Olivia Jahnke Portfolio AP Literature and Composition, 2009
Table of Contents
Compare & Contrast – The Things They Carried and Slaughter-House Five
Position Paper (short stories)
Poetry Response (small group)
Compare & Contrast – Whitman and Hughes
Position Paper – Drama Elements – Helen
Othello Literary Criticism
“The Pawnbroker” (group essay)
Essay 10 Open Ended Question Writer’s Statement
Essay 1 “The truth shall set you free.” The truth, no matter how obscure should set one free from all turmoil. O’Brien tries to free himself by expressing Timmy’s story in The Things They Carried so he can hopefully at last clear his mind after all he lost in Vietnam. Vonnegut, like O’Brien uses his story and truths to vent his experiences, but he also uses them to publicize Dresden. He wants people to know the extent of the disaster that happened during the bombing of Dresden. Vonnegut and O’Brien both free themselves through their writing, express their versions of
truth through their characters, and have stories which differ in levels of acceptance. The Things They Carried and Slaughterhouse-Five both exploit the shadows of real people as characters in the story. The multiple characters in The Things They Carried allow the story to become more real even though the reader is told the stories are made up. The stories in The Things They Carried are the difference between “what happened from what seemed to happen.” The Things They Carried shows more truth with its characters because it is presented in third person. The reader is only familiar with the main character’s thoughts and feelings, much like real life unless other characters actually voice their opinions or feelings. Slaughterhouse-Five is presented in a different point of view and with less dynamic characters. Even with the omniscient way the story is presented the characters could be real life people. O’Brien’s characters are more dynamic and easier to admire, that is why audiences deny that Vonnegut’s characters could qualify as real life beings. There are people in real life who are lost and along with that, have lost their ability to feel because they do not see purpose much like Billy Pilgrim. There are also psychotic nutcases such as Lazzaro in the world today. Teen shootings at schools or, on a much bigger scale, tyrants of counties exemplify real life people whose minds have cracked. Audiences have become bias to Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five because of closedmindedness.
The truths in The Things They Carried are accepted more universally than those of Slaughterhouse-Five. Once Vonnegut mentions the Tralfamadorians which is obviously rejected as truth the rest of the stories are snubbed as also fiction. Vonnegut even initially presents his story with “All this happened more or less. The war parts, anyway, are pretty much true.” While on the other hand O’Brien distinctly explains to the reader that he does not know well enough whether or not everything happened, but he uses the stories that “seemed to happen” to convey his thoughts and feelings. O’Brien uses eloquent description to snatch the reader. “Even now, as I write this, I can still feel that tightness. And I want you to feel it–the wind coming off the river, the waves, the silence, the wooded frontier…” O’Brien goes on about his feelings wanting to escape the draft and this almost makes the reader feel the first-hand experience. With this intense feeling and experience it is much easier for the reader to become more connected with the story and to accept it as truth whether it is or not. Even though Vonnegut mentions that “one guy I knew really was shot in Dresden for taking a teapot that wasn’t his” his truths are dismissed. O’Brien and Vonnegut present the public their cathartic novels to release the baggage they were left to bear. Vonnegut uses his truths to display Billy’s new way of thinking and new way of life which he discovered from the Tralfamadorians, who represented how alienated he was in real life. He marks this book as the end of his war and the end of
him looking back. O’Brien uses his writing as therapy not only to save his present self, but to save Timmy. He condones all the hardship Timmy went through by sorting it out in a story line. Even though O’Brien and Vonnegut’s novels differ very much in their levels of acceptance it is evident that they were devised in a therapeutic way.
Essay 2 Franz Kafka derived his story from his life as a child and young man. Many different aspects of the storyline follow their own metamorphosis. Each character is individualized. It is easy to differentiate between each one and to recognize their feelings toward Gregor. The point of view is also a significant feature of the story because if the view were to change then the mood could potentially be completely altered. Symbols are a major part in the story like the way different parts of the story have their own metamorphosis along with Gregor. Kafka demonstrates the purpose of his story through characterization, point of view, and symbols. The characters in “The Metamorphosis” are very different from each other especially in their reactions towards Gregor’s physical change. Gregor is surprisingly content with this great change that happened over night. He simply goes on about his thoughts worrying more so about the train he has missed rather than the fact he is no longer human. Gregor’s father parallels with Kafka’s father. He is not accepting of Gregor and this becomes most evident when Gregor can no longer help out with the finances of the family. Gregor’s father hisses when he sees that Gregor is a giant bug. Gregor’s mother screams in horror and faints. Throughout the story the mother shows more care for Gregor than the father because she wants to see him, but she still never acts on her supposed feelings. The father however is always very critical of him and even goes so far as
to physically hurt Gregor with the apple that gets stuck in his back. Grete initially cries when she first finds that Gregor has become a giant bug, but she still shows some of her sisterly love. She cares for him by supplying him with the food he likes and she tries to keep his room as clean as possible. As time goes on however, the family becomes very similar in their feelings toward Gregor. They all feel that life is better without him and it is unmistakable that Gregor’s purpose was to supply the family with financial help. The point of view in “The Metamorphosis” is critical for the story to contain the same purpose. If the story were for instance in the point of view of the father, the mood would change completely. It may even be appropriate to believe that the reader would concur with the father’s thoughts and feelings. Since the story is in limited third person the reader receives a broader point of view. It is easier to sympathize with Gregor because he is treated so inconsiderately. However if the story were told in the father’s point of view it may be easier to understand the reasons for his feelings of Gregor and his lack of understanding and care. The mood in “The Metamorphosis” is laid back with light humor because of Gregor’s response to this phenomenon. The point of view from the sister, mother, or father would have most likely protruded a mood of guilt, fear, or disgust. The symbols in “The Metamorphosis” coincide with the themes. As Gregor goes through his own sudden metamorphosis his surroundings go
through a more gradual change. His meals first start out consisting of milk and decent food, but then they change to water and old garbage food, only suitable for a bug. Gregor’s relationships also make changes. Gregor’s father only becomes more and more hostile as the story continues. Grete first shows that she still cares for Gregor by supplying him with his necessities to live and she also tries to make his room more convenient for him. Then she undoubtedly shows her aggravation of him when he scares the family’s guests. For the most part Gregor’s mother is terrified of him and cannot stand to see him, but she does want to help with his room. Then they all suddenly get very sick of Gregor and are very satisfied with his death. Gregor’s room also goes through a type of metamorphosis. His mother and sister try to move things around to accommodate him, but after he scares his mother his room is left alone when it comes to cleaning or organizing. At the end of the story Gregor’s room becomes a dusty, dirty, storage room. Gregor’s feelings change from being content and prideful for being the financial supplier of the family to feelings of guilt for letting his family down. This alludes to the theme of the consequences of self-sacrifice and accepting life as it is which Gregor initially accepted his life as a bug. Kafka’s purpose of the story was not only to entertain, but to parallel with his own life. His relationship with his father is comparable to the relationship between Gregor and his father. Kafka presents this difficult part of his life where he never felt good enough into a dramatic,
lightly humored story enhanced with different themes, symbols, and characterizations.
A Living Disaster
â€œThere are only two tragedies in life: one is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it.â€? This concept is prevalent in Frankenstein. Even after stealthy planning, dedication, and perseverance the outcome is not at all what was anticipated. The outcome of Frankensteinâ€™s determination to become glorified through the creation of life and profane way of playing God produces the meager creature, a tragic figure. This creature inflicts tragedy on himself and others throughout the entirety of the story. His image alone instills fear and panic, but his desperate desire to be accepted and loved drives his life to
failure and heartbreak. The creature becomes familiar with Paradise Lost and finds revelations between himself, Adam, and Satan. This knowledge brings some condolences, but mainly he realizes how he has been abandoned. The creature’s acquaintance with Paradise Lost, the knowledge he voluntarily acquires, and the physical and emotional suffering he inculcates produces much of the stories tragedy. After reading Paradise Lost as historic text the creature discovers similar traits between himself, Adam, and Satan. “Like Adam, I was apparently united by no link to any other being in existence,” so the creature realizes now that Frankenstein is a God-like figure, his creator. The significance of this similarity however is short-lived because he is not treated with the “especial care” by his maker. He links himself more so to Satan. He finds the unjust treatment from Frankenstein nearly equivalent to the treatment of God towards Satan. He is filled with rage and agony through the misfortunes of his life. This realization brings even more despair because unlike Satan who had companions, he is completely alone and abhorred. The monster’s hate truly commences after recognizing that he should have received the affectionate treatment that Adam had, but he only feels hatred and disgust for himself and from Victor. The more information Frankenstein’s creature attains the more deadly he becomes. As his story progresses he gains a better understanding of who he is and why he is treated in such a manner.
