**Disclaimer: In retrospect, this is super cringey.**
Stupid Isn’t As Stupid Does
Last year in math class, I found myself jittery. A sort of terror filled me before each and every period. Was today going to be the day I ruined my grade point average? Was it going to be the day that, as I dug ditches or flipped burgers at age 35, I attributed to my failure in life? Even as I sat on the beneficial side of the bell curve, I could not bring myself to turn that precalculus test over to see my score. My attitude, however, changed over the summer. Go with the flow, I told myself. If you fail, you fail. But you know you won't!As I rode this ego boost into Junior year, I found myself faced with an even more petrifying experience in the second hour of the second day of school. It was the first time for a very long time that I had forgotten to do an assignment. I brushed it off- it simply had been a fluke. But as it happened to me again in the fifth hour of that same day, I began to think that there might have been a problem. As I walked down the staircase to the exit of the school, I asked my sister, “Don’t you just hate it when you think you’re so smart, but then you don’t do your homework twice?” She promptly responded, “What about when you think you’re so smart, but you don’t know how to do any math problems?” My sister is smart. She’s already completed an Advanced Placement course before starting sophomore year. But does not knowing how to solve cubic roots make her stupid? Does not doing my homework twice, despite everything I’d built up for myself last year, make me stupid? According to the assigned prompt, “what is something that stupid people do?” the answer is yes. But I cannot say that I am the least bit fond of this prompt. It’s easy to rant about, yes, but who is to say that a person who does something irritating or irresponsible is stupid? Yes, things bother me. The people that do them bother me, too. But doing something a little daft or making a mistake or carrying out a plan that never should have made it out of the brainstorm phase does not make you stupid. For the month of July, I thought it would be wise decision to go with a teen-ager volunteer group to the island territory of Guadeloupe. And for the first several hours, it seemed like it had been wise. As my flight was delayed and I was stuck in the Miami airport with my group for seven hours, however, I began to think that my fellow volunteers were going to make this trip less-than-enjoyable. The subject of conversation bounced around from exploding skateboards to sneaking into Sausage Party and from theBachelor and to Snapchat Streaks, and it became increasingly more evident to me that these kids were concerned with the most trivial of things, and to me, they seemed completely and utterly stupid. But a month later, I couldn’t have been more wrong. These teen-agers that I’d previously decided were stupid became the only thing that even came close to mollifying this volunteer trip to a developing country. They weren’t stupid. I learned that right away. Every human who has ever walked this planet has done something supposedly “stupid.” For many of us, it’s been more than once. The world is overflowing with poor choices. But does a person who makes such a choice really need to be called stupid for it? There are stupid decisions, yes, and as far as I’m concerned, there are quite a few, many of which, as the reader of the responses to this prompt, you will see. But the people who bother you at school, or at work, or at home-- they are not stupid. On my volunteer trip, the moral of the story was this: No matter what annoyance a person commits, they’ve got a bright side to them. Defining someone as stupid just because they do something stupid only shows how quickly they can prove you wrong. Decisions are stupid, not people.
Okay, this one is cringey too.
“I’m going to be volunteering for a month on the island Guadeloupe,” I said over and over again in February and in March and in April and in May and in June. “Where? What are you going to do? Who’s going with you? Is this with your church?” were the common replies that followed me everywhere. Everyone wanted to know. It’s in the Caribbean. They speak French there. We’re going to build community structures and teach English. I’m going alone. And it’s not with a church. Those were the right responses, I thought. At least, that’s what everyone had told me.
My flight to Miami-- where I would meet the others in my group-- left early one morning. The others were easy to identify- they were all white with their Gucci luggage laying cramped between seats. The black Guadeloupeans with their duffle bags glared at them silently. My fellow teenagers chattered quickly, producing a sort of white noise that you can find in 10-hour videos on YouTube after searching “airport sounds.” “I just got back from a trip to Spain that we went on on a whim! My family’s crazy,” one girl said. “My dad only gave me two debit cards. I hope it’s enough,” one boy said. “Look at these pictures of my brother! He just graduated as valedictorian from his ski academy high school,” another girl said. These kids aren’t going to last a day. They’re so rich. They don’t even know they’re rich, that’s how rich they are. After a flight that I thought would never leave the ground, we touched down in Guadeloupe and met the counselors. They asked us to say a little bit about ourselves to them in French. Dave the counselor asked me to repeat what I said. I thought he was correcting me. In actuality, he had taught himself French by building on his fluent Spanish only a month before. He didn’t have a clue what I had said to him. I began to notice the series of “simple untruths” when the counselors told us that we’d missed the ferry and that we had to stay in Guadeloupe for the night. I thought that we were going to volunteer in Guadeloupe. In actuality, we stayed on a neighboring island named Marie-Galante, just a boat ride away. “Fill up your water bottles from the tap before we leave l’auberge de jeunesse- the youth hostel,” the counselors said. “The key to not getting dehydrated is drink before you’re thirsty! “Do not consume tap water during your stay. Drink only bottled water,” said the packet I received from the hospital when I got my travel shots in May. “The students will be provided with bottled water during their service trip,” the program website said. “Should we be using this water?” I asked Dave, pointing to a sign in the bathroom that read “Eau NON Potable.” “Is ‘Eau’ water?” he asked me. “Yes.” “It’s probably fine,” he said. Early the next morning, we arrived at the “compound,” as we came to call it. “You’re not allowed to use the outlets,” the counselors said. “And just leave your suitcases under your beds. There’s not enough space to unpack.” The program had promised shelves for every student. It had promised a place to plug in fans. And it had promised separate bunking areas for boys and girls. I swatted at a moth in my cramped lower bunk as an Austin Powers-esque boy behind me complained about how faulty his mosquito net was. “You can hand wash your clothes every fourth day,” Dave said. “There aren’t any washing machines on this island. Not even in stores.” I sat on the pavement between Dave, the Austin Powers boy, and a little local boy named Emmanuel. I held a bar of soap with animal hairs embedded deep inside in one hand and in the other, a shirt I’d worn in at the farm the previous day.I could tell that Emmanuel was amused at the silly white people trying to clean their clothes but only making them dirtier. “Comment est-ce que tu laves tes vêtements?” I asked Emmanuel. “How do you wash your clothes?” “Chez la teinturerie,” he responded cheekily. “The dry cleaner’s.” “Bien sûr-- of course.”
