Monday, May 23, 2011

Sacrifices- Water for Elephants

On this particular summer night, it is somewhat cold and very dark. Not a single penny jiggles about in my stitched pockets because of the depression that has been going on for two years now and who knows how ever long. Walking along the railroad with just the clothes on my back is tiring, but it seems like everyone is tired these days. The city even seems tired of the people's drowned and dull emotions due to the hunger and unhealthiness inside them. That is why i ran. I'm not really sure where i am going, but i just need to go; i need to leave without looking back. The night is getting darker with each breath i take and my feet getting more and more weary with each elongating step. It seems as though i have the weight of the city on my shoulders. I must stop. The stumpy train tracks that i walk across feel like they are consuming my feet. I am becoming so tired. My knees give out and i drop the the cold, metal rail. Just as i begin taking slow, but deep breaths, i see the lights. The bright headlights of a train are staring me right in the eyes. This train must be my escape. Why else would it have crossed my path at this point of my life? All i know is that i am sacrificing all i have left to get on this train. Who knows where it will lead. In the book titled "Water for Elephants," choosing what's right and sacrificing everything that you have is greatly expressed and taught in many ways that life is easily related to.


Among all of the beauty on this earth, there is also darkness. With that darkness comes the menaces and creators of these evil times. Now, the creatures that stop those dark, menacing times sacrifice everything just to fight for what is right. What really is 'the right thing to do?' Is there ever really something right in a situation that is so wrong? In the book "Water for Elephants," a young man named Jacob Jankowski puts his life on the line just to save the two things most important to him: his forbidden and married soul mate, Marlena Rosenbluth, and the animals that he has a passion for helping. In the story, Jacob is running from a town of depression and despair which leads him out of fate onto a train heading for a world-famous circus. This circus teaches him about what his morals really are in life and what he will do to fight for what he believes in. Not only does this circus help him sacrifice all that he has, but it also brings beauty, sadness, and temptation to him. As the story continues on, he gives into temptation and goes for the married Marlena to find out that her husband is his boss, the owner of the circus. Even though he could lose his life and job to this dangerous man, he still follows his heart to chase after this girl. I believe that anyone in life can relate to this. How many times in life do people risk everything they have and drive through a red light, knowing it is wrong, but continuing to do it because it is what they want to do. As big of a risk it is, people make these types of choices everyday. A huge sacrifice that our country makes even if people don't agree with and it might not be right is sending our American Troops across the world to fight for our country. Many might question this decisions because it is so violent and gruesome, but others know deep in their hearts that it is the right thing to do.

Now what major sacrifice is known around the world today no matter what religion one is? It is the sacrifice that Jesus made for all humanity; he was crucified and tortured for days. He was humiliated and wounded for us. Jesus died so that we wouldn't have to. His father, God, knew the pain that it would cause him, but since it was better for humans, he still did it. A major symbol for this crucification is the cross to represent the pain that Jesus had to go through hanging on it by nails, suffering for multiple days just for us. For the blood he shed, there is a thorn crown that is a representative. For his body, there is bread and for his blood, there is wine. Symbolism in the inspirational story "Water for Elephants," symbolism in sacrifice is everywhere. In the story, the symbol of the circus is used for society. Jacob Jankowski escaped to a place full of desire, only later to find out that it had evil behind it. It was so deceiving because all he wanted out of the entire circus was to help animals and be with the one he truly loved. Isn't that what everyone wants in life? To have someone to grow old with?

Now, weather or not this story seemed amazing to someone, it definitely impacted my life. Sacrificing everything you have just to do good is such a challenge, but anyone in this twisted world has that ability. So through the symbolism and life lessons, did the train pick him or did he pick that train?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Fire of the Flag

Four years. Four long years. That is how long Richmond has gone without seeing the Union flag. The first time that these belligerent confederates have been blinded by society. Four years since I have become a spy. Well now, I cannot bare to see this country crumble any longer. I shall now take a stand and truly conquer what is right for not only the slaves, but what is right all together for this broken and lost country.

