shattered when he encountered humans and realized that he “…too can create desolation”. Thus, the Daemon’s character developed: Frankenstein abandoning him was the reason why the Daemon lost his compassion towards humans. The Daemon was a benevolent creature, his “…soul glowed with love and humanity…” Not only that, the Daemon’s narrative utterly parallels that of Frankenstein’s. Throughout their Bildungsroman story, both had an ambition. Frankenstein’s was to create life, the Daemon’s was to find acceptance. However, the conclusion of both ended in misery and death.
In the Daemon’s narrative he used the stylistic device of symbolism to strengthen and convey that Frankenstein must be responsible. The point that he was Frankenstein’s creature that he “…ought to be…Adam, but rather… [he was]… the fallen angel…” By his choice of allegory, the monster dictates that Frankenstein is God who has created the life which is the Daemon, thus, the Daemon must be his Adam. Like the Adam that God created, the Daemon also had a sense of intellectual and innocent curiosity about his creator and the world around him. However, because the Daemon attempted to control Frankenstein by demanding that he must create a mate for the Daemon – for him to create Adam an Eve – the Daemon innocence descended: he now has become the fallen angle, Lucifer. In Paradise Lost Lucifer was hurled out of Heaven because he rebelled against God and tried to diminish God’s authority over Heaven, thus parallel to the Daemon. Both the Daemon and Lucifer endeavoured to manipulate their creator, hence they fell from grace.
However, the Daemon’s goal for controlling Frankenstein was a deal much more harmless than that of the goal of Lucifer. Because of the degree of harm of the Daemon’s demands in which, in the audience’s perspective is quite harmless indeed, it allowed the audience and even Frankenstein himself to feel pity for the Daemon. With the words that the Daemon used to describe himself and his emotions, it allowed Frankenstein to see and feel slight compassion for the creature. By using the words: “miserable,” “unfortunate,” “abhorred,” “wrenched,” and “deserted,” the Daemon described his current state of being to Frankenstein. The words have pessimistic and depressing denotation to allow pathos to arise in his audience. However, these words are not only used by the monster but also by Frankenstein as well, which speaks to, not only, how much Frankenstein loathes his creation, but how much the creature loathes himself.
In the design of the antagonist, Mary Shelley beautifully expresses the ability that the lack of nurture has upon an individual. With his loss of innocence and complete bent on revenge, the Daemon is, truly, a pitiful and horrific character.

Argumentative Essay

“Even when the path is nominally open–when there is nothing to prevent a woman from being a doctor, a lawyer, a civil servant–there are many phantoms and obstacles, as I believe, looming in her way.”

– Virginia Woolf

“At a concert event honouring International Women’s Day, President Obama said that in 2010 ‘full gender quality has not yet been achieved and that the task of ‘perfecting America’ in order to shatter all the glass ceilings that have ‘yet to be shattered’ still goes on” (I). The glass ceiling phenomenon is an idea that is used to describe the invisible barrier that obtains women from maintaining the same equal status and power as men. This discriminative barrier is called the “glass ceiling” because the blockade is transparent, but at the same time so solid that is able to stop women from advancing within society’s hierarchy.  Throughout the course of history it has become very evident that a women’s role has been ignored and suppressed by our opposing gender – men. Quite generally our womanly role has been to subside our intellectual understanding and submit to house hold rituals, while balancing to meet a man’s desire with little questioning of any sort. It is true that in modern times, women have gained and surpassed much inequality; women today are deliberately demonstrating that our ability to range at the same level as men is possible. Famous leaders, from Cleopatra to Oprah Winfrey have undoubtedly contradicted the restraints that have ever so commonly withheld women from reaching full potential. Their diligent triumphant work has sculpted a path for future pioneers, in hopes of further demonstrating a female’s honorable capability. However, as a female, it pains me to say that the aspect of “the glass ceiling” is still vastly present within our modern world. Society blinding believes that a woman’s obstacles are very minute and of no need to be corrected. But on the contrary such ignorance does not do justice to a woman’s factual struggles in achieving recognizable success.

Virginia Woolf, a woman with much triumphant glory, has addressed this dilemma brilliantly in her piece “Professions for Women” where she has vividly demonstrated her accomplishments, while exemplifying the ongoing hurdles women continuously prevail.  In her final paragraph, Woolf states that “even when the path is nominally open–when there is nothing to prevent a woman from being a doctor, a lawyer, a civil servant–there are many phantoms and obstacles, as I believe, looming in her way” (II). This controversial quote manifests the idea of how even in our western world — a society where both men and women’s platforms are ideally to stand on equal grounds – the over coming of past discrimination has not fully been diminished from the standards that we’ve created for the modern day women. Religion, media and generic natural dominance are three main reasons for the ongoing oppression that women endure, or as Woolf illustrates, the “many phantoms and obstacles…looming in her way” (II).

The dominance of man over women is an aspect that has been every evident throughout the course of history. The superiority that men embrace over women dates back to biblical times with the idea that Eve was created as a mere fulfilment for Adam’s emotional contentment. Religions such as the Muslim faith believe that “‘men are superior to women on account of the qualities with which [Allah] hath gifted the one above the other’ (Quran, Chapter 4:34)” (III). Such religious belief is one of the main phantoms that continue to hinder womanly potential. The idea of a female or any human as being property is outrageously immoral. But how very true it is; the countless women whom are disvalued due to traditional and cultural acceptance. The frame work of nature also exhibits much natural dominance with numerous animal species. Mammals, especially, obtain similar hierarchal formations and behaviours as the human race. The characteristics of primates such as apes, demonstrates acts which mirror man’s belief that strength and supremacy overpowers all whom carry  differential qualities – meaning that men (due to build, and custom) are seen as superior to women. On average the dominance of men has directly or indirectly been passed down from generation to generation and has outlined the criteria for the ideal woman, man and social arrangement.

