June 1st IRJE: Wings of Fire – The Dragonet Prophecy

In Wings of Fire-The Dragonet Prophecy, by Tui T. Sutherland, Clay’s determination to protect his friends is what makes him brave. He is a MudWing and one of the five Dragonets of Destiny. MudWing dragons are supposed to be lazy, but they are strong. Clay grew up outside of the MudWing kingdom and that affected his life. He had never seen his parents before. Without ever knowing his parents, for years he wondered how MudWings lived within the kingdom. He hatched from a bright red egg on the brightest night with the other Dragonets. His friends: Glory, Starflight, Sunny and Tsunami. For years these five dragons had been kept hidden underneath the mountains of the Sky Kingdom. The dragons yearned to be free from that horrid place. They did receive food but were treated unjustly by the guardian dragons who were supposed to be protecting them. Tsunami had discovered a way that may allow them to escape. There was a river running through the inside of the mountains and there was a chance that it may lead them outside to freedom. One night Clay overheard the guardian dragons mentioning something about killing his friend Glory. 

“I’ll do it tonight while she’s sleeping,” Kestral said. “I can get in there and break her neck before the others know what I’m doing, especially with the bossy one safely chained up. Tsunami’s the only one who could stop me.” (p. 54)

After Clay had heard Kestral say this he immediately began to worry. He wondered how and if he could save his friend. Clay hesitated and decided that he has to protect his friends, he has to make sure they are safe. Clay knew that the only possible way to escape was through the running water where they would drink from. Clay was the only one who could hold his breath for around an hour underwater. Tsunami could breathe underwater but she had been locked up in chains earlier that night. Even if it meant risking his life Clay still volunteered to go. Clay believed that if he could manage to escape then he could uncover a way to assist the other Dragonets to escape as well. Clay may not be a smart dragon, but he is brave. His friends are like the family he never had. Being the largest dragon, Clay felt it was his responsibility to protect his friends and make sure they were safe no matter what. His loyalty towards protecting his friends is what makes Clay an astonishing dragon. 

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June 1st IRJE: Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock Holmes is one of the most renowned detective novels, written by Arthur Conan Doyle. Dr. John Watson is injured upon return from the Afghanistan war and through a mutual friend he meets Sherlock Holmes in hopes of rooming together to save budget. Genuinely glad to have a roommate, Dr. Watson is deeply interested in Sherlock Holmes due to his zest of research and profession in an ambiguous field. He later discovers that Holmes is a private detective, and the two visit the crime scene requested by another detective.

“Before turning to those moral and mental aspects of the matter which present the greatest difficulties, let the inquirer begin by mastering more elementary problems.” p.23

Holmes is a very fact-based person with good intuition. He doesn’t see it necessary to act in a role to approach things in the “right” way. He cuts through all the layers of bluff and seizes the main problem, which is satisfying to see as a reader. I think it’s a great privilege to put aside the “moral and mental aspects of matter.” It is also astonishing because he doesn’t need to understand the murderer’s source of motivation to find out the identity. I wish all things could be solved like that.

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IRJE: Call Me By Your Name (June 1st)

In Call Me By Your Name, by André Aciman,  Elio’s love for Oliver is composed of desire, shame, and envy. This coming-of-age novel is set in Northern Italy, in 1983, when the stigma and shame surrounding the LGBTQ+ community was still prevalent. Oliver is an American graduate student, staying with the Perlmans for a summer to finish his manuscript, alongside the esteemed Professor Perlman (Elio’s father). Oliver is older, more experienced, more confident in himself. Elio looks up to his nonchalance and “human experience”, although that cool, dismissive facade can simultaneously push Elio into a vicious cycle of insanity and longing. Oliver knows himself, which truly intimidates Elio. He, on the other hand, is still attempting to determine his identity, which is why he significantly struggles to show his feelings without shame. Eventually, in a moment of strength, or perhaps a moment of weakness, Elio opens up to Oliver.

“Do you like me that much, Elio?”

