2017: Patrick

Great Depression Commentary

The pressure is agonizing. Grimy, displeased, malcontent men fill my cabins without the consent of my conductor. They complain about their unemployment and their hopes of obtaining work by travelling to other areas of the country. It’s excruciating to have to transport this parade of disenchantment. They are disdainful of the government’s actions to combat the problem. Yet in actuality they are to blame. They elected to invest their savings in the market, well aware that if it failed they would be destitute. This coupled with the Dust Bowl has provided a breeding ground for poverty. As I cross the country I observe people dying from starvation in shantytowns, unable to anything but beg for a small meal. Now they are here with me, transecting the country hoping against pervasive hopelessness, for a light in the darkness. Perhaps there is none to be found.

Social Criticism in “Heart of Darkness”

Imperialism, which was prevalent and lucrative in the Victorian era, dominated the foreign agendas of European nations as they scrambled to acquire territories in Africa and colonize them. These attempts were heavily criticized in Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. He mocks the concepts of civility and efficiency, terming them smokescreens to conceal the savagery that the Europeans inflicted upon the natives. The most prominent illustration of his criticism is the character of Kurtz, who after prolonged time within Africa went mad and began conducting unspeakable rituals. Furthermore, he murdered indiscriminately and cared not whom or what he harmed to obtain his desired ivory. All of these atrocities demonstrate the heinous nature of imperialism, which Conrad captures in Kurtz’s famous dying words “The horror, the horror” (p.83).  


The idea of imperialism was twofold; one, that a nation could obtain the wealth of the nation they colonized and two, that they may civilize the native population. This concept of civility was abstract at best because it provided the civilizing forces with a justification to commit atrocities. For example, the agents of the company that accompany Marlow, the narrator, on his journey are greedy, selfish and prejudiced people. They assault the natives with little to no provocation and murder those they believe deserved regardless of crime or lack thereof. Marlow remarks about the inhumane nature of Africa and how the Europeans are inciting the deterioration of the situation by committing atrocities and decimating the local population. He furthermore states that Kurtz and his savagery and creating a model for further oppression and that people’s reverence of him perpetuated this trend.


The idea that the civilizing mission is a mere front for the machinations of companies and nations is illustrated brilliantly by Conrad through the medium of Kurtz. Kurtz, who was revered by the agents of the company as a genius, was in reality a monster intent on fulfilling monstrous tasks. He demonstrates this savagery with his statement “Exterminate all the brutes” (p.62). This nicely articulates the sentiment that the Europeans had regarding the local population. Conrad uses this to express his condemnation for these ideas by using the narrator to demonstrate that humanity can be retained even in inhumane places and that the people who committed the atrocities had it ingrained as a fundamental character trait, not simply as a product of the circumstances they were in. Marlow is fair with his crewmates and never takes any overt actions against the local population. If he can endure such arduous conditions with no adverse effects, so must all others.

In conclusion, Heart of Darkness is criticizing European imperialism and its civilizing mission stating that instead of civilizing, the colonists are oppressing and inflicting horrors upon the local population. This is most evident with Kurtz when he proclaims that the extermination of the brutes is a sensible course of action. This display of savagery prompts a hasty response from the company that Marlow works for, attempting to rationalize it as prolonged exposure to the local population. This demonstrates their willingness to sacrifice civility for profit as Kurtz was a lucrative ivory trader. Furthermore, Marlow does not exhibit any of these monstrous tendencies. This lends credence to the doctrine that the Europeans were themselves savages and their mission of civilization was a facade to conceal their true lust for ivory and the vast wealth it brought. 


The device is an outlet of creativity. With it, one can project their imagination onto the device and have it provide countless facets for intellectual enlightenment. The motorcycle is a pathway to philosophical schools of thought, a physical projection of thought. Furthermore, it has a subliminal meaning as when one looks at it they merely see a rotating circle attached to a screwdriver, but when analyzed in greater depth can provide a wealth of uses previously not considered. In addition to these uses, one can be enlightened to the process or the journey that was undertaken to arrive at the product.


