June 30, 2005

New Era Poster Lessons: The Atonement

What separates Christianity from other religions of Abrahamic decent? It is the fact that they believe in a Messiah that has already come, preformed miracles and been put to death. Though all Christians agree on this common standard, the different beliefs may seem jumbled while looking deeper.
In reality, Christ was chosen before the world began. He was chosen to take a main role in the leading of His Father’s children (you and I) back to their home in Heaven based on their faithfulness. While Lucifer’s plan was to force us all to do right, so that all of us could return home, Jesus advocated a plan that would not defy the eternal laws of free agency. In the end (or the beginning, I guess) Jesus was chosen and we came to earth. When Jesus finally came, after thousands of years of prophecy, he provided a perfect example and hope to all who believed in him. He also gave us something that nobody else could provide: freedom from our sins.
In his suffering, beginning initially in Gethsemane, he paid the price for all of the sins of the world, from those that had already been committed, to those yet to come. Not only did he suffer for our sins, but for our suffering as well. He suffered for our sorrows and pains, both physical and mental, taking on all of our burdens. The stress of the pains was so tremendous that it caused him physical anguish, dispensing blood from every pore in his body. Following his suffering in Gethsemane, Christ suffered many other afflictions, and eventually death.
Because of the love shown by Christ Jesus, all sins, except for blasphemy against the Holy Ghost (see Matt. 12:31), can be forgiven if we take the time to repent. It is through true repentance that we can be saved, all thanks to the love of our Savior Jesus Christ.
Amen,
Paige

See Also:
http://www.mormon.org/learn/0,8672,858-1,00.html

http://www.mormon.org/learn/0,8672,889-1,00.html

http://library.lds.org/nxt/gateway.dll/Magazines/Ensign/1996.htm/ensign%20november%201996.htm/the%20atonement.htm

http://library.lds.org/nxt/gateway.dll/Magazines/Ensign/2001.htm/ensign%20november%202001.htm/the%20atonement%20%20our%20greatest%20hope.htm

http://library.lds.org/nxt/gateway.dll/Magazines/Ensign/1973.htm/ensign%20december%201973%20.htm/first%20presidency%20message%20christs%20atonement%20the%20gift%20supreme%20.htm

http://library.lds.org/nxt/gateway.dll/Magazines/NewEra/1986.htm/new%20era%20april%201986.htm/christs%20atonement.htm

If you don’t understand anything, need clarification, or just want to talk, feel free to leave a comment.

Ann Coulter

One of my favorite conservative authors. I was crusin' the web today and found her latest article. It was quite thought provoking. If anyone would like to read it it can be found at http://www.anncoulter.org/cgi-local/welcome.cgi . The article is titled "Thou Shalt Not Commit Religion." I am not going to post the whole article here, but I will post the last few paragraphs:

That's the America you live in! A country founded on a compact with God,
forged from the idea that all men are endowed by their Creator with certain
inalienable rights is now a country where taxpayers can be forced to subsidize
"artistic" exhibits of aborted fetuses. But don't start thinking about putting
up a Ten Commandments display. That's offensive!
I don't want to hear any jabberwocky from the Court TV amateurs about "the
establishment of religion." (1) A Ten Commandments monument does not establish a
religion. (2) The First Amendment prohibits Congress from making any law
"respecting" an establishment of religion — meaning Congress cannot
make a
law establishing a religion, nor can it make a law prohibiting the states from
establishing a religion. We've been through this a million times.
Now the
Supreme Court is itching to ban the Pledge of Allegiance because of its
offensive reference to one nation "under God." (Perhaps that "God" stuff could
be replaced with a vulgar sexual reference.) But with the court looking like a
geriatric ward these days, they don't want to alarm Americans right before a
battle over the next Supreme Court nominee. Be alarmed. This is what it's about.

Anyway, I just had to post that because I thought it was cool. If you have anything to say just leave a comment.
TTYL everyone,
Paige

June 27, 2005

Religion

Now it is time for my religious survey! Yay! All you have to do is post a reply and answer the questions. Don’t feel like you have to answer them all, just whatever ones you are comfortable with. Once again, thank you for you time. I swear, all of these crazy surveys will have something to do with some posts, honestly.

1. Do you believe in a supreme being or beings?

2. Do you believe in an afterlife?

3. Do you believe in a pre-mortal life?

4. What religion (if any) do you associate yourself with? If Christian, please specify if you can.

5. What are some other particulars of what you believe?

6. Do you have an organized book of scripture?

7. Do you meet with a religious group (Ex. Go to church) at least once a week? Once a month? A few times a year?

8. What are your views on the separation of religion and state?

9. Do you feel that your religious beliefs have an affect on the way you lean politically?

-For Christians (or anyone else who wants to answer)-

10. Do you believe in the Trinity?

11. Do you believe in Sola Scripture?

12. What are your views on salvation? (A little broad, I know)

13. What are your views on baptism?

14. What are your views on the priesthood?


Thank you for your time, have an awesome day!
-Paige

BTW: If you haven’t answered my political survey, you can find it here:
http://apple-pie-kid.blogspot.com/2005/06/survey.html

E-mail Surveys

Here is one of those surveys you get in E-mails from your friends. I figured I would actually answer one and here it is...


[[[Now]]]
[1] First grade teacher's name: Mrs. Boil
[2] Last word you said: Hi
[3] Last song you sang: “Under the Sea” from the Little Mermaid.
[4] Last person you hugged: Erm…my Mom?
[5] Last thing you laughed at: Governor Rickets, Captain Scurvy, and Beriberi San.
[7] Last time you cried: Can’t remember.
[8] What's in your CD player: My CD player busted today so I am using my sister’s which has “Saturday’s Warrior” in it.
[9] What color socks are you wearing: None
[10] What's under your bed: I trundle bed.
[11] What time did you wake up today: 7:30 am
[12] Current taste: Roast Beef
[13] Current hair: Top in a ponytail.
[14] Current clothes: A dark green “Old Navy” shirt and blue sweats.
[15] Current annoyance: My bangs are super long.
[16] Current longing: My own CD player.
[17] Current desktop picture: Jon Peter Lewis…ahhh…
[18] Current worry: Trek outfits.
[19] Current hate: I’ll keep that to myself.
[20] Current favorite article of clothing: The shirt I am wearing right now.
[21] Favorite physical feature of the opposite sex: Eyes, mouth and wrists.
[22] Last CD that you listened to: Saturday’s Warrior
[23] Favorite place to be: On stage, or in a park.
[24] Least favorite place: School
[25] Time you wake up in the morning: About 10:00 during the summer.
[26] If you could play an instrument, what would you play: The harp.
[27] Favorite color: Pink or blue.
[28] Do you believe in an afterlife: Yes
[29] How tall are you: 5’4”
[30] Current favorite word/saying: I don’t really have one.
[31] Favorite book: “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets”
[32] Favorite season: Summer
[33] One person from your past you wish you could go back and talk to: Stefan K.

[[[ FUTURE ]]]
[35] Where do you want to go:
[36] What is your career going to be like: A dance teacher, or member of a company.
[37] How many kids do you want: The key word here is want. 14-16 kids.
[38] What kind of car will you have: One of those “Shopper Hopper” busses (repainted).



[[[Past]]]
[39]Gotten in a fight w/your dog/cat/bird/fish?: No…
[40] Been to New York?: Yes.
[41]Been to Florida?: No
[42]Hawaii?: No
[43] Mexico?: No
[44]China?: No way.
[45]Canada?: Yes.
[46]Danced naked: Not that I can remember.
[47] Dreamed something really crazy and then it happened: Oh yeah, it was weird.
[48]Wanted to be the opposite sex: No.

RANDOM
[49]Do you have a crush on someone?: Yup.
[50]What are you reading now?: The Connection
[51]Worst feeling in the world: Being groggy.
[52] What is the first thing you think when you wake in the morning?: Me? Think in the morning? You’ve got to be kidding.
[53] How many rings before you answer?: One (if it’s the right guy).
[54] Future daughter's name: Morgan Jochebed
[55] Future son's name: Samuel Peter
[56] Do you sleep with a stuffed animal?: Tons of them.
[57] If you could have any job you wanted, what would it be? President
[58] Are you a lefty, righty or ambidextrous?: Left handed.
[59] College plans: Still planning…
[60] Where do you want to live: Texas or Utah.
[61] Piercings: One set in my ear lobes.


[[The EXTRA STUFF ]]]
[62] Do you do drugs?: Heck no!
[63]Do you drink?: Kool-Aid
[64] Who are your best friends?: Whoever isn’t getting on my nerves.
[65] What are you most scared of?: Oh the list goes on…
[67] What clothes do you sleep in?: Pajamas
[68] Who is the last person that called you?: Shayla
[69] Where do you want to get married?: Anywhere with a temple would do.

June 23, 2005

It's Over!

Sweet apricot, school is finally out! This year has been insane and stressful. I am excited for summer; then again I won't be able to google over "Philipe’s" stupidity, or listen to Luke's witticisms. I won't be able to laugh while my math class worships Randall, the class clown. For the most part high school was a bummer, but I met lots of new people, some good, some not so good. I wish I could make a web-shrine to all of them, who knows, maybe I will when I get bored.

Yesterday I went to a little "school's out" party, hosted by Chelsea (thanks a ton!). Hannah, Lindsey, Cheslea Rothgeb, Kyle, David and another girl named Didier (sorry if I butchered the spelling) were there as well. We all played Karaoke Revolution, DDR, and ate brownies. I was real glad that Steve and Eric weren't there, they bug me a lot. David and Kyle, however, don't bother me as much. They seem to at least TRY and exhort some self control and I give them kudos for that.

