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

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

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

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

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June 1st IRJE: Sherlock Holmes

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

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

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

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

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

“Do you like me that much, Elio?”

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

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

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IRJE: June 1 (Hunted)

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

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

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

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June 1st IRJE

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

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

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

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

 

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