Brave New World Response

Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley, is a dystopian novel that paints a society where science and technology plays a major role in human life, while religions, families, and sadness are eliminated. One key technology that sets Brave New World apart from other dystopian novels is hypnopaedia, a form of conditioning. Hypnopaedia plays an important role in this society as it conditions young children to society’s ideas as truths in their sleep. Hypnopaedia, as seen earlier in the novel, is used to establish prejudice formed for each caste of the World. This raises the question: how different is hypnopaedia from ways we learn ideas from our parents and school?

In the real world, the knowledge and beliefs we gain is through personal experience, education, and interaction with others. We learn that our actions have consequences not because we are fed this information in our sleep, but from first-hand experiences. Such as breaking your mother’s vase by accident, or not studying for an exam only to get poor marks. Additionally, education offers perspective for our beliefs through studying the past, present, and theoretical ideas from fiction and non-fiction works. Moreover, human interaction teaches us about morals: what to do, and what not to do in certain situations. Through these experiences, we are able to learn about how the world works. 

In contrast, learning in Brave New World is controlled. The government selects what children can learn about and how the information is given, “The mind that judges and desires and decides—made up of these suggestions. But all these suggestions are our suggestions!….Suggestions from the State” (p. 23-24). The suggestions, however, are taught to be perceived as truths. Furthermore, what children learn is directly affected by their caste and what the State believes is necessary for them to know for the sake of social stability. As seen in the second chapter, a group of Beta children are in their Elementary Class Consciousness, a sleep teaching class.

Alpha children wear grey. They work much harder than we do, because they’re so frightfully clever. I’m really awfully glad I’m Beta, because I don’t work so hard. And then we are much better than the Gammas and Deltas. Gammas are stupid. They all wear green, and Delta children wear khaki. Oh no, I don’t want to play with Delta children. And Epsilons are still worse. They’re too stupid to be able… (p. 22-23) .

However, in both the real world and Brave New World, prejudice is taught. In the real world, prejudice against people of other races, nationalities, or gender, etc. is “learned values and beliefs from their family, peers, teachers, the media, and others around them. In other words, children learn prejudice through socialisation.”(How We Learn Prejudice, 2023) One slight difference is that in the real world, prejudice is taught consciously, which leaves people to add their perspectives onto the beliefs, while in Brave New World, prejudice is subconsciously fed into children’s minds to reason their role and others in social stability.

Train to Nowhere: PW #6

The other groups are long gone. Shane’s group is stationary, sitting just where they were dropped off. Quinn and Frank have been bickering about the contents of their backpacks for what seem like hours. Georgie and Justin have been investigating the latch at the front gate, but nothing will budge it. They have tried throwing rocks at it, using their match to melt the metal, but the latch is invulnerable. While the girls are comforting each other of their devastating life path, Shane finally stands up and walks towards the ticketing office. The ticketing office is on a slightly different zone than where the teens have been left off. Though it looks much newer than the rest of the surroundings, the office does not welcome them with open arms. Georgie abandons the gate and catches up to Shane, along with Justin. The rest group mutually agrees to follow the boys to the office, though Sandra is hesitant at first.

“Guys, are you sure it’s safe to be wandering around like this?” She squeaks.

“No one’s coming to get us, Sandra. Sorry to burst your tiny spoiled little bubble,” Ben complains.

The walls of the entrance section of the station is painted in an odd green colour, one that hurts your eyes if you stare at it for too long. Posters illustrating new train lines, cabins, and even foods are faded. Passing the ticketing booths and various souvenir shops, the group reached a metal door with a small window panel that looks into the room. Authorized personnel only, the sign glows in red.

The door screeches as Justin opens the door, “Hello?” He only asks that to be polite, “I’m surprised the door’s unlocked, haha.” Anny beams her flashlight into the room. Scattered around are what student’s desks look like at school.

“Looks more like a classroom than an office, I’ll tell you that much,” Quinn utters. The students investigated the room only to find it trashed. Books are scatter all over the floor, the chalk board have not been cleaned, even the desks had slime covering it. Just in front of the chalkboard, a teacher’s desk. A vivid red doll stands atop the paperwork.

“I am the Daruma!” The doll exclaims. It turns around facing the students. Despite having spots for two eyes, only an eye stares at the group.

“What the hell is this!” Ben yells, “Why the hell is it talking!”

Georgie exclaims, “Must’ve been one of the many puzzles whoever made this whole trip set up. What do you want now, Daruma.” Suddenly the door behind them slam shut.