The subconscious role of either gender has been moulded for countless years and it is true that both sexes are prominent to dealing with the pressures and demands to fit within the social norm, but the hurdles that women must prevail, exceeds far greater hardships than that of the male species. Women’s education, employment, and family roles as well as the interrelations between them have attracted increasing attention during the last few years. Feminists have dispelled long held notions about women’s place and the accepted myths about our nature and function. However, in our western world the criterion that a woman must fulfill continues to be exceedingly hypocritical and far from possible to accomplish. The physical aspect of a woman is to be slim but maintain curve, to be sexy but not sluty and to gain the acceptance of all and every male. Such phantom is our media, culture and life expectations, which are the paradoxes that continue to perplex and distort out heartfelt identities.

Many young girls are raised to understand the female technicality, the ideals and destiny that their gender will provide for them. The typical female life is taught at a young age through the witnessing of actions done by other female figures – actions of the stereotypical house wife (cook, clean, raise a family and radiate elegant, graceful beauty) are at times admired as futuristic ideals. But if an individual chooses to demonstrate otherwise, if their true desire is not to have children but rather to focus on their career, the judgment and ridicule placed on them would not be surprising. If a women is not married by a curtain age their personas are questioned, and defined as selfish since they’re not putting enough effort on obtaining the traditional family. The amount of judgment placed by society today has prevented countless women from demonstrating their true identities, not allowing them to become full time career women due to the guilt placed on them simply because they are not demonstrating a woman’s prompted life expectancies.

Rather it be called “phantoms”, “the glass ceiling” or simply just obstacles, it is very true that women experience many hurdles when attempting to achieve life goals. Although the over-dominating power of man may not be prevalent in our modern day society, it still remains evident through the demonstration of traditional customs and cultural acceptance. The prevailing historical attitude of men towards women would have us believe that physiological differences limit women in their choice of career, their intellectual maturity, their credibility, as well as their ability to be effective contributors to the advancement of human society and that these differences authorize women to be treated differently from men. Thus, this attitude defines a view of women in which their role is that of keeper of hearth and home while that of the man is to provide for and protect his weaker sex.

This narrow-minded thinking is with no doubt an obstacle that is continuously presented throughout a women’s life journey. The ongoing struggles with media and their portrayal of women contributes to the attempted hindrance of enabling women from openly and honestly expressing themselves without the feeling of being confined or scrutinized. And even with the leadership of countless admirable women, whom all with brave hearts shaped the path of our modern day, and in spite of the myriad opportunities that are freely accessible, there are still limitless phantoms that are continuously presented from many forms of life. In my opinion the modern oppressions placed on women are not in accordance to the law, but rather to society and the expectation that ever so commonly suppress a woman’s true potential.

Synthesis Essay

In many respects, the degree of freedom woman enjoy, or rather do not enjoy, has a great deal to do with cultural expectations and limitations placed on by society. Women’s ability to fully express their individuality and true personas is continuously disvalued by the unattainable requirements of modern day media and traditional conformity.  It is undeniable that there exists a physiological difference between men and women. Such truth is used to justify the unequal treatment of women on all levels of human interactions. This uneven treatment is clearly reflected on the prevailing historical attitude of men towards women. However, the root affect of historical and modern day prejudicial acts links to religion, culture and contemporary media. In modern stream society, culture and customs have noticeably withheld numerous females around the world from deliberately exemplifying their true desires with no judgment or pressure to personify the restraints of the ideal lady. This ideology is the invisible barrier that continues to create the vast separation between a woman’s true ideals and those that are forced upon.

Culture and religion have the ability to draw together numerous individuals while binding their commonly shared interests and bring forth many joyful interactions. However, the harmful extents to which these aspects may be taken are inexcusable; it is the need for traditional conformity that enhances narrowed-minded thinking and enables people to believe that human over human dominance and hieratical powering is of value above human moralities. Numerous religions have the dim-sighted idea that women are to oblige to men due to traditional up bring. This obscure restrain – that is still of some practise in our modern world­ – has been demonstrated in varies parts of the globe and has sparked endless debates and fury on the exploitation of women’s basic rights. In 2010, the New York Times published an article by the name of Religion and Women where Nicholas D. Kristof exclaims “It’s not that brides are burned in India as part of a Hindu ritual. And there’s no verse in the Koran that instructs Afghan thugs to throw acid in the faces of girls who dare to go to school. Yet these kinds of abuses — along with more banal injustices, like slapping a girlfriend or paying women less for their work — arise out of a social context in which women are, often, second-class citizens. That’s a context that religions have helped shape, and not pushed hard to change” (Source I). Religion does in fact carry a grand number of optimistic admirations, but it is also a recognizable overarching issue for women, in which the manipulation of religion has subjugated women for countless years.

The obsession to preserve traditional up bring has maintained endless females from obtaining their imaginings, but the “social context” that often categorizes women as “second-class citizens” has not only been constructed by religious injustices, but by society’s hesitance to the unknown. The understanding and accepting of unfamiliar cultures within one’s own, or the adjustment from one culture to another, has induced countless women to question their identity and true morals. In Judith Ortiz Cofer’s The Myth of the Latin Woman: I Just Met a Girl Named Maria, the impact of stereotypes and assumptions are of clear demonstration – specifically in regards to the Latin culture. In the western world, Hispanic women are categorized as sex objects, house wives or obsequious works, due to “mixed cultural signals [which] have perpetuated certain stereotypes—for example, that of the Hispanic woman as the ‘Hot Tamale’ or sexual firebrand. It is a one- dimensional view that the media have found easy to promote. In their special vocabulary, advertisers have designated ‘sizzling’ and ‘smouldering’ as the adjectives of choice for describing not only the foods but also the women of Latin America” (Source II). The cultural clash between the Western and Latin world has flourished numerous ignorant perceptions about the Hispanic culture, and the identity in which Latin women are expected to maintain. The assumption that all Latinas are easy or promiscuous arises from the moronic ideals that pop-culture has chosen to idealize. Such assumptions have continuously hindered Hispanic women from signifying their true intellect and capability, since the only value that society has chosen to place upon them is that of sex and physicality.

