PW: Jackson

     I met Jackson this year, and we became friends right away. We share many similar interests, and both love to laugh. We are both into different activity’s and the things we like very, but we still always have something to talk about. For example, Jackson plays soccer and likes scootering, I, on the other hand, like dance and volleyball. Jackson has a really fat cat named Lucy, who is very cute and whom he loves very much. Jackson thinks he is dumb, but he’s not he is actually very smart, I think he just underestimates himself. The fact that he is doing well in school has a job, plays on the gold soccer team, all well staying positive and social is astounding to me, and is very admirable. Maybe he just has good time management skills, something he tells me I need to work on, which he’s right about. Jackson’s favourite class is design, which is cool as being a mechanic is a job he thinks he might want to do when he graduates. He also thinks music would be a cool career path, but he can’t sing, so he’s thinking producing music is more his style. I think it respectable to know what you like and what you’re good at, it can be hard for some people to find something they love and can do for a career. I’m glad I met Jackson this year, we have become great friends. Hopefully, he can help me with my time management.

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IRJE: Eleanor & Park

Eleanor & Park, by Rainbow Rowell, is a young-adult novel set in 1986, following the narratives of two teenagers, Eleanor and Park. The aforementioned characters are living two very different lives, yet are both misfits amongst their hectic, judgemental, borderline cruel high school peers. At first, Park sees exactly what the rest of the teenagers see in Eleanor:  a new girl, who’s seemingly chaotic appearance is somewhat intriguing, yet simultaneously alarming. However, after meeting on the school bus, they slowly begin to build their friendship. Only after a stretch of time where the two become acquainted, Park realizes what an incredible person Eleanor truly is, and how appearances can be very misleading. This following passage demonstrates Park’s initial impression of Eleanor, along with the risks of making snap judgements about people.

Not just new–but big and awkward. With crazy hair, bright red on top of curly. And she was dressed like… like she wanted people to look at her. Or maybe like she didn’t get what a mess she was. She had on a plaid shirt, a man’s shirt, with half a dozen weird necklaces hanging around neck and scarves wrapped around her wrists. She reminded Park of a scarecrow or one of the troubled dolls his mom kept on her dresser. Like something that wouldn’t survive in the wild. (p.8)

This narrative is exceedingly captivating, especially when observing it after reading ahead, because of how judgemental Park comes off as. Considering that this is fairly close to the beginning of the novel, the author made Park seem quite critical and appearance-oriented like his fellow classmates, rather than developing his virtues. Once you get to know him further as a character, his morals, kindness, and likability builds. I found that this is an interesting portrayal, because it doesn’t give us the best impression of Park, in the same manner that he doesn’t have a very good impression of Eleanor.  Speaking of this, Park begins to observe Eleanor on a very on-the-surface level, like many people do when first meeting someone. Later in the novel, we learn about Eleanor’s unfortunate background, and why she does not appear put together at all. I thought that this was quite powerful, because it shows us not only the importance of not making snap judgements about people, but also how you never truly know what’s going on underneath someone’s surface. This is one of the many reasons why it’s crucial to treat everyone with respect, despite their appearance or first-impression.

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Independent Reading

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley 

This book is basically about a type of  government which retains control by making its citizens so happy and superficially fulfilled that they don’t care about their personal freedom. In Brave New World the consequences of state control are a loss of dignity, morals, values, and emotions, meaning a loss of humanity.

Every one works for every one else. We can’t do without any one. Even Epsilons are useful. We couldn’t do without Epsilons. Every one works for every one else. We can’t do without any one. . . .

This quotation comes from Chapter 5, when Lenina remembers waking up as a small girl and, for the first time, hearing hypnopaedic messages whispered into her ear. She is reminded of the quote by a discussion with Henry Foster about the fact that all humans, regardless of caste, become equal after death. This quote illustrates the power of mind-numbing repetitiveness of the hypnopaedic rules and beliefs that form the basis of World State society. The message also highlights the hypocrisy of the conditioning: it may be true that “every one works for every one else,” but it is also true that certain castes have a much better time of it than others.

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IRJE Stormbreaker 12/1/2019

The book Alex Rider Stormbreaker written by Anthony Horowitz is about an orphaned boy, who became after the death of his uncle Ian Rider a secret agent at MI6. In chapter 6 Alex is on his final training mission. He is currently in a plane with his K-Unit preparing to make a parachute jump. The following scene describe an interesting situation with his groupmate:

Wolf picked himself up. His eyes briefly met Alex’s and in that moment Alex knew. Wolf was a popular leader He was tought and he was fast— completing a thirty-mile hike as if it were just a stroll in a park. But he had a weak spot. Somehow he had allowed this parachute jump to get to him and he was too scared to move. It was hard to believe , but there he was, frozen in the doorway, his arms rigid, staring out.

This scene is very interesting for me, because it shows that an older guy in his group is not infallible . Alex Rider is the hero of this situation, because he sees the problems- Wolf has in this moment. Alex pushes him out of the plane and Wolf doesn’t lose his face. I enjoyed the later reaction of Wolf, because Wolf approaches Alex on his way out and thanks him. They shake hands and go separate ways.