My name is Elizabeth Van Lew and before that flag had been reunited with our side of the country, I have served as a spy. My journey to bind this country back together has gotten me through so much that I just had to wave that flag and stand my ground which I swore to myself that I would do. It happened and because it did, I am thought of to be a traitor, a spy, an evil spirit, but most importantly, a federal. I had promised myself that I would follow my heart and do what is right for not only the slaves, but for the country also. So on that day when my feet planted on that roof and my hands clenched to that crisp flag, I performed the unexpected even though I went against my home land. My actions I shall be responsible for, but my promises to free the slaves will not be broken.

Over the years, I have served my duty posing as a confederate, but really I have served my way with secrecy in helping the north. Mainly, my mother and I would help the soldiers that were held captive in the Libby Prison. I cannot bear to see the people that fight for freedom be held inside a prison cell, for this should be recognized as an act of kindness not frowned upon.

The guards of Libby Prison let me come deliver what they thought to be innocent gift baskets for the soldiers. Following up with my actions as helping the north, I am in danger constantly and I am quite aware of that. I have to see things that I shouldn’t see, hear things that shouldn’t be told, and do things that will sacrifice my sanity and my label as a spy. The prison guard that let me in was such a pig. Oh, the things that he made me do just to deliver a simple basket. And the bastard was married too! Once the war is over, I swear to deliver a very special gift basket directly to him. The basket that I delivered to the soldiers was actually quite helpful. At first, they would just be innocent items such as food, blankets, and books. Further along into my process of helping the north, I set up a secret code that was found in the books. Certain words or letters would be circled or underlined to later be decoded. The idiotic guards were far too uneducated to realize what was really going on.

I was gifted of the nickname “Crazy Bet” because of my disguise. Little did they know that the way I would dress and the image I have created for myself would be ones of a spy. It is ironic that spies would try and keep their profile low which is why I would purposely attract attention to myself to erase the suspicion of me being n activist for the north. I walk down the streets talking to myself, but even though it may seem silly to some people, it creates new plans for myself.

So as those four years passed along, my duties of helping the north truly paid off. They finally won the war. Richmond will never think of Elizabeth Van Lew as the sweet innocent girl that lives in the beautiful house on top of the hill. Never again shall Richmond be able to have slaves. For once in four years, that flag was more beautiful than ever, even through the hatred and the flames of the town. Forever shall this town have peace because of that crisp, clean flag.

Morals

The pressure is on; your palms are sweaty and your heart is racing. This is it, the final serve receive to win the game. You are so focused, ready, and determined. Believing in yourself with all you can that this last point is yours and no one can stand in your way. The screeching of the whistle blows as the opponent tosses the ball high above her head. This is the time now; your knees bend and body crouches, ready for whatever comes your way. It's the final countdown, this determines it all. The ball comes over with a wicked spiral heading right in your direction. Preparing for this evil spinning ball makes you even more nervous but you just keep the bad thoughts out of your head and pass the ball perfectly up to your setter. The setter sets and you spike it over with all of your power gravity will allow you. The volleyball weaves through the front row, heading to the back row landing on the ground without any touch. Finally! The waiting and anticipation has finally paid off! You won the state volleyball championship for no one else but yourself and that feeling fills up with warmth in your whole body. Sticking to your morals and really focusing on what is important to you was greatly expressed in the short story titled "The Hundredth Dove."
In the story titled "The Hundredth Dove," a very loyal fowler that devoted his life to serve his king was disrupted from his true morals in a risky situation. He was beginning to believe in the king more than he believes in himself, blinded by the king’s demands. As the king ordered the fowler, he set off on a five day journey to find 100 doves for the king's wedding feast. The fowler must kill all of the birds for the king. He knew it was wrong, but he continued to go against his heart and serve the king. When the fowler was almost finished retrieving all of the doves with only one to go, he began seeing the last dove which was the whitest and most beautiful of them all. It was the last one he needed, and also the hardest to catch. Once he caught it, the bird’s neck was snapped for the king. After the first dove that was killed to serve the king, the fowler just couldn't do it anymore; he realized that his morals were worth more to him than the kings wants. In life, I believe that the king relates to the government and the citizens of the United States represent the fowler. Government is essentially controlling the United States and many citizens just tend to go along with it because they will be thought of differently if they don't. Just recently, citizens of the Madison, Wisconsin area finally stood up for their true opinions and protested either for our governor, Scott Walker, or against him. Even though these protesters created a ruckus, they still related to this story because they followed their instincts and finally put their say into what happens in their community.
Symbolism in this story was greatly expressed in many different ways that all connect to each other. As the king demanded something that would fulfill his wants, I believe that this symbolizes the government while the fowler represents citizens. In the government’s eyes, they have a great idea that will have effectiveness, but it also will have flaws. What na├»ve people don’t know is that the government has the ability to hide these flaws in a manipulative way to make you want to be for the thought rather than against it. Another symbol that was expressed in this story was the last dove, the whitest dove of them all. White symbolizes purity and kindness. This dove was so innocent and beautiful but once again, the fowler was blinded by the beauty of this creature by the king’s demands.
In the short tale titled "The Hundredth Dove," it taught very important lessons and morals that could be broken down and related to our daily lives. It showed how someone can be so blinded by a higher power or good idea in the fact that the king could relate to government. It taught that innocence and purity is beautiful so we should cherish that in our lives, not violence or the bad. Either way, this story really made you think and walk away from how beautiful your own decisions can really be.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Distant

