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.
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.
As it grew taller and taller every day, from each floor to floor
As the progress went on and on our ambition grew greater and greater
Yes we had times when we believed that we’ll reach the summit of the earth
But who knew our ambition was nothing but a lousy and reckless defiance and a curse
Who would forget that day of judgment and His sacred hand
Just how foolish we were facing the salvation and did we not understand?
Now I know how arrogant and snobbish we were trying to oppose the absolute
Oh, now I know we shall live for nothing but for thy given vocation and go the right route
We tried to speak through mouth but nothing came out
It was the simple perplexity that caused the bluster
We fretted and fumed trying to say the unintelligible word
But nothing came out but an empty sound
Even today, alas, we regret the day
We weren’t aware and we stayed up all night with pray
I am sorry my son for letting you face the utter confusion
Oh my Lord, forgive us and convince us that it was all just a delusion
Tower of Babel by Pieter Bruegel the Elder
The Tower of Babel is a story that appears in the Bible. A population lived in the area of Mesopotamia in Babylon. They settled in a land named Shinar, and they all spoke one language. The people decided to build a tower, a proud symbol of how great they had made their nation. The Babylonians wanted a tower that would reach to the heavens so that they could be like God and that they would not need Him. However, God did not like the pride and arrogance in the hearts of the people. God caused the people to suddenly speak different languages so they could not communicate and work together to build the tower. This caused the people to scatter across the land. The tower was later named The Tower of Babel because the word Babel means confusion.
My creative piece is a poem that I wrote based on a painting “The Tower of Babel” drawn by Pieter Bruegel the Elder. Through the poem, I was trying to go into the life of a man who experienced this event, and I tried to show his regrets toward this incident. I didn’t quite follow a particular rhyme pattern, but I used end rhymes in several places. When I was writing this poem, I was really careful with the word choices. I used dictionaries, thesaurus, idiom dictionary in order to find the perfect words or phrases that suit the overall mood of my poem. Also, the 1st, 2nd, and 4th stanza are structured in a way so that the first line is the shortest, then as it goes on to the lines that follow, the length of the lines gets longer and longer; It gets narrower as it goes up. By structuring that way, I was trying to give an impression of the tower.
You should shield your eyes from this post and skip to the next one. If you are going read, prepare to be blinded at its horribleness
April 25, 2017
English Research Paper
In the book by Sherman Alexie, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, the main character named Arnold Junior Spirit, is by birthright an Indian who lives on a small reservation with many government and benefaction problems as a real reservation would have. In the book this is shown many times in the book, for example, when Arnold’s dentist “believed that Indians only felt half as much pain as white people did, so he gave us half the Novocain.”(Alexie 2). In real life the US government, as of 2017, is influencing a disturbance near Native American Sacred Land in Dakota.
The government plans to construct a 1,172-mile long pipeline which would replace the cargo trains that transports crude oil today. The developer of Energy Access Partners (ETP) claims that this 3.7 billion dollar project “would shuttle 470,000 barrels of crude oil a day which is enough to make 374.3 million gallons of gasoline everyday,” (Aisch). This project, the director of Dakota Access Pipeline claims, can establish from 8 thousand to 12 thousand more construction jobs. However, this pipeline will cross the Sioux Tribe’s Sacred Line and can cause water pollution across 22 different points along the multi-state pipeline (Aisch).
This project will make transporting crude oil significantly safer than trains and much more efficient. Although the pipeline is steered away from residential areas, the pipeline will pass through many private properties so land owners will get paid for the land used by the Dakota Access Pipeline (Wikipedia). Trump believes this 3.7 billion dollar project will ‘serve the national interest’ and ordered an ‘expedited’ review.(Staff) On the same day, current US president Trump signed another memo that construction and repair of pipelines would use steel and iron that has been made in the United Sates. Trump denies that his actions are “motivated by any financial interest.” (Staff).
Although the pipeline construction is being pushed, it’s suspended because of two reasons. One reasons that at the top of its population, “an estimated 10 thousand people joined the campsites” (Staff) protesting at Lake Oahe, Mississippi River, and at the Des Moines River crossing . Native americans have complained about the contamination of major water supplies and additionally damage to ancestral lands and burial grounds (Harris). The project is suspended because reason two: Farmers and ecologists have spoken out about land disturbances and contamination of water at the Mississippi River for those who rely on that source clean water. “Farmers are also concerned about leaks in the pipeline caused by destabilization in certain areas prone to flooding, which could cause an environmental disaster” (Wikipedia). According to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials safety Administration, 2010, there’s a total of 203 leaks disclosed and “total of 3,406 barrels (143,100 US gal; 541.5 m3) of crude oil spilled”. (Wikipedia)
Protesting has drawn international attention with mainstream media coverage of events since September 2016. Incidents where police have been “accused” for use of excessive force for example drenching the protesters with pepper spray or freezing water, firing of sound cannons, and the shooting of bean bag rounds and rubber bullets have been viewed by the Youtube community and other social media (Staff). These officers have arrested hundreds of people like accused activists, journalists, criminal trespassing, rioting and many other punishable causes. In response, the rioters have been staring fires and tossing petrol bombs at nation workers. In one instance, there was the firing of a gun to attempt to get protesters off private property which lead to the Colorado woman to be arrested and charged for attempted murder (Staff).
In The Absolute Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Junior is constantly under the pressure of the reservation’s hopelessness and the governments incapably to discern their priorities. Governments make their decisions upon economics and consequences but normally only think of the majority: mainly white people. But what of the minority: in this case, the Native Americans?
Aisch, Gregor, and K. K. Rebecca Lai. “The Conflicts Along 1,172 Miles of the Dakota Access Pipeline.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 23 Nov. 2016. Web. 06 Apr. 2017. <https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/11/23/us/dakota-access-pipeline- protest-map.html>.
Alexie, Sherman, and Ellen Forney. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. New York: Little, Brown, 2007. Print.
Harris, Kate, and Michael Gonchar. “Battle Over an Oil Pipeline: Teaching About the Standing Rock Sioux Protests.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 30 Nov. 2016. Web. 6 Apr. 2017. <https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/30/learning/lesson-plans/battle-over-an-oil-pipeline-teaching-about-the-standing-rock-sioux-protests.html?_r=0>.
Staff. “Dakota Pipeline: What’s behind the Controversy?” BBC News. BBC, 07 Feb. 2017. Web. 24 Apr. 2017. <http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-37863955>.
Wikipedia contributors. “Dakota Access Pipeline.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 18 Apr. 2017. Web. 21 Apr. 2017.
Yan, Holly. “Dakota Access Pipeline: What’s at Stake?” Dakota Access Pipeline: What’s at Stake? Cable News Network, 28 Oct. 2016. Web. 22 Mar. 2017. <http://www.cnn.com/ 2016/09/07/us/dakota-access-pipeline-visual-guide/>.
My Comparison Poem: