Personal Response

Reading the book Brave New World by Aldous Huxley was definitely not what I expected. There were so many things in this book that at first were disturbing but as you thought about, could find similarities to our world. I found this very interesting because it raised many questions for me about what a dystopia and utopia are and the requirements on what determines it. Brave New World is a known dystopia, so from the start I was expecting dystopian things. Now don’t get me wrong, there were many things in this book that I do not agree with at all and found very unsettling, but when I thought about them in relation to our world, I found many of these issues expressed in our world just to a lesser degree. Once you start to look deeper into the world Aldous Huxley created you start to understand the world in a different way. The things that seemed unimaginable suddenly had a reason behind them and you start to question what you really think of that world.

Everyone in Brave New World is happy. Anything that brings distress in our world doesn’t exist “preventing unhappiness”. People still have the ability to feel sadness, they are just conditioned to take soma to help them move on. If you were to look at Brave New World from the perspective of a person in that world, there would be nothing wrong. Obviously, there are characters in this book that don’t fit in and don’t enjoy the world they live in, but that is the same with our world. It is impossible to make everyone completely happy. Which made me think of these questions. What makes Brave New World a dystopia when everyone is happy and to what extent is it similar to our world?

This also got me thinking about why we consider what we consider as weird. Obviously, people in Brave New World don’t find their way of life weird. In fact, they would find our lives weird. I think what determines what is weird and what is normal, is the predetermined social norms humanity has created. If you look at this idea over the course of years, there are things that have changed from being acceptable in one time to unheard of in another time. People gradually learn to adapt to the society they live in which causes these changes and can lead to drastic changes over years.

After reading Brave New World it has made me question many things about our society and the reason behind why we do things the way we do. The criteria of a dystopia or utopia used to be clearer to me before reading this book but now I don’t even know what to think.

Personal Writing #6

In June, my family, cousins and grandparents have planed a family trip to Europe. We are going to France, Switzerland, and Italy. I am very excited for this trip! In France we are gong to Paris and Versailles. I am very excited to eat a baguette and croissant. We are going to drive through the alps in Switzerland and go to a place called Gruyere. I have looked at lots of photos and it seems very beautiful. We haven’t planed what we are going to do in Italy yet. On the way back we are going along the French riviera and Italian Riviera. I am really looking forward to swimming and the beaches. I am so excited for this trip with my family!


In the book The Witches of Moonshyne Manor, an angry mob of men have assembled to knock down the house of people who they think are witches. They say that they haven’t paid their money on time and are going to confiscate the house. The women living in the house technically have a week more before they can seize the house. The mayor’s daughter, Persephone, has heard about this injustice and has handcuffed herself to the house as a form of protest. When the angry mob see the mayor’s daughter they are forced to halt.

“I am not bewitched.” Persephone just her chin out. “I came here voluntarily to prevent a miscarriage of justice.”

Cotton Mather gawks at her like he’s never heard anything so ridiculous as a girl knowing her own mind. Ignoring Persephone, he jabs a finger against Queenie’s chest. “Wait until the mayor gets here. He’ll have your ass put in jail so fast-”

“Could you please stop shouting?” Persephone cries out, flinching.

“Why? Am I triggering you?” the reverend sneers.

“No, you’re spitting all over me. It feels like biological warfare getting so much of your slobber on your face.” (p. 56).

This quote is one of the first scenes where Persephone is introduced in the book which gives you an introduction to what her character is like. This quote also shows how Persephone likes to address things in her community that she thinks are injustices.

Brave New World

In the book Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, he creates a future dystopia by using examples from the present in a way that is twisted and unnatural. For example, the book begins in a facility that mass produces humans by an assembly line. The director of the facility is giving a tour to students explaining the process and point behind the artificial production of humans.

“Ninety-six identical twins working ninety-six identical machines!” The voice was almost tremulous with enthusiasm. “You really know where you are. For the first time in history.” He quoted the planetary motto. “Community, Identity, Stability.” Grand words. “If we could bokanovskify indefinitely the whole problem would be solved.” Solved by standard Gammas, unvarying Deltas, uniform Epsilons. Millions of identical twins. The principles of mass production at last applied to biology. (p. 5).

This passage in the book is significant because it shows how an assembly line has been altered through scientific technology to modify living things in order benefit the society in the dystopia.


Reading Strategies

One of the most interesting things I learned in the book Out Smart Your Brain by Daniel T. Willingham in chapter 5, is the facts that many students read with out understanding the context of what they are reading. Willingham said that many students think that if they understand what each individual sentence is saying, they will understand the whole book. He then gave an example paragraph with a sentence that contradicts what was being stated and said that many students miss that mistake when rating the clearness of the paragraph. I have discovered I do that too when I am reading something that I find dull and boring.

