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Grade 12 University English Prerequisite- To be mandatory or not to be mandatory?

Ah, here comes the most simple yet complex question that every student will ask themselves at least once in their high school career – “Do I really need this class?” Considering the amount of pressure and conflict students carry on their backs when planning their future and thinking about the prerequisites that are needed for university, the focus of this blog is to discuss whether or not grade 12 University level English should be an entry requirement for all university programs. English happens to be one of the most controversial subjects as there is such an abundance of opinions and bias that comes with analyzing the importance of this course in specific.

Let’s just start with the commonality between almost all university programs – they require English as a prerequisite, and my standpoint on this supports the necessity of the course for a variety of reasons. To sum it up, I am a firm believer in proper use of grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, etc. I also believe that preserving the writings of old literature and continuing it throughout studies is crucial for an enriching and well rounded university experience.

Currently being enrolled in an online English class most certainly shaped my view on the importance of this course. Considering the course itself, many people restrict the content to just a closed classroom where students discuss grammar, write essays and other typical curriculum expectations. But, English is beyond these four walls and unknowingly flows into daily activities. Think about those emails that you compose, letters written or resumes being handed in for a job. What is the core and essential principle that is a similar attribute to all of these? The fundamental basics of English!

On the contrary, I want to mention an argument that students have which contradicts the necessity of English as a prerequisite. Many students who wish to pursue a career in science or mathematics strongly feel that this will not be beneficial for their future endeavours in any way whatsoever. However, lets take an example of the medical field. The root of this field is simple communication. Whether it be enriching and educating oneself with the history of medicine and teaching that to patients, or conferences to

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Communication with the patient is very important and English assists in forming oral communication skills!

discuss medical complications with fellow associates. In a 2012 study on Communication Research in Alberta, the results found that miscommunication was the leading social issue faced in most hopsitals across the city (Meneghini, 12). This could be further avoided since communication is a direct branch that stems from the English language, and excelling in this area would better one’s communication techniques, leading to betterment in the field as a whole. 

 

Furthermore, the emphasis that is placed on note taking and being able to reference ideas which are being included in the works of writing are very crucial for ethical reasons as well. Students, regardless of what field they pursue, will be required to do research and write papers. When referencing ideas they have borrowed, being able to cite the work properly comes into the category of academic honesty and credentials(Virginia News).

 

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Many students, due to the lack of knowledge on plagiarism just copy and paste!

Grade 12 English is a stepping stone that would ensure that students in the future are staying true to plagiarism prevention, thus making them academic scholars with the ability to give credit and uphold the value of originality. 

 

All in all, grade 12 English by far is the most vital course that would be apparent in almost all post secondary areas, due to the vast information it covers. The fundaments and core foundations are persistent and will carry students through an academic and well rounded post secondary experience. Long live the customary English prerequisite!

 

 

Citations:

Meneghini, Rogerio, and Abel L. Packer. “Is there science beyond English?” EMBO reports. EMBO Press, 01 Feb. 2007. Web. 05 July 2017. <http://embor.embopress.org/content/8/2/112&gt;.
“New Professor Stresses Importance of Academic Writing.” UVA Today. N.p., 22 Nov. 2013. Web. 05 July 2017. <https://news.virginia.edu/content/new-professor-stresses-importance-academic-writing&gt;.

 

 

 

Adnan Syed – Innocent until proven Guilty

Through cases being reopened and discussed publicly, accusations and defense are what murder stories naturally bring along. I mean, that’s what publicity of them generates – opinions. Specifically, in Sarah Koenig’s podcast, Serial, which is regarding the Adnan Syed Murder case. It can arguably be one of the most complex cases due to the lack of foundation and evidence (“Adnan Syed”).

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The center of discussions these days has been the guilt or innocence of Adnan Syed.

      ~Click to watch a summary of the case~

Before I delve in to give my opinion on this case, I want to focus this blog on one of the most sacred principles in the criminal justice system, “holding that a defendant is innocent until proven guilty. In other words, the prosecution must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, each essential element of the crime charged” (“Presumption of innocence”).

Simply going off of this key principle, I am firm on my decision that Adnan Syed is innocent.

There are many reasons as to why I am with Adnan on this case and I have no other option but to stand with what my heart, brain and sacred principle says.

So, here it goes…

1.His memory regarding the day

Throughout the podcast, Koenig expresses frustration with Adnan’s inability to recall as to what he was doing the day of Hae’s disappearance.