Societal roles and perceptions are socially constructed, not biologically formed. The assumptions and regulations that media, culture and traditional up bring has come to accept and reflect are obscure, ridiculous hinders that have obtained women far more than man. The policies that society has chosen to deem as acceptable, or of norm have withered the perplexity of women and their true personals. For women, physical characteristics have become of greater value than that of intellect or talent. The aspect of a stay at home wife has surpassed greater importance than that of career or prosperity. Marriage and producing a family have been ideals that girls, from a very young age, have been insinuated to believing and aspiring to fulfill. Deborah Tannen seemingly describes the labels that women are expected to embody in her piece There is No Unmarked Women, where she illustrates the markings that women are constantly bounded to in modern day society. “Women can’t even fill out a form without telling stories about themselves. Most forms give four titles to choose from. “Mr.” carries no meaning other than that the respondent is male. But a woman who checks “Mrs.” or “Miss” communicates not only whether she has been married but also whether she has conservative tastes in forms of address. Checking “Ms.” declines to let on about marriage (checking “Mr.” declines nothing since nothing was asked), but it also marks her as either liberated or rebellious, depending on the observer’s attitudes and assumptions” (Source III).

The aspect of a woman’s honest identity – the individual she truly wishes to conformed – should not be subjected or remarked by society’s attitude on what perfection and beauty entails. However, the ability for a woman to not be submitted to these standards is rather difficult. The “markings” that women are continuously labelled with are apparent in the day-to-day life of every female. The amount of requirements placed on women exceeds those of the opposing gender; from the physical structure (weight, hair, appearance, height etc…), to the expectancy of family dedication and motherhood, to the submission to men – lowering of women intellect, power and ability – and the judgement that continuously arises from not meeting such standards is unimaginably unbearable to maintain. Women are constantly attempting to please all around them; family, society, tradition and culture; yet hardly do they reflect their true desires and morals without society’s mortification.

Women’s limitations and expectancies generally do not arise from lawful injustices, since the protection and recognition of woman’s basic rights has been realized of value in a grand number of countries around the world. It is however the silent threat of religion, culture, and media that continues to with hold women from truly being free; Free of judgment, Free of expectations and Free of confinement. As perfectly invoked by Nicholas D. Kristof, Judith Ortiz Cofer, and Deborah Tannen the inclinations that women continuously have to overcome arise from day-to-day customs that are clearly visible, but hardly ever discussed. Women have taken down the walls that separated males and females in political platforms, and they have owned their credibility in male dominant fields; although the greatest wall that continuous to divide the desire for true equality has not yet been directed. This invisible wall has been conformed since the being of time, and the maintenance to preserve such has been passed down from generation to generation. Although continuously arranging its shape, the wall stands as a defiance of society and traditional conformity – tradition which implies the treatment of women, and the society that ridicules all whom demonstrate indifference and rebellions. It is a constant cycle that if ended would stop the vast separation between a woman’s true desire to live her life – to demonstrate her body, mind and soul without hesitation and apprehension –  versus the forced expectancies placed upon them.

African-What does that mean?

BLACK PEOPLE! AIDS!

Sorry what was that? Zishaan your making absolutely no sense. Your sentence fragments are annoying and no one understands what your trying to say.

Then let me sum it up for you:

Question: What is Africa about and who is an African?

Out of 15 people 11 responded the black people, who faced lots of problems pertaining to AIDS and other diseases. Lots of people don’t know that Africa is an amazing place that gives you a life changing perspective. It has constantly be compared and judged because of its past history. Now its a good thing that we are studying some of the things happening in Africa otherwise people would be left in the dark, and that would hurt me a lot. Africa is a dangerous place- only if you dont know anything about it. We are most afraid of things we have no knowledge about.

There is lots of fault in this especially from the media. The portrayal is horrid and completely out of context. When I asked my neighbour what do you know about Africa she responded : “Nothing really other then something bad is happening in Rwanda and people are getting kidnapped”. Media is representing Africa in a poverty stricken way, far more then it needs to. It avoids the main problems, and sticks it own opinions and bias when televised and shows what they don’t want to show. Africa is more then a country with food problems.

A new group has come on in Facebook, and many people have noticed it. I have taken part and it still offends me that it is there. The groups name is called “I will not kill my fellow  Kenyan in the next election”. Many people that have joined blindly only think its because of a risk of genocide but to us African people its more then that; its the political future of Kenya, a future of Africa. There is upcoming election in Kenya that is going to cause a major uprising in crime and killings for the next year, all due to the fact that next year elections might benefit certain people while still restrict others.

Why would killings happen though? Well right now the politics in Kenya are especially, for use of a more laymen word, shady.  Now what I found out while on my trip is that there is a lot of political tension and nothing really is being done to help reduce it. Now back to the killings. Kenya and most of Africa is not as diplomatic as Canada, to get things done you need money. To get things done faster you kill. My mom herself explained ”

They are tring to bring their own person, their own tribe. They thik that that their guy will do the best job and everyone else is, well, a distraction.”

There was a reading in the part B LA final talking about a man named Colin and his friend Nelson. Throughout this story we could see Nelson remains tense about talking about politics, and does not want to risk getting a picture of him involved in it. Little do we know that soon he is going to face an interrogation about anything and everything he did while he was studying. This is very true in areas of Africa; get involved with something you better have money for a bodyguard.

Political Situation is everything in Africa, people die everyday because they are trying to have it their way. Right now in Kenya its a split government which makes it even harder for the people in Kenya to do something to help everyone. Now why would someone else kill another person over just a vote? Well not many people are voting for the reason that they dont want to get killed by putting in the “wrong” vote, and they are uncertain about what really to do. The only people that are voting are those with businesses and ones who have money, and the only reason they are doing so is because they want to have a successful business where they dont have to give up 35% of their income in taxes, 10% of the income to their guards, 20% of their income for power and electricity, and approximately 7% for the upkeep. In total 55% is just going to the government, 17% for their own safety and security-leaving 28% in their pockets. Now why wont people get involved in investments? People don’t want to get into investments and commitments right now cause they don’t know what their future will hold; another reason why voting for someone you know nothing about other then “Ill help you”.