A reading strategy he gave to try and help this issue is called SQ3R. This strategy outlines a technique that try’s to maximize the amount of knowledge you retain. Although this technique may work to retain knowledge and help you understand the concepts more, it is very time consuming and has many steps involved. Even if it does help you understand the reading, I can not see my self using this strategy in a general setting. The only occasion I would think about using this strategy is if there is a very long and complex text that I am having difficulty understanding and a lack of understanding will cause bigger problems. The reason I would only use this strategy if I had too, is because it takes a lot of effort, time, and would demotivate me to read the book.  I did however learn a new strategy from reading this book, that if needed, I can implement to help me understand written texts more efficiently.

Personal Writing

Over the winter break I did a day trip to Mt. Washington. We got up really early and dove to the mountain. We got our ski rentals and got ready to go skiing. The first half of the day was really nice. Half way through the day, the weather started to get bad. There was so much fog you could barely see five feet in front of you. As I was going down a slope, I couldn’t see the sign and I started to go down a side trail by accident. As I was going down I saw a little jump in front of me. It was too late to stop or avoid the jump at this point so I just had to go for it. As I went over it I dropped into the hole and nearly lost my balance and started flailing around but managed to stay on my feet. It was a very fun ski trip.


The comment I got on my unit test was that when I am writing about a text and referencing it, I need to use direct quotes more often. When I am analysing a text, I need to pay close attention to the words and focus on the meaning and feeling of them. This will help me to better understand and analyse texts to form a more detailed and clear response.


In the book The Catcher in the Rye, by J. D. Salinger, Holden Caulfield is a teenage student who has gotten kicked out of school. His brother died which caused him to become depressed and withdrawn from everyone around him. He gets frustrated by people who he thinks act fake and unauthentic. Nothing in his life brings him joy and he finds everything very trivial. He is going to a place that used to be one of his favourite spots but then realizes he doesn’t like it anymore.

That’s the whole trouble. You can’t ever find a place that’s nice and peaceful, because there isn’t any (p. 204).

This quote shows the internal issues he has with the world around him. The places that made him happy before his brother died, no longer feel the same to him, because of how he has changed since his death.


A utopia is a place that is meant to be perfect. There is nothing that brings you sadness, nothing to break your heart, and nothing that that you don’t like. This is a common idea that many people have when they hear the word utopia, but it is false. If something is always perfect, then that becomes your standard of living and only things that are better than perfect make you happy. When we say something is perfect, it is because there are no bad things in that moment, but without the bad things it could never have felt perfect. The only reason we have something that is perfect is because of the bad things that remind us of better times.

A perfect society to me should be full of more positive moments than bad ones. Those moments when you feel completely happy, free, and that nothing is going to go wrong.  In my utopia there should always be more happy moments than sad ones. There would still be problems and issues in my utopia, but ones that are beneficial to you. Problems that you learn from, problems that challenge you, and problems that force you to grow as a person. My version of a utopia would be similar to my life right now although I would get rid of many problems in our world like climate change, mental health, discrimination, poverty, access to education, and many, many, more.


In the book Rebel by Marie Lu, Daniel and his brother Eden have moved to a new city in the hopes to start a better life after having lost their family in a civil war. Daniel hopes that a new life will keep his little brother safe and give him more opportunities but unfortunately Eden becomes involved with Dominic Hann, a major crime lord in the country. In one of Eden’s meetings with Dominic Hann he tells Eden about all the things he has gone through to get to where he is now, all the hardships he has faced that have turned him into who he is today.

And I found myself wondering about the fine lines in our lives that turn us one way or the other-that the hardships my brother or June faced twisted them in one direction, while Hann went in another.” (p. 315)

I picked this quote because I found it interesting to think about how people react differently to similar situations, but how it can impact them in different ways. Some people learn from hardship and grow from it while others get stuck in the hardship and never let go of the pain it caused them. The same experience can make people go down different paths.




Personal Writing #3

I am bored, so very bored,

Because for days I have been sick.

I sat down at the piano to learn a new chord,

But that didn’t do the trick.


I found a new show,

In hopes to make things less dull,

But that only took an hour or so.

Instead, I looked outside and saw a gull.


The tissues I hoard,

My head feels thick.

I am bored, so very bored,

Because for days I have been sick.







In the book Rebel by Marie Lu, Daniel and Eden are two brothers whose lives have been changed by a civil war that killed their parents. The two brother used to be really close but now that their parents had died, Daniel has to act as a parent is is really protective of his little brother Eden. As a result they have grown apart and don’t understand each other as well. Daniel starts to realize this and make an effort to get to know his little brother and make sure he understands him. Both the brothers realize how important family is and try to understand all the traumatic things they went through together.