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Hae’s body was found on February 9th 1999 and this is the crime scene. Adnan was questioned prior to this date and he did not recall the events (“Adnan Syed”).

It’s certainly frustrating for Adnan more than anyone that his memories don’t include any form of evidence which could help determine who killed Hae. As much as his lack of memory can be seen as a way of covering up and not having to justify what he did on January 13th, I see it as clear as black and white. Why can’t Adnan remember? Because there is no significance to that day, compared to other days, which compels him to remember. The day is just another which Adnan had to live his daily life, “We attend to the present, and therefore we forget. We live our lives moving forward – comprehending, acting, and reacting” (“Why we forget”). To further prove this, Adnan states: “…the only thing I can say is, man, it was just a normal day to me. There was absolutely nothing abnormal about that day” (Koenig).

I often wonder if he’s trying so hard to remember that he’s forgetting, but this is an aspect which cannot be proven or tested, – memory is memory, and memory cannot be forced out of Adnan.

Memory
Memory is wired into the brain, but there must be some signifcance to an event for the brain to store that information(“Why we forget”).

If someone was to ask me what I did exactly two weeks ago from today, I wouldn’t be able to tell them. Why? Because nothing worth remembering happened. Hence, I can understand Adnan’s frustration in not being able to remember. Because as much as he tries – he simply can’t. If indeed he did murder Hae, there should be some form of remembrance of any activity which he could manipulate to use to his advantage – but he isn’t doing that.

And that’s why I’m compelled to believe he indeed doesn’t recall. After all, nobody would lie about not remembering something that could possibly free them from fifteen years of confinement.

2.Adnan’s character and motive                                                                                                   

It has been argued that “Adnan has the intentions of a murder and his darker teenage side compels us to doubt that he could be a potential murderer” (“Adnan Syed guilty”).

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Adnan Syed and Saad Chaudhry to his right.

However, Adnan’s friend, Saad, mentions that although Adnan did partake in activities such as drinking, smoking and sexual intercourse, he was still only “…guilty of being a normal kid with immigrant parents” (Koenig).

Whose words seem more trustworthy? Between an outsider and Adnan’s best friend, I’ll have to pick Saad. It’s easy to point fingers and accuse Adnan of being “a dark teenager” especially since he is of a strong Muslim background; where actions such as drinking and intercourse are hugely frowned upon (“Islam beliefs”).  However, considering the enormous role that peers play in a teenager’s life and the effect that friends and society have, Adnan was simply experiencing life as a teenager.

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Islam is very strict with its beliefs and rituals. Adnan is a follower of the religion, but when teenage needs and religion conflict, it’s a natural stage of experiences.

The reason I can really sympathize with Adnan is because of my strong religious background as well. Hinduism and Islam are strongly related, and the core beliefs that my parents implement in staying home and not being involved in the usual “teenage activities” are really similar to Adnan’s situation.  By accusing Adnan of having bad intentions and breaking the rules that his parents put up for him is unacceptable – it’s simply the act of growing up.

So while his image is cleared up, there’s still the question of Adnan’s potential motive and his feelings towards Hae.

 When thinking about this cold murder, it’s the sole act of killing another individual that pops up first. It’s not under alcoholic influence, or a heat of the moment and passionate crime. While keeping this in mind, the only logical reasoning as to why Adnan would possibly wish to kill Hae is “…to take the matter into [his] own hands and try to make [her] suffer just like [he] did. [He] justifies [himself] saying, ‘you get what you give’” (“Reasons to kill”).

But this completely contradicts what Adnan says: “…I just sometimes wish they could look into my brain and see how I really felt about her… Whatever the motivation is to kill someone… it didn’t exist in me.  No one ever has been able to provide any shred of evidence that I had anything but friendship toward her, like love and respect for her… I had no reason to kill her” (Koenig).

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Adnan and Hae seen as a couple during their prom.

Adnan is adamant about his feelings towards Hae, and in Hae’s diary, she never even mentions Adnan or any dangerous vibes from him after they broke up. Keeping anger bottled inside of Adnan would not make any sense – he would have to share it with someone. Yet none of his friends reported any hatred or desire for revenge on Adnan’s part.

This eliminates the idea of a murder based on revenge and hatred. It also clears up Adnan’s character which could even potentially build up bias against him. Going off of the way his peers described him, his adamant words and lack of motive – this just gives me one more reason to deem him as innocent.

