Category Archives: Independent Reading

June 1st IRJE: Wings of Fire – The Dragonet Prophecy

In Wings of Fire-The Dragonet Prophecy, by Tui T. Sutherland, Clay’s determination to protect his friends is what makes him brave. He is a MudWing and one of the five Dragonets of Destiny. MudWing dragons are supposed to be lazy, but they are strong. Clay grew up outside of the MudWing kingdom and that affected his life. He had never seen his parents before. Without ever knowing his parents, for years he wondered how MudWings lived within the kingdom. He hatched from a bright red egg on the brightest night with the other Dragonets. His friends: Glory, Starflight, Sunny and Tsunami. For years these five dragons had been kept hidden underneath the mountains of the Sky Kingdom. The dragons yearned to be free from that horrid place. They did receive food but were treated unjustly by the guardian dragons who were supposed to be protecting them. Tsunami had discovered a way that may allow them to escape. There was a river running through the inside of the mountains and there was a chance that it may lead them outside to freedom. One night Clay overheard the guardian dragons mentioning something about killing his friend Glory. 

“I’ll do it tonight while she’s sleeping,” Kestral said. “I can get in there and break her neck before the others know what I’m doing, especially with the bossy one safely chained up. Tsunami’s the only one who could stop me.” (p. 54)

After Clay had heard Kestral say this he immediately began to worry. He wondered how and if he could save his friend. Clay hesitated and decided that he has to protect his friends, he has to make sure they are safe. Clay knew that the only possible way to escape was through the running water where they would drink from. Clay was the only one who could hold his breath for around an hour underwater. Tsunami could breathe underwater but she had been locked up in chains earlier that night. Even if it meant risking his life Clay still volunteered to go. Clay believed that if he could manage to escape then he could uncover a way to assist the other Dragonets to escape as well. Clay may not be a smart dragon, but he is brave. His friends are like the family he never had. Being the largest dragon, Clay felt it was his responsibility to protect his friends and make sure they were safe no matter what. His loyalty towards protecting his friends is what makes Clay an astonishing dragon. 


June 1st IRJE: Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock Holmes is one of the most renowned detective novels, written by Arthur Conan Doyle. Dr. John Watson is injured upon return from the Afghanistan war and through a mutual friend he meets Sherlock Holmes in hopes of rooming together to save budget. Genuinely glad to have a roommate, Dr. Watson is deeply interested in Sherlock Holmes due to his zest of research and profession in an ambiguous field. He later discovers that Holmes is a private detective, and the two visit the crime scene requested by another detective.

“Before turning to those moral and mental aspects of the matter which present the greatest difficulties, let the inquirer begin by mastering more elementary problems.” p.23

Holmes is a very fact-based person with good intuition. He doesn’t see it necessary to act in a role to approach things in the “right” way. He cuts through all the layers of bluff and seizes the main problem, which is satisfying to see as a reader. I think it’s a great privilege to put aside the “moral and mental aspects of matter.” It is also astonishing because he doesn’t need to understand the murderer’s source of motivation to find out the identity. I wish all things could be solved like that.


IRJE: Call Me By Your Name (June 1st)

In Call Me By Your Name, by André Aciman,  Elio’s love for Oliver is composed of desire, shame, and envy. This coming-of-age novel is set in Northern Italy, in 1983, when the stigma and shame surrounding the LGBTQ+ community was still prevalent. Oliver is an American graduate student, staying with the Perlmans for a summer to finish his manuscript, alongside the esteemed Professor Perlman (Elio’s father). Oliver is older, more experienced, more confident in himself. Elio looks up to his nonchalance and “human experience”, although that cool, dismissive facade can simultaneously push Elio into a vicious cycle of insanity and longing. Oliver knows himself, which truly intimidates Elio. He, on the other hand, is still attempting to determine his identity, which is why he significantly struggles to show his feelings without shame. Eventually, in a moment of strength, or perhaps a moment of weakness, Elio opens up to Oliver.

“Do you like me that much, Elio?”

“Do I like you?” I wanted to sound incredulous, as though to question how he could ever have doubted such a thing. But then I thought better of it and was on the point of softening the tone of my answer with a meaningful evasive Perhaps that was supposed to mean Absolutely, when I let my tongue loose: “Do I like you, Oliver? I worship you.” There, I’d said it. I wanted the word to startle him and to come like a slap in the face so that it might be instantly followed with the most languorous caresses. What’s liking when we’re talking about worshipping? (p. 103)

I worship you. Elio looks at Oliver, and sees everything he wants to be. Yet, it surpasses that. The idea behind the title, Call Me By Your Name, is that the two men are able to use their names interchangeably, because they complete one another. Oliver is Elio’s other half, which justifies the desire and envy. During the novel, they both describe the other as, “better than me,” proving their reciprocated appreciation. Oliver is Elio’s missing piece, and vice versa. To understand this love is to experience it, and reading this novel is as close as I have ever come. Elio’s narration is intimate, detailed, compassionate, and emotional. I am able see what he sees, think what he thinks, and feel what he feels. Presently, I am unsure whether I believe in soulmates. I believe in love, chemistry, and passion. I also believe that relationships take continual effort; they don’t necessarily just work out because you love someone. Despite that, reading the love between Elio and Oliver pushed me closer to the belief that soulmates do exist, but that it is rare to find, and difficult to maintain. Elio and Oliver met in a time where they were forced apart due to the circumstances, societal pressures, and the fleeting time they had. Therefore, I must wonder, would their love have stayed this strong in ideal circumstances? Or, did the societal pressures and fleeting time only increase the intensity of their love?