Huckleberry finn - test practice
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, written by Mark Twain, follows the story of Huck Finn, who as an individual, is able to observe the various aspects of society as he travels along the Mississippi river. Twain’s work and others’ can serve to provide a view into how an individual acts in a society. Society is made up of individuals, and an individual cannot change society as a whole. However, individuals can conform to become a community, which can change society; in fact, communities are one of the major contributors to societal change.
When people conform over common ideas or interests, they create a community and can act as one. John Winthrop describes the necessity for such a conformation in his people as they travel to North America to start a settlement. He states that as a community, they must overlook their own needs and focus on the needs of the group in order to survive (Winthrop). Additionally, throughout The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain portrays entire towns as a tight-knit community, and often Huck refers to such communities as one being instead of as many. Huck, however, is never a part of a large community-- he acts as an individual. For example, while Huck, the duke, and the king stop into a town, a drunk man there creates a ruckus. Huck observes that the townspeople watch as an audience, and soon turn into a mob after the drunk man is shot and go after the shooter. Seldom does Twain mention individual townspeople; he merely states what the mob does as a whole (Twain, chapter 21). Both the Puritans in Winthrop’s City Upon a Hill and the townspeople from Huckleberry Finn highlight how a group of individuals can be united over common beliefs or interests-- religious freedom and the urge to lynch respectively-- and thus can act as one.
A fable by Aesop describes how a single stick can be broken easily, yet a bundle of sticks is strong. Individuals are the same way. Communities can achieve more than just an individual can. Author Pat Nanzer describes in Individual Rights and Community Responsibilities how much communities are able to accomplish. (S)He states, “Voluntary actions by private citizens working together to right injustices, change directions, and pursue benefits for the common good are noted throughout American history. This list includes the abolition of slavery, women’s suffrage, public education, community hospitals... [& cetera]” (Nanzer). Additionally, in Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain demonstrates his knowledge of community strength while Huck, Tom, and Jim plan to make their escape. As Huck is caught and forced to sit in the parlor, he sees armed townspeople waiting for the first sign that they are needed to catch the runaway slave (Jim). The individuals in the parlor know that one person could not catch a slave by himself, and in such a position, each individual would want the help that they collectively give to Sally and Silas (Twain, chapter 40). Strength is in unity-- individuals are stronger as a community, as seen throughout American history and Huck Finn, than they would be alone.
For most of the novel, Huck Finn is but an onlooker to various communities he passes. Notably, while he, the duke, and the king are in a town trying to swindle the inheritance from the family of the deceased, Huck feels like an outsider. He demonstrates his lack of conformity when he runs away from the town, and although he is later caught, his is not united with anyone over common interests or beliefs. Ralph Waldo Emerson argues that living in such a way, not conformed to any extent, is superior. He states, “I read the other day some verses written by an eminent painter which were original and not conventional... The sentiment they instill if of more value than any thought they may contain” (Emerson). Emerson goes on to emphasize the importance of individuality and undermine the significance of communities. However, in the larger picture, Emerson himself was a part of a community-- the movement of Transcendentalism. Had the movement consisted of only Emerson, it would not have been a movement at all. Community was needed by people like Emerson, who criticize it, in order to make a difference at all, whether or not he realizes it.
For much of his story, Huck Finn is alone or accompanied only by Jim. But because he is alone, Huck is able to observe what the individual’s role in society is. He observes groups of people coming together and acting as one, and how these communities of people are stronger than individuals themselves. Huck’s findings, however, are not isolated cases; from Winthrop to Emerson, others in their writings support the idea that society is made of people in communities, and that communities can accomplish great things.
