PW#1 – What is Australia

Australia is a huge and diverse country famous for its unique wildlife and beautiful landscapes. It has big cities like Sydney and Melbourne, known for their modern lifestyle. The country’s economy is strong, relying on industries like mining, farming, and tourism. Australia is a democracy with a stable political system and values like freedom and fairness. Its rich history includes Aboriginal cultures dating back thousands of years. People here enjoy outdoor activities and sports like cricket. Despite facing challenges like environmental issues and discussions about immigration, Australia continues to grow and change while preserving its natural beauty and cultural heritage.

IRJE #3 -A Good Girls guide to Murder

I would say that this book is a thorough intellectual downgrade from the other novels I have read this term but it is enjoyable nonetheless. The novel follows a girl named Pippa as she aims to solve a murder that she believes to be unsolved. She attempts this task as her Capstone project, a project similar to our personal project. She believes that high school boy Salil “Sal” had been wrongly convicted although he is not alive to prove his innocence. In the quote below Pippa talks about the environment following what she believed was his wrongful conviction.

Pip knew where they lived.

Everyone in Fairview knew where they lived .

Their home was like the town’s own haunted house; people’s footsteps quickened as they walked by, and their words strangled and died in their throats. (pp. 3)


All Quiet on the Western Front personal response – There’s two sides to every story

This novel stands as one of the early works among many World War I narratives that adopt a soldier’s viewpoint. What sets this story apart is its deviation from the conventional “happily ever after” ending, as it concludes prematurely before the supposed author could finalize it. What I found particularly intriguing about the novel was its ability to present a variety of distinct perspectives. This could be attributed to my limited understanding of the subject matter. Prior to my encounter with “All Quiet on the Western Front,” my exposure had primarily been to accounts from British soldiers, which often carried a heavy bias against their German counterparts.

In the face of death and the unmitigated brutality witnessed by soldiers, where there was no individual culpability, but rather the opposing side as a whole, the Germans were often portrayed by the British as heartless executioners. In truth, they were just as profoundly affected by the war as the British soldiers. The ordinary young men turned into soldiers, stripped of their childhood innocence. To some degree, I found it challenging to empathize with the Germans because I had not come across anything suggesting that they were anything other than the merciless adversaries they were portrayed to be. However, this novel allowed me to gain a more comprehensive perspective. It aided me in humanizing the German soldiers and distinguishing individual experiences from collective judgments.

Despite hearing about the death of millions numerous times during my study of World War I, it remained difficult for me to truly grasp the magnitude of the tragedy. I believe this is because most accounts are written from the standpoint of survivors. This narrative often perpetuates the misconception that death was a rare occurrence. As I progressed through the pages of the novel and developed a stronger connection with the characters, the death of the main character at the story’s conclusion served as a stark reminder of the grim normalcy of death on the Western Front.

PW#3 – Being uncomfortable in silence

I can’t be in silence. I always have to have something going on or playing in the background. I find silence uncomfortable. For example, I can’t just read in silence like most people, I have to have classical music playing in the background. On the contrary, I can’t read with conversational noise, if I were to focus on something with conversational noise my mind would wander and end up focusing on the conversations of those around me. It’s a weird habit but it’s something I’ve had my entire life. I digress, although I cannot function in silence I would not consider myself a religious music fan. I often get bored of songs or associate a song too heavily with a situation or person. I also do not have a set music genre I like, I honestly listen to the most miscellaneous compilation of songs. I do associate certain genres with music in certain parts of my life, for example, my mum always plays jazz music during Sunday brunch but my dad plays Chicago house music on Sundays and when I used to train for rowing my coach would always play Australian classics. Thus, when I listen to any of these genres I am reminded of these situations.

IRJE – Tuesdays with Morrie

Tuesdays with Morrie written by Mitch Albom is the powerful story of an extraordinary man named Morrie Schwarts. The author builds his relationship with Morrie through taking Morrie’s sociology lectures at the university. The memoir revolves around their Tuesday meetings in which Morrie shares his advice, life lessons and insight as his legacy or “final thesis” as he slowly loses his life to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The memoir tells of the father-son bond in which they discuss life’s biggest trials and tribulations while simultaneously counting breaths and facing mortality.

This is the first book I have read that I have genuinely enjoyed, through the novel Mitch progresses from a highly strung, money-focused and in Morrie’s words “blind” individual to a compassionate, affectionate and present-in-life individual. In some ways, I feel I have progressed with Mitch. Although written in memoir form every piece of advice written by Mitch said by Morrie makes sense. The advice although said so long ago by someone who is not present in this world today remains so relative. Being born into the privilege I have never fully appreciated what it is like to not own items considered a luxury to most individuals. I have always highly valued material goods and in all honestly probably valued said material goods more than the physical experiences that I have had. Especially with the wide use of social media and large consumer mentality, I feel like I am always wanting more, never satisfied by what I already have. I never really compartmentalised this until I read this direct quote:

“Wherever I went in life, I met people wanting to gobble up something new. gobble up a new car. gobble up a new piece of property. gobble up the latest toy. And then they wanted to tell you about it. ‘Guess what I got? Guess what I got’. You know how I always interpreted that? these people were so hungry for love that they were accepting substitutes? … But it never works.” (pg. 125)

Although I am not lacking in any love, physical affection or material goods it made me think about my future relationships with myself and the people around me. I have never thought about it in such empathetic terms, I find bragging about materialistic items, money and or wearing heavily branded clothing rather boorish and in the cultures I have grown up in it always has been frowned upon. I have never looked at an individual boasting about material goods with empathy honestly I’ve on looked with distaste. Having read Morrie’s words I have empathy for such actions or behaviours. The rawness of this advice adds to the impact, usually, I would laugh at the use of gobble in a formal context. To me, it just doesn’t fit. In this context, the use of the ‘immature’ word adds substance and relatability to the advice.