As i get out of the truck and step foot on the damp vegetation of the forest floor, I just imagined what life used to be like. What the world looked like twenty years ago. It seems like society just crumbled before our eyes ever since 9/11. Suddenly, my thoughts are interrupted by the sharp vibrations that are occurring below my feet. The earth shaking tingles my spine along with the toe-curling noises that are taking place about fifty feet behind me. I shoot my body around to face the mysterious, yet piercing noise. If this place was supposed to be a forest, then why is there only one tree? You could tell there have been thousands of trees on this piece of land, but they have been consumed by this earsplitting machine. Taken from it's home and killed. What a world. I could only imagine how this last tree feels like. Isolated, alone, deserted. Exactly how i felt when my mother, Laura, left my cancerous father and I to support ourselves. There must be something i can do. I race towards that orange "X" marked on that solitaire tree. As the moist terrain shakes even more, my bare feet move faster towards that tree. My mission: stop it from being consumed by this monstrous machine. This tall tree is only ten feet away now. I have to keep going. It is a race between the loud machine and I to get to the beautiful sapling. Five feet away now. I can't stop. This is it; i am farther ahead than the monster and only two feet. I lunch forward clinging myself to the tree and not letting go. My red cheek is pushed up against the tough bark; this is the first time i have ever been so close to something since Laura left. As i inhale, the aroma from this gorgeous plant calms my exhausted lungs. My whole world fades off and there is nothing left but the tree and I. The sharp vibrations getting closer and closer won't make me let go. As i wrap my arms tighter around the tree, my fingers glide across something edgy towards the back of the tree. I swivel my body around the tree and see an engraving that was beginning to mold. It read "Laura was here and she will be coming back." I will come to this tree every day for the rest of my life until I am once again reunited with my mother. Thank you tree for saving my life and my sanity. How could I ever repay you?

Friday, March 11, 2011

Equalities

A beautiful, talented woman swiftly sweeps across the hard wood floor like rain undulating down a window. Her movements amaze your eyes. She is so endowed, and yet she only dances for herself; not trying to impress anyone but her. As I continue down the street, I see a nearby craft shop turn their lights on as their opening hours begin. A shorter man is sitting on a wobbling wood stool with his left hand on his leg, and a dirty paint brush in the other. What’s on his canvas leaves me in awe, for his talent for art is just fantastic. Still strolling down the path of these small shops, I notice a dingy, worn out store on the end of the street. Quickly looking into the window, there is a young girl sitting on a chair looking in the opposite direction. Somewhat slouched over, she is reading some form of news paper, or magazine maybe. As she straightens her body up, the most beautiful sound comes out of her mouth; the song she spills out sings a note that could overpower an entire room of people. All of these strangers are so amazing, even though I don’t know anything about them. I look down at my legs, lying there, numb and leaning on an angle against the left handle of my wheelchair. What can I do that is talented in this world? Why can’t I be like these awesome strangers? Why me? I ask myself these questions, but I never get an answer. I just want to be more like them. In the short story titled “Harrison Bergeron,” equality portrays a very important role in these citizen’s lives and it teaches how looks and power leads to an evil way of lust in everyday life.