“Wow, Georgie! Aren’t you a cute little smarty-pants,” the Daruma roars, “Do tell me your amazing plans to escape this station! I’m sure everyone can count on you!” The Daruma hopped to face Quinn. “And you! Super-Quinn! Isn’t that what everyone calls you at school? Not so much of a well-rounded guy, huh? Always being the second place, next to Georgie, right? Isn’t it fun!?”

“What’s wrong with you!” Daniella yells. “Nothing’s wrong with being sec—”

“Aw hush-hush, you. Don’t you feel miserable having to take care of everyone, knowing no one’s there to take care of you? It’s like you’re wasting all of your precious energy with these scumbags you call friends,” the Daruma mocks, “And Justin! Why are you still friends with Frank if he brings your reputation down with his perverted jokes? It’s been 3 years! Just leave him! It doesn’t matter if your parents need the connection for their—”

“WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT!” Justin interrupts.

“Oh, and Abby! How does it feel to be pining on a girl you KNOW will never even take a second look at you?” The Daruma mocks, “Poor you. So hopeful that she’ll even acknowledge your efforts!” It bounces to face Shane, “Oh Shane~ you know, you always strike me as someone who thinks they have no flaws, but in reality, you don’t know what you’re doing at all! One day, you’d have to face your fears of acknowledging your weaknesses.”

“Oh, come on now! You don’t have to be mad at me! Or else you’ll just end up like Benny!” Shane replies.

“What’s that supposed to mean you bit—” Benjamin cried, only to be interrupted by the Daruma once again. “Hey, control your temper, man. Those times you spent at the principal’s office means nothing to you? Finally, Sandra. Your friends left you so you can be with a bunch of nobody’s, huh. Maybe they’re finally tired of your bratty attitude. Good for them.”

Sandra starts to sob again, Anny can only comfort her by wrapping her arms around Sandra.

“Anyway, my job here is done! Bye-bye!” The Daruma turns its back towards the group. Shame, anger, sadness fills the room. BOOM! An explosion just above the office is heard.

“RUN!” Georgie yells. Debris covers the group’s line of sight as they escape the office one by one. The ceiling falls, the walls crumble. The group rendezvous just outside the souvenir shops. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine… Where is Benjamin? In the remnants, the Daruma two eyes stare at the group before vanishing into thin air.

1984 – IRJE #6

1984, by George Orwell, is a dystopian novel about a totalitarian society, filled with censorship, ignorance, and the loyalty of the Party. Winston, the main character, is writing in his diary (which is a crime) when he reminisces about his wife, Katherine. Even though he is rarely reminded of her, this time, it is different. 

And what he wanted, more even than to be loved, was to break down that wall of virtue, even if it were only once in his whole life. The sexual act, successfully performed, was rebellion. Desire was thoughtcrime. (p. 69)

Despite Katherine’s attitude towards Winston that leaves him feeling empty throughout the relationship, he still craves love. Winston compares successfully making love to Katherine as a form of rebellion, because it is not natural for her to act that way. The standards that are set by the Party are similar to Winston’s expectations of love and desire that can never be accomplished. 

Train to Nowhere: 5

Night falls and so do the students’ morales. Escaping the city into the countryside, the only thing that shine are the stars, which are even brighter than how they remember. The arid breeze brush the teens’ skin like a warm hug, which is much needed right now. Ivy has no plan, nor does anyone else; a group of teens hopelessly wandering on the train tracks.

Suddenly, Simon’s legs start to tremble. They shouldn’t do that! I’m too strong for this! I haven’t even hit twenty thousand steps today! He thought. But it isn’t his body malfunctioning; the pebbles on the ground started dancing. Victor lock eyes with Simon.

“But it’s not an earthquake, I’m sure!” Julian exclaims, “The trees! They aren’t movi—”

“THEN WHAT IS IT NERD!” Niko yells. “I can’t die on a stupid school mission like this!” Suddenly headlights flash over the horizon.

“Finally! Rescue!” Charlie joyfully laughs. “I’m seeing you soon Coco!” A sigh of relief can be heard throughout the group.

Julian’s smile fades, “GUYS IT’S NOT SLOWING DOWN!”

The train does not attempt to brake for the group, granted they are miles away from the station they are dropped off from. Instead, the train starts to accelerate. Up close, the train is an old steam-powered locomotive. Its smoke reek of sweat and onion, and the rusty exterior shows that time has done damage to it. Cheers, clapping, and loud jazz music is heard from the passenger cars, but what can only be seen is emptiness. The group leap in different directions out of the train’s way, all avoiding painful deaths. Oddly enough, despite having no passenger or even an operator, a cargo box is left behind.

