Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley, was my first book about Utopia/Dystopia. And to my surprise, I enjoyed the book. At first, I thought it would be confusing with all the scientific descriptions and futuristic stuff, but it was relatively easy to read and if I dare say, manageable to understand. It was not always easy to follow, but yes, most of the time. The book itself made me feel uncomfortable and strange. Some things Huxley wrote about were too close to how people are acting nowadays. Just a little more dramatically described. It made the book feel more natural and, therefore more spooky. I also felt irritated over the civilized people’s actions, mindlessness, and always-repeating phrases. But that is also something we do as well. People are repeating the same things all the time. The things you were taught, the things you learned, things you heard. Who can tell what is right and what is wrong? We live now. We are used to the world working this way as it is now. Maybe there is nothing wrong with civilization. There was no reason for them to question it (well, if you weren’t too bright). We also don’t question schools, parents, and our knowledge. I’m not saying there is something wrong with us. It is just the perspective we have on the Modern civilization in the book and them on their world.
He was dead. No one knew for how long or why. We all saw it with our own eyes. Our father was dead. All of us, my two sisters and two brothers, came together to our parents’ apartment. It had been a long time since we were together like this in our old home. We met at the station and chatted, excited about the family dinner awaiting us. “I’m so excited about the food. I’m starving,” said my sister, and we agreed. Our dad was a fantastic cook. He could do anything you asked him to. And he would always do it for you in his special little kitchen with his favorite wooden spoon. He treasured the spoon as I had never seen anybody before. Dad never cooked without it. It was almost scary; sometimes, I believed the wooden spoon could cook more than him. It always seemed to have its own life while cooking, moving here and there so smoothly that it looked like magic. I don’t know why he didn’t work as a cook. But that doesn’t matter anymore. He is dead now.
The room we stepped into was dark and quiet. That was the first warning we should have noticed. “Was it always so quiet in here?” asked my brother, but no one knew the answer. The truth is, we haven’t seen our father in years. It’s not like we hated him or he hated us; quite the opposite. I texted him anytime I needed advice or a good Sunday dinner recipe. He would always answer cheerfully and try to help me. But for some reason, he never wanted to meet in person. The last time I saw him was before I moved into my new apartment. My youngest sister stayed the longest with him and was the last to see Dad. He didn’t go to our weddings. Dad would consistently make excuses and feel ill. It was extraordinarily suspicious, but we couldn’t do anything with it. He occasionally sent us some of his signature dishes, so we assumed he was fine, just introverted. He was always this way.
Brother turned on the light in the dining hall. We could see a table full of steaming dishes, all the dad’s signature dishes. No more, no less. But we couldn’t see him anywhere. “Dad?” I called him but no answer. “DAD?” I called, louder. We were all confused, looking sharply around the apartment. He was nowhere. “If he’s hiding again even after calling us all together, I swear-” my sister started to rage. She went to the living room to look there but stopped suddenly. Sister screamed in terror and intensly stared at one spot, unable to look anywhere else. The living room is connected to the kitchen, but we still couldn’t see what upset her. She was horrified. “What’s wrong?” I asked, all worried, and hurried to her. All the siblings were right behind me. I looked where she was staring, and all the blood drained from my face. There was a couch in the middle of the room that I remembered as a kid. The sofa was in the worst condition that it could ever be. It was deformed and decomposed. Its bright orange color was lost in giant dark spot over it. The couch was nearly split into two halves. How did that happen? We were all alarmed and scared. I started walking towards it, and that’s when we saw a skeleton in the middle of the sofa. I started screaming. “Jesus lord! Is that Dad? What is that? Prank?” my sister freaked out. Hysteria went on all of us. My sister vomited right next to me. I felt like my soul had left my body. Who is that? Is that really Dad? For how long must he have been here to look like this?