“Increase of knowledge only discovered me more clearly what a wretched outcast I was,” the creature’s inclination to learn is his hubris. As he becomes more intelligent hope is torn from his heart because he is no longer ignorant to his horrifying image. Nor is he oblivious from the reasons for the hatred he receives. With this knowledge, he learns of Victor’s feelings toward him. He sets out to destroy Victor which leads to getting shot and the death of William and Justine. Knowledge is not always necessarily a good thing; with Frankenstein’s monster it only causes turmoil. The monster causes many different circumstances of tragedy, intentional or not. His intense desire to be loved and to receive affection entices him to make contact with humans. “I persuaded myself that when they should become acquainted with my admiration of their virtues, they would compassionate me and overlook my personal deformity,” this not only causes emotional suffering for the horrified people, but it causes tragedy within himself because of the rejection he receives. This rejection switches from sorrow to immense hatred toward humankind for not looking past his outward appearance and not giving him a chance to prove himself. He becomes resentful towards Victor for creating him and then leaving him to fend for himself because Victor should have served as the father figure rather than completely abandoning him.
Tragedy is caused by Frankenstein’s monster though this examination of Paradise Lost, his newfound knowledge, and the physical and emotional pain he inflicts upon others. The creature’s tragic life of deteriorating hope reflects the tragedy of the story as a whole. There is no happy ending to the story and any happiness that the creature stores within himself is only later demolished. As the creature acquires more information his life becomes more of a discouraging burden; likewise as the story evolves each person introduces new ideas and occurrences within the story which leads to drama and disbelief. The creature strives to be accepted by others especially the cottage people, but it never turns out the way he desired. Frankenstein’s creature turning out to be such a repulsive monster rather than a beautiful piece of art compliments the monster’s inclination to be accepted. The storyline and Frankenstein’s monster parallel in many ways especially in their tendency to end in tragedy.
Essay 4 What you have lost is “away in the last place you look”. However what the speaker has lost in “One Art” by Elizabeth Bishop cannot be found. The objects and places lost initially in the poem could potentially be found, but a lost love it not tangible. Therefore it cannot be found, at least not physically. Bishop reflects on losses and how these losses lead to a built up tolerance which is essential to the survival of a great loss so that great loss does not become a disaster. The speaker’s attitude
towards this concept and these losses is resembled through the tone, purpose, characteristics of the speaker, and the audience. The tone and purpose are both reflective. The tone is rather negligent in the first five stanzas; however this takes a radical change in the last stanza, becoming more desperate. The true purpose and reason for the poem is addressed in the last stanza. The purpose of the poem is to relieve pain and guilt which came about by deceiving a lover. This guilt is shown in “I shan’t have lied”. The speaker is trying to relieve the pain inside them by recording thoughts. The poem is like a journal writing because relief comes from the therapeutic writing. The poem’s purpose also has reflective instruction. This instruction was unconsciously made through the relief of the poem in which was the true intention. This reflective instruction is performed towards a young, naïve audience who has yet to experience a great loss that could potentially reek havoc and disaster. The less experienced audience is urged to learn from the speaker in order to prepare themselves for losses. The speaker is an older experienced person who has made it through the little losses such as “lost door keys” or a “lost mother’s watch”. The acceptance of these small losses led to the ability to deal with the losses of “two cities” and “some realms”. The speaker really lost his/her world. The realm in which one lives is his/her entire world. Humans do not see much father than their close surroundings and their own selfish necessities. The
speaker does not recognize the loss of this world as very significant. The previous losses helped build up a tolerance of future losses. The speaker urges the audience to “lose something everyday” and “accept the fluster” of each loss because they will make everyone a stronger person. “The art of losing is not too hard to master” and it is essential. The speaker’s attitude and reflection on the art of losing is found in the tone, purpose, and audience. The speaker explains the necessity of these losses in order to overcome or at least accept the loss of a lover. The speaker tries to convince him/herself that this incident is not a disaster because it can be overcome. However this may just be a defense mechanism to not completely lose his/her heart and to keep composure. The little everyday battles will prepare one for the war. Each battle will
increase strength and mentality in order to overcome anything.