“Do I like you?” I wanted to sound incredulous, as though to question how he could ever have doubted such a thing. But then I thought better of it and was on the point of softening the tone of my answer with a meaningful evasive Perhaps that was supposed to mean Absolutely, when I let my tongue loose: “Do I like you, Oliver? I worship you.” There, I’d said it. I wanted the word to startle him and to come like a slap in the face so that it might be instantly followed with the most languorous caresses. What’s liking when we’re talking about worshipping? (p. 103)

I worship you. Elio looks at Oliver, and sees everything he wants to be. Yet, it surpasses that. The idea behind the title, Call Me By Your Name, is that the two men are able to use their names interchangeably, because they complete one another. Oliver is Elio’s other half, which justifies the desire and envy. During the novel, they both describe the other as, “better than me,” proving their reciprocated appreciation. Oliver is Elio’s missing piece, and vice versa. To understand this love is to experience it, and reading this novel is as close as I have ever come. Elio’s narration is intimate, detailed, compassionate, and emotional. I am able see what he sees, think what he thinks, and feel what he feels. Presently, I am unsure whether I believe in soulmates. I believe in love, chemistry, and passion. I also believe that relationships take continual effort; they don’t necessarily just work out because you love someone. Despite that, reading the love between Elio and Oliver pushed me closer to the belief that soulmates do exist, but that it is rare to find, and difficult to maintain. Elio and Oliver met in a time where they were forced apart due to the circumstances, societal pressures, and the fleeting time they had. Therefore, I must wonder, would their love have stayed this strong in ideal circumstances? Or, did the societal pressures and fleeting time only increase the intensity of their love?

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IRJE: June 1 (Hunted)

In Hunted, book six of the Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne, the Morrgian, Irish goddess of war and the chooser of the slain, attempts to change herself– to love instead of lust, and be amiable instead of intimidating. She soon realizes that godhood offers not only boons, but also restrictions. One of them being that she cannot make herself anything but what her worshipers believe her to be. She is incapable of loving. To gain freedom in the only way she can, she orchestrates her own death, letting herself be killed while she is protecting he whom she wants to love. The aforementioned “he,” Atticus, reflects on the loss:

She’d made life more poignant for the Irish. The terror she inspired gave peace its serenity; the pain she caused gave health its lustre; her failure to love made me grateful for my ability to do so, and I realized, far too late, that though I never did or could have loved her as she might have wished, I should have loved her more. (p. 301)

It’s an interesting thing to appreciate that which is bad. I’ve heard people wish for a life free from sorrow and pain many times, and always found it perplexing. It is comparison which makes something stronger. Without chaos, peace cannot exist, and vise versa. If we have no comparison, what is simply is. I have never been blind, and so feel no excitement for the ability to see. Likewise, had I never experienced disorder and confusion, I would never be grateful for silence and calm. It is very difficult for us to feel thankful for that which we’ve never experienced an absence of, or to feel regretful for not having that which we don’t know exists. All of this is to say that one should appreciate more rather than less. It is a wonderful thing to live a life which offers such a diversity of feelings and experiences, which ties back in to the Morrigan’s dilemma– the inability to feel an emotion which you know exists must be an awful thing. That doesn’t only apply to love though: sadness, anger, anticipation, disappointment, joy, contentment– each plays an important role in the play of our lives, and without any one of them, we would be incomplete. A person should never resent themselves for their emotions, and should always be grateful for their ability to feel so much.

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June 1st IRJE

In Chapter 5 of The Giver,  Just as they share their feelings at night, each morning the families in the community share their dreams. Jonas tells his family about his dream, his dream was that he was in a bathing room trying to get Fiona to take off her clothes and bath with him, but she keeps refusing. Soon After when Jonas’s father and Lily leave, Jonas’s mother explains to Jonas that he is experiencing Stirrings, which is very normal for his age. Jonas’s mother then gives Jonas a pill and tells him that he must take one of these pills everyday in order to stop the Stirrings. Jonas then remembers that his father and mother take a pill every day, and he has even seen Asher taking one also. In addition, the Speaker occasionally issues reminders over the loudspeakers that Stirrings should be reported immediately.

Jonas is now really proud of himself as he thinks that he is such an adult the he now has to take the pills, however, he also remembers the pleasurable feelings in his dream. He misses these feelings once they disappear when he takes the pill.

