The Magic Misfits

In The Magic Misfits, written by Neil Patrick Harris, a boy named Carter Locke is running away from his Uncle Sly. The darkness of the train yard and the ever-growing fog makes it difficult for Carter to see. He is running for his freedom, which his Uncle had taken from him the moment his father died.

“Carter! Get back here! Don’t you run from me, boy! I ain’t going to hurt you!” (p. 2)

The person speaking this quote is Carter’s Uncle who tries to lure him back into his grasp with gentle words which are nothing but a lie. Carter knows what his Uncle is trying to do which is why he continues running, wanting nothing more than to be free from his Uncle. Carter was nothing more than a pawn for his Uncle’s shenanigans. This is the only reason why his Uncle is trying to get him back. The advantages Carter brought to his Uncle were beneficial towards keeping them alive.

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IRJE – March 15th – A Separate Peace

In A Separate Peace by John Knowles, the friendship between Gene and Finny is continuously growing. At the Devon School for boys, the two are having a summer packed with enjoyment and adventures. This novel is narrated by Gene,  and although he considers Finny as his best friend, there is a prominent feeling of jealousy that Gene feels towards him. In Gene’s eyes, Finny is perfect. He’s the quintessential example of what Gene aspires to be. Finny is confident, athletic, social, and kind, which I believe subsequently affects Gene’s self-worth. When Finny opened up to him, and told Gene that he was his best pal, I feel that his self-worth was slightly restored. Finny expressed a raw emotion, without prompting, which could have boosted Gene’s confidence. Perhaps this following passage is an attempt to maintain that emotional strength, or perhaps it’s something deeper.

Exposing a sincere emotion nakedly like that at the Devon School was the next thing to suicide. I should have told him then that he was my best friend also and rounded off what he had said. I started to; I nearly did. But something held me back. Perhaps I was stopped by that level of feeling, deeper than thought, which contains the truth. (p. 44)

This hesitance surrounding the expression of his emotions is quite a natural response, that I’m sure everyone can relate to. However, this makes me wonder, why are we so scared of sharing our emotions? Is it the pride of knowing that we have the power to control how the situation plays out? Is it the fear of rejection, or the fear of knowing that there’s a very real possibility of getting hurt? Or, is it simply as Gene said, a feeling that we as humans can’t quite grasp in a conceptual way. In this scenario, Gene isn’t facing rejection, since Finny has already admitted that Gene is his best friend. Nevertheless, there is still something holding him back from saying it aloud. Which for now, may just have to remain inexplainable.

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Love Poetry

From the Love Poetry handout, I found the poem named: “Woman’s Constancy,” the most sentimental. Within the poem, written by John Donne, he shares soft feelings as questions, wanting to know how loyal his lover is. Talking about being in love for only a day and the feelings which have overcome him due to their love.

I find this poem sentimental because even though only one person is speaking, John directs his words to his lover. When I first read this poem I was slightly confused about who was talking, but by researching the poem I was able to better understand what was going on. It’s sad to think that the man talking feels that his love is not true, however, the poem only says so much. It only talks about the man’s feelings and thoughts about their love, not the woman’s. The women that the man is questioning could have a similar perspective on their love as the man, but this may not be the case. She may believe that their love is true, but we can’t say just by reading this poem.

The poem is, in my opinion, sentimental but only to a certain extent. John’s questions are not enough to fully grasp the truth about their love. We can listen to his words but without the woman’s view, we cannot assume that their love isn’t real.

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IRJE: Paper Towns (4)

As I was reading the book Paper Towns by John Green, I came across a quote that Quentin said:

It is so hard to leave–until you leave. And then it is the easiest goddamned thing in the world.

This quote is ironic because most people don’t want change, and want everything to stay exactly the same. They are deeply attached to something/someone. Change should not be too concerning for anyone. When you let go of something/someone you are deeply attached to, there is a kind of mental weight that is lifted off from your mind. One should let go of what hurts them, and live their life without worries.

 

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IRJE: Paper Towns (3)

In Paper Towns, Quentin starts reflecting on the false image he had constructed about Margo, in his mind.

