Before even reading the poem “A Smile” I knew it was going to be hard to understand. No poem with that simple of a title is going to be understood right away. I first read it and I do not know if I was just having one of those days or if McGarry is just that good at making poems because I did not get it at all. I “read” the whole poem and when I was done, I looked up, and thought “wow. I understood none of that”. After reading it again and with a little (a lot) of help from classmates I started to understand the poem… I think. I am completely kidding. I understand nothing about this poem. I have read it about 4 times because two and a half pages is way too much for my young eyes at this point. I honestly could not tell you what happens besides the fact that there are allusions in just about every other line of the poem. I did have McGarry help me and he just pulled up like three different songs by The Eagles and there was a line from within those songs that were put into the poem but worded differently. Like are you kidding me? How was I supposed to know that? All I have pieced together is in the first stanza the speaker is driving on a road and listening to The Eagles only because McGarry helped me with it. Then it goes downhill from there. I know that “dynamo of light” and “Thoreau’s quiet desperation” are allusions added in for meaning and depth but that is all you could probably get out of me. I noticed in the middle of the poem the speaker talks about being on a stage and being chased off by a bear, I think when they say about being on the stage for an act or two and then being chased off I personally feel it is talking about having your moment in life, like your fifteen minutes of fame, and then coming back to reality. Hmmm… oh, when the speaker says “To do to don’t but never try” that is an allusion to Yoda from Star Wars when he says “do or do not, there is no try” but yet again it is worded so weird that most people would probably skip over it. All in all, this poem is confusing to me but probably good if I understood it more.
After being recommended to try the Quarantine series, I got a hold of the first book. I wasn’t really sure how I was going to feel about it since I’m not really one to read post-apocalyptic type stories, but it was actually pretty good. I liked how it didn’t take long for things to start going wrong and I liked how they gave you a flashback to start so you knew what you were getting into. I think another reason as to why I enjoyed it more was how it was revolved around kids my age and just the overall plot: high school students left to survive on their own due to a virus that kills anyone 18 or older. The way the students formed their groups out of the different cliques was a little stereotypical, but also worked out in a way to help the story line progress. For example they had; Varsity, which was all of the jocks, The Pretty’s, which was made up of all the prissy girls, The Freaks, made up of all the weird kids in the school, The Nerds- all the smart kids, and I think you get the point. Our main characters David and Will weren’t part of a group though, they ended up forming their own group called The Loners, when they realized they couldn’t just rely on each other to survive, they needed other people’s help. Will has epilepsy which results in him having a lot of seizures especially at the wrong time in the story since he runs out of his medicine/ said how he doesn’t need to take it anymore. It screws up David’s game plan to get the food at the food drops because at one point Will have a seizure and David had to take care of him and watch people steal his food. The leader of Varsity, Sam, also has it out for David since before the explosion of the school and the virus, David played football and played an important part on the team, but quit the team eventually due to his mother’s death. At some point in the story we learned why David and Sam have a mutual hatred. Before the virus, David was dating a girl (one of The Pretty’s) and found out she was cheating on him with Sam. At a party, after David had a lot to drink, he confronted Sam by walking up to him and just hitting him in the face. This is a big part of the reason as to why Sam does everything in his power to kill David. This made me not like David as much because of how dumb he was to drink and screw up his relationship with Sam. They already had a rough relationship with one another because of football but this caused major turbulence for the storyline, and as Mr. McGarry says, I wanted to read on. During supply drops, the most violent parts of the book, all the groups meet at the cafeteria and fight each other for supplies. Many kids die or get severely injured during these drops because Varsity likes to just attack everyone in sight so they can get the best stuff. Varsity pretty much runs/terrorizes the whole school so David tries to form alliances to take them down. Basically the whole story line is survival, but towards the end David and Will start trying to figure out how to escape since the school is getting more and more dangerous. I think this book can relate to society because of the groups (countries or types of people) are like scavengers when it comes to the supply drops (media, attacks). I’m not really sure what else to talk about so I’ll end it here. Overall I really enjoyed this book and the intense scenes and plan on reading the second one.