Throwback Thursday: The Revenant Movie Reflection: Extra Credit

Throwback Thursday, where, essentially I post old writing samples, essays and short stories that I dig up from my pile of hoarded papers and school assignments or from the depths of my computer. So everyone can see how my writing has changed/improved over the years.


The Revenant Movie Reflection: Extra Credit

The Revenant is a survival story, which seems odd for a movie whose body count reaches the double digits before we’ve even made it past the first scene. But it fits, when death is a real possibility for the characters, it raises the stakes, leaving you tense as to whether or not the characters you are rooting for will actually survive. The title is especially fitting, as revenant means “one who has returned, as if from the dead”.

The Revenant doesn’t pull any punches. Between the high stakes of death, the emotion shown by family and friends when a loved one is injured or killed it feels real. Even more so when you realize that the gore from a fight doesn’t disappear in the next scene, wounds carry and do not becomes magically healed for convenience, as is often the case in movies. The Revenant also makes use of the setting’s native language to not only make the story seem genuine, it makes it impossible for the viewer to become disengaged or distracted from the story, because you have to pay such close attention to what they are saying by keeping your eyes on the screen, lest you miss an important detail. It seems to do justice to the true-life story of Hugh Glass on which it is based, and neither glorifies nor infantilizes his struggle.

The setting is used incredibly effectively; they are not simply in a forest. The animals, even when unimportant to the plot, make noises in the background. Frost clings

to eyelashes. People cough, sniffle and shiver even when the attention is not on them. Leonardo Dicaprio conveys much of his emotion and thoughts without speaking for a part of the film. It comes as no surprise that the movie was not only nominated for, but won, Oscars.

The Revenant is a phenomenal film, with heart-wrenching, wonderful acting and amazing, if a little hard to stomach, cinematography. It makes great use of suspense and the progression of the plot, making sure you feel every consequence, and every uncertainty the characters feel. Every action comes with high stakes, and you never feel like there is a certainty in how the movie will continue. I highly recommend The Revenant.

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Throwback Thursday: Fairchild Project (5th Grade?)

Throwback Thursday, where, essentially I post old writing samples, essays and short stories that I dig up from my pile of hoarded papers and school assignments or from the depths of my computer. So everyone can see how my writing has changed/improved over the years.



Vicaria Blanca

(Catharanthus roseus)

(Madagascar periwinkle)

Ever been in history class and found it weird that people didn’t have medicine all those years ago, and died from common diseases? You’d think that they form of medicine didn’t work, but actually, some of those methods are still used today, and some people think they work better the usual run of the mill medicine we all use! The elder I interviewed for this project on the use of plants, as medicine was my grandfather, Jose Rios. He was born and raised in Cuba, where he met my grandmother and had his three children, my uncle, my mother, and aunt. They moved to Miami, Florida when he was forty years old in 1980, and has been here ever since. He speaks primarily Spanish and can understand English, though when he speaks it, it’s heavily accented and usually has butchered grammar. He is now 72, and he cares for my younger sister and me after school everyday.

When I interviewed him, he told me he uses Vicaria Blanca (White Vicaria) to treat pink eye, and other problems. He’s been using it since he was a child, when his grandmother used it on him and taught him how to use it. He told me that to use it, you boil the flower bowling in water, into a type of tea looking liquid, greenish-yellow in color. You then use it as eye drops or wet a napkin with it and hold it on the eye. He’s been using it for over 50 years and says it’s worked for him every time. He says he prefers to use this then over the counter eye drops because it has the natural vitamins and has less chemicals, which makes it good to use on small children and adults.

Based on the research done by the University of Florida Herbarium, Vicaria Blanca is useful for treating eye infections. Based on a study in 1995, the drops made from boiling the flower in water does help your vision. And according to Wikipedia, Vicaria Blanca, a type of Madagascar Periwinkle commonly found in tropical and sub-tropical regions, has been used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat many things, including: diabetes, malaria, Hodgkin’s disease, and well as some extracted substances used to treat leukemia. On the other side however, if ingested orally, it can be fatal and if not, it causes hallucinations. So, if used on children, it should under supervision.

What I’ve learned from this, is that plants can be used as medicine just as they did thousands of years ago, and that, though I hadn’t known it, my grandfather has been using it on me since I was an infant. It seems odd that people would still use these things, but they do, I’ve also learned that they still use poisonous plants…at least people don’t poison themselves anymore!

Cited: http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/scripts/dbs/herbs_project/herbsproject/herbs_pub_proc.asp?accno=215543&FamSys=A&output_style=Report_type&trys=2

Throwback Thursday: “The Unknown Citizen” by W. H. Auden (1939) – Discussion Questions and Perfect Intro

Throwback Thursday, where, essentially I post old writing samples, essays and short stories that I dig up from my pile of hoarded papers and school assignments or from the depths of my computer. So everyone can see how my writing has changed/improved over the years.