The device can be used to project one’s philosophical ponderings. In “ZMM”  the narrator uses his motorcycle. But, it isn’t the motorcycle he’s studying it’s an analogy for his philosophical journey. The analysis of classic and romantic perceptions of the world and their unification in the motorcycle. This is true for any device, the actual function of it isn’t important in so far as a medium for philosophical concepts to be explored. For example, the rotating circle is a symbol of the cyclicality that pervades modern society and while it exists isn’t always present or noticed. This observation can lead to the question of why cyclicality persists in society and what forces perpetuate it? These questions have no relevance on the actual device but derive from them in an indirect form.


Expounding on the classic and romantic interpretations, when one views the device they see a spinning wheel. What good is that? It isn’t. While it probably has some useful function in the world it can’t be gleaned by mere observation. This causes stuckness, and one surmounts stuckness by careful pondering. After contemplation, a fresh perspective emerges and one begins to observe with dawning comprehension that the appearance of the device is not the important factor, but the process in which it was conceived and constructed. One can imagine the individual making it and their thought behind its making. Why would they make such a device? Was it for amusement? Or did it have a purpose? When one works backwards through the journey of another they consider perspectives that they wouldn’t have normally fathomed. This has a powerful effect on the thinking of the person viewing the device.


Such an analysis of the journey not the destination is a powerful concept and in direct contradiction to societal values. One is generally concerned with what the destination and not how to get there. This is beautifully illustrated with the device being analyzed in this essay. I was skeptical of its purpose and dismissed it as useless. But upon deeper thought realized that it wasn’t the device but the process that was important. When analyzing this further I realized precisely how true this was. Society has structured itself so that certain people and behaviours are acceptable. However, these behaviours are often superficial and materialistic. Such patterns advance the idea that the destination is better than the journey, which is blasphemous. People are concerned with what they’re doing instead of why they’re doing it or if they’re enjoying it. Standards have been established as to what should be happening, not what people want to do and this has obliterated quality. People in their search to meet societal guidelines have sacrificed quality. Meaning that we can’t appreciate the simple beauty of devices like the one presented to us to analyze.

The device is merely the result of a long and arduous journey, the culmination of the labour being merely a byproduct of the important parts of the journey. When viewing the device, people look at it and attempt to understand its meaning and in doing so they miss the most important parts of the device. They have no idea of the creators reasoning. In this limited thinking they miss that objects are mere representations of people’s thinking and their functions, no matter how trivial are extensions of that. Meaning that while the function might have some relevance to its users the intellectual journey undertaken to arrive at the final product of the device was the truly important component of the device, not the device in itself.



Quality is the definition of the unifying concept that binds reality into a perceivable entity. When quality is understood purpose floods the senses and overwhelms the limits of comprehension. In this Chautauqua I will be investigating the numerous philosophical paradoxes explored in “ZMM” primarily; thought, classic and romantic interpretations, and how these terms exist with relation to the omnipotent force of quality. While quality is a powerful entity it is limited and misrepresented by any who attempt to capture it, and we will explore why this is and how this applies to “ZMM”.


Thought is one of the most powerful forces in reality, it can inspire people to extraordinary and terrible feats. It drives society in the most general and specific ways possible. Within Nazi Germany, state sponsored propaganda was utilized to devastating effect when used to make their cause appear justified, this inspired fanatical loyalty. Another example is Chris Hadfield, who in spite of Canada not having an astronaut program pursued his dream of going to space and eventually became the commander of the ISS. With such a powerful force at one’s disposal it is not difficult to imagine that individuals would use it to promote personal agendas. In the case of the ancient Greeks; Plato, Socrates and Aristotle created a world that followed the guidelines they established so religiously that none saw fit to even mention it. It is such a fundamental component of society that people merely accept it without even knowing that’s what they’re doing.


This idea that thought controls reality is raised in “ZMM” the narrator states that “We take a handful of sand from the endless landscape of awareness and call that handful of sand the world”. (page 97). This statement concludes that humans have only the most primitive understanding of the existence surrounding us and its myriad of intricacies. Thought makes anything possible, if we were to accept our full potential it might overpower our ability to comprehend with its magnitude. Adversely, we could understand everything and transcend our current restrictions to become ethereal. The vagueness of that statement is deliberate as to add specificity would be to misinterpret it and defeat the whole purpose of this foray in metaphysics.