We immediately called the police. They were supposed to come in an hour. We managed to look into every room, but he was nowhere. It was really him on the couch. No pranks on us. The only thing we could do to be hundred percent sure was to ask his neighbors about anything odd. “We haven’t seen him in years. There is always just his wife coming outside and inside with all the groceries for two.” “That’s strange,” I thought, “because we didn’t have a mom, and he never told us he got married.” That was the last straw for us. We were all too stunned to even feel scared. My brother went to find the caretaker of the house. He had an idea to checks the cameras. Meanwhile, I and others were waiting in the apartment, anywhere else but the living room.
When my brother returned, he looked pale, almost green. He told us about some woman who came into Dad’s apartment just a few hours before us. She hadn’t looked into any cameras while walking up the stairs, almost like she was avoiding them. She was wearing a wood-brown colored coat and had something in her hand. He thought that she seemed almost unreal; something in her movement was off. He said they even checked older records, and she always acted the same way. Every time she had the same coat, the same something in her hand, and the same bag with groceries. So odd. Then the worst news came. If the cameras are not lying, which are probably not, the woman never left the apartment. The last motion camera detected was her coming back into the condo with groceries and then, after a while, us. No one else came in or out in the past hours. I felt uneasy after this announcement. My heart started to pound faster. My hands were shaking. I felt like I would throw up, but I was too scared to go anywhere in the apartment alone. What if she’s still there somewhere?
We were in the dining hall, anxious and waiting for the police to finally show up. The only thing that kept me hopeful was Dad’s food still steaming. He must have made it in the last hour, or it wouldn’t be still steaming. I scrutinized the table, looking for any hint of him being alive, not a skeleton. There were six seats prepared for Dad and us. But there was something different with the middle chair. The candlesticks on the table were giant; Dad loved them. But they were in my vision, and I couldn’t see the other side of the table on the chair. I came closer to it, and that is when I realized something was very wrong. There was a wood-brown coat hanging on the chair. It looked very similar to my brothers’ description. And then there was the dad’s favorite wooden spoon in front of the coat, also steaming like it was it who was cooking for us today.
A few months later, the police contacted us and told us more about the skeleton. It was said that the skeleton had been there for years now. The bones’ DNA matched our dad’s. It couldn’t be otherwise. They also never found anyone else in the apartment. I asked them about the coat on the chair. “We gave it to our best scientists, but they found no DNA. It looks like it was never used. The woman you mentioned was also not found; nobody knows anything about her.” I asked him if I could keep the wooden spoon, and they said yes. I felt the need to keep it. It reminded me of Dad. Ans also I hoped that I would be able to find out something about dads death. They did not need to have it anymore, so they happily handed it over to me. I took it into my apartment and arranged it on my shelf. It was in the middle of my kitchen. I could see it anytime.
It was just a few months after I felt like something was happening in my apartment. The salt was moved to a different spot. The rags were fallen. The kitchen smelled like I had cooked something. But I never remember doing any of these things. And the oddest thing I noticed was that the wooden spoon was always slightly moved after every little change. I live alone in my apartment.
(For the ones who did not get it, the wooden spoon was possessed, and there was never any woman. Just the spoon which was controlling their dad his whole life.)
IRJE 6.2 Cold
The Secret History, by Donna Tartt, is a book about the main character Richard Papen. He came from a small city in California and moved to a university in Hampden. he learned greek before and wanted to continue studying it but the class was apparently full. He even went to the teacher who teched greek at the university but that was no help. He already has five students and he’s fine with them. But after some time, Richard came to contact with the students and helped them with their greek homework. The teacher heard about it and after that accepted him.
The cold in the warehouse was like nothing I’ve known before or since. I suppose if I’d had any sense I’d have gone out and bought an electric heater, but only four months before I had come from one of the warmest climates in America and I had only the dimmest awareness that such appliances existed.
