Here are some of my personal works from English Class and home. Enjoy!
Literary Analysis: To Kill a Mockingbird
Throughout history, people have used social class, wealth, strength, and wit to take advantage of others. In To Kill a Mockingbird, author Harper Lee illustrates this historical reference through women in Maycomb. Her book is based on a fictionalized version of her childhood, growing up in the south in the 1930’s with few rights as a woman, and extreme racism against blacks. Because of this, white women in Maycomb use their white privilege to establish superiority over the black community because the majority of women had little rights back then.
The white women of Maycomb don’t have as many rights as white men, causing their view on white privilege to change as a way to gain superiority over blacks. Woman still have a limited role in society, and they do not have the power to make decisions like men, even though they have been gaining some rights since the 1800’s. When Scout asks Atticus why fair people like Miss Maudie can’t serve on juries, he tells her, “‘For one thing, Miss Maudie can’t serve on jury because she’s a woman-’”(296). Women in Maycomb are unable to participate in law, proving that they have fewer rights. Some women believe they could do exceptional job serving in court. Using white privilege against black people could possibly provide them with the power they would need if they were to have a say in society. Women also have very little say in their family’s financial management; most aren’t expected to work and to only care for their family. When Aunt Alexandra’s missionary group is harassing Scout about her wanting to be a lawyer when she grows up, she replies the normal expectance of a woman: “‘Nome, just a lady.’”(308). Though women could get jobs, they were still expected to stay home and take care of the children and house. Therefore, this might cause many women to feel powerless, enticing them to use white privilege in order to gain power over some people, such as black people. These factors influenced many opposing, almost antagonist like, characters throughout the book.
One white woman, Mrs. Merriweather, uses her white privilege to show superiority over black people, even though she has limited rights. At the women’s missionary circle meeting, Mrs. Merriweather starts to talk about how she’s angry that the black laborers are all depressed. When she sees her maid Sophy sad about the trial, she becomes angry with her, telling her, “‘Jesus Christ never went around grumbling and complaining,’” (310). Mrs. Merriweather can’t tell Sophy to stop feeling sad just because she’s white and Sophy’s black. She is trying to control Sophy’s life because she believes a boss has the right to do that, even though Sophy is doing nothing that impedes her work. She probably uses it because of the little rights she has as a woman in her society. After she tells Sophy to stop, she still cannot drop the issue. While she continues to chat with Gertrude Farrow, she explains her distaste of the situation; “‘but sulky… dissatisfied… I tell you if my Sophy’d kept it up another day I’d have let her go.’”(312). Mrs. Merriweather still cannot let go about Sophy sulking because she wants to still feel the power she has over her maid. She even says “‘My Sophy’” (312) as if she owns Sophy like a slave. She feels her white privilege entitles her to rule over Sophy, and wants to feel that power because of the little power she has in her own family. Even though it is only a small example, it influences her character and other characters in the story.
Another white woman, Mayella Ewell, uses her white privilege against Tom Robinson to show her superiority over blacks and to remove evidence of her breaking the social code even though she has limited rights and say. Mayella Ewell is from the lowest and least respected family in all of Maycomb; when Tom Robinson is accused of raping her, Atticus tries his best to win the almost impossible case for Tom. As Mayella starts to see the trial lift in Tom’s favor due to Atticus’s skill, she screams out, “‘That n----- yonder took advantage of me an’ if you fine fancy gentlemen don’t want to do nothin’ about it the you’re all yellow stinkin’ cowards,’”(251). Mayella is trying to use her white privilege to override everything against her and convince the jury to trust her and convict Tom of rape because she’s white and he’s black. She’s trying to remove evidence of kissing Tom and showing Tom she has more power than him, even though she has a small amount of rights due to being a woman in a low social class family. Tom is extremely kind to her, and only rejected her advances because he is married and he knew the consequences. At the end of the trial, Atticus recites his closing statement. He claims to the jury what Mayella wanted, “‘-he must be removed from her presence. She must destroy the evidence of her offense.’”(272). This further supports her use of white privilege to remove the evidence of her breaking the social code. Whites and blacks aren’t supposed to date, marry, or even show affection between each other. If the Ewells did not try to convict Tom, then they would sink deeper into the social chain. Since the only evidence they truly have is that she is white and he is black, using white privilege is the easiest way to win the trial. White privilege is also the only thing Mayella has over Tom, who would have had ten times more power if he wasn’t black. Mayella, ultimately, tries to take advantage of Tom through white privilege.