I cry for all the lives that our pasts have set on different paths-for June’s loss of her family, for Tess’s loss of her childhood, for Daniel becoming a parent when he was himself just a boy. I cry because I’m grateful that we still, inspire of everything, have all found each other.

Because sometimes, broken pieces find a way to make a new whole. (p. 270)

I picked this quote because I liked the line that said broken things can make new wholes. I think it paints a visual picture that clearly represents their situation. I also like that it takes a word that has a very harsh, sad meaning and turns it into something that is positive.


           In the book Rebel by Marie Lu, Daniel and his little brother Eden have moved from the Republic to Antarctica. This book is the fourth book of a series and is set in the future so there is a lot of advanced technology, especially in Antarctica. Daniel and his brother are adapting to the new lifestyle and technology in their new home.

Sunset in Antarctica, of course, isn’t really sunset at all. It’s a simulation created by the biodome encasing Ross City. Still, it doesn’t make it any less beautiful, and by the time I meet up with June in front of the hotel where the Elector is staying, swaths of pink and purple are streaking the sky. (P.83)

This quote was interesting to me because it shows an idea of a future where something as natural as a sunset has become a simulation. It is set in the future in a city that is meant to be perfect. I found it interesting to see the similarities and the issues of the real world shown through the book.

Personal Writing

    Last spring break my family and I went on a trip to Maui. When we arrived at the airport in Maui, we got on a little trolly that took us to a car dealership where we got our car, a Mustang GT. As we were loading our luggage in the trunk of the convertible, we realized not all the suitcases would fit and that we would have to put them in the back seat of the car. The problem with this is that the inside of a Mustang GT is not very big. The back of the car only has two seats and there is not a lot of extra room. My dad was wondering if we should switch the car for another one. After a lot of shoving, we managed to fit all the suitcases in the trunk except for two. We opened the roof of the convertible and stacked the two suitcases between my brother and me in the back seat and put the roof back on. My brother and me were squished in the back seat. My head was touching the roof, my knees were pressed against the seat in front of me and I was pressed against the side of the car with a suitcase pressed into the other side of me. It was a very long drive to the hotel. The next day we went for a drive down this road that ran along the ocean, through a jungle, and by cliffs. The ocean was a vibrant turquoise, and you could smell the salty smell of it in the air. The road wound through a jungle that was full of birds, their cheering bird songs drifting through the air. The tall trees were full of vines that twisted and snaked throughout their branches and dangled down the sides of it like thick pieces of rope. The air was hot and humid and full of the fresh smells of the jungle and the ocean. As we drove around a bend in the road, you could see tall cliffs jutting out into the ocean, big waves crashing against rocks and shooting up a spray of water. The hot sun shined down on us while wind rushed against us, the perfect balance between hot and cold. The car was definitely worth it.

Compare and Contrast

The film “They Shall Not Grow Old” and the two written texts “All Quiet on the Western Front” and “Soldiers Home”, all share similar ideas in common. The two main ideas shared throughout these three accounts are the issues the soldiers faced returning to their old lives and people not understanding the reality of war and not wanting to talk about it.

In all three of these accounts, the soldiers faced similar problems when they returned to their old lives. In “All Quiet on the Western Front”, Paul Baummer talks about feeling like he has changed so much from the war that his old life feels like a part of his past he can never return to. In “Soldier’s Home”, Harrold Krebs talks about a similar issue. Even though his view on the war was more positive, he still found it hard to return to his old life is a similar way Baummer did. In the film “They Shall Not Grow Old”, one soldier talks about how it was hard to go back to his old life. He found it hard to move on and have people forget about all the horrible things he had to go through. In all three of these accounts, the war has had so much influence in the development of their lives that they found their old life impossible to get back too.

Another similarity between the three accounts is that they said they couldn’t talk to people about what actually happened in the war. In “All Quiet on the Western Front”, Paul Baummer prefers to not talk about the war at all because he finds that people have their own ideas of war that are not accurate and romanticise the idea of war. In “Soldier’s Home”, Harrold Krebs lies about what happened in the war because he found all the people disinterested in the actual stories he had to tell. In the film “They Shall Not Grow Old”, one soldier talks about how they couldn’t truthfully talk about the war with people who were not in it because they didn’t fully understand it. He said that the only people you could freely talk about the war and have them understand was to talk to another soldier who was in the war. The people who did not experience the war didn’t understand the horrors the soldiers had to go through which made it hard for the soldiers to talk to people about it.

These three pieces provide the reader with a perspective on WW1 and all the struggles the soldiers had to deal with both in the war, and returning from it.

