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.