After I came home from my party I went to my dress rehearsal for my matinee performance of “The Wizard of Oz.” It’s really coming along. Those super little kids were very stage-shocked though…it was a little funny. Tonight I am going again for the evening performance dress rehearsal.
I really like my costumes. My pointe one includes my pancake tutu from last year with a new shinny overlay, and a pink leotard with sequins and stuff. My ballet 4 costume is a lovely white dress with a blue part on the top, and a sparkly headpiece. I better sew the elastics on my new flats today so I can wear them in a bit.
I really like everyone’s costumes, especially the flying monkeys. They sure have the scariness down. I think the “tree” dance and the advanced tap dance are some of the neatest.
If anyone wants to see, you can buy tickets on Saturday, the 25th at Mount Si High School. I think the performance starts at 7:00 pm, but I am not sure so I will get back to you with the times.

Today I woke up at 11:10…ah so nice! I feel very well rested. I do have a mini To-Do list for today though:
-Clean my fish tank.
-Sew my ballet slippers.
-Send Ashley her yearbook.

I have also been thinking about what I want to do this summer. I have a long list for that, but I guess it’s worth posting some of them.
-Finish reading the Bible.
-Read other books: “The Connection”, “Peace Kills”, and “Mormon Doctrine” to name a few.
-Write in my journal, including answering some of the questions from “To Our Children’s Children”.
-Complete two “Value Projects” and several value experiences.
I have a lot more, but I guess they are a little more personal, and this isn’t the proper forum to share them in.

Well I have to get going.
See ya,
Paige

June 17, 2005

Freshman No More!!!

Only three more days of school left this year, all of which are half days (and finals, but I won't talk about that)! I am still going to be a little busy though, due to ballet, which doesn't end until the 25. This year we are doing a proformance of the Wizard of Oz. I am a snoflake (the poppy scene) and a fairy (from when Dorthy first lands in Oz). Even after ballet and school, I still have to make my trek stuff. Two dresses, two bonnets, and two aprons. Man-o-man am I going to be busy.
Anyway I made one of those MSN MySpace deals. It's pretty spiffy. I am still going to post on here the most though.
See Y'all Later,
Paige-The Sophmore

June 15, 2005

The Irony of Shakespear as in "Romeo and Juliet"

Romeo and Juliet, a theatrical production written by William Shakespeare, sometime in the late 1590s, could very well be his most famous writing of all time. Few other pieces of great literature are known throughout the Western world by not only adults, but young school children. By the time we reach second and third grade we have all learned the basic story, that a man and a woman fell in love, got married and then killed themselves. While many details, both minor and major are left out of the story the children still know it. However, they don’t know it well enough, because it is required for deeper study and evaluation in high school. Hence the reason for this paper. To show that I have learned enough about Romeo and Juliet to make any progression in today’s high-tech scientific and mathematically oriented world.

The popularity and fame of Romeo and Juliet can all be attributed to its intense use of dramatic irony. Shakespeare constantly kept his audience on the edge of their seats by telling them more about the plot than he did the characters in the play. Misunderstanding is the general basis of the story, and is signified in many scenes by many of the characters in the play. It is his extensive use of irony both in Romeo and Juliet and many of his other stage productions that led William Shakespeare to fame.

Dramatic irony can easily be described as a point in a dramatic production, such as a stage play, in which the audience knows more than they character onstage does. Shakespeare did this by setting up a number of scenes that included a variety of monologues, or dialogue in which one character may be talking to themselves, and asides, a short conversation to the audience that the other characters are not intended to hear. Dramatic irony can be used to give the audience a more active feeling in what is taking place onstage. Furthermore, it provides a sense of excitement, as the plot deepens to a point where the characters onstage cannot seem to handle it any longer.

Two of the most prominent scenes using dramatic irony, can include the scenes in which Balthasar informs Romeo of Juliet’s “death” before Friar Lawrence’s letter reaches him, or the scene where Romeo carefully claims his loving kinship of Tybalt. Though many other scenes use dramatic irony, these two stand out the most due to their deepening of the plot. Both scenes lead the characters to take rash action that later causes regret and permanent damage both families. For example in the scene with Tybalt and Romeo, Romeo has just gotten back from his wedding with Juliet to find his good friend Mercutio and his enemy Tybalt preparing to fight. Tybalt, who is angry with Romeo, sees him and demands a duel, to which Romeo responds, “Tybalt, the reason that I have to love thee doth much excuse the appertaining rage to such greeting.” Here, Romeo is telling Tybalt that he doesn’t have a choice but to love him. Tybalt then, not knowing why Romeo has said what he just said, continues to harass Romeo, further demanding that the fight be settled. Again, Romeo insists that he loves Tybalt “better than thou canst devise.” After this Mercutio steps in to fight in place of Romeo and the duel brawl moves along. This seemingly small misunderstanding further drives Tybalt to anger and he thus kills Mercutio. This in turn angers Romeo, and in spite of his kinship to him, kills Tybalt. This example shows how one small misunderstanding can lead to great turns within the plot.

The next area of misunderstanding and possibly the largest in the entire play begins when Balthasar catches a glimpse of Juliet’s funeral and perceives her to be dead. He quickly runs to Romeo, who has not yet received the message from Friar Lawrence, and informs him of his love. The shocked Romeo travels to Verona, on the way purchasing a vial of poison. When he enters to tomb where he finds Juliet, who in reality is just sleeping, he begins to mourn for her death. Just before she awakens he drinks the poison and dies, thus completing the greatest misunderstanding of all. As the friar enters the sepulcher after speaking with Balthasar, he senses this and says, “Fear comes upon me. O, much I fear some ill unthrifty thing.” He then continues to find Romeo dead and Juliet waking up. From then on, fate takes over, and as Juliet finds her lover dead she takes his knife and stabs herself to complete the curse of hatred on the Capulet and Montague families.

Romeo and Juliet gained its fame from these and several other misunderstandings, and uses of dramatic irony. Misunderstandings that capture our senses enough to cause us to pass on the story on for centuries. The same misunderstandings that have caused the story to be named “the greatest love story of all time”, and earned William Shakespeare a spot in today’s literary hall of fame as one of the best writers of all time.

June 14, 2005

Mormon Persecution in the USA

Introduction
In the year 1820 a young boy claimed that through prayer he had seen a vision in which he saw God and Jesus Christ. Many rejected his claim stating that he was merely a boy with a large imagination, or that a vision of such consequence could not occur in the modern world. Despite the constant dismissal he received from ministers and preachers of the time the faith grew. Through the faith and hard work of the family and friends of Joseph Smith a church had begun. As members began joining the church many non believers became worried, and regardless of the first amendment in the Bill of Rights, religious based attacks began. These attacks were based on the fact that the people, in general, were different culturally then the rest of the United States. Their interpretation of Christianity was different then the other churches of the time, and their beliefs of how the country should operate were nearly the opposite of their home statesmen’s ideas. This instilled great fear into great fear of economic and social overpowering into the minds of the western natives. Though some fears and accusations had their place, all were “punished” in rash, inappropriate ways, to the extent of a Mormon expulsion from the state of Missouri.

Reasons Why Non-Mormons Disliked the Mormons
The persecution started as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, nicknamed Mormons, began settling together in communities. These communities were commonly looked down upon by the Missourian, Ohioan, and Illinoisan natives because they felt that they were being “taken over” and feared that they would spread. In addition they disliked the social differences that began to occur. The Mormons were anti-slavery, a large jump from their pro-slavery neighbors, the people of Missouri. They feared a bloc vote would endanger the chances of them continuing the practice of slavery or changing other laws that were split between the two groups. Aside from that the Mormons generally did business amongst themselves. Their belief that the Native Americans were dissenters from an ancient tribe of the America’s, called the Lamanites, also conflicted with the norm of American society and as the government believed, posed a threat of inciting a much feared “Indian War”. The non Mormon people were already angered by these changes they feared would come upon their home, that when the news stating that the Mormons had revived the outlawed principal of polygamy, the act of a man having more than one wife at one time, they were infuriated. Though at the time, only a select few were permitted to practice polygamy it was assumed by many non-members that many more men were practicing it. It was polygamy that bothered many people of the United States, namely the Missourians. They felt it was disrespectful towards the women of the society and felt it infringed on the rights of Americans. This soon launches a series of personal and militia based attacks between the Missourians and the Mormons, known as the Mormon war.

Mormon Cities and Militias
In the mid 1930s the Mormons were chased out of their homes in Missouri by mobs. The constant mob harassment drove the Mormons to the east. They settled in an area of Caldwell County, Illinois that was presented to the Mormons for settlement by the government in 1936. Here they flourished in a city the city Far West. With permission from the state Joseph Smith organized a militia to protect the Mormon population from mob attacks. The rumors of a growing Mormon militia gave many local residents fear of an attack or civil war in the state. As the militia grew, so did the mob. Men waiting outside of Far West wanted to be ready for any threat of an attack from the Mormons, until finely the dam broke and a chain of attacks launched at both Mormons and non-Mormons erupted, harming vast amounts of Mormon property.

Attacks on Mormons
In Mormon cities, such as Far West, Nauvoo and Haun’s Mill, mobs would ride through regularly harming the residents of the cities. Mormons were often beaten, raped, threatened, and killed during these “raids”. Another fairly common event, tarring and feathering, consisted of pouring hot tar on a person and plastering them with feathers. The tar would dry with the feathers on the skin and clothes making the tar painful to remove, often ripping top layers of the skin off. In Mosiah Hancock’s journal he illustrates several assaults that he viewed. He wrote that he “saw a thing in the shape of a man grab an infant from its mother’s arms and dash its brains out against a tree.” He continues to describe a number of barbaric instances including a time when he was caught by a group of men, as a child, and beaten upon leaving him near death, as well as the murders a couple of his younger siblings. After the Mormon militia was disarmed the mobs didn’t stop. Hancock and others describe the horrors of that night as the mobs raged through town harassing women and killing children as the men were held in town square. He says that, “They shot the children because they said that ‘Nits make lice.’”
In the city of Haun’s Mill the worst occurred. Where after the order of extermination was received from Governor Boggs was attacked, brutally killing half of the small town’s population. Many reports including that of a young child with their head blown off, and an elderly man who, when putting out a fire on his property, was shot and cut into pieces with a knife.
Not long after these many assaults the Mormons began packing what they had left, some into covered wagons but most into handcarts, a small wagon that had to be hand pushed, leaving their land and cities that they had built up from scratch to find their own land.

