So originally my idea for the short story was just a general story about something involving the Warhammer 40k universe, specifically the First War for Armageddon. That transitioned to some guardsmen surviving on a daemon princes planet (spot the flaw). So I took the wartime aspect of Armageddon and the idea of a squad of guardsmen and combined the two. This is how I got the idea of Typhon Primaris. It was a planet that I was familiar with because I had played Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II – Retribution. So I got to put a squad of guardsmen on a planet that was embroiled in conflict but that they wouldn’t die instantly on. Most importantly though, I got to write a story using the lore of the Warhammer 40k universe. The main change that took place over our discussions and activities about writing this short story was the structure of the short story in my head. You see, I was originally just going to go for it and try to write the story with no clear structure in mind. This obviously would’ve made for a bad story and one that was kind of everywhere. Fortunately I took my idea and put it into a structure so I am hopefully creating at least a somewhat bearable story. Overall the perspective I had about writing a story changed completely because of the addition of structure. I honestly did think I was just going to have to go for it and take the leap of faith but thankfully I didn’t, otherwise you would’ve lost a few minutes of your life you could never get back. Since I’ve answered the suggested questions, I want to go over the Warhammer 40k universe and how I interpret the situation(s) presented in it. First of all I absolutely loved the story of the first war of Armageddon and Commissar Yarrick. I found it amazing that an ordinary man (or so we think) could survive his arm being severed long enough to defeat an ork warboss (who is notably and substantially stronger than a human). Even after he killed the ork warboss he then drove the warboss’ forces away from the hive city Hades. Another of my favorite stories in the Warhammer 40k universe is the progression of man throughout the millennia. The idea that a civilization could become one of the most powerful in the world and then fall due to corruption and rebellion among their leaders own sons is fascinating to me. Overall I am greatly enjoying writing this short story and I hope it will be just as nice to read!
The book I am reading, “12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos”, has been extremely thought provoking so far. Some of the ideas discussed in the book thus far have been difficult to understand until days of thought. Even the foreword to the first lesson of the book brought up a thought that I hadn’t comprehended before. This thought would be one involving a perspective on life most people don’t take, which is an idea of Tao. This is a primarily Asian religion based on chaos and order. Jordan Peterson reveals that this base of religion can be applied to life as well. He says that life can be looked at materialistically. For instance, America is a rich country that has some of the best living conditions. On the other hand, Communist North Korea is poor and has some of the worst living conditions. Now watch how this changes when we look at these two countries through the lens of Taoism. America is one of the most chaotic nations, while still remaining an actual country. North Korea on the other hand, has one of the largest amounts of order in the world. “That doesn’t seem right!” you may say. And there is actually a very simple explanation. If there is too much chaos in a country, it is anarchy. If a country has too much order, it is tyranny. So you see, a balance is needed for a country to remain free, while also remaining orderly. It is also actually shown that people like order more than chaos. This is because the human condition makes us afraid of the unknown. This is because if we can predict what will happen, we can plan accordingly. This is a big reason why tyranny is such a looming threat. Humans like order so much, that they can sometimes forget that an amount of chaos is required for them to have basic freedoms. This is primarily because if you were given a choice as to which was better, you would choose chaos.
I mean, if you were asked if you wanted to be a horrible, mutated chaos spawn from Warhammer 40k, or a citizen of the Imperium of Man, you would probably pick the Imperium if you had no further knowledge. This is because the Imperium is a symbol of what happens when you have too much order in a society. It seems like a great place until you realize that it is rotten and corrupt on the inside, much like some of the characters in “The Devil and Tom Walker”. Now I don’t want to create a horrible and terrifying wall of text in this blog, but I am very passionate about the topics in this book. All I want to go over now is the common misconception in the first lesson. A lot of people think that when Jordan Peterson mentions lobsters and compares them to human society, he is saying that human society should be more like lobster society. This is blatantly false, as what he is saying is that human society is already like lobster society. He mentions in this lesson that you have to appear confident in order to act like and be treated as such. He mentions that in lobster society if a male loses a fight to get a mate, a chemical is released in its brain that depresses it, and makes it less confident. This can, and most of the time will, result in a streak of losses from that Lobster which feed back into making more depressed and even less successful. On the other hand, if a lobster wins, it becomes more confident and has a much higher chance of succeeding. This is mirrored almost exactly in human society. The difference is, unlike lobsters, humans can take time to see their losses as learning opportunities, and not depressing self-defects. The more someone learns this, the more attractive and successful they become. Overall I am sorry for the incredibly long post, but even just the first few ideas in Jordan Peterson’s book are extremely though provoking and interesting to me.
