Friday, November 26, 2010

Being Thankful Up in This Place

     I would have expected this prompt to be utilized near the end of the year since a lot of people don't know each other that well, but I do understand its relevance since it is around the time of Thanksgiving. Anyways, the two people that i am most thankful for in the American Literature class are Clara Torres and Morgan Mason. Firstly, I have a pretty good relationship with Clara since we were in biology together last year and I sit by her during division. She is a very smart and outspoken person that has strong beliefs. In division, we usually have conversations about controversial things and it is insightful to listen to her well formulated ideas and standpoints. Clara is a very interesting person to talk to because she raises a lot of questions without forcing doctrine or ideas.
     The next person I am thankful for is Morgan. I only met her this year but she is basically in all of my classes and sits in my vicinity in almost all of those classes. She is the biggest help in Pre-Calculus especially because she is brilliant at math and she also sits next to me. Morgan explains things spot on and helps me if I need assistance. Besides being a math wizard, she is a nice person to talk to and always makes me laugh when we walk to American Literature class.
     All of the people that make my life more enjoyable are those I am most thankful for, whether it be their humor, their assistance, their love, their acceptance or even just their presence.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Ich bin ein Pflug

     The rustic French farm I grew up on was my prison; but in some sense it was my freedom and my innocence. I was held inside the boundaries of the calm but active wheat and barley fields that outlined the border between our farm and the dark forest that spread into tumultuous and violent Germany. As an eleven year-old, I didn't essentially believe I was on house arrest by my Mamma and Pappa but in retrospect, I see how limited my outside exposure was until I went to Marseilles to work and then eventually to the worldly mecca, Paris, to learn to cook. Every morning with my father's alarm ring, I would be coaxed into maintaining the farm which was a family affair. I was the plow of the family; I manned the wheat and barley farms since I was eight and tilled and plowed the soil for days to get it to perfection. The rest of my family tended the garden or cared for the animals. The farm was literally our reason to wake up in the early hours; well that and spending time with each other in the evening.
     One particular day, the day our world started to turn on its back, was a momentous and frightening for all of France. Hitler's Third Reich decided to push into French borders on May 10th and we were one of the first towns that was encountered by "die Menschen aus Deutschland." (the men from Germany). Our little farm was soon forcefully occupied by the Wehrmacht. They "asked" our family to keep-up the farm to provide local troops with food. We had to capitulate and therefore, agreed, the best choice to maintain our heads. The soldiers approached me and asked what a scrawny kid like me did on such a farm, pick the flowers to put in my hair? I sternly replied, "Je suis une chaurre." They laughed. One of the ugly brutes with a fat red face came up to me and yelled "Nein! Du bist kein "chaurre." Du bist ein Pflug!!" He then proceeded to beat me until I looked worse than him. I didn't speak a word of French until they left years later. I was no longer une chaurre but ein Pflug until they burned everything when the war took a turn. No one was left after the fire, only the plow.   

Sunday, November 14, 2010

New Directions?

     Does Mr. McCarthy's 7th period American Literature class need a new direction, organization or goal? In my view, our class could use a slight readjustment in some areas. Firstly, the novels featured for a month or two seem to be afterthoughts in every day class. The journals seem to be the main focal point of each period which are usually unrelated. Writing in response to them is enjoyable but it just seems like busy work sometimes.
     The second issue I have is that formal writing should be more prominent. The blogs and journals are forms of writing but they only act as an outlet for ranting and feelings rather than cohesive ideas. I would feel more productive if I was improving my writing skills for future use in upcoming grades and possibly in college. Most of the students will not become creative writers or authors and will therefore have no productive, daily application for this writing style.
    The final complaint is the frequent use of the vocabulary books. Last year, the vocabulary exercises were extremely beneficial for me and especially for the class. I have encountered all of the words while reading various types of literature. Before, words I had no knowledge of would just be skimmed over and disregarded. Now, I can actually understand those words and their use and I am able to incorporate them into my personal vocabulary for employment in my writing. There is no downside to learning new words for furthering facts, statements and opinions.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The worst form of slavery

     Generally, when society pictures slavery, they formulate pictures of forced laborers working in the fields, collecting materials for their masters that punish them for every slight transgression. However, one of the largest and unfortunately, most lucrative types of slavery is in prostitution or in other sexual services. This type of prostitution is usually derived from debts, causing the debtor to be forced into the industry to fulfill the payment. Unwillingly women and children are the most common slaves thrust into this world of abuse and humiliation. Millions of the slaves are trafficked from place to place and from client to client. Each visit poses the risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease, the risk of severe physical and mental abuse and the risk of death.
     In American society, slavery is an evil of the nation's past and it seems like a foreign practice only seen in civil war movies. However, thousands of American citizens are involved in the illegal sex trade that affects countries around the earth. I am astounded that such a demeaning and destructive clandestine business is still pervasive in a modern society that prides itself on providing justice, liberty and equality. Regular, consensual and legal prostitution should be permitted since it is the woman or man's choice but forced prostitution is rape in my book. Considering that half of the slaves involved are minors, supporting this trade is vile and completely immoral. Those urges that humans "need" to go through with aren't worth violating people. Some people need to learn to control themselves and stop when they have gone too far because a slave sex trade can benefit NO person, no matter the profits and the seconds of immoral pleasure.