“What the hell is this supposed to be…” Charlie murmurs, realizing he is not going back to see his cat any time soon. His flashlight shines onto the box, “November 1942” in red.

The box screeches and whine; nothing from the 1940’s could survive this long. Simon shields the nine other kids with his arms, slowly backing away. A mysterious plant breaks free from the box. Its sharp teeth and thorns would be enough of a sign to flee. The plant stares at Ivy, chills fall down her spine, despite no eyes looking at her.

“What in the Venus Fly Trap hybrid is th—” Gunshots interrupt her. Victor shoots the plant, it screams in pain, but the plant stood up from its abode and starts to hunt Victor. “RUN!” Tori screams while pulling Victor and Alan back with her.

Ivy ran for her life. She couldn’t care about Charlie’s wish to see Coco again, or that Niko called her best friend a nerd, or the urge to punch Niko, or even the plant itself. While her mind busies itself with expunging the memory of the plant, her legs move freely on their own. She gracefully runs over the train tracks. Looking back at the mysterious pursuer she is running from, her vision goes blurry. The only thing she sees before darkness is her pet rat, Remy.

The Imperfect, “Perfect” society

In Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, his society is built on artificiality rather than aspects usually found in nature; there is a sense of irony where death, which is natural, lingers in the society. The condition rooms are where children are taught to like and/or dislike things according to their caste, their purpose is to eliminate any imperfections left in humans. While the conditioning rooms are largely associated with youth and artificiality, there are elements of death hidden in the space. 

Thousands of petals, ripe-blown and silkily smooth, like the cheeks of innumerable little cherubs, but of cherubs, in that bright light, not exclusively pink and Aryan, but luminously Chinese, also Mexican, also apoplectic with too much blowing of celestial trumpets, also pale as death, with posthumous whiteness of marble. (p. 15)

The description of the conditioning room is as if death is hiding there. “….that bright light” may be from the sunlight outside the window, but at the same time, it is a metaphor for “the light at the end of the tunnel”. Moreover, the rose petals which are set for the children are being compared as if they are as pale as death. Although the roses are colourful, it is as if death takes the life out of the flowers, and soon the nurses will also take away the colours that the children have.  Despite the amount of unnatural characteristics there are in this society, there are qualities that symbolize the only thing that is natural, death. The sense of irony shows how imperfect Huxley’s society is, despite the people’s effort to eliminate the imperfections. 

Outsmart Your Brain (even a little at a time)

Reading Daniel T. Wellingham’s Outsmart Your Brain was rather an eye opening experience. The fifth chapter on what to do and what not to do when reading a difficult book, say a textbook,  is rather simple but hard to execute. To understand textbooks you must understand how they are structured, because unlike storybooks, textbooks are not structured in a chronological order, but a collection of ideas, linking one to another. Making minimal efforts to understand a book won’t get you very far, especially if it is a text with topics you are unfamiliar with.

This chapter emphasizes what you should and shouldn’t do whilst reading a text. One of the key takeaways I learned from this chapter was not to highlight, which is a habit I do as well. Find an important looking sentence? Highlight that! Find a new word I have never heard of? Highlight the term and definition! At the end, the entirety of the handout I was assigned to read is filled with different neon colours. On the surface, highlighting seems logical and effective, but it is explained that most times, the highlighted parts aren’t even the most important information. The only time you should be highlighting texts is when you are familiar with the text’s subject, which most times I am not.

Train to Nowhere: 4

The perplexity of the tunnel makes Victoria feel isolated, despite having a few of her friends tag along. As her group look behind then, the light at the entrance grows smaller and smaller, she warily scans her group. Freya and Clair hold each other tight, while Kevin stands in between the twins, Jacob and Andrew. None of them are chatty, unlike how they always are at school. Even Robin and Doug, the dynamic duo, stare into nothingness. The lovebirds Mya and Tristan trail behind but still… Silence.

“Does anyone have a flashlight?” she asks the group. Jacob ruffles through his bag to find one, but in bright pink.

“Hey, isn’t that your favorite colour?” Andrew teases in an attempt to lighten up the mood. The joke is only met with soft chuckles from Kevin. 3 bright beams search the environment of the tunnel. Rustic bricks with hints of mold, spider webs, and purple slime.