IRJE: June 1 (Hunted)

In Hunted, book six of the Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne, the Morrgian, Irish goddess of war and the chooser of the slain, attempts to change herself– to love instead of lust, and be amiable instead of intimidating. She soon realizes that godhood offers not only boons, but also restrictions. One of them being that she cannot make herself anything but what her worshipers believe her to be. She is incapable of loving. To gain freedom in the only way she can, she orchestrates her own death, letting herself be killed while she is protecting he whom she wants to love. The aforementioned “he,” Atticus, reflects on the loss:

She’d made life more poignant for the Irish. The terror she inspired gave peace its serenity; the pain she caused gave health its lustre; her failure to love made me grateful for my ability to do so, and I realized, far too late, that though I never did or could have loved her as she might have wished, I should have loved her more. (p. 301)

It’s an interesting thing to appreciate that which is bad. I’ve heard people wish for a life free from sorrow and pain many times, and always found it perplexing. It is comparison which makes something stronger. Without chaos, peace cannot exist, and vise versa. If we have no comparison, what is simply is. I have never been blind, and so feel no excitement for the ability to see. Likewise, had I never experienced disorder and confusion, I would never be grateful for silence and calm. It is very difficult for us to feel thankful for that which we’ve never experienced an absence of, or to feel regretful for not having that which we don’t know exists. All of this is to say that one should appreciate more rather than less. It is a wonderful thing to live a life which offers such a diversity of feelings and experiences, which ties back in to the Morrigan’s dilemma– the inability to feel an emotion which you know exists must be an awful thing. That doesn’t only apply to love though: sadness, anger, anticipation, disappointment, joy, contentment– each plays an important role in the play of our lives, and without any one of them, we would be incomplete. A person should never resent themselves for their emotions, and should always be grateful for their ability to feel so much.


June 1st IRJE

In Chapter 5 of The Giver,  Just as they share their feelings at night, each morning the families in the community share their dreams. Jonas tells his family about his dream, his dream was that he was in a bathing room trying to get Fiona to take off her clothes and bath with him, but she keeps refusing. Soon After when Jonas’s father and Lily leave, Jonas’s mother explains to Jonas that he is experiencing Stirrings, which is very normal for his age. Jonas’s mother then gives Jonas a pill and tells him that he must take one of these pills everyday in order to stop the Stirrings. Jonas then remembers that his father and mother take a pill every day, and he has even seen Asher taking one also. In addition, the Speaker occasionally issues reminders over the loudspeakers that Stirrings should be reported immediately.

Jonas is now really proud of himself as he thinks that he is such an adult the he now has to take the pills, however, he also remembers the pleasurable feelings in his dream. He misses these feelings once they disappear when he takes the pill.

“Then, in the same way that his own dwelling slipped away behind him as he rounded a corner on his bicycle, the dream slipped away from his thoughts. Very briefly, a little guiltily, he tried to grasp it back. But the feelings had disappeared. The Stirrings were gone.” P. 39

I find this particular passage intriguing. This passage is a first glance a description of the effect after taking the pill to eliminate the stirrings, however, after putting some thought into it, I realized that it also shows the momentary nature of the emotions and memories in their society. Instead of embracing natural human emotion, in this case being the stirrings, Jonas’s community managed to find several solutions to erasing these emotions as a whole.



IR June 1st

In the Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, the tributes must wait sixty seconds before they are released.  In the Cornucopia, a large structure literally shaped like a cornucopia, she sees a tent pack and a bow and arrows. She thinks she might be able to reach the bow before anyone else but remembers Haymitch’s instructions to get away and find water. She’s preparing to run when she notices Peeta. He is looking at her and shaking his head as if telling her “no.” The gong sounds, and because Katniss was distracted by Peeta, she misses her chance. She grabs the tarp and decides to sprint to an orange backpack further in. She gets there at the same time as another boy, and while they struggle for it, blood sprays Katniss’s face. The boy falls, and Katniss sees a knife in his back. She runs for the woods while putting the backpack on, and a knife hits the pack and lodges firmly in it. Briefly she looks back to see the tributes fighting. Several already lie dead on the ground. She continues into the woods and doesn’t stop for a long time while she looks for water.

During the Games, a cannon sounds to mark the death of a tribute, and once the main battle is over, Katniss hears eleven cannon shots. That means thirteen tributes remain. At night they’ll play the Capitol’s anthem and project the images of the dead into the sky for everyone to see.  Eventually it gets dark, so Katniss makes her bed in a tree and uses her belt to secure herself to a branch. The faces of the dead tributes are projected one after another in the sky, and Katniss is relieved that Peeta is not among them.

Someone starts a fire nearby. Katniss lies in her sleeping bag, and when it’s almost dawn, she hears several people running toward the fire. A girl pleads and then screams, and Katniss realizes several tributes are hunting in a pack.

So they’re fighting in a pack. I’m not really surprised. Often alliances are formed in the early stages of the Games. The strong band together to hunt down the weak then, when the tension becomes too great, begin to turn on one another. I don’t have to wonder too hard who has made this alliance. It’ll be the remaining Career Tributes from Districts 1, 2, and 4. Two boys and three girls. The ones who lunched together. (p. 138)

The Career Tributes, the kids from the rich districts, have teamed up to pick off the weak contestants. This includes the players from the poor districts, including Katniss

They stop a few yards from her tree and discuss why the cannon hasn’t sounded to announce the girl’s death. The voices belong to some of the Career Tributes, but another voice says he’ll go back to make sure she’s dead. It belongs to Peeta.



The catcher in the rye so far to me has enraged me at the main character Holden. I have said this before and my mind still has not changed, but I did come across a section of the book to redeem himself in a way in my opinion. Holden enters a hole that is filled with many interesting characters, he spots a man and women squirting water into each other’s mouths.