On this vein the narrator failed. Instead of leaving quality vague, he defined and confined quality to its application within the realm of humanity. Despite this not being explicitly stated, it is implied that quality is only applicable to those on the plane of existence that humans inhabit. This perspective neglects the possibility that the magnitude of the universe exceeds humanity and the are forces we can perceive. The universe is an entity of unparalleled proportions and humans are infinitesimal when compared to the majesty of it. People attempt to understand this in innumerable fashions; deliberate ignorance, rationalization in the context of the problem. Such explanations are impossible as it is an out of context problem. Humans have no comprehension of our purpose, nor entities existing outside of Earth. Any attempts to rationalize it through this method are inherently flawed because they presume a certain level of understanding of established precedents that simply do not exist. The deliberate ignorance is also wrong. People dislike being reminded of unknowns because it directly questions the fundamental foundation of their very existence. Such an action is foolish as to ignore a problem does not make it disappear, but grow until it cannot be ignored.  


In “ZMM”  thought is rationalized by its division into two main disciplines; classic and romantic understanding. In classic understanding one is concerned with the nature of things such as their function and purpose, while romantic merely cares for appearance. The irreconcilability of these two concepts is a guiding theme in “ZMM” it is explaining using the notion of quality as a unifying force for the two concepts. This however, is absurd. Quality was invented to conceal the limitations of humans ability to perceive thought. True oneness is a sensation, an experience that cannot be quantified by any term. To avoid this people constructed limitations to prevent people from such a oneness. But without restrictions, humans transcend the need to define themselves with material things and exist in a state of intellectual oneness where terms such as classical and romantic have no bearing for they are merely one. In his quest to understand this Pirsig failed. He was attempting to understand humans and what guided them, their restrictions. But, he stated that whatever he was searching for was undefinable. Therefore, no matter the ideology broached it is invalid as he did define quality, thus nullifying the premise of his argument.


In conclusion, while “ZMM” provides insight into ideological and philosophical quandaries it fails at its primary objective, as the book directly contradicts itself. “ZMM” attempts to understand the guiding force that drives humanity and if it has purpose or not. However, the book does not account for external powers. Furthermore, when it said quality was undefinable it proceeded to immediately define it thus contradicting the basis of its argument and invalidating itself. The concepts of classic and romantic are great theories but to believe them is oppose the theory of a unifying power. True comprehension cannot be derived from another individual be they a philosopher, historian or scholar. Enlightenment is brought upon by personal revelations, thus while others may have good ideas, personal truths are always the most correct when perceiving life when one isn’t influenced by others they gain true enlightenment.


The Unfair Treatment of First Nations in Canada

The Unfair Treatment of the First Nations People in Canada


We believe that the First Nations were treated extremely unfairly; In the first paragraph we will discuss the horrifying effects of residential schools. In paragraph two the repression of culture and discrimination of the First Nations. The First Nations continue to be treated unfairly today with the government of Canada failing to fully acknowledge and make amends for their deplorable actions. This will be the topic of the third paragraph. In the fourth paragraph this writer will explore why so little knowledge is available on the First Nations. We will also analyse why the government continues to refuse to distribute nothing more than sparse amounts of information onto future generations. How is reconciliation possible without knowledge and compassion? It isn’t. Finally we will be disproving a number of arguments that state the First Nations were treated fairly, in proportion to the treatment of other First Nations in other countries.


The residential schools subjected First Nations to atrocities under the guise of civility. Horrors were more prevalent than education, rape and assault ran rampant. Residential schools were not schools, so much as they were torture chambers. Looking beyond the rape and assault, there were other important issues festering. The schools were breeding grounds for smallpox and tuberculosis, diseases which the First Nations had no immunity to. Furthermore, cultural practice and everything directly pertaining to the First Nations culture was banned. How is a child to thrive and flourish in an environment more inclined towards torture and sadism than education. The educators that the students received were vicious priests or uneducated plebeians, They were more concerned with satisfying their own needs than assisting the children they were charged with. All of these factors contributed to the devastation of the First Nations people.


Residential schools were established by the Canadians as a way of repressing traditional aboriginal culture. This included but was not limited to; language, religion, enfranchisement and ownership of land. All of these injustices contradicted the Canadians fiduciary duty to protect the First Nations people. Residential schools were imperative to the government’s machinations, as they were designed to separate the First Nations youth from their culture in hopes of extinguishing it. The establishment of these schools was only a small component of numerous treaties to restrict First Nations rights under the guise of altruism. In addition to residential schools the government stole First Nations land and discriminated their culture in hopes of making them “civil members of refined society”. Whenever conformity is required fairness is not to be found.


