IRJE: Jan. 15 (The Catcher in the Rye)

In The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger, Holden Caulfield is a teenage boy living at Pencey Preparatory School. He and another boy there, Mal, decide to go to the movies on the weekend, as neither have anything else to do.

I ask Mal if he minded if Ackley came along with us. The reason I asked was because Ackley never did anything on Saturday night, except stay in his room and squeeze his pimples or something. (p. 41).

Shortly before this, Holden spends quite a long time explaining all the reasons why he is not at all fond of Ackley. He says that Ackley is unkempt, gross, inconsiderate, and rude. I don’t understand why, then, he would ask Ackley, whom he dislikes so much, to the movies. The reason he states in the citation above makes it seem like he invites Ackley because he feels bad for him. I, however, cannot ever imagine being so annoyed by somebody, and still being willing to invite them anywhere with me. So far throughout the book, I have found this numerous times– I rarely understand why Holden does, thinks, or says the things he does.


Stormbreaker / Independent Reading

In the novel Stormbreaker by Antony Horrowitz, 14-year-old Alex Rider, an agent of the Secret Service, into which Sales Enterprises has infiltrated as computer freak Felix Lester. Here he is supposed to get to the bottom of why Sales, apparently without any self-interest, produces computers which he then wants to give away to all schools in England.
In the chapter “Nightly Visit” Alex tries to get to the bottom of the matter and is the first teenager to test the computer.

” It’s great,” said Alex, and that was actually his opinion. He still couldn’t believe that this ridiculous male is supposed to have developed a device that is so powerful.”

“Alex is also totally fascinated by 24 hour internet access. “(p.118)

It means they have 24-hours free Internet access. (p.118)

Alex thinks it’s cool. I like this quote, because I think everyone can remember the excitement about their first computer. And what teenager wouldn’t be excited about 24 hour access. The author manages to involve the reader in what is going on, because old memories are created for the reader while reading.


IRJE: Jan 15 (The Catcher in The Rye)

In his book, The Catcher in The Rye, J.D.Salinger uses Holden Caulfield, a depressed teenager as the narrator and tells us his story.Holden tells the readers that the school expelled him due to his failing grades. After numerous struggles with the other boys in the dorm, He leaves the school frustrated and decides to have a short vacation in New York before returning home to deal with his parents, who will be disappointed hearing him expelled from Pencey. On the train to New York, he meets the mother of a person he considers a stinker in the school. He tells the lady fascinating things about her son, despite how much a scoundrel the son is.

“It really took everybody quite a long time to get to know him. He’s a funny guy. A strange guy, in a lot of ways–know what I mean? Like when I first met him. When I first met him, I thought he was kind of a snobbish person. That’s what I thought. But he isn’t. He’s just got this very original personality that takes you a little while to get to know him.” (p.56)

The conversation between Holden and Mrs. Morrow reveals more depth about his character. Holden dislikes Ernest but has no problem impressing Mrs. Morrow by telling lies about the boy. He leaves no negative impression on the readers, even though he is telling lies. Holden may be potentially describing someone he wishes to become, or instead how he wants others to view him. By telling lies, he describes a story lovelier than reality, which makes him forget about his miserable self for a little while.


Independent Writing Jan 14

The Crown by Kierra Cass
The competition for finding the future king/Eadlyn’s husband begins.
She spent the first few weeks of the competition counting down the days until she could send them all home. But as events at the palace force Eadlyn even further into the spotlight, she realizes that she might not be content remaining alone.
Eadlyn still isn’t sure she’ll find the fairytale ending her parents did twenty years ago. Eadlyn must make a choice by that feels impossible for her. Yet, this decision is way more important than she ever imagined.

“Finding a prince might mean kissing a lot of frogs.”

We clearly see how Eadlyn is against marrying someone just because she is involved in a contest.


PW cursing

So basically a few moments ago, one of the dorm parents came into my room and caught me cursing about the weather. I apologized but he immediately told me to write an essay on why not to curse again. Now I have already written one of these texts and knew the reasons, that’s when I realised that the points he told me about with no excuse didn’t apply in this situation. I confronted him and after making my arguments his only response was to compare cursing to taking drugs and smoking, which I believe to be a complete exaggeration. He sent me off after that response without giving me the option to argue or at least reply.

Coming to the reasons, which I agree on by the way, the first one was my image. He told me that people might think my knowledge of vocabulary isn’t good enough or im too dumb too think of other words. The friends in the room all knew me and were also aware that my vocabulary isn’t terrible or that im too incompetent too use proper words.