I find this quote funny because i never thought that someone would not know about this appliances. But it makes sense. There was a winter break in school for two months because it was too cold to attend school. The dorms were closed and so Richard went to live with student who already finished the same university. He gave him a room with a hole on the roof that was impossible to fix. Richard was there for a month, started to be sick and destroyed his lungs. HIs friend Henry (was in Italy for spring break but came back earlier) saved him by taking him to hospital and then let him live at his place. It is scary his little knowledge about cold almost killed him.
blue hair (PW #5)
Civilization had never returned to being the same as before. Something new was invented, something groundbreaking and scientists were again saviors of the bad and immature world. We always thought that these steps are small and not that important for us. Growing used to these scientific adjustments in our surroundings that people don’t mind anymore. You want a blue-haired baby but your natural hair color is pink? That’s fine, you can now ask in every hospital and they will do it for you. Of course, it does not work every time, it really depends on the woman or man, but in 90% of the cases it does. And that’s brilliant, really. It’s incredible how technology evolved. But I was always more the type of person who tries to look at history and ask myself: What would the people in 2020 think about this? What about in 1920? Maybe they already had a concept of something similar or arranged it a long time ago. But I never ceased to wonder; what if they would think that this is just madness? Why change everything? Why blue hair? But let’s start at the beginning. It was around 2040 when scientists started to change genetics on greater scales than slightly changing the height of a person or the color of a person’s eyes. They managed to change the skin color of people. But not just normal colors, but colorful colors. The first person ever with light green skin was Antonín Novák, he happened to be from the same country as me. This was a shock for humanity. And it did not stop there. After a few more years, many mistakes, and new methods. Nowadays, it is pretty common to walk on the streets and see two to three people with neon yellow natural hair and purple skin. Some people are horrified by this and refuse to go outside. And I get it, I’m practically one of them. However, these are great (depending on what great means in your perspective) results of changing genetics. There are also very dangerous people who find the pain of others as a hobby. Yes, there still are. No one really talks about it but everyone knows about their existence. Many people get kidnapped to become the subject of these experiments. Some doctors who went down the bad path decided to make diseases that have no cure and the person dies of unknown consequences (Genetically made diseases are the worst. They are created by taking out a specific type of gene and putting it back, “improved”). Some people became living zombies which was the end for them. Many people suffered from pain that no living thing can imagine. People woke up after their genetic surgeries and their limbs fell off. Scientists could not stop this from happening. That is very scary to me. And the worst part is, we will never be able to go back again.
(all made up, inspired by biology class)
Brave new world by Aldous Huxley is a fiction book about utopia. The book takes place in A.F. 632 (new counting of years, named after Henry Ford). Human beings are manufactured. Embryos are going from incubators to bottles and then being born. Their fate is chosen from the very beginning and depends on how the embryo was treated. The most treasured and well-treated embryos become Alpha or Beta humans. The ones that did not get enough time, oxygen, etc. are Gammas, Deltas, and Epsilons. From the highest to the lowest class. Their whole education is manipulated by the government, even their thoughts.
And home was as squalid psychically as physically. Psychic-ally, it was a rabbit hole, a midden, hot with the frictions of tightly packed life, reeking with emotion. What suffocating intimacies, What dangerous, insane obscene relationships between the members of the family group! Maniacally, the mother brooded over her children (her children) . . . brooded over them like a cat over its kittens; but a cat that could talk, a cat that could say, ‘My baby, my baby,’ over and over again.
‘My baby, and oh, oh, at my breast, the little hands, the hunger, and that unspeakable agonizing pleasure! Till at last my baby sleeps, my baby sleeps with a bubble of white milk at the corner of his mouth. My little baby sleeps . . .’
‘Yes,’ said Mustapha Mond, nodding his head, ‘you may well shudder.’
Outsmart your brain
Chapter 5 of Outsmart your brain by Daniel T. Willingham made me overthink constantly repeated think and questions and careful that I got trapped in my own thinking. It is very tiring to be reminded of all the same information all over again and again. But that’s how it works for me (usually). Even if it’s annoying to listen to it, it is stuck in my brain and after some days, I unconsciously do what they said and described. And that’s how I believe in this book.
