Dulce et Decorum Est

“Men marched asleep.”

Given that this is a war poem you’d think the author would  specify the men as Soldiers but instead he names them men. I believe the author does so to create an image of broken soldiers who at their roots are only men. I picture these men questioning how far they will march on to protect their country. They have already been through hell so how much more can they handle.

 

“As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.”

In the chaos of war mustard gas was released, spreading everywhere on the battleground. From the authors point of view he sees a single man suffocating in the gas. “I saw him drowning” is a short yet extremely vivid sentence for me because it really shows how cruel

 

Simile: like a devil’s sick of sin;

 

Metaphor: As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

 

 

Repetition: Gas! GAS!

 

2018 Goals

 

To give my best attitude in everything inside and outside of school

English goals:  Too keep up to date with all my work and do the work necessary to ensure a comfortable year in English.

Now and then

The sea salt tingled my nose as I breathed in the air. It was midday with the sun overhead, lighting up the bay. I felt beads of sweat trickle down my forehead as I wandered down the beach. There was a breath of wind that blew by, making the greenery sway on the hillside. I stood on the sand wiggling my toes in it, letting the sand travel over my feet and into the spaces between each toe. I scooped some up with my cupped hands and watched the grains fall between the cracks of my fingers;it looked like a golden stream running from my palm.

 

The sun was boiling hot and wore me down quickly, the only thing I was able to focus on was water. I stripped down to just my shorts, preferring to keep the rest of my clothes dry and dipped into the cool blue. My stress from the heat was relieved instantly as I was saturated in the cool liquid. Twisting onto my back I was swept forward by the waves that rolled in slowly, my head was dunked under and I came back up with a mouth full of bitter salt water. The waves sung songs as they reached the shore, seagulls overhead adding to the sound;all was calm in the bay.

 

The morning was young with the sun blocked out by the thick fog. Saltwater splashed into the tin can we sat inside; a puddle of water sloshed by our feet. There was an eerie silence among the men as we sat aboard the vessel. Some prayed silently whilst others prepared to embark onto land, which was hardly visible apart from the hills that appeared as silhouettes through the lifeless fog. Nervously I felt for the rifle by my side, it’s cold metal sent a chill down my spine. I had only used this tool of death once before when we were training at the military camp, that was now far away. I drew my attention to the red blood stain on my uniform which had been bothering me for most of the journey. I kept on wondering who this uniform had once belonged to, are they still alive, wounded or dead? If they died how did they? How old are they? Were they the first soldier to wear the uniform? Will I be the last? During the time that I had scared myself pale with these blood curling thoughts our boat had broken through the barrier of fog and I could now behold the land as it grew larger and larger in my engrossed eyes.   

 

We were nearing a long stretch of hills that beared little greenery and were covered mainly in sand and rubble. There was a little beach that separated the sea from the hills and was occupied in barbed wire. It wasn’t very welcoming and I knew that there were Turkish soldiers posted up the top of those hills preparing to give us hell. At the same time I was captivated to the hills because there were magnificent poppies that ignited their wonderful colour like a show of fireworks. I had never seen such beautiful flowers before that I became totally unaware of what was happening around.

 

We were now skimming the surface of the beach and shortly after I had soaked my feet in the cool blue. I felt the water drench into my leather boots as they became heavier and heavier as I charged forward. I was stopped in my tracks by fear as I heard gunshots come from the hillside, surely I can’t live through this. The rain of bullets came down on us but I stood rooted to the spot terrified of the horrific image. Men all around me fell to the ground like rag dolls, staining the water a deep red.  I felt myself become weak and filled with a vile acidic flavour in my mouth. This was suicidal and I was in the midst of it all, this was hell.

 

Significant Connections

“Sometimes you have to get knocked down lower than you ever have been, to stand up taller than you ever were.” (Anonymous)

 

The nature of survival is shown in the texts “Soldier x” written by Don L. Wulffson, “Touching the void” written Joe Simpson, “Never fall down” written by Patricia McCormick and the film “Rabbit proof fence” directed by Phillip Noyce. These 4 stories tell of people who endured long and painful journeys that many wouldn’t of survived, but despite all the odds these people did.