And finally, since I don’t want to explain all the arguments, He made it clear that swearing in front of younger students is not acceptable. This is because, many of them see older students as an example for them, so if we swear we teach them that its ok to swear. This is of course not the case, as mentioned above but also because of a generell sense of manners and respect. Everyone in that room was older or the same age as me so that shouldn’t count.

As I am writing this PW the responsible parent just took me outside to apologize for his miss behaviour, but made it clear that outside our rooms this will not stay unpunished. This made the whole point of my essay utterly useless, but I have written all of this so I will upload it anyway.


My Winter Break

My 2019 winter break was extremely exhausting. I took twelve flights in three weeks, something I never did before. I travelled to Amritsar, located in Punjab, North India, Beas, Bombay (also known as Mumbai), and my home town-Ahmedabad.

In Amritsar, I visited The Golden Temple, which was breathtaking. The temple is surrounded by a sacred pool and a group of buildings important to the Sikh religion. Located on the local highway in Amritsar, Beas is a city of Radha Soami that was created by Jaimal Singh in 1891. Every year, millions of Radha Soami travel to the city of Beas for religious practice.

The city of Bombay in Maharashtra, India, is one of the best-known cities to visit when in India. I travelled to Bombay twice in three weeks for a good wedding shopping experience. It has a ton of clothing and jewellery items for Indian weddings. My home town Ahmedabad, Gujarat, will always be my favourite place to be. It has the most delicious food I have ever tasted.


personal writing, January 7th

  Drifting, drifting is one of my personal favorite motorsports to watch in my spare time. The sport of drifting a car originated out of Japan, but when you try to find exactly when and where you realize that the idea of skidding your car sideways through a corner has been around since the 1950’s. It started to gain attraction from rally racing when you need to go around tight corners as quickly as possible. The crowds started to notice how just about every driver would go through a corner by swinging the car into almost a 90-degree angle by pulling the handbrake to go through corners. This was exciting for people to watch and that was how it started.  

The Japanese play a massive role when it comes to the origins of drifting competitions. The reason for this is because of the type of cars that the Japanese had access to. You see when the rally started one of the rules that the manufactures had to follow was that the car, they were racing had to be in production to the public too. Where most of the best cars were created were in Japan, which meant that consumers there got a hold of the technology very quickly and it spread from there.  

Drifting has now become a world-renown motorsport; many drivers dream of becoming professional drifters and competing in Formula Drift the largest and most well-known drifting competition. The way that this event works is there are two drivers one driver is the lead driver and the other is the following. The lead driver sets the pace and can go as fast as he likes around the set course. Drifting si different from other motorsports because it’s not a race to the finish. Instead, its judged on how sideways you can place the car going through a corner while keeping a good consistent pace. You are constantly remaining out of control but in control at the same time. You’re basically doing the opposite of what you want to do on a regular road. Personally I find this sport incredibly special to me because my two brothers compete in it together so I grew up hearing about it and watching it in person.  


PW Jan 7

I apparently use my phone too much. I was told by many of my friends that I use my phone too often. I thought back on it, they might’ve had a point. Sometimes a day would fly by and I would have no idea what I did. I would sometimes prefer social media and games over hanging out with people. It’s not like I don’t like the presence of other people, but sometimes I just need a bit of room. “You use your phone too much,” Jasper says.

“Ryan has such an addiction to his phone that I’ve gone to get food with him and not said a word to him on a 30 minute bus ride. On top of that, he didn’t say a word when we were eating, plus another silent 30 minute bus ride back. He just has his f***ing headphones on and is looking at his tiny screen. Also, he came to my house for like three days, and my mom took his phone away because he’s addicted,” -Kaelin

“I mean I was in your house for 3 weeks but I spent more time playing board games with your family than you because you were in your room.” -Dominik

I got curious so I went to check how much time I spend on my phone a day. Turns out I spend about 12 hours on my phone every day. In the future, I plan to spend more time with people and cut down the time I spend on my phone.