“Then, in the same way that his own dwelling slipped away behind him as he rounded a corner on his bicycle, the dream slipped away from his thoughts. Very briefly, a little guiltily, he tried to grasp it back. But the feelings had disappeared. The Stirrings were gone.” P. 39

I find this particular passage intriguing. This passage is a first glance a description of the effect after taking the pill to eliminate the stirrings, however, after putting some thought into it, I realized that it also shows the momentary nature of the emotions and memories in their society. Instead of embracing natural human emotion, in this case being the stirrings, Jonas’s community managed to find several solutions to erasing these emotions as a whole.

 

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John Anderson, My Jo

 

“John Anderson, My Jo” by Robert Burns idea of romantic love differs from most love poetry, as it reflects on a love that was, and still is, instead of persuading one into a love that could be. Though it consists of many of the typical love poetry tropes such as fading beauty, and life being too short, it goes about them in a different manner. Commonly love poetry speaks of a beauty that currently is, and uses that as a convincing argument as to why the beloved should be with the lover. “John Anderson, My Jo’s” speaker, is a woman speaking to her aged husband or lover, reassuring him that despite his aged face she still loves him. His locks once raven, are now the colour of snow. She tells him, “Your bonie brow was brent;/ But now your brow is beld, John,”(ll.4, 5). Though he has aged she still refers to him as her jo, and says, “But blessings on your frosty pow,/ John Anderson, my jo.” (ll.7, 8). These lines of reassurance to the speaker’s lover leave readers with a peaceful feeling of love. One that is true and has lasted a lifetime,  it defers from most love poetry as it demonstrates devotions to one’s partner and eternal love despite one’s age or beauty. The speaker shares that they have “…clamb the hill thegither;” (l.10) and have lived a life of love with one another.

 

Its peaceful wording and relation mix well with its simplistic two eight-line stanzas, and the song like form. It is not confusing to readers besides some traditional Scottish wording.  Its peaceful wording, syntax and structure contrast with the idea of death in the second stanza. Death usually is something people fear, it is used as a reason to act fast, and be impulsive. On the contrary “John Anderson, My Jo’s” speaker has accepted the idea and is at peace with it. We can see she is okay with the concept of death when she tells her lover “And monie a canty day, John,/We’ve had wi’ ane anither;” (ll.11, 12) She is reminding her lover and self that they have lived many happy days with one another. We are told that their lives were well lived, and though death is scary, it is also inevitable. The last four lines make the poem feel as though it is a last memory. As if she is remembering her life before she passes, or sharing this memory as her last words with her lover. “Now we maun totter down, John, / And hand in hand we’ll go, /And sleep thegither at the foot, / John Anderson, my jo!” (ll.13-16). Life’s pains and the fear of dying are all put at ease; their love for one another is what allows them to accept death.

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IR June 1st

In the Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, the tributes must wait sixty seconds before they are released.  In the Cornucopia, a large structure literally shaped like a cornucopia, she sees a tent pack and a bow and arrows. She thinks she might be able to reach the bow before anyone else but remembers Haymitch’s instructions to get away and find water. She’s preparing to run when she notices Peeta. He is looking at her and shaking his head as if telling her “no.” The gong sounds, and because Katniss was distracted by Peeta, she misses her chance. She grabs the tarp and decides to sprint to an orange backpack further in. She gets there at the same time as another boy, and while they struggle for it, blood sprays Katniss’s face. The boy falls, and Katniss sees a knife in his back. She runs for the woods while putting the backpack on, and a knife hits the pack and lodges firmly in it. Briefly she looks back to see the tributes fighting. Several already lie dead on the ground. She continues into the woods and doesn’t stop for a long time while she looks for water.

During the Games, a cannon sounds to mark the death of a tribute, and once the main battle is over, Katniss hears eleven cannon shots. That means thirteen tributes remain. At night they’ll play the Capitol’s anthem and project the images of the dead into the sky for everyone to see.  Eventually it gets dark, so Katniss makes her bed in a tree and uses her belt to secure herself to a branch. The faces of the dead tributes are projected one after another in the sky, and Katniss is relieved that Peeta is not among them.

Someone starts a fire nearby. Katniss lies in her sleeping bag, and when it’s almost dawn, she hears several people running toward the fire. A girl pleads and then screams, and Katniss realizes several tributes are hunting in a pack.