Essay 5 Walt Whitman’s “I hear America singing” and Langston Hughes’ “I, too, sing America” present America as a whole made up of individuals and their separate strengths. They emphasize that each individual makes a difference in the united while of America, and should be recognized. Whitman addresses this idea with a positive and joyful attitude while Hughes’ displays a more sarcastic, defiant attitude. The titles of the poems show the desire of each person to contribute their own “song”. Whitman speaks of the “varied carols” he hears which emphasizes each individual. Hughes also shows this
individualization with “I” instead of “we”. However, Whitman goes on with a positive message of how each individual from the message of how each individual from the “mason singing” to the “wood-cutters song” comes together to a unified America. Hughes displays a more defiant and confident pursuit of his deserving spot in America. Hughes resents the way he is treated when they send him “to eat in the kitchen” rather than being worthy enough to sit with them. He says that “they’ll see how beautiful” he is and they will realize his right to also be included in the song of America. Whitman and Hughes include how each individual adds to the unified whole of America. They also include the strength and hard working base of the country. In “I, too, sing America” the idea is to “grow strong” and this strength will only come from hard work. However, Whitman shows that the hard working Americans already have their part in America and their contribution with what they normally do. The diversity of each individual’s work becomes one strong song. In Hughes’ poem the “darker brother” has more of a fight in order to receive his deserved part in America. His regular contribution goes unseen; he must go above and beyond in order to be recognized as he too being America. The darker brother acts as if he is not offended by this with the sarcastic remark that he will laugh and do as he is told, but he sternly says that the white men will be ashamed for putting him to the side for so long.
The two poems differ in their shifts of tone. This shift causes the attitudes to become stronger and more passionate. Both poems begin with the unified song of America. Whitman’s poem moves from America as a whole to each individual’s song. He began with “America singing” together and separated each by their “varied carols”. The song of each person pertains to their individual life and then he brings them together again with “singing, with open mouths, their strong melodious songs”. Hughes’ poem shifts from a sort of pursuit of America to confidently being a definite part of America whether others like it or not. Both poems move right to their point. Hughes’ presents immediately in the second line, “I am the darker brother”. This foreshadows the upcoming argument the poem presents forth. Whitman’s poem also moves to the pint of the unified song that American holds with each individual’s contribution. The poems differ more than they share similarities because the attitude in Hughes’ poem is much more assertive rather than the joyful and positive message
displayed in “I hear America singing”.
Rachel Hadas’ translation of Helen creates a new perspective of the familiar story of the woman who supposedly caused the battle of Troy. The addition of melodious rhyme and light-hearted dialogue creates a lighter tone which in turn down plays a serious matter. Feminism is woven through the story to retrieve a woman’s perspective. The plot, characters, and the metaphorical language within the characters dialogue reflect the feministic view.