PW-buying things

The last holiday seasons Americans were predicted to spend 1.1 trillion dollars. We are a society that enjoys purchasing things; whether it is for our selves or other, we like new items. In the 1980s the average American bought about 12 new articles of clothing a year. Today the average American buys roughly 64 new pieces of clothing a year, half of which are worn around three times be for bein thrown away or donated.this is mainly due to streamlined distribution, or what is more commonly known as fast fashion. Fast fashion is the production of inexpensive popular, likely to sell items, at low quality. These items are rapidly produced and mass-marketed well following common trends. Fast fashion is usually a rip-off of a pattern or a more expensive thing, that’s why it’s so common, and people are so ok with it. With fashion becoming more prominent in today’s society and young teens wanting too own certain items without having much money to spend fast fashion seems like the answer to most when buying clothes. We want the feeling of luxury without having to pay an exorbitant price.
Now, I’m not trying to bash people for buying affordable clothes, it is something I do my self, and understand, but I’m trying to show being mindful about our purchases is a must. We need to think before we by unnecessary items, and considered there impacts and consciences.


IJRE Alex Rider

In Chapter 7 Alex as Felix Lester is driving to Sayle Enterprises. In the facility he went to a large room with a large aquarium.

He was shocked because he saw the biggest jellyfish he had ever seen. (p. 93 , chapter 7)“It`’s an outsider,” he said. “ It drifts on its own, ignored by the other fish. It is silent and yet it demands respect” ( p. 93 ,chapter 7 )


In this quotation is really interesting, because it describes Herod Sayle. Although Sayle is describing a jellyfish here, it is clear the he is also talking about himself. His form of power is not flasy, but it comes from the shadows.Telling the fourteen-year-old Alex that being killed by his awesome and repulsive jellyfish would be an unforgettable death, shows that Herold Slayle is an inconspicuous figure who does not shrink back from violence and brutality.


IRJE Jan 1st Oryx and Crake

Oryx and Crake by the renowned Margaret Atwood is a speculative fiction novel. In the first chapter, we meet snowman, the protagonist of the book. He wakes up in a tree to the sound of the ocean crashing ashore. He wraps himself in a bedsheet, in a toga-like fashion, puts on his red sox hat and starts his day. This quotation is the first insight we have into the books setting, saying it might not be our modern world. We learn that official time is absent, but our world or something similar once did exist.

Out of habit, he looks at his watch – stainless-steel case, burnished aluminium band, still shiny although it no longer works. He wears it now as his only talisman. A blank face is what it shows him: zero hour. It causes a jolt of terror to run through him, this absence of official time. Nobody nowhere knows what time it is. (pg.4)

The quotation gives readers insight into the world we are reading about since it is within the first few pages. The text shows that there once was a presence of the modern construct of time. Snowman wears a watch just like somebody today would, but in his case it’s worn as a talisman, a reminder of what is no longer. We know that something is different, something has happened, but we don’t yet understand.



Why i would rather live in Aldous Huxleys dystopia than in a world with total freedom or even our present day society.

First of all I want to make clear what my main interest, in a world i live in, is. My top priority is to be happy, to have the warming feeling through recent events for example good grades, a nice day with my friends or a new album of your favorite music artist. Now there are many points why I put so much pressure on being happy but mainly it is because of a book i read, in which the author basically says that, humans lives are completely pointless we live just to die again. Now the main point was that people fill their lives with, in their eyes, important things like children or becoming religious and that mainly serves the purpose of bringing meaning into your life.

I do not agree with that being the highest priority, do not get me wrong i want kids, and probably for the same reasons, but i also believe that you have to enjoy the life you have been given as much as possible, because it could end any day and I accomplish that by doing things that interest me or make fun because that is how I enjoy, in the moment, not in the long run.

So to finally get into the novel of Huxley, the society is always happy and that is what i dream of. There is no need to be scared of anything because the world is exactly like every normal human wants it to be. Now a lot of people would decline the offer of living in that world, because the lack of freedom, but i would rather give up my freedom and live happy than unhappy and free. And i do not think this is a point to argue about, because the ones would live free the others would not. The only thing i will say is that you should take a look at the world we are living in and the dystopia, and now tell me in what world is more suffering more injustice and more unhappiness.


PW: Jan. 7 (Third)

Eyes brimming with stars create blockades to reality, and so, incapable of seeing inwards, they are left blinded. Perpetual uncertainty, the unwanted mist between earth and sky, is lonely residual. Grey seeping through thin skin; lungs overdosing on smoky perplexity. If to be is to think, they are ready to end being.

It worsens. A lack of concord leaves them heaving despite an abundance of air. Consideration is a retched poison– desperately devoured yet repeatedly resented. Again and again they wonder and ask, yet salvation is sly and evasive. Hoping to be hurt further, for perhaps enough will be a cure for consciousness.

