All posts by Amy

PW: December 7th

“Wait! Don’t open your eyes yet!” he exclaimed, to ensure that his point was conveyed.

“I won’t, don’t worry,” I replied to ease his mind. I could smell gingerbread baking in the oven, accompanied by the faint sound of Christmas music playing in the other room. I felt a sudden wave of heat wash over me, which was an indication that the fireplace had just been turned on. Even with my eyes closed, I could tell that the room felt happier than it had in weeks.

“Okay, you can open your eyes now,” which filled me with a sudden surge of excitement. The Christmas season always gave me a sense of nostalgia and happiness, even though it may seem stereotypical or tacky. Our house was always decorated, music was constantly blaring, and below our tree there were always gifts. Ironically enough, the moment he said that, the music turned off and my other senses weren’t as defined as well as they were just minutes earlier. In fact, the room felt entirely different.

I opened my eyes, and the room was completely empty. The decorations were gone, the people were gone, the music was gone, the warmth was gone, the happiness was gone. Wiped away, and for a reason that I wasn’t even aware of. I was standing completely alone. I didn’t understand why or even how everything was taken away so rapidly. Was this a joke? Am I dreaming?

A previously magnificent room was ultimately bare. I looked around, to see if there was any trace of what happened. I walked over to the counter, and on it was an envelope with my name on it. I ripped it open, and it only read:

Everything has been donated. Enjoy your Christmas.

Everything clicked instantaneously. The one wish I had this year, was to improve the Christmas of others, no matter what cost. I had originally meant financially. However, this was 1000 times better.

Sometimes, we need to learn to give things up, to make others happy. And only when you learn to do that, you will find the satisfaction and happiness you need, knowing that it isn’t material or superficial, it’s legitimate. Now, how is that for being stereotypical?

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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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PW: November 21st – A Teenager’s Narrative

I am the first to wake up. The room is silent. I can only hear the ticking of the clock, and the rhythm of everyone’s breathing. It‘s 8:20am, which means that I got an overwhelming total of 5 hours sleep. Fantastic.

I can’t choose how to feel today. Happy that yesterday’s over? Upset about the information I found out? Hurt because of the bonds that I lost, or maybe didn’t even have in the first place… Perhaps I’ll just be a combination of all three. Having mixed-emotions seems to be my specialty these days. If I’m being honest, at this point, I just feel too tired to even have the desire to sort out my emotions.

Even on the days that I get 13 hours of sleep, I still feel tired. Fatigue is an epidemic among teenagers. School, mixed with extracurriculars, homework, and doing chores leaves essentially no room to have a life, but we stretch ourselves out to a point that we can squeeze one in. But it seems that we never schedule time to sort out how we should feel, versus how we do feel.

Is this the way everyone feels? Am I any different from my friends? Is this normal, but we simply never talk about it because it’s too hard to explain? It’s not even necessarily a bad thing, it’s just… kind of there. I guess we’re just too busy to deal with ourselves; or, maybe I’m just too busy to deal with myself.

It’s now 9:10am, which means I’ve spent almost a full hour thinking about how I don’t think about things. Maybe it’s not that I can’t think about my emotions; it’s that I don’t want to…

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IRJE: The Edible Woman

In The Edible Woman, by Margaret Atwood, Marian starts off living a simple, ordinary life. She works in a market research firm, in which even she defines as “expected”, as opposed to her progressive roommate, Ainsley’s, job of testing electric toothbrushes. Marian’s structured life is quite work-oriented, which is unfortunate because she finds it quite dull. In the novel, we’re introduced to Peter, who’s proposal is the provocation of Marian’s inability to eat. This novel features heavy roles of feminism, touches on the struggles of finding one’s own self-identity, and demonstrates what impacts a single action can have on someone’s life. Before Marian and Peter’s engagement, and Marian’s developing eating disorder emerges, she visits Clara, who’s life isn’t as put together as it used to be in high school and university, which the following passage describes.

