IRJE #10

“Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood is mainly made of a monologue of the main character. Most parts of the book are only about the main character, so the author’s characterization of her is crucial. As the main character is in the position of a handmaid, who is not allowed to be expressive, her thoughts and feelings compose the characterization. Her thoughts and feelings are revealed from a first-person point of view, and show how she thinks about the system of a dystopian society she lives in.

I wait. I compose myself. My self is a thing I must now compose, as one composes a speech. What I must present is a made thing, not something born.

(pg. 66)

Don’t let the bastards grind you down. I repeat this to myself but it conveys nothing. You might as well say, Don’t let there be air; or Don’t be. I suppose you could say that.

(pg. 291)

Throughout the book, she shows a recessive attitude, yet doesn’t get completely brainwashed. She leaves a comment on the system as if she was accepting it as some kind of logic she should follow in order to survive. This gives the readers a characterization of the main character in depth. The author characterizes the main character as someone clever enough to learn how to survive in the worst situation possible. Her thoughts focus on survival and are careful. The fact that she actually doesn’t follow society with her heart is shown in what words she uses. When she is describing herself, she mentions “a made thing,” implying she is pretending to be a sacred believer. Also, when she describes society and oppressing leaders, she calls them “bastards,” expressing her hidden rage directly. With this characterization, the main character has become a strong-willed survivor.


“Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini is mainly a story about Amir recovering from his childhood. Amir, who was born rich in Afghanistan, faces struggles as the country gets invaded by the Soviets. Even though he could manage to escape to America with his father, his childhood friend Hassan is left in the middle of the war. After many years, Amir finally looks for Hassan in Pakistan ruled by the Taliban. While that, he also finds out that Hassan was his half-brother, and only his son is alive, sold to the Taliban.

“Where is yout slingshot, Hazara?” Assef said, turning the brass knuckles in his hand. “What was it you said? ‘They have to call you One-Eyed Assef.’ ”

(pg. 76)

I blinked the blood from my eyes and saw it was one of the brass balls from the ring in the table base. Sohrab had the slingshot pointed to Assef’s face.

(pg. 304)

When Hassan and Amir were young, Amir left Hassan to get beaten up by Assef as he didn’t have a slingshot. The scene in the present where his son, Sohrab grabs a slingshot to end their family’s fight against Hassan symbolizes how they keep surviving against the invaders. Right at this moment, Amir decides to take Sohrab with him to America to accept him as one of the family, showing him hope without the Taliban.

PW #8

Christmas break is during the winter break. So most of the dorm students are with their families on Christmas. Unfortunately, this doesn’t apply to my situation. This is because our family’s Christmas is in May.

Two days ago was my family’s Christmas. It is not technically Christmas, more like Buddha-mas. My mom is a Buddhist, so two days ago was basically Christmas for her. As the rest of the family, including me, don’t have any religion, not every member follows the customs of Buddhism. However, Buddha-mas is the only day every family member tries to make my mom happy. Every Buddha-mas, we visit the temple together and watch the monks do rituals. The ritual always ends with water lily lanterns dancing at night. They looked like stars floating in the sky, with a strange song in the background. I have never understood the meaning of that ritual, and never seriously believed in it. Still, Buddha-mas has always had a part of my heart, making me look forward to May.

Unfortunately, this is not what happened this year. This may, the only thing I did was check the calendar, and I nodded a little as I acknowledged I missed an important holiday. Of course, no lily lanterns. That night I stared at the stars hoping I can find a glimpse of the lily lanterns that were always with me. Now every time I see stars I have a flashback of that weird religious memories from my home.


Throughout last week, I have been reading “Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini. It’s written as if it was a memoir of a survivor of the Afghanistan war. The beginning of the book focuses on the peaceful childhood of the main character, where everything was without any struggle. As the story goes further, more omens are seen around him. These omens advance into a whole war.