Being humanly and inhuman

To be inhuman is to commit acts absent of human emotions. As humans, we experience emotions, highs, lows, bad days and good days but with the previous definition, you would think that being inhuman is an act that a human cannot commit, right? In my opinion, being inhuman is one of the most human things that one can do.  I believe that our most human moments are the moments that we are not proud of the moments that we would rather erase from our memories. The moments that we let out the most disgusting vile insults, the most disgusting world-ending death stares and the most trivial yet embarrassing mistakes. To truly be content with the trials and tribulations of being human is to accept the flaws, mistakes and inhumanness that comes with being human.

IRJE #1 – The catcher and the rye

Catcher and the Rye written by J.D Salinger was a pivotal novel in the development of young adult literature. I understand the intent of this book but personally, the use of vulgar language in literature is distasteful. Due to this factor alone, I gained a mental block from reading further into the book. I am sure that through further reading this distaste would have subsided but I was simply disinterested in persevering. I understand the use of vulgar language in dialogue to maintain accuracy but the use of it so freely just seems unnecessary and in my opinion, decreases the value of the literature.

THEY EACH had their own room and all. … They both got a bang out of things, though- in a half-assed way.



Personal Response – Could I end the life of another individual?

I wouldn’t consider myself an openly empathetic or emotional person. Through the intensely gruesome imagery, I assume the film had a pacifistic intent. The concept of educating the youth on the past to prevent repetition is not at all new or a topic of personal interest. The film followed the motions of any war documentary beginning with the men’s excitement, the culture shock of the battlefield to the ends of themselves or their comrades’ lives. I did not find this film any different nor more effective than the last. I digress, through mulling over the film I contemplated multiple topics that I could discuss such as respect for service members, manipulative war propaganda, and the importance of community in adversity but nevertheless, all seemed too basic and overdone. Sifting through ideas and notes brought me to the topic of empathy and even further sympathy. The question arose of if I could end the life of another individual.

I have never faced death or vaguely the idea of death. Nobody I have had a strong connection to has passed away. I do not know what it is like to suffer the loss of someone. This concept alone makes it easier to say yes, in principle. In principle, it’s trivial, as trivial as it would be to pull the trigger, no? Pulling the trigger, and making the decision to end someone’s life means looking into the petrified eyes of another human being and making the decision to steal their life and all its possibilities. Killing someone is to have the understanding that your face is the last face that they will see before their entire world goes quiet. There is forever going to be a debate about the necessity of WW1, but it is unanimously agreed necessary or not death during WW1 was inevitable. The phrase just another number of the death toll was used in the film hearing this quote said so plainly and so frankly took me by surprise. I assume it was hard for the soldiers to compartmentalize that much death so much, so it became inconsequential. Each and every number on that death toll is a man or woman, each with their own hopes, dreams and aspirations for after the war. Aspirations that will never be fulfilled due to the trivial action of pulling a trigger, thrusting forward a bayonet, unclipping a grenade or signal to deploy gas.

In the future career that I aspire to attain as disgusting as it may sound the death of another individual at my hand will be inevitable some could even say necessary. In the conversations I have with other people or myself about ending the life of another individual it is easy to say that I would. I say this because yes is just a word, saying yes is just as easy as pulling a trigger, right? I would like to imagine myself as the type of person to hold the emotional diligence and indifference to any human life besides my own and the people I hold close to me. This is simply far from the truth. Often times if I ever imagine myself ending the life of a human being I attempt to justify the act by calling it self-defence, revenge, revenge is a sick topic in itself. To kill someone, absent of any feeling of remorse or guilt for me personally incomprehensible. I don’t know whether I agree or disagree with the training to void of this aversion to ending one’s life.

This begs the reconsideration of the question “Would I be able to end the life of another individual?”. The short answer is yes, yes I could end the life of another individual. Having said that the guilt would be enough to mourn a thousand deaths. The guilt would eat me alive; the guilt would fully consume me. The blatant murder of another human being would violate everything I stand for, it would completely obliterate my personal moral code. The guilt I would feel is not the guilt you feel after you say something mean or the guilt of failing a test. The guilt I would feel is classified as neurotic guilt. There would be no escaping it, the deed is done. The life has been ended.

Introduction – Samantha Aulmann

Hey Hey, My name is Samantha Aulmann. I am from Canberra the capital of Australia. In all honesty, the capital city of Australia should be Melbourne or Sydney. Although I am Australian I was born in Doha, Qatar. Until now I have spent most of my life living in many different places and cultures including Vietnam, the Middle East and obviously Australia. Some of my interests include travelling, water sports and global political issues.

I wouldn’t say I dislike reading but I would not call myself an avid reader. My aversion to reading doesn’t come from the actual motions of reading word by word but more from my lack of ability to concentrate on a singular task. The only book I’ve read and thoroughly enjoyed was the book Band of Brothers by Stephen E. Ambrose. Band of Brothers combines historically accurate first-hand accounts of pivotal events in the outcome of World War Two and the heartwarming friendships formed through rigorous training and the uncertainty of war.

Unlike reading, I enjoy all types of writing. From writing the most mundane academic essays to creative writing I believe that writing is my most developed outlet of self-expression. Utilising new obscure words in my essays and creative writing is a challenge I enjoy as I can then apply those words to my spoken vocabulary. I consistently strive to better communicate through writing in the most sophisticated and legible manner.