Sunday, December 18, 2011

Transcendentalist Society - Con/Pro Essay

Walden Island Con/Pro

                The transcendentalist society Walden Island has a lot of great things about it. Majestic nature, self-sufficiency, no pollution, and acceptance without hiding your true self are all bonuses of being a citizen on Walden Island. Walden Island is all about freedom, and is great in theory. It is easily a society that offers more freedoms than any other functioning society in the world. Functioning, however, is a key word. It could be said that if people really truly believed and strove for unity, a place like Walden Island could exist. Yet, with how impossible such sufficiency would be, how easily humans disagree and create conflict, and the difficulty that would be faced maintaining an isolationist society, it is not likely that a transcendentalist society like Walden Island could exist in today’s world.
                Walden Island would be able to work if its’ citizens were stubborn and unyielding people, who always stayed on the straight and narrow. Walden Island is based off of growing (and fishing) its own food, making its own manufactured goods, creating its own green energy, and each individual saying what he wants in the votes. If the farmers and fishers worked hard and produced a large yield every year, then there would be no need to import food. The manufacturing plants would produce all of the material goods that island needs, utilizing Walden Island’s incredible supply of natural resources, and there would be no need to import non-edible goods from other countries. The civil servants would organize elections, and the people would steer the country in whatever direction seemed right to them. The power plants would churn out eco-friendly energy, and the island could be run cleanly. This would all require determination and preservation, and a good amount of luck, but it would make Walden Island feasible. However, if the citizens did not hold the necessary motivation, then a system like this would not be possible. The slim margin of error involved makes it near impossible for Walden Island to exist.
                Each person is unique and individual. When a person can be themselves it is a great thing, but with every being an individual, how often would they agree without a social contract that expects them to compromise. The individuals that Walden Island would need to run at all would have to be pretty like-minded, patient, and compromising individuals, which would mean that by becoming diverse, Walden Island would destroy itself. Walden Island would essentially need people with ideals that conform to each other to survive in a direct democracy society. Walden Island would also need people to conform to the roles of their jobs, and to the limited amount of job opportunities on the island. Residents would also have to be content with the lack of imported goods that they may have previously enjoyed, and the lack of contact with people they know in the outside world. Every person on the island would have to be willing to sacrifice for the island as a whole, and not many humans are willing to sacrifice a part of themselves for the whole. Walden Island is not possible because it would need to be a society built of a select kind of people, which is both conformist and exclusionary.
                Human beings are very habitual creatures. People become partial to brands, teams, and even other people, namely family and friends. Walden Island is an isolationist society that is based upon keeping foreign ideals from influencing the island. Many people that would come to Walden Island would probably struggle with the very human emotion of missing their loved ones and favorite things. Not many people would be content to live without seeing their family. Walden Island rules, however, would prohibit family from contacting you while you are on the island, and Walden Island has no tourism, so your family cannot come visit you. This would not be easy to deal with for many people, and would probably contribute to a discontent society. People would also miss things that they are familiar and partial to. Sports aren’t allowed on Walden Island because teams are a conformist group and sports also promote others to be more important than less talented people. Foreign brands would also be illegal. Technology, food, clothing, and other things would be illegal to bring in, and people would have to okay with the options on Walden Island. This isolation from the outside world, while a haven for some, would be unpopular with many.
                Self-sufficiency is an all encompassing concept. In the common eye, many people think of it in terms of food or energy, but full self-sufficiency is truly everything. Walden Island would attempt to have full self-sufficiency, and that alone might be its’ dooming factor. Walden Island prides itself on its natural resources, and surely has enough to be self-sufficient for a time, but certain resources are not renewable. Walden Island is heavily forested, and new trees can be planted, but resources like metals would run out after a time. Walden Island makes all of its manufactured goods, and that includes all vehicles, construction materials, and other metal goods, in its plants, and it would either run out of resources or need to break its imports law. Realistically, self-sufficiency is near impossible for a small island nation. Walden Island would also have to make all of its own medical supplies, which would be near impossible without the rain forest areas that most of modern medicine comes from. Walden Island would face the problem of needing to expand its housing and food productions to accommodate a rising population, and the nature that is so revered on Walden Island would shrink exponential. To make a society that is truly self-sufficient, Walden Island would end up destroying itself.
                Walden Island would be an incredible place to live, an island balancing a fully functional, self-sufficient society with rugged untouched wilderness. If populated with resourceful and determined people, Walden Island could become a transcendentalist haven, promoting freedom in a self-sufficient and natural place. Alas, this is not a possible reality. Not all of the people are going to be individual, focused, united and self-sacrificing all at once, and without such a populous Walden Island would falter. The people of Walden Island, without the things that they were accustomed to, would mainly suffer, and not find it a solace. And a truly self-sufficient island is near impossible. If Walden Island was really self-sufficient, then it would completely consume itself. For all these reasons, a transcendentalist society, such as Walden Island, cannot exist in this day and age.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Non-Conformity Post