“The Unknown Citizen” by W. H. Auden (1939)

Discussion Questions and Perfect Intro


Discussion Questions:

1 – The “unknown citizen” represents modern citizens, who, according to the poem, are programmed like machines. How does the title help establish the tone of the poem?

The title is an allusion to “The Unknown Solider.” The “unknown citizen” is being honored for his conformity – a parody to the soldier’s sacrifice. The citizen is unremarkable in every way, without even a name. The fact that everything about the citizen is known, yet the title calls him “unknown” shows what the state of Auden’s world values and devalues – material worth is measured and quantified, but any human value, such as a name, is forgotten, not worth remembering. The tone of the poem is clinical and ominous, touting virtues of this unknown man, with intimate details, showing the breadth of surveillance typical of this world, and the distance taken to any human emotion, with phrases like “added five children to the population” shows the clinical way the state is speaking of this citizen, wishing for machine-like conforming citizens rather than real, living, breathing people. From the title onwards, you know everything human about this citizen has been taken from his elegy.

 

2 – Who is the speaker? What is his attitude toward the unknown citizen? Cite examples to prove this.

The speaker in the state, or at least a mouthpiece of the state, as it is the state touting the virtues of this unknown citizen and referring to the way different government agencies reported data on him, with phrases such as “Our researchers” to show who the speaker is. His attitude towards the unknown citizen is clinical, listing statistical data rather than any human or emotional information on him. The speaker points out that he “held the proper opinions” and owned what he ought to such as “a phonograph, a radio, a car” but in referring to his children it is phrased clinically, “he…added five children to the population.” The speaker also sounds proud of the unknown citizen, conveying his conformity is a virtue and an emulatable accomplishment, listing statistics about him that they consider positive. Everything he did was right, he had “no official complaint” against him, “he bought a paper everyday”, he “was normal in every way” says the speaker with a tone that conveys that other citizens should seek to be like this unknown citizen.

 

3 – Identify which types of irony are present in the poem and support with examples.

There is situational irony throughout “The Unknown Citizen” because this “unknown citizen” is being honored by the state with a monument, and they know everything about him, save for his name. If you remember someone, their name is typically the first thing you know. This type of memorializing is typically for those who showed immense bravery or otherwise did something remarkable, but this man is perfectly average and remembered for conformity. There could also be considered to be situational irony in the last two lines of the poem specifically; “Was he free? Was he happy? The question is absurd: Had anything been wrong, we should have certainty heard.” These lines give the impression that freedom and happiness are not typically sought after, though they are generally considered ideals, but rather a sign of something “wrong” with a person. Elegy’s are typically very sincere and emotional, yet that of the “unknown citizen” is clinical and distanced from him as a human being.

The context of the poem could be considered dramatic irony, as a reader in 2018 would know how much closer the modern world has come to Auden vision than Auden ever could have expected in 1939.


Perfect Intro Prompt:

The poem “The Unknown Citizen” by W. H. Auden serves to paint a picture of a world where people are reduced to statistics and government reports. In a well-organized essay, explain how Auden conveys the sterility and soullessness of the modern world, and the techniques he uses to express his attitude, pay particular attention to tone and theme. Use specific references to the poem.

Perfect Intro:

With a clinical, ominous tone and a permeating theme of conformity, W. H. Auden’s “The Unknown Citizen” shows the deterioration of the modern world, as individuality is replaced by submission, and pen-and-paper statistics are valued more than a person’s soul, where sterile existence has replaced any emotion as trivial as happiness. The titular “unknown citizen” is a perfect model, but his name is irrelevant to history; Auden’s vision of the modern world is bleak, with ideal humans more akin to machines.

Major Works – AP Lit Review: Frankenstein

Title: Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus

Author: Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

Date of Publication: January 1, 1818

Genre:  Gothic science fiction


Biographical information about the author (for my knowledge only, but very helpful):

Mary Shelly was raised by her father after the death of her mother when she was a month old. Her father was an author himself, which inspired Shelly. She married Percy Shelly, a friend of her father’s after his first wife committed suicide. Their daughter died prematurely. Frankenstein is her most famous work, first written when she was 19.


Information about the literary period (for my knowledge only, but very helpful):

Frankenstein is one of the most famous novels in the Gothic genre, it was written at a time when the Gothic novel was slowly giving way to the literary movement of Romanticism, and the novel shares the Romantic emphasis on the “sublime” power of nature.


