Relflection on “An Enemy of the People” (English I Honors)

An Enemy of the People left me slightly saddened both because of the depressing fate of the Stockman family and also because of how the same thing happens currently in our world. We often think that the hero who stands up to the tyranny and oppression will be recognized and hailed for his/her efforts but in this case for Dr. Stockman, for he is branded as an enemy of the people. The end of the play raised a few questions for me. What happens to him after the end of the play and did he actually have to go down such extreme path to stay true to his ideals?

One of Dr. Stockman’s last remarks at the meeting left me pondering his fate. As he was attacking the entire majority of the people he tells them that, “an averagely built truth lives – let’s say – as a rule, seventeen or eighteen, at most twenty years; rarely longer. But truths of such advanced years are always dreadfully scrawny. And yet it is only then that the majority adopts them and recommends them to society as wholesome spiritual food” (337). So if the public finally realizes the truth after it being too late, how would they think of Stockman? Would he even be alive to see the truth accepted or would the people have slain the “enemy” already? Even if Stockman lived to see that his work actually have an impact, would he even accept a public apology or has he been driven so far to the point that he truly believes that he is an “enemy of the people”?

Although Stockman behaved most honorably as a physician by exposing the contamination, the way in which he tried to convey the information seemed more extreme than necessary. Rather than unleashing war on the board with the information he could have kept a level head and threatened them with it. Additionally, he could have rebuffed Peter’s argument of having to raise taxes by telling them the damage that could be done if the visitors had realized that the water had made them sick. That could have caused the spa to be sued by both its former clients and the state. This would cause the Spa Institute to shut down permanently which would have an far worse result than having it shut down for 2 years and having the citizens pay more taxes for the renovations. My final question is why did Dr. Stockman insult the entire public during his meeting? He has a right to be angry but he doesn’t realize that he doesn’t have to destroy his entire life in retaliation, which causes more harm to himself and his family than to the public. Instead he could have tried planting subtle seeds of doubt in the public and then eventually make his statement later on when the mayor’s grasp on the majority has weakened. Stockman’s persistence to unveil the truth was not the only thing that caused his social demise, it was also because of his anger and naivety toward business and politics.

 

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Chapter 8 Relevance

Part 1:

Equations of a line are like doing homework. You can do it in many different ways but still get the same result. You can either do it early and not have much to do later or procrastinate. When you do it earlier, you usually take for time to do it like the point-slope equation. When you procrastinate and are in a rush you do something faster like the slope intercept equation.

Part 2:

Image result for google maps

Looking for a destination on google maps and calculating the time it will take to get there is like the distance formula.

Part 3:

Finding slope is like the movie Everything Everything. In finding the slope, you need two coordinates to work with. In Everything Everything, you need the girl Madeline and the guy Oliver to make the story. After that, you use the coordinates to calculate the slope. In the movie, Madeline and Oliver meet and then they fall in love.

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Chapter Relevance 8 – Sara

The Cartesian Coordinate System reminds me of four square because of the four quadrants. The path of the ball could represent lines on the graph, and the four squares represent the quadrants.

The above picture represents parallel and perpendicular lines. If you were to take the ball and flatten it out, you would see examples of both. Each square on the volleyball has parallel lines in it which are also perpendicular to the lines in the squares next to them.

Lines and their equations and slopes remind me of a ski lift. The steepness of the lift is like the slope and the poles holding  it up/the benches moving along it are like points on the line. The equation of the line could tell you the position of the moving bench if you were given either the height or how far along it is on the lift.

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Precalculus Ch 10 Relevance

Part 1: Relevance

Big Idea: Trigonometric Sum Identities

Area of my life: Mixing Paint

Brown paint can be created by mixing red, yellow, blue, and black pigment together. Alternatively, you could simplify this process and achieve a similar brown by mixing orange-red and green together. This relationship is like the Trigonometric Sum Formula for sine: (sin (a+b) = sinacosb +cosasinb)

Part 2: Visual

Mad Libs are like trigonometric word equations. In a trigonometric equation, you can substitute any number that satisfies the domain. With Mad Libs, you can insert any word belonging in the specified word class.