What a trecherous thing to believe that a person is more than a person.

When Margo disappears, she leaves a bunch of clues, but some of them were not intended to be found by Quentin. Margo was someone who broke rules without getting caught, someone who went on wild adventures, and she liked being a ‘paper girl’ (a girl who is someone what other people want to see her as).  When Quentin found clues left behind from Margo, that weren’t intended to be found, Margo says that Quentin just wanted ‘a girl to save’. Her actions and words suggest that she was ungrateful and a complex person. People project various different personalities of themselves to everyone.

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Mar 7 PW: Can we touch π if we touch a ruler between its 3rd and 4th scale? 

I think touching π would take a lot more effort than simply touching a ruler. First of all, we cannot prove the consistency of our hands’ motion. Secondly, say if our motions are consistent, it might be impossible to touch every atom on the ruler. Looking in an atomic view, the ruler does not have a flat surface, and due to its production process, it’s material might have different densities, which makes it almost impossible to touch π.

Besides, how can we confirm that things like πexist in the first place? There’s no physical representation for theories and names. We can conveniently describe our world using theories and establish it as facts and truths, but who knows, maybe none of that exists.

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IRJE: Mar 1 (Boy Erased)

Boy Erased: A memoir is written by Garrard Conley, that tells his story about his struggles of self-identity in a Baptist community. After hiding his sexual orientation for many years, his identity crisis finally alarms his family and they agreed to send him to a conversion therapy camp. On his first day of therapy, he’s being told to draw a genogram of his family’s history, which may potentially be where all his sins came from.

“Our colour-coded genograms would tell us where everything had begun to go wrong. Trace our genealogy back far enough and we would find, if not the answer to our own sexual sins, then at least the sense of which dead and degenerate limb in our family tree had been responsible.” (p.29)

I agree that the raising environment is crucial for one’s personality development, and if not, is the reason for their “sins”. But there is no scientific proof that sexuality is subject to genetic inheritance, or parental influence. We chose to acknowledge our world in our own ways, and it may cause lots of trouble to enforce it on other’s worldviews. Unfortunately, human history consists of this constant struggle.

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Passion in Literature: March 13 (Sentimentality in Love Poetry)

Must love poems in some way exhibit the attributes of sentimentality. The vast majority of poems on this list were meant to rise in the reader some sort of simple emotion, whether it be sorrow, desire, or even lust. I believe one of the most sentimental poems to be When We Two Parted, a piece by George Gordon, Lord Byron that evokes sadness and sympathy.

According to Mr. MacKnight, in the handout “Melodrama and Sentimentality,” sentimentality is the “indulgence of easy emotions,” and often includes “vague, flowery, and ‘poetic'” diction and imagery and rhythms that are “very regular.” When We Two Parted demonstrates both of these qualities.

The writer uses “poetic” imagery that creates vague and disconnected illustrations of sorrowful scenes in the reader’s mind. For instance, the lines “They name thee before me, / A knell to mine ear;” (ll. 17-18) brings to the head the image of ringing funeral bells, and the lines “When we two parted / In silence and tears,” (ll. 1-2) evokes the all too iconic image of a tearful breakup. Diction in the poem is similarly flowery and emotion-provoking, with nearly each line furthering the depressing tone. The writer chooses words carefully to ensure that each has the most negative connotation possible. For example, the line “A knell to mine ear;” (l. 17) could easily have “bell” substituted for “knell,” but the word “knell” was chosen instead, because it brings with it the mood of a funeral.

The rhymes of the poem are very regular, and almost song-like. A consistent ABAB CDCD rhyme scheme is followed throughout each of the four stanzas. The passionate sorrow of the poem is expressed in the irregular rhythm, with the length, stressing of syllables, and patterns all differing in each stanza. This combination of song-like rhymes and irregular rhythm creates a perfect “poetic” depression in the poem.

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Sentimental Poem

GEORGE GORDON, LORD BYRON (1788-1824)

When We Two Parted is a poem about the end of a relationship.