It is quite obvious that people in this world get jealous of each other or wonder what it would be like to “live their life.” Yes, everyone has that thought sooner or later no matter how rich or beautiful one is—it’s human nature. With these thoughts, you can either act upon them, or just gaze on the thought of living the life of someone else. In the short story titled “Harrison Bergeron,” this action was displayed in a very discriminating way. Just like it happens in everyday life, a leader that had a vision of making all humans equal separated the pretty from the ugly, the rich from the poor, and the talented from the disabled. Once this cruel hearted lady did this, she mixed and matched which later created a new brand of humans that were all equal due to many devices that would stop them from being themselves and more of someone they’re not by lowering their brain, social, and athletic abilities. Sometimes in life we see this also because of what society has done to us; we learn to be skinny like the girls in the billboards, and we learn to be mean just like the cool kid in that new movie. It is immensely sad how different our generation has become, especially since we are soon to become adults and people of the country already. As this book pointed out, we shouldn’t try and focus on what we don’t have: we should focus on all that we do and use that to our ability. A beautiful, young dancer shouldn’t be punished for her skills; she should be flaunting them across the stage. A gorgeous young artist shouldn’t have his paints taken away for how amazing his pieces turn out; he should be continuing to inspire his audience. A quiet, little girl shouldn’t stay silenced; she should keep up her loud and courageous singing. A lonely girl in a wheelchair shouldn’t let anything get in her way. In the story, a main character, George, states a very good point as he says “The minute people start cheating on laws, what do you think happens to society?” Obviously, whatever laws that get thrown at you, some people will obey them, and then there will be the others that won’t. With these desired actions of disobeying laws, society becomes a train wreck because these so called “role models” are humans that younger audiences look up to because they have awesome fighting moves.

It is so sad to see how the relation of the leader of the race of equals was in the book as it is to real life. I believe that the main piece of symbolism in this book would be the leader that wanted everyone to be handicapped except her so all humans were equal. To me, she represents the government because of the way they think that every idea they have can be effective and nothing will go wrong, but in reality, it doesn’t turn out that way. I guess everyone can be like that sometime or another, but to me the most reasonable person in power from that book represents the branches of our country’s leaders. The holocaust was a perfect example because the citizens were blinded and persuaded by the great leader, therefore leaving no time to realize what is really happening to these innocent families. Another symbol that the author hid in the story were the chains. By this, he meant that it was holding people back from their abilities. The chains were stopping the passage of great potential from these citizens that the dictator heartlessly added. This is something that also happens in life because of an accident or some sort of fatal injury that leads one to be disabled, also known as not being able to share their talents and abilities. Yes, this is a tragedy but what has society really done to us?

Around the world, power is taken advantage of. Power leads to lust, and lust can be lethal. What really came out of the story “Harrison Bergeron?” Was it just nonsense about fake hearing aids and people dressing up like clowns? No, this is much more. This tale teaches acts of how mainly citizens can fall for foolish ideas in sometimes deadly and manipulative ways. Society has a great role in these manipulative, inspirational acts. Now that generations are changing and more and more people are getting self conscious and protective, humans are just tearing themselves apart. Wanting to be like that skinny girl in Vogue seems innocent, but what really goes on inside the body, or in the mind can be horrific. “Harrison Bergeron” really shows how misleading things can be when people are disguised and held away from their true talents. Never let anything get in your way of being the best you can be; that would be the best lesson from the short story titled “Harrison Bergeron.”