So they’re fighting in a pack. I’m not really surprised. Often alliances are formed in the early stages of the Games. The strong band together to hunt down the weak then, when the tension becomes too great, begin to turn on one another. I don’t have to wonder too hard who has made this alliance. It’ll be the remaining Career Tributes from Districts 1, 2, and 4. Two boys and three girls. The ones who lunched together. (p. 138)

The Career Tributes, the kids from the rich districts, have teamed up to pick off the weak contestants. This includes the players from the poor districts, including Katniss

They stop a few yards from her tree and discuss why the cannon hasn’t sounded to announce the girl’s death. The voices belong to some of the Career Tributes, but another voice says he’ll go back to make sure she’s dead. It belongs to Peeta.

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PW-May 21st

8:00 am, and I open the door, the cold breeze and smell of Marley flooring hit me in the face, abrupt but a gentle wake up after the hour-long nap on the car ride here. My friend and I walk through the dark studio to the change rooms; we are the first ones there that morning. Lying on the benches, we both try to stretch, drink coffee, and sleep at the same time, a combination we have mastered. All while questioning why we would do this to our selves every day. The other girls start arriving; every hair slicked back into a bun, the comb marks still visible. A funny contrast with the pyjamas and sweat pants everyone is wearing over their tights and bodysuits. We talk amongst ourselves calmly, as not to alert each other of the fact that we are supposed to be awake. We share our anticipations of how the mornings going to go; “Do you remember any of the exercises, cause I don’t.” “I pray she’s in a good mood.” “How long do you think we could distract her for?” are all phrases that are thrown around daily. It hits 8:15, and we slowly start to saunter one by one into the studio. Point shoes, wrap skirts and water bottles in hand, still wearing are sweatpants and pyjamas. I twist out my back, and a pop comes from every vertebra. At this point, we all realise our fate. Working out the kinks from the day before and trying so hard to wake up are muscles that should be sitting in a chair waiting for block one to start.  Instead, we are here. We warm up quietly as to listen for the sound of the padlock on the door. Those four beeps give me just about as much anxiety as hearing any of Tchaikovsky’s opus 20. When she comes in, we go quiet, slowly starting conversations trying to gauge her mood, seeing how much pain we will be in by the end of the daunting 3-hour class. Simultaneously trying to distract her from the fact we are not yet dancing, prolonging our much-anticipated suffering. Though I dread every moment leading up to it, once class begins, and I start to move, I realise why I am here. Despite the hours, pain and all-around lack of a good time, it is still what I want to be doing most in the world. 

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May 21 PW: The Old Toy Box

A couple of days ago, I saw someone rummaging through a box of old toys my father had placed outside. At the time, I was in my room with the blinds wide open. Writing an English assignment until I heard a sound outside my house. When I glanced outside my window, I saw a person rummaging through our recycle bins. I noticed that an old blue box filled with toys had been placed next to the recycle bins. I watched attentively to see if the person would take anything from the toy box.

A lot of the things within the toy box were old but held some sentimental value to my heart. “I once used those toys,” I thought while watching the person. After a few minutes, which felt like hours, the person left. And I quickly pulled down the white string to close my blinds. With the blinds closed the only light within my room was the light coming from my laptop’s screen. My laptop’s screen illuminated the back of my wall. The light cast a shadow on my wall, of the outline of my head and shoulders. I opened the closed blinds slightly to allow some more light into my room. At the time, I was writing a DRJ. But the thought of losing my old toys kept on interfering with my mind. This drove me to open my blinds a little more so that the toy box was visible to my eyes.

I don’t know why I worried so much about the toys. They were quite old and dirty. But I guess I wasn’t ready to give up on my childhood. To be honest, a part of me ached to go outside and prevent the person from taking anything. What hindered me from going outside was me thinking that it’s too late. That I’m older now and there was no reason in trying to stop him. But there was a reason which kept crossing my heart. The truth that when those toys are gone, part of my childhood will be gone too. “Maybe someone else may like to play with those toys more than me,” I thought. At least then the toys would be used.

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The Best Food

So, I have officially run out of ideas for personal writing, by this point, I’m just writing about anything that comes to my mind randomly. When writing this I’m currently very hungry, well I always am but right now especially.

