In Art & Poetry unit, students had the choice to either write a poem based on a painting or draw a painting based on a poem. I chose the latter, and the poem I chose was “A Boat Beneath a Sunny Sky” by Lewis Carroll. The end product and the description are all here.
Junior Hitchhiking in Spokane, Is it Safe?
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie depicts the life of Junior, a 14 year old Native American boy who lives in an Indian reservation. Junior’s life is certainly not one that people dream of; his life is full of harsh conditions: racism, poverty, violence, alcoholism, poor education, brain disorders, the list goes on and on. Despite his life full of ordeals, he doesn’t lose hope and decides to transfer to a white school outside of the reservation to seek more hope. He does manage to change schools, but some difficulties still remain. One major problem is finding a transportation that will take Junior from his reservation in Wellpinit to his school in Reardan.
Several times a week, Junior’s parents or relatives are unable to drive him to school. As a result, his only option is to hitchhike, which is asking for a ride to vehicles that are usually driven by strangers. This is an extremely risky behaviour that can lead to numerous perilous situations, especially in Spokane, Washington.
The Spokane public radio describes hitchhiking in Spokane in a fairly positive way, telling the story of a university student using hitchhiking as his only transportation while traveling. The story emphasizes that it is safe to hitchhike around Spokane(“Thumbs Up, Then And Now: Hitchhiking Stories From The Road.”). Nevertheless, other media platforms tell a different story.
Spokane is one of the most dangerous cities in the Washington State. Its average crime index in the twenty-first century is 536.8, hovering way above the US average crime index, which is 286.7. Every single category of crime such as murder, theft, rape, assault, and arson exceeds the US average by huge numbers. On the other hand, there are fewer law enforcement employees that include police officers compared to the whole Washington State(“Crime rate in Spokane, Washington”). In other words, there are more criminals, but less people defending the innocent.
The risks of hitchhiking in Spokane can be observed in the experiences of people too. People have shared their experiences of hitchhiking in Spokane online; the following are some excerpts from hitchwiki.org/en/Spokane:
“The nearby truck stop is unfriendly to hitchhikers, and even has a ‘No Hitchhiking’ sign in the window(the first I can ever recall seeing in a business).”
“Avoid the whole city, unless you have a very good reason to be there.”
“I did not try downtown, but be advised that there is little room to pull over on downtown onramps, and locals warned me that police harassment is common.”
Clearly, the hitchhikers describe hitchhiking in Spokane as an unpleasant experience. One of the postfaces also points out that even the police who should be the ones protecting the citizens often harass people.
As mentioned before, hitchhiking is asking ‘strangers’ for a ride. There is no guarantee that the driver of the vehicle Junior hitchhikes is friendly. Once Junior enters a vehicle, he is leaving himself vulnerable to the driver and the people inside the car in an isolated, confined environment. This means that Junior has nowhere to escape as soon as he is inside the vehicle. It takes roughly 29 minutes for a cab to drive from Wellpinit to Reardan, which is enough time for the driver to harm Junior if he or she wants to(“Google Maps-Wellpinit to Reardan.”).
Can Junior defend himself? Certainly not. Several parts of the book show Junior constantly getting bullied in all sorts of ways by all sorts of people, due to his odd features like his uncomfortably skinny body, huge head, and his brain disorder called hydrocephalus(Alexie). Overpowering a skinny, physically disabled kid in a small space wouldn’t be a tough job for grown men and criminals.
The dangers of hitchhiking are also shown in the other writings of Sherman Alexie, the author of The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. The short story, Happy Trails starts with this sentence: “Forty-one years ago, my uncle Hector said he was hitchhiking to Spokane, walked out the door, and disappeared.”(Alexie). In 1999, Alexie wrote The Toughest Indian in the World, also revealing the dangers of hitchhiking in Spokane. The book illustrates the main character getting involved in sudden unexpected homosexual activity with the hitchhiker he picked up(Alexie). There are a lot of parts in Sherman Alexie’s work where it emphasizes that hitchhiking in Spokane can result in grave consequences. This indicates that the author himself is well-aware of the risks of hitchhiking, and he is trying to warn the people about this through his writing.
Even though it is clear that hitchhiking in Spokane is a foolish action, Junior has to hitchhike several times a week in order to get to school. He and his family might be ignorant of the perils hitchhiking in Spokane can lead to, since Junior has been using hitchhiking as his main transportation without any incidents. Or they might be aware of this fact, but have no other choice. Regardless of which situation, both of them portray the difficult lives of Junior and his family.