I think if you really like a girl, I think you should not horse around with her at all, and even if you do like her, then your supposed to like her face, and if you like her face, you ought to be careful about doing crumby stuff to it, like squirting water all over it.

Now, this quote I enjoy because of its one of the first signs of respect from holden that I have seen from holden. When I read this I get a sense of disgust of two people squirting water on each other. Now people can do what they want if they enjoy it but, Holden explains his opinion of this sight and shows how he respects women. Sor far in the book I have never seen Holden fully respect someone and even in this quote he still does not if you keep reading but its a start.


May 15th IRJE: How To Train Your Dragon

In How To Train Your Dragon, by Cressida Cowell, Hiccup’s superior knowledge is overlooked by his friends and family because of his frailty body. On the isle of Berk, Hiccup stood outside with his slender ankles deep in the snow. He stood alongside nine other boys. They were all there because they wanted to pass the Dragon Initiation Programme. Their instructor was Gobber the Belch. Gobber was known as the idiot in charge of initiation. For these young men, passing the programme would make them Vikings. Hiccup was the smallest amongst the group. Everyone there, except for Gobber, viewed Hiccup as useless. When Gobber decided to make Hiccup the group leader most of the boys groaned.

‘Oh, not Hic-cup,’ groaned Dogsbreath the Duhbrain and most of the other boys. ‘You can’t put Hiccup in charge, sir, he’s useless.’ . . .

Hiccup Horrendous Haddock the Third, the hope and heir to the Tribe of the Hairy Hooligans, wiped his nose miserably on his sleeve. He sank a little deeper into the snow. (p. 16-18)

The other boys thought that hiccup was useless. They wanted nothing to do with him. They thought that it would be better for Hiccup to just leave. So that he doesn’t ruin their chances of passing the Dragon Initiation Programme.

Hiccup was, in some ways, useless. But not completely. He wasn’t as strong as the other boys. He feared them because they were bigger than him. All Hiccup had was his intellect. He was a smart person. But everyone in Berk believed that a Viking has to be strong, brave, and influential. It didn’t matter how smart a person was. All that mattered was how strong they were. For Hiccup to pass the programme and become a Viking, he has to change. He is smart, but he doesn’t have any confidence in himself. If Hiccup can suppress his fears and show that he is not weak, I’m sure he will be able to pass the programme and be called a Viking.



May 15th IRJE: Maurice

E. M Foster’s Maurice is a homosexual love story that takes place in 20th century England. As a young boy, Maurice was introduced to the concepts of heterosexual relationships and intercourse by his prep school teacher Mr. Ducie, who claimed that marriage was an ultimate goal. Maurice grows up living a mediocre life, with a secret doubt and fear of engaging in romantic relationships. Then he enters a college, which appeared to inspire him at first sight.

“Once inside college, his discoveries multiplied. People turned out to be alive. Hitherto he had supposed that they were what he pretended to be – flat pieces of cardboard stamped with a conventional design – but as he strolled about the courts at night and saw through the windows some men singing and others arguing and others at their books, there came by no process of reason a conviction that they were human beings with feelings akin to his own.” (p. 30)

I can relate to this section of the book on a personal level. “People turned out to be alive” is a very simple yet touching sentence for me. Its meaning is self-explanatory but somehow very enlightening. Growing up, it was told as a fact to me, but I never confirmed that people are actually alive until a certain inspirational person entered my life. I am becoming better at experiencing lively feelings from others, which is an experience exactly the same as how E. M Foster described in this section of the chapter. However, that dullness still remains in my mind, where defining feelings and experiencing feelings still require more coordination. This is evidently portrayed through “as he strolled about the courts at night and saw through the windows some men singing…” where Maurice is able to absorb himself in the atmosphere, but still at some distance. It really gives me a feeling of reminiscence.


IRJE: Emma (May 15th)

In Emma, by Jane Austen, the correlation between marriage and social status is a prominent theme. In this novel, marriage is essentially the only way for a woman to change her identity or social standing. Marriage can change who someone is completely, and to some, that is all that matters. It can elevate one’s status, build fortune, unite families, or even lower one’s status, depending on who they marry. There is a heavy amount riding on an engagement; much more so than simply happiness. Emma Woodhouse, a 21-year-old woman of high intelligence, social class, and beauty, has taken it upon herself to play matchmaker for her friends.  After successfully uniting her dear friend, Ms. Taylor, with the widowed Mr. Weston, she realizes that she is quite skilled at it, indeed. As Ms. Taylor moves away, Emma befriends Harriet Smith, who is a younger girl, often referred to as foolish, with insignificant parents. She is a very handsome young lady, which I suspect is why Emma takes such a strong liking to her. After a brief acquaintance is made between a man names Mr. Martin and Harriet, he claims to have fallen in love with her, and proposes to Harriet through a letter. Emma is with Harriet when she reads the letter, and is not pleased by the idea of marriage between the two. Harriet ends up refusing Mr. Martin, which Emma later tells her friend, Mr. Knightley. His response is not what Emma was expecting:

‘Then she is a greater simpleton than I ever believed her. What is the foolish girl about?’

‘Oh! to be sure,’ cried Emma, ‘it is always incomprehensible to a man that a woman should ever refuse an offer of marriage. A man always imagines a woman to be ready for any body who asks her.’

