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Monday, February 7, 2011

The Power of One: Ch. 1-3

In the novel, The Power of One, Bryce Courtenay illustrates through the behavior of the Judge, jury, and Pisskop, that people may have harsh prejudices, but the right camouflage can serve as protection. The Judge announces, “God has sent us this sign from Adolf Hitler, who will deliver the Afrikaner people from the hated English! ”The Judge and jury hate Pisskop because he is English. The source of this hatred is the Boer War. The Judge and jury are on Adolf Hitler’s side of the war, which is against the English. So, the Judge and jury treat Pisskop with disrespect, and they torture him.

Pisskop deals with this cruelty through camouflage. He says, “Mediocrity is the best camouflage known to man.” Pisskop tries his best to not stand out by acting dumber than he actually is in school, and minding his own business. He does not want to give the people anything else about him to hate. Sometimes his cover is blown, and it may be a good thing, or bad. He gets into trouble when his teacher finds out he actually knows all the times tables and has been pretending not to, and that incident ends up bloody; but the lack of camouflage turns out to be a good thing when he develops an agreement with the Judge to do his homework everyday so he can pass.

The lesson that the author most likely wants readers to learn about the nature of human cruelty and prejudice is that people hold grudges on others simply because they are of a certain descent. Pisskop was born in Africa; he didn’t even know he was English, or at least he forgot when he said, “I’ll swear too,” and the Judge replied, “Don’t be stupid, Pisskop! You ARE the verdomde English!” The fact that the Judge and jury discriminated against innocent Pisskop only because he was English, when Pisskop has had nothing to do with the English except his ancestors, shows how cluelessly cruel people can be.

-Maggie Holland

Friday, January 28, 2011

Steinbeck Style Episode Opening

The reflection of the teal walls on the white furniture shifted as the evening sun set. The autumn wind blew against the off-white shade through an open window. The room was full. Every corner piled high with things forgotten: old yearbooks, CDs, last season’s shoes. On the side wall hung a pink bulletin board scattered with white polka-dots and ribbon, documenting the life of the one who resides there. Drawers are overflowing. On the floor lies an extremely fluffy medium-sized dog bed. Next to the door the walls go back about two feet, and there are two tall wooden doors that fold open to reveal a closet. Inside the closet are eight rectangular shelves and three hanger sections filled with clothes. Next to the closet, in the corner of the room, there is a space that the walls go back about four feet farther, creating a little area sticking out of the room – perfect for secret clubhouses. The wall beside it has slanted walls on both sides but the center portion is straight. Coming out from the center portion of this wall, facing the middle of the room, is a bed. It has a light blue comforter with blue, light green, and white striped sheets. The pillows have miss-matched pillowcases, including one with snowmen, another with sandcastles, and a bright pink one. A smallish square window sits above the head of the bed, letting bright rays on sunlight into the room. On the next wall, there are two more windows – one little and square, and one large and rectangular. Out of those windows is a second-story view of the street and front yard.

Suddenly, the sound of the front door opening is heard throughout the house. Footsteps are coming up the fifteen-stair staircase. The door to the room is swung open, a backpack is dropped to the ground, and the light switch is flicked on.


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Does Curley’s Wife Get What She Deserves?

     In the novel, Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck demonstrates though the characterization of Curley’s wife that sometimes a person may seem evil, but really they are only the victim of a miserable life they don’t deserve, and are just trying to get through it. Curley’s wife is portrayed as someone bad who is trying to tempt them into getting into trouble and getting kicked of the ranch, but that is from the viewpoint of the men on the ranch. Because of this, George tells Lennie to stay away from her: “George says I ain’t to have nothing to do with you – talk to you or nothing.” George thinks that if Lennie were to talk to Curley’s wife at all then something would happen that would get them in trouble, and maybe he’s right. But that isn’t because Curley’s wife is trying to get the men in trouble. It’s because of Curley’s overprotection of his wife and Lennie’s accidental urge to do something that turns out bad. The men just want to be able to stay on the farm and work to earn a living but they can’t do that if the boss’ son gets them fired because he suspects them of flirting with his wife. Curley’s wife doesn’t like living on the ranch, and she doesn’t like her husband, but she has no way out. When Lennie tells her he’s not supposed to talk to her, she replies, "Why can't I talk to you? I never get to talk to nobody. I get awful lonely." This makes one realize that she really doesn’t have anyone on the ranch to talk to. She’s just trying to make some friends and the only people on the ranch besides Curley and his family are the ranch-hands, but they don’t want anything to do with her. But that’s not because they don’t like her as a person, it’s because they’re afraid to get in trouble with her husband because of it, something out of her control. She acts desperate, but that’s because she is desperate. She needs someone to confide in, so she goes to Lennie. She tells him, “Well, I ain’t told this to nobody before. Maybe I ought’n to. I don’ like Curley. He ain’t a nice fella.” This shows that she doesn’t even have her husband, the person she is pretty much limited to, to talk to. This would make anyone lonely, to have a husband who, not only doesn’t let them have any other friends besides him, but they really aren’t even friends with him. That leaves Curley’s wife with no friends, which is a very sad and lonely place to be. She is about as lonely as the ranch-hands, which is probably why she seeks their friendship so often. They would understand how she feels, not having anyone. The only difference is that they travel from place to place, not staying anywhere for long, always on the move, while she is stuck there, and can’t get away. This causes one to compare, which is worse: being trapped, or having no place to go? At least the ranch-hands have something to do, a job, something to hope for. If they were to be lucky enough to save enough money, they could buy their own farm and be happy. But Curley’s wife isn’t there to make money to buy a farm. There is nothing she can do to move away and have a happier life. She is stuck. She did not deserve to die. She was nothing but the victim of an unfortunate and miserable life that was brought upon her.

-Maggie Holland