Hong Kong Protest

My topic for the debate is United States interference with the Hong Kong protests. The stance I must take on the issue is that the United States should not interfere with the Hong Kong protests. My personal opinion on the topic is that the United States should interfere. In all honesty, I really only know what I have heard about on the social media site Reddit. I know that the Chinese government is filtering what people can and can not see, but besides that, I am really in the dark. Most of the results I get with a basic Google search are why the United States should interfere with Hong King protesters, and there are very few stating that the United States should not interfere. I plan to try and take a logical approach by gathering the facts of what is going on in Hong Kong first. After that, I will then start to research people’s opinions and why they feel that way towards the Hong Kong protesters. An ethical issue regarding interfering with Hong Kong is that the United States and China participate in a lot of trade between each other. If the United States interferes with Hong Kong, it could make China not want to trade with us, and we would lose a lot of our trade. Many businesses have corporations set up in China that sell back to the United States. They can not risk losing this business. Both our economy and China’s would suffer if this were to occur. Emotions that could be brought into play are sympathy and pity. The United States was founded on people fighting against the government. These protesters are trying to do the same thing our ancestors did over two hundred years ago. Not only is that how our government came to, but the United States is accepting of protesters. We protect them and listen to what they have to say. If there are enough people rallying together in protest, changes will be made as a result. Many people, myself included, believe we should extend these rights to other people. Especially the Hong Kong protesters who obviously want to have these rights.

Virtue Experiment

I did not pay much mind to the virtues as I went through my week. I chose to just go through my days as I normally would because I think that trying to follow all of these virtues would take away from life. The results of which virtues I did and did not follow throughout the week were not surprising to me. There are a few virtues that I broke every day. These were tranquility, diligence, guidance, industry, silence, sincerity, resolution, and justice. I violated eight out of the fifteen virtues every day. That is over half of the virtues, not counting the ones I did not violate daily. Some would argue that this would make me a bad person, but I believe that it says more about the experiment than it does myself. These virtues were drawn up by someone trying to reach moral perfection, excluding the three my group came up with. Keeping this in mind, there was no room for error, and I believe that a large part of being human is not being perfect. We are meant to make mistakes and live life with a bit of selfishness. No human has ever been morally perfect, and I believe that trying to achieve this level of perfection is not only impossible but also damaging to this person’s mental and emotional state. It is well known that people who are pressured into perfection often wind up mentally damaged as a result of trying to pursue the impossible, which is why this should not be done. Pressuring people into perfection will cause them to never feel satisfied with themselves. I believe that instead of trying to achieve moral perfection, we should aim to better ourselves a little bit each day. We also should not have a set list of virtues to follow, we should so what we believe is best for ourselves and others. Different people have different views of what is and is not ethically acceptable, which causes us to believe that different things are ethically required to live a morally good life. An example of this is when we did our presentations on the virtue we eliminated and the virtues we added. No group added the same three exact values, and different groups eliminated different values. We should not heed the word of some dead white guy from the late 1700s for what we should do in the twenty-first century. 

I think that this study was not an appropriate study to do in a high school setting. I believe that doing such a study could, under different circumstances, prove to be a good way of seeing what things people find ethically important and valuable. Doing this in a high school setting, however, almost guarantees that the results will be inaccurate. My group chose to remove chastity, but I am assuming that the groups who chose to keep it were not honest if they violated this virtue. It is an uncomfortable question not only for it to be asked, but to be expected to answer it and provide a date as a high school student. I think that this study would have been better done if it were in a college setting as compared to a high school setting. I also believe that expecting those who were truthful about violating this virtue to write about it in a blog that can be accessed by the public is unfair. If this study were to be done in a more professional setting, it would most likely be anonymous, which I think would be more appropriate. 

 

Poetry Finale

My first impressions of “The Dodo’s Conundrum” was complete confusion. I did not understand what anything meant until somebody else explained it to me. As far as the theme is concerned, I am pretty sure the poem is about how life can not be what we hoped it would be, and there are always going to be flaws and tough times to deal with. There are many parts of the work that are still confusing to me. I only know what I know from my fellow classmates. I am not very sure about the theme of the work that I have concluded or how to interpret it. All of the allusions are also making the poem harder for me to interpret. I am unaware of all the authors and literary works that were referenced. The only allusion I was familiar with was the Sirens from Greek mythology, and I did not understand why they were used within the poem. The questions in Sound and Sense were much more difficult to answer than the Sound and Sense questions for “Eldorado”. Writing poetry has not impacted the way I read and analyze poetry. I think this is mostly because I made both of my poems pretty straight forward, and they do not really have any deeper or hidden meanings. My poetry was not anything extremely complex or symbolic like “Eldorado” and “The Dodo’s Conundrum”. The poems were extremely meaningful to me, but I got my point across without being confusing or cryptic.

Poetry

My reaction to the poems that we’ve read is mostly neutral. I have never been horribly impressed with poetry, and I still struggle to enjoy it. I think that the reason I do not like poetry is because of teachers forcing students to pick apart poems and place meaning to every little word or phrase within the poem. I also do not like it when teachers say there is one specific theme to a poem. I believe that poems are supposed to mean something different to each individual, and the meaning and interpretation of the poem is whatever you think it is when you read it. 