~Click to watch Hae’s family speak about this murder~

 3.Jay’s weak testimony and lack of evidence

 To say the least, the evidence against Adnan is weak. When analyzing the justice system, it needs to follow the “beyond a reasonable doubt measure” (“Canadian justice system”).

The only REAL evidence the court is considering is Jay Wilds’ testimony, which seems to create more and more questions for me. There isn’t a solid foundation on which this
murder case is built on – the jury was not even given any concrete evidence which would be enough to go past the reasonable doubt.

In greater detail, Jay says that: “[Adnan] opens the trunk. And all I can see is Hae’s lips are all blue, and she’s pretzeled up in the back of the trunk. And she’s dead” (Koenig).

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There were no DNA tests done to test the claims that Jay Wilds made.

There should be so much evidence being derived from this scenario, but there isn’t. There is no physical evidence that links Hae’s body to Adnan or to the trunk of the car. Where is the evidence that her body was “pretzeled up in a trunk” before she was buried? And even if she was buried, where is the evidence of the shovels? There is none. There are no documented attempts to recover the shovels or even take DNA tests at the time of the investigation to find clues that could help catch the cold hearted murderer (“Adnan Syed key evidence”).

Yet even due to the appalling lack of documentation of Hae’s burial scene, a witness’s statement lends more credibility than physical evidence.

Another thing I find interesting, is the blind actions that Jay follows. Jay states: “[Adnan] told me that I had to take him back to school because he needed to be seen there” (Koenig). If it were anyone else in this situation, and if the sight of Hae’s body “painted a cold and dark picture” (Koenig), then why not call the police right then and there? If Jay indeed had to go drop off Adnan at school, then were was his noble intention to report a crime?

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On the left is Adnan Syed and to his right is Jay Wilds.

If Adnan really threatened him, while the time that he was in school, Jay could have easily called the police to report Adnan and there would be no danger that Adnan could pose for Jay. But he didn’t. And this is what pokes holes in his testimony – Jay never claims to have seen Adnan kill Hae; he simply claims to have helped Adnan bury her body.

4.Asia McClain

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Picture: Asia McClain in 2017.

When Adnan’s classmate, Asia, is interviewed almost fifteen years later, she is still firm in her statement: “Adnan came in. He sat at the table. And we weren’t really close friends or anything like that, but we knew each other. And we chatted or whatever… I know school let out around 2:15. So it was probably around 2:30” (Koenig). The whole point of this story is to use the time that Hae died as a direct clue.

~Click to watch Asia McClain Speaking Out~

I can’t stop myself from getting furious about Asia’s testimony denial. Adnan’s petition to bring Asia to court was denied by the judge. His reasoning was clear – Asia’s letter did not specify an exact time and her statement could have easily been regarded as a lie in order to help Adnan (“Adnan Syed is Innocent”).

This does make me wonder that maybe Asia really is lying to protect Adnan, but she herself says that they “weren’t really close friends” so, why would she lie? What’s the motive? Why protect someone she isn’t close with?

All I can think of is – nothing.

Lies simply cannot be told to save someone with no close relationship. I put my faith into Asia’s word as she never changes her statement even after fifteen years. Fifteen years where life can take its toll and make someone forget – but not Asia. She is positive about seeing Adnan, and I can’t disregard this information.

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Letter which Asia wrote to Adnan, confirming that she indeed did see him in the library on the day of Hae’s dissappearance.

She remembers this day because of significant events such as; her boyfriend being late and the first snowfall of the year. She remembers because it perhaps really did happen – Adnan might have really been there (“Asia McClain testimony”). Of course, I can’t just conclude this because the whole case revolves around the time frame, and if it was this easy to say Adnan was innocent, he wouldn’t be in jail right now.

But I’m simply viewing the only statement which is believable with physical evidence (the notes), since Jay’s story cannot be backed up with hard, raw evidence… I’m putting my full faith in Asia McClain.

And there it is. My thoughts on Adnan Syed’s innocence, poured into this blog. Labelling an individual as “guilty” without the State even knowing themselves, is complete bias for the public. The fact of the matter is, that while considering the statement “innocent until proven guilty” – Adnan Syed will remain innocent until, and only unless the State of Maryland can use concrete evidence to prove his guilt.

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Until proven guilty, Adnan Syed should be labelled as “innocent” in the eyes of law. 