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Year of 2081

There year was 2081. Not a light nor drop of fuel left on this planet. All of our resources consists of the earth, water, and each other. I guess we should have listened to what they said about saving things and starting to stock up because no one knows what the future will really be like, but of course no one listened. The world was too selfish back then. Ever since president Obama was reelected, the assassinated in his third year of his final term, things just haven't been the same. No one knew what to do anymore apparently because of the way people just gave up and stopped caring. It was rare for people to come out of what used to be the light, but now is just a gray sky due to air pollution. About four years after the light died out and the gray clouds took over the sky, men and women joined together to have meetings outside. Because this was so rare, many more joined these meetings. People walked miles just to attend. I've never really been to one but i guess that's where the planning began because almost seven years after the meetings started, about ten thousand people just disappeared. No one knows where they went. Some say that they buried themselves, but I was the only one that saw what happened. As a girl, i would always walk through the forest when there was actually sun light and just lay on the moist moss to gaze up at the branches. A loud muffling noise must have startled me because i remember screaming. What I could see from that was a huge craft going towards the sun. I remember seeing my mother's face in the window along with thousands of others i could recognize. That was the last day i ever saw her, along with those people. Twenty more years after that happened, people started going crazy. They would refuse to eat, they wouldn't talk in English or any other recognizable language, or they wouldn't make eye contact. Sometimes as i would walk towards where my woods used to be, i would see them just staring out of their windows blankly. That was when i began to believe that i was the only one on this earth that still has their sanity. The weirdness started to begin when people would start walking towards the empty water tower at night. As this continued for about five months, people would go missing. Once I had built up the nerve to join them at night to see where people would disappear to, i felt so alone. The people i knew, the people i grew up with would climb up this water tower and one by one jump off of it, killing themselves as an applause would follow after. There was nothing to do to stop it. They wouldn't speak normal and they don't open their eyes. This was the first time in my life that i have ever felt so alone since my mother left. Not one person is still alive and healthy on this dead planet. I am so alone.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Personal Narrative

It was a stuffy summer's day. The family decided to take a trip to go camping, to bond. It was beautiful; there was a warm pool, a rusted swing set, and gorgeous trails in the green woods. My brother, Alex, and I usually stayed by each other the whole time considering neither us wanted to be alone as we ventured off into the campsite. As him and I were walking down a chalky, rigid rock path, I began to become tired from the heat. He was able to take his shirt off, being a male so i decided to find something else that would cool me off. I decided to go and get this yellow bike another boy let me borrow for the day. It was amazing because i have never seen so many gears on one bike before. After getting the bike, Alex and I continue to walk down this sharp, white path leading to the park. The walkway starts to get steeper, and it feels good to go fast, but i don't want to leave my brother behind to rush down the hill. As thoughts go into my head deciphering weather or not to leave him to feel the breeze blowing through my hair as i speed down the hill, i come to a conclusion to stay with him, but still feel the cool wind. As i ask if he wants to race down the hill he replies "that's not fair you have a bike! But since you are a girl, you will lose anyways. It's on!" As i think to myself how easy this will be, i just prepare myself on my bike so i won't lose balance racing down the hill. Proceeding myself down the hill, i decide to let Alex get a head-start. As he cuts in front of me, i accelerate faster and faster towards him, catching up. Maybe i got a little too close, too fast. What happened next on this sharp white path was the worst. My front tire clipped the back of his heel, throwing his shirtless body forward onto the stone path. There was no stopping this bike. The front tire skidded down his back, just missing his head, the last wheel following. As soon as i the bike tires and his body separated, my instant reaction slammed on the brakes. By the time i stopped, got off the bike, and ran to my brother about three meters behind me, he was still face first on the sharp rocks. I could not believe what just happened. Did it really even happen? I grab his arms and lift him up, trying not to touch his tire-marked back because i could tell it was thrashed up and irritated. He wasn't crying which was good, but we still didn't know what to do. We hurried back to our camp ground site to tell our parents what happened. His back is even more red by now, and the black tracks down his back stand out more than ever. I feel so bad. His hand just swipes over his back and he flinches. Our eyes meet, and without apologizing, he already forgave me, seeing it in my eyes how bad i felt. He nodded, to me then turned around, having his beat up back facing me while he faces my Dad. As my father waited for him to explain what happened, so my brothers mouth opened and said "do we have any more of those rainbow Rice Krispy treats?"