In that classroom full of oily potato-chip-fattened adolescents she was everyone’s ideal of translucent perfume-advertisement femininity. At university she had been a little healthier, but had grown her blonde hair long, which made he look more medieval than ever: I had thought of her in connection with the ladies sitting in rose gardens on tapestries. Of course her mind wasn’t like that, but I’ve always been influenced by appearances. (p. 34)

After reading ahead of this extract, then reexamining it, I noticed a similarity between Marian and Clara’s life, that I believe this was a foreshadowing of. I found this passage extremely interesting, because after university, it seems that Clara’s life unraveled. She’s now a woman with several children, which she struggles to take care of, even with her husband’s help. In school, she was seen as essentially perfect, even though it was only in an external way. Now, her household is messy, her hygiene has become irrelevant, and her organization is basically non-existent. At the beginning of this novel, Marian had a very organized routine, and a sane life, which was, like Clara, more or less perfect. But after her engagement, that also falls apart, and causes her appetite to disappear. They’re both trying to work out their lives: for Clara, how to manage her household, and for Marian, discovering herself and what she wants in life. Upon first glance, Clara and Marian don’t seem to be similar, however they both lost their sense of perfection, and replaced it with an undesired, and unhealthy habit.

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Finding Something to Write About – PW

Currently, I’m sitting on my bed, staring at this computer screen, searching for words. I have absolutely no idea what I want to write about. I’m looking around my room, searching for inspiration, but nothing particularly sparks an interest deep enough to write about.

In front of me, my wall is covered with art I’ve gathered over the past few years, all going along with a blue, black, white and tan colour scheme. To the left of that, there are two decorated shelves with books on them, among other things. Below that, but above my dark brown, wooden desk, there are pictures of my friends and I. However, I should really update that wall, because I honestly don’t really talk to some of them anymore, and I have new friends that should be added.

My desk is cluttered, because I’m constantly in the process of multitasking. I swear, I have at least 50 things to do at once, but I’m pretty bad about procrastinating. My desk is covered with art supplies, school work, a blow dryer, jewelry, and my Amazon Alexa, because why not.

Looking to the left side of me, I have my bigger bookcase, which has most of my books on it. I love reading, but we have so much schoolwork that I don’t have as much time to do it anymore. Nevertheless, my list of classics I want to read before I graduate is continuously expanding… oops.

On the opposite side of my room, I have my closets, which we got from Ikea, but they really aren’t too interesting. Then, there are my bedside cabinets, with more stacks of books on them, along with a jewelry box on one, and a lamp on the other. Sitting next to it is my glasses, which I never wear, because I really don’t want to revisit that part of my life. Just kidding. Kind of.

Okay, I guess I lied when I said I have nothing to write about. Maybe the little things in life are more interesting than we think they are. Or maybe I’m just saying that because I know I need to conclude this somehow…

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War Reflection

War can be viewed in several contrasting perspectives, or through multiple varying lenses. Despite this, the common factors are the astronomical amounts of death, the lengthy resolution processes, and the mourning period families have to go through after losing their loved ones. However, we don’t tend to see this side of war. It’s often portrayed as courageous young men fighting for the country they love. Although we acknowledge the unpleasant and devastating outcomes of war, the patriotic biases generally outweigh the true, tragic nature. During this unit, I discovered not only the patriotic or negative stances on war, but also approaches I would have never thought to consider. 

Reading All Quiet on the Western Front, by Erich Maria Remarque, allowed me to get a glimpse into the life of a soldier, which was quite eye-opening. Throughout the novel, there was a definite development between certain characters, as the soldiers’ relationships transformed from friendships, to brotherhood. The strength of their bonds are so powerful, that we start to observe the characters become more afraid for each other in combat, than themselves, as we see in the following scene:

I become gloomy: I will be away for six weeks– that is lucky of course, but what may happen before I get back? Shall I meet these fellows again? Already Haie and Kemmerich have gone– who will the next be? (p.152)

This passage demonstrates only a fraction the distress soldiers faced due to their rapidly changing lives, and the destruction they may face at any given moment. Often times, when looking at different wars, we look at them in a very broad, abstract, almost apathetic way. We don’t dwell on or even consider the individual lives that were turned upside down, because it’s much too difficult to make such a traumatic and catastrophic event personal. It would tear us down… but perhaps it should. Now, I’m not proposing that we inflict emotional suffering on ourselves. Nevertheless, perhaps the traditions of only honouring the success of the war needs to be balanced with more recognition and appreciation of what the soldiers and families lost.