 Plot summary:

Robert Walton, on a ship bound for the North Pole, writes letters to his sister back in England. Walton finds Victor Frankenstein, and brings him aboard the ship to bring him back to health. Frankenstein describes the circumstances that brought him to the ice and near death. Victor describes his childhood in Geneva, his “cousin” Elizabeth and best friend Henry Clerval. Victor enters the university of Ingolstadt to study natural philosophy and chemistry. There, he is consumed by the desire to discover the secret of life and, after several years of research, becomes convinced that he has found it.

Upon completing his creation, he finds he has made a terrible mistake and runs away, falling ill with a fever. Henry nurses him back to helath. Victor returns to Geneva when a letter comes informing him that his youngest brother, William, has been murdered. While passing through the woods where William was strangled, he catches sight of the monster and becomes convinced that the monster is his brother’s murderer. Arriving in Geneva, Victor finds that Justine Moritz, a kind, gentle girl who had been adopted by the Frankenstein household, has been accused. She is tried, condemned, and executed, despite her assertions of innocence.

The monster approaches Victor. The monster begs Victor to create a mate for him, a monster equally grotesque to serve as his sole companion. Victor refuses at first, horrified by the prospect of creating a second monster. The monster is eloquent and persuasive, however, and he eventually convinces Victor. Horrified by the possible consequences of his work, Victor destroys his new creation. The monster, enraged, vows revenge, swearing that he will be with Victor on Victor’s wedding night. The next morning, Clerval is found murdered. Victor marries Elizabeth. He fears the monster’s warning and suspects that he will be murdered on his wedding night. To be cautious, he sends Elizabeth away to wait for him. While he awaits the monster, he hears Elizabeth scream and realizes that the monster had been hinting at killing his new bride, not himself. Victor vows to devote the rest of his life to finding the monster and exacting his revenge, and he soon departs to begin his quest.

Victor tracks the monster ever northward into the ice. Walton encounters Victor. Victor, already ill when the two men meet, worsens and dies shortly thereafter. The monster tells Walton of his immense solitude, suffering, hatred, and remorse. He asserts that now that his creator has died, he too can end his suffering. The monster then departs for the northernmost ice to die.


Memorable quotations significant to meaning:

  1. I saw—with shut eyes, but acute mental vision—I saw the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside the thing he had put together. I saw the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out, and then, on the working of some powerful engine, show signs of life and stir with an uneasy, half-vital motion. Frightful must it be, for supremely frightful would be the effect of any human endeavor to mock the stupendous mechanism of the Creator of the world.

  2. Did I request thee, Maker, from my clay
    To mould me Man, did I solicit thee
    From darkness to promote me?

  3. What may not be expected in a country of eternal light?

  4. So much has been done, exclaimed the soul of Frankenstein—more, far more, will I achieve; treading in the steps already marked, I will pioneer a new way, explore unknown powers, and unfold to the world the deepest mysteries of creation.

  5. I, the miserable and the abandoned, am an abortion, to be spurned at, and kicked, and trampled on.

Significance of opening scene:

The novel opens with letters from Robert Walton to his sister. Walton has set out on a sea-faring venture after failing as a poet, and writes to his sister back home of his experiences – such as finding a man we learn to be Victor Frankenstein who recounts his story to Walton, which Walton then transcribes for his sister to read. This lends credibility to the story, as it sets the story of Frankenstein in the real world.


Significance of closing scene:

The end is told in Walton’s letters just as the beginning is. Walton tells his sister he is returning to England, at his crew’s insistence after nearly perishing in ice. Frankenstein dies, and Walton meets the monster, hears the monster’s tale of misery, and pities him before remembering his friend’s tale. The monster leaves, with the intent to die alone, Walton being the last human to ever have to see him.


Characters

 

  1. Victor Frankenstein – The doomed protagonist and narrator of the main portion of the story. Studying in Ingolstadt, Victor discovers the secret of life and creates an intelligent but grotesque monster, from whom he recoils in horror. Victor keeps his creation of the monster a secret, feeling increasingly guilty and ashamed as he realizes how helpless he is to prevent the monster from ruining his life and the lives of others.
  2. The Monster – The eight-foot-tall, hideously ugly creation of Victor Frankenstein. Intelligent and sensitive, the monster attempts to integrate himself into human social patterns, but all who see him shun him. His feeling of abandonment compels him to seek revenge against his creator.
  3. Robert Walton – The Arctic seafarer whose letters open and closeFrankenstein. Walton picks the bedraggled Victor Frankenstein up off the ice, helps nurse him back to health, and hears Victor’s story. He records the incredible tale in a series of letters addressed to his sister, Margaret Saville, in England.
  4. Elizabeth Lavenza –  An orphan, four to five years younger than Victor, whom the Frankensteins’ adopt. In the 1818 edition of the novel, Elizabeth is Victor’s cousin, the child of Alphonse Frankenstein’s sister. In the 1831 edition, Victor’s mother rescues Elizabeth from a destitute peasant cottage in Italy. Elizabeth embodies the novel’s motif of passive women, as she waits patiently for Victor’s attention.
  5. Henry Clerval–  Victor’s boyhood friend, who nurses Victor back to health in Ingolstadt. After working unhappily for his father, Henry begins to follow in Victor’s footsteps as a scientist. His cheerfulness counters Victor’s moroseness.

