In Honor Society by Sherman Alexie, the narrator is a seventeen-year-old Native American who collects cans. His parents don’t have a job or money, but he’s trying to take the SAT preparation classes so that he can raise his score by 20%. The author shows us that if you try to gain something you want, you might lose something you love.
First, if the narrator does well on SAT, he will have to leave the reservation. He wants to change his life by getting higher education and earning more money, which means he will become another person after he leave the reservation, and people will look at him differently after he comes back. In the text, the narrator imagines his life with a SAT sentence completion,“very intelligent…..help…..that a college education was vital” “devoted to his parents…..abandon them and…..like a traitor” “ambitious…..see the world beyond…..elated and terrified”. The author tries to tell the reader that how hard the narrator to make a decision with his life.
Second, if the narrator leaves the reservation, he might missed his parents and songs that they always sing. The narrator mentions his parents rely on the government welfare and tribal charity, and they are always sad. “They didn’t graduate from high school and haven’t lived anywhere but the reservation”. Those things are all negative but the narrator also mentions whatever his parents are sober or drunk, they always sing the songs with drums, which means although he doesn’t like negative things of his parents, he still love them because he always sings “ Way-yay-hey-hey”. “Though I don’t believe in God, I believe a beautiful song is approximately God. So I sing and drum with my mother and father. I sing with my tribe.” We know that the narrator thinks his song as a god which means he love the song, and he believes in it.
Third, the narrator mentions that he has to sell 818 pounds of the cans to make $450 so that he can take SAT prep course. At the beginning of the story, after a house party, when everyone gets drunk, the narrator picks up the beer cans and drives his grandmother’s truck to sell the cans. All he wants is to earn more money then try his best to improve his score at SAT so that he will be educated at university. However, as a native american, he will finally leave his reservation and stay away from his family if he go to a university.
“Honor Society” is a first-person narrative story, and it is about a seventeen-year-old Native American who wants to get educated in an university, but he may lose his identity if he leaves his tribe and his family. So, the main theme of this story is that if you want to change yourself and gain something you expect, you might lose some important things you love. The narrator sings his tribal song when he drives, sells cans, and he imagines he will sing when he takes the SAT test. That means love his family, his tribe and the song, despite he wants to change his life.
It was a cold winter night in the mountains of Siberia, the freezing cold wind touching my skin felt like small blades flying by, and as the sun sets it makes a ray of colors as if it were a painting. But now is where I start to worry, as I view the beautiful sunset I have to realize that it will be dark soon and I can’t go home empty-handed, the sun sets quicker than expected. It is almost to the point of it being pitch black. I put on my night vision goggles and now all though in shades of gray I can now see again. I slowly start to creep around the forest being very cautious about where I step and what’s around me, and I have my trustworthy 12 gauge shotgun by my side aimed and ready to fire at any given moment. I keep on forward and I see a glowing from the red notifying that is the temperature is hotter. I take a few steps in that direction and realize that a bear has just marked its territory by scratching the tree, and notice that it is still close. I lift up my shotgun and slowly examine the area around me, and sure enough there they are fresh bear tracks. I slowly start to lurk in that direction. After following the footprints for some time they just come to an end. I look around but it appeared to no avail, I thought I had lost the bear. But then I look at the tree to my left and see fresh heated scratch marks. I slowly start to peer at what’s above me, and sure enough there it is. My heart skips a beat, but it did nothing, just stared at me with a deadly gaze. I can see the heat being emitted from its body, the saliva dripping from its mouth, and its gigantic eyes gazing at me with anger. I want to move but I can’t, I am stuck in place and I can’t move a muscle. Then I break out of that fear when I see it slowly raise its lips to expose its enormous teeth that were as sharp and big as daggers. Then suddenly it pounces toward me, then I hear “Timmothy come on time for dinner, oh biscuit get off of him”
I reply “ok here I come mom, cmon biscuit lets go eat.”
“Hows my little adventurer doing?” my mom asks
I respond with “I’m doing good mom. I’m doing good.”
In Ernest Hemingway’s short — A Clean, Well-Lighted Place, the author portrays the conversation and thoughts of an old waiter and a younger one as they work late at a café. Hemingway shows us both sides of youth and maturity. Although youth is often associated with ambition, enthusiasm, and energy, Hemingway shows us that it can also bring ignorance and egocentrism. On the flip side, Hemingway shows that with age comes with wisdom and empathy but with it comes a despair of life. Between these two waiters, the author illustrates a contrast of youth and maturity through their actions, dialogue, and descriptions.
The author sets the scene by introducing us to the old deaf man sitting in the café. The old man “liked to sit late because he was deaf and now at night it was quiet and he felt the difference”. The café is like a sanctuary for the old man as he feels alone when he goes home. If old man “became too drunk he would leave without paying”, so the two waiters stayed to check on him.