“Soldier x”

The nature of survival was firstly shown in the text “solider x” written by  Don L. Wulffson. The book takes place during WW2 and is written from the perspective of Erik Brandt who is a half Russian half German boy. The story shows many aspects of survival through the torment of war. The first aspect of survival that was shown is that you have to take risks to stay alive. This was shown when Protagonist Erik Brandt got separated from his squad on Russian front lines, under pressure he decides to switch his uniform with those of a dead Russian soldier. By doing so he wouldn’t be spotted out as a German soldier thus surviving the incident. “I had only one chance, I knew, to save myself. In that cramped and bloody charnel house beneath the tank, I removed my clothes even my socks and underwear-then exchanged my clothes for his.” Erik  ignores the fact that he is taking the clothes off of a corpse for himself to use, which shows how in a tight situation we make important decisions quickly. Those decisions may not necessarily be what we want to do but instead what we need to do.

 

A second aspect of survival that was shown in the text is that you have to be on your toes at all times. There is very little room for error in a war and Erik has a very close call when lying about his true identity. This was shown when Erik is a patient in a Russian medical bay. In the months he stays people ask questions about his past and who is, he lies to the doctors and other patients that he’s suffering from amnesia. “Desperately, I tried to think of the Russian word for amnesia, but ironically, I could not remember it, and found myself staring blankly at the odd group.” There are times where he almost forgets about the ‘amnesia’ lie he told but realizes himself just in time. “Forgetting myself, I almost responded in German. But I caught myself in time.” This shows how we always have to be ready for the unexpected to happen in a survival situation because if we make a mistake the consequences could be catastrophic.

 

“Touching the void”                

The nature of survival was shown in the text “Touching the Void” written by Joe Simpson. A climbing party of two set off to tame Siula grande, the undefeated mountain. All is looking good until the descent begins, Joe Simpson the Protagonist of the story falls down an ice ledge which results in him having one of his legs broken. Due to the difficulties of rescuing severely injured climbers at such high attitudes they are often left no choice but to leave them behind.  However Joe was determined to overcome the odds. The first aspect of survival that was shown in “Touching the void” is that you sometimes have to be selfish, regardless of your situation. This was shown when Joe Simpson is being belayed down Siula Grande;he starts picking up speed and calls for Simon to stop feeding the rope so quickly but Simon can’t hear Joe’s cries, this results in Joe being suspended off of a cliff face. Simon sits in the cold weather holding Joe from a rope long enough begins developing early stages of frostbite and begins losing his grip. Simon realizes he has a knife in his sack and cuts the rope without hesitation. “The knife. The thought came out of nowhere. Of course the knife. Be quick, come on get it.” This shows us how when we are on the brink of death we have to make vital decisions to ensure our own survival. It also shows us how in extreme circumstances we start thinking selfishly and are more prepared to save ourselves than others. Since the emotional bond between Joe and Simon isn’t as strong compared to his parents for example, would he of done the same thing if it were his parents at the end of the rope?

A second aspect of survival shown in the text is that we have to take risks, we may not be guaranteed anything but at least we tried. This was shown when Joe is stuck in a crevasse and is faced with the difficult choice of either trying to climb out of it or abseil further down. He comes to the conclusion that he has nothing left to lose and decides because of this to go further down. “The desire to stop abseiling became almost unbearable.” “The torment of anticipating something unknown…I hung shaking on the rope with my helmet pressed to the ice.” This shows that we can’t be prepared for the future and have to accept the challenges that arise. Joe knew no matter what way he chose to go it would be tough so he settled on belaying further down and gave it his all. 

 

When Joe had to make that choice down in the crevasse it can be related to when Hans from “Soldier x” had to make that big decision in the trenches, Hans’s life was on the line and in the heat of the moment switched clothes with the dead Russian soldier which allowed him to survive. This is similar to when Joe from “Touching the void” was stuck in the crevasse and had to decide whether he should go further down or not. These two situations are very different from one another but end up with the protagonists making a very critical decision to ensure there survival. They were both in a tight situation where it really came down to correct decision making and gut feeling which shows that no matter what, if you’re in a tight situation you need to follow what you believe is right. People deal with the fear of death in there own way and these two decided to push the boundaries and risk it all even though that risk could of resulted in there death.

 

