Reading Responses

Time gun views – article: 1

Intro:

For this reading response I decided to a magazine article from time. This was different to my earlier responses, because it was quite topical. It was about the school shootings in America, and the debates about whether guns need to be banned, have regulations placed or stay the same. For this article many people across America were chosen at random, with different backgrounds, views and morals on the topic. So I thought I would throw in my own opinion on this, as well as go over the reasons others had for their opinions and the articles overall intentions.

Pro-guns:

There were alot of different views on this topic, and from what I could see, the majority backed the anti-guns side. This didn’t surprise me, due to the recent events in America, however I was still undecided on which side to take at this point. On one side, guns injure or kill people, it’s what they are designed to do, but on the other, they can be used for self defense, hunting, sport and other activities. The comment from a man called David Preston really hit me hard though. He said, “My mother committed suicide with a gun. I believe in the second Amendment, but I’m willing to consider keeping guns from people who do harm with them.” This comment was a powerful one, he supported the pro-gun side, but was willing to listen to the anti-gun side because of his own experiences, and it got me thinking what I would do in his shoes, because I don’t think after something like that I could still support guns. But he did, while also keeping an open mind, and I thought if someone can go through something so terrible and still support them, then are they the problem? Another pro-gun speaker had a much different view than David, and he looked at the statistics of gun violence, and reinforced my state of thinking that the guns were not the problem. This man Dan Zelenka pointed out, Gun crimes have gone down since the mid-90s. He said, “America has gotten safer, but we watch night after night the news about the epidemic of gun violence.” He then pointed out what he thought the problem is, saying it was, “The Criminal’s.” I think I supported his view as I read this, supporting change to stop criminals from gaining access to guns, however, we both believed the right to bear arms is important. I believe access to guns should change, but they should not be completely outlawed. I believe a criminal will always find a way to kill a person, so disarming everyone will only increase the casualty rate, because guns aren’t only used to kill others, they are used to defend yourself.

Anti-guns:

In all honesty, after the above paragraph, I’m not so sold on a no-gun America. I compared some of Americas school killings with ones from other countries and made a discovery on a school murder case in Japan. I found information on the Osaka school massacre, which was a case of stabbings in a 2001, Japanese elementary school killing 8 children, in which the culprit used a kitchen knife.To me this represented a fact, that killers will kill, whether they have a gun or not, and if America is disarmed, then you may have taken a singular weapon from a murderers arsenal, but you’ve also taken a means of defence from the people. There is another more recent case in 2016, where a man went into a mental health care center and killed 19 people, again using a normal kitchen knife. Japan has very strict gun laws, with psychological tests, gun safety tests, house checks, and other such methods preventing people from getting guns. Even if you do manage to get a gun license in Japan, the best you can own is a hunting rifle. However even with this lack of guns in Japan, people are still killed, knives and other weapons still exist and are easy to get your hands on. Does this mean we ban ownership of every kitchen utensil, tool and brick lying on the street? Of course not, they are important to our very way of living, it’s no different with guns, they provide entertainment, pest extermination, sport and food for some, and for them, it’s a persons way of life, they grew up in these environments. Mathilde Wimberly, one of the Anti-gun speakers, said “My questions [for gun-rights advocates] is, what are you so afraid of? But that’s offensive.” I’d like to reply to this comment because I believe there is a lot to be afraid of. As I stated with the above examples, with or without guns, murder still happens, the tool may change, but the acts are the same. And if murder still happens, there is a lot to be afraid of, and with guns, we can keep that fear, just a little bit lower.

The Articles Intention:

The idea to bring all these peoples from different backgrounds and having different experiences with guns or having no experiences at all was a bold one. However, I believe it was a interesting and overall successful event. At first I thought it would go up like a barn fire, just getting worse and worse. However I was pleasantly surprised to see open discussion and changing opinions, even extreme talkers from each side were listened to and listened to others. This proves that, people from all different backgrounds and situations can come together and logically discuss something for a greater good, sharing and listening to the opinions of people, they normally would never talk to and its empowering to see people put aside their conflictions and work toward change.

Conclusion:

So should guns be banned? Was the experiment successful, and what did success mean for it? Everyone will have a differing opinion on this but as for me, I don’t think that guns should be banned, but the experiment, I believe was a success. I came into this discussion completely neutral, since I don’t live in America; I can’t imagine the circumstances these people may have been in, however from what I have read from the discussion or researched personally, I have come to my own personal conclusion that; yes they may be dangerous, as is everything, and no they should not be banned because of this. However I have a single opinion in a sea of many, and so I ask, what’s your opinion?