The First Nations rights continue to be repressed to this day. The government of Canada has yet to recognize the First Nations ancestral land as their own and it remains property of the crown. Furthermore the apology acknowledging the atrocities in residential schools was half hearted and failed to convey adequate sympathies on behalf of the government. The apology only mentioned the residential schools, it completely disregarded all the other wrongs the government of Canada did to the First Nations people. In addition to this nothing further was done by the government to rectify their atrocities. They seemed content with their letter of apology, complacent in their non existent efforts towards reparations. This lack of contrition has caused a festering conflict between the two sides that exists to the day. As the government continues to treat the First Nations in a disdainful, prejudice manner. Only when proper remorse is aroused will reconciliation begin.


Information provided on the First Nations people and the grievous injustices they suffered is minimal at best. This writer had  never heard of anything pertaining to First Nations or any unfair treatment. The term residential school was foreign to us. This supreme lack of readily available information has been a major factor in a culture of ignorance. Contrition is impossible in people especially youth; the leaders of new generations are unaware of the penance their making. How can anything be done if information of the First Nations isn’t widely dispensed? Meaningful change can only be achieved through widespread belief and action by dedicated people of a cause. A few dedicated people cannot make the proper appeals and change to uncaring masses. Which is what the majority or Canada is, they’re uninformed as to the nature of their past crimes and care not for amends.


A popular justification for advocates of the government’s actions weren’t as deplorable as the actions the Americans took to fight the First Nations. This however is baseless. It’s baseless because the law is the law, right and wrong, fair and unfair aren’t discarded when faced with a quandary of proportion. Yes the Americans were worse, spending 20 million dollars yearly to fight First Nations. However because someone else did worse is no excuse for transgressions. Blame is not discarded because someone is and has done worse, this needs to be recognized because such arguments are often used to validate unlawful actions.


In conclusion, the First Nations people were treated extremely unfairly by the Canadians. A multitude of examples of this unjust treatment are readily available; the unlawful seizure of land under treacherous pretenses, the repression of culture through residential schools. These atrocities continue to the day as the government has yet to fully recognize the devastating impact that their actions have had on many a generation. They continue to deny the First Nations their land. All of these factors culminate into a dark period of Canadian history that persists to the day. How are we to be expected to rectify the mistakes of our ancestors when such little thought is given to this tragedy? This writer believes that immediate and decisive action is needed to fully correct this grievous act done unto the First Nations. We cannot change the past, but the future can be changed. As such everyone should do their best to ensure that any decisions pertaining to the First Nations are for their benefit, not detriment.



Findlay, Heather et. al. “First peoples of Canada”

“Conflicts and alliances”  2007


The Madness of Hamlet


In this essay this writer will be discussing the main themes in the play “Hamlet”. In paragraph one we will be discussing the blur between illusion and reality. In the second paragraph we will be viewing how balance is imperative to nature and how the imbalance of it can have catastrophic consequences. In paragraph three we will be illuminating how the natural order was disturbed by the actions of the Hamlet dynasty. Finally we will be exploring the potential of a conspiracy against the late king Hamlet perpetrated by Claudius.


There are many examples of illusion in the “Hamlet”, the most notable being prince Hamlet’s madness. This has been one of the primary discussions over the centuries of study Hamlet has received. This writer believes that Hamlet was not insane. This writer believes that because everything that hamlet does is for a calculated and precise reason. Nothing is left to chance everything he says or does has a clear objective. This however was incomprehensible by many members of the royal court, some came close to understanding though; “Though this be madness, yet there is method in ‘t” Lord Polonius (2.2). This quote is evidence that numerous members of the play believed in the complexity of Hamlet’s mind. This writer believes that Hamlet’s madness was a clever illusion to conceal his machinations from the predatory eye of the king Claudius. Furthermore Marcellus states “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.” (1.4). Why is that? This writer grants the audience that the old king is dead, but much prosperity has been brought to the land of Denmark. The court is serene the lands are at peace what could be so foul about that? The manner in which Claudius attained his station is a stunning revelation and one not made public. Ergo only a select few know the foul nature of Denmark and resent the gilded cage they reside in.