The Dangers of Non-conformity

Ralph Waldo Emerson said that to be great is to be misunderstood. The same is true for non-conformists. One of the greatest dangers of being a non-conformist is being misunderstood. Humans are highly intelligent creatures, but we fear what we don’t understand, and when we are afraid we lash out. One example is the current fear of terrorism. When we were attacked our country made Islam synonymous with terrorism because we didn’t understand it, even though a large portion of followers of Islam are innocent of any violence toward America. When we don’t understand we something we believe that our own beliefs are superior because they are familiar, and people who believe otherwise end up being the subject of persecution. We often do not take the time to consider what is unfamiliar to us, and immediately take action to defend what we know. Being a non-conformist who challenges the current norm is dangerous because it attracts the ire of those who are not open to a different way of doing things.
Non-conformists also face the danger of challenging what is currently accepted. Many people do not wish for things to be different. Many are content to live their lives within the social boundaries set for them. When people do not conform to these rules, when they cross these social boundaries, people who are loathe to relinquish their current life will fight back. Generally the number of those fighting back is greater than the number of people who are challenging the status quo. When people challenge the status quo, the architects of the current will vehemently guard what they have created. People are apt at changing when it suits them, but many people will change to a certain point, but when they reach that point they will stop clambering for change. Non-conformity is seen as radical, and the society we live in does not encourage radical thinking. People will fight for the preservation of the current society, even of it is unknowingly, and attempt to stop changes that bypass what they are used to.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Modern Day Transcendentalist Post

Modern Day Transcendentalist

                The world is a very different place compared to the days of Henry David Thoreau. Thoreau was not too far off when he predicted what our world would be like today. We live in an age of technology, a world where man’s creations cover large tracts of the habitable Earth. Our lives are connected at a global level, and conformity is alive and flourishes. Transcendentalism is not very widespread today, but it is still found in some people. One of these people is Barbara Kingsolver. Barbara Kingsolver is an author and essayist, whom I have met personally, and is a modern day transcendentalist because of the time she spent removed from society to write her book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. Barbara Kingsolver simplified her life in the modern age. Her book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, is a chronicle of a year she and her family spent living on a farm with very minimal connections with the outside world. Kingsolver and her family spent a year on a farm growing their own food, and buying all else they needed from their neighbors. Outside of a few items, such as coffee, they were completely self-sufficient and disconnected from the outside world. This is an act of transcendentalism because in the world we live in we buy our food and interact with many people in many places all the time. Growing your own food on a farm, secluded from the outside world is an action that does not conform to the majority of the society we live in. People in this world complicate their lives with technology, and Kingsolver was able to simplify her life from all of this technology. Simplifying your life in this day and age is extremely difficult, and not something many people try to do. Kingsolver bucked this trend when she and her family spent a year away from society. That is why she is a modern day transcendentalist.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Walden Essay


                Progress has been a part of human life since the beginning of man. Humans have been making improvements ever since our first days, and that progress has gone on through time to create the world we have today. Progress is a good thing; it helps us live in the world, it helps us make the world better, and it is one of the things that really sets man apart from the other animals in the world. Progress is also a destructive force. In both a philosophical and literal since, progress takes resources to create, and destroys what is currently in place. The products from this destruction, however, are extremely good in most cases, and are not something we could live without. Progress is both a good and destructive force.
                Progress is destructive in a purely philosophical sense. When a new idea becomes accepted, the previously accepted idea is collateral damage. While something new is being created, something old is rendered obsolete and therefore useless, destroying the idea. Progress is essentially a never ending cycle of creation and destruction, with both destruction to make creation, and destruction by creation. The theory that the Earth was flat was rendered obsolete when the theory of a spherical Earth was finally acceptable. While the idea still exists, it is essentially worthless. This is a good destruction, one where a thing is destroyed for something better.
                The destruction caused by progress is very literal as well. To create something new, it necessary to experiment to find something new and how it can be used effectively. It takes resources to complete an experiment, and when the experiment fails the resources are wasted and sometimes other adjacent resources are destroyed as well. When an experiment is successful, it takes resources to replicate it. Metal infrastructure used in buildings makes them more secure, but it also takes resources to make the supports. As long as the value of the product outweighs the price, progress is a good force.
                One thing that can be said about progress is that it is a good force. The best example of this is medicine. Before this modern age there were pandemics, like the plague, that ravaged society. Today we can control, and defeat many pandemics, and a large portion of diseases in general. Even a few hundred years ago, people died of things we can cure today. People today don’t die because they don’t know better than to use their water supply as a restroom.  Today we can transplant new organs, destroy germs on a radioactive level, fight cancer and genetic diseases, and perform surgeries with a focused laser. Medicine can be dangerous if done wrong or in excess, but it saves many more lives than it hurts.