Alexie, Sherman. “Happy Trails.” The New Yorker. The New Yorker, 07 Jan. 2015. Web. 16 Apr. 2017.
Alexie, Sherman. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian. London: Andersen,
Alexie, Sherman. “The Toughest Indian in the World.” The New Yorker. The New Yorker, 13 June 1999. Web. 16 Apr. 2017.
“Crime rate in Spokane, Washington (WA): murders, rapes, robberies, assaults, burglaries, thefts, auto thefts, arson, law enforcement employees, police officers, crime map.” City Data. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Apr. 2017.
“Google Maps-Wellpinit to Reardan.” Google Maps. Google, n.d. Web. 16 Apr. 2017.
“Spokane – Hitchwiki: the Hitchhiker’s guide to Hitchhiking.” Hitchwiki. N.p., 27 July 2015. Web. 16 Apr. 2017.
“Thumbs Up, Then And Now: Hitchhiking Stories From The Road.” Spokane Public Radio. N.p., 23 Feb. 2017. Web. 12 Apr. 2017.
”Washington (State) – Hitchwiki: the Hitchhiker’s guide to Hitchhiking.” Hitchwiki. N.p., 8 Sept. 2016. Web. 16 Apr. 2017.
Wikipedia contributors. “Spokane people.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 12 Apr. 2017. Web. 16 Apr. 2017.
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/>.
Students were assigned to write a research paper on any of the topics mentioned in the book “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian” by Sherman Alexie. I chose Navajo Art (Sandpainting) as my research topic, since I was interested in Native American Art, and here is my research paper.
My Comparison Poem:
This is a research paper about Salmon Mush. We were supposed to write a research paper based on something that was mentioned in the book “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” by Sherman Alexie. The subject “Salmon Mush” was fun to research and write about. I think it is something that is worth sharing.
Kiwi for Breakfast
Every morning I want to eat something sweet,
Something green, soft, and sour to eat.
Squish! I dig the spoon into the soft kiwi fruit,
The spooned out piece decides to jump, oh shoot!
I don’t give up and try again,
but the second piece decides to jump too, oh man!
The third time I try, I eat with success,
Soon later I realize my hands are a mess!
As present-timed as a toddler I don’t think about that much so,
I rather wonder how my day would be different if I ate the kiwi as a whole!
I chose the fruit kiwi, because I really like eating it. It also is something special to me because the fruit is rather ugly on the outside and pretty on the inside. In the poem I used end rhyme to make it a couplet poem (AA BB CCC). The theme of this poem is rather casual, so I thought it would sound a little happier with a rhymes. The last line “I rather wonder how my day would be different if I ate the kiwi as a whole!” has some deeper meaning to me. I always wonder about things like that. How small chan ges can make a big difference in my life. I think about it all the time.
During our short story unit, we produced five pieces in total and turned in one of them as our summative assessment. Writing a short story required our creativity to think of a unique writing material and to plot the story. The first few writings, however, were not quite successful. Despite all the efforts I put into my pieces, they were far from being creative and unique. After going through so much failures, I decided to try something different for my last creative writing piece. I wanted to produce something simple but engaging, and at the same time, trying not to make it tedious and superficial.
I don’t want to go through the details of the story, because it might be a spoiler, but the story is based on my personal experience. (You’ll get it when you read it, but don’t get me wrong 😝 I wasn’t a maniac when I was young.)
Among the literary devices that we learned through out the semester – Personification, Alliteration, Imagery, and Simile – I got some comments from Mrs. Dowty that I wasn’t quite using imagery in my previous writings, so for this piece, that was one thing I really focused on.
I turned in this piece of writing for my summative assessment, and I don’t regret doing it. I am really proud of what I’ve produced here.
out of total of 6 creative writing we’ve done this semester, my very first one— a story about my childhood is my most passionate piece.
This is a very unique piece for me: my very first time sharing a personal story that is written in 3rd person. Compare to other pieces, I dedicate lots of efforts by spending times marking my grammatical errors, (organise sentence structure, and check verse-shift) and asked peers to look over as well as feedbacks, to make it as good as it could be. I am really proud of this piece.
There are lots of achievements from this writing. I improved a lot by choosing suitable words, such as adverbs and adjectives. When i read again, every sentence were full of descriptive words and as a reader, it was easy to picture while reading, having liveliness.
This obviously isn’t my best piece, however, i learned a lot from this.