“The shootings and explosions had lasted less than an hour, but they had frightened us badly, because none of us had ever heard gunshots in the streets. They were foreign sounds to us then. The generation of Afghan children whose ears would know nothing but the sounds of bombs and gunfire was not yet born.”

(pg. 36)

The war from a child’s perspective is hard to understand, yet it hints that their peaceful childhood has ended. Furthermore, the narrator mentions the children born in the middle of the war, emphasizing the terror as more children will suffer. Also, this quote works as a turning point in the narrator’s life. Right after this quote, the narrator is forced to grow up and function as one of the adults. He is no longer considered a child as being young does nothing to your survival during the war.

Sonnet 43

“Sonnet 43” by Elizabeth Browning has a theme of a narrator telling how much she loves her lover. She uses the word “thee,” which shows that the narrator directly expresses her feelings to the subject. The narrator addresses her feelings in a casual way with questions in it, such as “How I love thee.” Yet, it has a tight rhyme of “-eight” and “-th” repeated throughout the entire poem. This gives the readers the narrator’s perspective, who wrote a love letter or a song prepared preciously and is in passionate love with her lover. Furthermore, the expressions used in the poem are strong and almost desperate, strengthening the impression of her love. The emotions provoked are more like a passion like a flame than a favor. The narrator tells the subject that she loves with her breath and all her life. The narrator uses unique metaphors to let the lover know her love. Especially in “Free as men strive for Right, pure as they turn from Praise,” the narrator compares her love to specific events. This is a rare way of metaphor, different from most love poems that use objects like flowers or landscapes. With these metaphors, readers can have an image of suggested events and effectively understand what the narrator is trying to express. The readers eventually are swallowed in the sacrificial attachment of the narrator, with the impression of a young lady that couldn’t help but tell the lover how she feels in the most intensive way.

PW #7

My dog has lived with me for a long time. She is already 12 years old, so her heart is very weak, so she has to take a handful of medicine every day. If she takes a walk for a long time, her legs will limp. Her sleeping time has increased a lot.
The other house is said to keep a picture of their dogs while they are puppies, but I don’t have a picture because I was so young that I didn’t even have a cell phone when she became our family. Therefore, since she became an adult dog, there was no way to remember her face when she was a puppy. But when I saw the picture my mother sent me last night, I immediately remembered what she looked like when she was young.
Our family veterinarian’s dog gave birth to a baby this time. One of them looks very similar to my dog when she was young. He even has the same personality, and when I look at him with my dog, they almost look like a family. Since my mom sent me a picture of the dog, my family has decided to make him part of the family and we all fell in love with him. My house is busy getting ready to bring a new puppy.

Personal Response

“Romeo and Juliet” is a very well-known tragedy written by Shakespeare. Everyone knows the plot and the ending, but not many seem to have been connected to it directly. Most of the scenes or words we see in the media are only fragments of the actual work.

The general opinions on “Romeo on Juliet” are that it is an old romantic tragedy. The story of a miserable love between two noble families that has an ending with both a couple dying, nothing more and nothing less. However, what I could see in the actual movie was not just an old romantic movie.

“Romeo and Juliet” is classified as a tragedy, not a romance. This is because it is more about hate than love. In the prologue, there’s a sentence, “From ancient grudge break to new mutiny…” In the movie, it is more often seen how Capulette and Montague hate each other and how they fight rather than the love between Romeo and Juliet. Throughout the movie, it shows how the “ancient grudge” of both Capulets and Montagues results in new deaths of loved ones from each family. The Montagues lose Mercutio and the Capulets lose Tybalt just because of an argument they had about each other’s family. This curse leads to the second death of two people in the end, where Romeo and Juliet kill themselves in the same place.

“Romeo and Juliet” is a work that shows how hatred between each other leads to a tragic end. Just as the first scene in the movie is when people from two families argue with each other, people from both families continue to hate each other rather than settle their differences. Even when Tybalt and Mercutio die, they don’t cooperate to prevent further deaths and run to the Prince to punish each other first. In both books and movies, it’s not even mentioned how the relationship between the two families has gone wrong. This ridiculous and old fight ends with the suicide of the two families’ most beloved only daughter and only son. During the funeral, Prince doesn’t punish anyone from both family and mentions that all are punished. As Prince said, both families were punished for choosing hate over love.