Setting –

Time – Eighteenth century

Place – Geneva; the Swiss Alps; Ingolstadt; England and Scotland; the northern ice


Symbols:

Light –

In Frankenstein, light symbolizes knowledge, discovery, and enlightenment. The natural world is a place of dark secrets, hidden passages, and unknown mechanisms; the goal of the scientist is then to reach light.

Fire –
The dangerous and more powerful cousin of light is fire. The monster’s first experience with a still-smoldering flame reveals the dual nature of fire: he discovers excitedly that it creates light in the darkness of the night, but also that it harms him when he touches it.


Themes for discussion:

Knowledge –

The pursuit of knowledge is central to Frankenstein. Victor attempts to find knowledge beyond that of human limits – such as the secret to life. Walton has similar pursuits of knowledge in his quest towards the North pole. Knowledge can be dangerous, and lead to ones ruin.

Monstrosity –
Victor Frankenstein creates a monster – literally bringing it to life, and makes it monstrous by ignoring its creation, taking no responsibility for the life he creates. The monster is not monstrous until he is repeated denied love and acceptance and so becomes as monstrous as all assume him to be. Victor himself is a kind of monster, as his ambition, secrecy, and selfishness alienate him from human society. Ordinary on the outside, he may be the true “monster” inside, as he is eventually consumed by an obsessive hatred of his creation.

Major Works Data Sheet – 1984

Major Works Data Sheet

Title:    1984

Author:  George Orwell

Date of Publication: 1949

Genre:  Dystopian Fiction


Biographical information about the author (for my knowledge only, but very helpful):

George Orwell is the pseudonym for Eric Arthur Blair. He wrote about the despairing realities of British colonialism and the working class struggles. Many of his works were influenced by this, and later influenced by the aftermath of the World Wars.


Information about the literary period (for my knowledge only, but very helpful):

1984 was heavily influenced by Orwell’s thoughts and experiences particularly during and after World War 2.


Plot summary:

Winston Smith is a low-ranking member of the ruling Party in London, in the nation of Oceania. The Party is forcing the implementation of an invented language called Newspeak, which attempts to prevent political rebellion by eliminating all words related to it. Even thinking rebellious thoughts is illegal. Winston dislikes the party and has illegally purchased a diary in which to write his criminal thoughts. He has also become fixated on a powerful Party member named O’Brien. Winston works in the Ministry of Truth, where he alters historical records to fit the needs of the Party. He notices a coworker, a beautiful dark-haired girl, staring at him, and worries that she is an informant who will turn him in for his thoughtcrime. He is troubled by the Party’s control of history: the Party claims that Oceania has always been allied with Eastasia in a war against Eurasia, but Winston seems to recall a time when this was not true. The Party also claims that Emmanuel Goldstein, the alleged leader of the Brotherhood, is the most dangerous man alive, but this does not seem plausible to Winston. Winston begins an affair with the dark haired girl, who’s name is Julia. As Winston’s affair with Julia progresses, his hatred for the Party grows more and more intense. At last, he receives the message that he has been waiting for: O’Brien wants to see him. O’Brien confirms to Winston and Julia that, like them, he hates the Party, and says that he works against it as a member of the Brotherhood. He indoctrinates Winston and Julia into the Brotherhood, and gives Winston a copy of Emmanuel Goldstein’s book, the manifesto of the Brotherhood. Winston and Julia are separated and Winston finds that O’Brien, too, is a Party spy who simply pretended to be a member of the Brotherhood in order to trap Winston into committing an open act of rebellion against the Party. O’Brien spends months torturing and brainwashing Winston, who struggles to resist. At last, O’Brien sends him to the dreaded Room 101, the final destination for anyone who opposes the Party. Here, O’Brien tells Winston that he will be forced to confront his worst fear. Throughout the novel, Winston has had recurring nightmares about rats; O’Brien now straps a cage full of rats onto Winston’s head and prepares to allow the rats to eat his face. Winston snaps, pleading with O’Brien to do it to Julia, not to him.

Giving up Julia is what O’Brien wanted from Winston all along. His spirit broken, Winston is released to the outside world. He meets Julia but no longer feels anything for her. He has accepted the Party entirely and has learned to love Big Brother.


