To Fear the Night

Long Day’s Journey Into Night is not, at first glance, a young person’s play. Its themes of mid-life dissatisfaction, familial strife, and existential stagnancy are at odds with a young person’s experience of life, which typically includes none of the above. Supposedly, it reads differently depending on when you encounter it; having only encountered it once, and being of the same age as I was when I first read it, I cannot speak to this. I can only speak to the impact that it had on me, which was profound beyond expectation.

I do not believe myself to experience existential angst. I have a plan for my future, insofar as I know, vaguely, what I want to do with it; but simultaneously, I do not delude myself about the utility of plans when dealing with life. Fate is unpredictable. Chance affects the course of one’s existence as much, if not more than, one’s choices. Still, Eugene O’Neil inflicted on me a horror of growing old the likes of which I have not felt before and hope never to feel again. Sketching in the life of four magnificently unhappy people, O’Neil emphasizes the visceral suffering of his characters by detailing not their present condition, but by what could have been. The juxtaposition of their youthful hopes with their older realism impresses upon the reader the profundity of their pain: they are tormented, night by night, with visions of what they could have been. For the old reader, the characters may ring truer — it is not a play written for the adolescent — but for the young, who may still entertain the bright ambitions recalled by the Tyrones, it offers grim prophecy.

The young dreamer may be especially unnerved by Edmund, who, although still possessed of his aspirations in the field of writing, and a not insignificant lyrical talent with which he may fulfill them, is struck by tuberculosis. The one character whose future retains some speck of hope must also come to terms with a dark reality. He will likely die before he can achieve his dreams of being a poet. This brings into question whether the similar fates of his family members — James’ dead acting career, Mary’s morphine addiction, and Jamie’s unsavory lifestyle — are so self-inflicted after all; are they not all, in a way, subject to the inevitabilities of fate? Mary admits that it was her meeting James which drew her away from her dreams as a nun; but would she ever have chosen to avoid James, knowing, as she did, nothing of the future awaiting her? Would James have ever turned down the one-note but well-paying acting gig, given his financial background — and would he have prospered otherwise? Is there something inexorable about one’s nature which leads us to make the decisions we do? Are we free beings, or does our character itself determine our futures long before we believe we have made a choice?

My terror upon asking these questions reveals, I think, a deeply rooted anxiety concerning one’s future which all people raised by high-achievers experience. To know that not all succeed is easy; to accept that you may be one of that number is difficult. Any number of failures may be tolerated if in pursuit of a greater, still reachable goal, such as fame, power, wealth. But those of us born with expectations already on our shoulders are loathe to acknowledge that our lives are not entirely within our own hands, because to do so is to yield the possibility of ultimate failure. So long as we are in control, we are well-suited to life. What youth — and, to that extent, any amount of education — cannot prepare us for is the actuality of helplessness, of choice, of regret.

It may seem odd that of all the books I read this year, the one which plagued me with existential horror is the one I considered to have “given me the most pleasure.” To me, however, “pleasure” need not denote a positive feeling. I do not believe the emotions I experienced upon realizing the principles explained above were new ones, just as my experience with The Great Gatsby was not my first time reading about the opulence of capitalism. In both cases, it was only the first time I found the words appropriate to describe what until then had been a nameless miasma of dissatisfaction, a fear which struck me, inexplicable, when planning for the future. To understand this fear was a pleasure and a privilege, even if in so doing I was forced to confront and experience the worst of it. I can live on knowing something about myself which I did not before, and in five, ten, fifty years, I may pick up the book and read it again, realizing more each time about the differences and similarities between myself and the Tyrones. Such is the grindstone of self-discovery.

It is my strong belief that young people should read more books written for and about the middle-aged. Fear almost invariably accompanies the experience, but I would rather the fear I understand than the lukewarm satisfaction of a comfortable book. Long Day’s Journey Into Night presents an exquisite exploration of age, hope, and regret, and this first encounter with the text will assuredly not be my last.

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Personal Responce to Love Poems of Seduction

I, quite honestly, found these poems boring and cringy to read. While Mr. Macknight tried again and again to impress upon us that each poem was unique and had its own subtle style and message, the repetition of each poem, with the same elements: flattery, promises, and a reminder of the biological clock, told in the same way by different guys trying to get girls to have sex with them hundreds of years ago, was not at all impressive. Only a few changed the script. When Lovely Woman Stoops to Folly was one of these, but I was horrified by it as all the poem does is state that if a man breaks a woman’s heart, she should kill herself. The only poems I liked were the one by e.e. cummings,which lacked the blatant misogyny and crude references of the other poems and focused instead on his love, (“Lady i swear by all flowers. Don’t cry/ —the best gesture of my brain is less than/ your eyelids’ flutter which says/ we are for each other”) and One Perfect Rose by Dorothy Parker. Parker’s poem is a humorous flip on the gesture of giving roses as the woman speaking laments that she only gets single, perfect roses, and never, say, single, perfect limousines. “Ah no, it’s always just my luck to get/ One perfect rose.”