“I have never seen that in my entire life!” Clair is fascinated by the obscure colour and scent of the slime on the wall. She whips out her walkie talkie to report to the other groups about the discovery, but it only responds with static. “Huh, I guess we’re cut off..”

As the group persevere deeper into the tunnel, the walls slowly close in, forcing them to huddle closer. Isn’t it odd that trains are supposed to pass in this tunnel but it can barely fit a group of teens in here? Victoria thought to herself. More slime up ahead, the flashlight beams reflects off the substance. The purple is more vivid than before, and the smell kicks the teens’ noses.

“Watch your head,” the unknown voice speaks again.

“SHOW YOURSELF ALREADY COWARD,” Doug screams, his voice reflecting off the brick wall. The ground shakes,

“AN EARTHQUAKE? NOW?” Robin shouts, his voice echoes.

“SHUT UP BOY!” the voice yells and a tentacle appear out of nowhere. It thrashed furiously, knocking Doug into the wall. Another tentacle appears, both now grabbing Robin. He chokes on the reeking smell of clam,

“I can’t…. bre—”

The tentacles catch Tristan by surprise when they grab Mya and flung her into the air. He screams vulgar words and burst into tears begging for her life. It was the most noise he had made that day.

“GUN! GUN!” Doug yells as Jacob and Freya draw their handguns, equipped in their trusty backpack and aim at the tentacles. They shoot mercilessly at the beast, finally releasing Robin and Mya from their misery. Kevin runs to check on Robin whilst Tristan embraces his girlfriend. ”We should really start thinking like a team, huh.” Kevin asks Robin who violently sobs on Kevins knee. Victoria stands over them with guilt on her face. Freya spots a dim light at the end of the tunnel. The group exits the tunnel only to find an identical train station that they left before. No signs of the other groups, no footprint. Only a few abandoned trailers that Victoria couldn’t recall seeing at the drop off,

“Let’s rest here for the night,” she says.


An ideal society, a utopia, is hard to imagine, and even harder to achieve. My idea of a perfect utopia has no poverty, sickness, crime, or inequality; my perfect utopia will only have harmony, peace, and freedom. Everyone has equal opportunities to enjoy what they like to do and to pursue their dreams. The environment will be well-preserved and clean, freed from human harm. Despite the different cultures people have, they are all able to connect and feel the sense of love and community within them. Everyone is content and satisfied with what they have, and they are able to enjoy the present. So a perfect utopia wouldn’t have someone like me, who is imagining a more “perfect” place.

Unit Final Reflections

The first term’s final assessment was on my ability to analyze, compare, and contrast different works from World War I. In this assessment, I had to write four paragraphs in total, an introduction which states my own thesis, two paragraphs comparing and contrasting passages, and a conclusion paragraph where I explain my preferences for a passage. I believe that I did well on analyzing similarities and differences that can be found in the passages given. I spent too much time analyzing and planning the essay that I did not have time to finish writing the four paragraphs assigned. Which is one of the things I can improve. I should have a brief plan on my essay, rather than an intricate one so I can have more time to write and proofread. Another issue I have is mixing up the words ideas and tones and using them interchangeably in the essay. This causes confusion for the examiner. This causes communication issues between the writer and the reader. The assessment has taught me to manage my time wisely in a short period of time and to be careful not to use any words that don’t have the same meaning interchangeably. I can also improve my writing by revising more because even before the assessment I felt like I didn’t revise and study enough. 

IRJE #5 – “Are you happy?”

Ray Bradbury’s famous novel Fahrenheit 451 starts by introducing the main character Guy Montag, a fireman. Whilst walking home, he encounters a new neighbour, Clarisse McClellan, who is curious and optimistic. “Are you happy?” she asks before walking back into her home. Montag returns home and

…. felt his smile slide away, melt, fold over down on itself like a tallow skin, like the stuff of a fantastic candle burning too long and now collapsing and now blown out. Darkness. He was not happy. He said the words to himself. He recognized this as the true state of affairs. He wore his happiness like a mask and the girl had run off across the lawn with the mask and there was no way of going to knock on her door and ask for it back.(p. 9)

Montag has finally come to the realization that he is not as happy as he thinks he is. However, he could not come to the conclusion by himself, it was through the conversation he had with Clarisse that he was able to even doubt his happiness. The happiness that he thinks he has is something he showcases to the outside world, not something he feels. This encounter not only reveals Montag as a miserable character, but also that Montag still has room for growth to understand his emotions. 