My initial reaction to this story was incredibly underwhelming. I just though of it as another reading assignment to complete before the due date (which I did still failed at doing). I regret not giving this assignment more effort than I did because it wasn’t like anything I’ve read before. Usually stories start off with the main character having at least some importance in the world. In this one though, Tom Walker, who is our main character, does not start off with any advantages at all. He is miserable and has a wife that embodies one of the most self-detrimental traits of all time, greed. He doesn’t have anything financially, and if he did his wife would take it all and hide it. The only way Tom decides he can get a foothold in the world is making a deal with the devil. This shows just how desperately a man with nothing left to lose can act. It also ended badly for our main character which is no longer very common among modern stories. That is probably because this is a pretty old story. Overall it doesn’t have the political correctness of modern entertainment either, which makes it a more realistic feeling setting and tone that the author sets. My impression of the society the author creates is a pretty morbid one. I mean, Tom Walker is carried off by the devil at the very end in front of the society and people barely bat an eyelash. Not to mention they were a religious society, and while this is usually associated with peacefulness and fondness in the modern day, it certainly wasn’t centuries ago. The point I believe the author is trying to make is really a trio of points scattered across the story. One is that you cannot cheat the devil. You will always lose whenever you “make a deal with the devil” whether this means crime or, as depicted in the story, literally making a deal with the actual devil. Two is a somewhat subtler but no less controversial point back then, slavery is so repulsive, that even a man who was willing to make deals with the devil and thank the devil for his wife’s death wouldn’t do it. The third and final point seems to be one promoting the idea of karma. Tom Walker spent the rest of his days luring people in and “squeezing them dry” after his deal with the devil. Even when he began to aggressively agree to the ideas of the Puritans and set his horse upside down to try and avoid the consequences of his actions, he still had to face them. This is essentially saying “what goes around comes around.” Some things I would change in the story for a more modern audience would primarily be the diction. Modern audiences are a lot less literate than past audiences though that isn’t saying there aren’t those lucky few. One smaller thing I would change to accommodate more moderns audiences would be the time period. I feel that this story could work with a more modern setting while keeping the same story. Maybe not the religious society part but certainly everything else. It would make it more relatable to modern audiences and therefore allow the authors point to be conveyed to those people more effectively. To end this blog I apologize for the lateness of the story analysis assignment and, as stated above, I did enjoy the story a lot more than I expected to. Have a good week everyone!
To start off, our lesson on short stories was actually pretty interesting. McGarry just took everything that several teachers over many years tried to string out and burn into our minds and just forced it all into one document and lesson. With all the information together it really helped me see how the stories structure relied on all its parts, and that they weren’t all just a separate feature of a story that didn’t necessarily have to tie into another feature. Aristotle’s Ethical Imperative was a very interesting an new koncept (ha) that made me look back at a variety of storied I had read. Such as, one of my favorites, the Ranger’s Apprentice series. Which I would like to mention was almost as bad a reaction to that series ending than Half-Life 2’s because it seemed to lack any ethics at all when it ended that series much like half-life (getting progressively angrier). This lesson has made me take key events in such stories though and identify them as a complicating factor, the climax, etc. almost involuntarily. Moving on a bit though to the difference between an active audience story and a story story. I honestly prefer a story story because, like many other forms of entertainment (aside form video games), I expect to have to do nothing but imagine the story in my mind. I do not like coming up with details on my own, such as in the previously mentioned active story. It intentionally leaves holes that you have to fill, meaning if I think a big bad brave character looks big and tough, the author could at some point publish another book saying he is scrawny but magically strong and intimidating. It just creates the unnecessary possibility for reader and writer conflicts. The only reason I would ever make the transition is if I find the active story very interesting and worth putting some effort into comprehending. Now onto the venting, which won’t take up the next 500 words… maybe. The second week has been exactly like the first week except for one thing. So you know how all of these events are happening and making my schedule several shades of brown, well add onto that a monstrous amount of school work and you have yourself a potential mental breakdown. Fortunately, I have managed to get everything mostly done by getting rid of all free time I would have hoped to have during this long weekend where I thought I could enjoy myself. So now I get the satisfaction of a single person taking 5 minutes to read what took me three days of no free time to complete. But at least this assignment is actually something I look forward to because I can always have some venting in it. Hopefully at the end of the year I will have vented so much in these blogs that anyone who views it will begin to see the physical manifestation of worry, stress, anger, frustration, and desire for nothing but food and sleep because hopefully it will mean it is now in a blog and not in my struggling brain. Also it is 12:34am and I still have personal finance work to complete. In the words of someone who many people will not know. “I have no mouth but I must scream.”