 

 

Works Cited

ABCNews. “Asia McClain Speaks Out About ‘Serial’s’ Adnan Syed.” YouTube. YouTube, 10 Feb. 2016. Web. 28 July 2017.

“Adnan Syed.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, n.d. Web. 28 July 2017.

“Adnan Syed guilty.” Reddit. Reddit, n.d. Web. 28 July 2017.

“Adnan Syed is Innocent.” Reddit. Reddit, n.d. Web. 28 July 2017.

“Adnan Syed key evidence.” Rolling Stone. Rolling Stone, 01 July 2016. Web. 28 July 2017.

“Asia McClain testimony.” PBS. Public Broadcasting Service, 22 Jan. 2015. Web. 28 July 2017.

“Canadian Justice  System” Kostman & Pyzer Barristers. N.p., 04 July 2014. Web. 28 July 2017.

“Islamic Beliefs.” ReligionFacts. N.p., 22 June 2017. Web. 28 July 2017.

Koenig, Sarah. “Episode 01: The Alibi.” Serial. N.p., 03 Oct. 2014. Web. 21 July 2017.

Msnbcleanforward. “Major Breakthrough In ‘Serial’ Case | msnbc.” YouTube. YouTube, 19 May 2015. Web. 28 July 2017.

“Presumption of innocence.” LII / Legal Information Institute. N.p., 19 Aug. 2010. Web. 28 July 2017.

” Reasons to kill.” List Dose. N.p., 12 Mar. 2015. Web. 28 July 2017.

“Why We Forget.” Psychology Today. Sussex Publishers, 23 June 2017. Web. 28 July 2017.

WMARabc2news. “Hae Min Lee’s family speaks | Serial podcast.” YouTube. YouTube, 20 Nov. 2014. Web. 28 July 2017.

Sincere thoughts on “Serial”!

Stepping out of my comfort zone and experiencing new things isn’t my favourite, but Serial completely changed me. I didn’t like the podcast – I LOVED it. I’ve always been a

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The very famous front cover of Serial.

fan of Murder Mysteries and I like to think I’ve watched all movies relating to the genre. Podcasts however, haven’t been my preference but there’s a couple things which made Serial stand out and make its way into my heart.

As soon as the first episode starts, the fuzzy recording just gives a vibe that gets me hooked. Having Adnan’s voice adds a sense of realness and the music polishes it completely. The emotions invoked all range from curious; to impatient; to frustration, and then judgement. Serial manages to use witnesses, real life examples and different viewpoints to engage the listener in every way possible. Perhaps that’s why I genuinely liked the podcast so much.

In addition, this method of investigative journalism is pure genius. To start; “definitions of investigative reporting vary, among professional journalism groups there is broad agreement of its major components: systematic, in-depth, and original research and reporting, often involving the unearthing of secrets” (“Defining the Craft”).

 

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The lens that investigative journalism takes on examining key details.

Personally speaking, investigative journalism is something someone can have a strong passion for, or none at all. Although not many people might enjoy it, this podcast method of investigative journalism ties in aspects that a lot of people can relate to, proving that this format is actually a brilliant idea. By asking questions to the listener using an emotionally charged tone, it provides journalism on a level which other formats cannot necessarily execute as easily. It’s much harder to trigger feelings through reading a report of an investigation than to actually hear the pain, misery and sorrow through a podcast. 

Something a bit more negative and a fragile topic regarding this podcast is the impact that the victim’s family may feel. The impact of incarceration is not limited to the individual who is actually serving time behind bars. While inmates experience the direct affects of confinement, their families live their lives in the shadows of prison (“Families and incarceration”). After the nation wide success and popularity of Serial, it not only opens up the doors to public judgement, but the old wounds of family members.

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Adnan Syed’s family returning to the court room for Adnan’s hearing.

For example, the host mentions; “They told me about Adnan Syed… when he was arrested for murder, so many people who know him were stunned” (Koenig). If friends were stunned by Adnan’s arrest, it screams pain for the family. I can’t imagine what they must have went through when Adnan was startled awake from his sleep and taken straight to jail. Such memories never leave the eyes and heart and to think that the popularity of Serial just adds fuel to the fire is quite upsetting in terms of the family. Although I feel Serial is a way to raise awareness about Adnan’s case, it is much more excruciating for the family because it leads to more publicity and while people discuss, more memories keep flooding in. That’s why I’m a bit torn on how the family feels. There’s a sense of awareness but a sense of pain to think about Adnan as more people get to know about his case.