Letter from a birmingham jail - paragraphs 10 & 11
Letter From a Birmingham Jail Paragraphs Ten and Eleven
In the tenth and eleventh paragraphs of his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” Martin Luther King Jr. argues for Civil Rights by addressing then refuting points from white clergymen who criticized his actions in the Civil Rights movement. King uses appeals to pathos and logos, and with allusions and repetition, he reasons that his actions and the entire Civil Rights movement are necessary. In a somewhat respectful tone, King begins by directly referring to his audience, the clergymen. He uses a string of rhetorical questions in quick succession to summarize the viewpoints of his audience. He then goes on to establish logos as he first agrees with their viewpoint, and then builds upon it logically. But through his clear reasoning, King is able to depict that the point that he had previously agreed with needs work. After a slight tone shift towards passion and need for justice, he emphasizes this new point with the repetition of the word ‘tension’ throughout the paragraph, as well as with an allusion to Socrates and extended simile comparing their purposes. King includes the reference and similarities to Socrates, a well known philosopher, to strengthen the logic of his own argument. In paragraph eleven, King’s tone changes to hopeful and almost optimistic. He returns to his prior agreement with his audience, though he hints that it must be improved, and he finishes with an emotional call to action-- he uses strong words like “beloved” to describe their shared South, thus establishing pathos, and states that the current situation is more of a monologue--- one sided--- instead of an open dialogue as it ought to be. King accomplishes his purpose of establishing the importance of his actions and the Civil Rights movement in his paragraphs by responding effectively to his audience. He is able to do so by not only replying directly to them and considering their points, but through logical and emotional appeals, as well as repetition and allusions to strengthen his point.
Huckleberry finn - satire essay
The Satire of Southern Society’s Support of Slavery
With The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain earned himself the connotation as being one of the best satire authors in American history. The novel exposes flaws within a mid-19th century Southern society. Twain was born as Samuel Clemens in Missouri at a time when slavery there was legal; both the novel Huckleberry Finn and its predecessor, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, draw on Twain’s childhood interactions with the institution to create a complex story mocking the people of the South and their justification of slavery. Twain uses satire, including incongruity, reversal, and exaggeration, to portray Huck Finn, as well as a multitude of other characters, in such a way that he exposes what Twain believes to be the hypocrisy possessed by white Southerners. While traveling on the Mississippi river with Jim, the runaway slave belonging to his guardian’s sister, Huck often struggles to choose between what is legally right and what is morally right. He cannot decided what he must do with Jim-- whether to turn him in as the law says, or to help him to his freedom. To Twain, an avid abolitionist, there is no question-- Jim must be set free. But Twain is not most Southerners. Huck narrates, “[Jim] was most free-- and who was to blame for it? Why, me. I couldn’t get that out of my conscious” (87). The statement is an example of incongruity--to a supporter of slavery at the time, there seems to be no problem with it; however, to all others it is just short of ridiculous. To that point in the narrative, Huck had gone to great lengths with Jim, not only physically along the river, but as friends, as well. Yet Huck’s view of Jim fluctuates between a companion and a stolen object, which Twain uses as an attempt to point out a fallacy in the support of slavery. Huck hesitates to do what is ethical because it is illegal, but later in the novel, as the reader is introduced to Tom Sawyer, it becomes apparent that Tom does not have the same issue. Tom Sawyer, also a representation of a Southern opinion on slavery, wants to help Jim; however, he wants to do so not because it is ethical, but merely because it is illegal. Tom decides to do the right thing for the wrong reason, to free a slave for the adventure, not the morality. Tom makes a game of Jim’s freedom; he says to Huck as they attempt to assist with Jim’s escape, “‘Blame it, this whole thing is just as easy and awkward as it can be. And so it makes it so rotten difficult to get up a difficult plan’” (238). Similar to how the previous quotation would be interpreted, it would be clear to an advocate for abolition how plainly Tom’s complaint is the reverse of what it ought to be-- it is an example of satire in which Twain uses reversal to support his idea. The freedom of a slave is the matter of a person’s life; the easier they can escape slavery, the better. Yet as a white Southerner, Tom does not believe so. In fact, to some extent, Huck does not, either. Had he realized the value of a person’s life, be it a slave’s life or not, he would have freed Jim earlier. Tom and Huck both overlook and pay little attention to the morals involved in the situation-- they only see what is lawful. Twain portrays Tom and Huck in such a satirical fashion as to reiterate not only how hypocritical they are individually, but how they are microcosms for many white Southerners. Twain’s portrayal of Southerners reveals both sides of the social class spectrum; however, in doing so, he reveals a large, underlying problem present throughout Southern society. The richest of the rich and the poorest of the poor alike support slavery, often hypocritically and without reason. In the middle of his river journey, Huck is separated from Jim. He stops and approaches a house where he is taken in by a wealthy family. Huck describes the father of the family, Colonel Grangerford, as “a gentleman, you see... He was as kind as he could be... Everybody was always good-mannered where he was. Everybody loved to have him around” (104-105). To a Southerner, Col. Grangerford may seem like the ideal gentleman-- however, he is an example of satire. Twain uses exaggeration to show just how respectable Col. Grangerford is-- he seems nearly perfect. But no matter how Christian, aristocratic, and honorable Southerners may see him, again there is incongruity-- such a man as Col. Grangerford owns slaves, yet doing so does not disrepute him at all. Similarly, as terrible and pitiful a human that Huck’s father seems, being racist does not add to it. In a drunken stupor, Huck’s “pap” rambles on about an instance he went to vote. He states, “‘When they told me there was a state in this country where they'd let that n*gger vote, I drawed out. I says I’ll never vote ag’in’”(27). Among the other things that he has said, like mocking Huck for his clothing (19), and scorning him about his education (19-20), and threatening him for his money (20), a pro-slavery reader would not think that his remark about African Americans being able to vote made him seem any worse than previously portrayed. Twain satirically exaggerates both ends of the social ladder, Col. Grangerford and Huck’s father, to demonstrate not only the hypocrisy of slavery, but how deeply ingrained across Southern society it is. To those living in the South, slavery is not based on morals. Twain depicts this idea in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, although it is the opposite of his own beliefs, using satire to draw attention to how deserving of derision the idea is. Twain’s exaggeration of characters to exemplify hypocrisy and incongruent situations in the novel only help to highlight the theme. Support of slavery and racism is deep within the framework of the South during the setting of the novel, and many, if not most of the characters- the titular included- do not stray from slavery, or at least hesitate to.