The young waiter’s egocentrism first appears when he served the deaf man. As the old man called him over to refill his glass, he said to the older waiter, “He’ll stay all night, I’m sleepy now. I never get into bed before three o’clock. He should have killed himself last week.” This piece of dialogue successfully shows that the waiter was only thinking about himself. He wants to close shop solely because he wants to go home. The old man wanted to stay in the shop because drinking at home was different compared to being at a clean café. But because of the young waiter’s ignorance, he did not consider how the old man felt, only how he felt himself.
The older waiter’s reaction to the old man staying late was completely different to the young waiter’s. In contrast to the young waiter, the old waiter is much more understanding of the old man. He empathizes with him because he knows the feeling of nada and knew that the old man liked it here because it was clean and well-lighted. The old man’s empathy can be seen especially when he was talking to the young waiter — “‘I am of those who like to stay late at the cafe,’ the old waiter said. ‘With all those who do not want to go to bed. With all those who need a light for the night.’” He is reluctant to close up because there may be someone who needs the café, and out of sympathy he will be here for them. In contrast to the younger waiter’s ignorance, he shows understanding and acts based off of the old man’s needs, rather than his own.
Despite the selfishness of the young waiter, the author also highlights the ambition and confidence the younger waiter possesses. The younger waiter responded to the older waiter’s joke with “‘No, I have confidence. I am all confidence.” He takes pride in himself and the confidence becomes visible to others around. “‘You have youth, confidence, and a job,’ the older waiter said. ‘You have everything.’ This confidence contrasts strongly with the old waiter’s despair and the realization that life is meaningless.
The most eye-catching part of the story is probably when the old man talks about nada and the nothing of life. In comparison with the young waiter’s life, the older waiter lacks “‘Everything but work.’” His life is empty and therefore he sees that “it was all a nothing and a man is a nothing too. It was only that and light was all it needed and a certain cleanness and order.” Because of this realization, the old man despairs at life because life is a meaningless nada.
Hemingway’s short story that old age and youth can stand for more than just confidence and despair. It also shows that as we each get older we become more selfless and understanding of other people like the older waiter. He also showed us that youth can mean confidence. However, it also comes with a sense of ignorance and egocentrism. Through introducing a simple setting and writing about the thoughts and actions of two characters, Hemingway allowed us to see the contrast between the old and young.
The campus of UCLA is extremely broad and was difficult for me to walk through when I was taking classes there. The harsh terrain of it, especially the hills with long, rocky slopes made me crazy whenever I was taking my classes or going to the office hours of my professor.
I used to take my classes with my friends when I was in China, however, my schedule of UCLA didn’t allow me to do this. Fortunately, my best friend Tommy and Owen were wise and intelligent, and they discussed a fantastic idea to save our energy and time to get to classes on the campus. We just needed to buy a skateboard like other students. Tommy was the first one who suggested this, but at first, I didn’t agree with him because I thought it was too difficult for me to stand and balance myself on such a little skateboard that was smaller than my backpack. Furthermore, While Tommy was skillful at riding the skateboard, Owen and I had never used skateboard before. So, I didn’t get one, but Owen was so generous that he spent $100 to buy one.
That day when Owen bought the tiny skateboard, he tried to go to the Public Speaking class with Tommy, but he had not practiced how to stop wheels while Tommy was skilled at it. So what happened to Owen? First, he was taking his skateboard with his arm and walking with Tommy, then, they stopped when they arrived at the beginning of the slope. When Owen was standing on his board and preparing to ride down the hill, he fell off to the ground immediately when the wheels started moving, and the skateboard kept running until a pedestrian went to stop it. Owen never rode it for the second time as soon as he fell off from it, which made him feel ashamed. The night after Owen fell off from the skateboard, and Tommy told me that story, and Owen was nicknamed ‘squanderer’ after it happened.
Since Owen didn’t want to ride his skateboard, I borrowed the skateboard from him and practiced with Tommy during the free time. At first, I was the same as Owen that I didn’t a grasp of the skateboard because it was my first time and the little, blue, sensitive plastic coated skateboard made me feel nervous. Somehow, I knew how to get on the skateboard and let it roll, but the biggest problem was that I could not stop it unless I jumped off it with a short distance running, Tommy either.
Despite me still couldn’t stop myself when I was on the skateboard, I tried to advance it slowly so that I could grab it very fast after jumping off from it. Feeling like I was The Flash while the red wheels, which looked like smashed tomatoes, were rolling toward swiftly and my body seemed like a ghost floating in the air. I enjoyed this kind of feeling as my skateboard passed people that walked in front of me, and this made me increase my speed higher and higher so that I could be faster.