A monster calls – extended text: 2

A monster calls is a novel written by Patrick Ness based on the original idea by Siobhan Dowd. It was published in 2011 and is about Conor O’Malley, who is a 13 year old boy, bullied and alone at school within the events of the book. It is about his meeting and interactions with, “The Monster,” that appears outside his window. However, this is not the only monster in the story, there is also the monster in his dreams, the one he can’t face, the one that scares him more than anything, himself. I believe in this book, monsters represent knowledge, not only knowledge about the world, but also knowledge about oneself. When the monster appears outside Conor’s window, its not the monster he expects, it is a timeless creature, who has intervened in many lives, larger than a house and knowing many secrets, yet Conor is not afraid. This monster returns, night after night, to tell Conor its stories, in order to try and reveal to him, the true monster. This real monster, the one his family had tried to deny to him as soon as it arrived. Because, this book is not about stories, not about a small boy who is bullied, but about the unspeakable monster, the one that is denied light throughout the whole story, the one word Conor needs to face. This is a story about cancer.

“Your mind will believe comforting lies while also knowing the painful truths that make those lies necessary. And your mind will punish you for believing both.” – The Monster

Conor O’Malley suffers a monster in his dreams. One within himself, that he fears more than anything. One that if spoken of, will be let loose and take away that which he loves. But why does he think this way? Why does asking for help and speaking out fill him with such a deep dread? Conor is following in the footsteps for all those around him. His Grandmother, his father, everyone he is close too is denying what is happening to him, and he believes them, or at least tries to. However there is this nagging knowledge, this understanding monster that he is fighting back. Because he knows what is going on, he understands the situation, and that is why he fights so hard to deny it. As I said earlier the monsters represent knowledge in this text, and the one in his head specifically represents the forbidden unspeakable knowledge, it represents the inevitability of his mother’s death to cancer, and the fact that he is waiting for it to be over. But the fear of this knowledge, the overwhelming, terrifying fear of it, is preventing Conor from letting it loose.

The other monster, is the one that visits him at night, and this one represents all knowledge, and helps Conor to accept the other monster inside him. He resolves to tell him ancient stories, in an effort to convince Conor of what he is doing, believing both truth and lie, and bringing about the other monster while doing so.

The Alchemist – extended text: 3

Recently I read the short story The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. The story is based around protagonist Santiago, a shepherd from Spain, who goes to Egypt in search of his treasure.

Santiago is having dreams, dreams of a far away treasure surrounded by sand with pyramids reaching the sky behind it. In the Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho, Santiago is a shepherd, who moves his flock through the country of Spain. He travels, enjoys life, and even falls in love. However Santiago’s dreams are urging him on, and with a little push from a stranger, he finds himself selling his flock and sailing to Africa, so that he can find his treasure. He undergoes trials, as all heroes do, he meets new friends, and discovers new cultures. Santiago travels the desert, and meets The Alchemist. Its at this point that, I believe he truly starts his journey. I believe this because it is here that he meets his true and final mentor, and it is also the part of the story, where he thinks about giving up. I believe it’s important because it also speaks to the reader, about finding comfort and staying there. Just because you get comfortable, does not mean your story is over, and just because you get comfortable, does not mean you should not continue. It teaches us that we must always strive to finish what we have started, to reach out with both hands and take control of our treasures, and to believe that there is always something more for you.

The Alchemist is a story that the reader can relate to. I believe everyone has felt a sense of adventure or curiosity. However, this was especially true for me. My mother lived in Japan for 5 years, and growing up, she would tell me stories of all the amazing things there. I often dreamed about what it would be like, or what I would discover if I went there. This is similar to the dreams of treasure in Egypt that Santiago was having. And like Santiago, I decided to go to Japan, and find whatever it was there that was carving me up with a blade of curiosity. When I got there, I faced challenges, such as language, culture, and not knowing what was where, or how to get there. However I met wonderful people who supported and helped me and I was held up, I explored, I had fun and, I believe I found my treasure. In Japan I found out who I want to be, where I want to go, and what I want to do with my life. Like Santiago, there was no chest of gold waiting for me under the sand, or in my case snow, there was only a sense of achievement, and gratitude, to all those who helped me reach my personal treasure. The Alchemist felt like a reflection of what I had gone through, although a little more dramatic, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

Paulo Coelho is truly a inspirational writer, and deeply touched me with his book, The Alchemist. He manages to induce true emotion in the reader, through the feelings of Santiago.

The book thief – film: 4

The Book Thief movie is a film directed by Brian Percival and adapted from the best selling book. It follows along with the life of Liesel Meminger, as she lives her life in Nazi Germany and how she loses and regains her family

The Book Thief begins with the trip to Liesel’s new foster parents, where her brother dies and her mother leaves her behind. This is where her mother leaves her. I was quite in shock at the fact that a parent could abandon their child, even knowing the fact that it is not uncommon. I think because I was brought up in a comforting home, with loving parents, I found this scene quite upsetting. I try to think of a life without my parents, and at such a young age, makes me feel sad for her, because in my eyes, my mum is one of my greatest friends.