On a similar note, while there are some memories that are completely unforgettable, there are some which cannot be remembered at all. The host starts the podcast by discussing the challenges of memory, and for me, I tend to remember things quite well.  Whether it be a day with friends, the first day of high school or even my seventh birthday. I have strong visuals of most days simply because I try to find something significant to make me remember. But when thinking of tiny details which I don’t have a method of remembering, this is when it raises the concern of forgetting. As I was listening to the podcast, I kept thinking as if I was Adnan and what I would have remembered about the day that Hae was murdered. If nothing significant happened which would make me remember – then my memory would be going down the drain. But in Adnan’s case, his memory is the vital key in order to help him (“Adnan’s memory”). So although I didn’t get concerns about my memory, I was simply concerned about Adnan and feeling sympathetic towards him since I put myself into his shoes. The sole discussion of memory at the beginning just put me into an emotional state throughout the rest of the podcast as I was thinking of what Adnan might have done that day – but I’m not Adnan, so I can’t recall .

 

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What’s better; reading or listening?

The last comparison I want to make is between reading and listening to a text like this. First things first, reading is the traditional way that most people educate themselves. This can be from newspapers, tweets on twitter, to books. It has been proven that the brain absorbs information much better and it also has a greater retain rate when it is read(“Reading and rememberance”). However, the drawback to reading is the void of emotions – the voice can’t be felt and heard from a person sharing their experience. On the contrary, by listening to a text, the emotions can go straight to the heart and each ounce of pain, happiness, misery or whatever the emotion may be – it can be felt. For example, in the podcast, Adnan says: “There’s nothing I can do. So perhaps I’ll never be able to explain it. And it is what it is. If someone believes me or not, you know, I have no control over it” (Koenig). As i’m reading it this very moment, I can’t feel what Adnan is feeling and I can’t “see” it either. I know that neither reading or audiobook can make you “see” the emotions, but the use of sound effects or background music increases my ability to try and picture the image.

 

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Music can boost the mental imagery, making the method of audiobooks all the more beneficial.

It’s also proven that sound effects in an audio drama boost the level of mental imagery that listeners picture (“Inside the podcast brain”). So that confirms that there are benefits and drawbacks in both reading or listening to audio, but it’s personal preference. For me, I love audio because of the explosion of emotions it gives me.

So there is it! My first experience with podcasts and that too in my favourite genre – Murder Mysteries. I haven’t tried listening to podcasts for an extensive period of time but hey,… there’s a first for everything!

 

 

 

Works Cited

” Adnan’s memory” • r/serialpodcast.” Reddit. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 July 2017.

“Defining the Craft.” Global Investigative Journalism Network. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 July 2017.

“Incarceration Consequences” at NAP.edu.” National Academies Press: OpenBook. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 July 2017.

“Inside the Podcast Brain” The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, 16 Apr. 2015. Web. 21 July 2017.

“Reading and rememberance” Brainscape Blog. N.p., 14 May 2017. Web. 21 July 2017.

Koenig, Sarah. “Episode 01: The Alibi.” Serial. N.p., 03 Oct. 2014. Web. 21 July 2017. <https://serialpodcast.org/season-one/1/the-alibi&gt;.

 

Archetypal glass lens on Jeannatte Walls’ “The Glass Castle”

Reading a book and applying a theory is almost like breathing in a beautiful scenery – it can be interpreted differently depending on how you look at it.  When examining Wall’s The Glass Castle from an archetypal lens, it brings to the surface many symbols, archetypal characters and their journeys throughout the course of the plot.

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Rex tends to put on a face to influence his kids which leads to the archetype of him being an egosistic father.

The Glass Castle, is a memoir to Jeannette Walls’ life. The story depicts the troubled childhood of her and her three siblings, raised by unstable parents who struggle to keep their jobs and provide a high quality life for their family. The novel shows the journey of Jeannette and her way of coping with her troubled household.