The plot proves the way in which men denounce women. The crisis begins when Paris is promised Helen as his bride. This represents the lack of choice women have been forced to deal with. They are required to follow orders and do as they are told. Helen became bound by her beauty because her “beauty was the bait”, the bait in which the goddesses used to attract Paris. This promise was not Helen’s desire, but throughout history women have been treated more so as property rather than human beings. They are expected to do as their husband or any man for that matter commands. Women lose their integrity when they lose their freedom. Helen becomes an object of possession and because of this neither her ideas nor desires are able to be fulfilled. Men have been placed on a pedestal above women, creating a false belief that women are incapable of the matters men deal with. The chorus recites, “Women in trouble need to stick together. / No one helps us, but we can help each other.” This is proven in the way Theonoe helps Helen and Menelaus escape. Women are in desperate need of the help from each other in order to succeed because the false image men have of women creates a barrier between the sexes. The character Helen has an overwhelming feminine role. She became “the prize both armies fought for” because so many men were out to possess her and call her their own. This is why she was wrongly accused of being the reason for the war. She depicts the common female role as the damsel in distress. She is tossed around against her will from
one man to another as Menelaus and others are out fighting and searching for her. Helen becomes the damsel because she has lost control of her fate. Her fate lies in Menelaus’ hands as they plot and then finally escape the kings’ palace. She adheres to the role as the weak woman in need of the help of a man. This only proves men right in that a woman cannot take care of herself without the assistance of a man. Helen also withholds the stereotypical characteristic of the girl many men are fighting for. She says, “Helen, you wretch, the Trojans died for you!” This proves that she was not completely ignorant of the situation and not as unintelligent as women are thought to be. The feminist perspective is also found in the dialogue and metaphorical usage. Helen describes finally finding her husband as being “at the end of the long black tunnel, light!” This creates an easily relatable feeling of relief and hope with the help of an image. This compares to a woman waiting for their husband to come home from war in the present day. When it seems there is no hope in a situation and darkness has become overwhelming a little light comes into sight to show that all is not lost. Helen describes herself as “drunk with glee” and this gives a good comparison to relate with and to more accurately describe her happiness. Helen also defends herself with melodious words like, “Not did I fly, / lustful wings flapping, toward adultery.” This represents the loyalty a woman gives her husband. Through all the turmoil Helen
remained true to her love, Menelaus. This composition of the play also creates a more enjoyable read. Hadasâ€™ Helen inscribes a feministic view through the plot, character, and metaphorical language. The roles in which women have been forced to take part in throughout history without their right to their own choices and to create their own fates is represented by the role of Helen. She and her struggles symbolize the different hardships and stereotypes women must face in order to survive in the world. Hadas conveys this viewpoint through a straight forward yet humorous play along with melodious language.
Essay 7 Estelle W. Taylor, “The Ironic Equation in Shakespeare’s Othello: Appearances Equal Reality.” CLA Journal 21, no. 2 (December 1977): 202-11. Taylor suggests that Shakespeare’s plays, such as Othello, have been appealing for so many centuries because of the ironic elements within them. She also notes that Shakespeare makes sure the audience is understanding of the plot or at least partially understands the motives
and plans of the characters. Iago is a specific example of this because he reveals to the audience his feelings for Othello and although his plan is not completely figured out, he tells of his desire to bring down Othello. Iago is the character who induces the action. Taylor explains that at first the audience can relate to and is almost understanding of Iago’s feelings of being denied the promotion, but eventually this sympathy is lost because of Iago’s revengeful behavior. Othello displays how characters are taken advantage of and how appearances can be taken for reality like Iago’s character. Michael C. Andrews, “Honest Othello: The Handkerchief Once More.” Studies in
English Literature 1500-1900 13, no.2 (spring 1973):
273-84. Andrews addresses the history and the significance of Othello’s handkerchief. Othello first tells Desdemona that it is a “love-controlling talisman”. This talisman was supposedly given to Othello’s mother by an Egyptian charmer, but later Andrews questions his story. Andrews criticizes how Othello blames the handkerchief for Desdemona’s death. He notes that Othello may have “fabricated a portion of his romantic past” and therefore killed Desdemona when she realized this because he did not want her to find that his other stories were lies. Andrews mentions that since Othello is the hero of the story and black he is actually “un-Negroid” which is evident in his nobility which is similar to the respectfulness given to a white man. Andrews concludes that
Othelloâ€™s nobility is partly how the audience can easily give him sympathy and that his handkerchief is a symbol of not only his never
ending love for Desdemona, but also love lost.
Essay 8 The poem The Pawnbrokerâ€? by Maxine Kumin, preserves both the internal and external worlds of the speaker through both her fatherâ€™s life and through brief descriptions of her own life. Kumin uses several literary tools within the work to create opposing images. Although many contrasts are drawn throughout the entire poem, there is a central theme comparing materialism and a loving family repeated in every stanza. In order to highlight the importance of love over objects the author draws a contrast between secondhand material possessions and firsthand emotions of the family through diction, a motif, and symbolism.