 Now my favorite meals are probably pancakes for breakfast, a smoothie for lunch, sushi for dinner, and then cobbler for dessert. Now rarely ever end up eating lunch I just end up snacking on things throughout the day, but if I had to choose those are what I’m choosing.  Ever since I was younger, I could eat a ridiculous amount of pancakes every Saturday morning.  when I was 9, I remember eating 11! Now for lunch recently I’ve just been doing smoothies if I do end up eating lunch, but I will say it’s my new favorite way to eat.  It’s so easy to eat so many good things at once, it’s amazing. Another thing I have loved since I was a kid is sushi. Sushi has always been my favorite as it is for many people. After I eat sushi, I feel refreshed I don’t know why but it just feels new in a sense every time. Finally, it is my mom’s cobbler. This stuff is basically edible gold. It has a nice fluffy inside and lots and lots of blackberry sauce which is a dessert by itself. Now we rarely ever eat this but when we do It will be for someone’s birthday or something along the lines of that.  

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PW: The Hurt, the Resentful, and the Accepting (May 21)

Disclaimer: This post features three versions of the same speaker, thinking/talking about the same situation. It shows how emotions progress with time, and what different approaches people take.

The hurt. 

After months of calling me beautiful, kind, and smart, you left; acting as if none of that mattered. You told me that the beauty of my mind and heart surpassed the beauty of my facade, and I believed you. I believed that my worth extended far beyond my looks; that it was within me. I believed that you admired my strengths and supported my weaknesses, but only because that’s what I did for you. I noticed everything you said, did, and felt, because it mattered to me. I wanted to know what made your mind tick, your skin crawl, and your smile beam. I wanted to know how to make you happy. I thought you wanted the same for me. That was ignorant. It was enough for me to know that my actions were strengthening you, even if they were simultaneously beating me down. It was enough for me, because through your radiant smile, bright eyes, and lively voice, I could feel that strength that I helped you achieve. I gave everything to you, and when I was around you, I thought that was reciprocated. I was misled. Your radiance was constant; unaffected by me. I hope you learn to appreciate others the way I appreciated you. That is an irreplaceable feeling. 

The resentful.

“You know… I wasn’t going to say any of this. I was going to keep my mouth shut and pretend everything’s fine like I always do. I was going to sit here and nod along, acting indifferent about everything you told me. But how is that fair? How is it fair to me, that you get relieved of all the pain and guilt that has been dwelling inside you, by giving it to me? Your words, your actions, your being there looking all too proud of yourself for “doing the right thing” enrages me. I am fed up pretending that everything is ok. What is it preserving? My reputation? Because I hate to break it to you, but my reputation is built off of my timidity. It’s built off of all the moments like this one, where I didn’t bother to stand up for myself, because I was scared of what I would be called. When you get angry as a girl, you get called irrational, sensitive, moody… You receive looks telling you to back down, and words telling you to “calm down.” You get told that you’re being hormonal, just because you’re raising your voice after months of being silenced? No. Get over yourself. You were the one who did something wrong; not me. I will not be treated like the villain, just because I’m finally defending myself. Kindness is something I always aspire to, but right now, you don’t deserve that from me.”

The accepting. 

I remember the first time I saw you. Your brown hair falling in lazy waves across the top of your head; your emerald green eyes popping against your sunkissed, tawny skin. I didn’t know you, but I knew I wanted to. Not because of your charm, because of your radiance. People felt lucky when you looked at them, because it felt like you were sharing your happiness. It felt like a gift, crafted solely for their enjoyment. Your kind words and generous smile shone brighter than the sun, and when you felt pain, everyone could feel it. I couldn’t believe it when you chose me. The whole world gravitated in your direction, and you gravitated in mine. The looks of shock I received forced me to wonder what I was doing with you. No… what you were doing with me. I wanted to travel the world with you, live alongside you, learn from you. But eventually, we realized that we weren’t meant to be with each other; and that’s okay. At first, it hurt. I resented you. As much as I loved the feeling of being lit up by your radiance, I hated the feeling of it being ripped away. My sun, my beam of light, my power outlet was being pulled away from me and I couldn’t believe how different I felt. I cried, I lashed out, I felt alone. Nevertheless, I ended up okay. I healed, I went through that process, I learned how important it is to do so. The initial pain is unbearable, but putting it in retrospect, it is essential. Which is why I urge you: keep being happy. Keep lighting up rooms, and filling people with joy. Be someone else’s’ sun, let yourself feel pain, and let yourself grow from it. Make that matter; because if that doesn’t, what else will. 