                Progress is a key piece of human existence. We keep evolving, both literally and technically, and we would not still be here without the products of these changes. Progress can be a destructive force. By its own nature, progress destroys things. However, progress also makes things, which are just as important as the things lost. As long as the value of the products of progress is greater than the things that were lost in creation, progress is a good, destructive force.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Declaration Post

There are times in life when those without authority or any means of assuming authority must stand up for what they believe in. When it impacts the life they will lead, and the path to success in achieving their dreams, they should be permitted to make their opinions heard. In those occasions when an entire group of people agree upon changes that must be made, it should be in the best interest of those with authority over the aforementioned group to put their best effort in to reaching the prospect of the changes deemed necessary. We, the student body of Grosse Pointe South, take it upon ourselves to express the faults within the classrooms, the school, and the school district. Year after year, the curriculum within Michigan schools stays generally the same, with very few changes. Adults are often afraid of change, even if those changes that could be made would benefit the students who go through that set of courses. But we have decided that something must be done to fix that, and we must move out of the rut that the Grosse Pointe School district seems to be stuck in. Without consequences put forth and voiced by the student body, there is no motivation for teachers, staff, and administers to make those changes that promote the higher quality of learning.
They have limited the amount of teams and clubs students want to run and participate in.  Students have many interests and to form a team or club we need staff sponsors. Some teachers are not willing to donate their time after school limiting the amount extracurricular activities. The students that would like to have new teams or clubs are not able because of the lack of teacher effort. We are unsatisfied by the lack of teacher effort, and the lack of activities that students would like to have.
They have limited the amount of snow days because Grosse Pointe is a walking District. We do not take buses but that does not mean that students do not drive themselves to school. It is dangerous for anyone to drive on the snow covered and icy roads and is especially dangerous for new drivers. For the students that walk to and from school it is hard, because the sidewalks are not cleared or salted that often. Students and teachers slip on the icy sidewalks walking into school and injure themselves. The community would be safer if we could stay home on excessively snowy days.
They have placed fees on our athletics. They have required these fees multiple times a year. They have refused to let us play without these fees, when we cannot pay. They have insisted we pay these fees, even if our sport requires more money to pay for other things. They make us pay these fees still, if we fundraise, or gain separate donations.
They have increased the amount of homework for students at Grosse Pointe South. We are at school for eight hours and then have to spend four or more hours on homework every night. That is way too much time. We all have many extracurricular activities and do not have the time for piles of homework. Teachers do not understand that we have six other classes everyday that give us excessive amounts of homework. The students at Grosse Pointe South have to stay up into the late hours of the night, to finish their homework and that is not healthy.
They have given students many different essay formats. We as students should have one essay format that is consistent in every class. The lack of a constant essay format creates confusion while writing essays for the student body. Essays are a large part of our grade and if we use the wrong essay format our grade could suffer. The absence of one essay format for the school makes it unclear which essay format the student body should follow.
They have placed tests from multiple classes on one day. They have placed stress upon us, when we know that studying for multiple tests is nearly impossible. They have deprived us of time to study when studying requires material from several classes that are very time consuming. They have deprived us of a good grade when we could not study. They have given us a disadvantage against other students with different teachers, who would be given more time to study their class’s material.
They have increased the amount of non-academic requirements. Unnecessary classes like gym, health, and a computer class should not be required for students at Grosse Pointe South. We took those classes all through elementary and middle school. For a student that is not interested in those classes, they limit the amount of classes they can take that are relevant to their future career. The student body is not saying that those classes should be eliminated from Grosse Pointe South; they should just not be required.
They have restricted schools we are allowed to attend. Students in Kindergarten through 8th grade should be allowed to choose the school they want to go to.  Families move and we are forced to switch from their former schools. We should not have to be separated from our prior friendships formed at designated schools by you.  Students also have unique learning complications, and they should be able to go to schools that they can benefit most from.  Without being able to choose our schools the students may have to switch schools, or attend school unfit to help with their unique learning abilities.
They have reserved days to be only eight hours. They have not added hours to our day specifically for work, so that we could go home homework free. They have not added hours to our day specifically for sports, so that they do not run late into the day after school. They have not added time after school, to get more done, and provide for an extra day off. They have not placed a few extra hours on a school day for work, or sports, which would provide for an extra day off and a stress free environment at home.
They have not provided for a more flexible schedule. They have not allowed students to take one class off each week to provide for more study time or to pursue other activities. They have not allowed individual time in school to pursue activities outside of school, like sports. They have not given time in school for individual study that may result in higher testing scores. They have not even allowed giving up a class per week for individual study when an elective cannot be given up for a tutorial.
Therefore, we, the student body, following the precedent set by our nation’s founding fathers, with the will of justice and right, severe the bonds and secede from the tyrannical and archaic establishment, and assert our right to teams without high and individual fees; the access to a system of testing where the tests are set at different dates, not piled on one day; the ability to graduate with the necessity of acquiring credits from classes that are not academic; the sanctity to days off from school when there’ enough school that other local districts are closed; the creation of a uniform way to write essays for every class in school; the freedom for a balanced and reasonable load of nightly homework; the freedom to step classes; the easing of how difficult it is to form clubs in school; the much increased level of education that would be received in a day with two extra hours, ne for sports and one a homework period; and the power to chose which school we want to go to, as long as it is in the district and you live in the district, for grades K-8. It is not logical or right, that we the student body, should struggle on while burdened by these tyrannical policies of the establishment, and if it is possible for these rights to be gained by sedition from the establishment, then we have the right, we have no choice but to secede from the oppression we are currently faced with.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Crucible Epilogue