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Our Nation as a Whole

As a citizen of the United States, I have known how to accept tragedies, fight for my opinion, make peace, and share my voice. These things are qualities that make up a person which will most likely follow with us for our whole life; these things help prevent things like loss, mistakes, and unfortunate evens. Yes, everyone is not perfect, but if we all stand together and create a happy, peaceful environment, I believe that our country can be perfect.
As a human being, we all have temptations; some are strong, but others you can fight. As a human being, we are all subjected to our own opinions. Being who we are, we take action to many things that derive us to temptation, opinions, and actions. As a human being, we will take control of those three components and create something so powerful that it could move mountains. It is desperately up to you weather you fight for the good in life, or the bad in life; the decisions that us human beings make are the ones that we need to be responsible for, which is why we should use the power of freedom that was so gratefully fought for and use it to our advantage instead of using the world as a cage—being trapped, lonely, and silenced.
Society today has become quite hectic considering the people of the United States are in a recession, the jobless rate has increased, and that we are fighting in a war right now. Assumingly, things could get quite heinous due to stress level for anyone. The U.S is fortunate enough to have a leader to help and guide this beautiful country, but what would they do if something extremely tragic happened? Would they mourn or would they take action and try to help? President Barack Obama did both on this very tragic day due to a huge loss from a shooting in Arizona. Individuals can be so weak and unstable when they are faced alone in this world, but no one ever said we had to be alone. I believe that we were born to find our other half; we don’t deserve to walk this earth alone. With no one to lean on, a high amount of stress can occur but what is causing that stress are the thoughts you are having. These thoughts aren’t always bright so one is responsible to take measures into their own hands. In this case, this individual involved themselves in a shooting which killed six people including a nine year old girl. Society today can be very lonely. If we stand together and create a strong country of people, we could be so powerful.
The definition of a country is a territory occupied by a nation. What the United States has much more to describe us with than just five simple words. Through all that our country has been through and with everything that we have done for each other, all we get in a dictionary is five words. Events affect our country in so many ways. For example, having the first black president is a huge accomplishment to some people, but it is a disappointment to others. No matter what, some person will be unsatisfied with something. For the ones that you can make happy, others will be mad. As a nation, we should become closer together because when the events that happen such as this Arizona Shooting, we can help each other get through it and as a nation, we could move forward from it and grow stronger. As Barack Obama addressed, this nation has the right to grow from the bad mistakes someone makes. Not only can we learn from this, but we can also use this as an example on how to move forward from things like this.
A country is much more than a group of states and people; it has many key elements that keeps us together as a whole, and individually. Barack Obama is such a role model with the way he keeps this country in place even when times get tough. Many mistakes are made in this country, but someone should always be there to help us learn from those bad times and help this nation improve upon it. I am glad to know that there is someone there for us. Fighting temptations against bad ideas is possible, but in such ways where we can stand together and learn from the choices we make is overpowering


Goodbye is just a word. The memories are forever

Alone at night,
No windows or light
Thinking of how better things could be
If only they happened
I'm tired of seeing you two fight
You eat candy before dinner,
You end up tasting the soap on your tongue
You feel the singing and burning as your cheek turns purple
The world is rotating on my hands
I am just watching this,
Doing nothing about it
I am finally gone,
I have escaped this torture
There are no more tears in my eyes,
There is no more pity for you
You did this to her,
And i can never forgive you for that
I can no longer help her draw her imagination onto paper
I will never see the day where she dances off the school bus
Never again can I be there when that door slams and that dreadful color rises upon her cheek

Friday, December 17, 2010

"We're Black and Strong"



In the valley of death,

No one can hear your screams.


Not white,


Not accepted.


Black skin is used as an excuse smother dreams,


A white flag is used to represent what is on the other side:


Freedom.


Why isn't it used this way?


If only this hopeless and hate filled world would join hands with those of different color


If only the hate would wither away


If only love would melt the spirits that lie within the outer shell


If only you knew what fists clenched so tight in anguish felt like


If only this white flag was split evenly with black


Well then, the world would be nice.