Part 3: Analogy
Proving Trigonometric Identities Getting Ready in the Morning
Step 1 Start with the most complicated side of the equation Start with the hardest part: waking up
Step 2 Identify the terms containing tan, cot, sec, or csc. Simplify by rewriting in terms of sin and cos. Identify the extraneous steps in your morning routine. Simplify or skip these steps so you can sleep in longer
Step 3 Using the identities you already know, transform the most complex side of the equation until it is equal to the other side Using whatever time you have remaining, get out of bed and transform yourself until you look presentable.
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Personal Reflection to “An Enemy of the People”

I thought it was very interesting. There were times when it seemed like this book was written last year, not 1882. Some politics come and go but some common treads seem to pop up consistently throughout history. How do you choose who governs? What do you do when your personal interests or the interests of the people close to you or dependent on you conflict with the interests of the community, the nation, the world? Should you put aside your morals to further your interests, or your interests to further your morals? And finally the question as immortal as capitalism itself: What do you do when something needs to be done, but will cost lots of money?

 

I think every character in this play makes mistakes. For example, this whole thing could have been avoided if the doctor were to point out that people would stop coming once they realized that it was diseased, and that they wouldn’t need his report to tell them that. They would figure it out themselves when everyone who came kept getting sick. This also would have been avoided if Hovestad had insisted that a tax wasn’t necessary, that there were other ways of paying for the changes.

 

Finally, I think that the doctor should have left at the end. It was very clear that he had been ruined there and that if he stayed, he would be further scapegoated for bad things happening. I wouldn’t be surprised if he faced criminal charges. In America he could go somewhere that was too big to decide to hate him completely, and doctors are always needed.

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Chapter 7 Relevance

Big Topic: Slope

Area of my Life: Sledding

You might not know it but I use slope whenever I am looking for a good sledding hill, because what you want is a hill that is steep, but not going straight down, you want a hill that has the perfect balance of height and length, or rise and run.

Here is an example of sledding down a hill. You can probably tell from the picture that the hill has height to it, but it also has some forward length too.

An analogy for slope using a book as the connection is that slope is like a picture book because when you are computing slope, it is much easier to read, comprehend, and complete when you use pictures, like a book with pictures.

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Frankenstein Personal Response

Characters

I disliked nearly all of the characters in this novel. Although I felt sorry for both Frankenstein and the creature, my frustration towards their decisions surpassed my sympathy. I disliked how the creature blamed all of his problems on Frankenstein and society, and I disliked Frankenstein for being irrationally emotional. The only character I truly enjoyed was Henry, who was the embodiment of a perfect friend. I wonder how he would have reacted if Frankenstein had told him about the creature.


Imagery

I appreciated that the creature’s appearance was kept vague. When Frankenstein catches a glimpse of the creature after William’s death, he recalls “the deformity of its aspect more hideous than belongs to humanity”. In every description, the specific qualities of the creature’s form are omitted. Instead, he is only described with strongly-worded warnings. The mystery surrounding the creature’s appearance only adds to his hideousness. It allows the reader to draw upon their own fears to imagine what such a monster might look like. I believe that the creature possesses the uncanny valley effect, where a small human-like quality remains behind an extremely deformed face and body, making his existence all the more terrifying.


Plot

I was very frustrated when Frankenstein interpreted the creature’s threat of, “I shall be with you on your wedding-night”, as a warning that the creature would kill him. Although I understood he was traumatized by the recent death of his best friend, and was probably influenced by a longing to die, it felt out of character for Frankenstein to come to this conclusion. As shown when he rejected the creature’s demand to create another monster, Frankenstein typically overthinks problems and assumes the worst-case scenario. I was annoyed when he didn’t even consider the possibility of Elizabeth’s death.


Structure/Organization

The structure of a narrative within a narrative, within a narrative, within a letter, felt like a lazy method of connecting all of the characters and their stories together. I felt that Walton’s character had no purpose besides aiding in this unnecessary format.


Final Thoughts

2/5

Overall, I was disappointed by Frankenstein. To be fair, I expected a vastly different story than what it turned out to be. I wanted a fast-paced, thrilling mystery. Instead, I read a tedious novel about Romantic thoughts.