Epilogue for Danforth

            After the end of the Salem Witch Trials, Judge Danforth went back to Boston. His reputation, somewhat shaken by the innocents he had sentenced to death, was broken, and Danforth hoped to amend it back in Boston.
            Danforth rode back to Boston in his cart and arrived home late in the afternoon on a Wednesday. His home was big compared to that of the time period, but not quite on the same level as the upper levels of city. It was wooden, painted black with an insulating tar, and had a sturdy oak door. The house had two floors, and a small attic, along with a one story guest house and a tool shed nearby. Danforth’s house wasn’t strictly speaking in Boston, but he was on the outskirts and very close to the court house he presided over. Danforth’s land was 1 ½ miles by ¾ miles, though only an area of about 60 square feet were cultivated in the form of his wife’s garden that she kept with the help his children.
His wife, Mary Withington, and his three remaining children (He had had 12 but 3 died before the age of three, and another 6 had also passed away) were very important to him, maybe even more important than his power. Danforth was a strict man, but not a cruel one, and as he entered his house he was mobbed by his two youngest children. He smiled and let them hug him, before walking into the first floor bedroom. His wife and three eldest children he found within, but to his dismay one of his daughters lay in the bed scarcely moving. His wife told him she had fallen ill very shortly after he went to Salem, coincidently the day he first sentenced someone to death. Slightly trembling, Danforth left the room and went upstairs. He walked down to the room at the end of the hall, his room, and was almost unable to open it with how bad his hand had begun shaking. He thought that God might be punishing him for what happened in Salem, and so he knelt down and prayed.
            An hour later, Danforth came down from his room with a new confidence. He told his son that his daughter would be fine, that she was just under the weather, and had his dinner that his wife had prepared for him. Since he had had a long day of travel, Danforth went to bed right after dinner and woke refreshed in the morning. He dressed into his robes and went downstairs where his wife had already made him Breakfast, which he ate promptly. Danforth then went outside and, with the help of one his daughters, hitched up his horse to his carriage, and rode off towards Boston. When he reached the court several aides moved his horse to the nearby stable, and wheeled away his coach while he walked inside.
            About two hours later Danforth was already presiding over a trial. The case wasn’t very complicated; one of the rich land owners was accusing one of the smaller farmers of theft. The man accused owned a small tract of land two miles from Boston. He did not own a large amount of land, but the land he did own right at a river, and a lot less rocky than most of the surrounding land. Danforth listened, almost bored, and his mind strayed to his sick daughter. He was woken from his thoughts by the accused. He was of middle age, and had a wife but no kids. His hair was light brown and his skin was tanned from working in the fields. He was telling the jury about how he had fallen on poor times with a bad crop, but he had never stolen from anyone. The jury looked skeptical, but Danforth thought that the man seemed truthful. When asked why he was accused, the man replied that he had no idea, and that the only thing he could think of was that the rich landowner wanted his land because of its location and quality. The jury looked unconvinced, but Danforth began to think of Salem.