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PW May 21st

My grandpa from overseas called a few days ago. He is a bit def for his age, so I needed to yell into the phone, but I’m glad he called. He saw my recent art posts and told me not to give up on art.

I’ve been drawing for 16 years. It’s not a very long time, but it is my whole life. I had many attempts to stop drawing, but I am already a dull block of a person, so I can’t imagine what I’d be without art. But I’m getting quite lost these days. It seems like I need to start giving meanings and purposes to my art, but they don’t mean anything. They are just products of the unconsciousness.

That’s why recently I persuaded myself to get a job. I started to draw for other people. It is the worst thing ever. It made me feel like a skilled robot. But I can’t do anything else except to draw. Maybe I am a skilled robot, after all.

I’d like to believe that I have talent. I genuinely enjoy compliments, because I really wish I had talent, or maybe I wish I had passion. I’m obsessed because I wouldn’t be anything without it. I just draw, and I don’t know why. I can’t tell when I feel happy about it, but I’m never sad. It’s just what I do, and I don’t really stop.

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PW: May 21 (World History)

The Chaos Age and the Severance Pact

Long ago, during what is called the Chaos Age, the Inner Planes were unseparated, with everything from fey and humanoids to aberrations and monstrosities co-inhabiting one vast realm. Life for the mortals was a whirlwind of constant pandemonium and fear, and great clashes between the dominant races resulted in entire mountain ranges and forests being reduced to rubble. In the Outer Planes, the deities grew ever-more angry with each-other, all blaming one another for creating the destructive monsters that were tearing the Inner Planes to shreds. Three factions arose among them— Alsul’s Starbringers, Mlek’s Dusksingers, and Vikor’s Nightwatchers. After warring broke out on the divine level, Alsul, Mlek, and Vikor quickly realized that without armistice the Outer Planes would be torn to pieces, just as the Inner Planes were being. The three met in what is now called the Preservation Conference, and came to an agreement: the Inner Planes would be separated into three parts— Leriel, the Feywild, and Shadowfell. Each faction would receive one to rule over, and in it would reside the races whom their members had created. The Nightwatchers were given Shadowfell, with its horrifying monstrosities and empty black sky. The Dusksingers were given the Feywild, a twilight realm of beauty and rampant magic inhabited by playful fey. Lastly, the Starbringers were given Leriel, the most similar to the original land, which would be inhabited by a vast diversity of humanoid, beastly, and monstrous creatures. This was called the Severance Pact.

The Mellow and the Ingression

Thus, the Inner Planes were divided in three, and relative peace was restored to both mortals and the divine. For hundreds of thousands of years, in what is now called the Mellow, the deities contented themselves by watching their realms grow into empires, intervening when they pleased to shape their domains as they desired. The many races were given time to build expansive and diverse cultures and creations, exploring themselves and the new planes they had been given. Eventually, as the races developed more and more, the Ingression began. Some inhabitants of the Inner Planes started to discover ways of travelling between the realms. As the planes were stacked one atop another, with Leriel in the middle surrounded by the Feywild above and Shadowfell below, few portals connected the plane of twilight to that of shadow. In Leriel, however, rumours of fearsome aberrations and mischievous fae pervaded the land. Some even claimed to have visited other realms, but these were mostly dismissed as madmen. In the Outer Planes, as the deities realized their perfect secluded realms were once again intertwining, unease festered and began growing into a reestablishing of old grudges and hatreds. Each pantheon blamed another for opening the portals. Tension peaked when Yzarrelon, a particularly monstrous shadow dragon, burst through a portal into Leriel, ravaging dozens of towns before a group of Starbringer celestials descended from the Court of the Stars to slay the beast. Direct interference, especially physically setting foot on the Inner Planes, was, though not technically forbade, heavily disapproved of. The Nightwatchers were indignant of the celestials’ behaviour, especially since their incursion had resulted in the death of a Shaden. The Starbringers were angry with the Nightwatchers for not intervening themselves, and believed they were accountable for the death of the many Leriellans. The Dusksingers feared their twilight realm would be invaded as well, and were wary of both other pantheons. Heated discussions between members of the pantheons quickly devolved into skirmishes. At first, the deities made half-hearted attempts to stop the brawls, but soon they too ceded to their rapidly-growing loathing of each other. The Outer Planes broke out into war.