Because of the little rights woman had back then, white women in Maycomb use their white privilege to establish white superiority over the black community. There is little power women have in comparison to men, and two cases of woman trying to show that they are superior to blacks are almost opposite in significance; in one, Mrs. Merriweather threatening to fire her maid if she did not stop acting sad, and in the other, Mayella Ewell lying and using her white skin to convict Tom Robinson of rape, and execute him of the crime. Though cases like this happened throughout the 1930’s and 1940’s, they slowly declined as women started gaining more rights that eventually gave them equality to men. To Kill a Mockingbird is a wonderful book and gives the readers a moment to realize that no one should ever try to take advantage of someone else unfairly or by the color of their skin.
Literary Analysis: The Hobbit
Songs can say a lot about a person or a group of people. The Hobbit, by JRR Tolkien, is no exception. Throughout the book, multiple characters and groups sing songs to express their emotions. However, one can find that these songs also reveal traits about the character or species. One group that sings is the dwarves and their songs reveal the traits of greed in their people.
When the dwarves sing a song about the paranoia that Bilbo Baggins has with them cleaning up dinner, the song reveals how greedy they are to see Bilbo suffer to his own paranoia. The song begins after Bilbo has fed Thorin and Company dinner on their unexpected arrival. As Bilbo prepares to clean the table and dishes, the dwarves offer to clean it up. However, Bilbo does not trust the dwarves with his dining ware, so the dwarves immediately start to clean and begin to sing a song to take pleasure of his paranoia, some lines being: "Dump the crocks in a boiling bowl;/ Pound them up with a thumping pole;" (12). The dwarves are being extremely greedy and mean by taking advantage of Bilbo by threatening to smash and destroy his valuables, knowing he is too weak and outnumbered to stop it. He becomes increasingly stressed and shows immediate signs of discomfort and suffering. The dwarves are almost like sadists, or people who feel pleasure and enjoyment from seeing others suffer. The dwarves are greedy because they are becoming greedier for more enjoyment out of Bilbo’s suffering as Bilbo becomes more and more stressed. As the song continues, the dwarves begin to do more things with the dining ware, such as tossing plates acrobatically in the sink or sliding them across the floor. Their song becomes more dreadful to Bilbo as they talk about more awful things to do with his kitchenware, repeating this line after: "That's what Bilbo Baggins hates!" (12). The dwarves here are evil and sadists. They are greedy for pleasure, which they gain by seeing Bilbo stress out over what they might do to his kitchenware, icing it off by taunting him, "That's what Bilbo Baggins hates!" (12). This also reveals a trait of greed in their people because they do not know when to stop wanting what they want. However, they never do any of these dreadful things to Bilbo's kitchenware.
When the dwarves sing a song about the lands to the east of the Misty Mountains, they reveal their trait of greed for gold and riches they once owned. At the beginning of the song, they talk about how over the Misty Mountains, an evil dragon occupies the Lonely Mountain. The dwarves are so excited by all the gold in their former courtroom that they claim in their song, "We must away ere break of day/ To seek the pale enchanted gold." (14). The dwarves reveal their trait of greed in this song because they want all the gold held in the Lonely Mountain. They are extremely desperate to get it, increasing how greedy they are. For example, in the song, the dwarves want their gold so badly that they want to leave immediately at dawn. They also think the gold they are after is so great that they believe it is enchanted, which increases their trait of the greediness and lust for gold. As the song continues, they begin to talk about how the dwarves of their Old Kingdom crafted all of the treasures, and that they were a prosperous kingdom until Smaug destroyed and killed many dwarves, driving the rest out in terror. They sing about all the horrible deeds he committed, and end the song with, "To win our harps and gold from him!" (15) The song reveals the trait of greed in the dwarves because they want their gold so much they will fight Smaug for it. This is supported by the fact that they are all scared of Smaug and his deeds throughout songs, showing that their greed is so strong it takes over their fear. However, they are able to reach the Lonely Mountain and Bard of Esgaroth shoots down Smaug.
When the dwarves sing a song about their reconquest of the Lonely Mountain, it reveals their trait of greed for their treasures. They begin to sing the song after barricading the front gate to allow no one in to steal their gold. Their song is about how Thorin has regained his throne and is now the king of the Lonely Mountain, with riches to split between all the dwarves. Riches are brought up throughout the song, such as one line, "The heart is bold that looks for gold;" (261). This reveals the dwarves' trait of greed because they believe a bold heart is one that covets gold. This is wrong because one should never have a lust for material goods as they are influenced to do anything if they can get treasures out of it. This also can also be bad because one will start to be greedy over other people's treasures, causing them to do unpleasant things to get it. As the song goes on, they begin to repeat their Misty Mountains songs and talk about how great the Old Kingdom was and the attack of Smaug. However, they begin to sing of their new kingdom and the dwarves that will return to their call. They also talk about their treasure, like one line where they claim, "His (Thorin's) hands are rich with gems and gold." (262). This line reveals the dwarves' trait of greed because they brag about how rich their restored kingdom is, showing they only care about treasure. Caring for treasure is bad because if one likes treasure too much, than they will become greedy for it and will do anything to get more. Thorin originally refuses to give any of it to Bard, who killed Smaug, but after realizing he has been greedy, he gives a good amount of gold to him.