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IR Ashley

That summer in Paris is a book written by Morley Callaghan, the story talks about a man with all the stories he has to tell, all the experience in this city and more.

Some writers like to sit for long hours at their desks. Not me. At the time the New  Yorker had written asking if I had any Stories. I began to work on some. And I was also working on the novel that was to be called It´s never over. But the Paris streets were my workshop. While loafing along the streets ideas for the stories would grow in my head.

I chose this quotation because I think what Morley is saying is something new for me because normally if you think about writers is boring, they just seat there and write about boring stuff, they they usually look so boring in person too, I think like they don’t express their feelings in life, they express that writing and reading, but Callaghan seems more like the other people, he is expressing on both, so that´s interesting for me and I never think about it.

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IRJE: December 1, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

In The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, written by Douglas Adams, earthman Aurthur arrives at a legendary, ancient planet called Margrathea on the space ship Heart of Gold, stolen by the president of the Galaxy, Zaphod. After surviving a few attacks programmed from the ancient planet’s core, Zaphod asks Aurthur to guard the spaceship while the others can explore the interior of the planet. Arthur is taken away by a Magratheian called Slartibartfast. He tells Arthur the truth; Earth was a superintelligent computer system ran by mice. Arthur mutters that he is unused to his current lifestyle. His careless mutter has been carried back in time by a freak wormhole and caused an interstellar battle between the Vl’hurgs and the G’Gugvuntt because of Aurthur’s complaints became very insulting when translated into the Vl’hurg tongue. The battle continued for thousands of years, their ships tore across space and dived towards the earth. However, the entire battle fleet was swallowed by a small dog due to an unfortunate miscalculation.

“Those who study the complex interplay of cause and effect in the history of the Universe say that this sort of thing is going on all the time, but we are powerless to prevent it.
‘It’s just life,’ they say.” (p.116)

Douglas’ virtue is portrayed again through this section of the book. The most important things could disappear instantly, and we have no power to influence the changes in life. The unconscious process of adaptation is fascinating. But I think to adapt and to accept are drastically different matters, and one should always accommodate to survive, but never to forget the opportunities for alternatives.

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IRJE: Dec. 1st (Oathbringer)

In Oathbringer, book three of the Stromlight Archive, by Brandon Sanderson, the people of Roshar have long told tales of horrible creatures called Voidbringers, who attacked humans during the a series of cyclic catastrophic wars called the Desolations. These monsters were thought to be defeated in the Aharietiam, the last desolation. However, scholar Jasnah Kholin discovers that Voidbringers were not banished from Roshar. They, in reality, are the Parshendi, a humanoid race whom they had been recently warring with, and the Parshmen, a less-intelligent version of the same race who have become common slaves. After the Parshendi’s god, Odium, rallied his subjects and waged war once again upon the humans, the rulers of the kingdoms of Roshar united to face the oncoming evil together. However, a new discovery challenges everything they had believed about the Parshendi-Voidbringers. After a breakthrough in deciphering the Dawnchant, an ancient language centuries-lost to Roshar, one of the oldest documents in written history, Eila Stele, is finally translated. This translation reveals that, in fact, the Parshendi were the ones who originally coined the term “Voidbringer,” and did it in reference to the humans, and that humans came to Roshar after the Parshendi, who took the humans in when they came, and were subsequently betrayed by them.

“‘They came from another world,'” Navani said, reading from her sheet. “‘Using powers that we had been forbidden to touch. Dangerous powers, of spren and Surges. They destroyed their lands and have come to us begging.

“‘We took them in, as commanded by the gods. What else could we do? They were a people forlorn, without a home. Our pity destroyed us. For their betrayal extended even to our gods: to spren, stone, and wind.

‘”Beware the otherworlders. The traitors. Those with tongues of sweetness, but with minds that lust for blood. Do not take them in. Do not give them succor. Well were they named Voidbringers, for they brought the void. The empty pit that sucks in emotion. A new god. Their god.'” (pp. 1095-1096).

There are many moments in Oathbringer that make the reader, and often the characters, question which side is truly the antagonistic one. It is easy to fight a righteous war against the evil Voidbringers who invaded your ancestors’ homeland and destroyed their lives, knowledge, and infrastructure (as after each Desolation humans were reset back to the Stone Age). What, then, if you find out that your side are the invaders. Not only that, invaders that betrayed and waged war upon those who welcomed them warmly. Then, when the warring was done, enslaved their enemy’s entire race, and trapped them in a state of compliance and stupidity. It cannot be so easy to justify your actions or feel righteous then.

For me, it is a very powerful moment when the former Parshmen are released from their mental prison, and talk to one of the main characters about their experience. Imagine if suddenly all of the animals we keep in poorly-conditioned factories gained self-awareness. We justify our immoral treatment of them by saying that they’re too stupid to care, or not worth thinking about because they aren’t as intelligent as us. How awful would everyone feel, though, if it turned out they were only dull in the first place because we manipulated their mental capacities so that it was easier for us to exploit them. Then, if they one day gained those capacities back, and told us about how they watched their families being killed, so that we could have food we didn’t need, and about how they weren’t even able to feel sad about it because of what we did to them.

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