It’s obviously a convenient and efficient way to transport myself by skateboarding. Although there were many slopes in the campus, there were also many long, flat and wide roads with the result that I always rode all the time quickly. The slopes also had many pits and rocks on it, and if I drove down a hill, my skateboard couldn’t be controlled, and that’s why I didn’t even try this kind of hazard.
However, when I look at my arms and left hand now, I still remember that day that I fell off from my skateboard in a super high-speed crash to the ground. That happened on a Tuesday afternoon; I took Owen’s skateboard with me as usual, everything was fine. I was listening to my music with headphone and trying to think what should I do when I arrived the classroom. Then, I noticed that my presentation slides hadn’t been finished yet, and felt incredibly stress to my grades and scores in my Public Speaking subject so that I stood on my skateboard and just let it go down through the most dangerous and incline slope of the whole campus.
At first, I thought that it’s not difficult to lower my speed using my foot, so I did not care about there were a crowd of people walking on the way that I would go. With the time increased, my speed got to the point that the wind seemed like it could blow me away, and my feet felt the shake between the rocky road and the wheels. As I saw, there were four people walking side by side; I had known what would happen next. So I lowered my body and tried to turn my way to the left a little bit. However, the tiny skateboard was not under control when it was too fast. My body was flying in the air which I had not realized what was happening, and soon I felt the pain from everywhere in my mind. My skin was burning like fire.
The result was that I hurt myself and got the tetanus vaccine in the student care center because my wound was severe, and I looked like a mummy after my wound was disinfected and covered with bandages. The moment that I went back to the classroom, every student looked at me amazingly, and the professor Jeremy announced that I fell off from my skateboard so that I was unable to get to class on time. I felt atrocious and anxious with my next 20 minutes left in the class because I was arranged to finish my presentation for the last one in the class.
So what happened to the skateboard? Nothing! It just tumbled and then was stopped by a guy who helped me up. The skateboard must be laughing at me since my riding skill was suck and I was too confident to challenge myself. Then I wasted a lot more time in checking my body with X-ray, wound cleaning, and waiting at the clinic despite the fact that my presentation was done successfully eventually. I learned the lesson that if I try in haste to do something, the efficiency will be lost. Also, never procrastinating your work, because it will let you get into trouble.
by D. H. Lawrence
Softly, in the dusk, a woman is singing to me;
Taking me back down the vista of years, till I see
A child sitting under the piano, in the boom of the tingling strings
And pressing the small, poised feet of a mother who smiles as she sings.
In spite of myself, the insidious mastery of song
Betrays me back, till the heart of me weeps to belong
To the old Sunday evenings at home, with winter outside
And hymns in the cozy parlor, the tinkling piano our guide.
So now it is vain for the singer to burst into clamour
With the great black piano appassionato. The glamour
Of childish days is upon me, my manhood is cast
Down in the flood of remembrance, I weep like a child for the past.
The poem depicts a man picturing his mother in the past while listening to the piano music. The words in the poem such as “hymns in the cozy parlor” and “appassionato” gives a spiritual and dreamy feeling. I could interpret two meanings from this poem: yearning for maternal love and freedom after laying down innocence.
The piano music guides the man to his memories of his mother. The man seems quite It is quite clear that the man misses his mother, he tries to excavate even the smallest details of her from his memories.
Personally, the last lines of the poem, “Of childish days is upon me, my manhood is cast
Down in the flood of remembrance, I weep like a child for the past,” gives a sense of relief and freedom. The man seems to have those feelings after showing tears and letting go of his manhood. The manhood is as a constraint that is put on the man all the time; it is his duty to not show weakness. However, he cries while picturing his mother, and by doing so, he lays down his manhood, and finally gains freedom and relief. As I read those last lines, I could picture an innocent boy falling into the arms of his mother after he is scared. Furthermore, some lines of the poem are incomplete, imperfect sentences, and this could be a representation of an incomplete state or innocence, which is the contrast of maturity.
I viewed the transition between the stanzas as yearning for his mother -> yearning changes into sadness -> laying down his maturity(shackles/constraint).
Rules and Restraints
The rules and restraints this poem uses are: rhyme, imagery, alliteration, personification and metaphor. The poem has three quatrain stanzas(verse with 4 lines). The rhyme scheme of the poem is AABB. Some alliteration can be spotted here and there: alliteration of the word s in ‘smiles as she sings’, and the word t in ‘the tingling strings’. Also, the poem uses a lot of imagery, it makes the reader picture a scene. The second line of the second stanza, “till the heart of me weeps to belong” uses personification to show the man’s yearning and sadness.