The author uses differing diction throughout the poem in order to help create the contrasting images of the secondhand used nature of the speaker’s material possessions and the opulence of the family’s morals and virtues. This is most evident in the different manners in which the life of the speaker’s father, the pawnbroker, is discussed as opposed to how the speaker speaks of her own life. In the final stanza of the poem, the speaker speaks of her father, in death, being her “lifetime appraiser” and “first prince”, which both evoke a sense of luxury. As she says in the sixth stanza, “Firsthand I had from my father a love ingrown….From him firsthand the grace of work, the sweat of it, the bone-tired unfolding from stress.” She learned from him many “firsthand” lessons. This is especially effective when it is contrasted to the second stanza in which she says “Every good thing in my life was secondhand. It smelled of having been owned before me….” Obviously, she values her material possessions very little. She also places her father above herself. The end of the sixth stanza even says “I was the bearer he paid up on demand with one small pearl of selfhood. Portionless, I am oystering still to earn it”. She feels unworthy of her father’s love and sacrifice, things that are precious and not secondhand. The evident disparities between the speaker’s opinion of herself and her opinion of her father reveal the deeper contrast between the family’s possessions and the family’s morals.
The reoccurring image of feet contrasts the speaker’s firsthand and secondhand experiences. The speaker has secondhand experience through the fathers work as a pawnbroker. His feet beginning as “tender and soft” symbolize innocence and the beginning of a journey. The speaker also mentions that “every good thing in life was secondhand.” However, the speaker experienced a firsthand love “ingrown tight as an oyster” from the father which would seem to be one of the most important things in life. The poem begins with the image of bare feet and ends with the same image. The death of the father signifies the end of the journey of life. The speaker had secondhand experience through the father’s life and troubles. The father also contributed to the speaker’s firsthand experience of the love from him and the pain from his death. Overall, the speaker uses the father’s feet to symbolize his life as a journey. As “The Pawnbroker” begins, the feet are “tender and smooth” (l. 4) as if they have not been battered or worn. This symbolizes the beginning of the journey, as the feet are unaffected, so is the journey. As the poem evolves, the pain of the father’s feet becomes apparent. Spending all day on his feet, they eventually are worn and beaten. The physical affects the work has on his feet symbolizes the continuation of the journey and the progression of life. To coincide with this progression, the clocks continually represent the passing of time. The speaker recalls growing up “under the sign of those three gold balls
turning clockwise on their swivel,” (ll. 15-16). Time has a constant presence in life and is always continuing whether wanted or not. Like the secondhand material objects, the passing of time is also unwanted. Even as time progresses though, the firsthand love remains the most important aspect in the speaker’s life. Love becomes the most important word throughout the entire poem. Compared to pearls, it is something that the speaker feels unworthy of accepting from her father. Her entire life she had material possessions that had once been owned by others. Something as “precious” as the love of her father or the hard-earned lessons he taught her, despite not being physical things, had more value to her than anything else. They were things so fine that she could never place a value on them. This is the lesson Kumin wished to convey, the love of family being the most important thing of all.
Essay 9 Kogawa’s attitude toward the past is of mixed emotion. The passage from Obasan depicts the complex attitude toward her past. Through the use of metaphors and similes and the point of view the narrator’s feelings toward the past come alive. The past is like a dream. The narrator indicates that “the memories are dream images”. Through this metaphor the past is described with having the initial vividness of a dream. The memory of the Japanese Canadians has become less and less vivid to the mind. Just like a dream is initially vivid and emotional the remembrance of this even was the same. However throughout time the memory of this even has faded. The narrator describes the feelings of the train ride and such which will probably always be remembered, but the visual aspect of the experience will, as all memories, be forgotten. The memories will fade like a dream when one wakes up in the morning. The relocated Japanese Canadians must begin again. The narrator describes them as the “hammers and chisels in the hands of would-be sculptors.” This metaphor describes the new beginning the relocated people must go through. They are forced to pave the way for future generations. They are suddenly forced to start life all over again and from scratch. They are the “pioneers who cleared the bush” and they much become one with their new frontier. They must take advantage of what little they have because it is all they have left.
The Japanese Canadians are surrounded by a family of strangers. The narrator uses “we” which brings a unity to the group of people being transported by the train. They are described as the “Issei, and the Nisei, and the Sansei” instilling a sense of family. The narrator suggests that “even strangers are addressed as “ojisan or obasan” or uncle and aunt. They are all different, but in their struggles they come together as one. Suffering and fear of the unknown brings and holds these people together. The narrator also uses “us” as in “not one of us on this journey returns home again”. This again brings this group of strangers together as a family. Through the use of figurative language such as metaphors and similes along with the point of view the narrators’ attitude toward the past is explicitly described. The past as a dream and the family of strangers starting over are the most significant aspects of the memory. There is an overall rather somber tone to the passage, but the group of people come together and become stronger through this difficult hardship. Hardship leads to future strength. This means the Japanese will be strong in their future ability to adapt.