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History Paper

One of the things that makes humans humans, is their ability to plant themselves within a span of time, and calculate their actions based on both the past, present, and the future, unlike animals who tend more often to base their actions solely on their current neccesities. This idea of using your past and future to your advantage can be fruitful in big ways or small ways, and can source its fruitfulness from the day before yesterday to the last ten thousand years. Or in other words, you can use your personal history or your world history, to influence either yourself as an individual, or to influence an entire movement.
To emphasize on this idea, you can progress yourself using events in world history. The current world/society/culture does not contain every idea you might want or need in your artillery. You could base your actions on buddhist wisdom, military strategies, political rulers, psychoanalysts, or Greek philosophers. These are all located in the labyrinth of history.
History is not just something you are obilgated to learn to look smart, or to understand reference points. The past pushes the future forward, or in George Santayana’s famous words, “those who cannot learn from history, are doomed to repeat it.”
There are many examples of how people did or should’ve learned from history to determine their actions. For example, Hitler should’ve learned from Napoleon the drastic effects of invading Russia in the winter. Or another good example, Socrates’ teachings greatly influenced the philosopher Plato, and Plato’s Socrates-influenced ideas furthermore influenced Aristotle; and even furthermore, the (debatably) three most popular philosophers of Greek (or even the world) influenced the entire pantheon of philosophers to come afterwards, from the Renaissance, to the Romantics, etc. Another example is how the civil rights movement greatly influenced the way the feminist movement was organized and executed.
This idea of people who influence people who influence people, or movements who influence movements who influence movements, can be further emphasized with the following quote: “…promise awaits some people in the future, who will be so inspired by the promise they find at the center of the past event, that they will put themselves on the line, to turn the promise of a past event into present or future reality. None of this can happen, if history is not remembered and passed on from generation to generation.” (Eugene Rosenstock-Huessy)
But how exactly do we learn from history? History is not just learning facts either, history is taught in school to be viewed analytically, and history is taught in a perspective way – both from perspectives in historical accounts, as well as to form a personal perspective. Some questions that could be asked are offered as prompts in the “Historical Thinking Chart,” which is exactly what it sounds like. There are four vertical categories which say, sourcing, conextualization, corroboration, and close reading. The horizontal columns, say “Questions,” “students should be able to…” and “prompts”. This is a great frame for viewing history, especially the vertical column. Most of these deal with context in some way or another. Context is very important because as mentioned earlier, history is not a bunch of random, blow-by-blow events. Historical events usually happen out of a lineage of other events, leading from one to another, so viewing the historical event itself would be redundant. History is meant to be viewed in and of itself, as well as the events and areas surrounding it, influencing it, and causing it.
A good example of this is The Odyssey. Someone with only basic or less understanding of history is going to have a difficult time trying to read The Odyssey without understanding it’s cultural and historical references to Gods, wars, ettiquette, etc.
But learning from the past to influence the future is not the only reason why we should learn history. Another reason, is of course, it shows where we come from. Much like someone might ask a science question to understand the origins of something physical, or much like someone might ask a philosophical or religious question to understand the origins of something metaphysical, people ask historical questions to understand the origins of something cultural. Where does Christmas or Easter come from? Why is there opposition between group A and group B?
These questions, and the answers we gather from them by studying history, satisfy our curiosity; they ground us to some extent of comfort in a world that is riddled with constant and exponential chaos.
A document titled, “Historical Dates You Should Know,” contains a good rough timeline of the most important events in US history, starting with the American Revolution, through World War I, the Great Depression, World War II and Vietnam, to the tearing down of the Berlin wall and the end of the Cold War – and everything inbetween. And this is document marks another important reason for why history is important. As mentioned briefly before, history is important for understanding reference points. While there are many miniscule events and very enormous events which may serve more or less important despite their size, I think most would agree there are some core events – the ones mentioned, for example, as well as the Black Plague, the renaissance, etc – that are obligatory to know in order to understand common reference points in film or literature.
Another benefit that history might have on an individual, is purely for the entertainment factor. While many would disagree, history can be very interesting. Not only is it exciting and different to plant yourself in a culture or era with completely different perspectives and backgrounds, but it’s also natural to be entertained by the constant inherent chaos in history: betrayls, revenge, backstabbings, assassinations, explosions, etc, etc.
This idea is highlighted and emphasized on in a paper called “Uncle Craig, genealogist and historian”. The paper discusses a man – Uncle Craig – and his two ambitious projects, a family tree and a history of Wawanash County, going back to 1670. In his writings, he finds there are not a whole lot of significant individuals (with the exception of a Supreme Court judge, an archaeologist, and a few others). However, he does find that his insignificant lineage is filled with interesting subtleties. News clippings about things such as a runaway horse, river floods and fires, etc, etc. This constant branching stream of events does not serve anything notably significant in the context of history, however, it does say a lot about the subtleties of human progression and the maximalist timeline that went into creating every individual.
But to top all these reasons, history is most of all about using the past as a tool for forward progression, and forward progression is most effective when employing massive amounts of individuals, which is why it’s taught in school and referred to in the media. Or as Howard Zinn says, “…When change takes place it takes place as a result of large, large numbers of people doing little things unbeknownst to another.