Memorable quotations significant to meaning:

  1. war is peace 
    freedom is slavery
    ignorance is strength
  2. Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.
  3. In the end the Party would announce that two and two made five, and you would have to believe it. It was inevitable that they should make that claim sooner or later: the logic of their position demanded it. Not merely the validity of experience, but the very existence of external reality was tacitly denied by their philosophy.
  4. And when memory failed and written records were falsified—when that happened, the claim of the Party to have improved the conditions of human life had got to be accepted, because there did not exist, and never again could exist, any standard against which it could be tested.
  5. And perhaps you might pretend, afterwards, that it was only a trick and that you just said it to make them stop and didn’t really mean it. But that isn’t true. At the time when it happens you do mean it. You think there’s no other way of saving yourself and you’re quite ready to save yourself that way. You want it to happen to the other person. You don’t give a damn what they suffer. All you care about is yourself.

Significance of opening scene:

Winton is a low level worker, and the reader is introduced to the world of 1984, full of Telescreens and other oddities.


Significance of closing scene:

Nothing of this world is rectified as Winston sought it to be, he has succumbed to the whim of the Party. Presumably, just as all those before him and all those after him. Horrifying, because this world persists, with no end in sight.


Characters

  Name  Role in the story and significance  Adjectives

  1. Winston Smith–  A minor member of the ruling Party in near-future London, Winston Smith is a thin, frail, contemplative, intellectual, and fatalistic thirty-nine-year-old. Winston hates the totalitarian control and enforced repression that are characteristic of his government. He harbors revolutionary dreams.
  2. Julia–  Winston’s lover, a beautiful dark-haired girl working in the Fiction Department at the Ministry of Truth. Julia enjoys sex, and claims to have had affairs with many Party members. Julia is pragmatic and optimistic. Her rebellion against the Party is small and personal, for her own enjoyment, in contrast to Winston’s ideological motivation.
  3. O’Brien–  A mysterious, powerful, and sophisticated member of the Inner Party whom Winston believes is also a member of the Brotherhood, the legendary group of anti-Party rebels.
  4. Big Brother–  Though he never appears in the novel, and though he may not actually exist, Big Brother, the perceived ruler of Oceania, is an extremely important figure. Everywhere Winston looks he sees posters of Big Brother’s face bearing the message“BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU.” Big Brother’s image is stamped on coins and broadcast on the unavoidable telescreens; it haunts Winston’s life and fills him with hatred and fascination.
  5. Charrington–  An old man who runs a secondhand store in the prole district. Kindly and encouraging, Mr. Charrington seems to share Winston’s interest in the past. He also seems to support Winston’s rebellion against the Party and his relationship with Julia, since he rents Winston a room without a telescreen in which to carry out his affair. But Mr. Charrington is not as he seems. He is a member of the Thought Police.

Setting:

 Alternate vision of 1984, in Oceania (what was once Britain)


Symbols:

 the telescreens and the posters of Big Brother (the Party’s constant surveillance of its subjects)

The glass paperweight (Winston’s desire to connect with the past) 


Themes for discussion:

The role of language and how it affects thought.

Freedom, and totalitarian vs socialist regimes.

How knowledge of the past or lack there-of can affect the present and fuure.

Throwback Thursday: 2009 – Inventor Report

I asked what feature people wanted me to bring back and one that came up was Throwback Thursday, where, essentially I post old writing samples, essays and short stories that I dig up from my pile of hoarded papers and school assignments or from the depths of my computer. So everyone can see how my writing has changed/improved over the years.

 


 

Ruth Graves Wakefield has earned her place as one of America’s famous women inventors.  She might not be the most famous inventor but she created one of the most popular American snacks.  The chocolate chip cookie was her invention.  The chocolate chip cookie was not her only invention.  This little chocolate chip that was created accidentally then created one of America’s largest cookie companies.

It was June 17, 1903 the day Ruth Graves Wakefield was born. It appears as if her childhood was unremarkable and there are no biographies.  It is known that Ruth went to school at Framingham State Normal School Department of Household Arts in 1924.  She was a dietitian and lectured about foods.  Her husband’s name was Kenneth Wakefield. During her life Ruth lived in an inn named Toll House.  In the 1930’s her husband bought a tourist lodge and named it Toll House in Whitman, Massachusetts.  Toll House was originally built in 1709.  It was named Toll House since historically this is where passengers used to pay their tolls.  Ruth cooked all the meals and became famous for her cooking and especially her desserts.