Recent Times
After several statehood rejections of Utah, requiring them to cease the practice of polygamy, Utah became a state in 1986. They were allowed only to join the nation when Willford Woodruff set fourth a declaration to the members of the church stating that any new polygamous marriages would result in church discipline, or in other words, excommunication. Along with bringing a new state into our society they have influence the culture with the amount of people who attend BYU Utah every year.
In the 1970s the extermination order was finally lifted and Mormons could finely live in Missouri with the law on their side. Until that time any Mormon could be legally murdered, suffering no punishment. Now both Mormons and other non-Mormons live together in harmony is just about every area of the United States.

Conclusion
With the driving of the Mormons from Missouri an entire state was shaped culturally. As the Mormons traveled westward they blazed new trails, over plains and mountains, across rivers filled with rapids or frozen with ice. Along the way they built temporary settlements to house other Mormons that would soon follow the path. Winter Quarters, a community used to protect pioneers from the cold winters, included farms and food storage as well as housing that were used to support Mormon pioneers forced across the plains in the dead of winter. These settlements and trails were later used by land and gold seeking pioneers who were traveling to the Northwest Territory. As the Mormons became settled they became friendly with the Native Americans of the area. This alliance provided them with needed help in the new land. Through trading and treating them with respect the pioneers gained the knowledge the needed to transform the parched desert into a spectacular city filled with impressive temples and magnificent city buildings. The people spread out and created smaller communities. Farms stretched across the once barren land, providing the inhabitants with a surplus of food. Their economy flourished as Oregon bound pioneers purchased food and supplies from the only stores for miles. Helping these earnest settlers across the expanses of desert and plains they helped to build the northwest as well. Without the help many other pioneers may have perished leaving the west to be settled slower or not at all.

Sky Fisherman: Culver's Adult Influences

Sky Fisherman by Craig Leslie conveys a story about a boy named Culver whose life is greatly affected by his major role models. He finds guidance in three characters, his mother Flora, his uncle Jake and his step-father Riley. Each one of them has a different affect of Culver’s life and though conflicting at times, each one becomes a big part of his life as they help him through everything from work to learning more about the death of his father. When Culver and his mother leave Riley, his step-father, disasters seem to start piling on. On top of never having a stable home, Culver has to live with a constant fear of Riley “visiting” them, burning their home to ashes. As Culver puts more time into working with his uncle Jake at his store he begins to mature into a new, more mature young man and he begins to understand more about his life, taking on new challenges and having greater adventures.
The only person that Culver has an opportunity to have lived with all of his life is his mother, Flora. Regardless, they act as though they are strangers to each other. For the most part Flora is clam and reserved, ever trying to be a support for her son, but lacking the control essential to her families well being. At one point in the book, after many transfers of Riley’s job from one city to the next Culver described her, “My mother would have to do without the comforts of a nearby town. ‘I’ll catch up on my reading,’ she said when she realized the situation.” Flora always tries to have a spirit of optimism, even if something is making her very upset.” Despite her constant strive for optimism Culver could see right through it, thus leaving him unenthused about the move. This resulted in his feeling of lack of control. He was used to others with “more seniority” taking care of his every action and he didn’t assume control of his own life. He was shocked when his mother proposed to live near uncle Jake, not only because he was unsure of who was going to be the responsible person in the family, but also because Flora was not, in the least, fond of Jake. Her action showed a large amount of love for Culver on her part. Even though she didn’t like Jake she still exercised what she thought was best for her son, in getting a male role model.
Jake, Culver’s carefree uncle, was the only witness of his father’s death. Flora blames him for irresponsibly causing her husbands death. On the river he once mentioned that “Your mother [Flora] does, though, even if she stays quiet…I lived, so I get the blame. That’s how she is.” He later goes on to discuss how terrible he feels about his brothers death, even though he himself knows that it isn’t his fault. Jake is the only one who feels comfortable talking to Culver about his father’s death on the river and this gives him great comfort. Culver and Jake, drawn together by many of these instances on the river they evolve to become more like a father and son instead of uncle and nephew. Before even moving to Gateway Flora calls Culver on the phone to tell him that he has been offered a job at his uncle’s store. He takes the job, unknowing of the many adventures that lie ahead of him. Not only did he learn how to progressively run a store on his own, teaching him a valuable lesson in self control, but he learned to associate with people, and mainly adults. He learned through the stories of the men who sat in the back room of the shop talking about everything from coffee to business, was exposed to real life fears and terrors as he an Jake searched for Kalim’s body on the river, and learned what he needed to know about being an adult in a small town. More importantly, though, he learns about what it means to “love what you do”. When talking to his uncle once, Jake replied, “It hurt me most we never found him. When I do find them, like Kalim here, it eases the hurt just a bit.” He showed Culver what it was to have feeling in what you did for a living teaching him values he was not soon to forget.
Riley was Culver’s third, main influence, notwithstanding the fact that he was not a very good one. He played a very major role in Culver’s life giving him male leadership for several years. Though he showed Culver devotion to his family and work he did little else to improve his well being. Constantly being bumped from house to house gave Culver an unsteady foundation to build his life on, as well as showed him that even though you may be an adult, you won’t be in control. When Flora left him he committed a larger felony, this time against society as well Culver, he set fire to the city of Griggs. When Culver heard the news he “feared that Riley had blown off his head…but that wasn’t the story. He had burned Griggs to the ground,” this granted Culver a certain amount of uncertainty for the man who was once a large part of his life. This changed the way he looked at everyday things, such as wild fires, or hobos on a train. Riley impacted his life greatly, though not for the better.
All of these people, whether good or bad, had a shaping influence on Culver. Through their comments, actions and cares he became the young man the way he did and it is these same influences that silently sculpt our lives in the real world as we grow older, and learn.

The Aral Sea

In the 1950s a new agricultural production boomed in the east. The once *5756 square kilometer lake, lying between the countries of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, shrunk to a mere *4131 square kilometers by 1997. The lake continues to shrink damaging the inhabitants of the region. There are many factors to take into account when answering the question, “Why is the lake shrinking?” These factors are what the lake water is used for, what the inflowing river water is used for, and how the region has changed since the 1950s. After discovering why the lake is shrinking a plan needs to be implemented to change the future of the area. Some very important details to consider in a plan are who the plan will help, and who the plan will hurt. All of these things when taken into consideration will build a plan to save the lake, economy, and inhabitants of the area.
With the 1950s a new agricultural product began to grow rapidly in the eastern countries of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. As the demand for cotton grew, farmers started growing more cotton, thus needing more water to irrigate with. The water that is used in irrigation, in this case, is drawn from the Syr Darya and Amu Darya rivers, two main inlets into the Aral Sea. The demand for cotton, and other farmed products grew as the population in the area boomed (from 7.3 million people in 1930 to 33 million people in 1990). As the population increased the need of water for daily uses increased causing more water to be taken from the rivers and lake.

As the amount of water being taken from the rivers increased the lake size decreased. The less water flows into the lake, the less water will be in the lake. When the water evaporated massive amounts of salt were left behind. After time the evaporation caused the rim of the lake to back far from docks used for fishing in the lake. This caused the commercial fishing industry to stop entirely during to 1980s. The shrinking of the surface area of the lake also caused the evaporation rate to go down dramaticly. Along with the increase in agricultural production more poisons and fertilizers were used. As these poisonous remnants are blown around they poison groundwater, and the lake. These contaminants cause many deadly diseases to the people if the Aral Sea area. These diseases include viral hepatitis, typhoid fever, cancer, respiratory problems such as asthma, intestinal problems, as well as birth defects. As the sea dries up more land is revealed and left to be inhabited by various rodents. These rodents also cause and carry many diseases, the most dangerous being the plague.

The only people who are truly benefiting from the shrinking of the Aral Sea are the farmers, and even they and their families are in danger of bad health. To get rid of these many problems, many regulations would have to be put into order. One such regulation would address the amount of fertilization and chemicals the farmers are using, verses water. If the chemicals that are being used are sinking into the ground too much it can mean one (or in this case both) of two things. Either the farmers are using too much water for the fields or they are using too many chemicals. Using too many chemicals could also be a cause for to excess blowing around in the wind. If the farmers would use less water and less chemicals more water would flow into the lake, and less toxic chemicals would seep into ground water or travel through the air making people sick. This solution would not hurt the farmers, and it would benefit the people living in the region by lessening the risk of illness. The solution would not help the fishermen immediately because the amount of water the farmers would be saving would not be enough to refill the lake all the way back to where it was when their business was good for several years. One problem that could possibly occur if this plan were put into action would be that the rat and rodent population would migrate out of the dry lakebed and into the city, or farming field and cause more damage, spreading deadly diseases worse than before. This solution is one of many that could save the shrinking lake and the inhabitants of the area from more pain, naturally, biologically, and agriculturally. Though it would take time for the lake to rebuild its self, it is a very important thing, worth waiting for. If done correctly the lake will refill and the people of the area wouldn’t be troubled with as many illnesses caused by the farming and dry lakebed, and old industries, such as fishing, could come back to the area. The most important thing is that the plan needs to be able to basically work its self. If nature works with people, instead of people trying to do everything, the lake could refill and nature could sort its self out.