After having the opportunity to read the varying poems, I began to understand the different impacts the war had on people. In Dulce et Decorum Est, by Wilfred Owen, I found an apparent tone of resentment, and a very rough sound that conveys the narrator’s view perfectly. The language used provokes a very negative, seemingly angry response in the reader, which I believe was the author’s aim when forming the diction:

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,

Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,

The expressions used, in particular old beggars, and coughing like hags, are very aggressive, which reveals the pain the war caused for the narrator. I also observed that the sentence is broken up in multiple places, creating a jagged and abrupt sound when reading it. This poem demonstrates a very raw, painful take on the war, whereas if you were to look at In Flanders Fields, by John McRae, there is a much more peaceful, serene and woeful outlook, such as in these lines:

We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved and were loved, and now we lie

In Flanders Fields.

It’s interesting to compare, because it seems that the more vague the poem is, such as In Flanders Fields, the more it ties into patriotism, whereas the more detailed and thorough, the more gut-wrenching. This theory ties into what I mentioned early, about how we tend to focus on war as very vague, and far-away, which is potentially why we end up making it much more patriotic than it should be. I recognize that patriotism can be a good thing in many scenarios. However, when holding a ceremony titled “Remembrance Day”, I feel it is important to share more than that very one-sided opinion.

The more we educate ourselves on war, the more we deepen our understanding, which allows us to come to our own conclusions about it. I believe that everyone is entitled to their own opinions about these events, not just mine. I strongly believe that knowledge is power, which is why I don’t think the war should be remembered in a certain, specific way. The more resources we have, the more we’re taught, the more informed our beliefs become. This literature has absolutely influenced and altered my conclusions, but now I’m truly able to understand and justify my opinions. Personally, I sit in between the two extremes, because I feel that certain details are too gruesome to share. Nevertheless, it is very important to understand the struggles the soldiers faced in order to make our country the safe, free, and peaceful nation it is today.

Following the same idea, in order to prevent a future war, we must promote the education of past wars, what caused them, and how much havoc they resulted in. We’re constantly encouraged to learn from our mistakes, and this happens to directly apply to this situation. As long as we continue to comprehend what we did poorly and successfully, we will be able to keep Canada a safe place. It’s definitely more complicated than that for leaders, because it’s extremely challenging to please everyone. Even so, that’s why it’s so advantageous for our nation to embrace diversity.

In a Remembrance Day ceremony, I would maintain certain traditions, but alter others. I have attended a ceremony at a cemetery before, and I found it much more meaningful. There is a program, called “No stone left alone”, which I think is a very good idea for Remembrance Day. The idea is to honour the individual soldiers, by putting a poppy on each one of their graves. I feel this is very important, because the individual lives aren’t as recognized as I believe they should be. We’re talking about people, who fought to protect us. It’s important to realize how much they sacrificed, and hoe much they went through, which is why I would read To His Love, Perhaps, and Anthem for Doomed Youth. I believe those poems are very honest, and they capture the sadness, while also expressing what the soldiers went through.

I don’t agree with a reading of In Flanders Fields, because we need to stop the glorification of the war, not encourage it. Yes, we’re fortunate to have freedom, and yes this is due to the war. Despite that, it’s not something we should be celebrating in the slightest. We should not be proud of the war, we should be relieved we aren’t obligated to fight in one now. We lost so many lives, which need to be valued, which is why I would make a Remembrance Day ceremony individual-orientated, rather than remembering the war itself.

I strongly believe that this is the way we should be honouring the soldiers, yet avoiding all glorification, as in the end, that’s what this day is all about.