Richard, He Who Always Smiles IRJE #4

The Ghost Woods by C.J. Cooke is about a mansion called Lichen Hall where pregnant girls who are not ready to have kids are taken in for care. This story develops in two timelines, one in the present (1965) and another in 1959. Pearl, the character of the present timeline gets up and sees Richard at the dining table. She has gone out on a walk at 3 A.M. the night before to contemplate her life.

He is smiling, but Richard always smiles, a strange little grin that never reaches his eyes. He never laughs, or says kind things, and so the smile sometimes makes me think he’s imagining dark things and taking pleasure in them. (p. 43)

In the previous chapters, Pearl has been portrayed by Cooke as someone who is stuck in a dark place, not knowing how to move forward because she is pregnant. In turn, she sees the worst in people. She sees Richard who is always smiling to be thinking of awful things instead of being happy. This paragraph helps show who Pearl is to the readers who is trying to understand each characters earlier on in the story.

Train to Nowhere: 3

Never has Theo feel so alone in his life; despite his friends standing right in front of him, the only thing he wants right now is home. What is home, anymore… I won’t go back for sure. He tells himself while watching the clouds run through the sky. Tears well in his eyes before being interrupted by Teddy’s scream,

“Hey! The bags! They have our names on them! Come get them guys!”

How could one be so hopeful and joyous right now? Theo thinks before grabbing his backpack and inspects its contents: a flashlight, a small bottle of colourful liquid, a book, and a knife.

“Cool, they gave us a book to kill a psycho,” Shane scoffs, “Never mind, Theo, I have a gun!” He pulls the trigger and shoots at the ground. The crowd laughs.

The year leaders, Alex and Georgie gather all students together and command that they all should go explore as a group. But when the group arrives at a crossroad between a tunnel and a dimly-lit staircase, a voice booms from the tunnel,

“The students have made the wrong choice to stay in a big group.”

”WHO IS THAT?” Brandon yells back. Silence. “SHOW YOURSELF, MAN!” More silence.

“Do we split up then?” Justin asks the crowd, “you heard the… guy.”

“Hell no! That’s how we die!” Simon shouts, “Not even these muscles can save all of y’all.” He kisses his biceps, the crowd groans.

“As much as I hate to admit it, I think we should split up,” Alex nervously tells his classmates.

“I’ll take 9 others for the tunnel!” Victoria smiles optimistically, a few of her friends join, but other are just mutuals.

“I can go explore the building…” Ivy says. She was one of the extroverts of her year, so many immediately join her group, including Simon who drives her crazy.

“I saw a latch at the front gate… we could explore that,” Georgie says. He is the smartest kid, many rushes to join his group, but Alex can only watch him as he gains teammates.

“We can look around the train tracks,” Alex says before many introverts join him. They find him comforting with his humour and company.

“Parker gang here!” Giggled Parker before the rest of the students join him. Theo feels lost because he doesn’t feel familiar to any of the group. Sure he is a social butterfly at school, but he never feels like he belongs anywhere; not with the popular girls, or the jocks. He didn’t really fit in with the smarty pants, or the quiet ones either.

“Theo, join us!” Patrick smiles as he reaches his hand over and Theo accepts.

The five groups split their path, not knowing what lies ahead.

Villainy Unmasked

The final few chapters of The School for Good and Evil: a world without princes revolves around the Trial by Tales that the deans of both schools for girls and boys have set up for their students. At the end, Agatha reunites with Tedros while Sophie is heartbroken that her best friend is stolen from her once again. Shattered, Sophie makes a wish to see her mother again, a wish that Dean Evelyn granted.

The ghost [of her mother] smiled lovingly at her, and Sophie fell to her knees.

….“Is it you? Are you my true love?” Sophie asked her mother, eyes wide.

Her mother smiled. “You have to trust me.”

“I do trust you,” said Sophie, tears running. “You’re the only one who knows who I am.”

Evelyn shows her true Evil by using Sophie’s vulnerability to complete her goal: bring the dead Schoolmaster, who she loves, back to life. Because Sophie is grieving her passed mother, Evelyn uses this opportunity to put the Schoolmaster as a form of Sophie’s mother’s phantom. Only a true love kiss can bring someone back to life, just like in fairy tales. This leads to the resurrection of the Schoolmaster. This quote reminds me that many people will exploit your own sadness to get their way, and to be careful of others intentions. 