*Approximation

Beneath Our Feet

Now presenting a story I wrote in 8th grade...


“You broke the president’s window?”
“Mom, it’s not like I meant to or-”
“Well I hope you didn’t mean to! Do you know what this means? I will have to work an extra shift to afford that window!”
“Mom,”
“Don’t Mom me. Ever since your father disappeared you have been acting up like-”
“Mom! Just listen! Dad would!” Mitchell ran down the hall to his room, pushing himself off of the walls. He reached his room and slammed his door, sliding down against it. The room had bright fluorescent lighting and a cool breeze was simulated through the room, rustling the papers, and open school books on his desk. He took a deep breath in and slowly got up from the floor, letting it out.
A soft knock sounded at his door.
“Can I come in?” His mother’s voice was hoarse, as if she had been crying.
“Sure.” Mitchell replied. His mother opened the door. Her face was streaked with tears, and her eyes were puffy and pink. She sniffed, and walked in, wiping the corner of her eye on her apron. She gave him a weak smile.
“I’m sorry Mom.” He said. “I shouldn’t have been playing baseball near the president’s house. I can fix it, I am sure I can get some money somewhere.” His mother let out a sigh and sniffed again.
“Thanks, that would really help. I mean, the landlord is threatening to kick us out, and I am already so-” She stopped, looked at Mitchell then shook her head. “I’m sorry too, I shouldn’t have said that you have been acting up. I mean, considering the circumstances, you have been a great help.” She noticed that Mitchell was shaking, trying to keep from crying. “Come ‘ere.” She said, reaching out to give him a hug. Mitchell went to his mother. “It’ll be okay. You hear me?” She told him, rocking him back and forth in her hug. “It’ll be okay.”



“You did not bust Grezshmer’s window!” Mitchell’s friend Derek yelled across the class room. The class fell silent. Mitchell could feel his face burning, as he sunk deep into his chair, nodding his head to get it all over with. “Ha!” Derek laughed, “That my friend is the best thing you have ever done!” Mitchell looked at him.
“What? How can you say that breaking a million, maybe billion dollar window is good.” replied Mitchell’s best friend. Mitchell knew that he thought he was helping but it only made him feel worse. Derek rolled his eyes, as their teacher Mrs. Daniels walked in.
“Boys! In your seats, now! Everyone pass in your homework,” She then smirked at Mitchell and added, “for those who weren’t too busy smashing our leader’s windows to do it.”
He slid deeper into his chair, remembering that he had left his geography homework on his desk. His face turned redder, and all he could hear were the girls giggling behind him. He heard one of the girls mention where he lived, and that his family wouldn’t be able to pay the damages. They laughed louder and louder. His eyes darted from student to student searching for his friends. They were all laughing together on the other side of the room. “What are they talking about? Is it me?” Mitchell thought to himself. All the laughing seemed to be getting even louder. All of his insides felt jumbled up. He felt like he was going to be sick. Jumping up he ran out of the room to the nurse’s office. The hall seemed never ending, and he pressed on faster. Finally he reached the chrome door that bore the words “Nurse’s Room” in metallic red letters. He opened the door and walked in. A lady in white looked over at him.
“May I help you?” she asked in a light airy voice. Mitchell clutched his stomach and asked if he could go home. She showed him the phone, and returned to her desk. It, like everything else in the room was a shiny, stainless steal. He dialed his mother’s work number.
“This is the second time this month. Are you sure everything is okay at school?”
“Mom, yes everything is fine, I just want to go home.” He could hear his mother sigh on the other end of the line.
“I really have too much to do here. Maybe you could stay in the nurse’s office or something.”
“Never mind, I’ll be fine.”
He put down the receiver and stared at it for a moment.
“What did she say?” Mitchell turned around.
“Uh, she said that,” he paused and the nurse looked at him questioningly through her silver glasses, “that I could walk home.” The nurse didn’t seem satisfied with his slow answer, but wrote a note to his teacher anyway and told him to get his stuff and go home. Mitchell took the note guiltily, and walked back to class. “Mom is going to kill me!” he thought, “But at least I am getting out of here.”
After packing his things and giving the note to Mrs. Daniels he was on his way. He walked along wide, perfectly black streets, and crisp grey sidewalks. The sun was gleaming exuberantly. Parked tin cars glowed with its reflection. It seemed a shame, to Mitchell, to be inside all day. He walked more, past towering office buildings, and cramped shops. Walking until he found a park. It was the only park for hours around and it had everything. Everything you could never find anywhere else, like grass, trees, bushes, flowers, and even curious little things that his dad used to call squirrels. Mitchell ran off the sidewalk onto the grass, hurling his backpack as far as he could. He felt free. Free from all of the kids at school, from his teacher, from his Mom, and best of all from rules. Here nobody depended on him to make dinner, or fix things. He ran on the grass for as long as his lungs let him, and fell to the ground. Watching the clouds he could remember all of the time he had come here as a child with his Mom and Dad, but one memory seemed to catch his mind even more, the last time he and his dad were here.
It was a cool fall day. The trees were changing colors, and all the animals were hiding. His Dad was telling him about his next exploration mission or “adventure as he called it.
“There is more Mitch. More than all the houses, and buildings here. It used to be different. There used to be rivers, lakes, mountains.”
“What?” he asked.
“It was different then, everything was.” All he could remember next was some stuff about the ground, not enough to make sense though. He still didn’t know what a lake or a mountain was. He closed his eyes and remembered when his Mom told him the news about his father.
“They were on an expedition, as you know, and well, your father got lost, and is most likely dead.” Mitchell remembered how young his mother looked then. Her face was different, not as aged, and hurt looking as it was now.
He sat up. His head now throbbed with the pain of the memories. He stood up to retrieve his backpack when he saw something. It was coming from the forest. Blackish smoke curled up out of the trees. Mitchell had never seen anything like it before. He ran for his backpack and then advanced slowly toward the trees. The smoke was thin and wispy. It seemed to be emerging from the ground. Mitchell walked closer until he found the source, a small hole in the ground. His face wrenched into a frown. “All that for a hole in the ground?” he thought to himself, but then he got closer. Reaching out his hand he tried to touch it, but it had no feel. He couldn’t understand. Bending down he touched the dirt and spread it from the hole. More smoke came out. Mitchell kneeled down further, to move more dirt away, only to let out more smoke. Alarmed Mitchell glanced around himself. When he was sure no one was around he plunged both hands into the hole, wildly spraying dirt every which way. The spiral of smoke soon became a column. He wasn’t at all aware what the black smoke was, or where it was coming from. He continued digging, deeper and deeper, with more and more power. The sweat began gather on his brow. Then he reached something hard. It was some sort of plate. The large circular plate had several holes drilled into it and was rusted, and aged. Mitchell thrust his fingers into the drilled out holes in the metal in an attempt to lift it, but it would not budge. Mitchell stood up. The adrenaline surged through his body as he looked for something to use as a leaver. He soon found a large piece of wood, and pried the metal plate up.
After moving the plate aside he looked down into the hole. The smoke burned his eyes, but that couldn’t stop him. He placed the large pole-like piece of wood into the hole, to climb down. As he reached out to grab the wooden pole he took a deep breath. Leaning all his weight onto the pole he lowered himself down. About halfway down he heard a snap. The pole was breaking. His heart started racing, but calmly he continued to lower himself down. He heard another snap, followed by several cracks. He knew the wood was going to break and he shut his eyes. At this the wood pole snapped in half dropping Mitchell the rest of the way to the ground.
The ground was soft and mushy. Nothing like any ground Mitchell had ever seen before. The air was cold and stale, and completely rid of moisture. Mitchell stood up and looked over himself. No injuries, but his clothes and hands were stained from the dirt and smoke. “How will I ever get back home?” he thought to himself. He violently brushed off his clothes, and hair. Then something caught his eye. A group of dead trees. On a piece of wood near it was a crudely carved sign reading “Skeleton Forest”. Mitchell heard a noise. His heart stopped, as he stood, stunned with fear. He could hear better now. It was two people talking. He crouched down and crawled to some bushes so that he could see the people. One, a girl wearing raggedy clothes was swinging on a homemade swing, while the other who was also wearing old clothing was watching her. They spoke and laughed, just like the girls in Mitchell’s own school class, and they were speaking English as well. Mitchell leaned forward a little to get a better look when a twig snapped under his weight completely rattling the bush. The girls looked over at the bush.
“What was that?” The girl on the ground asked. The girl on the swing didn’t reply, but instead got off the swing.
“Come with me and see.” She said, not really giving the other girl much choice. Together both girls walked slowly over to the bush. “Okay, on the count of three, one, two, three!” With that the two girls bolted through the bush nearly missing Mitchell. Mitchell was absolutely horrified. The girls looked at him, each other, and laughed.
“Who are you?” replied the first girl. Mitchell felt like he had forgotten how to talk. All he wanted to know was where on Earth he was, and fast!
“I-I-I-I am M-m-mit-ch-ch-ell F-f-f-orest-e-e-er. W-w-h-ho are y-y-you?” Mitchell stuttered. The girls giggled and the replied.
“I am Brooklyn Mots, and this is my friend May Harro.” She looked at the shaking boy and then asked, “Are you from around here?” The other girl thought this was very funny and started laughing cheerily to herself.
“Uh, I don’t think so.” Replied Mitchell regaining control of himself. “Where is here anyway, if you don’t mind my asking.”
“Here? Here?” replied the laughing girl. Brooklyn rolled her eyes at her friend and answered him.
“This is New York.” Mitchell wrinkled his brow with puzzlement. He had never heard of anything like New York in his life. Brooklyn looked at him for a minute. “So I’d guess you’re not from around here,” she paused and asked “so where are you from?” Mitchell still confused looked up at the hole that he had come through, and back at the girls.
“I guess I am from up there.” He said pointing the hole out to the girls. By now May had stopped laughing and was serious.
“You’re not from up there!” she blurted, “No one ever comes down here, from up there! I mean you’re not supposed to, you’re supposed to-” Brooklyn cut her off.
“You mean to tell us that you came from that place?” She looked serious as she pointed to the hole. “Only, two, maybe three people have ever come to see us from up there.” Just then a loud clunking noise rattled through the forest and brush where they were standing. The girls turned as Brooklyn said, “It’s time for us to go,” she hesitated then asked “would you like to come with us?” Mitchell just nodded. The three walked, the girls leading the way, and Mitchell trailing behind, so much was on his mind.