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IRJE – Life of Pi – Part 2

In Life of Pi, by Yann Martel, Pi’s life is quite literally drowning. Accompanied by his family and many zoo animals from his home in India, Pi sets off on a ship, Tsimstsum, to start a new life in Canada. However, a catastrophe occurs when the ship sinks due to a mechanical issue. Pi, along with only a few animals, manages to escape to the lifeboat. However, his family isn’t so fortunate. Scared, alone, and unbalanced, Pi has to rely on his inner strength, while simultaneously balancing the care of the animals he’s on board with. Initially, Pi struggles to coexist with the animals, particularly the tiger, Richard Parker. After a sudden realization that he was sharing a lifeboat with a wild animal, followed by a rapid exit off the lifeboat, Pi realizes that in order to survive this journey, he needs to find a way to live alongside the zoo animals.

I wonder if those who hear this story will understand that my behaviour was not an act of insanity or a covert suicide attempt, but a simple necessity. Either I tamed him, made him see who was Number One and who was Number Two– or I died the day I wanted to climb aboard the lifeboat during rough weather and he objected (p.229).

I found this passage quite thought provoking, for several reasons. Even though Pi’s constantly facing near death experiences, he’s still considering what others may think about his situation. Why is he focusing on what other people think about him? Is this simply human nature? Potentially, he could be doing it as a way to maintain his sanity, because at this point he didn’t have any form of human interaction. Or maybe our society can’t survive without the validation of others, which is something I detect in many people now, regardless if they let it show. Another thing I found fascinating about this scene is that Pi is sincerely making an effort to coexist with his fears, which in this case is Richard Parker, the tiger. Perhaps we should all look at the fact that Pi’s living on a lifeboat with a tiger, as an inspiration to accept and live with the challenges we may face, as well as our most genuine fears.

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All Quiet On The Western Front

All Quiet On The Western Front is an impactful novel written by Erich Maria Remarque, following the life of a German soldier in World War I. When Paul Bäumer, the aforementioned soldier, was deployed to face combat in the war, he demonstrates the hardships that no civilian could ever understand. Paul’s story goes in depth regarding the bonds soldiers make, the emptiness they face, and the separation that builds between them, and their former lives. This novel doesn’t glorify the war, but tells it as it is, which turns out to be an extremely lonely, devastating experience. This is revealed in the following passage concerning a passed away soldier’s (Kemmerich) mother.

I pity her, but she strikes me as rather stupid all the same. Why doesn’t she stop worrying? Kemmerich will stay dead whether she knows about it or not. When a man has seen so many dead he cannot understand and longer why there should be so much anguish over a single individual. (p. 181)

I chose this scene because I cannot begin to imagine this type of attitude, and outlook. Their lives are completely consumed by this war, and it’s affecting them more than we can understand. However, this novel is helping me to comprehend that this was the only mindset soldiers could have in order to survive. They were surrounded by constant death, disappointment, and fear, that any type of connection or relationship would likely result in heartbreak. I thought that this passage was extremely powerful, because it made me realize the true importance and effects that opening up to someone can have. This level is much more extreme, considering the fact that it’s life or death, however it can be applicable to many. Furthermore, this paragraph is showing a very different perspective on self importance and quality of life, because it seems that it was very depleted during World War I. It’s very unfortunate that lives weren’t more appreciated, nevertheless, it seems that that emotion would have only made this more complicated, and distressing.

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PW – Oct 21st – Our Future

I’m constantly told that my generation will be the world’s saviour. As much as I would like to believe that that’s a compliment, it’s not; it’s an escape. An escape to a better world, yes, but also an escape from the world that the past generations have caused. Uninhabitable conditions for some, distress for many, and risk for all. But even with that on everyone’s conscience, the burden of cleaning up that exponential mess lies on our generation, which for the most part consists of young adults and teenagers like myself and my peers.

Despite the fact that we’re in charge of taking action, we lack the opportunity to. We’re taught to be active members in society, but when will leaders, parents, teachers, and adults in general start being inclusive? When we eventually muster up the courage, and do take action, we’re ridiculed, or called irrational, simply because we’re young people. Is this the way to build our future society? To bring people down for trying?