What people don’t know about Africa and the people in it is that they are connected; spiritually and physically. They are one big family, and will do anything to help another person in need. They will do anything for the betterment of anyone, either for themselves or for you even though sometimes they might not get anything out of it other then happiness.

Now I know why the news only covers part of it. They do not have enough time to go through all the good things because they are only focussed on the bad things. My suggestion get off Africa’s back at times and tell me more about accidents that happened across the street from me,  tell me that the weather will still be bad, or even tell me that the stock market is still bad but slowly getting better, but please, please leave the negative parts of Africa out, stop advertising the losses due to diseases, and please stop telling us that its a dangerous third-world nation.

African-  belonging to the black peoples of Africa

My Definition:

African- a person who has ancestry pertaining to Africa and a feeling of family within all in the nation

Freedom!?

Freedom: exemption for external control, interference, regulation; the power to determine action without restraint.

Now that I am free from school work, tests, and stress, I have control over how I spend my time. I can do anything, anytime, anywhere I want. I am finally free!

What a relief! As I studied and did homework, I thought up a list of other stuff I had to get done – other stuff that was more pleasurable to do than homework. I longed and longed for this day of freedom to come so that I could do that list of things. And here it is! Freedom!

So this is what it is like to be free – I have the power to do anything. Yet I can’t think of anything to do. I constantly check Edmodo, check my desk. Am I forgetting something?

And then I go looking for that list in my head, the list of things I wanted to do. All I can think up is playing some games on my IPod and watching some TV. Even so, the games I longed to play were Sudoku, a math game, and Twisty Text, an English game where you rearrange letters to make different words. And the TV shows I longed to watch during were Family Feud and Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader, both somewhat educational shows. Even when I’m free from school, I’m still bound to it!

And here I was thinking that this day of Thursday, January 27, 2011 would be the best day ever. But now that I’m free, I have to do other things, like filling out my camping forms which, had I had homework, my parents would’ve filled out for me! Oh, I can’t wait until next semester so that I can be back into routine with homework!

(I was just trying out a persona, although this is how I felt for a couple of days.)

Gone

Forced to abandon your home.Separated from your family. Degraded to less than human. All of these tragic events, but six million people had to experience them.

When your freedom is fully taken away and the only thing left is survival, what is the true meaning of life? First, it strikes you. To see the empty bodies that once sheltered an innocent soul fills you up with emotions of anger, rage, sympathy, frustration, and endless sorrow. Then when realizing you’re surrounded by death that death is inevitable and the fear is numbed. Emotions stop and the mannequins that previously stood out to you, blends into the background of your life. With nothing but a skeletal body, you work just so you can stay alive. Thinking if living in the pain, or even worse, living without any feelings, is all worth it. Primitively, you’re desensitized and only striving for survival. Nothing matters. You begin to think: What have we all done to deserve this?

Where is God now, you ask yourself? The God that you so swore your faith to. The God that makes miracles. And now, the God that is punishing His sons and daughters for sins you’ve never committed. No one can escape the works of the devil here because everyone was sent here to die. Some of the others keep their prayers quiet and rekindle their hope, only wishing to be granted a better afterlife and escape Gehenna. But it’s too late. This is Hell.

Source/Inspiration: Night by Elie Wiesel

Gender Biases

Gender differences are an issue present in many various parts of our daily lives. When the whole world promotes equality among men and women, it is alarming to still see the prejudices among the two genders still present. We see the various affects of the prejudices many hold against the female gender, and this creates a divide unspoken of between men and women. This prejudice is a dominating factor when we speak of popular culture; the silent divide creates vast differences between men and women, their gender roles, and others’ views of them. The image of females within popular culture supports the stereotypes of men and women; the male being big, husky and the supporter of his family, the female being gentle, seductive and the caregiver of her family. These prejudices enforce the ideology that governments are trying to prevent from spreading, but popular culture presents young children with the opportunity to develop prejudices. “Professions for Women“ by Virginia Woolf, “The Myth of the Latin Women: I Just Met a Girl Named Maria“ by Judith Ortiz Cofer, and “Barbie Doll“ by Marge Piercy are pieces of literature that are able to express the struggle of an average woman through her daily life, due to the various expectations of popular culture. I criticize the views presented by the media through the usage of the three sources, which are able to enlighten the audience of the daily struggles of a woman.

My argument against the viewpoints presented by popular culture is based strongly on the effects of these expectations upon women. The first source: “Professions for Women“ by Virginia Woolf expresses that women are now entering the profession world for employment, and within this she also says that women feel that some professions are beyond their reach. Therefore more gentle professions, such as acting, modelling, and singing, are more appealing to women trying to impress the expectations of society. These professions hold a very respectable image, abiding by the rules of society. Although professional, these jobs prevent women from truly expressing their heart and leaving behind the “Angel in the House“, the feminine ideology. Virginia Woolf states in her essay: “You have won rooms of your own in the house hitherto exclusively owned by men. You are able, though not without great labour and effort, to pay the rent.“ This provides the audience with insight as to what a women must suffer through before creating a permanent home within a profession, therefore when presented with a less laborious path, women tend to follow it. Although I do agree that the popular culture has created great competition among women, the benefits are unheard of, and these expectations prevent women from expressing themselves.