‘Nonsense! a man does not imagine any such thing. But what is the meaning of this? Harriet Smith refuse Robert Martin? madness, if it is so; but I hope you are mistaken.’ (p. 57)

Harriet Smith, although a rather undeveloped character at this point, was judged for refusing marriage. In the society that she lives in, people feel that it’s their right to comment on the decisions and lives of others. Harriet’s decisions have nothing to do with Mr. Knightly, and yet, he feels the right to express his negativity on the subject. His comments on her character, social status, and intelligence are shameful. Furthermore, as Emma said, why should Harriet feel pressured into marrying him, simply because he asked? Although in a completely different manner today, people still feel the right to comment on the lives and relationships of others. We pass judgements or remarks regarding other people, then proceed to be vexed if other people talk about us. This is a hypocritical cycle, and based on the similarities we see in this novel, it has been this way for some time. In Emma, marriage is formed to satisfy society. Societal pressures dictate the moves people make, because one toe out of line will cause revolt. If people saw a high-class man marrying a lower-class woman, there would be an uproar. This leads me to wonder, why? Why is speculation so regular; something most people engage in? Why are we so interested in the lives of others?


IRJE: May 15 (Tricked)

In Tricked, book four of the Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne, Siodhachan (or Atticus) O Suileabhain must train his new apprentice, Granuaile, to become a druid in order to preserve druidic magic. However, the journey from apprenticeship to full druidhood is a long one, requiring twelve years of martial and scholarly training before one can use even the barest hints of magic. One of the scholarly necessities is that of learning numerous languages. When discussing various aspects of druidic power, Atticus tells Granuaile one of the reasons she needs to learn so many languages.

One of the reasons I require you to learn so many languages is that you can use each of them as a different head-space; they’re going to provide you with a frame-work in which to multitask and they’ll also help you avoid mistakes. You’ll want to use Old Irish for you magic and English for everyday use, so that you’re firmly separating your bindings from your regular speech. Then you’re going to want to pick a language to use for elementals that’s different from  either. (p. 37).

Languages are a fascinating thing which are often mistaken for only ways of communicating. They are not. Much more dominantly, they are ways of thinking. Our vocabulary and sentence structures influence the way we think about and interpret the world, and though it is likely exaggeration in the spirit of fantasy to say one can operate in multiple languages at once, I do think that the sentiment of each language being a different head-space is at least in some ways true. I am not bilingual. I know a passable amount of French, but other than that I can only speak English (although my father is fluent in French and my mother in Swedish– I cannot fathom why they didn’t teach me those languages as a child). Still, I have had a great interest in lingual studies for quite a while. Overwhelmingly, I’ve found it impossible to contradict that language shapes thought. A sentence structure is a hierarchical list of all important information: where we place each bit of information determines its value in our minds. Vocabulary is also significant. For instance, in some First Nations languages, the term for plants translates to “those who take care of us.” Having this be the literal meaning of a word unquestionably would shape one’s disposition towards what that thing is, which is showcased in the difference between Indigenous values and those of the broader Western community. This is one of the reasons I so wish to learn more languages throughout my life– a new language unlocks not just words, but new ideas, new ways of living and being.


May 15 IRJE

In chapter three of The Giver, when Jonas’ father brings Gabriel home, Lily  noted that he has the same pale eyes as Jonas. Most people in the community, except Jonas and one of the Fives, have dark eyes. Lily speculates that Gabe and Jonas share a Birthmother. Mirrors are uncommon there. Jonas has never spent much time looking into one, but he remembers seeing Gabe’s light eyes which have more depth and solemnity than regular eyes.

Lily is enchanted by Gabe and hopes that she will be assigned as a Birthmother as she likes new children and has heard that Birthmothers live better lives. Mother, however, notes that after three births, they become labourers until they enter the House of the Old.  Father suggests instead that Lily might wish to become a Nurturer, should try some volunteer hours at the Nurturing Center when she turns Eight.

The Speaker Lily reminded the people that food should be eaten and never brought back home. Jonas used an apple for the “catch”  game with Asher and saw that the apple’s appearance has changed slightly in mid-air and then return to its original appearance later.

“Then it was in his hand, and he looked at it carefully, but it was the same apple. Unchanged. The same size and shape: a perfect sphere. The same nondescript shade, about the same shade as his own tunic.” (P. 24)

This specific passage seems really interesting to me as it might foreshadow Jonas’s ability to see colour as well as the unusual perfection of all matters perceived by the community. This connects the latter part of the story that Jonas found the community  is made to make the people perceive it as flawless.



IRJE May 1st.

Divergent by Veronica Roth, Tobias sarcastically invites her to kill them, but Jeanine explains that she needs to conduct more tests first. Though the previous mind-numbing serum didn’t affect Divergents, she has created another substance that will.

“Eric called Al’s suicide brave, and he was wrong. My mother’s death was brave. I remember how calm she was, how determined. It isn’t just that she died for me; it is brave that she did it without announcing it, without hesitation, and without appearing to consider another option.”

As he prepares to fire, she shoots him in the head. Next, she follows her mother’s directions to the building where her family is hiding. When Caleb lets her in, she sees they are with other members of Abnegation, including Marcus. Tris collapses from blood loss, and Caleb and her father remove the bullet from her shoulder and stitch up her wound. Caleb tells Tris he researched the vault serums as their mother requested.


IRJE May 1st


Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck demonstrates the importance of human connection and friendship using the two protagonists, Lennie and George. Of Mice and Men is a story of two ranch workers traveling around California looking for work in the 1930s, which was the time of the great depression in America. Though they faced great financial difficulty Lennie and George still often spoke of a dream for their future. This quotation is them talking of that dream and sharing it with their new friend Candy. It is the first time they realize this dream they use to speak of like a fairytale, could come true. Candy then offers to join willing to pay his part making this a possibility.

Lennie watched him with wide eyes, and old Candy watched him too. Lennie said softly, “We could live offa the fatta the lan’.”