Fight for justice speech - Polygamy (please don't hate me i thought it was funny)
Okay honestly I really did think it was going to be funny. I don't actually support polygamy. That's weird.
Polygamy I do not support pedophilia. I do not support child marriage. All too often have these terrors been associated with polygamy-- the practice of having multiple spouses. Specifically, polygyny is having multiple wives, and polyandry is having multiple husbands. In the United States, polygamy is illegal. And it has been since 1862. But in 58 countries around the world, it is legal and practiced. Anti-polygamy laws infringe upon the basic ideas that founded this country- “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”(Jefferson, Declaration of Independence). Among consenting, of-age adults, exercising polygamy is exercising the freedoms of choice and religion. Polygamy should be decriminalized in the United States. In many cases, its practice is for religious reasons, and its criminalization is unconstitutional. Polygamy is a major part of freedom of religion. The Founding Fathers wrote in the Bill of Rights,“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” (Amendment I). According to the Articles of Faith in the Book of Mormon, man must marry three wives in order to enter the celestial kingdom (Book of Mormon, “Articles of Faith”). Verse three of Surah An-Nisa', a book in the Quran, states that a man may have up to four wives so long as he treats them all equally (Quran, Yusuf Ali). However, followers of both of these religions, and many more, are unable to practice because of a law that directly goes against the idea that Congress won’t interfere with religion. Polygamy was outlawed in the United States shortly after the Utah War, when anti-Mormon sentiment was high. The Mormons were directly victimized by the law. Because it is illegal, the Church of Latter Day Saints has not supported polygamy since 1890. But since the anti-polygamy law was passed, thousands of Americans trying to practice their religion have been persecuted-- not just Mormons. The criminalization of polygamy does not only affect the religious; it is also an infringement on the freedom of choice, and affects an entirely different group of individuals as well. Practicing polygamy is also a branch of freedom of choice. Polyandry especially-- the New World Encyclopedia states that no major religion practices or mentions polyandry (NewWorldEncyclopedia, “Polygamy”). And outlawing polygamy doesn’t stop its practice. According to the New York Times, there were approximately 40,000 plural families in the United States in 1998. Of course, it is difficult to get an accurate estimate because many of them are afraid being known publicly. Many plural families have to find loopholes in the law in order to get married. For instance, a man may marry a woman, divorce her, then marry another woman and divorce her, all while the family still lives together, so that they all share the man’s last name. But this strategy still leaves the issue of guardian rights for their children, issues when filing taxes, when signing for a mortgage, and a multitude of others. At its most basic level, among consenting adults, polygamy is a victimless crime. Other victimless crimes in the past, like homosexuality or fornication, are thankfully no longer considered crimes-- we should be able to say the same of polygamy. Polygamy has a bad reputation because of its association with child marriage and pedophilia. It is true that there have been many instances of plural marriage combined with child marriage in the past. For instance, Kathy told Jan Brown of Today’s Christian Woman of her marriage to a man 40 years her senior at the age of 15, while Irene Kunz from the Christian Broadcasting Network spoke of her escape from her husband in his 60s while she was in her early 20s, whom she had married at age 16. But the most important thing to remember is that child marriage is not unique to polygamy, and can be found in monogamous relationships as well. It is an independent issue, according to Fredrik DeBoer of Politico. Polygamy is not child marriage. Polygamy is not pedophilia. Polygamy among consenting adults is exercising freedom of religion and freedom choice. Its criminalization was an act of religious persecution, and it is unconstitutional. Americans have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The criminalization of polygamy sacrifices all three. The United States does not and has not allowed or recognized plural marriages for over 150 years. It is time for the injustice to end. It is time for plural families to realize the rights they should have had all along.
Definition essay - catsup
I guess I just chose ridiculous things to write about.
Catsup With You Later!
I do not often find myself discussing condiments with my peers or associates. Some would call it a social experiment. Others, a desperate grab for attention. Either way, 2017 was the year of catsup. Not once did I utter the word ketchup. Yet the very few times that I mentioned the tangy, tomato-y concoction, I was received with confusion, hesitancy, even anger from my fellow teenagers. “What even is catsup?” “Why can’t you just say ketchup?” “Just stop already. It’s ketchup. There’s no s.” The first time I ever heard the word catsup was during a supermarket exchange between Brother and Papa on the PBS classic, the Berenstain Bears:
Brother Bear: I hope the new purple catsup is on the list! Papa Bear: Purple catsup? Who ever heard of purple catsup?