Our ideas need to be taken seriously, our opinions need to be considered, and we need to be treated as what we are: the future. It’s riding on our shoulders, so it’s a necessity that we have a strong foundation.

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IRJE – Life of Pi – Part 1

Life of Pi, by Yann Martel, is a novel that takes on different messages, emotions, undertones, and stories in each section. Part one, Toronto and Pondicherry, commences with the introduction of Pi, the narrator and protagonist. This section of the novel consists of Pi reflecting on his earlier life, after moving from his hometown, Pondicherry, India, to Toronto, Canada. He moved to attend university, but he soon started to realise the different behaviour and mannerisms that separate societies hold.  In his education, Pi is exploring and excelling in the unlikely combination of Religion and Zoology, however social conduct in a foreign country put him in an entirely different situation.

He had no idea how deeply those word wounded me. They were like nails being driven into my flesh. I picked up the knife and fork. I had hardly ever used such instruments. My hands trembled. My sambar lost its taste. (p. 8)

After reading this passage, I immediately connected with it, on different levels. First of all, if you develop certain habitual actions your whole life, then that’s suddenly not deemed acceptable, it would have quite an impact on you. It’s interesting to gain insight on how little we know about other cultures and social norms that may be very regular somewhere else, yet very uncommon here. I know that the majority of the time, we feel the need to conform to society, instead of embracing our individuality, which is a contributing factor to why we’re losing so much exposure and perspective. This scene also explores the significant impact that people can have on you, even though it might not show. I believe we suppressed our emotions very often, which too frequently ends up harming us in a much larger way.

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PW – Take a risk

Do you ever feel too embarrassed to take a chance? Too self-conscious to step outside of your comfort zone?  Too overwhelmed to appreciate everything you have in life? These decisions that we choose not to make, may benefit us in the short term, because they could potentially save us from some embarrassment. However, one day, when we’re looking back at our teenage years, I guarantee that we’re going to regret the risks we decided not to take.

We’re only teenagers for 2190 days. After that, it’s all over. Every problem that we’ve faced, every decision that we’ve made, or any stresses we’ve had, start to feel irrelevant; even minuscule compared to the problems we will encounter as adults. Now is the time to make mistakes or take risks, because you never know what will happen, which means you need to try.

Thinking back to everything you’ve wanted to do, but have never had the courage to go through with can be overwhelming. It might provoke a realization of all the opportunities that you’ve missed out on. However, dwelling on regrets is counterproductive. It’s time to take the leap, and do things you wouldn’t usually find yourself doing; or put yourself in situations that may be slightly outside of your comfort zone.

Now, just to be clear, I’m not saying to go jump off of a cliff. Take the figurative leap. Go do that thing that you’ve secretly been wanting to do for some time; talk to that person you’ve never had the bravery to talk to; or simply ask yourself, “What would I be doing if fear wasn’t an issue?” Why? Because now’s the time for us to live, and we can’t keep taking advantage of that.

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IRJE: North and South

North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell, is a novel that can be unquestionably classified as ahead of its time. The story is centred around Margaret, who is in every respect breaking the woman’s stereotype of that era, by existing alongside everyone else, rather than conforming to the ways of her friends and family. Margaret is a compassionate, strong, versatile individual who’s soon to be embarking on a drastic lifestyle change. Despite being written in 1854, Margaret lives in a reality where embellishing isn’t required when describing the home she loves; a concept which we even struggle with in the 21st century. However, what she has yet to discover is that soon, she won’t be able to call that her home.

“Tell me about Helstone. You have never described it to me. I should like to have some idea of the place you will be living in, when ninety-six Harley Street will be looking dingy and dirty, and dull, and shut up. Is Helstone a village, or a town, in the first place?”

“Oh, only a hamlet; I don’t think I could call it a village at all. There is the church and a few houses near it on the green—cottages, rather—with roses growing all over them.”

“And flowering all the year round, especially at Christmas—make your picture complete,” said he.

