Friday, May 29, 2009

Sophomore... Not anymore!

That's right, folks, our sophomore year is over!!! (And I write this sentence less than one minute before the final bell of the year.)

This year has been one of the fastest I've ever experienced, but also, somehow, one of the most exhausting. I'm more ready for summer than I have ever been.

At the end of every year, you can pretty much repeat the same things:

Had a great time!

Gained some friends, lost some friends.

I'll never do that again...

This year was no different. I really did have a great time. I really did get some new friends, and sadly, I also lost some. I also did some stuff that I'll never try again.

It's been a good year, but an unremarkable one. Maybe someday I'll look back on my sophomore year and think 'That was the year I changed everything... that was when I decided to become what I am now...' or maybe I'll just look back and think 'What happened that year? Something important?'

This year was okay. I hope I can say the same or better for next year.

By the end of this blog, the final bell has rung and I can hear the noises of students freed. I echo their joy. Perhaps this is the end of this blog- this is the last post assigned me. It was a good run, but I enjoy the finish line.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Of Mice and Men Review

The best laid schemes o' Mice an' Men, Gang aft agley, An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain, For promis'd joy!
- Robert Burns, "To a Mouse"

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck is one of the most touching classics I have ever read.

The writing style was sparse, but fulfilling, mostly of dialogue. The scenes that were described vividly, such as the opening pastoral scene, painted a picture of the untouched nature that surrounded the characters.

The characters were simple, but each one had a touch of something that made them special, interesting, and affecting. The bonds shown between the two main character were powerful and poignant.

George and Lennie were itinerant workersduring the Great Depression who dreamed of owning their own small farm. Lennie was a mentally disabled, but physically strong man who obcessively touches soft things. George is a slight, shrewd man who cares for Lennie and managaes him, but dreams of a better life.

This story is one of devotion and responsibility and necessity, and the things that people will do for their dreams and in spite of them.

I hightly recommend this book for all readers who enjoy emotive reading and absorbing characters.

House on Mango Street Review

The House on Mango Street was written by Sandra Cisneros and is about a young girl named Esperanza growing up in the barrio of Chicago.

To me, this book wasn't worth the time it took to read it. The story was disconnected and jumpy. Every chapter was vague and slow-paced. This type of writing was, of course, the style Cisneros chose to employ, but it was singularly displeasing to read.

I did not like The House on Mango Street and I do not suggest it to anyone else. I will not, however, recomend against the book. It had an appeal, although its appeal was one I did not respond to. If a reader is looking for a coming of age story that easy to read and not very complicated, this book is good for them.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Red Wheebarrow Poem

William Carlos Williams wrote a poem called The Red Wheelbarrow. As a part of the Utopia v. Dystopia unit in English 10, we spent time with this poem and wrote our own poem after the fashion of The Red Wheelbarrow.

The Red Wheelbarrow

so much depends

a red wheel

glazed with rain

beside the white

The poem I wrote with Red Wheelbarrow as my 'inspiration':

So much depends
upon a brightening
tower; white stone
and shining glass
upon a beaten shore.

If you can't guess, it's about a lighthouse. :)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Good Earth Review

Few writers have ever told a story on a level with Pearl S. Buck's The Good Earth.

The Good Earth is a story of life in all its twists and turns. It follows the life of a Chinese peasant who drags himself up out of the mire into success, and how his success was the undoing of him.

This book just drew me in. When reading it, I felt like I knew Wang Lung, the main character, personally, and was right beside him through all his troubles and successes. When the last pages turned, I felt as if a part of my own life was done and over.

Before reading The Good Earth I knew very little about China. I still know very little about China, but that doesn't lessen the power and intimacy of the story. Life is life, no matter what country you're living it in.

Although this book was easy to follow in its plotline, I don't suggest it for youngsters, or for light reading. The Good Earth is a serious book and it should be taken seriously and read with respect.


The Giver Review

The Giver by Lois Lowry has long been one of my all-time favorite books.

It's about a society that is entirely different from anything we know. The main character is aboy named Jonas, and in his society there is no color. For Jonas's friends, family, and fellow community members, there is no music, no emotion, no difference.

The society is one founded on Sameness. Nothing is overly distinguishable from anything else. There's not even any weather.

This Sameness is achieved through the storage of all the memories of the past in one person: the Receiver.

The Giver is about the things that would have to be sacrificed for perfect peace and similarity and also about what happens to people when emotions are removed. It was a very good book, having more insight and truth in only 192 pages than many people have encountered in all the books they've ever read.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Animal Farm Review

Written by George Orwell and published in 1945, Animal Farm is a satirical, dystopian novel that parodies the events of the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the Stalin era.

In Animal Farm, animals play the parts of the Bolshevik revolutionaries. Pigs are used to portray Stalin, Trotsky, Lenin, and Molotov. Dogs are Stalin's secret police, the NKVD. There are equines and sheep for the proletariat, rats for the nomadic northerners, and even hens to represent the Kulaks.

The novel is intriguing and makes history interesting in a new and horrible way. It was not written to comfort or to soothe, not to entertain or to give the reader that fuzzy, satisfied emotion that comes with a happy ending. It was written to tell.

I suggest this book for those readers who seek a deeper understanding of the Russian Revolution or for readers who just like to think about the ironies of fate: what better irony that this one, a revolution that turns into a worse dictatorship that the one before it?