This resentment is the source of outrage and loathing on behalf of prince Hamlet. He is aware of all the despicable deeds being committed by the king and queen under the guise of marital bliss. This and his inability to act drive him throughout the play. This internal conflict evokes a great deal of outrage and hatred that imbalances him. “To be, or not to be: that is the question” Hamlet (3.1), this question plagues Hamlet throughout the play. Initially he decides not to act and this purposeful restriction of his active nature overwhelms his mind. Ultimately, he regains control and takes action actions the king and queen but this has disastrous consequences. These calamitous repercussions are a direct result of Hamlet’s hastiness and impetuousness. He overcompensates for his inaction with audacious brazen action. This directly correlates to horrendous consequences for not only Hamlet but Rosencrantz and Guildenstern who both die as a direct result of Hamlet’s unthinking action.


Disturbing the natural order of being is the origin of the overlying theme of “Hamlet”. All the suffering and agony endured by Hamlet, Laertes, Ophelia and Polonius can be traced to the late king Hamlet. This writer notes that the throne of Denmark wasn’t originally in possession of the Hamlet dynasty but that of the Fortinbras dynasty. The events of the play lead to empathy for Hamlet’s plight yet he shouldn’t have been a prince in the first place. Claudius wasn’t disturbing the natural order of succession because that order had already been disturbed. All the sympathy Hamlet garnered was for naught as he wasn’t a prince. The events of  “Hamlet” were in fact a mirage, a cleverly concealed lie. All of Hamlet’s actions were an exercise in futility for an unholy dynasty. However kinslaying is an unholy crime “Murder most foul, as in the best it is/ But this most foul, strange and unnatural.” Ghost of King Hamlet (1.5) and Claudius deserved punishment more than any other of the traitorous Hamlet dynasty. Subtle hints about the invalidity of Hamlet’s line can be spotted if one is attentive enough. The disease and death plaguing Hamlet was not in fact a fascination with death but a foreboding omen of events to come. The events of Hamlet were a reckoning for upjumped lordlings looking to supercede their station.


This writer would like to raise a point on the order of nature. Regicide has been stated as the most unholy monstrous crimes, yet many intelligent characters of the royal court simply accepted that king Hamlet simply died in his sleep. He napped in that garden for his entire tenure as king of Denmark and never once was a snake spotted. Yet suddenly one day a snake managed to bypass the guards and drip poison into the kings ear. None thought this to be suspicious, then the brother of Hamlet takes his wife to wed and the throne as his own and none question it? Was it that all of them were unaware of this nefarious plot? Or were they involved in it, Polonius the counselor to both king Hamlet and king Claudius insinuated his knowledge of plots against king Hamlet. Was this whole sequence of events merely a conspiracy against king Hamlet? This is unlikely as honour and chivalry were prevalent and the time of this piece and surely would have prevailed against and repulsive acts of murder or treachery. One can not help but wonder if even a few members of court were aware of a plot or involved in it. If so then premise of the play would be all for naught as Hamlet would be playing an entirely different game than our odious conspirators.


In conclusion, “Hamlet”is a tale of woe and complexity. This writer believes that none can fully comprehend the nuance of the play fully. Certain indicators imply that the themes discussed were but the ones readers were meant to discover.  Illusion and reality grapple for control, one can never be certain but numerous signs provide evidence of sanity. The fight between thought and action  had terrible consequences on several characters. Prime examples being Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, they were but ignorant noblemen doing a service to the king which ended in their beheadings. Lastly the disruption of nature, nothing but a clever trick designed to elicit sympathy for prince Hamlet. He wasn’t even really a prince, just someone who’s father stole a throne. All the trials and tribulations he undertook were for naught as his actions could never restore order, only his death could. As this writer has previously stated “Hamlet” cannot be encapsulated in a single essay. The nuance and complexity could fill the library of the gods but, it can enlighten people who sympathize with Hamlet that their emotions are misplaced. All the hardships that befell him were just, he was the spawn of an unholy line and even though he might have been a good person, he still deserved to die.