Essay 10 In Salinger’s, The Catcher in the Rye Holden’s brother Allie never appears in the story. However the affect of his previous existence plays a very significant role in the story and predominantly in Holden’s life struggles. Although Allie never appears in the story he has a significant impact on the theme of the story and the personality and obstacles of Holden. A theme presented in The Catcher in the Rye is the desire to not grow older. Allie is a character who was stripped of a full length life. This aspect of his character ties to the theme. Allie was Holden’s younger brother, and leukemia took his life. This adds to the element of fear of growing old. Holden holds this fear within him. This is shown in the way he gets himself thrown out of so many schools. His fear of graduating and moving on in life is a result of his fear of growing old. A
more prevalent example is Holden’s discomfort with Mr. Spencer. The decrepit state of the old man is a reminder of the helplessness of Allie during his sickness. Holden finds it unbearable to be in the presence of Mr. Spencer. The way the man moves and the way he talks adds to the discomfort of Holden. Allie’s influence on Holden’s life creates this fear of growing older and moving on to new stages of life. Allie made a significant impact on Holden’s life. As far as the audience knows Allie was Holden’s closest relative and friend. Holden’s personality is a result of the after math of losing a family member more specifically a little brother. The way Holden acts out and messes around with Ackley in the beginning of the story shows his immaturity and his inability to move on. These aspects of his personality are derived directly from the death of Allie. He goofs around foolishly with no encouragement to do so as a child would act. It is almost as if Holden is trying to make up for the lost life of Allie. Holden’s overall immaturity comes from the feelings of a lost brother. The obstacles Holden faces in life and his confusion are due to the death of Allie. Holden has an inability to face the facts of situations and move on. He does not try in school because he does not want to move on to the next stage of life. He is so terrified of moving on because of the confusion and fear in which Allie brought on him. Holden keeps Allie’s mitt and writes the composition on the mitt because he cannot move on. He has to let the object be known. Holden’s feelings of loneliness and
loss also relate to the death of Allie. Holden becomes his own worst enemy because his crazy mind is so preoccupied with the death of Allie if not consciously then subconsciously. The impact of Allie’s life on the story becomes evident through the theme and the personality and obstacles in Holden’s life. Holden’s inability to move on is because of the way he holds onto Allie’s death. This may be because he never got to formally say goodbye. The audience has the opportunity to learn from this life experience of Holden.
Writer’s Statement As I have evaluated all my work as a whole, one major improvement that I notice is my use of vocabulary. Obviously, there is always room for improvement and time to learn more complex terms, however I feel I have grown as a writer in my vocabulary. For instance, instead of “uses” I have substituted “integrates”, “employs”, or “utilizes”. Also, instead of “makes” I have replaced it with “creates”, “formulates”,
or â€œcomposesâ€?. I have found more knowledgeable substitutes for many different words to abstain from becoming repetitive and dull. Most of my improvement has occurred in my vocabulary usage. I also believe that I have better developed my introductions to my essays. The introduction is the most important part of the paper because it should entice the reader to continue on. I now have a better understanding of how to formulate an appealing introduction because I have used my previous knowledge with what I have learned this year. I have learned the previous concepts predominantly in the classroom or from the help of peers, but I have also succeeded in having my writing flow together. This ability has developed through the experience and creation of multiple essays and timed writings. All the practice throughout the year has resulted in better work. I think my writing has become less choppy as the year has progressed and I have learned how to compile my ideas together in a well devised manner. I have also found improvement in my timed writings through the progression of the year. Much of this improvement has derived from my mentality. I have been able to calm my nerves and establish a clearer mind than in the beginning of the year. Before examining my work, I never would have thought that I improved so much. I still fail to believe that I am a really good writer; however I now recognize my weaknesses as well as my strengths. I finally consider myself a decent writer just with room for improvements.