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Chapter Relevance – Chapter 12

i. Relevance

I just got back from a trip to New York, where I visited Times Square. The billboards and manifold advertisements there guzzled enormous quantities of energy, namely, electricity. Inductance, resistance, and capacitance in a single AC unit are all measured using a circuit law where all the variables are complex numbers. More broadly, electricity is channeled and regulated by mechanical systems programmed using equations that need complex numbers to function; to the point, complex numbers, and the manipulation of such, allow me to use electricity, and enjoy its hundreds of practical applications in my life.

ii. Visual

Engineers will use polar coordinates to label and track the position and “movement” of stars relative to the Earth. This is for a few reasons: first, the use of degrees splits the unit circle into 360 parts, which is an arbitrary number, whereas polar coordinates may use radians, which rely on the fundamental mathematic rules of circles. Secondly, by using polar coordinates, they can label both the position of the star relative to the “pole” of the earth — the center of observation — and the distance (or magnitude) from the pole, creating a vector which can then be measured against the vectors made by stars’ positions later in the night.

iii. Box of Chocolates

Finding roots of unity is like sketching a person. First (in my process), you mark the roots on a unit circle — marking out the proportions of the person you’re drawing. Then, you plug N, the number of roots you’re looking for, into the equation — filling in the basic facial features. Finally, you start cycling through the roots, adding to the initial angle of (2pi/n), working out the angles of each other root on the circle — working your way down the person’s body, nailing down the precise details. Finally, you have a completely drawn person — a full set of roots of unity.

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Algebra 2 Chapter 10 Relavence

1. For a lab in biology, we repeatedly grew bacteria. The growth of bacteria is an example of a geometric sequence, because the bacteria are multiplying at a constant rate.

2. This coil of rope represents a finite arithmetic sequence. Each coil adds the thickness of the rope to the radius of the whole thing.

Image result for coil of rope

3. Corn on the cob is an example of an arithmetic sequence. Each fully grown row of corn kernels adds the same number of corn kernels to the total number on the piece of corn.

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Chapter 9 Relevance

  1. Topic: Cones: The robotics challenge for this year in my program involves cones. It will be helpful to know the volume of the cones to be able to account for it when building the robot.
  2.  The section on spheres reminds me of a Newton’s Cradle, because in order for one to work correctly, the volumes need to be the same.
  3. The section on volume reminds me of Phineas and Ferb because Phineas’ head is a cone, Ferb’s head is a cylinder, and Doofenshmurtz’s head is like a triangular prism.
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Chapter 9 Relevance – Geometry

A unit in this chapter and an area of life that connect are volume and fish tanks. My family has done s decent amount of shopping for them, and volume is a major factor in deciding which one you’re going to buy. If you have one tiny fish you’re going to choose a tank with a smaller volume, but you would choose one with a very large volume if you had multiple big fish. It’s usually the volume of a rectangular prism, but there are also spheres and cubes and other shapes.

The above picture represents the sphere unit. Volleyballs are spheres.

Surface area is something that one may take into consideration when wrapping a present. Say you’re wrapping a box (aka a rectangular prism or cube), you can use surface area to figure out exactly how much paper you need. The area of the piece of paper is going to be very close to the surface area of the box.

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Chapter 9 Relevance

Part 1:

Three-dimensions are like different sub-subjects that can be categorized as “Social Studies”. In the big subject of Social Studies, US History is part of that. So is World History and Geography. Many people could argue that they are all different subjects just like all dimensions are different. In the end, all dimensions are a part of Geometry like those classes are all in the subject of Social Studies.

Part 2:

Image result for frozen yogurt and ice cream

Frozen yogurt and ice cream are like surface area and volume. Frozen yogurt and ice cream have similar tastes but different contents. Surface area and volume calculate different things but are part of looking at a solid a whole.

Part 3:

Spheres are like the show “Criminal Minds” because all spheres are similar. In each episode, the cases are similar because they always end up catching two people. The first one usually is never the guilty person, but the second person is always the culprit. Each episode is similar too because the main characters always think the same.