The speaker addresses the poem to an ex-lover. I understood that this poem doesn’t reflect that exes go different ways. Instead, it is characterized by complications, pain, and anger.

I found this poem the most sentimental because I believe there are emotions like disillusionment and frustration. I found it that way because the lover knew that his beloved has moved on, and even wonders how he ever cared about someone who seems to have forgotten him.

The speaker then relates how hearing other people talk about the lover brings him pain. Despite the breakup, he wants the ex to remain his. Hearing rumors about the lover indicates that she may have moved on. She may have given her heart to someone else.

The poem seems to say people move on with their lives,  but this doesn’t mean that they move on completely from past loves. In this case, those feelings remain to be painful as ever, even as they change in other ways.

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IRJE: A Separate Peace

In A Separate Peace, by John Knowles, Gene Forrester reminisces about parts of his life 15 years ago, as he walks through his old school. In his eyes, Devon School has been well preserved; surprisignly, even more so than when he attended. As Gene describes his experience at Devon, it’s clear to see that he associates the school will fear, rather than with sentimentality. He attended the school in the early 1940’s, during World War 2, so this response seems only natural. As the novel progresses, we start to see more of the explanation behind his resonating trauma. However, as he’s reflecting on the surface-level growth of the school, he makes an observation about how his life has changed in 15 years.

Everything at Devon slowly changed and slowly harmonized with what had gone before. So it was logical to hope that since the buildings and the Deans and the curriculum could achieve this, I could achieve, perhaps unknowingly had achieved, this growth and harmony myself. (p. 7)

I find it fascinating to hear someone reflecting on their life at school. I always wonder what aspects I will remember, and what I’ll forget. Will details that are so significant to me now, be relevant to my future? Will I remain friends with any of my high school friends? In this passage, Gene isn’t certain that he’s experienced a prominent sense of growth nor harmony. It seems that he feels that his school has changed, but in a way, he still hasn’t. Perhaps this is hinting at aspects of his life that he hasn’t yet moved on from. As Gene explores his past, it seems that he never truly received the closure he deserved, and that his encounters and mistakes are still haunting him. This makes me wonder how memorable the events occurring in my life genuinely are, and how memorable they will be 15 years from now.

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IRJE- March 1st

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck was published in 1937. The novel tells a story of two ranch workers George Milton and Lennie Small. They are traveling around California in search of jobs during the great depression. From the beginning, we can tell George Milton takes care of Lennie, as Lennie is described as a simple-minded man. They have a history together when George brings up Lennie’s aunt Clara who used to take care of Lennie until she died. Both men are sitting around a fire warming their canned beans when Lennie asks George to repeat the dream future they share. A story he has told many times before.

He repeated his words rhythmically as though he had said them many times before. (P.15).

From this quotation, we can observe that both Lennie and George treasure the dream, the narrator stresses its importance as we can tell it is something they talk about over and over. Though George is hard on Lennie and talks at length about how easy his life would be without him, they still share a dream. We can see their relationship of brotherly love.

 

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March 15th Independent Reading

For my next book, I’ll be reading The Hunger Games. I’ve watched the four movies but I’ve always wanted to read the books. I’ve been told that the story is the same, but some details change. Also, the books have way more stuff and I’m curious to know what these things are in The Hunger Games books.

In The Hunger Games society, an annual event is placed in which one boy and one girl between the ages of 12–18 from each of the twelve districts which are surrounding the Capitol are selected randomly to compete in a televised battle fighting for survival.

The objective of the Hunger Games is to provide entertainment to the Capitol. To remind the districts the failed rebellion of the current competitors’ ancestors.

The person who wins is called a victor. Victors receive income from the Capitol for life. They are given a special status in their districts and are allowed to live in the part of their district called “Victors’ Village”.

 

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Badminton

I have played badminton for most of my life, around 8 years. My father had first introduced the sport to me at a young age. We would play outside our house with two rackets we had brought from India. At first, I was barely able to hit the birdie back to father. As we played more and more I started to be able to hit the birdie better to the point where I was consistent. Other than practicing at home I played at my old school Selkirk Montessori. There, I had a friend who was an expert at the sport, and he inspired me to get better. In grade five I had joined the Badminton team, there we played matches against other schools and sometimes went to tournaments.