In Salem the Putnam’s had had their daughter accuse people so they could buy their land. Was this so different, he wondered. Danforth knew that he could not honestly make a decision without his previous cases giving him doubt, and so his mind went back to his daughter. Finally he decided to convene the court for the day and reconvene tomorrow. Plagued with doubt and worrying about his daughter, Danforth got in his cart and went home as fast as his horses would take him.
            The news was not good when he got home, his daughter was worse, and the doctor had no idea what was wrong. Danforth dejectedly ate his dinner of cold stew and bread, before going to his bed room in the hopes of some sleep. He found no sleep however, and his night was plagued with images of his daughter and the man he thought he had no choice but to convict, but seemed innocent. When he came downstairs in the morning his wife had not yet made breakfast. When he walked into the downstairs bedroom he saw his wife sitting with their daughter, crying silently as her daughter was barely responsive. Danforth didn’t say a word, but walked out of the room silently, and prepared to go to court.
            Doubt engulfed Danforth’s mind. He began to wonder if this was a punishment from God for his part in the trials in Salem, or for how he would be told by a unanimous jury that he must sentence a man to death for a crime it was not proven that he had committed. The road to Boston seemed arduous and slow, and every bump in the road messed with Danforth’s fraying nerves. The longer he sat in his cart, the more his mind seemed to slip. Maybe he could decide to go against the jury and acquit the man, or maybe require some more evidence. Maybe he could recuse himself as to stay with his sick daughter, and leave the decision to someone else. But for every thought of escaping the situation that came into his kind, the coach of Danforth moved ever closer to Boston.
Finally, he came to a stop at the court house. The whole world felt surreal to Danforth. His daughter had survived far enough that he had thought she’d make it, and now she was dying. He was about to decide a case that he thought he was wrong about while trying to repair his reputation. Danforth walked slowly to the front of the court, and as he stared at the jury and the rich land owner talking, he began to lose some of his doubt. Maybe he was just being a little, or extremely, paranoid, reading into things where there was nothing to read into. Danforth brought the court into session.
An hour later Danforth walked out pale as a ghost. He had sentenced the man and immediately his doubts had returned stronger than ever, and he was starting to lose his mind with the combined doubt and worry. He didn’t stop to chat with the jury or the rich land owner, but made straight for his horse and coach. His worry began to take over. How was his daughter? Was she worse? Would he even make it back to see her again? He had been too preoccupied to even say goodbye.
He reached his house and it was completely silent. With trepidation he walked towards the door, when he heard a horrible wailing cry. His heart nearly stopped at the noise, which was followed by the sounds of weeping. Unsure of what to do, and completely overwhelmed, Danforth stood frozen outside his front door.
            Suddenly, a shooting pain shot through his chest like a bolt of lightning. Danforth collapsed on ground, and lay writhing in such intense pain that he could not even cry out. Danforth’s vision began to fade in and out of focus, until it finally began to disappear. Scared and alone, Danforth’s eyes closed and his body stopped moving. It would be hours before anyone would find him.
In Boston, news of the Salem trials finally arrived at about the same time as the news of Danforth’s death and the death of his daughter. Rumor quickly spread that God struck down Danforth’s daughter, then the man himself, because of his role in the Salem trials and the innocent man he had just sentenced to death. The words “heart attack” and “infection” were never once mentioned.         

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Crucible - Essay

Who is Responsible?