The second basis for this argument against the unhealthy image popular culture has created for women, comes from Judith Ortiz Cofer`s “The Myth of the Latin Woman: I Just Met a Girl Named Maria“. Women have always been expected to be flattering, seductive, and deceiving; even today, popular culture keeps these views alive and prevents women from stretching their limits. A woman must think of others before herself, and must present herself attractively to public so that she still abides by the unspoken role of the female. Cofer`s essay greatly reflects upon the struggle of ordinary women trying to achieve their full potential yet prevented from by their beauty. But these are not the only expectations; the truth is that women who are beautiful are portrayed differently due to popular culture. Beautiful women, as the popular culture has created, are expected to allow men to act differently towards them, due to their attractiveness. Some women may enjoy this extra attention, but others feel that they are not treated equally. This mistreatment of beautiful women is promoted throughout popular culture, especially among the Latino, female population. Judith Ortiz Cofer states: “It is a one-dimensional view that the media have found easy to promote. In their special vocabulary, advertisers have designated “sizzling” and “smoldering” as the adjectives of choice for describing not only the foods but also the women of Latin America.” This narrow-minded opinion binds Latin American women into their culture forever. They are unable to fully express themselves in mainstream society, because audiences are prejudiced towards them and the women are well-aware of this. Therefore, the portrayal of the female gender in popular culture has spread and has created an unhealthy expectation of all women.

These expectations lead to a more devastating truth: unhealthy minds. Women are taught, from childhood that perfection is having fair skin, big eyes, plump lips, toned legs, flat abs, a big chest, a big butt, and much more. But the pain a woman feels when she is not “perfect” is immense and indescribable. Not only has the media created an image for women to follow, but an expectation, and if a woman does not fit the ideal, she is not considered beautiful. We, by supporting popular culture, have created a black hole for women; the closer they get to perfection the harder it is for them to be satisfied. “Barbie Doll” by Marge Piercy reflects upon the life of a woman, working hard to impress others and putting her needs and wants aside. Popular culture has created this image of females that even they are forced to accept; once they have accepted there is no turning back. The government and laws state that everyone is equal and should be treated equally no matter what race, culture, and size; but the more supported popular culture tells us those women who are fat, and not fair skinned are to be treated as unattractive. Therefore in the fear of being unattractive, women work hard to make themselves look a certain way using various methods. These methods can lead to greater consummation. A woman, who was once healthy and happy, is now struggling through anorexia and is mentally unhealthy due to the divide between men and women in popular culture and the expectations of a woman. These problems are reflected in Marge Piercy’s poem: “She was healthy, tested intelligent / … She was advised to play coy, / exhorted to come on hearty, / exercise, diet, smile and wheedle.” Women are consumed by trying to reach “perfection”. We may sometimes think that these images are incorrect, but who set the standards and allowed these images to be the “perfect”? We did; popular culture presents us with images that we accept, even though these images are unhealthy.

Gender differences are seen in various parts of our culture, but are certainly promoted by popular culture. For women this reality is consuming; the ideal woman, according to popular culture, is but one in a million. But every woman struggles to reach this perfection; some learn to accept that they are not perfect, while others are consumed by the image. Yet every woman faces these expectations. Popular culture has created this deathly image of women that forces them to constrict their opinions and expressions, as discussed in “Professions for Women” by Virginia Woolf. This image also permits beautiful women to be treated differently and they are expected to be seductive, conservative, and coy due to their ethnicities, as discussed in “The Myth of a Latin Woman: I Just Met a Girl Named Maria” by Judith Ortiz Cofer. Popular culture also promotes various methods for women to reach this “perfection” or be marked as unattractive, as discussed in “Barbie Doll” by Marge Piercy. The definition of beautiful and attractive is created by media and then enhanced by various models, actors, and singers who fit this description. But the female gender has much more expectations laid upon them; they must be perfect and proportionate from every angle; while men just need to be muscular. These expectations are unspoken of, yet every woman feels that she must fulfill them, not for herself, but more so for others.

National Defense

Liberia, Siberia, Macedonia, Kuwait, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Panama, Lebanon, and Somalia all have one thing in common, the United States. Yes, the United States. As the world knows ‘no one can mess with the big bad U.S.A.’ due to their brute military force. But why have such a large military when ‘your’ nation is never at threat? For instance, troops from the United States were sent to Kuwait to protect Kuwait, not the United States. Troops were sent to Macedonia to provide relief to Macedonia, not the United States. And obviously troops were deployed in Iraq to defeat fascist dictatorship and install democracy for Iraq, not for the United States. This pattern is evident throughout the United States history, and it is all due their belief of fortifying their position within society as a mega power. It has been noticed by many nations who oddly continue to practice appeasement, as they allow the United States to attempt to homogenize society. With the use of a national defense force funded by 963.7 billion USD, the United States spends more on its military than any other nation and has more fire power than many nations in NAFTA combined. The senseless waste of money has grabbed the attention of mainstream society, who is now starting to see that there is no need for such a large defense core. Instead of installing this money into killing people, it could be put to saving people. Although the United States does save people with their military, during the previous 70 years the United States forces have contributed to around 10.4 million deaths. And budgeted under National Defense it is ironic how over 1 million U.S soldiers have died in war. With all of this said, you must decide whether or not you believe that the budget provided to National Defense in unnecessary or necessary.

‘Pleasant’ville Response

The name of the movie is both ironic in the sense of the town and in a sense of the overall watching experience, for the town is not very ‘pleasant’ and neither is the watch. Bored out of my mind I continuously tried to make failing attempts to recognize the acclaimed beauty that was Pleasantville, a movie that truly embodies the word ‘paradoxical’. But my failed attempts only led to more discomfort and agitation at the occurrences that illogically and unexplainably went on in the movie. Whether it be a random rose changing color, for no explained reason, or the fact that Jennifer was completely erased from the real world, the movie arrogantly contradicts itself.

Being a person who thrives on logical explanation, and scrutinous questioning, I was extremely disappointed in the movies approach at justifying the actions that took place within the movie. The approach was completely generalized and left me filling in the missing, unexplainable, gaps. It was so generalized and ignorantly put together that not once was the effect on the real world explained, and neither was the sudden creation of post-secondary educational institutions nor the ever so confusing bench scene. This ignorance led to an extremely flawed movie that leaves a complete distaste in my mouth.