American Born Chinese and Maus

In this essay I will be illuminating the struggles characters from American Born Chinese and Maus faced from a social perspective. I will also be determining if graphic imagery was the best way to express the points both novels were trying to make. The characters fought through a loss of identity, discrimination and disrespect and abuse from authority figures. The events they endured persisted through the lives of the characters from Maus, haunting them. I feel the utilization of shades of color adds an intriguing nuance to the novel, as one has to think of not only the text, but the background images. Also other subtler images are presented to accompany the text and augment it. In certain scenes this accentuates and evokes powerful emotions that enable the reader to greatly empathize with characters. Going beyond the images, the books represent people conveying their opinions on the world in a forceful manner. In other words propaganda. But that’s the wonder of graphic novels, they’re deceptively complex. Despite their seemingly simple and straightforward nature, the novels require a significant amount of attention, lest subtleties be missed. Or mistook as insignificant as concentration is imperative when reading. As missing subliminal messages can impede the overall understanding of the novel.


A key theme in both novels is people losing their identities because of pressure from an outside source. With Vladek in Maus, his Jewish heritage had to be hidden lest he be killed for it. Maus represented this struggle with its black and white shading. In American Born Chinese, the social repression is just as profound although significantly less deadly. Jin, a young Chinese-American boy changes his entire personality and behavioural patterns until he’s warped into an all American white boy called Danny. Also in American Born Chinese The Monkey King wasn’t allowed to join polite society because of his animal nature. Instead of accepting his role as ruler of Flower Fruit Mountain he wanted more and overstepped the capabilities his creator gave him. These characters got caught up in events that blinded them to the importance of their own identity. To the fact that nothing else matters than how you view yourself. All of them did eventually learn their lesson; that you can’t be hurt by people if you’re confident, secure and content with yourself.

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Achieving individualism however is extremely difficult. Even if you have trouble with your self confidence others can compound those beliefs in the most deplorable ways. The Nazis in Maus based their entire political campaign on hating Jewish people. The Nazis treated the Jewish people like they were animals; how would that allow for a free and open expression of your religious and personal values? It doesn’t. In American Born Chinese, the Monkey King exercises his power in a petty childish manner. He forced his subjects to curb their monkey nature by making them wear shoes, which impaired their mobility. All because he was resentful of other creatures mocking his monkey status. Both novels have a different but equally compelling representation of people with power using it for inane, selfish and cruel purposes.

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Humans are always running or cycling from their problems. Sometimes without cause and other times for an exceptionally just cause. Vladek and Anja, the parents of Art from Maus, were survivors of Auschwitz. The atrocities they witnessed there stayed with them throughout their lives. Vladek became closed off to survive. But it took a significant toll on Anjas mental state. This trauma eventually shattered her mind and she committed suicide. The events portrayed show the effects of any humans mental state when confronted with trauma that’s too much to process. Humans have very different ways of rationalizing such grief. Vladek became standoffish and domineering, while his wife was depressed and suicidal. Maus highlights Vladeks problems with the dialogue between Vladek and Art and Vladek’s inability to face the horrors he suffered. He instead tries to rationalize his emotions in other, less productive ways. Such as yelling at people and distancing himself from those close to him.


The themes that we’ve explored so far have been powerful and intriguing, if somewhat blatant. Maus utilizes color and shades of it to a stunning and profound effect that can in context overshadow the dialogue. American Born Chinese utilizes it also, but to a lesser effect than Maus. The effects were especially prevalent in this scene

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as all of the Nazi soldiers but one are shaded out and the Jews are drawn with vivid detail for emphasis. A distinct parallel to light and dark, good and evil. In American Born Chinese, when Jin changes into Danny, the scene shows him coming out of the darkness and into the light. The images hold power over readers as they emphasize the ideas being conveyed by the author in a way that text can’t. Images elicit profound emotions and thoughts in a way that’s impossible for other literary devices to achieve. The shades of the images are particularly interesting. With a dark overtone one immediately thinks of evil things while white conjures images of valiant knights and other such gallant things. These links created by the author are imperative to readers overall perception of the novels.