IT IS A TRUTH universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.

(l. 1)

Jane Austen’s most famous novel, “Pride and Prejudice” starts with this well-known sentence. “Pride and Prejudice” has the story of Elizabeth Bennet, who has 4 sisters, with all those romances, rumors, and prejudices. As there is no son to inherit the fortune in the Bennets, they are desperate to find a wealthy man to marry their daughters. This first sentence shows this directly.

Elizabeth is mostly the only one in the family who cares about real love and personality, instead of just his wealth. After meeting Mr. Darcy at the ball, now everyone is spreading rumors about how Elizabeth is going to catch Mr. Darcy, who has a great fortune as single. The more Elizabeth interacts with Mr. Darcy, the more her life gets tangled. She considers Mr. Darcy rude, arrogant, and selfish, according to the stories surrounding him. With prejudices about Mr. Darcy and all the men, the novel ends up solving conflicts and illuminating the real situation hidden in prejudices. And most importantly, Elizabeth acknowledges how prideful she was, judging Mr. Darcy by prejudices.


PR Brave New World

There are two most famous dystopian novels known. One is “Brave New World’, which we read in class, and the other is “1984” by George Orwell. Both books have main characters who disagree with the idea and policy of the dystopian government. They both are in society from the far future, where everything is different from now. However, how each writer thinks about what a dystopian society will look like and how people will react to it is different.

In “1984”, society suppresses people with fear and violence. The ones who tried to raise their voices against Big Brother-the leader of the society, ‘double-plus-good person’-are tortured and restricted. Citizens there are more likely to be aware of what is wrong with the current government. Also, through the context that’s about how the main character gets tortured and his complaints removed, Orwell directly shows the book is about dystopia. Readers can easily see the citizens suffering and they will be happier if they are free from Big Brother.

“Brave New World” by Huxley has a different approach to telling the audience this is about dystopia. It almost seems that Huxley is promoting the idea that Brave New World is good. In the class, many students were concerned that Huxley was trying to do that. Citizens in the New World are so happy. They are absolutely satisfied with their jobs. The economy is perfect. They are never concerned or depressed. Sentences they are taught during sleep teaching solve every problem. Furthermore, one gram of soma, a pill that magically works in your brain to make you feel absolute euphoria is there for everyone. Everyone belongs to everyone, so no one cries over lover problems, and children are guaranteed to be raised in trained nurses’ hands. This is somehow eutopia, and overall, this book is very confusing. The readers are not sure if they should criticize or defend the New World from Mr. Savage who is bullying poor gammas by taking their soma away.

The idea of Huxley about the future of society was very different from Orwell’s. Orwell thought violence and restriction were needed to control citizens. He believed that people will raise their voices and they will notice easily if something is taking their freedom away. Huxley thought lesser than that was needed to control citizens. That they will not even realize they lost their freedom as long as they are amused. That they are easily deceived if they get what they want and stay in the position where they seem superior to others.

What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one.

(A Quote from Amusing Ourselves to Death, n.d.)

The caste system, soma, and all the other entertainments block people to notice something is wrong with their lives. They are taught to be satisfied and feel superior to the lower castes. Soma and feelies, electronic golf, and promiscuous relationship replace Shakespeare. People don’t need “Othello.”

So what did Huxley try to say through this book? Should we follow the Controller and give up our freedom to take soma and be happy forever? For this question, Huxley clarifies that this book is criticizing the New World in the later chapters.

…Those human maggots swarming round Linda’s bed of death, the endlessly repeated face of his assailants.

…’But how useful!’

