14 February 2012 @ 04:57 pm
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27 November 2011 @ 09:32 pm

How far can society push its slaves until they push back? Time and time again, this point has been proven by members of society who do not want to fall into the roles placed on them. Perhaps the better question would be this: how often does society win? Surely the power of human desire is a force to be contended with. 1984 by George Orwell targets this question in particular. Ultimately, pursuing and achieving one’s desires is more rewarding, but conformity is easier because of the magnanimity of its force. Society is, as stated in 1984, like a boot stamping on man’s face forever. How does it have so much power, and why are there those who cave so easily to the pressure?

1984 is a disturbing, thought-provoking picture of the perfect totalitarian society. The people are oppressed, and they do not rebel. Why not? Winston Smith, Orwell’s protagonist states that he believes all hope for the future lies in the proletarians, but they are too uneducated and oblivious to the workings of the Party to understand that they are even being oppressed. These people are being controlled so effectively that they cannot comprehend the extent to which the state of their lives have been decayed. They have been born into this form of slavery, so this is all that they know. Although they far outnumber the members of the Party, their knowledge of their oppressors is so limited that they cannot act. Expanding further upon the general urban decay, every person is constantly being monitored by telescreens, which both constantly spout propaganda and examine citizens, and the slightest facial twitch can be considered ‘thoughtcrime’. If these citizens live in constant fear of being vaporized by their own government, who are supposed to be the ones protecting them, most live their lives numbed to the sorry state of their city and their lifestyles, like Syme and Mr. Parsons. Beside this, the government is making progress on improving Newspeak, the current English language in this alternate universe, and editing the dictionary. Syme, who works in this department, claims that eventually, Newspeak will eliminate all words that would encourage rebellion, because there will be no words to express those thoughts. In a world like this, is it any surprise that the middle class workers do not understand what is happening?

Winston Smith is fatalistic. The second he writes ‘down with Big Brother’ in his illegal diary, he decides that he is a dead man. Thoughtcrime is the worst sort of crime, and is religiously rid of by the Thought Police. Anyone could be a part of the Thought Police, and anything can give a person away. Even children are recruited as Junior Spies, required to report anyone they suspect of thoughtcrime. Those convicted of Thoughtcrime disappear for a time, resurface occasionally, and then disappear for good. Taking into account the ridiculous measures pursued to snuff out individual thought, those who even venture into those sorts of thoughts are exterminated, left as an example to those clever enough to understand and simply ignored by those who are not. It is a clever ploy. Why bother retaliating when one knows they are going to be stopped in the process, no matter what? Anyone who is intelligent enough to see the Party’s true intentions, as well, like Syme, are vaporised since they could grow to be a possible threat. Again, the possibility of death is too great. At first, even Winston tries to deny his desire to rebel against the system, and for a long time he does not dare. The second he takes that step in the other direction, he feels the need to acknowledge that he is now a dead man. At every possible interval, he seems to remind the audience and himself, even fellow rebels, of this thing he takes as fact. Having decided this, he figures that no step is too large as this small offense has already condemned him. After this, he pursues a relationship with Julia and attempts to join rebels against the Party.  He does what he desires to rather than what he is expected to do as a citizen. Even after he goes so far without being caught, he still insists on the pessimistic belief that this betrayal of the Party will ultimately kill him. If there are others who think similarly, they may not be so eager to surrender whatever life they do have.

Julia is one of these people. She is the one who initiates a relationship between her and Winston, and she makes it clear that the only reason she wishes to become involved with him is for physical gratification. She claims to have had affairs with many men, some of which were high ranking members of the Party. This is something severely discouraged, because sex is illustrated as something depraved and disgusting; the only time it is acceptable is for purely procreational purposes. By making the act a duty, the only reason the citizens are having children are to provide another slave to the Party. Julia, however, is resourceful. She is clever. She is practically logical, and she applies that to her affair with Winston in order to secure this method of rebellion and they continue their secret trysts with her careful planning until they secure a room in an old shop. Somehow, despite this, they are captured, and then they realize that there was a telescreen in the room after all, and the shopkeeper is their traitor. Everyone is a suspect, no one is a friend. This is only further enforced when Winston and Julia realize that O’Brien, the man who initiated them into the Brotherhood, was the one behind the entire operation. Finally, the two are tortured and forced to admit their wrongdoings. They even confess to things that they did not do, and ultimately, they betray each other. Even Julia, who was so intent on chasing after what she wanted and who had always been so careful, was forced to give in to the pressure of her own government and what is being expected of her.

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11 November 2011 @ 02:57 pm
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19 October 2011 @ 02:40 pm
17 October 2011 @ 12:33 am

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17 October 2011 @ 12:31 am

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15 October 2011 @ 08:40 pm
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29 September 2011 @ 11:45 pm

The writer I am in my dreams
spins words like a spider
spins silk
and her pen is steady, her precision sure
no blots and lead smudges
only neat notes in the margins
rather than all over the place
in a sort of organized chaos.