Near the end of the movie Jennifer decides that she will not be leaving the fake world, but instead pursuing her educational career in the neighboring town of Springfield. David, being suddenly matured, is proud of Jennifer’s decision, and he returns home by himself. Now this is when the movie begins to create a paradox that is inhumanly impossible, and is completely implausible, for what happens to Jennifer, not Mary Sue. Mary Sue wants to further her educational yield, but in doing so Jennifer is removed from the real world. Jennifer is forgotten by her mother, father, friends, piers, teachers, and all government records. She seized to exist. But if she returns to the real world the process will be removed and she will be back into mainstream society, as an intelligent woman. So what happened in the time in which Jennifer is being Mary Sue, receiving education from an institution that was somehow created and miraculously had a syllabus, which goes against the logic of the movie that all knowledge is either previous or created through the minds of David or Jennifer? There is no explanation, for it is an ill planned movie that explains little, yet attempts to speak volumes.

The movie begins strong, and attempts to end that way, but it miserably fails to. It is rampant with mediocre acting and odd instantaneous personality changes that defecates any chance of brilliance. William Macy attempts to revive the inevitable death of the movie, but his strong portrayal of a typical ‘50s working father cannot bear such a burden. This is mainly due to Tobey Maguire’s uncanny portrayal of a socially awkward teen. Being around 23 years of age at the time, Maguire had a difficult time embodying the personality changes that David, a teenage boy, goes through. Maybe it was due to the personal detachment from the character that caused the acting to be unnatural, but regardless the emotional sways that Maguire went through were either too righteous or too seldom. I was not alone in this appeal against his acting, for others also agreed with me that he aroused a sense of awkwardness in his portrayal of David, and it abolished the slightest possibility of an emotional connection.

After watching the movie with a sheer sense of drowsiness, I can only applaud William Macy. For the movie Pleasantville appealed very little to, and was all but interesting. With boring dialogue, countless contradictions and paradoxes, and utterly horrible acting Pleasantville wasn’t very pleasant. I personally, would never suggest anyone to watch such a film, unless they enjoy the idea of countless seizures due to the overload in digital effects. With all that said, I have go and watch How I Met Your Mother and possibly turn into Barney Stinson—fingers crossed.

Argrumentative Essay

The epitome of a democratic system is to create rights and freedoms applicable to all citizens. Rights and freedoms to equality is the new revolutionary idea that has now been the foundation of which our society is created upon. Equality is only a relatively new concept to modern minds because throughout history, people have been fighting for equality, not fully privileged enough to experience it. Women, in particular, have been subjected to inferiority as historically, they were seen weaker, unintelligent, and useless. Under the constant oppression of men, women slowly realized that they didn’t have to stay in the box ancient society has trapped them in. To them, equality was what everyone deserved. Today, we are all free to do whatever we desire to do without discrimination and marginalization: become a doctor, a lawyer, and a civil servant. At least that’s the idea. Modern age women are still faced with many challenges to find her equivalence to men despite the present feminist trend and reinforced equality because of the historical stereotypes and the fear of men’s judgment.

Women’s mistreatment in ancient times was undoubtedly unfair and obvious. Past views of females were we were weaker, less intelligent, and only useful for reproduction. Examples of this inequality are especially visible in historical works such as the Bible. In the bible there are quotes that reflected the ancient male mind to reveal men’s disfavour towards women. “In that day Egyptians will be like women. They will shudder with fear at the uplifted hand that the Lord Almighty raises against them.” Men in history were seen to be more intelligent than women based on men’s long existing overpowering and refutable scientific evidence that proves women’s brains are indeed, on average, smaller. Women were also often blamed for the inability to supply a son (who is also the more favoured). Lacking the scientific knowledge we have today, the past has refused women because they were unable to provide a supposed heir despite the fact that it is the male’s genes that decide whether the child is female or male. With age-old perspectives of women cannot exceed men in anything, the past’s prominent, lingering effects have labeled women as weaker, insufficient, and always in need of men’s acceptance.

The tendency to rely on men’s decisions has always been a habit for women. Women quite simply don’t want to lose a potential mate and are afraid to present themselves to only be received wrongly. We are really self-conscious creatures. In the past, women need a spouse and will set out to do anything in our power to attract the opposite sex. Only with a man are we safe, secure, and worthy. Though the world has changed drastically, enabling women to live happily with or without a man, women are still sensitive to what men perceive us to be. If a woman presents herself as an intelligent woman – hair-slicked back, black-framed glasses, well-ironed suit – men would most likely label her as the over achiever or a woman who prefers her career over a relationship. A woman with a rolled up top, heavy makeup, and very high heels, men would refer to her as more of a promiscuous person and less intelligent. Women are worried about how we send off these inevitable signals. Having the freedom to achieve the same things men are allowed to give women the chance to make our own decisions and pave our own roads. Despite this new ability, women are still subjected to the automatic dependence of on men’s perspectives. Women will then make decisions around what they think is acceptable or favoured by men. Women will then pave our roads to suit what men agreed to be the “right” path. So maybe women who want to look sharp, intelligent, professional is forced to perhaps look more approachable. The women who have the personality of flamboyancy are also forced to look more clean, suitable, and appropriate. Both types of women conform to reach the ideals set out by men that define what appealing is. Despite the changes working towards equality, women find themselves still using our new found ability to achieve our own success only to define attracting a mate as our success.

Feminism and women empowerment are both popular practices that the world is slowly adapting to. Eavan Boland depicts despite women’s modern promoted position, we have still managed to retain to follow the previous strong patriarchical gender rules. In “Woman’s World”, she clearly establishes how as the world advances, women’s social status seems to be static – always below men. “[A]nd what we never will be: / star-gazers, / fire-eaters. / It’s our alibi/ for all time: / as far as history goes/ we were never/ on the scene of the crime.” (Lines 20-27). The labels past societies have placed on women are too contagious to ignore due to the perceptions of women that are still accepted today. We can never be that star-gazer or fire-eater because all those things are deemed not feminine. The desire to take initiative is there, but we excuse ourselves to not do it by the fact that women have always not been able to do all these risk-taking leaps. As women, we succumb to those historical effects and lasting overpowering of men because they are inerasable. Sad to think that women, being given the chance to be able to break free of the oppression of our partners, are unable to escape the circumstances that history has already carved out for us.