Independent Reading Journal Entry

In the book Champion, by Marie Lu, Tomas was a high ranked soldier who was arrested for the murder of Metias Iparis, who was his captain, and was sentenced with execution. Tomas was ordered by a commander to murder and blamed the death of Metias on Day, a rebel who the soldiers are trying to capture. His last request was to talk to June Iparis, the sister of Metias. When June visits him in his cell, he gives a confession as to why he killed her brother and why.

“I could have chosen Day’s route. I could have become a criminal. But I didn’t. I did everything right, you know. I followed all the rules, I obeyed all the laws, I worked my way up from where I started.” He leans towards me; his eyes grow more desperate. “I will die with honor for sacrificing everything that I have-everything-for my country. And yet, Day is the legend, while I am to be executed.” His voice finally breaks with all his anguish and inner torment, injustice he feels. “It makes no sense.” (p.85)

I liked this quote because it shows the perspective of Tomas which I never would have thought about. It was interesting to see how different the characters saw the event. This quote also solved the mystery around Metias’s death which the author had been hiding throughout the book.

Soldier’s Home

Paul Baummer and Harrold Krebs were both soldiers who fought during WW1 on different sides. Although they both went through similar experiences, they both had different perspectives and opinions on the war. One shared opinion is the impact the war had on the two soldiers when they tried to adapt back to their old lives. They both found that the war had changed them in ways that made it hard for them to return to their old life.

What distinguishes Krebs from Baummer is his positive outlook on the war. Krebs found that the adrenalin rush he got from the life-or-death experiences in the war made returning to the simple, and relaxed way of life, unfulfilling and boring. Krebs also talks about how the war taught him only to lookout for himself which resulted with Krebs having a more solitary way of life. For example, on page 6 Krebs says, “I don’t love anybody.” From this short line it shows the separation Krebs has from his emotions and how the war has hindered his ability to emotionally connect to another person. If he can’t connect to people around him, how can he return to his normal life.

Similarly, in All Quiet on the Western Front we see that Baummer has a similar reaction to returning to his old life even though, opposite to Krebs, he had a negative reaction to the war. When Paul returns to his home he says,

“I prefer to be alone, so that no one troubles me. For they all come back to the same thing, how badly it goes and how well it goes; one thinks it is this way, another that; and yet they are always absorbed in the things that go to make up their existence. Formerly I lived in just the same way myself, but now I feel no contact here.” p. 168

Just like Krebs, Baummer talks about feeling disconnected and alone when he returns to his home. All though these two soldiers had different reactions to the war, they both ended up feeling detached and isolated from their previous life.

All Quiet on the Wester Front- Personal Response

One of the key themes in All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Remarque that I found interesting was the way he showed the change of Paul Bäumer’s mental state throughout the book. At the beginning of the novel, the author makes the atmosphere of the camp seem more positive by showing the friendship and banter between the soldiers. For example, when Paul talks about first enlisting in the army he says,

 “We were still crammed full of vague ideas which gave to life, and to the war also, an ideal and almost romantic character.” P. 21.

This shows the ignorance a lot of the young soldiers had about the idea of war and what it meant. As the story goes on the attitude the soldiers have towards the war starts to shift as they begin to comprehend the impact the war has on them.

In the middle of the book Paul goes on leave and gets to go back home to visit. During this time, he has lots of time to reflect on just how much the war has changed him.

“I imagined leave would be different from this. Indeed, it was different a year ago. It is I of course that have changed in the interval. There lies a gulf between that time and today. At that time I still knew nothing about the war, we had only been in quiet sectors. But now I see that I have been crushed without knowing it. I find I do not belong here anymore, it is a foreign world.” P. 168

Going back home, Paul realizes that the life he lived before the war, he can never go back to. He feels like he is looking at his life through the eyes of an outsider and starts to reflect on how the war has stripped him of his childhood and previous life. He has become accustomed to the harsh and traumatic environment of the trenches that going back to “normal life” feels like it is wrong. I was surprised by the disconnection he felt to his childhood home and found it sad how he felt like he didn’t belong.

Near the end of the book, you start to see just how badly the war has impacted Paul. For example, the last thing that is written about Paul before his death is

“I am very quiet. Let the months and years come, they can take nothing from me, they can take nothing more. I am so alone, and so without hope that I can confront them with out fear. The life that has borne me through these years is still in my hands and my eyes. Whether I have subdued it, I know not. But so long as it is there it will seek its own way out, heedless of the will that is within me.” P. 295

I felt like this quote really made me understand the mental suffering Paul was going through at this time and made me understand the progression of the impact of the war on his mental health throughout the whole book.

His life ends with half a blank page and a paragraph about how he was killed quickly. At first, I didn’t like the ending to his life because I felt like it didn’t do Paul’s character justice but then it made me realize that all the deaths during the war were like that. They were not big and dramatic or heroic, they were quick and fast. His death was the end of his mental suffering.