The writer I am in my dreams
has full command of syntax
                                            sensory detail
and her assonance aerates acrid anecdotes, alliteration
perfectly punctuating perpetual points
without sounding pretentious.


The writer I am in my dreams can sway

any audience

with her precocious plays of rhythmic rhetoric.


The writer I am in my dreams

can plot in complex spirals and

never gets tied down by writer’s block

or those painful plot holes

one occasionally trips into

                                            from castles in the air.


The writer I am in my dreams

can easily scrap entire manuscripts

and place clever metaphors

instead of dropping them like anvils

into the middle of sentences.


The writer I am in my dreams

                                            …is clearly not human.

25 September 2011 @ 10:36 pm

Bound, whether glued or laced,

Leather uncracked, spine sturdy

And locked by that peculiar reverence one holds for the unknown, of the

Newness; untapped potential to be drawn upon; a

Key to open up endless worlds.


No limits and no rules, no gravity to lock you down.

Outward, drift and spin into unknown territory,

Trip through foreign countries and alien planets;

Empty pages are untraveled roads,

Begging to be explored and paved with clever hands.

Or linger in the familiar,

Observe with an outsider’s impartial eyes; the infinite into which the

Known dissipates with the restraints of imagination.

19 September 2011 @ 01:56 pm
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18 September 2011 @ 09:01 pm

He sits at his kitchen table with a cup of cold coffee

And burnt toast with peach jelly, while

The news rambles headlines swathed and airbrushed

With tragedy.

He offers a placid little smile and a chuckle,

And the sound sticks to the humid summer air,

Staining the white cupboard paint yellow,

Because outside, mortals wander weary, wonder

About the monsters hiding under beds and beneath

Black newsprint ink—

But demons brought to light

Shouldn’t be more frightening

Than demons still in the dark.

He’s trapped behind antiseptic-scoured walls

And a cracked marrow cage,

Title pinned, ‘unfit to stand in court,’

A justice-luster’s nightmare.

Sit and ponder, for it is a miracle

How fragile is the human brain!

That one could break

At the mere prospect of a thought

Simple notions entertained within a simple quarantine

Spreading out, like a disease, infesting soul and body

As well as mind.

How many secrets unearthed?

How many hidden facets of mankind

In something as vapid and vagrant

As human thought?

Some shadows fall into an infinite,

Hiding in the crevasses where thought dare not intrude.

But if an errant thought was explored, extracted,

Plague strikes, the disease consumes,

Not an infection that can be seen, but a quiet killer

In theory, not physicality,

Shadow beings that no light can disperse,

Dragons that no knight can ward off.

And I wonder

If maybe

These little niggling monsters

Could be in anyone?

18 September 2011 @ 05:51 pm
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14 September 2011 @ 12:08 am

People have a habit of lingering in the past. They say they want change, and they want the future, but the fact is that humans are very dependent on what they can remember—memories and history are as much a part of humanity as needing oxygen. This is not a problem. Humans need these things to learn from. It does help us advance in a lot of situations. The problems come when there are offences in the past that others feel must be repaid to the offending party. They will linger over that one hurt, allowing anger to accumulate and consume their thoughts. Holding on to the past does not merely refer to anger; one is able to cling to any number of things, from happy memories to painful ones. I have a tendency to reflect often on moments of embarrassment for me—moments when I have slipped up and said something unintentionally humorous at my expense, stammered through a speech, or yelled out the wrong answer confidently in class when everyone could hear. My problem is that I will remember these occurrences and believe mistakenly that everyone still remembers these embarrassments when nobody actually cares. One particular instance is a time when I pulled a chair out from a particular girl, who will remain nameless, as she was sitting down in drama class. Virtually everyone in the area saw, and I was mortified. A year later, nobody remembered it, even though I expected them to. It was a bit arrogant on my part to believe everyone was judging me for that incident, and worrying about it did me no good. Looking back at all those times, none of the worrying has benefited me at all, and the same goes for any time excessively spent hovering over ‘that one’ instance where something happened. It cannot be changed, no matter what you try, and the fact is that people will forget it ever took place. When the only person it matters to is you, you become bitter about it when it would be much easier to simply let go and move on with your life. Dwelling in the past does little good; it is the yearning for a time past and dead, and only succeeds in making one relive times, whether pleasant or unpleasant, that will never happen again.