To start off, Rex Walls is the father of three children and has an occasional drinking problem. Although it can be seen in many instances that he admires his kids unconditionally, he portrays the archetype of a father who seems to get his own way and is a soul crushing person. For example, when the family is on the move, his daughter is cradling her cat while Rex grabs her, throwing it out of the window, concluding that she will be much happier out in the wilderness where she belongs. From his perspective he may be correct but his daughter states: “Quixote landed with a screeching meow and a thud, Dad accelerated up the road, and I burst into tears” (Walls 32). It can be proven and confirmed from this that Rex unknowingly causes harm and hurts the souls of his kids by disrespecting something which they hold so close to their heart. To sum it up: “The father archetype exerts his influence on the human mind and lays restrictions and social values that are imposed as rules and laws, in accordance with Freud’s notion of superego” (“Father Archetype”). Rex Walls possesses traits of an egoistic and unthoughtful father in many circumstances, but of course, this adds to the essence of the novel and builds up to the heroic journey of Jeannette Walls which you will find out about next!  

Before we get into the nitty-gritty details of the heroic archetype and which character best fits this role, it’s crucial to understand a few traits. The first requirement is that: “the hero… unaware, is introduced sympathetically so the audience can identify with the situation or dilemma”(The Writer’s Journey). While considering this, let’s explore the protagonist and the first person narrator of the book – Jeannette Walls. Jeannette, although being a young child throughout the first half of the book, does not let age define her maturity. She resides in a household with parents who try to encourage her to live life with minimal guidance. When she was about four years old, she got caught in a horrendous fire incident for the second time and stated the following: “I wondered if the fire had been out to get me. I wondered if all fire was related… like the fire that had burned me that day while I cooked hot dogs… I didn’t have the answers to those questions, but what I did know was that I lived in a world that at any moment coulderupt into fire. It was the sort of knowledge that kept you on your toes” (45). This dialogue alone is enough for readers to label Jeannette as a heroic and young girl who is willing to persevere. How many kids have you met who are able to turn such a situation into a life evaluation? Jeannette, through her sympathetic circumstances allows readers to identify with her desperate situation of life, thus making her fulfill the role of a heroic archetype.

Now, to support the claim, let’s compare her to another famous character from The Hunger Games, which I’m sure most of you have heard of – Katniss Everdeen.  

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Katniss Everdeen from The Huner Games.

Katniss Everdeen is a young girl whose days were spent trying to keep her family alive until her call to adventure where she fulfilled her responsibilities (“Katniss Everdeen – Hero’s Journey”). Jeannette and Katniss have a lot in common as they are living off very little, yet their journey goes from innocence to experience.

Katniss fights in order to stay alive and to become a great figure for her sister. Jeannette battles the constant hardships of poverty and challenges herself to accept the circumstances of her family: “We liked our boxes. They made going to bed seem like an adventure” (68). Although Jeannette’s family is unfortunate, she takes the situation and makes it into the best version possible, again, portraying her whole hearted and accepting nature. Jeannette was able to manipulate poverty into an adventure, making the downsides in life seem positive.

So far, Jeannette’s story definitely aligns with the archetypal hero’s journey. Although Jeannette “never really knew a familiar place doing the ol’skedaddle” (101), it starts to become more of a journey of gaining experience through her travel from town to town, giving her the heroic journey attribute. She learns skills that help her survive and understand the severity of the situation that her father Rex is in, due to the escape he’s making from bill collectors. As a reader I can infer that as the plot progresses, Jeannette will confront her father about his wrong doings. Also, when she gradually matures, she will take matters into her own hands to provide for and sustain her family.

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The Joshua tree shrows limp branches reprsenting the struggles.

On another note, when examining the symbols in the book, the first one that comes to attention is the Joshua tree. When Jeannette and her family were residing in Midland, there was a tiny Joshua tree growing near their house. Jeannette told her mother that she “would protect it from the wind and water it every day so that it could grow nice and tall and straight” but her mother replied saying that she‘d be “destroying what makes it special… it’s the Joshua tree’s struggle that gives it its beauty” (91). This symbol can be used to understand Jeannette’s need to surmount incredible difficulties through the process of growing up. It suggests that Jeannette’s childhood was not in vain, and that she would not currently be the person she is today without these struggles (Litcharts). However, the tree also symbolizes the different ways that people can see the same image. For Jeannette, who understandably does not see the need for such struggles, the tree is rather ugly than beautiful. This can be compared to her mother who views the tree as a reprsentative of nature to represent obstacles and hardships.

Moving on to the most prominent symbol and coincidentally, the title of the book – The Glass Castle. Before we get into the details and meaning, let’s just admire the choice of the name as it doubles as the title of this memoir as well as an extended metaphor for empty promises and the false hopes offered by Rex. This use of figurative language is highly effective in allowing readers to make correlations between the symbol of the castle and the plot of the story which ties in to the idea of falsehood and acceptance of reality. Superb writing technique Jeannette Walls!