(l.195 of Brave New World)

The Controller, in fact, doesn’t care about the wellness of the citizens. He only cares about how “effectively” everything will go. The wellness of the citizens is only taken care of if it’s related to the entire economy. Babies are tortured to hate nature and books. They are happy with countryside sports, but this is not for their own kind, it is to force them to consume transportation. In fact, even this effectiveness is not perfect. Human beings naturally have something that doesn’t work with the Controller’s policy. There are a lot of “errors.” Bernard and Henry Foster are dissatisfied with their jobs. Lenina falls for John and gets obsessed with him, it almost seems like a committed relationship.

At the end of “1984,” the main character gives up the social movement as soon as he gets tortured and is brainwashed. Orwell seemed like he believes in human kinds and the fact they will raise their voices. But in the end, he makes sure that even those cannot survive the violence and will eventually surrender. On the other hand, Huxley’s belief even defends human beings.

John the Savage hangs himself at the very end. He disappears, yet doesn’t get brainwashed and follows the Controller. Some outcasts will be motivated and quote his voice. There still will be “errors,” and they will have an example of how the New World is not for everyone and forced someone to death. It will take a long time for the citizens in the New World to realize something, but John has left something for Lenina and Henry Foster. The movement in “1984” has ended, but the change in “Brave New World” has just started.

He confuses the readers the whole time throughout the book. But the message he is trying to tell us is that despite of how it looks like a eutopia, it can be a trick to deceive you. Just like what he did in the book. Huxley argues that even though we are easily deceived by amusement, there must be errors with the system and it will leave us with something that’s strange. Something strange enough to let us step out of the dystopia.


PW #6

Last week, I just filled every page on my note. The note that I brought from my home when I first went here. On each page, I write anything that pops up in my mind. Sometimes weird dreams, random quotes, etc. Back in my home, I never wrote any notes unless it was an assignment. I was already busy catching up on things in school, and I wasn’t sure if what I wrote would be confidential. However, those worries are useless here. Nobody on my floor in a dormitory can read Korean anyway. My handwriting is quite messy, so even a translator wouldn’t work, and no one would be that passionate to read my notes.    Through the notes I wrote, I wanted to know how much I have changed since I was separated from my family. I was surprised by how much I gained independence. On the very first page, I was crying over grocery shopping. Products were different from the ones in my city, and I was still confused about how tax and card machines work, even from the shapes of each coin. Now I know most of the things for taking care of myself. Now I can joke about the struggles I had when I first arrived here, especially problems related to friends and people here. I sometimes regret what I did, but also it proves there were valuable changes.


In “Ishmael,” the narrator learns morals about nature from short stories by the teacher, Ishmael. In chapter 7, the narrator is given a quiz from the story. In the story, a fictional society divides people into several groups, allowing them to feast on the designated group. There is a law that everyone should obey at all costs, and the quiz is to guess what the law is. Eventually, the narrator gets the answer. The law was to not let anyone feast on a group that is not designated as prey.

Diversity is a survival factor for the community itself… As you’ve explained, the community of life would be destroyed if all species exempted themselves from the rules of competition laid down by this law.

(ll. 136~137)

Ishmael explains the importance of obeying that law. Hunting down predators or competitors not just for food eliminates the diversity in nature. Nature is preserved by the cycle. However, Ishmael further states that humans are violating the law so frequently. We hunt down the animals not for necessary products, but for additional entertainment. Ishmael, as a chimpanzee, worries about the future of this species, losing its diversity.

Personal Writing

Recently, I cleaned my room. Even though there’s a cleaning day every Sunday, the room went back to being messy right after I cleaned it. However, as the room arrangement changed in the dorms, I suddenly felt like having a big cleaning. Having a mess around me disturbed me whenever I tried to focus on my work. Unsorted papers never motivated me, and my clothes were all crumpled. To stop being so unenthusiastic I had to do something. I sorted my clothes on shelves and put papers in the binder. Useless things are thrown away and even my bathroom is clean now. It’s not that I’ve never had these big cleaning days. But the point is that I made a mass so it didn’t last long. This time, I’ll try my best to keep the room clean for the whole week. I’ll soon buy things like pouches to make my effort for this cleaning day worthwhile.