Of course, I had heard ketchup before, but never its Mid Century-esque, hillbilly-sounding cousin. I was probably six or seven years old when I first watched The Berenstain Bears Get The Gimmiesand was somehow able to deduce that catsup referred to the tomato-and-vinegar sauce that we all know and love. Though my immediate reaction to the word is long forgotten, its use by Brother Bear evidently made such an impact on me that I remember it a decade later. But what about catsup-- which refers to exactly the same condiment as ketchup-- made it such a rare phenomenon, not only ten years ago, but currently as well? Few things seem as quintessentially American as ketchup. It conjures images of hotdogs at a ball game, hamburgers at a barbecue, French fries at a fast food joint. But somehow, catsup does not have quite the same effect. Although its first recorded use was in Irishman Jonathan Swift’s 1730 poem, Panegyric of the Dean, it seems more at home somewhere deep in the square states of the United States. Quite a few theories about the origins of the word ketchup exist. Its etymology is much more global than the average diner-goer in Des Moines slathering their scrambled eggs would expect. According to Grammarist.comand Tomatocasual.com’s Michelle Fabio, ketchup is from an Indonesian word, kicap, while Slate.com’s linguist Dan Jurafsky says it is from the Chinese koechiap or Cantonese ketjap. The general consensus is, however, that it was a pre-17th century, South Eastern Asian term referring to fish brine. The Europeans took the recipe back to Europe, where its ingredients and name began to alter a little. It was anglicized into catchup-- note the lack of an s-- and tomatoes were added to the mix. The Europeans settled the United States and brought their favorite condiment with them, where it soon was even further bastardized into catsup and lost any and all fish it once contained. Catsup was the king of condiments throughout the majority of the 19th century, and was as American as apple pie. But the beginning of the end was in 1876 when a certain H.J. Heinz decided to spell his product ketchup as a marketing technique. And of course, it worked. Year by year, ketchup became more and more popular, while catsup sunk further and further behind.Catsuphas gone the way of zounds and prithee, seen only archaically in historical works. Hunt’s was the last major food company still calling their product catsup when they finally jumped aboard the ketchup train in 1988, and now, seldom is seen a bottle of catsup in the condiment aisle of any grocery store. With every passing year, catsup becomes more of a relic. Its existence, however, will forever be a part of American history. And the results of my social experiment point to the conclusion that perhaps, it is better off that way. I found that young people commented on my use of the term much more than adults did, and often their comments were not pleasant. They were addled to why I, or anyone else, would use a term that has a more comprehensible and more commonly used counterpart, other than to purposely confuse. Young people are the future, and it certainly seems that that future is not one that includes catsup. No matter how loved ketchup is, catsup has long since peaked. It will forever remain a diversion in the etymology of ketchup, but its place in today’s world is sadly disappearing quickly. For two words that have the same definition, ketchup means something very different than catsup, and catsup’s lack of use proves its days of glory are over.
We all know that what is taught in class is really important. It’s what’s regulated by the government and what’s argued over in meetings with [our principal]. But there’s an aspect of education that's often overlooked, and when ignored, can cause of lot of confinement. The structure of our school and other schools makes a large impact, and can be improved on both the class level and a school-wide level, the prior of which I'll discuss.
I. The Intro The problems in education create problems that span much wider than just the elementary school, the middle school, or the high school.Women are underrepresented in the STEM field. It’s a nationwide issue, and it’s a direct result of how math and the sciences are taught in high school and places of higher education. As a high school, if we want to actually change this, change the representation of women in STEM, we can. We may be small on the grand scale, but there is no better place to start. It's true that our school in particular isn't known as having very few successful female students. But we can always improve. And doing such is the first step in changing the big picture.
II. Body High schools are often the place that many girls lose interest in STEM. 6000 high school students, male and female, were surveyed their freshman and senior years. They had to gauge their interest in STEM careers, and for boys, 39.5 percent said they were interested in a STEM career their freshman year, and that number stayed about the same for their senior year. For girls, the percentage starts low and only gets lower. It goes from 15.7 percent to 12.7. (Sadler) Of course, there isn't a single perfect answer to a problem like this. But the American Association of University Women attributes it in part to what they call the unconscious burden- they state that women and girls who take science and math classes in male-dominated environments can be, and often are, adversely affected, even without realizing it (Hill). A potential solution then would be to offer several sections of girls-only math and science classes. The goal of such a structure change is to create an atmosphere that helps girls to feel comfortable not only with themselves and their peers, but their subject matter as well. Girls shouldn't be forced into classes like this, but given the option. A part of a good class atmosphere is making sure that the people there want to be there. We want it to be welcoming and inclusive. Girls-only classes often have this effect. According to a volume of the British Educational Research Journal, “In girls-only classes, they reported, they were not made fun of for getting something wrong and did not feel embarrassed attempting a problem” (ERJ). The same wasn't true for boys only classes, which is why the proposition is girl-only and coed classes, unless a major interest is shown in a boys-only class. The goal is to create a climate within the classroom that invests the students and brings them together in a way that the curriculum alone cannot. We want to make the school room like the world, as Emerson says: “If a child happens to show that he knows any fact about astronomy, or plants, or birds, or rocks, or history that interests him and you, hush all the classes and encourage him to tell it that all may hear. Then you have made your school-room like the world” (Emerson :)). We want more than an environment that encourages him to tell it that all may hear. We want one that encourages her, too.