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The Glass Castle which Rex hopelessly dreams of building.

Anyways, back on track – The castle is first mentioned when Jeannette states: “Dad was telling us about the wondrous things he was going to do, like build the Glass Castle… a great big house he was going to build for us in the desert” (100). The Glass Castle encapsulates the extent to which Rex prefers to theorize and fantasize, rather than think practically and within his limits (“The Glass Castle”). It is the design that Rex keeps with him at all times to showcase his big dreams. But it also represents the hope and faith which Jeannette has in her heart to believe that her father will do what he promises. I strongly believe that the day she comes to understand that the glass castle will not actually be built, she will welcome her realistic attitude and maturity level. 

Well, there you have it! The first half of the Glass Castle has been packed with superb archetypes to showcase characters and symbols, allowing readers to experience a heartfelt connection with the novel. There is so much anticipation to see what the rest of the novel will uncover and what other lenses can be applied to better understand the emotional roller coaster this book is. Until then, breathe in the archetypal approach of this blog and eagerly await the next analysis folks!

 

 

MLA Works Cited

 “Father Archetype.” Therapist, Psychotherapist and Jungian Analyst in Milwaukee. N.p., 14 Oct. 2016. Web. 12 July 2017.

“INTRODUCTION.” Hero’s journey. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 July 2017.

“Katniss Everdeen – Hero’s Journey.” The Gallery of Heroes. N.p., 16 May 2017. Web. 12 July 2017.
LitCharts. “The symbol of The Joshua Tree in The Glass Castle from LitCharts | The creators of SparkNotes.” LitCharts. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 July 2017.
“The Glass Castle” Enotes.com. Enotes.com, n.d. Web. 12 July 2017.
“The Glass Castle.” Read Any Book. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 July 2017.

Archetypal glass lens on Jeannatte Wall’s The Glass Castle

Reading a book and applying a theory is almost like breathing in a beautiful scenery – it can be interpreted differently depending on how you look at it.  When examining Wall’s The Glass Castle from an archetypal lens, it brings to the surface many symbols, archetypal characters and their journeys throughout the course of the plot.

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Rex tends to put on a face to influence his kids which leads to the archetype of him being an egosistic father.

To start off, Rex Walls is the father of three children and has an occasional drinking problem. Although it can be seen in many instances that he admires his kids unconditionally, he portrays the archetype of a father who seems to get his own way and is a soul crushing person. For example, when the family is on the move, his daughter is cradling her cat; Quixote and Rex takes the cat, throwing it out of the window, concluding that she will be much happier out in the wilderness where she belongs. From his perspective he may be correct but his daughter states: “Quixote landed with a screeching meow and a thud, Dad accelerated up the road, and I burst into tears” (Walls 32). It can be proven and confirmed from this that Rex unknowingly causes harm and hurts the souls of his kids by disrespecting something which they hold so close to their heart. To sum it up: “The father archetype exerts his influence on the human mind and lays restrictions and social values that are imposed as rules and laws, in accordance with Freud’s notion of superego” (“Father Archetype). Rex Walls possesses traits of an archetypical egoistic and unthoughtful father in many circumstances, but of course, this adds to the essence of the novel and builds up to the heroic journey of Jeannette Walls which you will find out about next!  

 

 

Before we get into the nitty-gritty details of the heroic archetype and which character best fits this role, it’s crucial to understand a few traits. The first requirement is that: “the hero… unaware, is introduced sympathetically so the audience can identify with the situation or dilemma”(The Writer’s Journey). While considering this, lets explore the protagonist and the first person narrator of the book – Jeannette Walls. Jeannette, although being a young child throughout the first half of the book, does not let age define her maturity. She resides in a household with parents who try to encourage her to live life with minimal guidance. When she was about four years old, she got caught in a horrendous fire incident for the second time and stated the following: “I wondered if the fire had been out to get me. I wondered if all fire was related… like the fire that had burned me that day while I cooked hot dogs… I didn’t have the answers to those questions, but what I did know was that I lived in a world that at any moment coulderupt into fire. It was the sort of knowledge that kept you on your toes” (45).This dialogue alone is enough for readers to label Jeannette as a heroic and young girl who is willing to persevere. How many kids have you met who are able to turn such a situation into a life evaluation? Jeannette, through her sympathetic circumstances allows readers to identify with her desperate situation of life, thus making her fulfill the role of a heroic archetype.