Train to nowhere: 2

Teddy woke up on the school bus. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary, except for the fact that he remembered passing out on his bed.  Why the hell am I wearing this stupid uniform anyway! He thought to himself staring at his own reflection in the window. He tidied up his brunette hair and noticed stubbles appearing after 2 days without shaving. A never-ending road of dried grass and the bright sun blinded him. It wasn’t a great sight to see after he learned that he had to hunt down a blood thirsty murderer with 50 other teenagers. He peered at the driver; an unfamiliar face stared back at him through the rearview mirror.

“Hey! Where in the world are we going to? We’re supposed to be finding the murderer, not a vacation to some dumb desert!” He yelled at the driver. Surprisingly, no one has woken up from that.

“Shut up boy! You should be grateful no one murdered you last night!” The driver hissed back, stomping on the accelerator, which sent Teddy back in his seat. Teddy nudged Parker who was sound asleep. He also tried slapping Vincent in the face but he didn’t budge. Without any hope of waking any of his friends up, Teddy was left with no choice but to go back to sleep.


“Oi Ted!” screamed Vincent in his ears, “Wakey wakey! Oi Ted! Wake up! We’re here!” Teddy forced his eyes open; the sight of seeing his best friends awake cheered him up.

“Where… are we?” Teddy asked.

“Some weird train station,” Parker replied. “C’mon. Let’s get off this bus. I’m sure it will be a blast!” Teddy questioned whether Parker had lost his mind or just forgotten the fact that he was on a task to find a murderer.

Once all of the students gathered on the dirt path, the intercom screamed at the students. “Welcome, students of Oakridge Academy! Hope you had a great trip coming up all the way here!” The girls were gossiping as if they were in the lunchroom and not an abandoned train station. “As you know, you are assigned by the governor to hunt this murderer down! We do not have clear informations of what he looks like, but he is somewhere here. Best of luck, I hope you make it.” The voice laughed menacingly before the intercom turned off. Before anyone knew, the buses were gone. The students cried, some even begging the voice to spare them. Teddy eyed the only things left behind: 51 bags, labeled with all students names.

Once Unbreakable, Now Torn Apart

In the book The School for Good and Evil: A World Without Princes, Agatha sneaks into the boys school to reconcile with Tedros. Unbeknownst to her, Sophie and the Dean has been spying on her, as she was supposed to be on guarding duties with Dot. Sophie now has no trust in her best friend because she promises to be with Sophie until the end. Agatha sees an image of Tedros asking her to go see him at the Schoolmaster’s tower by crossing the bridge; she does so in an attempt to win him back and convert the schools back to its formal state. Dean Sader, the girl’s school dean watches as Agatha runs towards the bridge connecting both schools.

Far behind, in the shadows of the Girls’ blue archway, Dean Sader’s green eyes pierced the fog. But watching her student vanish into the rotted towers, she made no move.

Sophie chasing Agatha. Agatha chasing her prince.

Two friends once unbreakable and now torn apart.

The Dean turned and sauntered back to her castle.

Be careful what you wish for, girls.

Her gap-toothed grin gleamed through darkness.

Be careful of what you wish for, indeed. (187-188)

This passage was interesting to me because not only can I understand Dean Sader’s thoughts about the relationship between Sophie, Agatha, and Tedros, it reveals the Dean Sader’s mysterious and cunning personality as her character unfolds throughout the book. Even if she sees Agatha traveling towards the boy’s school, the Dean refuses to say anything and even continues to watch Agatha. Another interesting thing about this passage is we get the Narrator’s point of view as well. The Narrator emphasizes that the girls needed to be careful of what they wish for. This could be foreshadowing to a wish that one of the girls made, etc.

Train to Nowhere: 1

The Midnight Ball is extravagant. The school reserved the hotel’s conference room just for us. The girls are wearing beautiful long gowns while the boys wear suits tailored just for them. The ballroom is filled with arranged wildflower in vases on top of white round tables. The girls heels clack as a slow-dancing song plays. A girl with brown braids and pink puffy dress, Mya, dances with Tristan. Beside the lovebirds are Lucas and Jeremy who are messing around together as always. At the middle table stood a pyramid of banana muffins and a bowl of punch. I walk towards the table and got myself two cups of juice and searched for Jade; she is resting on one of the balconies. Her blonde hair shines in the moonlight and her green eyes glitter while her white dress flutters in the wind. I shoved her the cup of juice I’ve gotten for her. We talk about stupid things: what the punch is made of, how stupid this entire ball is, how we wished something more exciting would happen.