The Coalescence War

The Coalescence War, also called Chaos’ Echo and the Divine War, lasted three centuries, and resulted in both the Inner and Outer Planes being left in ruin. During the war, celestials often descended to the Inner Planes to encourage citizens of their realm to attack those of the others, and some even occasionally fought alongside their mortal subjects. An unwarranted outcome of this was the mixing of celestial blood into mortal bloodlines. These half-breeds were known as the plane-touched. Divine power raged on the Inner Planes nearly as much as on the Outer.

Only when Varius Tal-Kesek, the plane-touched descendant of a particularly powerful celestial, nearly killed Iyre, the Goddess of spite and storms, were the deities shocked back into reality. Finally, the rage of the deities subsided to fear as they realized the catastrophic damage they were doing, both to the power-balance and physical landscape of the Planes. The regal courts and majestic cities of the Outer Planes were reduced to rubble, with thousands of celestials laying dead inside. Each of the Inner Planes was affected in a different way by the outbreak of divine magic and warring. Leriel was torn apart, with barely a half-mile of land left inhabitable, and technological advancement reverted to a barbaric state. The Feywild was overrun with wildly lush and thick magical underbrush and forests, and its inhabitants were driven feral and mad. Shadowfell, previously gloomy, was wiped clear of any trace of light, and the blackness of the surroundings seeped deep into its residents’ souls.

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IRJ

The catcher in the rye so far to me has enraged me at the main character Holden. I have said this before and my mind still has not changed, but I did come across a section of the book to redeem himself in a way in my opinion. Holden enters a hole that is filled with many interesting characters, he spots a man and women squirting water into each other’s mouths.

I think if you really like a girl, I think you should not horse around with her at all, and even if you do like her, then your supposed to like her face, and if you like her face, you ought to be careful about doing crumby stuff to it, like squirting water all over it.

Now, this quote I enjoy because of its one of the first signs of respect from holden that I have seen from holden. When I read this I get a sense of disgust of two people squirting water on each other. Now people can do what they want if they enjoy it but, Holden explains his opinion of this sight and shows how he respects women. Sor far in the book I have never seen Holden fully respect someone and even in this quote he still does not if you keep reading but its a start.

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May 15th IRJE: How To Train Your Dragon

In How To Train Your Dragon, by Cressida Cowell, Hiccup’s superior knowledge is overlooked by his friends and family because of his frailty body. On the isle of Berk, Hiccup stood outside with his slender ankles deep in the snow. He stood alongside nine other boys. They were all there because they wanted to pass the Dragon Initiation Programme. Their instructor was Gobber the Belch. Gobber was known as the idiot in charge of initiation. For these young men, passing the programme would make them Vikings. Hiccup was the smallest amongst the group. Everyone there, except for Gobber, viewed Hiccup as useless. When Gobber decided to make Hiccup the group leader most of the boys groaned.

‘Oh, not Hic-cup,’ groaned Dogsbreath the Duhbrain and most of the other boys. ‘You can’t put Hiccup in charge, sir, he’s useless.’ . . .

Hiccup Horrendous Haddock the Third, the hope and heir to the Tribe of the Hairy Hooligans, wiped his nose miserably on his sleeve. He sank a little deeper into the snow. (p. 16-18)

The other boys thought that hiccup was useless. They wanted nothing to do with him. They thought that it would be better for Hiccup to just leave. So that he doesn’t ruin their chances of passing the Dragon Initiation Programme.

Hiccup was, in some ways, useless. But not completely. He wasn’t as strong as the other boys. He feared them because they were bigger than him. All Hiccup had was his intellect. He was a smart person. But everyone in Berk believed that a Viking has to be strong, brave, and influential. It didn’t matter how smart a person was. All that mattered was how strong they were. For Hiccup to pass the programme and become a Viking, he has to change. He is smart, but he doesn’t have any confidence in himself. If Hiccup can suppress his fears and show that he is not weak, I’m sure he will be able to pass the programme and be called a Viking.