Brave New World

In “Brave New World”, the scene or phrases of sleep teaching often appear. Members of the new world are taught moral values that are “appropriate” to the good of society.

Alpha children wear grey. They work much harder than we do, because they’re so frightfully clever. I’m awfully glad I’m a 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 to read or write. Besides they wear black, which is such a beastly colour. I’m so glad I’m a Beta…

(pg. 27)

Sleeping children are shown in the book, getting sleep teaching about the caste system of the new world. Through repeated education, children become fully subservient to the caste system. People have always resisted injustice or expressed discomfort. This rebellious spirit led to social movements, which led to development. However, brainwashing in Brave New World removes the rebelliousness that humans naturally have. This is why I found this part impressive. People in Brave New World live in the most unequal and controlled class society, but they don’t feel any weirdness there. Instead, they live happy lives satisfied with their caste through repeated education. As I read this part, I saw Brave New World’s dystopian side, but at the same time, I felt skeptical of their happiness. Unlike us who live unsatisfactorily hoping for a better society, people in the new world whose desires have disappeared at all enjoy complete happiness. The more I get into the story, I feel myself being convinced by Brave New World.

Willingham Reflection

Since English is not my first language, I had difficulty reading. It was hard to summarize, and I often forgot the contents of the text while reading. But I didn’t know exactly what to try, so I just mechanically highlighted some sentences Therefore, the advice given in the book is useful.
According to the book, it helps to understand the purpose of reading before just doing it. I used this method to read “The Brave New World.” I wrote down the questions in my notebook while reading the book, and filled in the answers to the questions by reading the following parts. As I repeated this process, I found that my notes were more organized. So far, all I’ve written has been a copy of what seems important. As advised in the book, the main content was easily seen as I read the article while checking the purpose.
In the book, it is said that it is not wrong to take time to read slowly rather than speed reading. Until now, it has become a habit to speed read books in my first language, so I have repeated the same behavior when I read English. I thought improving my English skills was the first priority, so I tried to make it seem like I was reading in my first language when I read English. But as advised in the book, taking the time to read was much more appropriate for me now. As I read the text slowly and organized it into notes, the contents were not mixed. Also, it helped me improve my English skills by searching for words I didn’t know in each sentence.

PW #4

A lot would have been different if I had stayed in Korea without moving to Canada. Especially, there must have been a big change in life at school. My friends are all 11th graders now because the semester starts in March in Korea. I went to a Catholic school with strict school rules, and all the students took classes hard. Because of that, I spent a lot of time following the class every day. Other students around me went to the academy until at least 10. School ended at 5, so I often went to the academy right away without going back home. If I stayed there, I would have had a hard time as I would be in grade 11.
However, I had more fun in my spare time after class in Korea. I lived near downtown, and I was free to play after the semester. The food was to my taste, and there was no problem in communication. When I first came to Canada, I was very bored because I had little study to do and no place to go. It is also fun to hang out with friends I made in Canada, but I don’t think I would have had time to be bored if I stayed in Korea. I would have studied to death during the exam period, and after the grades came out, you would have repeatedly played.
I often imagine what it would have been like if I still stayed in Korea, but I don’t regret this choice.


IRJE: The Silence of the Girls

“The Silence of the Girls” is a novel about the Trojan War. This novel focuses on Briseis, who was enslaved, and Achilles, who became her master. Many chapters are written around Briseis’s point of view, but as we get into the second half, stories are more focused on Achilles.