I thought that Eldorado was an okay poem. It was easy enough to read, but beyond that, I again, am not really impressed. I think that after having to analyze it, I started to like it less and less. I do not think that poetry is an “awful monster”, but I do not enjoy it, and it just feels like a waste of time. Poetry is not something that will affect me later in life, unlike other topics dealt with in English. Reading and writing stories helps improve grammar, vocabulary, and diction skills for when students are older and have to write, whether it is for a college paper, a job application, or other aspects of life where you must properly convey your thoughts and ideas. Poetry does not help me in these situations. It throws most grammar rules out the window, diction is usually used to make the poem rhyme and be a certain amount of syllables, and it may increase your vocabulary, but then you must worry about if a word truly means it definition in the poem. Instead of analyzing why Edgar Allan Poe was feeling sad when he wrote a poem, we should be learning how to write a sound college research paper, or presenting an opinionated piece in a way that is not aggressive and has evidence to support it. Once I finish school, I will never again have to write, read, or analyze a poem. I would not compare poetry to a monster, it is more like an annoying niece you have to deal with during the holidays, nobody really likes her, but she does not ruin the day.

About My Short Story

My first concept has changed a lot between what I have now and what I started with. My first concept was vaguely about a guy murdering another guy because he slept with his wife. My story is now about a serial killer who kills racist and sexist men. I wanted to do something a little more original than my first concept, so I decided to have the serial killer a girl, and have her kill off people who are not stereotypically targeted by serial killers. I am not really satisfied with my story right now. I do not like the wording I use throughout the story during the narration, and I feel like my dialogue between my two main characters is lacking. I think that the dialogue does not captivate Gary’s fear of being murdered. I also think that the dialogue does not captivate Roselina’s disgust and willingness to murder Gary. I am happy with the symbolism I put on the story. Every time Roslina is present in the story, there is purple within the setting. I am also happy with all of Gary’s other dialogue. I think I captured Gary well as a character in the dialogue that is not spoken with Roselina. I also liked my introduction of Roselina when she kills Joseph Malone. 

I believe that the reading we have done in class has not affected my story very much, but I do believe that my independent reading, as well as other works I have read, have greatly affected how my story was written. My writing style closely mimics that of Cassandra Clare, the author of the Shadowhunters series. I read that series three years ago after watching the show, which I thought was pretty good. Although I was severely disappointed with the books, I read all six of them, and I do think that the author has pretty good diction, although the plot was bad.

Ideas to use from Game of Thrones

In the book that I am reading, each chapter focuses on one person at a time and describes an event they are involved in that reveals them as a character. For example, this chapter focuses on Jon Snow. During this chapter, Jon Snow, the bastard son of Lord Ned Stark, is not permitted to sit with his brothers, sisters, and father during an event to honor the king. He is grateful in this instance to be a bastard because he is able to drink as much as he wants, although he often is not grateful of his illegitimate birth. After having a few too many drinks, he is then met by his Uncle who serves the Knight Watch at the wall. His uncle describes being a part of the Knight’s Watch, and Jon begs him to become a part of it. His uncle tells him that he is too young to make such a big decision and that the conditions of the Knight Watch are no place for a boy. His uncle later makes a joke to Jon about fathering a few bastards of his own, and Jon becomes extremely angry at this statement This reveals to the reader that even though Jon Snow tries his best to act as if being a bastard does not bother him, it is something that constantly troubles him.

I could use this sort of style to reveal my characters in the exposition of my short story instead of simply giving them a brief introduction. This style of character development will help my short story become more advanced and interesting to read instead of being a basic and simplistic story. It fits into developing my story because it will help me dive into the phycology of the antagonist, who is a serial killer. Since getting into the mind of someone so detached from reality is difficult to understand, it will help to show her acting in response to a situation. It will also help with the protagonist, who is a white supremacist. He also has difficult phycology to understand, and showing him in a situation where he acts on these behaviors might help the reader understand why he is the way he is.

Setting in Game of Thrones

The setting in this chapter is mostly a crypt under the castle that serves as a cemetery. All former Starks are buried under here and their graves are marked with stone statues of themselves, and the lords with iron swords. Ned Stark and King Robert, who are brothers, go down to this graveyard of sorts together to mourn their sister whom Robert had been in love with. The setting of the dead’s gravestones is used to darken the mood of the chapter. The king decides to give Ned the opportunity to be the Hand of the King. This position would give Ned all the power of the king without the title, and he would be left to run the kingdom while Robert carries out his selfish lifestyle. During this, Ned attempts to refuse to which Robert tells him he must get out of the cold North and come to the South with him to experience the sun. Ned feels that he belong in the North and does not wish to join him. He then feels as if all the statues of the former Starks are looking upon this arrangement disappointedly. He can feel their gaze looking upon their descendants and what a terrible position Robert has put his brother in.   