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Portia’s Speech – Questions

1. In line 1 of Portia’s speech, I believed that of the three words – quality, mercy, and strain’d – the word mercy should be stressed. Not only is the word very important within Portia’s sentence as well as in her speech on why Shylock should be merciful, but also because the entire final act of the play revolves around the idea of mercy, and the idea of mercy is very important to the play’s theme when later in Act 4, the roles are reversed, and Shylock must ask mercy from Antonio and the duke when they realize that his bond is not liable. The idea of mercy in the context of the final act is also very important because it is one of the major things that separates Jews from Christians – as the Jews’ religion teaches the Old Testament which emphasizes justice, but Christians’ religion teaches the New Testament which emphasizes mercy – and this separation of Jews and Christians is the pinnacle of The Merchant of Venice.
2. In line 4 of Portia’s speech when she says mercy “blesseth him that gives and him that takes,” there is no comma after gives, but I feel that a pause should still be enunciated for two reasons: one is because personally, I believe that the pause in this phrase sounds much better phonetically, but secondly, and more importantly,although it’s benefit is very subtle, the pause is important to Portia’s point, as it comments that mercy blesseth him that gives and him that takes, which sounds like mercy is more beneficial than if you said it as one thing (I.E. “blesseth him that gives and takes”)
3. In line 5 of Portia’s speech, where Portia says that mercy is “mightiest in the mightiest,” I believe that both “mightiest”s should be emphasized because the parallel structure is important to the phonetic cadence of the speech to make it more impactful, but also because of Shakespeare’s typical phonetic cadence throughout the entire play. It is also to imply that mercy makes people more mighty. In line 5 and 6, Portia says “[line 5] it becomes [line 6] The throned monarch better than his own crown.” I believe that the word “becomes,” in this sentence basically just means, “represents.” (I.E. a king is represented as such more by mercy than his own crown)
4) In lines 6 to 11, Portia says that mercy “becomes the throned monarch better than his own crown” and then, “His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,” and a few lines later says “But mercy is above this sceptred sway, It is enthroned in the hearts of kings.” The distinction between “throned”/”sceptre” and “sceptred”/”enthroned” should be emphasized for two reasons: one is, as mentioned previously, it seems like the line was put in there for parallel structure to better the phonetic cadence of the speech, but secondly, he very cleverly uses these two words in different ways, first in a literal sense when comparing a man with mercy to a king (or, “throned monarch” with a sceptre), and the second he uses it figuratively (I.E. “enthroned in the hearts of kings”). This distinction between the literal and the figurative usage is one of Shakespeare’s subtle verbal tricks he uses to make the speeches more powerful, and more magnetizing to the reader.
5) a) Attribute means an inherent quality within a person or thing b) Shakespeare uses parallel structure once again when Portia says that a sceptre show power, which is “attributed to [in other words, a property of] awe and majesty,” and later when she says that mercy is an “attribute to God himself.” Shakespeare/Portia compares ties mercy as an attribute to kings to mercy as an attribute to God when he/she uses the word to link them together. This parallel structure is also used in the distinction between “earthly power,” and “God’s [power].” Both of these pairs help to fortify the idea that a king with mercy has power that is similar to God himself.

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Chapter Relevance 10 (Algebra II Honors)

Part I (Relevance):

Big Idea: Patterns

Part of My Life: AP Psychology

It is beyond a doubt that the memories of my first AP class will be forever encoded in my brain. Psychology is “the scientific study of the human mind and its functions, especially those affecting behavior in a given context.” How do we find study the human mind, its functions, and the behavior affected by it? We find and observe patterns both in one’s behavior, biology and environment.

Part II (Visual):

Image result for the fibonacci sequence in nature

The fibonaci sequence is a natuarally appearing geometric sequence that can be found through out nature. A good example of this this the rose shown above which fits the Fibonacci spiral which obeys the requirements to be a geometric sequence.

Part III (Our Box of Chocolates):

When rice is cooked the grains expand at a somewhat constant rate. This can be measured using the arithmetic sequence. If I was able to take the volume of the rice before the if was cooked and after it was cooked (and also the time it took to be cooked), I could to plug it into the explicit to find the constant increase per unit of time until the maximum volume is reached (when the rice is fully cooked).

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Chapter 10 Discussion

Part One

 

Big Idea: Factoring Polynomials

Area of my Life: Programming

 

I use factoring polynomials in my life when I program. I may not be a very advanced programmer yet, but someday I hope to be able to program things like thermostats, and when I do, the programs will be converted into polynomial systems, or so I hear. When that happens, I will be able to factor the polynomials, and find further information about the thermostat and how it works.

 

Part Two

 

This picture represents the grouping method because one equation is messy and nobody wants it, but the other is clean and orderly, as it should be. Similar to a polynomial before and after you group it.

 

Part Three

The Quadric Equation is like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. There is one right way to make a PB&J, just like there is one right way to solve using the Quadratic Equation. Everyone likes PB&J sandwiches, just like everyone likes the Quadratic Equation (even if they don’t know it yet). And finally, everyone uses the Quadratic Equation, and everyone has had a PB&J sandwich at least once in their lifetime.

 

 

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