            In the Crucible, by Arthur Miller, the witch trials killed many innocent people. People were accused of being witches by the children, and if they didn’t admit it they were hung. For being silent and not lying, a sin in the highly Christian Puritan society, people were hung. At multiple times in the story, several characters could have stopped the trials from proceeding with either evidence or just common sense. Put because of the power on the line and the cowardice of some of the characters, the trials were not stopped before the deaths of many. While there were many at fault, the three most responsible people are Abigail Williams, Reverend Hale, and Mary Warren.
            The first person at fault is Reverend Hale of Beverly. He was famous in the colonial New England for being able to find, or decide there were no, witches amongst the people in the Puritan cities. He was called in to Salem by the Reverend of Salem, Mr. Parris. Parris asked him to come because his daughter was “sick” and would not wake. Reverend Hale came to see if it was the devil afflicting the child, even though she was just pretending to be sick to avoid punishment from Parris. Hale confirms that Betty is bewitched, and begins to grill Tituba after Mrs. Putnam and Abby start to put the blame on her. It is Hale’s fault Abigail began to accuse people because he tells Tituba, “You’re God’s instrument put in our hands to discover the Devil’s agents among us.” (Miller 46), and Abigail wants that kind of special attention. Hale supports the girls’ initial accusations and he suggests that a judge be brought in from Boston, ceding his authority to the court and the girls. Hale is even more to blame when he realizes the girls are lying later on, “It is his own suspicion, but he resists it.” (Miller 69), and does not do enough to stop the trials. Through both over-zealous ignorance of common sense and a failure to act upon what he knows to be true, Hale is one of the characters most responsible for the witch trials.
            Another of the people most responsible is the architect, Abigail Williams. Abigail is at fault because she knows that the “bewitched” girls were just faking to avoid getting in trouble, but she leads them in accusing people anyway, knowing full well that the accused would either die or admit to a crime they didn’t commit and lose all credibility. Abigail thought the girls pretending was not a big deal at first, “We were dancin’ in the woods last night, and my uncle leaped in on us. She took fright is all.” (Miller 22) she told Proctor. However, one she saw all the attention Tituba was receiving from Hale, she came forward to take the attention for herself. After that she began to use her power to accuse the lower level of people in the town, lying openly in court and getting away with it because the accepted evidence was her word that someone sent her spirit after her. There was no way to make a defense against that kind of accusation, with what was accepted as proof, and it was either the noose or the jail cell. Then Abigail began to accuse the higher class of Salem, and she got away with it because she was now seen as a saint in the town by many, mainly the judges. At any point she could have stopped, but she kept going and more and more people die, which is why she’s one of the people most responsible for the witch trials.
            The third person most responsible is the servant of the Proctors, the weak-willed Mary Warren. Mary Warren, as a viewer of the event that triggered the trials, could have come out at any point in time and ended the trials. Mary Warren eventually reluctantly agreed to tell the truth, at John Proctor’s urging, and it seemed as if the trials might end. Mary Warren, however, as soon as she faced that conflict of Abby refuting her claim, wilted and returned to the “there are witches” side. She even accused Proctor, “You’re the Devil’s man!” (Miller 118) to smoothly assimilate back into the ranks of the accusers. Instead of helping Proctor save all of the accused she betrayed him and condemned him along with the rest of the accused. Mary is a follower, and because she followed Abby, many people lost their lives or their names. Mary was proof that the girls were lying, but she failed to let her voice be heard. Mary was one of the main people responsible for the witch trials because it was within her power to exonerate the accused, but she failed to do so.   
            Throughout The Crucible, there were many instances where the witch trials could have been prevented. Through those instances, three people were most responsible for the witch trials not being stopped. Many people died because of the failure to act or lack of sanity that these characters presented. Reverend Hale, Abigail Williams, and Mary Warren were the characters that are the most to blame for the witch trials.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Crucible Post Number Two

Crucible Post Two

                In Act Two of “The Crucible” many people are accused of being witches by the children. When confronted, they are told that they must confess that they are witches or they will be found guilty and hung. There was no way to prove that you were not a witch, and you were guilty until proven innocent. Many of the accused falsely admit they are witches to avoid being hung. Today our justice system is very different, and we are innocent until proven guilty in a trial of our peers. We are very rarely faced with life or death situations dependant on whether we lie about ourselves or not. There are several times a person might lie about themselves in our society today, most of them all about fitting in.
                Today people lie about themselves less for personal safety and more because we live in a very critical society. As much as everyone would like to think they are open minded, a great majority of people are not. People will lie so that other people won’t judge them and they can fit in. This is very obviously illustrated by the military’s policies on sexuality. Whatever your opinion of (the recently repealed) “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” it was an instance of Americans having to lie to fit in. The affected soldiers that were serving lied so that they could live their life normally, so that they wouldn’t be judged by others for their decisions. People today will lie to conform with the views of our society, in which case things are not much different now than they were in Salem. The only difference is that we are arguing ideas, not creating life or death situations.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Crucible Post 1

The Crucible Post 1:How has the Balance of Power Shifted?