In my first tournament, I won my first match and was eager to play again, I had moved up on the tournament standings. Within the second match, however, I lost by only two points against another student who was trained in the sport of badminton. Even though I lost I enjoyed the match, I lost the first game, won the second and lost by two points in the third, but as a result of playing this student, I gained his respect. There was a lady who was taking pictures of the games and said that our match was amazing and that between all of the other matches she had seen, ours was her favourite.

Ever since the tournament, I have improved my skills tremendously. The loss had encouraged me to get better. From these experiences of playing badminton with my father and with my past school I have developed my skills at the sport and have enjoyed every match. Through the sport, I was able to meet new people and develop my skills.

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Personal Response to Romeo & Juliet

When Shakespeare wrote Romeo and Juliet he wanted people to appreciate love, and how it can shape your life for the better or worse. In Romeo and Juliet Shakespeare wanted to show us the worst possible situation two lovers could find themselves in. The two main characters Romeo and Juliet are from two different households who share the same wealth but have never approved of one another, they would always have their disagreements.

Between the two characters, I like Romeo more than Juliet. I feel that Romeo is a very interesting character with the way he acts throughout the play, he is obsessed with the topic of love. He originally loved Juliet’s cousin Rosaline, but once he saw Juliet, Rosaline was no longer on his mind. With Juliet, when she first met Romeo at the ball, which was organized by Lord Capulet, the two of them fell in love, and later on planned to marry each other. Juliet originally was going to be married to Paris, who her father fancied. Juliet has a choice if she listens to her father but if she disobeys her father’s opinions she is no longer a daughter to him, which is what happened when Juliet pleaded to her father about not wanting to marry Paris. I like Romeo more than Juliet because his life tends to go on different paths depending on his thoughts. Juliet’s life, on the other hand, revolves around her parents and the nurse and whether or not she is old enough to be married.

I think that the matter of choice was the leading factor for the tragic ending of the story. If the Montagues and Capulets during the beginning would instead of hating appreciated one another then Romeo and Juliet would have never been separated or denied the choice to marry each other even though they were from different houses.

The story is one that cannot be forgotten, it shares with us the lesson of how we should appreciate rather than neglect those who we love in life. We should be happy with what we have and should listen to our parents for support in life. However, we cannot always rely on those close to us to make the best decision for us. We have to be able to use what we have learned from the experiences within our life to make healthy decisions for our future. Which is what I believe the story is trying to teach us through both the characters and the plot.

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PW – Dear Evan Hansen

Dear Evan Hansen, written by Steven Levenson, is an award winning musical, and it is so for a reason. It follows the life of Evan, a teenager with social anxiety. Dear Evan Hansen is conveying the message of finding yourself, and that even if you think you are, you’re not alone. The plot is based around one of Evan’s acquaintances, Connor Murphy, who commits suicide at the beginning of the year. The musical shows the affects it has on Evan and Connors family, as well as the action some students at their school take, to guarantee Connors memory is kept alive. After its debut on Broadway in 2015, the musical has only grown, and continued to reach success.

Needless to say, due to my prior love for musical theatre, I adored this musical. By solely listening to the soundtrack, I found myself consumed (ask my friends, I’m sure they would confirm my severe obsession). After a few years of listening and memorizing the entire soundtrack, I finally had the opportunity to see in live. On February 29th, I took the ferry to Vancouver, and on March 1st, I saw the show.

Have you ever read a book, then watched the equivalent movie, and been amazed by the difference? Well, this was absolutely nothing like that. Dear Evan Hansen came alive. Every song coincided perfectly with the visuals, every actor portrayed the character much better than ever anticipated, and the musical itself left such a powerful affect on everyone, including me.