There was not very much that I did not already know somehow. For example the highlighting. When I read my old highlighted texts and already know the whole topic, I saw myself highlighting weird and unimportant information. The thing I learned and will try to use is to make topic questions. I noticed that when a teacher said an important question at the beginning of a lesson, it became much easier to remember the topics with all the details.
What I never heard about before were strategies for reading. And there is a lot of them. I did not cache a lot from Tip 27 and needed to read it a few times, translate words I did not know, and summarize it slowly to myself. It is a skill I never really used because it is very time-consuming and my brain hurts just thinking about it.
I’m sitting in the cafeteria, working on my school homework. It’s cozy here, full of plants and extraordinary coffee. The couches are upholstered in dark purple and dark green colors. The sun is shining through the big windows in which I can see people passing by and some walking into the train station. The coffee started to get cold and vibrated once. That felt like an earthquake, I joked to myself. I probably accidentally kicked the table. I’m trying to figure out what to write in my English homework – it’s a personal writing assignment. I have always liked this type of homework but today, I don’t know, I don’t have any inspiration lately. I’m sitting here for an hour and a half, waiting for something interesting to happen, while my surroundings have completely changed around me. I checked my phone overall about fifteen times. Not even there, on my phone, is happening anything that I would consider as interesting. Today is a peaceful day. How unfortunate for me. I’m thinking to pack my things and call it a day for now. While I’m leaving, I see police sirens rushing around the cafeteria stopping before the train station. Well, this is interesting. I hurry to get there and see what is happening before they close the whole place because of…I don’t know what yet. When I’m getting closer and closer, I can hear people panicking and talking hysterically. What happened? My curiosity is now unstoppable. I need to know now. I go inside the station and listen to the police talking between themselves. “…it is a catastrophic situation.” says the first policeman. “It truly is, 26 dead people and many more injured,” answers the second one. What? How? “Do they know how it happened? Have you asked the witnesses?” asks the first one. “Yes, half of them think something broke and exploded, but the second half believes it was sabotage from one of the passengers,” declares the second policeman. So I did not kick the coffee table, it was the explosion.” John, what do you mean?” asks the confused policeman and John is looking a little uncomfortable about what he’s going to say. “Well, many of the passengers who were in the same wagon as the explosion happened to believe they saw a suspicious-looking guy with a black briefcase. And there is also one more thing Adam,” answers the policeman called John carefully. “John, god, just tell me the whole thing so we can go home.” sights policeman Adam. “I don’t think we are going home today any near time. You see, It happened that in the same wagon was also, ehem, a newly elected president of the Czech Republic,” says john in a whisper but I still could hear him very well. WHAT? From my country? What was he doing here? What did he do? I stay here for a little more, no one around is paying much attention to me. There are lots of injured people who are the most importatnt now. When I realize there will be no more information, I walk home. The instant moment i open the main doors of our house and see my parents, I tell them everything that happened. They are as shocked as me, perhaps even more. I walk up the stairs to my room, inspiration by the events, and start to write “Anna is sitting in the cafeteria, working on her school homework. It’s cozy there, full of plants and extraordinary coffee. The couches are upholstered in dark purple and …”
The Paragon Hotel takes place in 1921, before the Great Depression. The main character, white girl Alice James, runs away from her home because of issues with the police and mafia in New York. Alice is traveling with a bullet wound through the whole country to get to a safe place. When she finally arrives in Oregon, she met a black guy on the train named Max who took her to a hotel, which is full of black people who are trying to survive in America. They are being attacked by police and later by Ku Klux Klan and their only safe place is the Paragon Hotel.
Transaction complete, Officer Overton waves the truncheon
“Do you see what you’re dealing with now, Miss James? What lee of people these are?”
“Yes, it’s not at all what I expected,” I answer timidly.
“Well, it’s a fine thing that you’re writing an article about the place, then, isn’t it?” he scrapes, towering over me. “You can expose the sickness that lives inside every one of these animals.