Now, to support the claim, lets compare her to another famous character from The Hunger Games, which I’m sure most of you have heard of – Katniss Everdeen.  

 

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Katniss Everdeen from The Huner Games.

Katniss Everdeen is a young girl whose days were spent trying to keep her family alive and untilher call to adventure came up, she fulfilled her responsibilities (“Katniss Everdeen – Hero’s Journey). Jeannette and Katniss have a lot in common as they are living off very little yet their journey goes from innocence to experience.

 

Katniss fights in order to stay alive and become a great figure for her sister. Jeannette battles the constant hardships of poverty and challenges herself to accept the circumstances of her family: “We liked our boxes. They made going to bed seem like an adventure” (68). Although Jeannette’s family is unfortunate, she takes the situation and made it into the best version possible, again, portraying her whole hearted and accepting nature. Jeannette was able to manipulate poverty into an adventure, making everything in life seem as positive as possible.

 

 

So far, Jeannette’s story definitely aligns with the archetypal hero’s journey. Although Jeannette “never really knew a familiar place doing the ol’skedaddle” (101), it starts to become more of a journey of gaining experience through her travel from town to town which gives her the heroic journey attribute. She learns skills that help her survive and understands the severity of the situation that her father Rex is in due to the escape he’s making from bill collectors. Using the knowledge on this, we can make an educated guess that Jeannette will confront her father in the future and as she matures, she will take matters into her own hands to provide and sustain the family.

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The Joshua tree shrows limp branches reprsenting the struggles.

On another note, when examining the symbols in the book, the first one that comes to attention is the Joshua tree. When Jeannette and her family were residing in Midland, there was a tiny Joshua tree growing near their house. Jeannette told her mother that she “would protect it from the wind and water it every day so that it could grow nice and tall and straight” but her mother replied saying that she‘d be “destroying what makes it special,…it’s the Joshua tree’s struggle that gives it its beauty.” (91). This symbol can be used to understand Jeannette’s need to surmount incredible difficulties through the process of growing up. It suggests that Jeannette’s childhood was not in vain, and that she would not currently be the person she is today without these struggles (Litcharts). However, the tree also symbolizes the different ways that people can see the same image. For Jeannette, who understandably does not see the need for such struggles, the tree is rather ugly than beautiful, as compared to her mother who views the tree as a blessing of nature to represent obstacles and hardships.

Moving on to the most prominent symbol and coincidentally the title of the book – The Glass Castle.

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The Glass Castle which Rex hopelessly dreams of building.

 The castle is first mentioned when Jeannette states: “Dad was telling us about the wondrous things he was going to do, like build the Glass Castle… a great big house he was going to build for us in the desert” (100). The Glass Castle encapsulates the extent to which Rex prefers to theorize and fantasize, rather than think practically and within his limits (“The Glass Castle”). It is the design that Rex keeps with him at all times to showcase his big dreams. But it also represents the hope and faith which Jeannette has in her heart to believe that her father will do what he promises. With the past knowledge on Jeannette’s journey, I strongly believe that the day she comes to realize the Glass Castle will not actually be built, will be the moment that she’ll be fully maturity.

 

The first half of the Glass Castle has been packed with superb archetypes to showcase characters and symbols, allowing readers for a rich, interpretive and heartfelt connection with the novel. There is so much anticipation to see what the rest of the novel will uncover and what other lenses can be applied to better understand the emotional roller coaster this book is. Until then, breathe in the archetypal approach this blog took and eagerly await the next one, folks!

 

 

MLA Works Cited

 “Father Archetype.” Therapist, Psychotherapist and Jungian Analyst in Milwaukee. N.p., 14 Oct. 2016. Web. 12 July 2017.

“INTRODUCTION.” Hero’s journey. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 July 2017.

“Katniss Everdeen – Hero’s Journey.” The Gallery of Heroes. N.p., 16 May 2017. Web. 12 July 2017.
LitCharts. “The symbol of The Joshua Tree in The Glass Castle from LitCharts | The creators of SparkNotes.” LitCharts. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 July 2017.
“The Glass Castle” Enotes.com. Enotes.com, n.d. Web. 12 July 2017.
“The Glass Castle.” Read Any Book. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 July 2017.