Suddenly, Mr. Sharma clangs his glass of champagne as he walks up to the stage to make an announcement, “Tonight is the last night we are staying here… As we are heading elsewhere tomorrow!” The room groans. “We’ve been assigned by the governor to assess all of your abilities to survive in the real world. We know that you are able to work together to take down this serial killer on the loose!”

Before any of us could process what is going on, the teachers force us out of the hall and into our rooms.

“Sweet dreams, Jade and Abigail. Have the rest you will need,” smiles Mrs. Hampton, as she locks our door. As the room filled with silence and darkness, I closed my eyes.

All Quiet, Soldier’s Home, and They Shall Not Grow Old

All Quiet, Soldier’s Home, and They Shall Not Grow Old all tell stories of soldiers emotions. They recall the events they face and what they feel. They Shall Not Grow Old differ from All Quiet and Soldier’s Home because it is not a written work but a film. It tells a story using photographs, videos, and interviews with many soldiers, not just the imagery we visualize through reading. Despite being from different sides of the war, all of these story share a few common grounds.

One similarity between the film and All Quiet was when the soldiers were in hand to hand combat and killed someone. In They Shall Not Grow Old, the soldier told the story of when he killed a German Soldier and he felt sorry for him. In the moment they were not enemies but men watching another die. The soldiers gave him water, he thanked the soldier and passed away. Similarly, In All Quiet, Paul was in a hand to hand combat and stabbed an enemy. He didn’t know what to do because he has never killed someone this close before. Because the soldier did not die quickly, Paul cannot do anything but take care of him until he dies. Paul discovers the soldier has a family and wrote a letter to them that he killed him. In both scenarios, they both feel bad for killing the opponent and was broken by it.

Another similarity between the film and Soldier’s Home was the fact that when the soldiers came home, they didn’t know what to do with themselves. In They Shall Not Grow Old, the soldiers interviewed explained that once the war was over, they couldn’t find jobs because they serve no commercial value. Many boys grew up in the war, therefore they do not have experience in the world. Like the film, Krebs couldn’t find himself working, to the point where his mother started pointing out that he should become successful like his friends. “The boys are settling down; they’re all determined to get somewhere; you can see that boys like Charlie Simmons are on their way to being really a credit to the community.” (page 6) To the veterans, they cannot be of value to society because all they could not grow out of the war.

‘How Can You Wish for Someone You Do Not Trust?’: Independent Reading Journal Entry

In The School for Good and Evil: A World Without Princesby Soman Chainani, Sophie and Agatha from the Woods Beyond arrive at the Schools only to find that they have been transformed to schools for boys and girls. The Dean told the two friends that for the schools to be reversed, they both had to wish for each other and mean it.

She gazed at Sophie. “How can you wish for Agatha if you know she wants her prince?”

The Dean turned to Agatha. “How can you wish for Sophie if you fear the witch inside?”

“How can you wish for someone you do not trust?” (p.88)

The Dean’s dialogue shows that she wanted to spite Sophie and Agatha to hold grudges against each other and therefore cause distrust in the friendship. The thought of her best friend betraying her would shatter Sophie and Agatha still doesn’t know if her best friend really changed from being a vengeful witch worthy to be wished for. This quote clearly shows a crack in their relationship, and therefore was easy for the Dean to hurt them even more.

Krebs and Paul Comparison

In Soldier’s Home and a part of All Quiet on the Western Front, both authors display the inner ordeals that soldiers had to fight through on their leave from the battles. While every experience is different, there are some that can overlap, showing similar challenges soldiers may face. While both boys enlisted in the military, they had polar opposite reactions to fighting in the war. Krebs liked fighting in the war because it was exciting for him while Paul was traumatized by the loss of his friends. Something that both boys had in common was that they did not want to talk about their experience in the war, however, for different reasons. Because Krebs arrived home later than most soldiers, no one wanted to hear war stories because it was boring, so to be listened to, he made up stories to be more engaging. Paul did not want to talk about the war because it was “dangerous for me to put into words” (page 165) and because he doesn’t want to bring forth the terrible memories that are associated with it. The town both characters grew up in hasn’t changed since they left, only how they view the world that has changed. The effect of the war led to different treatment of their own family members. While Paul, who still cared about his family knew that eventually they would have to part again, spent most of his time with them, Krebs could not express the same. It seemed the war had made him numb without him realizing and caused Krebs to choose not to express any love for anyone, not even his mother. “I do not love anybody” (page 7) 

All Quiet on the Western Front: A Personal Reflection

During times when war was rather romanticized than feared, Erich Maria Remarque wrote a book based on his experiences fighting during WWI. Instead of glorifying war or victimizing the Germans in this book, he instead humanized them so they could be well understood by readers throughout the world. Many scenes focus on conveying emotions that soldiers feel, while in and out of battle. This helped readers empathize with the soldiers, especially the Germans who were viewed as villains in many portrayals of the war. The German soldiers felt pain, sadness, happiness, and fear just like the allied soldiers. The choices of poetic words in many parts throughout the book illustrate Paul’s emotions and thoughts, which relate to the influences of war. This book was the only book I have read about World War I, but it opened my eyes to the effects of historical fiction. 