Where’s the Freedom?

Throughout history, women’s rights have constantly been enforced to attain a feminine identity and comply society’s principles. Women were constrained to perform certain tasks that society
 had authorized them to do; they cooked, they cleaned, they raised the children, and they completed daily housekeeping chores. A woman’s life was, in fact, restricted to only these functions. 
A woman was expected to dress in a feminine manner, display soft-spoken personality traits, and behave humbly. Although many of these expectations were recently claimed to be overlooked,
 women are repeatedly questioned upon their motives and criticized on their appearance in the workplace rather than their intelligence and leadership skills. In Virginia Woolf’s passage, 
“Professions for Women,” Woolf discusses the internal conflicts and obstacles faced by women when pursuing ones goals in an occupation, provoking a female to question her motives. In other
 words, despite a woman's constant attempts to fit in with societies expectations, they are considered unintelligent and inferior to the masculine race. 

As Woolf stated in her passage, “Even when the path is nominally open - when there is nothing to prevent a woman from being a doctor, a lawyer, a civil servant - there are many phantoms and 

obstacles, as I believe, looming in her way." Women constantly encounter obstacles such as gender stereotypes, discrimination, and judgement that silences and annihilates a woman’s chance 

to express herself. Although society has accommodated to allow females a chance in the workplace, internal obstacles such as “Angel in the House” constantly refrain one from achieving her goals;

 mentally discouraging women from achieving desires and advises them to meet societal expectations. Women are expected to clean and take care of their children, which includes feeding, preparing 

for school, helping with their homework, and many other responsibilities, however, woman still have the right to be able to work freely and treated equal to the male race. Nevertheless, one may apply 

for a job, and a female and male are unknowingly questioned differently depending upon their gender. For example, a woman is consistently asked to explain the number of children she possesses 

and further questions referring to the children's transportation to and from school, who baby-sits them, and how a mother is going to be responsible for both her children and her career. However, 

if a mother does not acquire children, she is questioned upon whether she shall soon want children and is declined the job because a woman’s long-term leave when she is pregnant prevents her

 from fulfilling her career position. Although men are equally responsible for the care of children, employer's neglect to question them in similar situations. In other words, women are doubted before 

receiving a job and are constantly challenged as to whether they will be able to devote themselves to home and work without being given a chance to demonstrate their skills.    


Innocence and Experience

A personal response to: Pleasantville

Change, whether we choose to accept it or reject it, is one of the only undisputable conditions in life. It is a part of life; the only thing that we can take for granted in life is change. We live in a world in which every minute brings about new changes. In a single moment, we can go from relishing in the greatest joy of our lives, to suffering through the most excruciating agony we’ve ever imagined possible. And it is in those moments that we truly experience the highs and lows of our emotions; it is in those moments that we truly find ourselves and lose ourselves, only to find ourselves and then to lose ourselves again. But what we attempt to find is our old selves, our reliable, consistent, intolerant selves. The only problem is that it’s difficult if not impossible to regain the innocence we once were secured by.

In the movie, Pleasantville, we learn of two teens that bring colour, experience, and change to the black and white, innocent, and pleasant world of Pleasantville. And similarly to the real world, there are those that are opposed and resistant to change.

We as humans are creatures of habit; we prefer routine and tradition over change and unpredictability because it provides us with security. And breaking routine and tradition often means giving up security and becoming vulnerable to risks and adventure; it means being vulnerable to experience and life’s forecast. Sacrificing security is like sacrificing apart of oneself and along with sacrificing ourselves we expose our innocence- leaving it susceptible and unprotected against change. So in order to keep our innocence intact we refuse to open our minds to possibility and opportunity, because our “mind sight” is obscured by ‘what was’ and ‘what should be’. In the pursuit to rescue traditional values and beliefs we lose sight of our present and fail to preserve old traditions and/or embrace contemporary change.

We are forever in the pursuit of defining ourselves as individuals and defining our beliefs, values, traditions, personality, our voice, our place in society, and our lives, and when we are able to define even a single aspect, we are confronted with the challenge of defining all the others and synching them accordingly. This may be considered a way of defining one’s true self and preserving his or her identity and innocence, but it is also a way of restraining and imprisoning our minds and ourselves to change and experience and losing not only our values but also our identity in the process. For innocence is a trial in one’s path, experience is how you face that trial.

Jill Pendley said, “We are not defined by our trials, but by how we face them. We are all afraid; bravery is a choice, that though you may lose, you shall never be defeated.” “…bravery is a choice…” like many choices in life. Making choices and decisions-good or bad, wrong or right, help us learn, grow, and live with greater courage, determination, and perseverance to make changes and take stands against wrong. I, as much as I hate to admit it, am intimidated and fearful of the unpredictability of change. It is reasonable and understandable that people are afraid of change. Sometimes it’s okay to relish in the comforts of the blanket of innocence and escape the experiences reality brings only to remind ourselves of the great possibilities of change. Because, the blanket of innocence will provide us with the warmth and comfort we may need for a little while, but we will grow out of it eventually and have to face the experiences-whether it be challenges or opportunities that life throws our way. We mustn’t let the luxuries of innocence prevent us from losing sight of the experiences change can bring about.

Innocence is nothing but security, it will be stripped from you regardless of your say, so why not accept change and adapt to the experiences change brings? Don’t let life’s moments change you, change your life’s moments. After all, Hellen Keller once said, “Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.”

The Thoughts of a Mad Man ~ A response to “One Art” by Elizabeth Bishop

[A/N : BWAH! I wish I could hand this in as my personal]

The Thoughts of a Mad Man


It came to me once, then lost again:

the humble answer to it all

It’s a simple thought –

which I cannot recall.