 

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May 15th IRJE: Maurice

E. M Foster’s Maurice is a homosexual love story that takes place in 20th century England. As a young boy, Maurice was introduced to the concepts of heterosexual relationships and intercourse by his prep school teacher Mr. Ducie, who claimed that marriage was an ultimate goal. Maurice grows up living a mediocre life, with a secret doubt and fear of engaging in romantic relationships. Then he enters a college, which appeared to inspire him at first sight.

“Once inside college, his discoveries multiplied. People turned out to be alive. Hitherto he had supposed that they were what he pretended to be – flat pieces of cardboard stamped with a conventional design – but as he strolled about the courts at night and saw through the windows some men singing and others arguing and others at their books, there came by no process of reason a conviction that they were human beings with feelings akin to his own.” (p. 30)

I can relate to this section of the book on a personal level. “People turned out to be alive” is a very simple yet touching sentence for me. Its meaning is self-explanatory but somehow very enlightening. Growing up, it was told as a fact to me, but I never confirmed that people are actually alive until a certain inspirational person entered my life. I am becoming better at experiencing lively feelings from others, which is an experience exactly the same as how E. M Foster described in this section of the chapter. However, that dullness still remains in my mind, where defining feelings and experiencing feelings still require more coordination. This is evidently portrayed through “as he strolled about the courts at night and saw through the windows some men singing…” where Maurice is able to absorb himself in the atmosphere, but still at some distance. It really gives me a feeling of reminiscence.

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IRJE: Emma (May 15th)

In Emma, by Jane Austen, the correlation between marriage and social status is a prominent theme. In this novel, marriage is essentially the only way for a woman to change her identity or social standing. Marriage can change who someone is completely, and to some, that is all that matters. It can elevate one’s status, build fortune, unite families, or even lower one’s status, depending on who they marry. There is a heavy amount riding on an engagement; much more so than simply happiness. Emma Woodhouse, a 21-year-old woman of high intelligence, social class, and beauty, has taken it upon herself to play matchmaker for her friends.  After successfully uniting her dear friend, Ms. Taylor, with the widowed Mr. Weston, she realizes that she is quite skilled at it, indeed. As Ms. Taylor moves away, Emma befriends Harriet Smith, who is a younger girl, often referred to as foolish, with insignificant parents. She is a very handsome young lady, which I suspect is why Emma takes such a strong liking to her. After a brief acquaintance is made between a man names Mr. Martin and Harriet, he claims to have fallen in love with her, and proposes to Harriet through a letter. Emma is with Harriet when she reads the letter, and is not pleased by the idea of marriage between the two. Harriet ends up refusing Mr. Martin, which Emma later tells her friend, Mr. Knightley. His response is not what Emma was expecting:

‘Then she is a greater simpleton than I ever believed her. What is the foolish girl about?’

‘Oh! to be sure,’ cried Emma, ‘it is always incomprehensible to a man that a woman should ever refuse an offer of marriage. A man always imagines a woman to be ready for any body who asks her.’

‘Nonsense! a man does not imagine any such thing. But what is the meaning of this? Harriet Smith refuse Robert Martin? madness, if it is so; but I hope you are mistaken.’ (p. 57)

Harriet Smith, although a rather undeveloped character at this point, was judged for refusing marriage. In the society that she lives in, people feel that it’s their right to comment on the decisions and lives of others. Harriet’s decisions have nothing to do with Mr. Knightly, and yet, he feels the right to express his negativity on the subject. His comments on her character, social status, and intelligence are shameful. Furthermore, as Emma said, why should Harriet feel pressured into marrying him, simply because he asked? Although in a completely different manner today, people still feel the right to comment on the lives and relationships of others. We pass judgements or remarks regarding other people, then proceed to be vexed if other people talk about us. This is a hypocritical cycle, and based on the similarities we see in this novel, it has been this way for some time. In Emma, marriage is formed to satisfy society. Societal pressures dictate the moves people make, because one toe out of line will cause revolt. If people saw a high-class man marrying a lower-class woman, there would be an uproar. This leads me to wonder, why? Why is speculation so regular; something most people engage in? Why are we so interested in the lives of others?

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Mr. MacKnight's Grade 10 English class.