Crawling mist envelopes and reveals. The oppressing is the stable. The middling suppresses solely certainty. Momentary solace is a cruel counterpart, granting only the punishment of comparison.


IRJE: The Silent Patient

Theo Faber, a 42 year old psychotherapist chose this line of work because he wanted to heal himself; but when Indira (the interviewer) asked him why he chose this job, he lied and told her he wanted to help people. Theo’s childhood wasn’t the best. His father would often rage and hurt him. He would try to run, but his father would always catch him and whip him with his belt.

My Father’s unpredictable and arbitrary rages made any situation, no matter how benign, into a potential minefield… The house shook as he shouted, chasing me upstairs into my room.. But his hand would grab hold of me, drag me out to meet my fate. The belt would be pulled off and whistle in the air before it struck…

Even though Theo eventually left the house, he couldn’t forget his father. He always thought by leaving he would forget about his past. He was in so much pain, he tried to suicide by buying paracetamol. When he failed to suicide, he went and found a psychiatrist named Ruth. After having therapy for several years, Theo walked out of the pain and trained as a psychotherapist. After training, he went for an interview, and successfully got a job as a psychotherapist.



In I AM ALGONQUIN, by Rick Revelle, within a shelter, a man named Mahingan wakes up clueless to where he was. After some time he realized that he was with his hunting group, lying inside the shelter they had made. The hunting group was made up of five warriors, two youthful boys, and three energetic dogs. It was the winter season, but because there was so little snow, hunting was difficult for the group.

“Without deep snow to slow the animals down and tire them out, we were having a gruelling time trying to hunt them with our lances and arrows”. (p. 13)

I find the quote above important because it is referring to the struggle the warriors are facing, which is gathering food for their family. This difficulty arises because of the lack of snow outside. With the struggle at hand, the warriors don’t give up and continue to search. In time, because of their determination to continue, they were able to find a moose and kill it. 


WDolan_Personal_Writing_Jan 7

“Chinese New Year”

I have always dreamed of going to China and celebrating Chinese New Year. Many people would not expect a 10 year old from North America to be interested in this, but I was determined to attend this exciting event.

On January 20th, my Mom and Dad came into my room and sat on my bed. They looked like they were excited to tell me something, and that they were holding it in.

“Hey Jimmy,” said Mom.

“Hey,” I said.

“We have a surprise for you.” She took a deep breath. “We are going to take you to Hong Kong to celebrate Chinese New Year. We will stay for two weeks and we will stay in a luxury hotel. Also, your favorite uncle Bill will meet us there.”

By the time my mother stopped talking, my eyes were opened wide and I was dancing around the room.

“Thank you! Thank you! Thank You!” I was so excited. I was sad I had to wait five days, but I was excited all the same. Dad looked happy for me.


On the evening of the 23rd, we headed to the airport, and took off to China. After 11 hours and seven minutes, we were heading off the plane, and to our hotel. Inside the hotel there was a pool larger than life, and the ceilings were made of marble. We had a spectacular dinner, and we watched some TV before bed.

The next day, we were headed out to see the parade. We were happily walking, when I got something tangled on my pocket. I lost my mothers grip and I was being dragged down the street. I turned to see what was grabbing hold of me, and I saw something very big and colorful, with four legs and a huge mouth. After I turned around, the creature stopped and opened it’s huge mouth. I screamed and then the  creature screamed and took off, with me still stuck to it. I yelled help and  kept looking back for my mother. After looking for my mother for the fifth time, I turned to find my self smacking into a lamppost. Dazed, I found I was not stuck to the creature anymore.

I got up and went up the street to go find my mom. I kept hearing her calls, and I ran towards the sounds. But every time I came close to her voice, it would drift off into the distance again. I wasn’t scared, but I was wondering what I would do if I did not find my parents by nightfall.

I passed a market, and found myself face to face with a live squid in someone’s hand. The stranger was tall and had a big moustache.

“Nǐ zài zuò shénme?” he said angrily.


I did not understand what he was saying. He started walking towards me, and i stumbled backwards, desperate to escape. As I was walking backwards, I fell into a cold pot filled with live shrimp. Then, I got up and ran. I looked back to see if I was being chased, and look forward to find myself colliding into another lamp post. But instead of hitting the ground, a bike zoomed right into me, and I fell into the front basket. The bike rider was so scared, he turned into a car, which sent me flying into the air, and caused my to land on top of a policeman, who was guarding the parade. He quickly scrambled back onto his feet, and grabbed me by the arm, and whisked me off to the police station.