The setting of the chapter also reveals Lord Ned Stark and King Robert had a sister and brother who had died nine years ago in a war against the self-proclaimed King of the Iron Land. We learn that the King had once been an in shape warrior to be feared, and he is now an overweight self-indulgent king. Both Robert and Ned had been in love with Lyanna, their sister, and Robert was supposed to marry her before she had been killed by Rhaegar when she was sixteen. Robert had then gone into battle and killed him to avenge his sister. Robert said that one thousand death would not be suitable for his crime against Lyanna. Robert also is saddened by Lyanna being in the dark cold crypt with the other Starks. He wants her to have been buried on top of a hill with a fruit tree growing over her. These comments made by Robert show that he is still greatly upset by the death of Lyanna and that he may never stop grieving her. He also wants to join together his son and Ned’s daughter to replicate what was supposed to have been between him and Lyanna.

Humor in Game of Thrones Thus Far

There has been no humor in this book up to this point. It started with people fighting and losing to supernatural beings, an execution, and a man feeling guilt towards taking another person’s life. The chapter I just read is about Daenerys’s brother, Viserys,  forcing Dany to presents herself to the Khal Drogo in order to be wed to him. She does not want this, and she told Viserys this. Viserys wants Dany to marry Drogo because he wants to trade her for an army. He states later in the chapter that he would not care who she was with if it meant he could get his army. He even says that he would have her lay with forty thousand men and their horses in exchange for his army. This obviously deeply upsets Dany, but she continues to do whatever Viserys says. I believe this is because he has abused her in the past. It is never outright stated in the chapter, but from what is said and how she acts, I believe this to be true. People who are abused tend not to stand up to those who have abused them, because they are afraid of it happening again. 


I do not think that there are many ways humor could have been added to this chapter due to how dark it is, but one way that might have created a lighter tone to this portion of the book is if the khal had been a short, skinny man. He is described as being this incredibly strong and powerful man by one of the ladies who bathes Daenerys. It would have been funny to see him be puny and the complete opposite of what she had described. It also would not have made the scene so harrowing to read, which I believe would have taken a lot away from the scene, and this scene reveals a lot about Dany and Viserys’s characters. Although there could have been some changes to the story to make it more funny and less upsetting, it would not have been a good idea to do so, and the book up to this point has been better without the humor.

Bran Stark and Jon Snow, Their Characters

Bran Stark is a seven-year-old who is the son of a lord. Bran is introduced on his way to his first execution. He is nervous about going, but he is also very excited. The reader can immediately see that Bran wants to be seen as mature and older than he is. He rides to the execution site on a pony, and he tries his hardest to sit up on his pony so that he appears as tall as his older brothers. Later on in the story, they are riding home from the execution, and Bran’s older brothers find a dead direwolf and her pups. Bran insists that he is old enough to care for and train a direwolf and begs his father to keep one. This is another instance where Bran shows that he is eager to grow up and be like his big brothers. Another example of Bran trying to be older than he is can be shown when he riding his pony back home. He tries his best to stay up towards the front of the group where his brothers and father are. 

Jon Snow is a fourteen-year-old who is the bastard son of the same lord. Jon is very mature and knowledgeable for his age. This can first be seen when he is at the execution with Bran. He tells Bran not to look away from the execution or else his father will know. This later proves to be true when his father talks to Bran about the execution and he makes note of how Bran did not look away. This is then demonstrated again when Jon and his brother, Robb Stark, find the direwolves. There are only enough pups for the legitimate children of the Lord, and Jon Snow recognizes this and tells the lord that he should allow his legitimate children to keep them. He then says that since he is not a Stark, all the pups should go to all the children and that he should be without one. This shows his maturity because he does not ask to keep one for himself. It takes a lot of maturity and courage to acknowledge that he is below his brothers and sisters due to his conception. 

 

The Story of Leah Burke

I choose to read the book Leah On the Offbeat because it is the sequel to Simon Vs the Agenda, a book I read and really enjoyed. This book is about Leah Burke and her struggles with her sexuality, band, self-esteem, and crush on her taken friend. The book starts with Leah at her band’s practice, where she is a drummer. She is debating the set list with her other band members, and it is immediately noticed that she does not put up with nonsense and likes to get her way. The band then decides to wait for their other members to discuss the set list, and the practice ends. We then learn that Leah’s mom is a single mother and her dad is out of the picture. Leah’s mom has Leah’s car, and she is too busy to pick her up, so Leah is asked to take the late bus home. Leah decides to go watch the play rehearsal where her friends are until the late bus leaves the school. She watches her friends as they finish up rehearsal, and they get together and start discussing the play. We are then introduced to some of the characters from the previous book. They then all decide to go to Waffle House together.

When the main character, Leah Burke, was first introduced, I was shocked. She is much more assertive in this book than she was in the last. She seemed very passive in the last book, and in this one, she is not afraid to share what she is thinking. She has no problem arguing about the song her other band mate, Morgan, had picked out, comparing it to meth. I had known from the previous book that, compared to the rest of the people where she lived, her home life was not perfect, but already from the first chapter I learned how much worse her situation is compared to her peers. She goes to school where almost everyone else is well off, and most people’s parents are still together, and she feels like an outsider. Leah is a spunky character, and I am excited to see what happens next in her story.