They hadn’t been walking for four minutes when they reached the city. Mitchell’s jaw dropped just at the sight of the place. Once towering skyscrapers were now heaps of glass and metal infested with dead moss and rotten corpses of rodents. Smoke, like he had seen in the park, was coming out of scrap metal huts. Mud caked children, in clothes similar to Brooklyn and May’s, played in the cracked asphalt of an old road. They were slender, some looking sickly, and deprived of sun. As he and the girls walked among them to go to Brooklyn’s house they stared. None of them had seen anything as rosy, or tan as Mitchell before. On the way to the house Mitchell saw only more debris and pale children.
“Where are all the adults?” Mitchell asked.
“The men are out looking for food, and the women spend all day trying to stretch what we have.” May answered flatly.
“That’s why it’s so nice to get away form here.” Brooklyn added, “That little place back there, that’s our escape.”
“From what?”
“From everything. I can’t stand watching all these kids starve. It’s just not right.” Brooklyn let out a huge breath, “It’s not like it has always been this way. I mean we did have plenty of food. We had plenty of everything at first.” She finished right when they reached the doorway of one rather rusty little hut. She lifted up a flap to let them all in. Once more Mitchell couldn’t believe his eyes. This was nothing like his home. The inside of the house had a metallic smell, and everything was cold. Rough furniture lined the room. Ripped pieces of cloth filled holes in the wall. It was dark and dry, just like the rest of the town.
A graying petite woman walked into the room from a flap on the back wall. Her face was pale and bony, and her eyes looked tired. “I thought I heard someone in here.” she said in a hoarse voice. She let out a raspy cough and continued, “Hello Brooklyn, May,” she turned her drooping eyes on Mitchell, “and I don’t know you.”
“Mother, this is Mitchell Forester.” Brooklyn’s mother nodded her head.
“It’s good to meet you Mitchell.” she said smiling weakly.
“Mother,” Brooklyn moved closer to her and helped her into what looked like a chair, “Mitchell is from up above.” Her mother’s eyes got large and round, as she looked at him.
“Brooklyn, dear, will you go in my room and get, from the chest, the leather book. Thank you dear.” Brooklyn returned to the room with the leather bound book. She handed it to her mother. Her mother turned the book around in her hands, and ran her finger along the imprinted designs on the cover. “Last year,” she began, “some men from your upper ground came to us,” Mitchell interrupted her.
“Excuse me ma’am, but what did you just call where I came from?” The girls looked shocked, but the mother replied to him calmly.
“Several years ago, just before I was born it was declared by the leaders of the time that all the lands would unite to form one. To do this they built a thick layer of ground over all the land, the mountains the forests, only supported by big, strong walls.” The girls both nodded, as if agreeing with her and Mitchell just sat waiting for more.
“Then why are you down here, and not up with us?” Mitchell asked. The woman continued with her story.
“We had no choice. Only the people who were well, strong and friends of the government were invited to the new surface land. We were left here, and remain here still. So few people know about us, and the ones who did find us are often in danger back in your land.” Mitchell was listening with real intent now. “Mountains, she had said something about mountains,” Mitchell thought, “just like his father before he had disappeared.” The woman continued, “Almost all of the men who have come down here to explore have been killed.”
“How do you know?” Mitchell asked.
“All but one of them was killed, your father, Dan Forester. He escaped from the president and came back to give us the news. When he left to go back he was captured.”
“And killed.” Mitchell finished for her. She coughed and looked down at the book she was holding.
“This,” she said, “was your fathers. I am sure he would want you to have it.” Brooklyn took it from her mother’s hands and handed it to Mitchell. He flipped through the yellowed pages of the book.
“His journal.” he said.
“Yes.” The woman replied. “Now Brooklyn, you go get your sister, your father will be home any time now and we will eat.” Brooklyn helped the woman back into her room, and the three of them went outside.
“Why is she so sick?” Mitchell asked, once outside.
“She never eats. There isn’t enough food, and hardly any water anywhere.” They walked a little longer and she looked at the ground. “She is going to die soon. All of us are. We can’t live like this. My baby brother already died.” A tear hit the ground, and she sniffed. “If only we could get help.” Mitchell stopped walking.
“I’ve got it!” he said. May looked back at him immediately, and Brooklyn wiped her eyes. “I can help. We could build a ladder up to the hole, and we could all climb out. You would all get better, your mom could get help and everyone would live.” Mitchell was excited and breathless. May smiled and clapped her hands.
“That is a great idea! Isn’t it Brooklyn?”
“No.” Mitchell, and May stopped smiling, “it will never work. The president will notice and we will all be killed. There’s no point in even trying.”
“Oh come on Brooklyn! It’s worth a shot.” pleaded May. Brooklyn was silent.
“Okay.” she finally said. “Let’s go.”
“But don’t we have to get-” Mitchell started.
“No, let’s just go.”


They all walked to the spot where May and Brooklyn found Mitchell. They all looked up at the hole. “We need something to climb to get up there.” Mitchell said.
“I know where some fallen trees are.” Brooklyn answered. They found the trees and arranged them perfectly. Mitchell looked up at the hole and held onto the tree ladder.
“Here I go.” He climbed up and pulled himself through the hole. The fresh air of the evening rushed to fill his lungs. The cool breeze ruffled his muddy hair. He looked back down the hole. “It’s okay, come on up.” Brooklyn hesitantly reached for the ladder and climbed up. Mitchell took her hand and helped her out at the top. She looked around. She took in the fresh air for the first time in her life, and touched the living trees of the small grove they were in. Tears filled her eyes.
“It’s beautiful,” she said looking all around her. Mitchell smiled and looked down to call for May. As she reached the top Mitchell helped her up. She too looked around, taking in all the sights. Mitchell stood up.
“So how do you like it?” Neither of the girls answered. Suddenly Brooklyn started walking out of the trees. She ran to the middle of the field and stopped. The sun had not yet set and was still gleaming over the horizon. She started shaking, and fell to the ground. Mitchell ran to help her but it was too late. Her skin was burning red, and sweat and puss were oozing from it. She was shaking madly. The sun melted her skin from her body. Her screams pierced the sky, and echoed off of the buildings. Fear flooded May, as she fainted. Mitchell tried to pull Brooklyn back to the shade but it was no use. Every time he touched her skin it fell off into his hand. He franticly tried again and again, but every time she lost more skin. She stopped moving, and he fell to her side. “Brooklyn!” he called shaking her, “Brooklyn! Listen to me.” Her raw bones and tendons just lay still. “Brooklyn.” He set her shoulders back on the ground. He looked back at May and ran back to her. “May!” he said. She woke up rubbing her head.
“Brooklyn, where is Brooklyn.” Mitchell helped her up. She saw the body. “Brooklyn!” she screamed running out to her. Mitchell grabbed her arm.
“No! Don’t go out there!” Tears streamed down May’s face. “You have got to go back to your home. You have to.” May looked at Brooklyn’s body and then at Mitchell. “Hurry!” She climbed down the ladder.
Mitchell looked at Brooklyn’s body. He sighed as he pulled the lifeless body to the hole and dropped it down. Sweating he pushed the metal lid back onto the hole and covered it with dirt. He never wanted to remember this. Picking up his backpack he ran home.


“Mitchell, I can’t believe you ran away from school! I was worried sick about you! Go to your room!” Mitchell’s mother hollered. He ran to his room and flung himself down on his bed and cried.


© All characters in the story are made up by me...they are MINE! Ya hear?

La Vie Scholaire aux Etats-Unis

A little something for all of my French speaking readers...a report on school life! Wheee!

La Vie Scholaire aux Etats-Unis

Aux Etats-Unis, les élèves vont à l’école pour six heures demie. Ils quittent leurs maisons à à peu près sept heures du matin. Pour mes comarades et moi, l’école commence à sept heures quarante. Les élèves portent un jean, un t-shirt, un sweat-shirt, des baskets et d’autres modes à l’école. À l’école, ils vont aux cours avec leurs copans et leurs fornitures scolaires, par exemple: leurs livres, des crayons, des cahiers, une calculatrice, etcetera. En cours, les élèves passent des examens, et font leurs études. Après les cours, les élèves vont dejunner. Quelquefois, ils mangent un sandwich, une salade verte ou des frites. Ils prennent un jus, un café ou de l’eau aussi. Alors, ils retournent aux cours. Apres les cours, les élèves quittent de les salles de classes. Maintenant, à à peu près deux heures, les élèves peuvent rentrer à leurs maisons. Ils jouent aux sports. Quand ils rentrent, ils font leurs devoirs. La plupart du temps, les élèves sont très fatigués, mais ils ont trop des devoirs pour dormir.
C’est la vie des élèves aux Etats-Unis.