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Chapter 2 and 3 – R e f l e c t i o n

In chapter 2 and 3 of Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of America, he further emphasizes and all the chaos and inequality that various groups went through in order to build up America to its current state. Some of this chaos was created out of good purpose or intentions, but some of this chaos was also completely ruthless and unjustified.
In chapter 2 and 3, Howard Zinn talks mostly about the cruelty enacted upon slaves – both white slaves being moved from Europe to America, as well as black slaves immigrated from African nations to America. In chapter 2, Zinn describes a number of notable potential reasons why African American racism came to be. One reason he mentioned, was how blacks quickly grew a connotation of slaves due to being used as such from the start. But another reason that he explains later in the chapter, is how African Americans were often convinced into being an inferior race in order to discourage them from rebellion.
While these two related events – the enslavements of the whites, and the enslavement of blacks – are similar in many ways (including chronological, as they happened very close together in time) – they represent two different things in the context of history. The barbaric enslavement of whites – which included unpunished rape charges with overwhelming evidence – is worth noting in the context of history, because like chapter one, it emphasizes on the idea of the importance of the unseen perspectives in history. The enslavements of the blacks is an important event to take note of, because the best way to make an effort towards ending racism in America, is looking back to its origins.

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A Phantom Image: The Autobiography of Malcolm X

The significance of image in celebrity cannot be understated. Image, particularly public image, defines people perhaps more than the people themselves do; for how a person is presented to the world in turn shapes how the world will respond to that person. Appearance fulfills it own prophecy. The image of one’s social group informs one about how they ought to act around those both within and without said group. Self-image informs oneself of how it is appropriate for one to act. The watch of a scornful public eye can create the conditions and qualities meriting aforementioned scorn. In The Autobiography of Malcolm X, the titular character’s progression through various states of public and self-image are the meat and bones of the plot. Even the peculiar style of the book — an autobiography told both by its subject and by a third-party ghost writer, a book about spirituality told by a man murdered by former religious affiliates — draws attention to the specter of image, a phantom which lingered in Malcolm’s periphery throughout his life. Fitting, then, that the image of Malcolm X is one that defines the black nationalist movement, and represents one of the pillars of the Civil Rights Movement.

Names and titles are critical to the evolution of Malcolm X. There are several points in his story where we can discern clearly a shift in paradigm linked to the change in name or title. The first is Malcolm’s discarding of the surname Little in exchange for the placeholder X. As he puts it, “The Muslim’s ‘X’ symbolized the true African family name that he never could know. For me, my ‘X’ replaced the white slavemaster name of ‘Little’ which some blue-eyed devil named Little had imposed upon my paternal forebears” (203). His hatred of white imposition on black image would again make itself known in several passionate speeches to black crowds, one of which he recalls: “We’re all black to the white man, but we’re a thousand and one different colors . . . What shade of black African polluted by devil white man are you? You see me — well, in the streets they used to call me Detroit Red. Yes! Yes, that raping, red-headed devil was my grandfather! . . . If I could drain away his blood that pollutes my body, and pollutes my complexion, I’d do it! Because I hate every drop of the rapist’s blood that’s in me” (206). Here Malcolm X twice appeals to image: first, in rejection of the name associated with his grandfather, the “Detroit Red.” Malcolm X spurns this title, as it connects him to the white rapist he reviles. The second rejection is of a physical mark of white racism: he denounces how his grandfather’s genetics have lightened his skin. He cements his image to the public as first, foremost, and always a black man, and an agent working for the good of the black public. He believes this to encourages pride among black people — to juxtapose black culture, and black heritage, as the good and natural, as opposed to the socially accepted paradigm of black inferiority. For Malcolm X understood that it was critical to the success of a social movement that the stigmas of those oppressed by social institutions are removed. Internalized racism was among the most dangerous threats to the welfare of black people, which he reiterates several times throughout the book. “You have to be careful,” he explains, “very careful, introducing the truth to the black man who has never previously heard the truth about himself, his own kind, and the white man . . . The black brother is so brainwashed that he may even be repelled when he first hears the truth” (185).