Is it really not a disaster?

Perhaps,

I will lose next my

Cat as well,

Perhaps my name will follow it,

Would I lose my face as well?

Dearest!

My face may leave,

But must I lose my mother’s watch,

the last of my three beloved homes,

Would my entire realm,

to drift away!

I am awfully good at this losing stuff,

Shan’t I be the Duke of Misplacingham,

Or the King of Loston?

I must be the Master of them all!

But how did I come to such a high stance?

Strange,

I knew the answer,

It came to me once, then I lost again:

The simple answer to it all…

AP Student By Day…. Assassin By Night?

Yes, I am going to admit it. Listen closely because I may never say it again.

I absolutely love playing Assassins Creed on my brother’s Xbox 360.

Wait! Before you deem me a hypocrite! Allow me to explain myself.

You all know that I condemn today’s violent killing games, particularly the Halo and Call of Duty series. The former because you are killing aliens on a planet that you took over simply because you felt like it (quite a reflection of modern imperialism, if I do say so myself), and the latter because it is giving children a romanticized idea of war and violence in today’s society. Now you may ask me, “Well Taylor, what makes Assassin’s Creed so different from these other two games that you hate with a passion, hm?” And I shall tell you like this:

1. Historical Accuracy: The first Assassin’s Creed, which happens to be the one I am playing, is based upon the Crusades. All the fighting that I carry out as my character, Altair Ibn al-Ahad, is against the Templars and their allies. Not many people touch upon the Islamic side of the Crusades- it was their villages that were being destroyed and ransacked while the Christian templars sought to “take back the Holy Land”. The cities in which I am placed, for example Jerusalem, are extremely well made and truly reflect their appearance at that time. The first time I glimpsed Jerusalem in Assassin’s Creed the first thing I saw was the famed Al-Masjid al-Aqsa, and to be honest I was surprised that they even included it. The idea of the Middle Eastern assassin is a quite accurate one. Assassins originated with the Ismaili Muslims of northern Persia; the the word assassin being a derivative of the Arabic “hasisi” meaning hashish eater.

2. Non-sporadic violence: Yes people get assassinated in this game. However it is not native aliens on a planet, nor is it American Forces. All my assassinations are carried out against people who are abusing women and elders, people who are slave traders, and more nasty people. I am not saying that the taking of a life is justified, I am just saying that it is not random and it is not for amusement. If I was going to parallel it to something, I would parallel it to the punishment of the death sentence in the U.S.A. There are people out there you have done very, very bad things and death has become the only seemingly appropriate punishment in the eyes of the United States. The same can be said in the Assassin’s Creed situation.

3. It’s fun to pretend that you have ninja skills and it quite inspires me to learn some parkour and go scale some buildings.

And there my friends is my justification for playing Xbox 360 for ridiculously excessive amounts of time like I was a teenage boy.

Teachings vs Reality

After the accident

After the Accident 2

Have you ever experienced being so scared that you could not even speak? Ever think how much it would take to do something like that? Well think about this – your a 16 year old teenager who has just got a new car crashed it 3 months after you purchased it. Ever think of what would be running through their mind? Let me explain.

Yesterday afterschool, I experienced such an incident. After coming out of an alley, my car – a 2006 Acura TL, slipped and crashed into a truck. Though there was no damage to the other persons vehicle, the bumper of my car was totally destroyed. Such a sense of fear and panic struck me after this incident had occurred, because as much as I’d like to think, I’m not an expert driver. Any person who has not been driving for less than 10 years, in my opinion cannot call themselves an expert driver. In that situation, when your driving in the winter time, and your vehicles wheels slip on the ice, and you start to lose control, many thoughts run through your mind; yet none that you are taught to do in defensive driving courses. They tell you that when you are sliding, you should either downshift or put your car into neutral; but what comes to your mind is that you need to avert the oncoming car by any means – so you brake, and that causes your car to slide even more. After this incident occurs, you have no idea what to do, because your so traumatized about this incident.What I did, was call my father – who was completely devastated.

Have you ever thought of how much your parents love you? Think about this – a man who you’ve never seen cry ever, cried the day you got into an accident. Why? Not because you broke a car, but because the loss of his children would be unbearable. Their worried state takes over their mind, and they may get aggravated, but let them cool down a little, and then you will realize what is going on with them. A car, no matter how expensive, is never more valuable than the life of children.  The terror that engulfs them is so extreme that you cannot even imagine. The never think of the loss of their innocent and naive children.

When you see your parents next time, tell them how much you love them, and ask them what they would do if you were in my situation. Although neither me or my sister are injured, the car bumper is gone. I’ve learned a valuable lesson through all of this – never be stubborn with your parents, if they tell you something, they are telling you for your benefit. And as for the bumper, I’ll just get a new one =)

Are You Calling Me Satisfactory?

Remember the times when school was meant to support your dreams? To encourage your aspirations? To make you the best you were supposed to be? Maybe I was just pampered in elementary, but in my own experience, school would purposely push to the best mark I could- no matter how likely we were to get it.

That’s when High School happened. And, that’s when the Alberta Ed’s rubric happened. Suddenly, it was good enough to be passing. Suddenly, it was good enough to be average. And suddenly, it was good enough to be satisfactory.

How I hate that word: satisfactory. I hate how it implies that at a barely passing mark is fine to be shimmied along to the next grade. Honestly! If Alberta Ed thinks that a work is “satisfactory”  doesn’t it set a standard at sixty percent for all students? The word tolerable is more like it. At least, using a word like “tolerable” would at suggest that we should work harder (though I understand the negative connotation may be unsuitable).

Sure, I guess that I could be a bit overboard as an AP student who aims high. But still, maybe if Alberta Ed wished to encourage all students sitting in sixties to do better, instead of just saying “yup that barely passing essay satisfied me”, maybe they should think about encouraging their students.

Well, either way, if you dare call me satisfactory, I’m going to prove you wrong: I guess I’m just too attached to elementary.