June 12, 2005

Good Earth [Essay]

The book, The Good Earth, by Pearl S. Buck is centered around the basic idea that history repeats itself. All of the events in this book are connected to form an ever shifting pattern of gain, and loss, repeating not only on an individual basis, but as a society as well. By observing not only Wang Lung and his family, but others, such as Wang Lung’s uncle, and the house of Hwang, it can be seen that the same repetition is found in all of the homes, just on a varying scale. These repetitions can be caused by somewhat different things, but the result is always the same. During the story every family is prosperous and happy for some time but as they become less caring of how they spend their money, the family falls into trouble, whether it’s debt, family or personal matters or loosing everything. No matter what the ending result is, the pattern always appears to be the same. At first they earn money and goods, they are prosperous for some time, then they begin to be careless allowing themselves to get into trouble.
This pattern can be observed in its simplest form while looking at the life of Wang Lung’s uncle and his uncle’s family. His uncle’s family was frivolous in their actions. They weren’t hard workers and they did not take good care of the things that are considered important in their society. For instance, they allowed their daughter to be wild, bringing dishonor to themselves and their extended family. Their family also spent money carelessly. While they lived happily for some time, when the drought came they were among the first to starve and turn against Wang Lung. When Lung returned to the city their family was still in ruins and they only became happy again when they moved in with Wang Lung and his family. The pattern seen here is based on the same principal that history repeats itself through a series of successes and failures, allowing the participants to learn from their mistakes, only to slightly alter the equation, and create slightly different problems.
The House of Hwang has the same simple pattern, only with different circumstances. The Hwang family had, at one time, been hard workers. They had much land and lots of money earned by the farms. As they became more prosperous they began hiring servants, giving them more free time to do as they pleased. By not focusing on their work they became addicted to lifestyles that led to their destruction. With the constant costs of drugs and jewels, even when there was a drought, the family became broke and eventually died out. Later as Wang Lung looked on the lifestyles of the House of Hwang he made decisions about how to lead his own life, learning from past history what works and what doesn’t. His observations helped him decide to send his sons to school, and save his crops for a time when they may be needed. He also taught his son the value of work as “He remembered also the idle young lords of the fallen great house as he worked on the land he had bought from the House of Hwang, and he bade his two sons sharply each morning to come into the fields with him.” However, despite his learning from the past, he was still susceptible to making his own mistakes and coming to the same fate as the other families.
Wang Lung faces the exact same repetition as all of the other families, only with slightly different circumstances. While he is always a hard worker, he was not always careful of his money before the drought. After he was married and became more prosperous, he became less frugal of his money, leading him to not be as prepared for the drought as he could have been. After the drought and working in the city he returned home to rebuild his farm. He quickly became successful and lived happily for a long while, teaching his sons the value of work. Slowly he began to fall into the pattern that the house of Hwang participated in. He began hiring servants and purchasing slaves and concubines. He began to be less caring for his farm and family leading their family unit to destruction, by ruining his relationship with his sons and wife. Without going through the same circumstances he still managed to fail, through an unstoppable pattern.
Whether the families don’t care or are too preoccupied with other things to work, the families all still reached the same failing conclusion, yet in some cases were able to rebuild themselves to be what they once were, only to fall again. This is what The Good Earth continuously models, a rising and falling of power in a natural cycle.

Earth Abides [Essay]

In the novel, Earth Abides, by George R. Stewart, a fatal plague wipes out the earth’s entire human population except for a handful of people who miraculously survive the epidemic. As the main character, Isherwood Williams, travels from his California home across the United States he encounters some of these survivors, with the intent to observe how they are surviving the destruction of the social empire that once flourished in the same spot. Of all of the people he met, very few were fit to begin a new society in which all of their philosophies could become reality. Despite the adults of the “old world’s” constant direction to their children, the new generation began a culture uniquely their own, molding old games and habits into a single new way of life that included all aspects of religion, recreation and social order.
One of the most prominent points of a civilization is its religion. Originally, Ish wanted a society without religion, and even though the children of the tribe were never taught much of religion they often saw some of the older adults praying. They soon came to believe that simple objects such as the hammer and locations like the library were sacred. As generations passed, they began looking to the original tribal members with respect because they were once Americans, the ones who had created all that was around them. As even more generations came to pass the Americans evolved into a civilization of gods, who knew everything and who created most of the world. The more discoveries the younger generations made, the more their religious beliefs thrived. One young man explained to the elderly Ish, one day relating to the coins used for the making of arrow heads:
“The woman with the wings growing from her head sprang from the marriage of a hawk and a woman…I have wondered about it. Perhaps they are too great to care about little things, or perhaps they did their work a long time ago and have now grown old or weak.” (Earth Abides, 311)
As the young man continues he describes the “Old Ones of the Old Ones” and their creation of the sun and hills. Though Ish is disappointed in his attempts to abolish religion and such theology, he is somewhat impressed by The Tribe’s seemingly natural grasp of religion and desists from pursuing his hatred for it.
All civilizations must work to keep themselves living in comfort, but it is the recreational time that separates each society from the next. The tribe had many ways of entertaining themselves in their free time including art, sports and games. As Ish observed:
“The Tribe had not developed artistically but was still living under the shadow of the past…Accordingly he had been pleased at the fad of wood-carving.” (Earth Abides, 140)
Notwithstanding the fact that Ish preferred The Tribe to work instead of waste time playing he still found it amusing and healthy for the whole of the tribe to use their time creatively. He constantly found his attempts to influence them with music of the past hopeless, but the children still loved singing their own songs. They didn’t always take interest in games of the “old world” but loved to play active sports, like bull dodging. To their society, recreation became the key point of their life. Adults and children alike would quit working early, much to Ish’s dismay, so they could play with their bows and arrows before it was too late. Ish would often return to the city to find everyone in one field watching the older boys doge raging bulls, and though Ish often griped about the way The Tribe spent its free time, he too enjoyed the games.
The main point that Ish and the other adults often discussed was the direction that their tribe would move socially. Things such as the death penalty, marriage and other social acts were considered with apprehension to its future effects on The Tribe. Marriage became necessary for repopulation purposes rather than love; members declared “mentally unstable” were kept from marriage and other people as to not “pollute” the tribe. The greatest social barrier that the tribe had to overcome was the future of a new man named Charlie who was a threat to the tribe’s health and safety. The older members of the tribe debated whether or not Charlie should be allowed to remain in the tribe, banished or killed. Their new civilization had come thus far without having to punish anyone in such a manner. The thought “that their society might have to inflict such a final penalty, the very thought was strangely disturbing to all their minds.” (Earth Abides, 253) The older members were not sure that they wanted to introduce such a harsh and controversial trend to their children by inducing the punishment. Nonetheless they continued with a unanimous vote, and having Charlie executed. By this single action, the fate of their civilization had been decided for generations to come.
Though The Tribe was close guarded for influences that might harm its future, many old traditions and still made themselves present in the new generations. Art, sports and religion all became key points to their society and their social order still had principals based on those of the old world. As their society grows and continues, every so often loosing another link to the past it changes further into its own people, but ever affected by the dominant culture of the past.

The Lost Battalion

Here is a report on character traits...yup.


Many character traits were displayed by all of the characters in the movie The Lost Battalion, but overall there were three very important ones. They are responsibility, cooperation, and respect. These traits are important because many characters showed them throughout the entire show. Without them the idea would have fallen apart, and it would just be a bunch of people fighting for and hour and a half. It is not just those themes that are important though, it is the characters and what they did that built it.
Responsibility is the first trait. Though many of the characters demonstrated this trait, two stand out the most. The first person was Private Chinn. Chinn showed responsibility by doing the job that was given to him (to work the radio), and he continued to do so even when he had to be separated from the rest of the battalion. He also didn’t give up and leave his post, even when the wire had been cut and danger threatened his life. The second person who showed responsibility was Krotoshinsky. He showed responsibility when he volunteered to leave for help, all by himself, when he knew that there was a lot of risk. Secondly he carried out his duty. He didn’t let his fear get to him, and he eventually brought back help and much needed backup. Those two people, Private Chinn, and Private Krotoshinsky, showed responsibility, and did things that most people in the same situations wouldn’t have done.
The second personality trait is cooperation. Private Lapasti often showed cooperation in many ways. One particular time he acted as a distraction to a German sniper, so that one of his fellow soldiers could shoot him. He was also a runner, delivering messages to and from Private Chinn. Another person who showed cooperation was Private Yoder. Yoder always used his sharp shooting skills to help in the group fight. He also always had a bright outlook on things, even though his companions gave him a hard time. Without cooperation the battalion would have fallen apart, but with everyone working together they made it through.
The final trait is respect. One person to show respect was Major Whittlesey. He was always trying to find ways to keep all of the men safe from harm. He also thought that they deserved more credit than he or any of the generals because f what they put up with, and had to see, and do. Just as Major Whittlesey had respect for his men, they had respect for him. They always did their best, and contributed to the group effort. They didn’t disobey him, and they tried to help with all they could. They also didn’t give up because they knew he could pull them through.
It is these three traits, and all of the many characters who practice them, as well as the many others who made the movie what it was. All of the characters showing respect, responsibility, and cooperation in their own way at one point or another.

1920s Slang Letter

In 8th grade we all wrote letters using slang from the 1920s. I think mine is pretty good...pretty good indeed.