I find this quote, and the whole book, very interesting because of the huge racism that’s happening there against black people by the police and most of the city population. I live now in times where it is more of a taboo to talk about any rase now and it shocked me when I started to read this book. I did not expect it at all and it is a whole different writing style that I’m not used to. It shows how cruel white people were (are?) and how dangerous it was for black people. This quote is one of the more subtle insults that was said, but still a big one in my opinion.
Term 1 essay reflection
Looking back at my essay wasn’t as bad as I expected. As Mr. McMaster said, I need to use more evidence. I used just one quotation which is not enough to prove my argument. I need to remember to use quotations more often to make my next essay more trustworthy. The thing I believe I did well when writing the essay was time management. I wrote everything I knew and wanted to say and made my writing plan useful and brief.
Utopia. What is utopia? Some say life is without laws, without rules. But these rules are trying to make the perfect utopia for us. Maybe life without criminality? Yes, that would be perfect. I could go outside without fear of being stabbed or kidnapped or just feel uncomfortable. That is the first thing that I consider the utopia life. My parents read the news daily and know everything that happens. Once I left for not even a week with my friend to the opposite side of the republic and the first thing I see on news is that someone stabbed a human being right next to my house. What is someone from my family? My sister? My cousin? Fortunately not, but the panic I felt was awful.
That leads me to the second thing I consider a utopian life. It would be perfect to have a guarantee in this life. Feeling that you somewhat know what will happen. It’s like watching a series where you already know what will happen in the end but watch the whole five seasons because it is fun. No Dahmetrs, no racist dictators, no Russian presidents. No people randomly change the world in its worst possible way. I know the wars and stuff helped in the economy, but how much did it actually? We made a climate change just to be lazy for a few years. But I’m getting too far into the dystopia one. it is important to involve, but we need to be closer to nature where we were millions of years ago. It would be beautiful to have more trees in cities, more grass and parks. That would help to make the air better and improve people’s moods.
IRJE 4, the dumb kidnapper
The second book of the Folk of the Air series The wicked king is a great continuation of the first one named The cruel prince. The whole series is famous and well-known across the world among young people. The story continues after a few months where the first one ended. The main character, Jude, tricked everybody into crowning a new king that was in her power because he signed a bargain with her. She, in fact, became the King of the Elfhame and needs to deal with every problem in the country. Her old bullies and kingdom enemies hate her and plan a vicious scheme about how to get the crown for themselves.
“I don’t know what trick you performed on him, but I will discover it,” she says, unnerving me with how close her guess comes to the mark.
“You think I performed a trick because Cardan likes me better than you,” I say. “But you shot at him with a crossbow bolt. Of course he likes me better.”
Her face goes pale, her mouth opening in surprise.
This was one of the funny-serious situations. Jude is kidnapped under the sea in the Sea kingdom on the order of the queen. The queen’s daughter, Narcisia, is one of Jude’s bullies who is in love with the real king. It is hard for Narcisia to believe that he talks to Jude more than to her. She believes that she tricked him into something and that he does not love her. Jude answers in a funny way that of course he likes her more when you shot him with a crossbow (which she really did, out. of jealousy).
IRJE 3 “promise”
The cruel prince by Holly Black became a popular book this summer. I am always scared to try popular books because I get too overwhelmed by everybody’s reactions and that might ruin it for me. But this book did not disappoint. The main character Jude is a human girl from the human world. But her mom had a secret. There is a different world with creatures that she thought are just in books. When a man from her mother’s past visited their house and killed her, Jude and her two sisters were taken and forced to live with him in Faerie. She has a very hard life as a human among magic-gifted creatures because, for them, she’s just an inferior human, a servant.
“Would you forswear a promise for me?”
“Any promise,” he says lightly, although it is no light thing he is asking.
“I guess it depends,” I say, because the real answer, a flat no, isn’t what anyone wants to hear.