Ruth created many desserts at the inn.  The delicious and now famous chocolate chip cookie was created completely accidentally.  One day Ruth was making her favorite Butter Drop Do cookies but was out of baker’s chocolate.  Ruth decided to use cut up pieces of semi-sweet chocolate instead from a bar of Nestle chocolate. Later on these pieces of chocolate would be known as chocolate chips.  Ruth expected that the chocolate would melt into the dough in order to make chocolate cookies.  Instead soft chocolate chip cookies came out of the oven.  Later on these cookies were called Toll House Cookies after Ruth’s inn.

These new cookies were popular with the guests at Toll House and the recipes were even printed in a Boston newspaper.  This lead to the sales of semi-sweet chocolate bars increasing and it caught the attention of Andrew Nestle.  Once the cookies became famous Ruth and Andrew Nestle (of the Nestle Company) made a deal.  Nestle would print her recipe on their cover of all their semi-sweet chocolate bars.  In return Ruth would receive a lifetime supply of chocolate.  Due to these new partnership sales of the semi-sweet chocolate “went through the roof”.  In 1939 Nestle started making semi-sweet chocolate morsels especially for the chocolate chip cookie.

During this time Ruth wrote a book called Toll House Tried and True Recipes in 1940 at the age of 37. This book held most of her original recipe secrets. The book also went through thirty-nine printings.  Ruth also enjoyed her success until she retired.  Ruth retired in Duxbury, Massachusetts.  Ruth and Kenneth then sold the Toll House in 1966 and new owners turned it into a nightclub for a time.  However, in 1970 another owner turned it back into an inn and back to its original form. Then on New Year’s Eve 1984 seven years after Ruth’s death Toll House burnt down.  Sadly, Toll House burned down in a fire started in the kitchen.  It is now a historical landmark.  In its place there is a Walgreen’s pharmacy and a Wendy’s restaurant.

Ruth Wakefield later died on January 10, 1977 at the age of 73.  There are not many biographies about her early life but the tradition of publishing her recipe on the back of each Nestle Toll House chocolate bar package is still honored today.  Ruth Wakefield was a great cook; an inventor and she created one of American’s favorite cookies, the chocolate chip cookie.  Ruth was also a dietician, innkeeper and businesswoman who entered into business with Nestle.  Even though Ruth died almost 32 years ago her cookie has been “alive” for almost 70 years and will never die.

The chocolate chip cookie is not the first invention you think of when asked about famous inventions.  Most people might not even know who Ruth Wakefield is.  However, almost everyone has tasted the chocolate chip cookie at one time.  Ruth Wakefield and her invention are proof the accidents are not always bad and can taste really good.  They are also proof that anything can be an invention and anyone can be an inventor.

Throwback Thursday: Color Your World

Throwback Thursday, where, essentially I post old writing samples, essays and short stories that I dig up from my pile of hoarded papers and school assignments or from the depths of my computer. So everyone can see how my writing has changed/improved over the years.


 

In kindergarten, there was only one debate bigger than “Crayola v. Rozart” (and really, everyone knows that Crayola is the winner there). That argument is, of course, “what color is this?” Common contenders of this fight are:  red/orange and blue/green, both of which probably have actual names that no one uses. But the argument, actually more like all out war, of my kindergarten class was over a color from the Rozart box, called Orchid.

Orchid is this pink/purple color that was a favorite among the girls of the class. Of course, because no one could read, no one knew it was called Orchid, so we all called it pink or purple depending on the side of the argument you fell on.

I was firmly entrenched in the belief that it was purple. My kindergarten best friend firmly believed it was pink. In order to salvage our friendship from this crushing betrayal, we settled on naming the color “pinkish-purplish”(a perfectly acceptable name considering we were five years old).

Of course, we had to explain to our peers why we were very obviously correct in our naming, and everyone else was wrong. So, we gave the crayon an origin story, and this is that origin story: Once upon a time, a pink crayon and a purple crayon got married and had a baby. That baby was a perfect mix of pink and purple. The crayon parents argued about which one of them the baby should be named after. Finally they came to an agreement, and thus the crayon was named “pinkish-purplish”.

Again, this made perfect sense to a group of five year olds. And although our teacher crushed our little hearts by telling us the crayons real name was Orchid, we never did stop calling it pinkish-purpleish.

School Required Reading Reviews: Pride & Prejudice / A Thousand Splendid Suns / The Death of Ivan Ilych

Okay, so…

These are really late. But, I wanted to post them anyways.

Enjoy!