Headquarters,
The speak easy case 73 was a major success, I am glad to tell you that, but just in case you wana give me an award or something I will tell you what happened.
It was a clear night. The bee’s knees. My partner and I walked up to a gin mill, just behind the shops on the main drag. It looked shady from the start, so I decided that I would be doing the talking. We knocked on the door and I gave the man a password. The doors opened to reveal some big torpedo. We chose a spot in the corner next to some flappers. They were all ritzy lookin’, and talking about some sheik they all had their eyes on. I cleared my throat and they looked at us. “You girls mind if we ask you a couple of questions?” The just giggled and I could see several glasses of hooch at their table. “What types of questions?” one girl asked. “Well if you could tell us what kind of stuff goes on around here, or who the big cheese is around here? That would be copasetic.” The ossified girls were obviously more interested in my partner than in me, but I got their attention. I told the goofy girls that I would set them up with a blind date if they could just answer my questions. The spifflicated girls pointed to a rather suspicious looking lounge lizard. We left the girls and walked over. He was having a bull session with some of his friends, the torpedo was one of them. “Listen,” I told him, “you own this place? And don’t give me no hokum either! I want the truth.” With that the torpedo man fired and I dodged out of the way -or maybe my partner saved my life by knocking me out of the way, but anyway- bumping into some drugstore cowboy and his girl. “I don’t own this place,” the leader of the group said, “he does.” He nodded to some drunk fall guy. “Your story is all wet.” I said. “I know you own this place, and don’t high hat me! We could pinch you and every other person in this place, now do you own it or not?” He still refused to answer so I arrested them all and the day was saved, thanks to me –or to my partner who punched the man in the kisser to get him to surrender.
I know it sounds like my partner is swell, but really he isn’t all that great. I am the best one around, the real McCoy. That is why I think I need a raise or something like that. I mean without me the plan would have fallen in, because who would have driven the jalopy?
Sincerely,
Undercover Agent 12

Iraq and "Kurdistan"

In my geography class we were asked to divide Iraq into two contries that could be succesful. Here is the description of my countries.


Many times over the course of history the Kurdish people have been conquered and harassed with promises of their own country. Since the 1920s, however, they began a series of revolts. After a shot lapse from the fighting the Kurds began fighting with Iraq again in the 1960s. Continuing on for approximately thirty years the fighting grew worse and worse. In 1988, when chemical weapons were used against the Kurds thousands were killed and many were forced out of their homes. This constant struggle between the Iraqis and the Kurds shows that the two groups cannot peacefully coexist within the same country. The two groups should be separated to allow both to run their government the way they choose without being oppressed by the stronger group.
The border between the new Iraq and the new Kurdistan should be drawn so that it follows the Euphrates River from it’s most northwestern point in Iraq to its point at 33º 31’ N, 43º 08’ E. From there it should cut northeasterly to 33º 56’ N, 45º 30’ E. This leaves the northern region to become Kurdistan and the larger southern region to remain Iraq. The regions provide good borders because the Kurdish people mainly inhabit the northern area of Iraq. Both of the groups speak different languages, and both practice very different religions. With both of groups being culturally different in many ways the border would serve as an appropriate separation between the Kurds and Iraqis.
Both Iraq and Kurdistan would be able to support themselves on oil and farming. The proposed Kurdistan contains a rather large oil reserve, near the city of Kirkuk, that could be used by the country and sold to other countries for a large profit. In the more northern regions of Kurdistan the farmland contains wheat, cotton and barley and along the Euphrates, dates are grown. For Iraq there would still be plenty of oil in the southeastern regions as to not hurt the economy and farmland between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers would provide more then enough food to support the countries population.
In conclusion, there should be two countries made out of the modern day Iraq. Due to the dramatic differences and separation of the Kurdish and Iraqi people through language, religion, and overall culture these two countries should be divided to serve both groups. By giving each enough resources to survive on their own they would both have the potential to become successful, if not already.

Eragon [5 Themes of Geography]

This report was for my world geography class about the fantasy book, "Eragon" in relation to the five themes of geography.


Eragon, written by Christopher Paolini, is a story about a fifteen year old boy who finds a unique stone in the forest while hunting. When the alleged stone breaks open revealing a dragon, Eragon realizes the danger of the situation. In a furry to keep the dragon, hidden from the townspeople he is discovered resulting in the murder of his uncle and destruction of his farm home, leaving him alone to tame his recently discovered skills.
Despite the fact that the story was based in a fictional land there was a lot of description of how people acted in their homes, the geography of the land and even how the characters interacted with animals. All of these descriptions can be separated into five different categories. These categories, called the five themes of geography, are location, place, human and environmental interaction, movement, and region.
The story is based in a mythical land called Alagaësia. Alagaësia is located on the ocean, bordered to the south by the Beor Mountains, and to the north by the dense Du Weldenvarden forest. Along the coat, to the west, runs the greatly despised, woodland mountains of the Spine. To the east lies the gigantic Hadarac Desert, void of all life, as the heat is treacherous and water greatly lacking.
In Alagaësia there are many cities each one differing from the last in many ways. Eragon’s hometown of Carvahall, located near the Spine, for instance, is very different from the coastal city of Teirm. In Carvahall the people are very social with one another as well as very open. They are generally a smaller and less affluent city, in which many farmers, blacksmiths, and leatherworkers reside. As the general conflict of the story rises, a good deal of danger begins to plague the whole land of Alagaësia. Being a small town they lack what is necessary to protect themselves against attacks from monsters and evil beings. In Teirm, however, things are very different. Teirm is a trading port. Many wealthy men and women live within the safe walls of the city conducting their merchant business while browsing and talking with acquaintances. The citizens of Teirm are a little more wary of the rising dangers in Alagaësia, due to many of their trade routs having recently been destroyed or damaged. Overall the city of Teirm is far better suited to protect itself then Carvahall due to its unique plan intended to keep it safe from enemy capture. Teirm also has many other things that Carvahall does not. Where in Carvahall the only magical creature was Eragon’s dragon, for a short time, in Teirm there are many creatures including werecats, which have the ability to telepathically communicate with humans, and witches. Throughout Alagaësia there are also many other creatures and races, including elves, Urgals, Shades, dragon riders, whom of which Eragon is the only one, and dwarves. The normal humans, who inhabit the cities, as well as witches and the creatures who only communicate telepathically, speak a common language. The elves speak the “Ancient Language”, but it is also the language of magic. Dwarfs and Urgals both have their own sets of languages but can also speak as any of the humans do.
While Eragon and his friend Brom are on their travels they ordinarily follow rivers. Often along the rivers are several small villages and towns, very similar to Carvahall, where farming is popular and water would be a necessity. There are also many costal ports mentioned. These ports are used to ship goods by boat to many areas in Alagaësia. As Jeod mentioned to Brom during their meeting, it is far faster and easier to send supplies using boats then on the land, thus being good for business.
Cities like Carvahall depend heavily of the goods that the traveling merchants bring to their town every year. These merchants supply them with all of the supplies they need for farming that they, or others in the city, can not always make themselves. After trading things such as food for farming necessities the families become prepared for winter, and the next year and the merchants acquire what they need to trade in the larger cities where there may not be as many farms.
The regions in Alagaësia are based around what king Galbatorix has conquered for his empire. All business, save it for a few smuggling groups, do business within the empires boarders, creating a functional region within the uniform region.
The story of Eragon is a very detailed book that has many facts pertaining to the five themes of geography. When analyzed it can be determined what type of a place the people of Alagaësia live.

Cascadia: Living on Fire [Synopsis]

I am sure that by now you are all wondering, "Why so many school reports," and such. I figure that maybe, someday it might help someone with on of their reports, somewhere in the English speaking world.


The article, Cascadia: Living on Fire, by Rick Gore, dealt with geological evidence that could be pointing to ward a major earthquake in an area known as Cascadia as well as several other natural disasters that the earthquakes can cause, including tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions.
Cascadia ranges from northern California, where the Cascade Mountains first begin, to British Columbia, where the Cascades end. The creation of the Cascade Range is related to the subduction of the Juan de Fuca plate beneath the North American plate. This causes volcanoes to erupt, mountainous peaks to form, and earthquakes to rattle the ground, damaging buildings and property.
As one plate slides under another they may become locked, or unable to continue sliding. Since locked plates continue to push against one another pressure begins to build along the fault. Rocks are pushed upwards several feet of where they once were, over a period of hundreds of years. When the rocks cannot continue to store the pressure, or stress, they break and rebound to their original positions causing an earthquake. The magnitude, or size, of the earthquake is dependant upon how much stress has been released during the earthquake. Earthquakes of larger magnitudes cause greater amounts of shaking than earthquakes of lower magnitudes, and vise versa. These earthquakes have been known to occur independently of any other region along the fault, but now some scientists are beginning to believe that in the past major earthquakes have occurred in which the entire fault released pressure all at once.
Earthquakes can cause another serious natural disaster, tsunamis. When the land rebounds, sometimes back into the ocean, it replaces areas where hundreds of cubits of water stand, forcing the water to move. The sudden move results in any large waves that cover the shoreline. In a large earthquake, such as one that is believed to occur during a large fault earthquake, tsunamis could nearly wipe out entire costal towns, causing destruction and killing hundreds of people. It is for this reason that many of these towns are setting up tsunami evacuation routs, leading to elevated ground, in hopes to save lives during a large tsunami. Volcanic eruptions may also be caused by earthquakes as magma and gasses are loosed from the crater.
Evidence has been found, that points to the large tsunami triggering earthquakes in many areas. Along the Washington coastline, a forest of dead trees still stands. Scientists have shown that they died around 1700 due to a large amount of salt water choking their roots. By digging beneath the surface of the area a layer of ocean sand can be found on top of the original layers of dirt. A large tsunami is thought to have carried large amounts of salt water inland killing these trees. This tsunami is related in many ways to a large one that occurred in Japan, being that they both occurred at nearly the exact same time and date. Along with areas where land has dropped several feet, scientists are beginning to collect information about many large earthquakes in Cascadia’s past, leading them to believe that another big one could be on the way.

Birthstone Report

We had to do reports on our birthstones in science class this year...yup.