“Do you love me enough to give me up? Isn’t that a test of love?”
“I-I don’t know,” I say. All this must be leading up to some declaration on his part, either of affection or of a lack of it.
“Do you love me enough to weep over me?”
“You mean if you were hurt?”
“I mean if I hurt you.”
I chose this quote because this was the first time she trusted a faerie after her whole life hating them. He told her how beautiful she is, how special she is, and made her feel like never before. And she fell for it. This dialogue happened at a royal ball when they were dancing together. He was just playing with her feelings and dumped her. It was a big betrayal from his side that I did not expect at all which made this book even more interesting (I got really mad tho).
It was a sunny day. The birds sang their songs while trees slowly moved in the autumn breeze. It looked like a typical day for me. Except it was not. The lesson ended after an hour and ten minutes and everybody was hungry for lunch. I crossed my fingers, hoping for good food. I don’t have any more money to buy my own lunch so this is the only hope I had. Which then paid off. The food was exclusively magnificent that I had to take more portions. But to have the full experience of it I still needed a desert. Fortunately, there were fortune cookies which I personally love. Today is a suspiciously good day, I thought to myself. But why would I be mad or sad about it? It is awesome to have good days. I chose a random cookie and sat back down at the table.
“Where did you get it from?” my friend asked me after she saw the cookie, “I didn’t see it there,” I explained where it was but she did not want it anymore. It was too far supposedly. Bad for her. I had planned to eat the cookie and throw away the paper inside. It was almost the beginning of the class so I threw the cookie in my bag and forgot about it until the end of the school day. When the classes ended, my friend had big news for me, “There is a big lottery for a million dollars today at the shopping center that we love! We should try to register there.” I don’t really believe in lotteries and this kind of stuff, but why not? I had a good day so maybe I could have a chance? I was thinking about it on the way to my house until I remembered the cookie. They usually have lucky lottery numbers inside! I’m glad I didn’t throw it away before.
After I got home and did my work, I took my computer out of my schoolbag and searched for the shopping center’s website. It was easy to find. I clicked on the Lottery icon and registered myself. In the meantime it was loading, I found the cookie and broke it open. Good days and bad days will find a way to get to you and will rotate one after the other. Your lucky lottery number for today is 1233 21 666. What a weird fortune. But I still tried it and put the number from the cookie on the site and waited for announcing the winner. And guess what. It really was my good day! I won! I told everyone and then went to bed filled with joy. But the cookie was right in more than just numbers. The whole thing became a curse for me which I realized soon enough. The good days started to be followed by terrible days and there was nowhere to run.
(pt. 2 probably next time)
Canada the forever lasting dream
Řehořka was lying in her hotel room, bored, and empty. She and her family were on vacation in Canada. It was a long journey full of stress. The tiredness fell on them right when they got to their rooms. They dropped all their suitcases and lay on their beds. Řehořka did not do anything now for two days and that was killing her. She was excited to explore more of the wild nature Canada had to give. She loved forests and the peace of nature. After a long time of thinking, Řehořka went to her parents and asked them for the plan. Their plan was very unsatisfying: laying down and relaxing in the spa. Why didn’t they go somewhere else than Canada then? Řehořka wanted more. She told her parents she’s going out and went to the forest near the hotel. She took everything that the hotel recommended: a bottle of water, good shoes, anti-insect spray, and more. They also warned her about bears being there once in a while but she wasn’t much stressed about that. She knew how to fight.
The forest was darker than she thought but beautifully green. The colors were so vivid, not like in her country with old plain forest with just a few trees. And the trees here were HUGE. Řehořka couldn’t slowly see their top. She loved it. There were just a few more tourists on the way but they disappeared the second she saw them. She was alone. Řehořka was fine until she realized that something is behind her. It was too scary to turn but she forced herself. There was nothing. Řehořka felt safer but the feeling did not disappear. She decided to go back and found her way to the hotel. It was getting darker and darker. Damn it, thought Řehořka, I forgot to check the time. It was already six, almost time for dinner. She rushed the path but suddenly, the bush right next to her moved. No, not the bush but something in it. Řehořka stood still like never before. The pressure of the scary forest and her imagination paralyzed her in place, unable to move. before she even realized something, there was a grizzly looking her right in the eyes. Řehořka’s mind went blank. She didn’t perceive anything. The only thing she could think about was to survive.