The author of this poem is David Herbert Lawrence, a novelist, short-story writer, poet, and essayist who was born in Eastwood, Nottinghamshire, England(September 11, 1885). His early life was quite harsh. His family was poor; his father Arthur John Lawrence worked as a coal miner, and his mother Lydia Lawrence worked in the lace-making industry. Although Lawrence’s mother worked in a factory, she was well-educated and loved literature, so she made sure that her son was well-educated. Lawrence was very fragile and susceptible to illness, and couldn’t fit in with peers when he was young. From this, I infer that Lawrence wrote the Piano, since his mother meant so much to him. Without any friends, his mother would have been the only person that Lawrence could communicate with and rely on. After he graduated Nottingham highschool in 1901, he received his teaching certificate from Nottingham university, then took a teaching post at an elementary school in the London suburb of Croydon while writing several pieces. Then in 1912, he fell in love with Frieda von Richthofen, who was the wife of Ernest Weekley, the professor of Nottingham University. After persuading Frieda to leave her family, Lawrence traveled to Germany and Italy as he kept writing. When he got back to England, he published some books, but the government banned them for their obscenity. Unlike this poem(Piano), his writings were known and blamed for being graphic and sexual. The topics he enjoyed exploring through his writing are sexuality, emotional health, vitality, spontaneity, and instinct. During World War 1 in 1917, he was banished from Cornwall because the government saw him as a wartime security threat. Lawrence spent the next two years moving among friends’ apartments. This is the time period when he wrote Piano. I think that the harsh times he was going through made him more desperate and stressed, so he wrote the poem to remember his pleasant memories of his mother to gain comfort. When World War 1 was finally over, he emigrated to New Mexico, America. Lawrence kept writing, but once again, his writings weren’t allowed to be published due to their sexual content.The book was banned in the United States until 1959, and in England until 1960, when a jury found Penguin Books not guilty of violating Britain’s Obscene Publications Act. Lawrence is known as the influential author/poet that started open discussion of sex, which is quite shocking and innovational at that time. D.H. Lawrence died in Vence, France, on March 2, 1930, at the age of 44.
I drew what I could picture while reading this poem. I drew the man as a child in order to show the man letting go of his manhood and revealing his inner self. The size of the suit is too oversized for the boy, this symbolizes that the struggles and responsibilities the man had to withstand throughout his life was too big for him. The figure on the right who is comforting the child is the music from the piano and the man’s mother.
Echo and Narcissus (1903)
by John William Waterhouse
Response to the painting
To be honest, I chose this art piece because I briefly knew the Greek mythology behind it. The name of this painting already shows the two figures in the story, Echo(woman) and Narcissus(man). I have a vague memory of the story as Echo losing her voice and being unable to speak and get noticed by Narcissus, but I don’t remember the details.
Despite the fact that the pictue illustrates a sad scene, the colors are quite bright and vibrant. The painting gives us a brief idea of what’s happening: Echo feels attraction towards Narcissus, but Narcissus doesn’t seems unaware or doesn’t care about Echo. Pity and yearn can be seen from Echo’s Expression.
Rules and Restraints
The picture is a zero perspective drawing with no vanishing points, but there is a horizon. A lot of red and green colors(complimentary colors) are used, creating a vibrant look that make objects stand out. The two figures stand out even more, since the colors are used in full saturation. According to researches, the colors are those of Victorian England-rich and textured soft rose, lush greens, golds and blues. The category the painting falls into is Romantic realism.
When Narcissus was born, his mother, Liriope, asked Tiresias, if her son will live to old age. Tiresias answered, “Yes, if he never knows himself.” After 16 years, a wood nymph named Echo spotted Narcissus hunting in the woods, and fell in love with him. Although Echo approached Narcissus, she couldn’t say anything to him, because of Hera’s curse. Echo was a very talkative nymph, and she was cursed because of this. One day, Zeus came down to the woods to have fun with the nymphs, until Hera showed up to find him. Echo quickly went up to Hera and chattered to draw her attention, while Zeus escaped. However, Hera found out she has been tricked, and as a punishment, Hera took away Echo’s voice so that she is only able to repeat whatever she hears. As a result, Echo was disabled to speak to Narcissus, until Narcissus says something. Finally, Echo managed to have a conversation with Narcissus by repeating his words. Nevertheless, Echo rejected her, retorting, “Hands off! I would rather die than you should have me!”. With a broken heart, Echo ran off to a cave and mourned until nothing but her voice was left. Meanwhile, Narcissus continued refusing hundreds of women, who became outraged and asked the gods for justice. Nemesis, goddess of vengeance, heard the call and responded by making Narcissus fall in love with the reflection of himself on a pond. Unable to touch or do anything with his reflection of himself, Narcissus grew hungry, but his obsession with the figure in the water kept him from moving. Eventually, he died of starvation, leaving Echo and other nymphs mourning.