“Sure,” said George. “All kin’s a vegetables in the garden, and if we want a little whisky we can sell a few eggs or something, or some milk. We’d jus’ live there. We’d belong there. There wouldn’t be no more runnin’ round the country and gettin’ fed by a Jap cook. No, sir, we’d have our own place where we belonged and not sleep in no bunt house.” (p. 57,58).

The value of owning land is stressed. Lennie and George would be given freedom and self-sufficiency if they owned their own farm. This long sought after freedom becomes something not so out of reach when their new friend says he would be willing to help them pay. This quick and quiet conversation between the three men inspires hope for the future despite the current troubles.


May 1st IRJE: Wings of Fire – The Dragonet Prophecy

In Wings of Fire-The Dragonet Prophecy, by Tui T. Sutherland, Clay is a kind and an empathetic dragon who’s personality only hinders him from fulfilling his destiny. Clay’s destiny is to become the great MudWing saviour of the dragon world. The expectations for Clay were high. He wanted to fulfill his duty. But he was not a natural-hatched hero. Nothing about him was special. Other than his sheer size, Clay lacked the requisite qualities of a dragon. Dragons are supposed to be dangerous. Clay was the exact opposite.

He was all right at fighting. But “all right” wasn’t going to stop the war and save the dragon tribes. He needed to be extraordinary. He was the biggest dragonet, so he was supposed to be the scary, tough one. The minders wanted him to be terrifyingly dangerous. Clay felt about as dangerous as cauliflower. (p. 1)

For Clay to fulfill his destiny, he needs to change. He needs to become a stronger fighter and a more profound dragon. Within his heart, Clay desires to do what’s best for the dragon world. “He wanted to look at the world, figure out what was broken, and fix it” (p. 1). Clay may not be the dragon who all believe will save the dragon world. But as long as Clay has the intention to do what’s right. He will succeed in bringing peace.



IRJE: Pride and Prejudice (May 1st)

In Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen,  Elizabeth is an intelligent, strong, inspiring woman, despite the limits of her time. When I began reading this novel, I was astounded by the differences between society then and now. Women were truly treated as property, and their lives mainly revolved around marriage from a young age. Marriage was a way for women to move up socioeconomically, and was certainly not principally based on love. However, in this novel, Elizabeth begins to fall in love with Mr. Darcy. They challenge one another intellectually, and both have a kind spirit and social etiquette. Unfortunately, Lady Catherine, an upper-class woman who is also Mr. Darcy’s aunt, does not approve of their union. Before they even get engaged, Lady Catherine travels to Elizabeth’s home, to advise, nay direct Elizabeth not to marry Mr. Darcy. Lady Catherine’s behaviour is despicable, not to mention insulting to Elizabeth and her family. And all because Lady Catherine wants her own daughter, Mr. Darcy’s cousin, to marry him instead. She essentially says that she will not leave until Elizabeth promises her that she will not get engaged to Mr. Darcy. Elizabeth’s response to this rude and forceful statement is as followed:

“And I certainly never shall give it. I am not to be intimidated into any thing so wholly unreasonable. Your ladyship wants Mr. Darcy to marry your daughter; but would my giving you the wished-for promise make their marriage at all more probable? Supposing him to be attached to me, would my refusing to accept his hand make him wish to bestow it on his cousin? Allow me to say, Lady Catherine, that the arguments with which you have supported this extraordinary application have been as frivolous as the application was ill judge. You have widely mistaken my character, if you think I can be worked on by such persuasions as these. How far your nephew might approve of your interference in his affairs I cannot tell; but you have certainly no right to concern yourself in mine. I must beg, therefore, to be importuned no farther on the subject.” (p. 304-305)

In this response, Elizabeth achieves everything I would long to say in a similar situation. She presents herself as articulate, respectful, and brave. She defends herself, and her honour to a woman who is disrespecting her on the highest level. In the 18th century, this was quite uncommon behaviour on both sides. As far as I’m aware, society was conducted in a very civil manner, and respect was always given when deserved. One, especially a woman, would rarely speak out of turn to defend oneself. This is something that makes my skin crawl. Although they were conditioned to being proper, silent, and reserved, I could not imagine a world in which I could not stand up for myself or voice my opinions. However, I would have likely conformed in this case, due to societal pressure. But not Elizabeth. She demonstrates her respect for herself and her family. She proves that women could be powerful in this time. She’s truly an inspiration, and I aspire to speak as eloquently and persuasively as she did in this passage.


IRJE: May 1 (Hounded)

In Hounded, book one of the Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne, Siodhachan O Suileabhain is warned of doom’s approach by the Morrigan, goddess of war, fate, and death. Siodhachan, or more commonly Atticus, has long been hunted by Aenghus Og, the god of love. The Morrigan warns Atticus that Aenghus once again plans to make an attempt on his life, which makes Atticus contemplate his relationship with the Celtic god of love.

If love and hate were two sides of the same coin, Aenghus spent an awful lot of time on the hate side for a god of love– especially where I was concerned. (p. 23).

Gods being portrayed as full and complicated people, instead of solely representations of one emotion or attribute, always catches my interest. Mostly reading fantasy novels, deities often make appearances in my books. Nothing, to me, makes the concept of godliness less appealing than the lack of motivations or complications. I am just beginning to reread this series, which I loved in my youth, and am remembering all the reasons I love it. Likely first and foremost among these reasons is the depth of each character. Never do I question “Would this character actually do this?” or think “This is only happening to advance the plot, and doesn’t have any justifications as per the natures of the characters.”  Often times authors get away with losing that depth when it comes to gods, which are, in most pantheons, representations of specific domains. This quickly becomes boring, and removes any intrigue about motivations. I enjoy that in Hounded the god of love experiences the full range of emotions, rather than just love. Love closely ties together with hatred, so much so that it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say they are two of the most bonded emotions. If a god of love never hates, and a god of hatred never loves, an infinity of possibilities are lost to the narrative. The idea of a god who resembles a regular person in all ways except their power is much more interesting.