Dear Evan Hansen was full of life, humour, love, sadness, romance, and relatability, as you follow a teenager struggling through high school. One of the most powerful and memorable songs, called “You will be found”, sends a message that can be extremely valuable to many. Even though it may seem cheesy, I would highly recommend listening to, or seeing this musical. I consider myself fortunate for having this opportunity. Therefore, if you are able to as well, you won’t regret it.

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PW: Mar. 7 (Tyrienne- the Ascer Flats)

Tyrienne sat on a clay-tiled rooftop, watching the merchants below slowly conclude their incessant declarations of superiority over other vendors. With the midday hours closing in, the bustling market streets had all but emptied. No one was inclined to find themselves caught in the blistering heat of noon. Well, that was, no one except Tyrienne. There was something wonderful to her about wandering through marketplaces and thoroughfares that had just hours ago been packed near to bursting with vibrant sounds and colours, and finding them as deserted as the barren wastelands that lay beyond the city.

Finally the last of the merchants left the square, heading to taverns or homesteads to wait out the brutal Ascer sun. Tyrienne couldn’t help herself from smiling as she dropped from the roof onto a small balcony below, then jumped off, landing on the stone streets of the seemingly abandoned city. She closed her eyes as she began to walk, imagining the heat that beat down from above melting her into the ground. Even with her eyes shut, she knew exactly where she was. When growing up in a city located directly in the centre of an expansive desert, with nothing but sand within a week’s ride in every direction, one got to know their hometown quite well. After all, there was nowhere else to get to know. She could wander around the entire city blindfolded without once getting lost. In fact, she often did. Meager blind beggars tended to get more sympathy, and so also money, than able-bodied ones.

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The Lost Boys of Lampson

In The Lost Boys of Lampson written by P.N. Holland, a boy named Billy who is in grade seven finds his way into the grounds of Lampson Street School. Immediately when he entered he felt chills, as if something was wrong. The school was usually a place you would feel comfortable but today was different. It was quiet and Billy felt like he was being watched. He turned around but all he saw was the emptiness of the school grounds. As he made his way deeper into the school he found himself in front of a building with large red doors that made him feel uncomfortable, as if he was about to be swallowed alive by the building. Behind him, he heard the cawing of crows, and as he looked up to one of the school windows he was overcome by fear.

“A shadowy form appeared at the once uncovered window, a stick in its hand or maybe a cane, the end glowing white.” (p. 1)

I feel that the quote above is important because it reveals to us the true mystery behind the school. Even though Lampson School looks and feels welcoming it has a dark secret that Billy has just witnessed. Unsure of what he saw, Billy thinks that it was his imagination. But what he saw in the window was not at all a figment of his imagination and he will only find out the truth as he progresses through the year.

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Personal Response Romeo and Juliet

When it comes to my personal thoughts on Romeo and Juliet, I would firstly think of its plot, as I felt that one particular part of the play just did not seem realistic and gets me extremely confused and disturbed while reading or even watching the play Romeo and Juliet. During the Balcony scene, not long after Romeo and Juliet confessed their love to each other, they have both agreed to have a marriage the following day. This particular scene, just seemed really unrealistic to me. I understand that they are both immature, and that they are in love, but having a marriage right after they have just confessed love to each other? its just seems really impractical to me. The relationship between the two of them have just escalated too quickly and its just not applicable in our current society, as it would usually take months or even years to having both partners agree for marriage.

Another topic comes up to my mind while thinking about Romeo and Juliet, and it is its usage of language. Shakespeare uses an old fashioned english that makes the story really difficult to understand. Shakespeare uses words such as “thou”, “thy, “doth” and more. I find it really hard to read the play, as I do not understand the definition of most of these words.

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Passion in Literature: Mar. 6 (Personal Response to Romeo and Juliet)

In our current day, the mass perception of Romeo and Juliet is one that paints the two nobles as icons of perfect “true love.” Though the play may not have begun the mentality that to die for one’s partner is the ultimate expression of love, it certainly emulated this ideology (or, at least, is now regarded as emulating this ideology). Thus, with the growth in popularity of Romeo and Juliet also came the mass spreading of the “I would die for you” concept. In my eyes, the play much better suites the role of a cautionary tale than a poetic romance. Hence, throughout reading and watching the tragedy, I became more and more concerned that somehow these two figures, that to me are the quintessence of idiotic impulsiveness, turned into those that we now aspire to be in our relationships.