            After act one in the crucible, the power in Salem has shifted. In the beginning of the book, the most power in the town was held by Parris. He was the preacher. Since he ran the church, and there was no local government, Parris was the leader of the town, which is exhibited by the line, “There is a faction sworn to drive me from my pulpit…” (Miller 10). Parris is shown to be in power by the fact that there are factions trying to remove him from it, his power is implied. The rest of the power lies with the Putnams, the wealthiest family in Salem. They had the most land, and Mr. Putnam was highly involved with the town, in that he seemingly had a grudge against everyone there. With the actions of the children, however, things began to change.
            When Betty, the daughter of Parris, falls ills with no explanation why the town begins to get agitated.  Ruth, the only surviving daughter of the Putnams, seems to be possessed by the devil,  “…she waked this morning, but her eyes open she walks, and hears naught, sees naught, and cannot eat. Her sole is taken, surely…” and Parris starts to worry his daughter is possessed. He summons Reverend Hale, a specialist of finding witches. While he waits Mr. and Goody Putnam visit him, and they start to convince him that his daughter is bewitched. After Hale arrives, Abigail, Parris’s niece, admits she and Betty danced, and that Parris’s slave, Tituba, summoned spirits. Reverend Hale convinces them that if they repent and tell who else is doing the devil’s will then they will have salvation. Thus the power changes to Abigail and the other girls of the town. They can now accuse anyone of being a witch, and the person must either admit they’re a witch, or be hung.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

"Sinners" Follow Up Post

       People reacted with fear in the time when Jonathan Edwards was preaching. People's reaction today would be much different. The way our society views God is as a loving, forgiving God that loves us enough to sacrifice his son for us. I think that many people that strongly believe what they believe would disagree with the view of an angry God ready to kill us at any moment. Edwards would probably be labeled a radical, and would not be taken seriously by many. Not only is our view of God different, but in America today there are many people of other religions, and even atheists, that wouldn't care about what some Christian preacher says. Today's society is more stable, and all the "acts of God", like stopping a man's heart, is now easily explained, and Edwards' argument would be less compelling. Today's society would not be very affected by a speech like that.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

"Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" Post

 “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”
                This is a video that gives background on a sermon that was made in colonial-time America. It was made by Jonathan Edwards, who was a preacher in New England. It talks about Edwards’ background, he was a kind, generous, and loving man, and a faithful husband. But in this sermon he inspired such great fear in his followers that it started a religious movement in the colonies. He was a good speaker, and he used imagery with great effect. The sermon would become known as the “sermon New England never forgave him for”.
                From this video, it seems that his speech was one about salvation or Hell. It looks as if he used imagery to paint a vivid picture of how awful it would be to go to Hell. His speech probably contains imagery about a scorching, fiery wasteland filled with eternal torment. He probably used images like these to scare his followers into living a religious and pure life, so they could get salvation. I imagine he also speaks about heaven as a miraculous place of wonder, but that it was only a small part of his speech. Most of his speech was likely spent describing Hell and what a person could do to either avoid it, or what they were doing that would send them there.  In the colonial times, many of the settlers held a fear/reverence attitude toward God, and this would paint an unmerciful picture of him, unless you lead a good life. The sermon is probably religious propaganda aimed at making its followers lead a better life.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Descriptive Post

     In this picture there is a river, running through a green countryside. The river is a grayish-blue and wide. The river is also bendy, and dissapears part way through the countryside, blocked out by the green hilly area next to it. In the foreground, on the right side of the river there is a sparse forest that thickens as it moves away from the river, and in the background there is a steep mountain, the same color green as the surrounding landscape. The sky is not visible on the right side of the picture, because the mountain is much taller than the surrounding landscape, but the sky over the middle of the picture is a brilliant, bright blue, with some clouds farther in the distance. The left part of the sky is almost only clouds. The clouds are grayish white, and puffy. In the middle ground of the middle and left part of the picture there is a mountain range in the distance. The mountains are green  the same green as well, except for near the top, where they are brown. In the left foreground is slightly hilly, before turning into a flat field the stretches to the mountain range.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


Thesis: Honors class students are expected to live up to certain standards.

       One of the things expected of an honors class is a respectful attitude to their teacher. An honors cass should be polite, and listen. Honors students should not talk while listening. Students should raise their hands, instead of just shouting out answers, so that their peers get a chance to answer for themselves. Students should follow instructions their teacher sets for them. Students should do their homework, and not make excuses unless there was no way they could have possibly done their homework. Students should meet deadlines set by their teacher because the teacher can't, and shouldn't, wait on one person. If a student misses class it is up to them to use the resources given, the blogs, to learn what was done in class, and not seek out their teacher. The student-teacher relation is essential for a school to function, and should be respected.