I do what no man before me has ever done, I. kiss the hands of the man who killed my son.

p. 232

And in the chapters on Achilles, Achilles talks to the enemy’s father. Priam, the father of Hector, the king of the enemy that Achilles killed, visits him. The Greeks hung Hector’s body from a wagon and dragged him around. To find the body, Priam knelt down to Achilles, who killed his son, saying the above. Books about the Trojan War usually show the death of the warriors and the victory or defeat of the battle. “The Silence of the Girls” focuses on the feelings of ordinary people in the war. The emotions of the figures are depicted, especially when they show Achilles a complex or contradictory attitude. Throughout the Trojan War, people like Briseis and Priam had to obey their enemies. Priam directly refers to Achilles as his enemy, and he himself recognizes that he is servile to his enemy. The complicated feeling of the enemy continued to come out as a description of Briseis’ hatred of Achilles, but I think it was best shown in the above scene.


The comment I got is that I should include evidence such as book quotations. Also, I have to work on understanding the context of references and using them correctly. For these, I will be rereading the references several times to fully understand the context and how they affect the readers. Also, in order not to forget the contents of each sentence, I will make a habit of taking notes of important contents when reading. Not just the content, but I will also write a short opinion or reference, thinking about what effect this content will have when writing an essay later.

IRJE: The Silence of the Girls

The Silence of the Girls is a book from a Trojan woman’s perspective, who has become a slave after losing the war. The woman, Briseis, was the queen of Lyrnessus. But after losing the war, she is presented as a trophy to Achilles in an instant. Briseis frequently expresses her grief and anger caused by being treated as a slave and losing her country. Among them, this is the most impressive part for me.

No, he’s the lord of mice, like rats, carry the plague; and Apollo, the lord of light, the lord of music, the lord of healing, is also the god of plague.

Until, finally the forbidden words erupting from my mouth like blood of bile; God of plague, hear me!

(Pg. 55-56)

This is the scene where the priest, Chryseis’s father, who is also a trophy, prays with Briseis. Seeking vengeance as his daughter became a slave, the priest prayed to Apollo, who was also the god of the plague and spread it to the Greeks. Briseis’s prayer seemed to represent the anger of all the enslaved Trojan women. In particular, Briseis dreamed of revenge by praying only for curses to Apollo, who is usually described as the god of light or music.

IRJE: The Handmaid’s Tale

The fictional country, Gilead uses a variety of methods to brainwash people whose freedom is taken in an instant. They usually educate people about their beliefs by guaranteeing them freedom, but sometimes the book describes them using violence. There are various ways of violence in the book, such as threatening with guns or hiding the “Eyes”, but this is the most noticeable part for me.

He has become an it.

(pg. 322)

Handmaids are the ones whose lives have been changed no matter of their will.  The ones who are different from the ones like commanders who chose to follow Gilead. Therefore, Gilead made a thing called “Particicution.” Gilead attaches fake crimes to the sinners. Those crimes are what handmaids would be particularly angry about, such as causing a woman to miscarry. Handmaids in rage beat the sinners up and get involved in that execution, which is called particicution. Those handmaids, who committed violence, are more effectively brainwashed than any other education. No matter how much they deny Gilead’s wrong ideas, they’ve already beaten and killed sinners. It was impressive because this part emphasized the thorough brainwashing and violence of Gilead.


56, 1939

56, 56, 56.

My mom made me memorize this number when I first moved house. As it was when I first went to elementary school, I had to know my house’s address. 56 was part of those long words she called “add-less”. They included complicated names of the road and the province. She repeated them when I walked out of the home. It was a daily occasion until I became nine. Since I memorized the address, 56 has been a number that showed my identity. The source of every part of my personality.

Well, not anymore. 56 is now a useless number as I’m in Canada and my mom moved the house. Instead, 1939, Sooke road, of course, is now the number that matters. My brain melted down 56 and replaced it with 1939 as a cogwheel that lets my important memories function. Even though I knew 56 lost its former importance, I thought it would still remain at somewhere in my mind.

Yesterday, I found out that it didn’t work as I thought. I was trying to order something for my mom. As the house moving is planned to be on a week later, I naturally wrote down my former address. The one that had 56 in it. Forgetting a number that isn’t important anymore is not an issue usually. However, forgetting 56 meant something to me. As I said, 56 was like a thing that defined my identity and source of personality. I sat down on my bed, squeezing my head to figure out that simple number for two minutes. That time was too much for just recalling 56. The rest of the two minutes was used for finally admitting that the new part of my life has begun. Before then, my mind was still in my former house.