11 September 2011 @ 05:34 pm

Lack of incentive seems to be a pressing problem in students nowadays. Taking into account modern technologies and their limits—or lack thereof—may account for a part of that listlessness when it comes to school. After all, why focus on something so boring when one can instantly communicate with friends via phone or computer? Is that the only reason? Certainly not. Peering a bit further into that mindset, a lot of students do not have motivation to get to work not only because there are many distractions in today’s world, but they are also unsure of the direction they are going and cannot comprehend the importance of practicing good habits and preparing for their future prior to graduation. It is important to have direction as one approaches graduation, but flexibility is equally important, as a student could get halfway through college and decide that they seek to pursue another avenue of interest. Being a person who makes a practice of taking my own advice, I have been taking steps to guarantee that I am ready to be successful when I finally leave high school, and I am confident that I will be able to achieve some semblance of comfort in a world where I am entrusted with the responsibilities of an adult.

As the article from the Calgary Herald states, over 6,000 students were turned away by the University of Calgary. For hopefuls relying solely on that one admission, a letter of rejection would be devastating. That is why I have considered a number of different colleges, prioritized by course availability, and made contact with admissions staff from the colleges I feel would best benefit me. My current plan for the future is to ultimately pursue a career in criminal law; it provides a challenge, but as someone utterly fascinated with the human mind and with strength in the liberal arts opposed to the sciences, I personally need a path that will accentuate my strengths rather than my weaknesses. I like to think that I have a firmly-established moral code, and have a tendency to form strong opinions. Coupled with my love for debates, not to mention winning, criminal law seems a good fit for me.

Upon deciding where to go with my studies, the next logical conclusion was to research the process of getting into law school and law schools in Canada. The one I found most appealing was University of Toronto, so I collected all the information I could. Now, my mother also suggested that I consider the college she attended, since I am going to need a degree before I am admitted to U of T law school. Honestly, I was not convinced when she first tried to talk to me about it, but she showed me that the school has a well-commended Japanese program and spoke highly of their English department. This is relevant to my interests, as I am pursuing a double major in English and Japanese. My mother took me—dragged, more like, with the promise of visiting Chapters—to an alumni meeting in Lethbridge, where I was able to speak with former students. One of them was conveniently lawyer that went from Calvin College to U of T’s law school. He helped convince me that attending that college will be good for me, and I have recently been put in contact with the man in charge of international admissions—Calvin is located in Grand Rapids, Michigan—and they are looking for Canadian students to give scholarships to.

I have a fairly stable idea of where I want my life to go in the future, but I must make allowances. For instance, I intend to participate in a year-long direct exchange with Yamate High School in Japan and witness firsthand cultural differences in education while being immersed in a foreign place that holds interest for me. I recognize that since I have quite a passion for Japan, that I may consider living there for a few years to teach ESL. It is also important to me that I leave time for traveling the world, because there is so much of the world that I want to see, and in between work and school, I am not going to have a lot of time for recreation. As it is, I already have a lot on my plate; worrying about my impending adulthood, school marks, scholarships, and work.

When it comes down to it, however, I believe that my stress is natural, and not nearly as intense as it would be if I had no idea of what the future holds for me. Despite the fact that nothing is certain, I at the very least have a guideline, and it has certainly played a large role in encouraging and motivating me toward what I believe is an admirable goal.

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10 September 2011 @ 11:12 pm
Look, I know everyone has problems. I know that people like to talk about their problems. I'm one of those people.

Thing is, like I said, I have problems of my own.

This is not a 'Hannah-complains-about-her-life' post. But listen.
  • I just started school two weeks ago.
  • This is senior year. I have to worry not only about getting into college and keeping my marks way up so I can get scholarships, but I have to worry about saving enough money so I can go to Japan for the year after graduating. It is not easy for an undergrad to get money like that in less than a year.
  • I just lost a job.
  • One job.
  • Out of two.
  • Meaning I have to hold two jobs while going to school. Simultaneously. So that I have some semblance of a future.
  • That particular job was the one that paid me well, where I got great tips, and was comparatively easy.
  • Now I am getting maybe $100 a month. If I'm lucky. Before, I was getting close to $300.
  • I probably need about $5000 to go to Japan.
  • I didn't get any notice about the restaurant closing. I just called the hotel it was in and asked about it, and they said it closed down.
  • Now I have to worry about getting another job. It was hard enough to get those fucking jobs in the first place. This is a recession. There are job shortages everywhere. I was lucky to get one job, let alone two. Now on top of this, I have to worry about fucking school.
  • I dropped out of the advanced Math class and went into the kind of average-ability one. I feel like a fucking failure.
  • A lady moved in to our house and is renting a room from us. She is horribly judgmental and thinks she can tell me what to do. In my own house.
  • Basically, I am really fucking pissed. This was a great week until the weekend hit. Then everything went to shit.
Again, this is not a competition for whose life sucks more. I'm sure everyone's life sucks so. much. but fact is that everybody has issues. Not just you.

TL;DR I don't want to hear your problems. I have my own.