1885

Original Release Date:

Published October 10th 2000 by Modern Library (first published 1813)

Date I Read The Book:

July 2017

My Star Rating:

4 Stars

Chronology:

Standalone

Official Summary:

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.” So begins Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen’s witty comedy of manners—one of the most popular novels of all time—that features splendidly civilized sparring between the proud Mr. Darcy and the prejudiced Elizabeth Bennet as they play out their spirited courtship in a series of eighteenth-century drawing-room intrigues. Renowned literary critic and historian George Saintsbury in 1894 declared it the “most perfect, the most characteristic, the most eminently quintessential of its author’s works,” and Eudora Welty in the twentieth century described it as “irresistible and as nearly flawless as any fiction could be.”

My Review: (Vague Spoilers)

Pride And Prejudice Book Tag

This was one of my AP Lit summer reading books, though I would have read it at some point even if it weren’t required because I’ve read and loved so many retellings I felt I had to read the original at some point. I did feel knowing the story lessened my enjoyment at some points, because certain sections drag out in descriptions that sort of make my eyes glaze over, but I did truly enjoy it for most of the book. I prefer Emma though.


128029.jpg

Original Release Date:

Published May 22nd 2007 by Riverhead

Date I Read The Book:

July 2017

My Star Rating:

4 Stars

Chronology:

Standalone

Official Summary:

At once an incredible chronicle of thirty years of Afghan history and a deeply moving story of family, friendship, faith, and the salvation to be found in love.

Propelled by the same superb instinct for storytelling that made The Kite Runner a beloved classic, A Thousand Splendid Suns is at once an incredible chronicle of thirty years of Afghan history and a deeply moving story of family, friendship, faith, and the salvation to be found in love.

Born a generation apart and with very different ideas about love and family, Mariam and Laila are two women brought jarringly together by war, by loss and by fate. As they endure the ever escalating dangers around them – in their home as well as in the streets of Kabul – they come to form a bond that makes them both sisters and mother-daughter to each other, and that will ultimately alter the course not just of their own lives but of the next generation. With heart-wrenching power and suspense, Hosseini shows how a woman’s love for her family can move her to shocking and heroic acts of self-sacrifice, and that in the end it is love, or even the memory of love, that is often the key to survival.

My Review: (Vague Spoilers)

This was one of our summer reading books for AP Lit this past year. Its well written, with amazingly real characters. I think its historically accurate, but I’m can’t be entirely certain. I am going to say its horribly depressing and I couldn’t really handle reading it for extended periods. If you like to cry when you read, you’ll enjoy this immensely.


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Original Release Date:

1886

Date I Read The Book:

November 2017

My Star Rating:

3 Stars

Chronology:

Novella

Official Summary:

Hailed as one of the world’s supreme masterpieces on the subject of death and dying, The Death of Ivan Ilyich is the story of a worldly careerist, a high court judge who has never given the inevitability of his dying so much as a passing thought. But one day, death announces itself to him, and to his shocked surprise, he is brought face to face with his own mortality.

How, Tolstoy asks, does an unreflective man confront his one and only moment of truth?

This short novel was an artistic culmination of a profound spiritual crisis in Tolstoy’s life, a nine-year period following the publication of Anna Karenina during which he wrote not a word of fiction.
A thoroughly absorbing and, at times, terrifying glimpse into the abyss of death, it is also a strong testament to the possibility of finding spiritual salvation.

My Review: (Vague Spoilers)

I only just recently finished reading this in class for AP Lit. Maybe I’m a little traumatized because we had to write a three grade essay and stuff, but I didn’t like this very much. It was okay, I didn’t mind reading it, I just didn’t particularly want to. Its entirely about death and despair, and in my constant state of anxiety of college right now, I was not in a state where I could enjoy this. I can see why others might though, and I know its of great literary significance.

Throwback Thursday: Bioethics Debate -Insurance Companies Should Not Have The Right To Request Or Receive Genetic Test Results   

Throwback Thursday, where, essentially I post old writing samples, essays and short stories that I dig up from my pile of hoarded papers and school assignments or from the depths of my computer. So everyone can see how my writing has changed/improved over the years.


(Co-authored with my friend Emilie C.)

Genetic tests are a fairly recent development in the medical, and sadly, despite the phenomenal advancements made each year on the science side of things, the legal side is lacking in keeping pace. For one thing, there are relatively few laws that protect genetic information, and according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, only one state of our 50 even considers genetic information to be personal property, this among other things need to be rectified, preferably before a crisis due to the abuse of genetic information.

Insurance companies are some of the most likely to abuse genetic information. Knowledge is power after all, and insurance companies have a vested interest not in patients, but in turning a profit. While the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) passed in 2008 makes it illegal for health insurers and employers to discriminate based on DNA, according to the National Human Genome Research Institute, there is a loophole: the law does not apply to long-term care insurance, disability insurance, or life insurance. In fact, any type of insurance company aside from health care can demand genetic test results before offering coverage. The patients most in need of these insurances are those at risk for genetic diseases such as Huntington’s and Alzheimer’s, yet, these are the people who find it most difficult to get coverage.