It may not be obvious, but how well students do in school isn’t solely determined by the curriculum or what’s taught in class. Think bigger picture, like class structure, or even larger, like school structure, which leads us to our next topic. Sierra is going to discuss this type of change in school structure as she tackles year-round education.
Debate - monolingualism vs multilinguism
Possible Opposition, Document B (Actually, it's not even a possible opposition, I'm pretty sure that this was the only article that actually was against foreign language, so they're most definitely going to use it) "This is the language of science, commerce, global politics, aviation, popular music, and above all, the internet... It unites the whole world in the way that no other language can." English is really popular as a second language, and it unites the globe! Why learn another language when English is arguably the most important one to know??
It is very important to notice that the author of this article, Mr. David Thomas, is English. To remind everyone, England is on an island.The only neighboring countries are Wales and Ireland, where they have Welsh and Irish, but those languages are minorities in their own countries by a large margin. So maybe the English don't need to learn another language if they just stay on their island.They can get by without it. England doesn't have the language contact like the United States does with Spanish, or Canada with French, or even Australia, which has a large Asian immigrant population. But is just getting by enough? And what about those other countries? The article addresses very well how people who don't speak English are at a disadvantage.To address the counter side, however, he merely flips the argument, which doesn't stand up well. By not learning another language, the English are getting by.But they are also sacrificing the opportunity to be better global citizens and to strengthen their own language skills.The author of the article admits, "[our pupils] might, of course, do well to become much, much better at speaking, writing, spelling, and generally using English correctly."And as was already established, is there any better way to become better at English than to learn another language? I can say certainly that French has improved my understanding and sensitivity to English grammar and conjugation and pronunciation. And all of this only addresses those living in England. There's an entire additional aspect when considering the United States. Learning another language, especially Spanish, has a different level of importance here than it does in England. The amount of Spanish speakers is only increasing, and so does the need for monolingual Americans to become bilingual ones.
It is true that as an American, you can get by being an monolingual English speaker. You don't need to speak another language. Translation technology exists, and English is only becoming more popular as a second language for people around the world.But in knowing only one language, you are putting yourself at a disadvantage in today's world. Bilingualism benefits the individual; it strengthens the different areas of the brain that thus allows the speaker to improve their reading, writing, and comprehension skills, in the foreign language and their own. It's an intellectual disadvantage to be monolingual. But it's also a cultural disadvantage. How can we truly be a "mixed salad" (as US History 10 called it) of cultures if we refuse to learn other languages?The United States actually has no federal official language.What does it say about the United States as a country if millions of its citizens fiercely speak only English, while people around the world are learning English, in no small part in order to immigrate or interact with the United States?It's surely not a good image of what this nation stands for. By failing to even attempt a second language, Americans are putting themselves at a disadvantage as global citizens and as intelligent members of society.Giving up another language means giving up the opportunity to improve your skills and giving up a little bit of the image of the United States as a welcoming place.A little bit which can add up very quickly. Bilingualism is an advantage. Yo!
Golly, this is like six pages long. I can't believe I wrote this.
A Book Fell on My Head. I Have No One to Blame But Myshelf.
Books have defined the history of mankind for hundreds of years. Plato wrote The Republic in the fourth century A.D., and since then it has been a major influence on philosophers and philosophy enthusiasts alike. Common Sense by Thomas Paine, an anti-tyranny Englishman living in the American colonies, fueled the Revolutionary War. Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations has shaped economics throughout the world since its release in 1776. Karl Marx's The Communist Manifesto majorly influenced a country of nearly 300 million people for almost one hundred years. Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin sparked the Civil War and changed the lives of millions of Americans. Hundreds more of books like these have transformed the last two thousand years. Yet millions of American students have not read a single one. Nor do they read lighter pieces of writing simply for entertainment. One could trace this problem to the dramatic increase in technology in the past twenty years; however, the Internet, as well as applications and other software, has only made books more accessible to willing readers. The real problem lies in the word willing. Students today are not willing to read outside of school, and often inside of school as well. The way that literature is taught in schools is killing students’ natural love of reading. It is an issue that lasts a lifetime and spans across all schools, regardless of location, funding, or reputation, and effects students of all ages, races, social classes, genders, and backgrounds. For young people, reading for pleasure develops beneficial abilities that are often very important throughout life. Comprehension, inference, communication, writing, and even sympathy blossom as students read. But if students do not like to read, they will not read. Thus, these skills will not grow, and as Francine Prose, author of I Know Why the Caged Bird Cannot Read, states, “given the dreariness with which literature is taught in many American classrooms, it seems miraculous that any sentient teenager would view reading as a source of pleasure” (Prose). The current education system is a great risk to students’ futures, as it endangers much-needed skills that are practical past school age. It is rare that any student, regardless of their background, is a frequent reader. 