When we got to the police station, I was  escorted roughly out of the car and into the station. When we got inside, I saw on the television screen that a YouTube video was made of me crashing into the officer, and was going viral. I was pretty proud of myself. I was going to be famous. Then I looked to my left and saw the worried faces of my Mom, Dad, and Uncle Bill. Right then and there, I knew that I was in for a bad ending to my vacation, and big start to me punishments. Because I knew today they would be thankful and overjoyed that I was OK. But tomorrow they would be mad that I did not follow the family rules which are: to stay put when separated from parents.


Personal Writing – January 7th

How are we able to still worry about such minuscule, unimportant issues, when there’s so much going on in the world? Let’s be honest, everyone is guilty of this. We constantly have things on our mind, that may seem overwhelming at the time, but when looking back at them, they seem so very petty. Now, as a disclaimer, I’m not talking about mental illness in any way, because that is a completely different story. I’m talking about day to day activities or stressors, that we truly don’t need to worry about; like a bad grade on homework, or how many followers you have on Instagram. And yet, we still do, because it’s human. But why?

As of right now, our world is facing political rivalries between countries that play vital roles in our world, such as the very serious conflicts between the USA and Iran. On the other side of the globe, Australia is in the midst of fires that have killed nearly 500 million animals, over 23 people, and are ruining the ecosystem that was once beautiful and full of life. Despite that, we are living our lives, as normal, continuing our worries and focus on our lives. We may discuss these issues, but what will that do at the point? So long as we keep remaining impartial to these events, they will keep progressing. I’m not saying that we have the power to stop these issues, because being students far away from the conflicts and fires, that’s out of our reach. However, there are things that we can do to help, such as donating money to one of the causes eliminating the fires in Australia. Or, climate change in general, which is the root of that issue.

What my point is by saying this, is that it’s time that we gain some perspective on these issues. Because if we don’t, we will continue worrying about insignificant events, rather than ones that truly will effect our world.


What is the Internet actually?

Simply put, the Internet is a network of many computer networks that exchange data with each other and thus enable the use of various services such as e-mail or the WWW. This is also commonly referred to as surfing. Historically, the Internet has grown out of the Arpanet of the US Department of Defense, which was created at the end of the 1960s. The aim was to use the capacities of several mainframes together in a meaningful way and began to link universities and research institutes.

The Internet nodes are the pivotal points for data exchange and thus an important component of the Internet. These are distributed all over the world and forward data among each other. Usually several, sometimes hundreds, service providers – also called providers – are connected to an Internet node. Within the network node, data is exchanged between the providers. Measured by the amount of data traffic, the world’s largest Internet node is located in Frankfurt am Main, where it is distributed over some 19 data centers.
The providers in turn enable their customers, such as companies or private households, to access the Internet by providing appropriate connections such as DSL or LTE.
Many companies operate their own networks, known as intranets, which become part of the Internet when the connection to the provider is established. While private individuals are usually only users and access information or services, many companies offer Internet services themselves. In addition to the general provision of information, these include online shops, cloud storage or booking portals.
The actual data transmission between the Internet nodes and the providers is carried out worldwide via fiber optic cables, which enable high transmission speeds. The connection of households or companies, also known as the last mile, is usually realized via copper cable, radio and increasingly also via fiber optics. To ensure that everything runs smoothly, the way in which data is exchanged is regulated via so-called protocols.
In the Internet protocol family, for example, it is specified that the data to be transmitted is broken down into small packets at the sender’s end, then transmitted and reassembled at the recipient’s end.
So that a data packet knows where it comes from and where it has to be sent to, each computer involved in the communication is given a unique address, the IP address. This consists of four number blocks separated by dots. Since hardly anyone can remember the IP addresses of the websites visited or other services, there is the Domain Name System (DNS). With this system, instead of IP addresses, the Internet can be used to create meaningful names for websites, or more precisely, Internet servers. These are known as Internet addresses, www addresses or URL.


Always Try…

Last week during P.E. we were practicing badminton, which is a sport I am quite fond of. After our P.E. class ended almost all of the students went to the dining hall. Within the dining hall, many students drank water, others went and grabbed some fruit to eat. There I found myself having a conversation with one of my best friends…

“Armaan, I don’t get it. You’re good at Soccer, Basketball, and Badminton.”