During the whole of the play, we see Romeo and Juliet interact less than ten times, and not once do they discuss anything of genuine importance. They quite literally know nothing about each others beliefs or views of the world, besides the fact that they love one another, which they proclaim all too often in the stead of anything that actually matters. Their love can only be based off of solely physical attraction, as neither one displays to the other any personality trait besides “in love.” Yet, still, they both choose to commit suicide when they see the other dead, as if it is better to die than to live without a person who they’ve known for only four days and haven’t learned anything about besides how attractive they look.

It is very worrisome to me that we would strive to mimic the “love” that Romeo and Juliet have, as I see their “love” as more of a shallow fancy. The excitement of that that is new was not given enough time to diminish before radical events occurred, and I believe that, combined with teenage impulse, is the reason Romeo and Juliet committed suicide for each other, not any kind of “true love.” I think that the message that people should’ve taken away from Romeo and Juliet is the best course of action is not always the most immediate one. Consistently throughout the play we see impulse driving people to do make the wrong choice without properly considering options first. For example, the second Juliet comes to tell Friar Lawrence of her marriage dilemma, he decisively puts into action a not at all though out plan, which, inevitably, ends in disaster.

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Knights of Illusion…

At my previous school Selkirk Montessori, my best friend and I would often play a game during our recess block called knights of Illusion. A game that was mostly played with our imagination. In the game, I would usually play the knight who would go on various quests and face challenges along the way. While I played the knight my friend was normally the Gamekeeper, who would create quests for the knight and give rewards if the quests were completed.

During our recess block every day, we would go to a place called the checkerboard which had a unique layout. We would always play the game there and because of my friend’s creative imagination, there were always new challenges to face every time we went out for recess.

One day my friend made a boss fight for me, which consisted of a dragon with four thousand health points. I was given three lives to successfully kill the dragon but because my weapon at the time was only able to deal two damage to the dragon per hit it took me a total of four recesses to beat the challenge.

We played this game until grade six since, after our grade six years, we did not always have recess, which resulted in us no longer using our imagination and rather focusing on our school work. Even after not getting the chance to play the game anymore, we would sometimes talk about it in class, reflecting on how much fun we had and the different challenges we both faced.

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Personal Response of Romeo and Juliet

In William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Mercutio is my favourite character. At first, I disliked his vulgarity, but I happened to adore the complexity within him. Everyone needs a friend like Mercutio in their life, but Mercutio suffers more than anyone could imagine. Rarely could anyone reach into the heart of a person like him. The closest attempt made was a scene where he talks to Romeo before going to the Capulet’s party, and the film portrays a close-up view of the two men. The light is dim, and the tranquillity of the scene is very touching. In one of the moments where Mercutio is serious, I thought I caught a glimpse of his inner-self. Contrasting to his witty and annoying guise, he might longe for harmony, considering how he is caught in between of the two noble families. My favourite scene is when Mercutio dies. The camera films Mercutio from below, and he covers his wound in his hands under the beaming sun. Then, he collapses. The crowd of men lifts his hand in horror to discover the fatal injury and quickly drops his hand back. Mercutio plays a role that eventually cost his life. I might cry for him if I watched the play alone.

The main characters, Romeo and Juliet, are the only ones who succeeded in becoming themselves in this play. The other characters’ actions revolve around them and can’t seem to do what they want. Although it may appear like the lovers have the most restrictions, they break through all of them with youth’s passion. I admire Romeo and Juliet. In my culture, people value dying with dignity for a good reason. Their seemingly irrational decisions are respectful and meaningful to me.

This play changed my understanding of love. While reading the script, I felt that they weren’t really in love with each other, but instead, they are in love with the concept of love itself. Their attractive appearances, dramatic first-sight encounter, and the obstacles that set them apart act as triggers that lead them to live a romantic, almost unrealistic life.