Řehořka started runing for her life but it wasn’t enought.
IRJE 2 “show her the truth”
NINTH HOUSE is a fantasy book about the main character Galaxy “Alex” Ster. The author of this book is Leight Bardugo. She is a popular author in the fantasy genre and wrote many books that became bestsellers, one of them got a Netflix adaptation. The story is telling Alex’s experience at a magic school Lethe that is specialized in ghosts. And since she can see ghosts from her youngest years, that’s where she belongs. The school found her in the hospital after she overdosed herself by drugs that helped Alex with her special power. She had nowhere to go anymore and the school took her under its wings to continue its research on Grays (how they called ghosts).
As soon as the gate shut, darkness enveloped them. From somewhere beneath the house, a howl sounded, high and hungry. Galaxy Stern had asked what she was in for. It was time to show her.
I choose this quote because it shows her first experience in this arcane school. Alex got a guardian named Darlington who is supposed to help her with her studies and show Alex around. She asked him what she was in for and he unleashed a troop of dangerous “dogs” on her to show Alex how dangerous this school is. In the end, nothing happened to her and Darlington proved his point.
the secret behind plants
Oh, how I love plants. They make everything look cozy and positive. Their green color makes things look bright and colorful. Plants have useful skills that most humans do not have. Plants talk about their owner without embellishing. If the plants are happy and living, the owner is happy as well. If they are dying, maybe the owner is dead. Or lazy. Or the owner forgot to water them. But it says a lot more than one would think. Sometimes, people don’t even try to take care of them with the excuse “They will die in my care.” But if they would try slowly, with just one little plant, they will eventually get used to it. After some time, they could try to buy more and sooner or later have a big garden filled up with colors and scents. Thats why my mom always loved them. She had a lot of friends who she treated like her beloved plants. If you give them food, time to grow, and love, they’ll love you back.
They shall not grow old is a documentary about World War I and soldiers’ experiences of it. All quiet on the western front and Soliders home are texts about two individuals and their memories and stories. There are some similarities between these three. For example, TSNGO* and AQOTW*F showed also a good side of war when soldiers had fun and a great time with their friends. But also when they feared for their own life and were scared of the shells. Few of the veterans from TSNGO said that they felt joy when they succeeded in their attack on the Jerries which refers more to the Soldier’s home – Krebs enjoyed the war and its adrenalin. But what all of the documents and texts had in common was the weird feeling on the first front, without sleep and always looking behind your back if there aren’t any shells flying on you. And when the soldiers got home, it wasn’t their home anymore.
*TSNGO – they shall not grow old. *AQOTWF – all quiet on the western front
IRJE “Seven husband but one”
One of the books I recently finished is The seven husband of Evelyn Hugo by Tailor Jenkins Reid. As the title reveals, this Hollywood superstar had seven husbands altogether. But she wasn’t always famous. She was born in the poorest and most toxic place in Hell’s Kitchen, Manhattan, and lived there for fourteen years. Her only way from there was her body (because she looked much older and grown up), and her ticket to Hollywood was her first future husband. She never really loved any of them after the second husband because:
“I was going to see her. You’re right.”
“You were going to cheat on me?”
“I was going to leave you, I said. “I think you know that. I think you’ve known that for some time. I am going to leave you. If not for her, for me.”
“For her?” he said.
“I love her. I always have.”