45 percent of students aged 17 years said that they read “never/hardly ever” or “1-2 times a year” according to a Victoria Rideout in her 2012 study for the National Center for Education Statistics, and that there is only a ten minute difference between white, black, and Hispanic students’ average time spent reading per day, all of which is less than half an hour (Rideout †). Even so, these numbers are inflated by the few very avid readers who read many hours, bringing up the average for those who do not read at all. Students from all backgrounds are reading very little. These students are the future of the nation, and in their hands lays that heavy burden. But are they prepared? Books have been vital to the course of modern human history. Manifested in books are ideas, thoughts, and philosophies that simply cannot be matched in any other form, and without them, the young people of today are not adequately preparing themselves for the future. Some students often credit their lack of reading to the idea that they do not have the time. However, despite this, the average teen today manages to spend almost nine hours a day on social media, according to a report by Common Sense Media (Rideout‡). Other students, however, and perhaps more accurately, state their reason for not reading to be simply that they do not enjoy it. But why do students dislike reading? The answer, though uncertain, can likely be traced back to where students first learn to read: school. Different experts have different explanations to what exactly in school causes such a strong distaste for books. Some say it is the age at which students learn to read. Others say it is the books and the style in which they are taught. Either way, the reading problem is not one that is solved with much difficulty. Schools, once they have decided what they believe the root, or roots, of the problem is (or are), can take action immediately. But the most difficult part is deciding what exactly the roots are. Leonard Sax, author of the book Why Gender Matters, and Louanne Johnson, author of the article 10 Reasons Nonreaders Don’t Read, agree that age has a lot to do with the development of the love or the hate of reading. Youth is a crucial time to encourage reading, and without a gentle hand helping young readers, there can be lifelong consequences. It is a time in which people should gain the basic tools that can later be applied to other fields. Emerson states in his work, Education, “letter by letter, syllable by syllable, the child learns to read, and in good time can convey to all the domestic circle the sense of Shakespeare.” Of course, what he describes is an ideal situation. Early in school, a student ought to learn the tools that can be applied as they read not only at that age, but as adults as well. In an article featured on Scholastic.com, Louanne Johnson points out that many adults have a clear idea of how intelligent they are. When asked when they first came to this conclusion, most adults answered that it was in their first few years of school, at the time when they were first learning how to read (Johnson). Poor reading early on can mark a person through his or her life, and lead to a serious lack of reading as they age. Leonard Sax confirms this point in the fifth chapter of Why Gender Matters, “School,” stating that the brain develops “in a different order, time, and rate” in boys than in girls (Sax). In kindergarten, boys do not yet have the fine motor skills that girls possess at that age, and thus fall behind in writing and reading. This leads to boys lagging even farther behind as they move onto the next grades, creating the opposite sort of situation that Emerson describes in Education. Boys cannot learn “letter by letter, syllable by syllable” at this age, and so without the basic tools of reading, they are ill equipped to read as they progress through school, and thus develop a dislike for books and make no time for reading outside of school. Mark Bauerlein and Sandra Stotsky, the authors of Why Johnny Won’t Read, also point to gender as one of the causes of the distaste for reading, which is more often found in boys. However, they argue that the issue is caused more by reading material than reading ability. They state, “when given choices, boys do not choose stories that feature girls, while girls frequently select stories that appeal to boys. Unfortunately... literature assigned in the elementary grades do not reflect the dispositions of male students” (Bauerlein, Stotsky). Similarly, author Francine Prose, in her work I Know Why the Caged Bird Cannot Read, declares, “I find myself...increasingly appalled by the dismal list of texts that my [children] are doomed to waste a school year reading.” Without a doubt, a major lack of interest in school can cause students to lose their desire to read outside of school, as well. Given the main causes, then, it seems that the solution is simple. Push back the age at which students learn to read, so boys do not fall behind. Kindergarten used to be about socializing children before actually beginning academics. Such gave boys’ brains time to develop the motor skills that girls already possess. Additionally, teach books that students, boys and girls, and even the teacher, have a passion to read. As Emerson describes, “The boy wishes to learn to skate; to coast, to catch a fish in the brook, to hit a mark with a snowball or a stone; and a boy a little older is just as well pleased to teach him these sciences. Not less delightful is the mutual pleasure.... of good reading and good recitation of poetry or of prose.” However, finding the perfect book- the book that boys, girls, young and old, all love and relate to, and are inspired by to read other books outside of school, is quite a daunting task. But Louanne Johnson hints to its importance: “Struggling readers will blossom if you give them material that is so interesting they can’t resist reading it. That’s the trick: finding something so compelling that students forget they are reading.” A solution thus would be to make small reading groups earlier on. Find books that those groups enjoy, and that creates a love and appreciation for reading in them. Little Women for girls (or boys) who crave a role model like Jo. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH for developing science-fiction fans, and The Hobbit for fans of fantasy. And so forth. Continue this style throughout elementary and part way through middle school, ensuring that all students have books inside and outside of school that they want to read. Then, as the students have a developed appreciation for reading, introduce works that have changed the world. A high school freshman who hates to read should not be forced to read Shakespeare. He or she will not be changed by it or recognize its importance. The opposite should take place. A high school freshman should be given the opportunity to read Shakespeare, and appreciate all that the Bard has to offer. When a student loves to read, a renowned book in class will not be seen as a burden, nor will books outside class. In Why Gender Matters, Leonard Sax suggests teaching boys and girls the same book in different classes, with girls focusing on overlying themes and characters’ emotions, and boys focusing on minute details and building a larger picture from clues. Doing such would create an environment in which boys and girls can each learn to love to read separately. However, Sax argues that teaching students different ways will teach each group an important skill, like searching for information or seeing things from a different point of view. Doing such would cause each group to learn a very important skill that the other would not. Teachers should not deliberately deprive their students of a skill. The future is uncertain. Never before has reading for pleasure been so unpopular among teenagers. Its importance not only as a pastime for enjoyment, but for skill development as well, means that such a wavering unpopularity is a large risk. Aiming to increase time spent reading outside of school means finding out what the problems are with reading inside schools, as well. The early start and the the lack of passion for reading creates an environment that does not foster a love for this activity that has defined the course of human history. Without major changes, without inspiring students to read not as a chore, but as an opportunity, students will see no need to read on their own.