“I’m pretty good at Volleyball too.”

“How are you so good at all these sports?”

“Through practice. I don’t focus specifically on one sport, whichever sport we are playing I always try my best because I know that there is always room for improvement. Through years of repeated practice is the reason why I’m good at various sports.”

There is always something new for you to learn. What you have to remember is that if you don’t try, you will never be able to say that you’re good or bad at something. If you try something new then you can at least say to someone that you tried. There is no limit to what you can learn, and just maybe, through trying new things, you might find something that you like.




PW: Does being fair mean treating everyone exactly the same?

There is no real way to be fair to everyone. We can make an effort to treat everyone the same. However, it does not serve the purpose of being fair.

Humans can never be fair towards other humans. Nature can, because the rule it applies to us, is to make space for the newborn and the strong. Other than that, it grants us to do whatever we want. Death is inevitable, and the unpreventable event became a fact to most of us. But we can only die when we acknowledge our limited existence in the first place. Death does not make our lives worthless, because by creating the idea of death, we create value for our existence. The same thing applies to the topic of “being fair.” It is only that “fairness” and “equality” exists that makes things unfair. After all, the more things change, the more it stays consistent.


IRJE: The Edible Woman (January 1st)

The Edible Woman, by Margaret Atwood is beginning to pick up in speed and intrigue for the main character, Marian.  When Marian runs into her old college friend, Len, she proposes to have dinner with him, and her boyfriend, Peter. Marian’s roommate, Ainsley, ends up coming as well, which she wasn’t expecting.  At the dinner, some unpleasant conversation mixed with a previous unknown instability of Marian’s, she reaches a breaking point. After crying in the washroom (which is so unlike her), she regains her composure with the help of Ainsley’s comforting and a breath of fresh air. However, not for long, as she gets a sudden impulse, leading to an unexpected urge to run.

I was running along the sidewalk. After the first minute I was surprised to find my feet moving, wondering how they had begun, but I didn’t stop. (p.79)

This passage thoroughly stood out to me, because this does not reflect Marian’s character so far, whatsoever. We’re seeing a completely new side of her, which is why I found this so captivating. The novel is starting to develop Marian’s character in an unfamiliar manner, which is why I believe that this is the first event leading to her eating disorder, and her changing lifestyle. She’s acting up, and toning down her sensibility. It’s a fresh layer for her, one that’s impulsive and full of risk; one that takes action based on emotion, rather than channelling her meticulous thought process. This new side of Marian is really introducing some depth to her, which is something that is essential when looking to connect with a character. That sudden urge to just escape, is something that many can relate to, it just wasn’t expected in Marian.


WDolan_January 1st_IRJE “Born A Crime” By Trevor Noah

“Born a Crime,” by Trevor Noah.

‘Born a Crime” is a book about the life and hardships of the famous South African comedian, Trevor Noah. He takes the reader deep into the details of his personal life during his younger days. Most of the story takes place before the rise of Nelson Mandela, in which daily assaults were made upon the people. It appears he has experienced more violence than most children in North America, yet he seems to be comfortable in the environment he was brought up in. He is just like the other kids in the neighborhood. He dreams of getting skateboards, he loves to play, and he likes to make friends. The trouble is, he has a harder time making friends because of his colour. His mother is black and his father is white. In his neighborhood he is considered to be white, but to others he is considered to be mixed. Since his mother was concerned about the treatment he would receive because of his colour, she taught him several different languages spoken in the area he was brought up in. He could then respond to anyone in their native tongue, which would cause them to show respect towards him, and it also prevented him from getting bullied.

In the quote below, Trevor has just discovered that during apartheid (laws made to govern the segregation of whites and blacks), he could have escaped with family to a safer country at any time. He asks his mother why they did not leave, and she replies with an answer that he finds to be shocking.

“Why?  Why didn’t we just leave? Why didn’t we go to Switzerland?”

“Because I am not Swiss,” she said, as stubborn as ever. “This is my country. Why should I leave?” pg.31

I like this quote as it shows how we can still be loyal to our country even if there are several conflicts in our daily lives . All her life, Trevor’s mom devoted her life to helping her family and the community.