IJRE 1/5/2020 Stormbreaker

In chapter 15 Eleven O’Clock of the book Stormbreaker,  written by Anthony Horowitz,  Alex escapes the house and sees, that Sayle’s private helicopter has already left, but the cargo plane is still there. Alex knocks out a guard, steals his gun and jeep and drives towards the plane. Attaching the yo-yo to his belt and wrapping the yo-yo string around the harpoon, which he has taken of Sayle’s home, he drives closer to the plane and shoots the harpoon into it. He is drugged out of the jeep and  his yo-yo reels him in. Opening the back door, Alex goes inside to find Mr. Grin flying the plane. Then  Alex pulls out the gun and threatens Mr. Grin, who is ordered by Alex to head to the science museum in South Kensington, London.

Alex is surprised even by himself how easy it is to get the upper hand in this situation and to threaten another person with a gun without scruples. With his confident presence and the gun in his hand, Alex acts like an adult and gives exact instructions.

Alex raised the gun. He wondered if he would have the courage to use it. But he wasn’t going to let Mr.Grin know that. “All right, Mr. Grin,” he shouted above the noise of the propeller and the howl of the wind.“You may not be able to talk, but you’d better listen. I want you to fly this plane to London. We’re going to the Science Museum in South Kensington and we’ve got to be there in less than an hour. And if you think you’re trying to trick me, I’ll put a bullet in you. Do you understand?” Mr. Grin said nothing. (P. 208)

This quote shows that Alex does justice to a super agent in this book and his abilities are already perfectly trained. Certainly many young people wish to be like Alex.



May 1st IRJE

In the book The Giver by Lois Lowry, Chapter one starts off with the introduction of the protagonist, Jonas, an 11 year old boy who lives in a town where supplies are airlifted to a spot across the river from their community. A year ago, there was an unexpected plane that landed, and everyone was scared. The speaker of the community announced that the pilot has been punished by releasing him.  Jonas knows that the word is only used with caution, and that no one jokes about it.  Later in the chapter, Jonas family engages in their nightly “telling their feelings”, where Jonas sister Lily talks about a visitor in school who did not obey the rules, and thought that they behaved like animals. His father, who is a nurturer talks about a baby boy that is not developing as he should be, and that the baby may be released. Lily then jokes about keeping the baby, but then gets scolded by her mother telling her to remember the rules: only one male and one female child can be assigned to each family.

“It was almost December, and Jonas was beginning to be frightened.”

This passage is really interesting. As the first sentence of the book, it is ambiguous. Having the first initial setting of the plot being near the end of the year, might be symbolically hinting that the protagonist Jonas is facing the end of an era in his life. At the same time, winter acts as the foreshadow to the time frame of of the novel. In the second half of the sentence, it gives an ominous sense. Jonas instinctive description of fear darkens the tone of the story, preparing us for the eventual revelation of the dystopian communities true nature.


IR MAY 1st

We are in chapter 5 from The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Cinna arrives in the room, Katniss is surprised by how natural he looks.  Most stylists in the Capitol dye their hair, skin, or opt for plastic surgery that makes them unrecognizable. The only thing that seems altered on him is the metallic gold eyeliner that he wears. Cinna compliments Katniss’s hairstyle as he takes her in. He reveals that he actually volunteered to take District 12—usually a stylist’s last choice—but he doesn’t say why. They have a short conversation about Prim and he is ready to make her look stunning.

” A few hours later, I am dressed in what will either be the most sensational or the deadliest costume in the opening ceremonies. I’m in a simple black unitard that covers me from ankle to neck. Shiny leather boots lace up to my knees. But it’s the fluttering cape made of streams of orange, yellow, and red and the matching headpiece that defines this costume. Cinna plans to light them on fire just before our chariot rolls into the streets. ” (p. 38) 

Cinna puts together a fabulous costume for the opening ceremonies with “real” flames. Cinna knows this will drag everybody’s attention on her. It is important the crowd’s reactions and Katniss causing a great sensation.“I want the audience to recognize you when you’re in the arena,” says Cinna dreamily. “Katniss, the girl who was on fire.” (p.40) Cinna makes a spectacular fiery outfit for her debut in the opening ceremonies. The question I made in my head once I read this, is: How is the public image that Cinna is crafting for Katniss different from who she really is?

Chapter 6 ends when Peeta and Katniss return indoors and say goodnight. When Katniss enters the room she wants to apologize to the red-haired girl, but she remembers she isn’t allowed to talk to an Avox. The girl avoids Katniss’s eyes, and Katniss feels ashamed that she didn’t try to help the girl in the woods.

“What’s an Avox?” I ask stupidly.

“Someone who committed a crime. They cut her tongue so she can’t speak,” says Haymitch. “She’s probably a traitor of some sort. Not likely you’d know her.” (p. 23-24)

Traitors to the government have their tongues cut out and become servants called Avoxes.

Katniss feels like a hypocrite because she just sat there and watched as the girl was captured, much like the Capitol audience will sit and watch her suffer in the Hunger Games in a couple of days.




April 15th, IRJ

In The Catcher In The Rye by J.D Salinger, Holden’s character comes off as incredibly negative and tiresome person for others to have to deal with. To his friends, if you could even call them that,  they probably see Holden just as annoying as a baby Huskey. Constantly barking at you about every little thing, and then getting even more loud and irritating when you give them the attention.  Holden is also constantly lying and making up stories about others or just himself. This shows that Holden has a very shallow personality and that he cannot be trusted with just about anything, other than guaranteeing that he is going to get on somebody’s nerve sometime soon. Holden will lie to just about anything to just about anyone. 