Many people avoid getting genetic tests, even when they have a high risk of inheriting a disorder, and when early diagnoses may lead to better care, because they fear what the insurance companies will do. For instance, because of genetic predispositions, or a family history of a genetic disease that may lead to an early death, a life insurance company can deny coverage. A person’s health care insurance may not be (legally) affected by a company receiving test results, but a patient’s health is still adversely affected. In an ethical dilemma such as this one, a patient’s right health, safety, and peace of mind, are far more important than a company’s right to turn a profit.

The other big ethical issue with insurance companies receiving genetic test results is privacy. The fourth amendment protects us from having to share or give away our personal property, and what is more personal than our genetic code? Aside from an infringement of personal rights, it is an infringement on patient rights, such as patient confidentiality, which is one of the pillars of ethics in medicine. One of the most famous violation of patient confidentiality is the case of Henrietta Lacks, whose cells were used for scientific research without her knowledge, who never received compensation despite our cells being some of the most valuable in science today (Rabin Martin, 2013). As are abilities expand, as technology improves, we may face more and more cases like this, some with far worse consequences than that of Henrietta Lacks. It is better to start focusing on how to prevent it as much possible now, than to deal with the fallout later.

By allowing insurance companies to receive genetic results, you violate privacy as well as a long-standing focal point of ethics in medicine. For no reason other than that insurance companies want to us that information to make money. Some companies will claim that they will not use the information against you, but if they aren’t going to use it, then why not eliminate the risk and just deny them access to the information in the first place.

On the topic of using genetic test results against a patient, we are brought to discrimination. Knowledge is power, and those in power always seek to use it, and often, they abuse it. Insurance companies use genetic information to raise rates and deny coverage to individuals who need it. This is a basic definition of discrimination. Even worse, it is discrimination for something as invisible as your DNA. Something you cannot control anymore than you could control your skin color (which is also based in your genes, so I guess genetic discrimination is nothing new). But these days, we don’t allow business to refuse someone based on skin color, that sort of discrimination is illegal. So why is it okay to discriminate based on genes? Something that no one has any control over.

In short, insurance companies shouldn’t have the right to request or receive genetic test results, either from clients or from family members. That way lies violation of privacy and discrimination. We can’t stop the abuse of genetic information unless we control the access of it. We don’t have the proper laws in place to protect us; the legal system cannot keep up with biotechnological advancements. But we can start with this. Chose patient rights over a company’s monetary gain. Make the right choice.

One Lovely Blog Award #2

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I was tagged by quite a few lovely bloggers:

Melting Pots and Other Calamities –  who has a really lovely blog, and is always super great.

Amanda @ Literary Weapon–  whose blog I haven’t been reading long, but is pretty amazing.

The Orangutan Librarian–  who I’ve been following for a while now, and never fails to make me long with her great reviews and discussions.

Anna from Its My Birth Write–  whose blog I also haven’t been reading long, but is epic as well.

Thank you so much to all of you for nominating me!

Sorry it took forever.

You can see my first award here: One Lovely Blog Award

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The Rules:

  • Thank the person that nominated you and leave a link to their blog.
  • Post about the award.
  • Share seven facts about yourself.
  • Nominate other people. (15 at most)
  • Tell your nominees the good news.

Facts:

1 – I’m in my senior year of high school, and I’m taking 5 AP classes plus 1 period of office aid.

2 – I’m applying to about 13 colleges.

3 – I’m considering adding a tutoring/proofreading service to my blog. Would anyone be interested?

4 – I may or may not dye my hair again at the end of the school year (I’m thinking red, and chopping it short so I don’t have to fight with the straightner as much).

5 – I plan to major in Neuroscience, on a pre-med track. I want to be a pediatric neurologist.

6 – I really really need a new bookshelf. Mine may collapse (again) if I force more books into it). Its also lined with pop figures.

7 – My Senior Yearbook quote is: “You go to college, I’m only child now” – Alexa B. (AKA my little sister).


Nominations:

Niraja @ Fantastic Books and Where to Find Them

Stephanie @ Adventures of a Bibliophile

Louise @ Genie Reads

Casey @ Adopt-a-Book-AUS

B @ Icebreaker694

Calliope The Book Goddess

Raquel @ Rakiodd Books

Megan @ Bookslayer Reads

Kayla @ KDrew The Bookworm

Lashaan and Trang @ Bookidote

Drew @ The Tattooed Book Geek

Sophie @ Blame it on Chocolate

Alex @ Lord of the Trekkies

Angelina and Brianna @ Fables Library

Emma @ Corn Reviews Books