But we cannot properly examine what the book contains without examining by whom it was written. The subtitles of the book reads, “As Told To Alex Haley” — suggesting that the story of his life has been filtered through an editorial lens. We may assume that, to some extent, Malcolm X was honest in his telling of the facts of his life, and that Haley was honest in recounting them. Nothing in the book blatantly contradicts historical record, and the majority of it is based in introspection or ideological discussion that takes place during Malcolm X’s internal monologue. But given that the Autobiography is among the only definitive accounts we have of X’s life, there is no reason for us to believe that all of it is true, insofar as it is difficult to believe that any autobiography is entirely true. The book is told narratively; the arc of its protagonist is almost too literary to believe. Growing from a near-illiterate with an eighth-grade education to one of the most eloquent and intelligent leaders of the Civil Rights Movement, and killed before he could achieve his lofty ambitions, X’s story is such stuff as novels are made of. His sentiment, expressed in the first chapter, that “It has always been my belief that I, too, will die by violence” (2), rings morbid and prophetic, given his assassination before the book could be finished. But who said it? Was it Malcolm X, the interviewee, foretelling to Alex Haley his own gruesome end? Or was it Malcolm X, the character, summoned by Haley’s literary talent to honor a dead friend? The autobiography paints the image of a noble leader, intelligent, and prone to occasional error — although none so grievous that the reader does not, after a particularly eloquent justification, forgive him. The hero is born through emphasis on X’s spiritual journey, compounded by his unfailing dedication to pursuit of black welfare. Neither of these things are, so far as we know, misinterpretations of the facts. Malcolm X was a deeply spiritual person, and one deeply dedicated to black people and their benefit. Yet furthermore, the autobiography paints the man as a savior, a savant, an infallible genius. Certainly there were elements of all these things in him, but how much of it in the novel came from Malcolm X’s image of himself? Did he regard himself so well, with such unflagging confidence, or was it an inevitable quality of Haley’s authorship — that he would craft from Malcolm X’s story the man he had seen and thought Malcolm X to be? Haley’s Epilogue, the one part of the book which is honestly told from Haley’s perspective, reinforces his high opinion of the man: “If we were driving somewhere,” he recounts, “the faces of both whites and Negroes spontaneously aglow with the wonderment that I had seen evoked by other ‘celebrities.’ No few airline hostesses had come to know him, because he flew so much; they smiled prettily at him, he was in turn the essence of courtly gentlemanliness” (403). Ultimately, the question of whose Malcolm the book describes — Haley’s Malcolm, or Malcolm’s image of himself — defines how the book should be evaluated.

“Whose Malcolm” is a relevant question because it asks, at its essence, why the book was written. One could argue that education for education’s sake is justification enough for the autobiography being written. A man of such importance and lasting impact on the methodology of Civil Rights certainly merits a chance to explain himself and his motivations, and certainly should be studied. However, there are other motivations. The significance of legacy walks hand in hand with the significance of image as one of the major themes of Malcolm X’s life; he seeks to build a legacy for black people better than that which had been given to them by years of white violence. Perhaps the book is intended not to tell people about the man, Malcolm X, but to preserve what he was, and what he did. The book thoroughly details his ideology, and how it came about. It describes his relations to other people only insofar as they affect his social goals, and emphasizes how he tailored his life to said goals. The character of Malcolm X, in the novel, is perhaps not as flawed as the protagonist of an entirely fictional book, but neither author intended him to be. The character of Malcolm X is a shade of the man himself, a fictional creation designed to preserve the original’s image and ideology. Reading the Autobiography, we can hear X’s voice, denouncing white cruelty and suppression of black culture; we understand why he thought the way he did, the merits of his ideas on any given subject, and his mannerisms. The book preemptively defends X against his critics. It is a tribute, not a tell-all memoir.

The wealthy do not commission portraits for the purpose of portraying themselves accurately; they do so for the purpose of portraying themselves well. Similarly, but with much less narcissism, The Autobiography of Malcolm X seeks to sketch out an image of Malcolm unsullied by gossip or stereotype. Alex Haley tells a story that is, if not honest, then true: it clings less to the facts than to the ideas and feelings that Malcolm X summoned. And as such, it is a fitting eulogy for the man. He was a great figure, who lived a great life; he deserves a great epitaph.

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