My life isn’t romantic. Being in a romantic relationship does not guarantee that it is romantic at all. It is tough to love someone and earn love’s mercy at the same time. Once we are spared from love and confronts our real partners, suddenly, it takes all the effort in the world to love them. If, by chance, that they happen to be in love with each other truly, then they will either stop soon or develop a reliance on the partner, which is not romantic and rather pitiful. I wouldn’t say I like having conversations with my partner. It is only romantic when I think about her.

Love has nothing to do with reality, or anything physical. In the play, Romeo and Juliet spend a night together and have sex. We can call this an act of love, but it has nothing to do with the quintessence of love. Sex is an act of contamination. It is a type of passion, which is romantic but cannot be defined by love.
Love is not limited to romantic relationships. An example would be parental love, but we don’t see much of its display in Romeo and Juliet. Familial love is realistic and, therefore, less romantic, but I believe it is the most solid relationship established under love’s name. Interestingly, Juliet is independent of paternal love. Although she is somewhat betrayed by it several times, she can withdraw from it with little struggle. This withdrawal could be due to her mother’s distantness and the nurse’s inferior identity as a servant. It is also because of her engagement to Romeo, a replacement for the love of her family. Therefore, running off with Romeo becomes an easy decision. While paternal love is one-sided and can rarely be balanced, romantic love should always be equal.

Other than love, the play also includes blind hatred between the two houses. We never know why they fought, but the play would be less interesting if Shakespear gave us the answer. There is no identified antagonist in the story, but I think hatred is qualified enough to take the role. It is an essential element that highlights love and makes the story even more romantic. It is also why the story is tragic, but I think the story of Romeo and Juliet will always be sad, even without alternatives to the plot. If Juliet obeys her father and marries Paris, she will endure the fate of becoming just like her mother. Romeo will eventually stop searching for his love. They will lose their youth, wealth and passion regardless of what happens. Romeo and Juliet is a successful tragic love story. It would be less successful if it were happy love story.

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IRJE: Mar. 1 (The Catcher in the Rye)

In the Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger, Holden Caulfield goes to spend the night at the house of his previous English teacher, Mr. Antolini. Holden, despite his exhaustion, stays up to have a small discussion with Mr. Antolini out of politeness. Mr. Antolini shares his concern for Holden’s future with him, and in doing so quotes the words of Wilhelm Stekel.

“Here’s what he said: ‘The mark of the immature man is that he wants to die nobly for a cause, while the mark of the mature man is that he wants to live humbly for one.'” (pp. 107-108)

When reading this, I was reminded of one of the concepts brought up in Romeo and Juliet, the other text I am currently reading. In Romeo and Juliet, the two lovers take their own lives for one another– or, in other words, die “nobly” for the cause of love. I, however, believe that this act was much more of an immature impulsion brought about by the excitement of young infatuation. Thus, when I read this quotation, I immediately thought of it in the context of Shakespeare’s play. To the extent of my memory, this was the first time in the Catcher in the Rye that something said actually sparked any kind of new and interesting consideration in me. However, as it was a quotation taken from somewhere else, not too much credit can be given to the book itself. Stekel summarized my thoughts on Romeo and Juliet in a very succinct and appropriate way, and thus gave me a clearer understanding of the underlying idea behind how I felt about the actions of Romeo and Juliet. I appreciated this, and am now at least able to say that the Catcher in the Rye gave me some, if rather indirect, new insight into life.

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Romeo and Juliet Personal Response

Going into reading Romeo and Juliet, by William Shakespeare, I was fairly narrow-minded. I was well aware of the story portraying two young star-crossed lovers, forced to hide their love for one another due to their warring families. I was also familiar with the seemingly unrealistic concept of love-at-first-sight, which appears to only occur in movies, television, or literature. I thought of Romeo and Juliet as a played-out love story (although, to be fair, it likely wasn’t played-out at the time), that uses *instantaneous love* as a cover for two teenagers who were physically attracted to one another. Additionally, I felt ill-at-ease knowing that schools were teaching millions of easily influenced youth a story that romanticizes suicide, due to the era we are living in. Although I still don’t agree with the ending, or the message it portrays, many of my opinions have changed regarding the characters, and the connections with our world.