“May I ask your name dear? “Rudolf Schmit” I told her. I didn’t feel like giving her my whole life history. Rudolf Schmi was the name of the janitor of our dwarm. ” Do you like Pencey?” she asked. “Pencey? It’s not too bad. It’s not a paradise or anything, but it as good as other schools. Some of the faculty are pretty conciencious.” “Ernest just adores it” “I know he does” I said. Then I started shooting old crap around a little bit.  “He adapts himself really well to things. I mean he really does. I mean he really knows how to adapt himself.” “do you think so.” She sounded interested as hell.

This quote is from a conversation with one of the Holdens classmates mothers on a bus.  Now holden could have gone about this conversation with honesty which is not a very hard thing to do in a regular daily conversation. But instead, he went ahead and lied about what his name was and that he thought Pencey was an alright school. he carries on lying about other things such as the reason he is leaving. He is leaving because he is going to stay in a hotel instead of school. But he told her that he was going to have a surgery on a brain tumor he has. Reading about this makes me frustrated. I find it hard to understand why Holden makes life so hard for himself in just about every way possible.


IRJE – April 15 – Pride and Prejudice

In Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, Mr. Darcy’s character is quite difficult to identify. The first impression he leaves on the protagonist, Elizabeth Bennet, is certainly negative. He insults her honour, which leads everyone to believe that he has far too much pride to be agreeable. However, when Elizabeth comes to Netherfield (Mr. Bingley’s residence) to nurse her sister back to health, Mr. Darcy starts to act differently. He begins to notice things about her, such as her beautiful eyes and her lively spirit. Although Mr. Darcy seems to be filled with pride of his accomplishments, and prejudice toward people of a lower social standing, he starts to seem… nice. Elizabeth often catches him looking at her, and he tries to engage in conversation. Despite the poor impression he originally makes on her, he is recovering fairly well. Unfortunately, when Elizabeth speaks to Mr. Wickham, who is essentially like a second son to Mr. Darcy’s father, her impression of Mr. Darcy becomes as negative as ever.

“I had not thought Mr. Darcy so bad as this—though I have never liked him, I had not thought so very ill of him. I had supposed him to  be despising his fellow-creatures in general, but did not suspect him of descending to such malicious revenge, such injustice, such inhumanity as this.” (p. 74)

Prior to this, Mr. Wickham tells Elizabeth something terrible about Mr. Darcy. Mr. Wickham claims he was so beloved by Mr. Darcy’s father, that when the father passed away, he was meant to receive a portion from his will (even though they are not related). Mr Wickham tells Elizabeth that Mr. Darcy used a loophole in his recently departed father’s will, to maliciously take Mr. Wickham’s share from him. My hopes for Mr. Darcy depleted as I read this.  Before then, I genuinely liked his character! He did leave a negative first impression. However, I find that relationships are most intriguing when they start in that manner. If the characters previously disliked or hated one another, the relationship is unanticipated, and usually quite passionate. The relationship between Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth hasn’t developed at this point, because she truly dislikes him. And honestly… I can see why. As Mr. Wickham illustrates Mr. Darcy’s character, there is absolutely no detail that reflects positively on him. As I read on, the novel begins to reflect that it isn’t actually Mr. Darcy’s character that’s this flawed, but it’s the portrayal. Mr. Wickham is sabotaging his image, which leaves me wondering, did Mr. Darcy deserve this? Perhaps his character is what I thought, and perhaps Mr. Wickham is the true antagonist of this story…


IR April 15th

The Hunger Games by “Suzane Collins”

The next morning at breakfast, they are once again served an abundance of rich foods. Haymitch continues to drink, and when Katniss asks him for some advice for the Games, he just tells her to stay alive. Peeta knocks the glass from his hand, and Haymitch punches him. Katniss, then, drives her knife into the table, just barely missing Haymitch’s fingers. Haymitch is pleasantly surprised, asking if he’s got some fighters this year. He keeps Peeta from putting ice on his jaw, telling him that the bruise will make others think that he got into a fight with another tribute before the Games, something that is against the rules.

Haymitch makes a deal with them, promising that he will remain sober enough to help them. His next piece of advice is to let their stylists do whatever they want to them, not to resist.

I realize I detest Haymitch. No wonder the District 12 tributes never stand a chance. It isn’t just that we’ve been underfed and lack training. Some of our tributes have still been strong enough to make a go of it. But we rarely get sponsors and he’s a big part of the reason why. The rich people who back tributes—either because they’re betting on them or simply for the bragging rights of picking a winner—expect someone classier than Haymitch to deal with.

The best-looking tributes usually get more sponsors. People in the Capitol have an unrealistic appearance. Their looks have been altered. It’s difficult to see who and what people really are.

When they reach the Capitol, Peeta and Katniss stare out the window at the wealth — the shiny cars, the paved streets, the well-fed people in all of their bright clothes and makeup and hair. As the people turn to look at the tribute train coming in, Katniss is disgusted by their excitement, how eager they are to see them die. Peeta, on the other hand, waves and smiles, and says that some of them may be rich.

There it is. It’s huge! It’s incredible.
[as the train is pulling to a stop they see crowd of people waiting outside cheering them, Peeta smiles and waves at them, he turns to Katniss to join him]

The chapter ends on this note, with Peeta waving and smiling to the people watching their train, hoping to get some sponsors, causing Katniss to distrust him even more and believe that he is doing all that he can to kill her.