Ballads that the dwarves chant reveal the trait of greed in their company. Even though the dwarves are greedy, they do not like greed. Before Thorin dies at the end, he tells Bilbo, “If many of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.” (288). The world should take Thorin’s words and make it into a realty. If everybody valued fun, happiness, peace, and love, the world would be a better place.
Personal Narrative: The Last Time I Saw my Dog Ben
“Oh my god!” I stammer as I look over our baby gate that prevents our dog, Ben, from escaping into our house from his room. A second ago, I was relaxing in my room, until I heard a rapid wheezing. I ran to where I was now, watching helplessly as my dog tried to take in every breath like it was his last.
Could this be the last time I see him? Could he die while I’m just standing here?
I lash out with my foot and hear a crunch as I hit the gate. The gate crumbles to the floor. I run until I reach my dog’s side. I need to get help! Immediately, my voice echoes throughout my house, “Mom! Mom, you need to get down here right now! Something’s wrong with B-”
Before I even finish my sentence, I hear my mom fly downstairs. When she saw Ben and me she ran next to us and sat down.
“Mom,” I said, “We need to get him to the hospital!”
Mom was already pulling out her phone. “Dad has our SUV at Amanda’s soccer practice right now. That’s the only way we can get him there.”
I could see she was trying to keep calm, but it was slowly starting to break away.
As I wait anxiously for the sound of a car pulling into our driveway, I sit there and pet Ben. His eyes are bulging; his tongue lies numbly on the ground. Breath after breath he seems to get worse. His breathing starts getting more and more spaced by the second.
Don’t die on me, I think as a lone tear rolls down my cheek. Just hang in there until dad gets home. Each minute ticks away like an eon. Ben’s breathing keeps getting worse and worse. Suddenly, his breathing stops.
Oh no! No no no no no no! Don’t die! I yell inside my head as tears stream down my face. I put my face in his fur and cry until I hear a gasp. I feel his chest slowly rise and fall.
I hear the door fling open as dad runs in. We grab Ben’s leash and put a few blankets in the back of the car and lift him onto them. My sister, mom, and I say our goodbyes before dad drives him the hospital. I kiss him on the forehead. Dad comes out to close the back and hops in the driver’s seat. I watch as the car slowly disappears into the darkness. I feel slightly better as I realize he will be safe in the hospital; they will save him.
In a few hours, I am reading peacefully in bed when I hear the sound of crying upstairs. I am so absorbed in my book I don’t realize what the crying means. That is, until one thought suddenly pops into my mind; Ben. I feel the clues start to click together within my head, and the feeling is not a good feeling. As if my body is being controlled by a voodoo doll, I start to rise from my bed. No, I tell myself, you can find out in the morning.
But I had to find out what the fate of my dog had become. I slowly get out of my bed and open the door. I take a deep breath and start to creep up the stairs. I find my mom crying, her face in her hands. She looks up at me, her face red.
“No!” I yell, “He couldn’t have di-” I am cut short by her voice.
“I wish you didn’t have to find out like this. Your father just called,” she says in a snuffling voice, “They X-rayed him and found a huge tumor that’s been pressing against his lungs and heart.”
“How did they not pick it up last time?”
“I don’t know why!”
“Can’t the cancer be treated? Can’t we do something to keep him alive?”
“Andrew! He’s too old to survive chemotherapy, much less surgery. We had to-,” she pauses. “We had to put him asleep.”
At that moment, memories flood my brain. I see the first time I met him. He was a shelter dog. We got him as another dog to keep our dog, Jackson, company. When I got home from school that day, I ran up to our gate and immediately saw him. He looked at me and immediately shied away. After twenty minutes of coaxing, I was able to convince him to at least let me pet him. He immediately knew I was his new friend.
Another moment flashes by my eyes. I was walking Ben on the greenbelt when he saw a squirrel. I was dragged by him one hundred yards across the grass until I was finally able to stand.
Another memory flashes by. My sister and I were sitting around a Christmas tree. I heard my sister say, “It’s time to open Jackson’s and Ben’s gifts!”
I went and unwrapped Ben’s. It was a huge rawhide bone taller than me. He eagerly grabbed it from my hand and went straight to chewing it.
More memories start to float to the surface of my brain. The dog park, when Ben got an ear hematoma; then I remembered New Year’s Eve waiting for the ball to drop with him right next to me.