Although I see their rapidly escalating relationship, early marriage, and premature suicide as a reflection of the characters’ immaturity, I no longer believe it’s based on lust. Romeo and Juliet both made quite large, incautious and conclusive errors. However, I believe they were in fact in love. It’s difficult to grasp that idea, because I find the story to be so unrealistic. However, their connection is demonstrated through several passages, interactions, and their overall characters.

Juliet’s kindness, innocence, and desire to please others is quite stereotypical, but is so for a reason. These qualities lead me to believe that she not only loves easily, but is loved easily. Romeo’s character is almost mirrored in that sense, which we can see through his love for Rosaline, directly prior to his sudden love for Juliet. Combined, these two characters form a couple of hopeless romantics, which could be a cause for their powerful and instantaneous connection. Nevertheless, this doesn’t minimize how the characters feel about one another. Romeo and Juliet are both strong minded, determined people who would do anything for love, which did not end in the best way for them. Regardless, I like their characters individually, and even more as a couple. Through reading and watching Romeo and Juliet, I could feel their connection. I wouldn’t say that it’s something that I aspire to, but it feels genuine, which is admirable. I also sympathized with their characters very strongly, because all they wanted was to be together, but that was taken away due to miscommunication. They were willing to run away from their high socioeconomic standings and family names for each other. This sincerity alone, along with everything else, justifies my anger regarding the ending.

Learning about Romeo and Juliet has allowed me to realize how far our world has come, and how different it was in the 16th century. Women were completely controlled by the men in their life, whether that be their fathers, or their husbands. Not only that,  but they were expected to marry so young, usually to someone much older. Juliet was only 13 years old when she was expected to be married. Our world has different issues facing women today. However, I’m thankful that gender equality has become a priority, and that we’re moving away from the mistreatment of women. This play is quite different to my world, which is a relief. Although I often say that I would love to have lived in a different time, I’m beginning to realize that I wouldn’t be overly satisfied with the past after-all…

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Personal response to Romeo & Juliet

Although written in the 16th century by Shakespeare, readers of the play can find themselves in the plot and in the characters and their surroundings. Although the external living conditions in England in the early modern period are in stark contrast to the present day, people’s feelings have not changed. Love, envy, intrigue and openly displayed enmity reveal what drives people today as much as in Shakespeare’s lifetime. The build-up of tension within the tragedy captivates both the reader and the spectator from beginning to end: the exposition at the beginning, expressed in the clashes of the servants, the escalation during which Romeo and Juliet meet at the dance, fall in love and finally marry, and the retarding moment when Juliet plans with Father Lorenzo to stage a suspended animation that eventually leads to catastrophe and ends with the death of the two heroes. Shakespeare succeeded in making the reader feel sorry for the protagonists and in incorporating various aspects of a tragic conflict: Thus the actors are driven by idealistic motives, but also by a desire for revenge, which has been dragged along for far too long from the conflicts between the families. The play is undoubtedly worth reading – both for the unwavering, unprecedented love and the tension that Shakespeare was able to build up from the entanglements. Both fans of classical literature and readers who are more aloof can easily find their way into the language of Shakespeare and get carried away by the plot.

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IRJ, March 1st

The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger Is about a kid named Holden who describes his day to day life in a very relatable way. The way the book is written is almost exactly how kids my age talk to each other. This makes the book relatable and easy to read.  The way Holden describes people can remind me of how some of my friends and people do at school. a good example of this is when holden is describing his friend Stradlator.

He always looked good after fixing himself up, but he always was a secret slob anyway, if you knew him the way I did. The reason he fixed himself up to look good was beacuse he was madly in love with himself.

I love this quote because you just tell how obviously jealous Holden is of Stradlator. I can relate that to so many different situations I hear on a daily basis. It is natural for humans to naturally start to compare each other and begin to notice the pros and cons of others.

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