“No,” replied Margaret, somewhat annoyed, “I am not making a picture. I am trying to describe Helstone as it really is. You should not have said that.” (p. 9)

This passage conveys just how much Margaret values her life in the Southern part of Britain. It may not be in an overly apparent way, however her honest, genuinely positive description of it reveals her outlook. I also admired the way she stood firmly with her opinion, instead of simply stepping down and pushing away her values in order to maintain pleasant conversation. I find that that isn’t seen nearly enough, and it’s a refreshing change. On another note, this scene is unfortunately foreshadowing the fact that she will soon be moving to the place that she earlier referred to as “dingy and dirty”, and that’s the Northern part of Britain. I found this very interesting, because in novels it seems that there’s consistently a buildup for something that eventually gets taken away, dragged down, or defeated. Does there always need to be an unpleasant change in order to find future success or happiness? Because if so… we’re being taught the wrong things!

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PW – Firelight

I could hear the familiar crackle of the fire, and that’s when I knew we were getting closer.  I started smelling the warm, pine scented campfire, and I couldn’t help but smile.  We were finally there.  Taylor, one of my best friends, and I were the last ones to arrive, so by this time we were radiating with excitement. We walked through the last stretch of forest, weaving ourselves through the maze of trees, and finally reached the clearing.

This meadow was our first choice destination for any and all of our reunions, because everything meaningful in our lives had happened there. We met there, got to know each other, then all became best friends. I had never had such a large group of friends before, but it was by far the best, and most diverse group of people I had ever known. The meadow was a relatively small area, but nevertheless, we loved every part of it.  It was covered with flowers of all shapes, colours, and sizes; along with a small stream running through it, and a fire pit right in the centre. It was in a somewhat remote area that it was peaceful, yet in no way eerie.  It was utterly perfect.

Before everyone noticed Taylor and I, I took a moment to look around me. I was surrounded with laughter, love, and happiness. The orange hue of the fire mixed with the glow of the moon was reflecting off the faces of all my friends, and they looked absolutely blissful.

I looked up at the sky, and saw the stars gleaming above us. The heat of the campfire was enveloping us, to a point where it was crazy to believe it was mid October. Finally, Kaleigh noticed us standing there.

“Aly, Taylor!” She exclaimed, causing the whole group to look our way. Everyone stood up to give us hugs, and that quickly we were all caught up, as if this hadn’t been the first time seeing each other in a month.

Soon enough, we were all sitting down, roasting marshmallows, and sharing stories about our lives. All I knew was that in that moment, as sappy as it sounds, I couldn’t have been happier.

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IRJE: The Perks of being a Wallflower

In The Perks of being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky, the narrator and aforementioned wallflower, Charlie, begins writing letters to an anonymous, sympathetic ear. Charlie is using his letters as an outlet to share his life, and to know that someone is genuinely listening. He’s had a challenging life, but in some ways he doesn’t truly realize that. In fact, he has a tendency to look on the bright side, which makes him such a likeable character. Through Charlie’s encounters, thoughts, and explanations, it isn’t hard to figure out the title very accurately describes his life.

But I guess I did worry about it. I’ve been worrying about it ever since he told me. I look at people holding hands in the hallway, and I try to think about how it all works. At the school dances, I sit in the background, and I tap my toe, and I wonder how many couples will dance to “their song”. In the hallways, I see the girls wearing the guys’ jackets, and I think about the idea of property. And I wonder if anyone is really happy. I hope they are. I really hope they are. (23-24)

This quote shows two different sides of Charlie. On one hand, it demonstrates how he seems to have always lived on the sidelines. In the kindest way possible, his thoughts somewhat convey social ignorance, or possibly just an absence of experience in that area. However, where he lacks in social skills, he makes up in maturity and kindness. As we can see in this quote, he has a sincere, almost candid sense of altruism that we don’t often see in teenagers his age, or even in general. Reading this book, and this quote specifically is very interesting, because being a teenager, and constantly being surrounded with them, I get to compare and contrast my life and his. It’s refreshing to see how Charlie doesn’t judge people, and instead he accepts them for who they are.

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