Gems and birthstones are used for a number of decorative purposes. They can be found in earrings, necklaces, and bracelets. They adorn shelves in gift stores just about anywhere you go. But what are they really? They are just ordinary minerals that, throughout time, have been accompanied by myths and legends transforming them into lucky stones. A mineral, according the Encarta Reference Dictionary, is “an inorganic solid substance that occurs naturally in rocks and in the ground and has its own characteristic appearance and chemical composition.” This means that a mineral is a piece of matter that this not made up of living, or once living, materials. One good example of this is turquoise.
Turquoise is the birthstone for the month of December. Its bluish green color is determined by the amount of iron and copper in the area of the mine. When too much iron is in the area it causes the turquoise samples to become more greenish, causing the value of the stone to decline. The most expensive pieces of turquoise are known to come from Neyshābūr, Iran, but it is also mined in northern Africa, Australia, Siberia, and the southwestern United States.
Although color can be characteristic of a certain mineral it is also very important to recognize the luster of the stone. Luster is the quality of light being reflected from the mineral. There are many different categories of luster. To name just a few of the classifications of luster, are waxy, metallic, dull, pearly, glassy and silky. The luster of a certain mineral can often be hard to define, because it may be just one classification, two or somewhere in between. Turquoise has a waxy luster, meaning that it lets of a faint shine, similar to the way candle wax might look, thus giving it the name waxy.
A chemical formula for a mineral reveals every element in its makeup. In a formula each number and letter stands for something that helps build the material. Letters represent different elements and the numbers indicate how many atoms of that one element are in the formula. Turquoise for example has the chemical formula of CuAl6(PO4)4(OH)84H2O. Just from looking at the formula it is easy to tell what is in the mineral. Turquoise contains the elements of copper (Cu), aluminum (Al), phosphorous (P), oxygen (O) and hydrogen (H). The numbers following the elements in subtext show how much of that element is in the formula. For example in turquoise there are six aluminum atoms in the formula. When there are no numbers following the element it simply means that there is only one atom of that element at that part of the formula.
Every mineral has a property called hardness. Hardness is just what it sounds like, how hard the mineral is. The harder it is the more resistant it is to scratching and etching. When testing a mineral for hardness it can be either scratch on another mineral or material, or be scratched by another material. Either way it is done a scale of hardness needs to be determined. This can be done by using minerals that are already familiar using them to scratch the mineral being tested, or by using the Mohs hardness scale. The Mohs hardness scale, determined by Friedrich Mohs, sets certain minerals to a scale ranging from one to ten, one being the softest and ten being the hardest. The scale is as follows: talc is 1, gypsum, 2, calcite, 3, fluorite, 4, apatite, 5, orthoclase, 6, quartz, 7, topaz, 8, corundum, 9, and diamond being 10. All minerals fall somewhere along this scale. One way to test them is by using common items, such as knife blades, glass, coins and fingernails. Just as all minerals have a place on the scale so do the objects that are testing them. A fingernail is about 2.5, a penny, 3.5, a knife blade or a nail fall between 5 and 5.5, while a piece of glass can be scratched with minerals with a hardness of six or higher (scratches a mineral with five or lower). Turquoise has a hardness between five and six.
The crystal structure of a mineral is equally as important as the other characteristics of a mineral. Crystal structure defines how the atoms are arranged within the mineral, and how the axes of the mineral are set. There are six different types of crystal structures, or systems. They are isometric, tetragonal, hexagonal, monoclinic, orthorhombic and triclinic. A mineral may not always have a crystal structure, but many do. Turquoise has a triclinic system. In a triclinic system, such as the one that occupies turquoise, the axes are all of different length and sloped. The unevenness of the axes
creates a diamond, or kite, shape for the mineral as opposed to a square or and other shape.
Specific gravity is the density of an object divided by the density of a different object, called a standard. Ordinarily the standard is water. Turquoise has a specific gravity between 2.6 and 2.83. This means that the density of turquoise, 2.60-2.90 divided by the density of water, 1 g/cm³ is between 2.6 and 2.83.
Minerals always have a place where they can most likely be found. This is called its origin and environment. This includes where it is found, and any other minerals that it is commonly found with. Turquoise is sometimes found with quartz, an igneous rock.
Cleavage and fracture describe how the rock is broken. If a rock is broken so that is has flat plains then it has cleavage if it is uneven then it has fracture. Many minerals have both. Turquoise, however, has only an uneven fracture.
Though turquoise does not have any special properties, such as magnetism or double refraction, it has been used as a sign of mythology and worship for many civilizations around the world. In ancient Egypt tombs were filled with turquoise statues or servants that were believed to be servants of the dead in the after life. They also had a goddess that only looked over the turquoise mine and the surrounding desert. In the Aztec culture turquoise was believed to be the weapon Huitzilopochtli, the sun god, used to kill his sister. To the Navajo is represented a goddess of the sky. Then, just as it is now, turquoise is too soft for intricate and detailed works, so it is mainly used as insets in necklaces and other jewelry.
Turquoise has been a favored and important gem to many ancient nations and cultures all around the world. Now its meaning has changed and it is commonly used for jewelry, but it still carries what it has always been prized for, its pure blue color.

June 10, 2005

Lord of the Flies: The Freedom of the Mask

An essay for English:

Red, brown, green, blue, colors that surround us everyday, yet somehow the human fascination of applying them to their face makes them seem all the more fun, and interesting. This newfound interest could even leak through to the mind beneath, giving way to a whole new person. In his 1954 novel, Lord of the Flies, William Golding illustrated this idea in a way that captured the hearts of many and led the story to fame, concocting a reality that had since resided only in the nightmares of children. Inventing a world in which masks of paint were not a fun thing you got at a fair, but a living horror and uncontrollable enemy. Masks are common in our world. They are worn on holidays and to parties. Nearly everyone can recognize at least on super hero or villain who hid behind a mask. These allow people to act as something they are not, producing a faux freedom. Freedom that once the mask is applied, can allow one to do whatever they please. William Golding uses the mask for the same purpose, in creating freedom. To him the mask induces freedom from responsibility, appropriate behavior and ordinary human kindness.
Though a mask may just be a paper cut out, a molded piece of plastic, or in the Lord of the Flies, a painted face, they all have the same ability to create a feeling of freedom from responsibility. They may make they wearer feel more important or powerful and too good for work, leading to a lack of fulfillment of their responsibility. This belief in freedom from responsibility is best exemplified by Jack, the first one on the island to begin wearing a mask. He used a mask because he felt it gave him power and skill, giving him reason to take up hunting as a prime responsibility, opposed to keeping the fire going. In their conversation on page 69-70 (after the fire had gone out), Jack showed little care for the fire. When Ralph first told Jack that the fire had gone out the book states that, “Jack checked [the fire], vaguely irritated by this irrelevance but too happy to let it worry him.” Later as Ralph again repeats the problem to Jack he dismisses it the issue as if he were in charge by saying that “The fire’s only been out for an hour of two. We can light up again-” This ordeal later led to the breaking of Jack and Ralph’s friendship and the destruction of the original tribe. In this instance the face paint gave Jack the strength to stand up to the chief and shun the responsibilities that he had “signed up” for, so to speak.
The painted masks also speared to free the members of the tribe from what could be considered as appropriate behavior. This can include the lack of self discipline in fulfilling assigned tasks as well as disobeying rules and the violent nature adopted in hunting. In spite of the fact that when the boys landed on the island they were naturally freed from all of the laws of the adult world, they still came together to form a tribe. Though some saw this as an important step, such as Ralph, Piggy, Simon and somewhat Jack, many just viewed it as a game to be played whenever they pleased. After Jack began wearing face paint, many of the younger children viewed him as a chief and wanted to follow him over Ralph. As they began following him he, hiding behind the mask, influenced them to do things that they would normally consider wrong, such as adopting such a violent nature when hunting. In hunting they fulfilled their basic need for meat, but they quickly began centering their lives around it, and almost worshiping the hunt through dance and reenactments. This led them to create a tribe centered on their natural yearning for violence and murder, a desire that even Ralph had felt from time to time. During his first “dance” (page 115) “Ralph too was fighting to get near, to get a handful of that brown, vulnerable flesh. The desire to squeeze and hurt was over-mastering.” He, just like everybody else had gotten caught up in the action of the moment, but unlike everyone else, he regained his senses. The masked leader, Jack, couldn’t fool him in to believing something so wrong. He didn’t have a mask to hide his misdeeds behind, but he faced his problems in a more mature manner.
As we saw by Jack’s character, the mask also help him exempt from all ideals of human kindness. Though he wasn’t always particularly murderous, he often displayed cruelty towards Piggy. Despite the natural instinct to challenge opponents by picking out their weakness, Jack picked on everything about Piggy including his moral beliefs. With an exceeding malice and spite, Jack shoved Piggy causing his “specs” the break, thus handicapping him for the rest of the story. All over the course of the story, Jack shows hatred to Piggy by his speech as well. Whenever Piggy begins to talk, having the conch, Jack interrupts him, or tells him to stop talking, but until he wore the mask he had never actually hurt Piggy. When he finally pushed Piggy he didn’t apologize, but continued to further mock Piggy, when he “made a move toward Piggy…[and] mimicked the whine and scramble by saying, ‘Jus’ you wait-yah!’” By doing this, Jack causes all of the younger hunters to laugh, giving him even more power over them all because of the new power that the mask gave him, by allowing him to be cruel and unkind.
The mask is one of the most powerful symbols in Lord of the Flies. It symbolizes freedom from all of civilization’s measures, violence and hatred. However, it also represents leadership, and the new society in which the boys have made for themselves, based on violence and the nature of the human soul being free for the first time in these children’s lives. Though the mask makes many of the boys feel free, they only continue to lower themselves into a pit of regret, destroying everything they have worked for and hurting others who they could formerly trust.