Katniss continues to struggle with how she feels about Peeta. She second-guesses everything that he does, worrying that all of his actions are motivated by his desire to win. She thinks that he might be acting out of kindness, which is more dangerous to her since she knows she won’t be able to kill a kind Peeta Mellark.



IRJE: April 15 (The Hero of Ages)

In the Hero of Ages, book three of the Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson, the world of Scadrial is ruled over by two opposing gods, Ruin, the god of change, and Preservation, the god of stability. For aeons, they were at an impasse, with neither one able to achieve their full goal. Thus, Scadrial was too left in between, with each being possessing equal amounts of chaos and stability inside of them.

Preservation’s desire to create sentient life was what eventually broke the stalemate. In order to give mankind awareness and independent thought, Preservation knew that he would have to give up a part of himself–his own soul–to dwell within mankind. This would leave him just a tiny bit weaker than his opposite, Ruin. . . Preservation got mankind, the only creations that had more Preservation than Ruin rather than a balance. Independent life that could think and feel. (pp. 483-484).

In this passage, it is stated that humans have a part of Preservation inside of them, making them the only being on Scadrial to not be completely balanced between chaos and stability. It is implied that two of the things that make mankind a creation of Preservation are their abilities to think and feel. I find both of these ideas–that humans are beings more of perpetuation than change and that a reason for this is the ability to think and feel–questionable at best.

Firstly, quite obviously every creature has the ability to feel. I considered that perhaps there are not animals on Scadrial, as they are rarely ever mentioned and the conditions of the world would theoretically make it quite hard for many of them to survive. However, wolfhounds and other such creatures are referred to in the novel, if sparingly. In any case, it is unquestionable that feeling is not unique to the human race.

More importantly though, feeling and thinking, in my mind, are in no way attributes of stagnation and stability. Emotion combined with the ability to process and ponder is one of the most chaotic things in this world. In some ways, beings that lack consciousness are in a perpetual state of meditation. The average life of a person is a tornado of disorder and complication compared to the life of an animal. Many of the people who represent calmness to us are those that actively try to put everything out of their minds: monks. Naturally, humans are beings of what Ruin represents– chaos. In Mistborn, Ruin’s goal is to eventually destroy the world. I dare say if Ruin had seen Earth’s example of what humans can do to a planet, he would have been a thousand times more eager to bring them into Scadrial than Preservation was.


IJRE 15/4/2020 Stormbreaker

In chapter 14 Deep Water, of the book Stormbreaker written by Anthony Horowitz Alex, the spion gets  uncuffs by Vole  and they argue for a while, but she tells him to trust her. Then they go looking for a phone to call Blunt but she tricks him. She pushes a button and he falls with the jellyfish. Vole and Grin taunt Alex for a while and tell him the record for being with the jellyfish is 5.5 hours. Alex almost get stung by the jellyfish, but remembers his zit cream and puts it on metal that holds up the glass. The glass explodes and the Jellyfish land on Vole. An Alarm goes off, nd he sees he only has 1 hour, and he sees the plane take off. Alex makes a plan to get to the plane on time. Alex had a very good training, because he is able to think logical in dangerous situations and he doesn’t get really in panic in dangerous situations.  This demonstrate the next citation:

“Alex—” “What do you want?” Alex recoiled away from heras she leaned over him. Then there was a click, and tohis astonishment, his hands came free. She had un-locked the handcuffs! He stood up, wondering whatwas going on. “Listen to me,” Vole said. The words were tumbling quickly and softly out of her yellow-painted lips.“We do not have much time. I am here to help you. Iworked with your uncle—Herr Rider.” Alex staredat her in surprise. “Yes. I am on the same side as you.” “But nobody told me—” “It was better for you not to know.” “But . . .” Alex was confused. “I saw you with thesubmarine. You knew what Sayle was doing . . .” “There was nothing I could do. Not then. It’s toohard for me to explain. We don’t have the time to ar-gue. You want to stop him or no?” “I need to find a phone.” “All the phones in the house are coded. You can-not use them. But I have a mobile in my office.” “Then let’s go.” Alex was still suspicious. If Nadia Vole had knownso much, why hadn’t she tried to stop Sayle before?On the other hand, she had released him—and Mr.Grin would be back any minute. He had no choice butto trust her. He followed her out of the room, aroundthe corner, and up a flight of stairs to a landing witha statue of a naked woman, some Greek goddess, inthe corner. Vole paused for a moment, resting herhand against the statue’s arm. “What is it?” Alex asked. “I feel dizzy. You go on. It’s the first door on theleft.” Alex went past her, along the landing. Out of thecorner of his eye, he saw her press down on thestatue’s arm. The arm moved . . . a lever. By the timehe knew he had been tricked, it was too late. He yelledout as the floor underneath him swung around on ahidden pivot. He tried to stop himself falling, but therewas nothing he could do. He crashed onto his backand slid down through the floor and into a black plas-tic tunnel, which corkscrewed beneath him. As hewent, he heard Nadia Vole laugh triumphantly, andthen he was gone, desperately trying to find a hold onthe sides, wondering what would be at the end of hisfall. Five seconds later he found out. The corkscrewspat him out. He fell briefly through the air andsplashed into cold water. For a moment he wasblinded, fighting for air. Then he rose to the surfaceand found himself in a huge glass tank filled with wa-ter and rocks. That was when he realized, with hor-ror, exactly where he was. Vole had deposited him in the tank with the giantjellyfish. (p. 191)

I was pretty suprised by this, because I thought that this maybe change the whole book, but it was very clever by Nadine to do that. I think Alex was pretty intelligent to use that cream to go out of this aquarium.  I would be so excited that I couldn’t even think about a Cream that helps you in that situation.