IRJE: January 1 (It’s Kind Of a Funny Story)

Ned Vizzini wrote the book “It’s Kind Of a Funny Story” in 2006. He based this book on his experiences during his stay in an adult psychiatric hospital. The protagonist, Craig Gilner, is a 15-year-old kid who lives in Brooklyn. He experiences depression due to peer pressure, unrequited love, and academic pressure. Before deciding to jump off the Brooklyn Bridge one night, he called the suicidal support line and signed himself in a nearby hospital. He was reluctant towards staying for an entire week in the psychiatric hospital, but he notices many things the system of the hospital has that made his life simple. For example, each morning, a menu is carried to each person, and they could tick off the ones that they want for the day. Craig, who used to have eating disorders, slowly recovered his appetite again:

“I wish the world were like this, if I just woke up and marked the food I’d be eating and it came to me later in the day. I suppose it is like that, except you have to pay for whatever you want to eat, so maybe what I’m asking for is communism, but I think it is actually deeper than communism–I’m asking for simplicity, for purity and ease of choice and no pressure.” (loc. 2655)

This passage describes the recovery from mental disorders well. We used to have that simplicity, but the author suggests that we lose it as we age, and as we gain more cognitive knowledge of the world. Our cognitive beliefs can affect our actions to a great extent, and it explains why the world could be such a different place for someone else. Perhaps this is also why our material needs could be so different from our mental desires. One will often connect the satisfaction of our material needs with our subjective desires, and when we aren’t able to have tangible things to make us content, we will likely suffer. “Pressure” will always exist, but in a way it never did.


IRJE: Jan. 1 (The Well of Ascension)

In The Well of Ascension, book two of the Mistborn Trilogy, by Brandon Sanderson, Vin, the primary protagonist of the novel, is trying to discover which of her friends was replaced with an impostor. She suspects Dockson, as she thinks his behaviour has been unusual. Both her and Dockson are Skaa, the extremely-discriminated-against lower class used as slaves by the noblemen before the Skaa rebellion. While Vin has spent her life retaliating via relatively harmless thievery, Dockson has spent his helping his friend Kelsier plan and carry out much more ambitious and impactful scams, which often involve the murder of several noblemen.

Dockson’s hatred for noblemen runs deep, and so he is not very friendly towards Elend, the man Vin loves, and also one of the highest ranking nobles. Vin questions why Dockson dislikes him so much. When she states that even Kelsier accepted Elend, saving his life during a hectic skirmish, Dockson has a difficult time believing her, as Kelsier had an even stronger dislike for noblemen than he did. He suggests that perhaps Kelsier didn’t realize Elend was noble-blooded when he saved him.

Vin shook her head. “He knew who Elend was, and knew that I loved him. In the end, Kelsier was willing to admit that a good man was worth protecting, no matter who his parents were.”

“I find that hard to accept, Vin.”


Dockson met her eyes. “Because if I accept that Elend bears no guilt for what his people did to mine, then I must admit to being a monster for the things that I did to them.” (p. 389)

During this scene, Dockson reveals that, even though he may know that not all noblemen are evil, he thinks he needs to maintain the black and white mindset to prevent himself from being overcome with guilt for his actions.

This whole series is about the struggle between the Skaa and the upper class, and one of the most interesting things to me is to think about how each one views the other. In my opinion, most problems in the Final Empire arise because both sides see each other as just groups, instead of individuals. The noblemen generalize all Skaa into one category: slaves who are unintelligent and inferior. The Skaa do the exact same thing, holding the belief that noblemen are cruel and unjust. In reality, of course, the two races inherently have no real significant biological difference. This is demonstrated by the numerous times Skaa impersonate  noblemen, or vice versa, throughout the book. In addition, the claims about the cruelty of noblemen and the unintelligence of Skaa are of equally little merit. It may be true that many noblemen are cruel, but there are just as many Skaa that are cruel. Likewise, many of the noblemen are far more dull-witted than the Skaa.

I believe the subject of societal expectations and contentions is interesting. It seems to me to often be the case that there is no inherent reasoning behind many of them. We tend to view things in extremes– for instance, when we think about the differences between men and women. We would say that men have broader shoulders, shorter hair, more body hair and facial hair, are taller and more muscular, etc. However, there are plenty of men that lack broad shoulders, have long hair, don’t naturally grow facial hair, or are shorter. Likewise, there are plenty of women with many of those “masculine” traits. Almost everything is on a scale. It is pointless to arbitrarily try to categorize every person as if they are one-dimensional. Life is diverse, and our need to divide and label everything in ultimately useless and, furthermore, harmful.