I felt like I hadn’t done enough, that I didn’t give enough time when it came to Ben. There would be no more good morning kisses; no more nights watching TV with him; no more face waiting to greet me at the gate when I get home from school.
I collapse to my knees and sob, sob until I can sob no more.
Literary Anlalysis: "O Captain! My Captain!" by Walt Whitman
In the poem, “O Captain! My Captain!” by Walt Whitman, the speaker uses a combination of diction and imagery to convey to the reader he looks up to Abraham Lincoln as a leader and is grief stricken.
The speaker combines imagery and diction of titles of the dead Abe Lincoln to show his importance to the speaker as a leader. As the speaker tells the dead Lincoln that crowds are mourning for him, he does not answer. As he puts his arm around Lincoln, he claims, “my father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will,” (15). The speaker refers to Abe Lincoln as father, which means that the speaker looks at Abe as a father. A person’s father is usually their role model, so it seems the speaker looks at Abe as a role model. He also claims Lincoln is dead because he can’t fell his pulse with his arm wrapped around him. This also means the speaker feels grief because many people become emotional when they lose their father. As the speaker fills with relief that the trip is over, he still mourns for his captain. As the crowd celebrates, the speaker continues to mourn; “But I with mournful tread, Walk the deck my Captain lies, Fallen cold and dead.” (19, 20, 21). The speaker uses imagery and diction to show that the he sees Abe Lincoln as his idol. Throughout the poem, he refers to Abe as Captain, a title of great importance, which refers to the leader of a ship and his crew, so the Captain is usually a highly respected member on a ship. He is overjoyed that the dangerous journey is over. Yet he is still distraught that Abe is dead. He uses strong words such as mournful to paint a scene of sadness and depression in a reader’s mind. He also uses words such as cold and dead to show what Abe Lincoln looks like to him as he is lying on the deck. Diction and imagery were some of the things the speaker uses to describe his own compassion for Lincoln; however, he uses other methods throughout the poem too.
The author uses imagery and diction of crowds to show his opinion on how important Abe Lincoln was to him. As the ship nears the shore, the crew slowly breathes in relief. When they are sailing into the harbor, the speaker describes the scene; “The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting.” (2). The speaker uses diction, such as exulting, to show the crowd’s excitement and jubilation that Abe Lincoln and the ship have made it through the journey, which makes it seem like America idolizes Abe Lincoln, including the speaker, who is probably spicing up the description. The crowd, however, does not know Abe is dead, causing the reader and the speaker to feel sad about the situation. He also uses imagery and description of the scenes and sounds, like bells, to show the crowd is celebrating their arrival, and how important Abe Lincoln is to everybody, especially the positive speaker. As the crowd sees the ship dock, they eagerly await to see Abe. The speaker describes the crowd, “For they call, the swaying masses, their eager faces turning;” (9). The crowd is described by the speaker; he uses imagery to describe the massive crowds gathering on the shore, waiting eagerly to see Abe Lincoln. He is idolized by everyone at the scene. The crowd is also described as calling Abe Lincoln’s name, showing they have respect and caring toward him. It also shows they want to see him extremely badly. The description shows the speaker also has a positive attitude toward Abe Lincoln, because he is probably spicing up the scene he describes with his own words. The crowd’s description can be used to reveal the speaker’s attitude about something.
Tardy- A Short Story
On a very sunny June day, I walk out to the field with some friends during lunch. We all sit on a a long blue bench at the edge of the grass. Topics fly around: baseball, high school, Junior Guards, funny moments in class, and many others that I lost track of.
The afternoon is a crisp one. The sun fills my body with energy and warmth. The chirping of birds takes my mind off all the curriculum we have to remember for our finals. Laughter, yelling, and talking fill the air around us. The smell of grass and pine flood my senses.
As if the minutes were seconds, our 20 minutes are over and I hear the familiar bell ring. My friends grab their backpacks, get up, and leave.
But I don't move. I can't leave. Why should the school strip me of a beautiful day like this? So as I hear the sounds of lunch quiet like a decrescendo in band, I stay seated on the warm, blue bench.
I observe everything around me. I slight breeze rustles the palms above. A squirrel runs to the middle of the field to grab a pinecone, but runs back as if it's being hunted. A seagull finds a bag of Doritos and attempts to rip it open. The grass sways with the slightest of wind.
Kids begin to file into the locker room to change for PE. I wish I had PE 6th period. I don't want to go to Spanish or English. I've already had enough academics today.
I realize that I don't have to go. I can just stay down here. I'll say I had to help out a teacher.
As I devise my plan, I hear the second bell, and almost instinctively hear myself mutter "Oh, god! I'm late!" I grab my backpack and run to class. This day will have to wait another two hours.