Final analysis - turn on, tune in, drop out
The 1960s were an era of cultural revolution. From Civil Rights to Rock n’ Roll, the decade saw many changes that have helped to shape American society more than fifty years later. Many of these cultural shifts were fostered by large groups of people. One revolution, however, was created almost single handedly. Dr. Timothy Leary was a former Harvard psychologist turned champion of the flower children. He attempted to completely change the public’s attitude towards drugs. Richard Nixon once described him as “the most dangerous man in America,” and even at his time his ideas were radical. Leary wanted to create a new religion. He said the message of God could be expressed in six words: turn on, tune in, drop out. He popularized this catchphrase through several speeches in 1967, the most controversial of which I will analyze. Leary was invited to give this speech at a symposium on psychedelics at the University of Toronto in 1967. But because of his recent arrest for possession of marijuana, he wasn’t allowed to cross the Canadian border. Instead he recorded his speech in Millbrook, New York, but it was confiscated and lost. An underground Canadian newspaper encouraged Leary to re-record his speech, and he did. This is the result.
Throughout the whole speech, Leary has unwavering confidence. He asserts this confidence immediately as he establishes ethos. However, his language is not formal, and indeed quite casual at times. He introduces his religion and describes its members in thirds: one third is “among the most successful Americans,” one third is cured addicts and alcoholics, and the last third is young children. He juxtaposes the first two thirds rather harshly, almost forcing the audience to think of hisreligion as one with geniuses and basket cases alike. And the final third states that the children of his religion, aged 7 or 8, take LSD and use marijuana regularly. This is a shock to not only us as an audience, but also the speech’s original audience, who were already comfortable with psychedelics. He admits this, saying it likely comes as a surprise to them, before asserting dominance by addressing them directly. He yells to them, “Hey! People of Canada! Wake up!” His tone of voice is forceful, yet not supercilious. His tone shifts to invective as he then asks his audience a controversial hypothetical question: “Who’s brainwashed you that way — to think that alcohol, the dangerous, narcotic, addictive intoxicant, is something that should be consumed, and a holy sacrament such as marijuana and drugs like LSD which have been used for thousands of years by spiritual seekers should not be used?” It is then that Leary begins introduce his famous catch phrase- turn on, tune in, drop out. He uses classification to explain how his religion seeks enlightenment, once again using an informal rhetorical question to keep his overall speech relatable and relevant for his audience. He uses further rhetorical strategies fairly informally as he continues- in the first section, he defines the word sacrament, and says how marijuana and LSD “turn on” their users to the word of God. Next, he explains how to “tune in” with psychedelic art through repetition and asyndeton- “all music, all dance, all theatres, all painting, all poetry.” *Strawberry Alarm Clock plug* He moves onto the final part of the catchphrase using hypophora and addressing himself in third person. He asks, “Does Dr. Leary think that students should drop out of school? Yes, young people of Canada, I’m telling you that you must drop out of school.” His message once again surprises his original audience- at the time, a common thought was to incorporate LSD into society. Leary’s much more radical thought is to leave society altogether. He solidifies this idea by comparing American society to the Roman Empire and its fall. “Hey. People of Canada. You remember what happened to Rome, don’t you? The Roman Empire, like the American Empire, spreading its rule of steel and concrete across the Mediterranean.” This allusion leads his audience to his point, that America will fall, without his having to say it explicitly. In the final section of his speech, Leary re-establishes his forceful tone by switching to the imperative mood in his sentences. This means his phrases are commands and have an implied subject. At first, he addresses Jean Marchand, the Canadian politician who initially had him arrested at the border. He commands Marchand, once again with confidence, “take off your shoes, feel the earth under your feet... Go out into the woods of the magnificent Canadian expanses which are still left to you. Go to a lake, go to a mountain... meditate... use some sacrament.” He then extends this message to his audience, telling them, too, “Don’t forget: you’re all Gods; you’re all Gods; you’re all two million years old,” ending his speech with the familiar words, “Drop out, turn on, tune in.” He repeats them again, yelling- “Turn on! Tune in! Drop Out!”