       How students interact with each other is also important. Students should be respectful of each other. Students should help each other if a nearby student needs clarification. Students should be quiet when a teacher is talking so that their classmates don't miss what the teacher has to say. Students should not talk while another student is speaking for the same reason. Students should not be distracing when it is time to work. Students should not shout out answers so their classmates get a chance to think about the question. Students should be respectful of each other's opinions, even if they disagree. The student-student relationship is essentially a workplace relationship, and is vital for school to work.

       As an honors class, academics is one of the most important standards students need to meet. Students should always do the work they are assigned. Students should always complete the work, and not make excuses for unfinished work. Students should be productive in class work time. Honors students should maintain an average of 80 or higher. When a student cannot meet that standard, they should no longer stay in the honors class if they are unable to raise their grade sufficiently. Students should get themselves caught up without needing the help of the teacher. Honors students should live up to certain standards.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

About Me

Hey, my name is Andrew. I was born in Virginia, and lived there until the age of five, before I moved here to Michigan, where I have lived since. I have two siblings, both younger, one brother, James, and one sister, Kate. I am a huge dog person, and I have two dogs, Juliet and Ranger, both Australian Shepherds. I also own a cat named Charlie, that used to be my Aunt's, but he is not very fond of me. I am also a huge sports fan, and I play soccer, and I used to play hockey and baseball.

My Family. My little bro, James, is a very unique person. We spend half of the time getting along amazingly, while the other half of the time we can barely stand each other. He is tall for his age, taller than me by an inch or so (Doc says he's done but I haven't hit my spurt yet) and he is also a lot less mature than he seems. He is a young boy in the body of a teen-ager, very smart, but fun-loving. He is going to be starting at South next year. My even younger sibling, my sister, Kate, is still in Elementary School. She is tough, charismatic, and smart. She does Tae Kwon Do, and is already a brown belt after only a year and a half. She has a lot of friends, especially on our block, and the door bell rings for her between 3 or 4 times a day during summer time. My Dad works in economics, and is often on business trips, mainly to Chicago, but also to Boston, New York, and Washington DC. He is a huge baseball fan, and he loves the Cincinnati Reds. He also enjoys hiking and kayaking in the upper peninsula of Michigan. He is also going through the process of getting ordained. My mom is an amazing cook and a notorious knitter. She used to work as in management for Nera, before she quit to spend more time with me and my,at that time, baby brother.

Academically, I am pretty strong across the board. While it isn't my favorite subject, math has always come easily to me, as I find with most subjects. I love to read, but usually I dislike books outside of the genres I enjoy, comedy and adventure. English is usually an interesting class for me, because I do like to read, but I do not like writing all that much, which is usually do to the choices of topics, which I usually find restricting and hard to connect with. Science is probably my favorite subject, especially biology, which I took last year. Science is interesting and the information is such that I think it may be useful outside of a classroom. History is my next favorite subject, mainly the wars. The conflicts throughout history make it interesting and how they affect the world is too. I also take Spanish, Mythology, and Music Theory.

I am a huge fan of sports. Football, Baseball, and Hockey, I follow them all. I follow the Lions and Red Wings from Detroit, but my baseball team is the Yankees. When I was a kid in Virginia there was no baseball team. The closest team was the Orioles, but I never liked the Orioles. My favorite baseball card was a player for the Yankees, and so I started to follow them. As it happened, my favorite tiger, Curtis Granderson, was traded to the Yankees, and he is probably my favorite baseball player.When I moved to Detroit I was exposed to hockey and football and I started to follow the local teams. I am a huge Red Wings fan, and I usually go to three or four games a year, and my favorite player is No. 43, Darren Helm. I play soccer, and I used to play little baseball and roller-hockey, I was never a good skater. My position is a striker, I'm not very fast but I have a good shot, and I played 3rd base in baseball and left wing in hockey.

My free time is probably one the things I love most about summer and hate losing when school come around. In my free time I like to hang out with my friends, but when they're not around I amuse myself with other things. I have an X-box, and like to play a mix of different games. My favorite games are probably NHL 12, and Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2. I usually play a little each day after school. I also like to watch TV. My favorite program is Sportscenter, which is a nice way to stay in tune with the sports world. My favorite TV shows are Fox's House, Spike's Deadliest Warrior, and USA's Suits.  

Well, I hope you have learned a little more about me,

Andrew A