The proofs that show that you have changed pop up in your head without warning. The simple things that you thought to remain forever. That sometimes is terrifying. Because admitting that the next part of your life has begun is hard. That you’re not gonna be you, not a little kid, for the rest of your life. The change is unavoidable and unbreakable. Just like changing the number that shows you. 56 to 1939. A small change that scared me to death yesterday.


IRJE: Handmaid’s Tale

Handmaid’s Tale is a story about a fictional country called Gilead. Gilead was made after a coup in the United States that we know of. The Gilead people strictly follow the principles of the Bible as they interpret it, and imitate the “perfect kingdom of God.” The main character was an ordinary woman like us, and in a moment she is assigned to one of the Gilead classes, the “handmaid” and goes through a brainwashing education. The contents of the education are the most impressive part to me so far.

But whose fault was it? Aunt Helena says, holding up one plump finger. Her fault, her fault, her fault, we chant in unison. Who led them on? Aunt Helena beams, pleased with us. She did. She did. She did.

(Pg. 71-72)

Gilead defines all forms of sexual violence as caused by the victim’s carelessness. In the education the main character received, everyone blames Janine for being careless even though she was the victim. I received sexual violence prevention education when I was young. I remember one of the precautions I learned then was, “Don’t wear dangerous clothes late at night.” I was shocked to read this part of the book. But this is actually happening, and I think it’s just something that’s been straightforward about in the book.


On every exhalation, there are small pieces

Every chatter I have,

Shatter things I adore

Without the parts that left me,

I would never be the same

To myself 5 years ago


Pieces of me

Derived through the air

Shall be still there, on my beloved ones

Though I have changed

The image in their minds never changes


They Shall Not Grow Old Comparison

“All Quiet on the Western Front”, “Soldier’s Home” and “They Shall Not Grow Old” all depict the suffering caused by the war. Both “They Shall Not Grow” and “All Quiet on the Western Front” describe death during the war, while “Soldier’s Home” focuses on life after the war. Still, “All Quiet on the Western Front” and “Soldier’s Home” have a noticeable difference from “They Shall Not Grow”. While “They Shall Not Grow” is based on interviews with many people who went through the war, the other two are from one person’s point of view. “They Shall Not Grow” is more like a record of the war, unlike the rest two which had stories about each main character, letting the audience concentrate on the war itself.

IRJE: Tuesdays with Morrie

‘Tuesday with Morrie’ is a book based on the true story of author Mitch Albom. Morrie, who was his professor in college, meets him every Tuesday just before his death and takes the last class, and the valuable lessons he gives appear. There is the most famous phrase among them.

“The truth is, Mitch,”

he said,

“Once you learn how to die, you learn how to live.” (p. 82)

Morrie was dying even at the moment he said that. His life expectancy is short, and death is literally a not-too-distant future, but Morrie still finds merit in it. Everyone knows that we can die now, but what a person who is really about to die says, the weight of it is different.

Soldier’s Home Comparison

Both Paul and Harold went through WWI, yet had different reactions to it after they went home. Their backgrounds and perspectives were different, so many of their behaviors are quite opposite.

The most noticeable difference is how they respond to the questions about the war. In ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’, Paul gets sick of the obsessions his father and his friends have over the glory of the war. He doesn’t want to talk about the reality of it and avoids talking about its cruelty. Once his mother asks if he suffered there, he lies that there was no pain and she doesn’t have to be worried about it. It is shown on page 161, with Paul saying “No, Mother, not so very. There are always a lot of us together so it isn’t so bad.”