Never fall down

The Nature of survival was shown in the text “Never fall down” written by Patricia McCormick. The book is written from the point of view of a pol plot regime survivor, Arn Chorn-Pond who was taken from his family and forced into illegal child labor under control of the Khmer Rouge. The first aspect of survival that was shown in the text is that you must never give up. The Khmer Rouge are always killing the weak children so that only the strong are left, those who aren’t killed are called the children of the future, “Never do the Khmer Rouge say, We’re gonna kill you. Always they say something else, like Help us with the oxcart or You going to a new place, maybe so they don’t scream or cry or beg. You scream or cry or beg, they kill you right away.”  The Khmer Rouge make the people powerless and are very abusive towards them, many die under their ruling. We see how powerless they make Arn when he is forced to push dead bodies into a pit, some are not even dead but he keeps pushing them in because if he stops he knows he’ll be joining them. “You,” he says to me. “You put them in the ditch.” I don’t want to do this, but I do it. My body does what this guy says. I push the people, very heavy, lots of blood. I push them into the grave. I do it. One guy, he’s not even dead. They say to push him anyway. The guy with the ax, he look at me. Deep in the eye. To see what I feel. I make my eye blank. You show care, you die. You show fear, you die. You show nothing, maybe you live.” This shows us that we have to keep pushing through hard times, we may encounter things we don’t agree with or want to do but they are what make us the person we are later on in life. Arn was a fighter and though he was heavily effected by these experiences later on in life he became a human rights activist committed to preserving traditional Cambodian music. He survived through the horrific events but still has to survive the traumatizing memories which really shows that we can be scarred on the inside too.


“Rabbit proof fence”

The nature of survival was shown in the film “Rabbit proof fence” directed by Phillip Noyce “Rabbit proof fence” is about three young aboriginal girls who are forcefully taken from their home and put into a white native settlement called Moore River that teaches aboriginal children how to live as a white people do. The girls escape the settlement but are faced with the challenge of trekking 1500 miles through the Australian outback to there home town Jigalong! The first aspect of survival that was shown is that you have to be one step ahead of the predator. In this case the predator is an Aboriginal man called Moodoo who tracks children that have escaped from Moore River. Molly uses the rain to cover the trio’s tracks from the tracker Moodoo when they escape from Moore river. The viewer hears Molly say in a stern voice “We just keep walking and the rain will cover our tracks.” Inspirational music is played as we see a long shot of the girls running into the forest. When it begins to rain, they are shown in a three shot and Molly is laughing. This shows how Molly is well adapted to the land and knows how to think on her feet. She would of picked up these tricks from living with her family in the outback because they literally survive off the land. This aspect of survival was also shown when Molly uses Daisy’s bag as a decoy to lure the Tracker in the wrong direction up the river whilst they head downstream. “Molly orders Daisy to give her, her bag. Molly places it over the reeds in the river. She then says, “In the water, we need to cover our tracks.” These aspects of survival show us that if we make good decisions and think about the future effects our decisions will create we will remain safe and in control of our situation.

A second aspect of survival that was shown in the film “Rabbit proof fence” is that you have to believe. This was shown when Molly wakes up to see the Spirit Bird flying above her. For the majority of the trip there motivation would of come from the thought of home but after so much walking they became completely exhausted and were no longer able to focus properly. The girls were dehydrated, confused and exhausted all was looking down. “A series of close-up show the girls faces and legs, blur in and out of focus. Finally, they collapse and an overhead shot shows them again to look vulnerable in a fetal position. The girls are not only surviving the harsh desert conditions, but also the fact that they might not even make it back home will be filling there heads. “The hawks cry is heard, and then it is seen in a low angle shot. Extreme close ups show Molly looking up at the sky. Close ups show daisy smiling.” Hope is restored as soon as the girls have something to believe in. When we put our minds to something we can get motivated and begin to focus on that particular thing which is defiantly useful when in a survival situation.  For the majority of the trip there motivation would of come from the thought of home but after so much walking they became completely exhausted and were no longer able to focus properly.

“Rabbit proof fence” and “Never fall down” have their differences and their similarities. However when it comes to survival both tell stories of individuals who had to survive difficult times. Molly, Gracie and Daisy endured on a long journey where they lacked food and spent most of the time walking in the boiling sun. Arn had a lack of food and resorted to hunting bugs and other small creatures. He also had to undergo long hours of forced work without stopping. There was a lot of pressure on Arn because if he made a mistake he would be killed by the Khmer Rouge. This can be related to Molly, Gracie and daisies situation, they often lack food and are under the constant pressure of the tracker because if he catches them their journey will come to an end. In everyday life there are children put into uncomfortable situations where they feel pressured or threatened. There are children who have to survive one day at a time and need our help, whether they are victims of child labor or child abuse something needs to be done. Books like these can help raise awareness because they talk about real stories of children that havd to survive horrible times.


Survival is forced upon us in difficult times and we must accept the facts and push on. Without the courage to keep pushing all of these people’s stories would of ended a lot sooner. The greatest reward these people got from there actions got was there lives and they will be ever grateful for that. These texts shows how us ordinary people can overcome extraordinary events and with a bit of belief and courage you can too. 