Afterward, however, Liesel is met by a new caring parent figure, Hans Hubermann, an old but kind man who becomes one of his foster parents. Unfortunately she is also met by her foster mother Rosa Hubermann. Rosa represents one of the early antagonists in the film, being the new but different mother figure, that Liesel has to learn to accept, however in vise versa, Rosa, must also learn to love Liesel, who seems to be her own hurdle to jump. Rosa being the early antagonist gives her a chance to grow her character and accept her new family.

When Hans is headed to become a soldier on the Train Liesel tells him not to go, and says, “I don’t to lose someone else.” This brings me back to the beginning of the film, where Liesel’s mother leaves her, and her brother dies. I felt quite emotional here, because I think everyone has experienced loss, and therefore can relate to this moment. However, the sheer amount of this loss that Liesel faces in a few short years, makes me feel incredible humble about my own. It gives us a view into the world of WW11 when people were losing loved ones all around them.

Game of Thrones: Hardhome Episode – film: 5

Intro:

Within the world of Westeros not a single character is exempt from a brutal death. Game of thrones is a tv adaptation of the world famous book series a song of ice and fire and was directed by Miguel Sapochnik. Please note that reading beyond here will spoil the events of season 5 episode 8 in the show. I will specifically be speaking about the character Karsi, whom died in the events of Hardhome, because she drew a moral line on her actions. This got me thinking, where does a person draw the line when fighting the wights of GoT, (Game of Thrones) because they used to be people, they used to be innocent, and for all we know, there is a possibility that a human mind can still exist behind the monstrous undead.

When Jon goes to Hardhome, he holds a meeting with the Wildling Chiefs, imploring that they help him face off against the wights. It is here that we meet Karsi. Karsi is probably the most reasonable of all the chieftains, however she still begins hostile toward Jon. She openly states the people she has lost, fighting the night’s watch, those among them being her father, uncle and two brothers. However when Tormund vouches for Jon she says, “I’ll never trust a man in black…but I trust you, Tormund. If you say this is the way, we’re with you.” It is Tormund who has Karsi’s trust, not Jon, and this shows us she does not just throw her life into the hands of another. However we also know that this response is due to her looking out for her own children, because where she goes they go.

This leads us too the attack of the whites. As the people of Hardhome are being evacuated Karsi sends her daughters off ahead to the ships, while she stays behind to hold back the whites as people evacuate (Major death flag raised here, by the way.) She fights along side Jon and Tormund against the whites, killing many before she faces a group of undead children. It is here where we know for sure that she is going to die. We know she will die here, because we know that she would give her life to defend children, and thus cannot bring herself to fight back against these little monsters.

So here is where I’d like to bring up morals, because yes it is self defense, and they are no longer human, however they were once, and its not known that there isn’t a cure for their current situation. Does this mean we would kill each other at the slightest event of disaster? Perhaps a pandemic arrives and we start killing each other to avoid spread. Can we really still call ourselves human after such acts? I think not.

Ice god of Hungary – Song: 6

Intro:

To most people listening to ‘Ice God of Hungary’ the song seems nonsensical, weird and random. However, I believe those people are lacking the mindset to truly understand what its about. So here I am, to educate you all, to help you understand what makes this song an absolute banger.

Ice God of Hungary is a song written and performed by Glitter Job, and it teaches us not to listen to the lyrics of a song, but to understand, deep down, what it makes us feel. Ice god of Hungary’s lyrics portray a journey, of how a being became known as a god. It portrays him sailing, and it portrays his harsh rule as a god. However there is more to the song than just this. For some it may seem to be rambling, a void of nothingness to fill up space, however it makes me feel the music, rather than hear it.

I believe the intention of Glitter Job, when writing this, was to evoke a feeling of awkwardness in the listeners, and by doing so, making them search for something normal in the song. This, of course, draws them to the instruments; which are in tune, calming and nice. It’s a very intentional move on their part, to draw the listeners away from looking for meaning in words, and rather the music itself.

So to conclude, I think Ice God of Hungary is a masterpiece, and is just a misunderstood song. It teaches its listeners to search for a deeper meaning in the world, and not just pulling meaning from the words of others. Anyone who can’t see this is not yet in tune enough to realise its beauty.

One Reply to “Reading Responses”

  1. Sam, Response 5 is your strongest. This is because it includes all of the elements required to meet this standard: personal reflections on aspects of the text, supported by specific quotations/pieces of evidence, and final conclusions drawn about the writer’s purpose. However, your other responses do need some work. make sure that you have completed all of your responses, and that you include valuable evidence to support your points.

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