To Harold, this is exactly the opposite. As he was the late one who came back after the war, neighbors didn’t really pay attention to his stories about the war. Even though his mother asked about the war, she didn’t listen to it closely. “She often came in when he was in bed and asked him to tell her about the war, but her attention always wandered.” (Pg.2) So to be listened to, he made up brutal stories, exaggerating what the Germans have done. “Krebs found that to be listened to at all he had to lie and after he had done this twice he, too, had a reaction against the war and against talking about it.” (Pg.1)

The way they look back on the war is also different. Paul went through the deaths of his friends that were very close to him. During the brief break, he tries to live like a civilian. He eventually seeks peace in his death. “~his face had an expression of calm, as though almost glad the end had come.” (Pg.296)

In ‘Soldier’s Home’, the author hasn’t mentioned about his loss during the war. Harold seems to be better at accepting the war than how Paul did. He tries to get subjective information about the war, confronting his traumas. “He sat there on the porch reading a book on the war. It was a history and he was reading about all the engagements he had been in. It was the most interesting reading he had ever done. He wished there were more maps.” (Pg.4)

However, when it comes to how they deal with socializing with others, Paul confronts the memories better. Even though almost everything he said to her was false, he still contacts Kemmerich’s mother. He meets his friend, Mittelstaedt, and recalls his happy memories. He feels isolated from the ones who weren’t at the war but didn’t lose his core. He wasn’t swallowed up entirely by the war.

The reason how Harold could face the memories of the war was that he became part of the war. He gives up to become normal again and feels sick about it. Unlike Paul, still having relationships he had made before the war, Harold lost the ability to love. “”I don’t love anybody,” Krebs said.” (Pg.6) None of the jobs can be fitting to him anymore. He cannot move on from the war now. He’s still in the war, with lacks of fortitude to become “normal” again.

Overall, Paul had a loss, avoided talking about it but managed to share feelings with the others. He died during the war, it couldn’t be everything he had. On the other hand, Harold was at the end of the war. The war became his life and took the ability to escape from it.


Personal Response ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’

Through the context of the war, we often focus on the events and the commanders, not the individuals. has suggested the point of view of young men in the war. Without any glorious victory or comradeship, the war through these young men is just futile.
I first expected that the book would start the story with an explanation of the weapons used and the victorious commands they’ve made. Or at least a death during the battle. However, chapter one is all about little party comrades made and a simple introduction of them. The plot that shows war is not magnificent gets clear the further it goes.
~we say, and show our packages protestingly. (p. 147)
The soldiers we should be proud of steal some of the food for girls and escape from the place they should be in just for that. This book doesn’t really seem to be mainly focusing on the battle. Most of the chapters are about the daily life main characters without glamorization. According to these, war doesn’t seem dangerous, it even looks quite peaceful. There are some battles, but the main characters easily move on and enjoy a little bit of happiness such as cigarettes. This impression changes right after the main character gets a break from going back home for a while.
I stand there dumb. Words, Words, Words- they do not reach me. (p. 173)
The main character, Paul came back to his home, but nothing fits him anymore.
Civilian clothes feel different, and words from the books he used to read don’t reach him. Things get worse once he talks with Hemmerich’s mother.
This quaking, sobbing woman who shakes me and cries out on me~ (p. 180)
Unlike the pleasant atmosphere with making fun of Kantorek right before, it is the part that deals with death in the war in the most detail. Even though Paul seemed used to the situation, it is obvious that something has changed inside him. Now he cannot emphasize peaceful civilian life. Also, the death of a comrade drags him down, reminding all of us how the war affects others.
At the end of the book, all his comrades are depicted at a rapid pace how they die. This is depicted so rapidly that all the death seems meaningless.
I feel my fingers become moist. As I draw them away from behind his head, they are bloody. (p. 290)
Kat’s death shows this as well. Being full of hope is allowed just for a brief. Just as Paul had to be isolated after being used to the war.
The book shows us that hope does exist in the war as there are people with it, but it disappears very soon from violence. There is no glory in war. Paul died right after the message “All quiet on the western front” has been sent. Even his death wasn’t grand with the message that didn’t look up for the real misery happening there.