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Novels always try to tell a story; be it fantasy or truth. However the usage of literary devices to sway the perception of events of a reader is propaganda. Propaganda isn’t inherently insidious and neither are these novels. Yet they discreetly influence readers to  empathize with the characters, such as Jin with his teenage angst, or Vladek and his attitude. The authors draw on readers personal experiences to link them with the characters. They make readers feel as though they are in the story with the characters. This can lead to a different perception of not only Maus and American Born Chinese, but everyday life. While this practice isn’t nefarious in nature it makes readers ponder how often they’re influenced by novels and if the opinions and thoughts they have are their own or those of other people. Maus and American Born Chinese, while having important messages, represent something greater than either of them; the ability of certain people to influence perception without the people they’re influencing realizing it.


This picture subtly implies the struggles that people endure; mountains and valleys. This isa common phrase represented in a different subliminal way.


The title honeymoon implies a happy joyous time, yet the swastika and gloomy shading bely a somber and depressing atmosphere instead of a happy one.


In conclusion I believe that graphic imagery did convey the messages of Maus and American Born Chinese in the best possible way. Both novels exercise powerful emotional tools to evoke a keen sense of empathy towards characters. Despite the obvious differences, the symbols and motifs used in both novels try to convey different themes in a similar manner. The characters are portrayed in such a way that readers can sympathize with them and the trials they endure. The writing is done so that readers compare personal experiences; Such as if readers have ever changed themselves to fit into a group, been preyed on by authority figures or not dealt with problems in a logical manner. All of these themes are portrayed with a level of unparalleled artistry that allows comprehension of some incredibly serious world events. Maus and American Born Chinese are fantastic examples of how books can deal with serious issues and convey them in a lighthearted manner. The novels trick readers into delving into issues without the reader knowing what they’re doing. Maus and American Born Chinese are much more than that simple literature, they’re propaganda. They represent the influence that literary devices hold over everyone. Maus and American Born Chinese are educational novels that have a multitude of wonderful lessons to be learned.


Preserving Antarctica

I apologize if you’ve received this twice that’s my mistake.

This video is a mesmerizing call to arms with regards to global warming and its effect on Antarctica. It speaks passionately about some of the truly startling effects of global warming on Antarctica and why this makes it so important to preserve the integrity of Antartica. This struck a chord with me as the environment is exceptionally important and the need to protect not only Antarctica, but the world as a whole is also immense. The video spoke about taking up a challenge and not simply standing by indifferent and uncaring. This I believe is of paramount importance because belief shapes the future of the world. It created modern science, society, literature warfare all because people didn’t step aside and remain uninvolved. What would the world be like? If you have any comments please don’t hesitate.


When I was looking through twitter I came across this video about innovation. It details the accomplishments of Joi Ito ( the presenter) and numerous other innovators. The video spoke primarily about everyone being able to innovate. When most people think innovation they think about the internet. This isn’t the case any longer though, innovation isn’t limited to  technological wunderkinds in Palo Alta. The internet enables people to create remarkably useful and extremely helpful websites and other such things. However, one can create something in everyday lives, they shouldn’t think it out of reach because someone’s told us it’s impossible. They could cure cancer, design a machine to control the weather or invent a new sport. The days where people were limited are mostly over. The only limit to our creativity is our fears and worries. I believe this video does an amazing job in showing people they can take initiative, that it isn’t something to fear but embrace, to strive for. If you have any comments don’t hesitate.


Standing alone before this shattered monument of Joan d’Arc under a tyrannical government. The smog is choking on the lifeblood of citizens, I must succeed in my quest to destroy the government. They oppress the everyone that live here. Joan d’Arc’s memory has been humiliated and destroyed, ripped down and destroyed by these Orwellian fanatics. However upon closer look one can tell the statue has been slightly repaired. Hastily and poorly. My comrades fight for liberty, the citizens and the government; an endless cycle of violence. They seek to control us and we seek freedom; how can our ideals ever aline. The reconstruction is a way of building people back up, it’s supposed to be a rallying point for people to fight behind. It’s a clever trickery. It holds power in the picture and otherwise, people are drawn to it and it doesn’t hold any power only the initial magnetism it projects. It’s nothing more than an illusion that people follow to take their mind off of real problems. However it’s come to the point where the symbol and reality are indistinguishable; fiction and fact blur. Which is more important? Is it the one that’s actually true or the one we believe is true?

Martin Luther King Jr.

This essay was for a contest I entered that was administered by the US Consulate for Black History month. I strongly advocate for civil rights so this was very important for me.