As you can guess from the quote, she was bisexual and loved her best friend who was a lesbian. But in that times, this topic was a big taboo and their relationship was very complicated. This quote is the first time Evelyn said to someone that she loves a woman and it was a big moment. Even after this, she needed to hide this truth for the rest of her life, or else she will lose her job and be imprisoned. So the reason why I chose this quote is that if she lived just few years more, she could live a peaceful life without fear of losing everything. It is indeed interesting how the time changes everything.
Harold Krebs and Paul Bäumer – two soldiers who fought in World War I. Harold from Solider’s home, who fought on the Allies’ side, USA. Paul from All quiet on the western front, who fought on the German side. Both had different experiences and still had the same results.
Bäumer did not like the war. Deep inside he was scared of dying:
All my efforts subside like froth into the one desire to be able just to stay lying there. My limbs are glued to the earth. I make a vain at-tempt;-they refuse to come away. I press myself down on the earth, I cannot go forward, I make up my mind to stay lying there. – p. 211, chapter 9 from AQOWF
He also went through a lot of loss. He saw dying every friend he had made in the army or before from school. Paul survived a lot of bombardments and attacks. He was young and did not know anything but war, he did not have anything else but war. When he came from war for a few days, he did not want to talk about it in any way. People, and mostly his dad, were asking Paul about details from the First front and Paul always answered in the most indirect way. His dad was eager to introduce Paul to his friends and asked him to wear his uniform. He found himself that he doesn’t belong to this community of people anymore and preferred to be alone. Paul did not want to make a big deal from it all. People would not understand and so he tried to talk in different ways.
Paul was not living just in his war life and was trying to talk to other people than from the army. For example to his old friend from school. They talked about everything new that happened to their old teachers and more. He went to Kemmerich’s mother to announce her son died and lied about how he died to make her feel better. His mother also wanted to know the detail about the front but Paul said that it’s not that bad and she should not worry. His mother had cancer, so it would not be good for her.
After all, he lived through, he was relieved when he died:
Turning him over one saw that he could not have suffered long; his face had an expression of calm, as though almost glad the end had come. – last page of All quiet on the wstern front.
Krebs lived the war. He joined the war in 1917. The author did not talk about his experiences from all of the battles he survived but Krebs still enjoyed reading about war and wanted to talk about it. The problem was that no one was interested to listen to his stories. His dad was not interested at all and his mother asked just to feel like a good mother. He came six months after the war ended and lost his time to be a hero. There were a lot of lies and exaggerated stories and he didn’t like to lie and made up stories. There was no one that could understand him.
Harold lost the ability to love in the army. He liked the girls in his town but he didn’t love them. It was too complicated. He did not love his mother but still cared about her, or felt like he should care about her. He also liked his little sister. This “useful skill” of not loving made this war not so traumatizing for him but it changed his social life for a long time, maybe forever.
“Yes. Don’t you love your mother dear boy?”
“No,” Krebs said.
His mother looked at him across the table. Her eyes were shiny. She started crying.
“I don’t love anybody,” Krebs said. – p. 6 from SH
So in the end, they both suffered the same. They were not capable of making it back to normal life because society did not understand them.
All quiet on the western front was one of few books I’ve read about World War I. The way it was written showed the reader feelings of ordinary soldiers, the proper side of war, and made us feel just a little as people in the war did. It is impossible to feel exactly like the soldiers for us people who have never been to war. Sometimes it was hard to put my (modern) thinking with the way soldiers in 1914 thought in different situations where I would see the end of my world.
The story was chronologically written and the characters had grown together with us. Some of them died, someone had their personality changed, and some lost their “humanity” and sense in life out of war. It was really sad but realistic reading about all this loss. We could easily emphasize the characters.
The image it gives me is more negative than positive. I see dead bodies, trenches, dark atmosphere. I see dark trees, dark hills, and dark shell-holes. It is not an image that I would really enjoy but it’s also showing that it was written realistically.
Hi, I am Kori
I’m from Brno, Czech Republic. I like reading, listening to music, dancing, and chilling with friends. My hopes and goals for English class are to extend my vocabulary and improve my English skills.