“The most important factor in survival is neither intelligence nor strength but adaptability.”-Charles Darwin

World of judgement

I’m not pointing fingers at anyone because I believe we all do it. It’s easier to do it than not. That thing is judging! Whether it be behind someone’s back or to their face. Its human nature to judge, and like many others I judge people, behind their backs but rarely to their face. I’m not proud for doing so thus I’ve decided to lessen how much I judge. I’d like to discuss how it feels to be judged and if you’re being judged regularly, how to deal with this.

 

What is judgement? Judgment can be a direct insult to somebody, an assumption of what they are, making a rude comment behind there back or/and making a negative conclusion on something or someone. Your words have great power and thats why its important to have an awareness around what you say to others and how it affects people. Do you even have the right to judge?

When you judge someone you’re invading their space by forming negative comments about them which is very unfair because you don’t know how that person is truly feeling at that moment and your words could be what triggers something inside of them.

 

I like to think that people’s minds are like a house, with a garden and a fence around it, sometimes people can come along and open up the front gate and enter your house, your head. Try picturing this in your head now, and find a time where your house(mind) has been filled with negativity. Often when you are feeling down it’s because of those negative comments in your head. Let’s imagine in this instance that you’ve been called ‘Fat’ ‘Idiot’ ‘No one likes you’ by someone. You have control of your house and what’s is in there don’t you? We all want to fill our houses with nice things to make it cosy and happy right? Well you have a choice of what you fill your mind with just like how you have a choice for what’s in your house. Keeping our mind healthy and filled with positivity is one of the main keys to living a happy life. The scary part about judging is that it can be very hard for some people, if not most to not let their mind be taken over by all these bad words, and if we don’t have the correct tools to help treat our minds with we can become depressed, self conscious, stressed, nervous etc.

 

So let’s say you’ve been called “fat” or “no one likes you”. Maybe you don’t think a lot about this but to some people words can be very powerful and even hurtful, as we are all different in how we perceive things. This means that not everyone has the same look upon something as you may. This particular example is a one off, so you have only been named or judged on one particular occasion. If these words or any other words someone said to you today have brought you down or started filling your head space(house) just remember this. The more attention you give those words the worse it’s going to make them. Your stress feeds off of your thoughts and the more food you give your stress the bigger it grows.                                                      

Now perhaps you get judged often, I have to presume you are struggling in difficult times and my words of advice to you is that you are never alone, there’s always someone that will care, be that a friend, family or councillor.  Now another situation may be that you’re in an argument. You are about to fire back at them in the heat of the discussion without thinking too much about what you are saying. Often when arguments happen like so they lead nowhere and can hurt people. People often say your best weapon in an argument is your words but I believe it’s your silence. Just remain silent and let their words be, let them say whatever they want to say and remain silent.  Once there rant is done just step away from it no matter how tempting it may be to respond. They feel like they’ve been heard and later on will think about their actions and more than likely regret what they said. Chances are they’ll apologize in the near future. How do I know? From my own experience. This leads onto my next point, the best thing you can do after you’ve made a judgment is to revise what you’ve said that day. Find a time where you’re alone and and it’s quiet and recap on the day and all the things you’ve said. Maybe you realize you’ve said something you regret because it could be hurtful or other reasons. Well you always can say sorry. And more importantly you have recognized your mistake and hopefully learn from that.  

 

Judging, such an easy thing to do.  Remember you can’t assume what’s best for someone or judge a person by their cover. The thing with judging is it makes us have a negative outlook on the world and what’s in it, which can affect our own happiness. This is why it’s important to have an awareness about what you say to others. We would be a lot happier without judgment in this world wouldn’t we? So the next time you judge someone, acknowledge what you’ve done and instead of thinking negatively about them turn that thought around and think of a couple  positive/good qualities about that person.

 

This is your online portfolio

Hello and welcome to your personal online journal.

This platform has been created to enhance and enrich your learning at Mount Aspiring College. Its purpose is to provide you with an audience for your work (or work-in-progress) and you have the choice (by altering the ‘visibility’ of your posts) of whether your work on here is visible to the world, or only to your teacher.

Anything you post here in the public domain represents you and thus it’s important that you take care with that decision, but don’t be afraid to publish your work – as the feedback you may get from people at home, your peers and people from around the internet is only likely to enhance it.

Remember you can always access your class blog and all manner of resources through the Department of English main website – and by all means check out the sites of your peers to see what they’re getting up to as well.

If you have any questions for me, an excellent way to get an answer is to create a new private post on this journal. I am notified of any new posts and will reply swiftly to any queries.

Make the most of, and enjoy this new freedom in your English learning.

Righto!

 

Chris Waugh