If Dr. King were alive today he would have said to believe in the remarkable feats that humanity can accomplish. We faced a historic turning point when segregation was outlawed in the United States. Now we face another equally critical juncture in human history. The killings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner have exposed a long hidden conflict that still persists between blacks and whites in America. This issue has been simmering below the surface for years with the disparity in income, employment and education. Dr. King would have also preached about the importance of climate change. For many years it’s been written off as superstitious nonsense, but it’s very real. Everyone must educate themselves on the perils that climate change presents.

Even though segregation isn’t law in the United States, it still festers. In the past year there have been notable deaths of black men; Michael Brown and Eric Garner. Their deaths, while tragic, are remembered because both were killed by white police officers. Neither officer was indicted for their deplorable actions. America responded. Staging peaceful protests to indicate displeasure with the judicial systems decision regarding the sentences. These brave protesters advocated for change in a way where none were hurt. That is a true feat of greatness and a testament to the indomitable will and resiliency of the American people. These events and the subsequent protests highlight the divide between blacks and whites in America. This isn’t a new phenomenon, merely one brought to public light.

The average income, the level of education, and the employment rates for an African-American household are lower than their white counterparts. The median white household earns roughly $140,000 dollars. While the average African-American household earns a paltry $11,000. Americans have the opportunity to change this monumental disparity. With a concentrated effort of America they can alter the situation that African-Americans are in. To speak frankly, their situation is dire. However, America has prevailed against greater odds than this. They can again overcome a difficult obstacle. That said, a cultural shift in America is needed. They can dally in court all they want, but a more direct attitude is required. If Americans remain inactive and indecisive on this matter then nothing meaningful will ever be accomplished. Americans are people of action. They don’t sit around waiting for others to tell them what to do. They take action, they change things. America is a remarkable country and has the opportunity to prove that yet again.

Yet all of these advancements will be for naught if humanity cannot survive long enough to benefit from its labour. It’s estimated in the next fifty years that climate change will alter the world in irreparable ways; floods, famine, droughts, extreme weather and increasing natural disasters. The damage caused is easily remembered with Hurricane Sandy fresh in Americans mind and Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. If we don’t take action to curb some of humanities more destructive behavioral tendencies these disasters could become commonplace. These tragedies, while affecting everyone, hit African-Americans the hardest. African-Americans often live in the worst affected area of any disaster. In a heat wave African-Americans are twice as likely to die than their white Americans. In hurricanes African-Americans live in the highest risk neighbourhoods and have the fewest resources. The time for deliberation is over. Immediate action must be implemented to combat climate change.

The matter of race is extremely important. To dispute this is to close your mind to all the possible achievements those who you discriminate against could achieve. Segregation in America still exists. However they have the remarkable opportunity to remedy that. They have the boldness, resources and intellect to combat almost any problem. Segregation and climate change are a few of the problems that America can combat. If they set their minds to it. This fight is for the people of the current generation, but it’s also for those of the next. We take on problems, shoulder burdens and perform stunning feats all in the hopes that one day race won’t matter. That a hundred people of different ethnicities can come together and be treated the same, a harmonious society where everyone stands together as brothers and sisters.

Death of Saudi Arabian King

As some of you may know, the King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has died. He was hospitalized for a month prior to his death with pneumonia and died on January 23, 2015 in a hospital in Riyadh. He was 90. His death comes at a very tumultuous time for the Saudi nation as the price of oil has recently dipped below $50 dollars a barrel. With Saudi Arabia being a vast exporter. They rely heavily on oil to sustain their economy. King Salman, King Abdullah’s successor and half-brother, takes over in a very tumultuous time for his nation.

King Salman has stated in recent interviews that he would continue with the oil policy of his predecessor, believing it to be fundamentally correct. This stance raises many questions for not only the Saudi Arabians, but other countries. Will Saudi Arabia continuing with their oil policy even if the prices for oil drop further? How will they maintain their economy? What does it mean for oil in America? Canada? Will this new king ever change his policy if the prices drop further or will he stick with it? How will this affect development of renewable energy sources?

With all of these ideas brought to light, how will the death of King Abdullah affect you? How will this change in leadership affect Western Society? Consider these things as they may have a greater impact on you than one might think. But lets all take a moment to remember the late King Abdullah.

King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud


August 1, 1924 – January 23, 2015