Paul, the main character of this book, went through many hardships throughout this book. He endured many difficulties, but two that are worth exploring most include trauma from losing friends in battles and the loss of identity. In the beginning, Paul enlisted to fight in the war with a few of his friends, meaning that they were bound to witness each others’ deaths. The first death mentioned was of Joseph Behm, who was Paul’s schoolmate. He was on the battlefield and was shot in the eye. While he did not die immediately, he screamed for help and was later shot by the enemy again. The first death revealed the harsh reality of the war because Kantorek, Paul’s teacher, convinced many soldiers that they were here for the best for the country.

“The idea of authority, which they represented, was associated in our minds with a greater insight and a more humane wisdom. But the first death we saw shattered this belief… While they taught that duty to one’s country is the greatest thing, we already knew that death-throes are stronger.” (pages 12-13) 

The second death was of one of Paul’s close friends, Kemmerich. Paul’s reaction to Kemmerich’s death was very torturous as he watched his best friend die. He was angry that the doctors refused to do anything to save him, he was sad because he would die alone without his family surrounding him, only with his classmates. Paul quickly realized that war made them grow up too fast, and without uniforms, they were still young boys who had dreams and aspirations. Over time, Paul’s reaction to his friends’ deaths became more “normal” as he became more familiar with the losses. However, a death that stood out the most was Katzinsky’s death. His death left Paul broken. Katczinsky’s death was the hardest for Paul to accept because Kat was there for him from the beginning; Kat was a reliable man who everyone looked up to for help and advice. Another reason Kat’s death was most influential was that Paul thought he suffered just a minor injury, but later discovered he died on his back so suddenly. Because of this, Paul couldn’t say goodbye as he could to other friends. Kat’s and​​ Kemerrich’s deaths were similar in a way, as Paul spent much of his time with them and many meaningful memories were made. Losing friends is crushing, especially during wars. 

The lost sense of identity, while not mentioned at the beginning of the book, was constantly discussed towards the middle and the end of the book. Paul first experienced this emotion on his short leave back home. Despite being where he grew up, Paul felt a sense of strangeness while his mother embraced him. 

“ ‘You are home, you are at home.’ But a sense of strangeness will not leave me, I cannot feel at home amongst these things. There is my mother, there is my sister, there my case of butterflies, and there the mahogany piano— but I am not myself there. There is a distance, a veil between us.” (page 160)

In this passage, it can be noted that war was already a part of him, to the point that he can no longer feel at home in the environment that he grew up in; rather the place where he experienced bad memories was where he associates himself with. In the arms of his mother, he felt safe, but he wasn’t the boy she raised anymore. Later in the chapter, Paul’s father stripped his own son’s identity to just a piece of uniform. To his father, his son was no longer someone he raised, but someone who has experienced the war that many glorified. He would rather have his son wear a uniform than civilian clothes; he would rather hear about the fighting in the war than how his son feels about the war itself. On his leave back to the motherland is where Paul first realized the loss of his identity. At the end of the book, Paul let his thoughts run wild, he was tired of facing the war, and he wanted it all to an end:

“All that meets me, all that floods over me are but feelings — greed of life, love of home, yearning for the blood, intoxication of deliverance, but no aims…. I am so alone, and so without hope that I can confront them without fear.” (pages 294-295)

The conflicts that war brought to Paul took away his friends and stripped him of his identity nothing is left for him, not even himself. 



Hello Guy.

my name is ice. nice to meet you you should definitely follow me on instagram (@icecreamdingdong) frfr im so cool u should also be friends w me im a great friend.

Good morning/afternoon/evening, my dear friend reading this blog post. My name is Ice and I’m from Bangkok, Thailand. Things I do a lot are gaming and overthinking. I also enjoy oversharing, as you can tell. My hopes and expectations of English this year is to be able to write well, at least better than this. I also want to make sure I read a lot this year because I used to read when I was younger.