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.