A dream within a dream

Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow —
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?  
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand —
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep — while I weep!
O God! Can I not grasp 
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?

A dream within a dream written by Edgar Allan Poe will make you question your life’s purpose as soon as you’ve read the final sentence. As deep as that may sound it’s true, for this poem holds some very powerful messages that can be unraveled by the reader if they are willing to put in the effort. The poem has a rather grim tone and discusses some things that most people tend to not think or talk about on a daily basis. That being death. Even though it’s a dark poem there is beauty within, for it’s a poem that leaves one questioning many things. The poem is incredibly opened ended and can mean something entirely different from person to person. Different people will take away a different message from it and that’s the beauty of this poem. This poem is depicting the reality of how time is passing away and there is nothing we can do about the inevitable end that all humans face.

Many lines in the poem can be interpreted differently, for example “O God! can I not save One from the pitiless wave?”, this line can be interpreted in various ways but one of the more common ideas presented here is that life is like a wave that has its up and it’s downs and like life, a wave will have to reach the shore and come to an end. There is no denying that death is inevitable and when said like that everything sounds rather miserable. Even so life is filled with so many joys that it becomes easy to brush of this truth. Death is something one mustn’t dwell on as it easy to find yourself becoming absorbed in a world of negativity. This poem resembles the reality we all face in life but that doesn’t mean one must surround themselves in these realities. We all face death regardless to the quality of life we live but that doesn’t stop us from living. Its important people must live a life of fulfillment in which they set and achieve their ambitions. Time is always ticking by and some people are unable to grasp onto the time they have and put it to good use, whilst others can achieve extraordinary things with their time. The line from the poem, ‘And I hold within my hand, Grains of the golden sand’ reiterates this idea as it is referring to the sand as time. The poet is saying he is aware he controls his time on earth and its up to him how he uses it. By controlling time I do not mean he can control the time continuation but can control what he chooses to do with his time. The author makes its out like time is a personal belonging that is only affected by what he does with it, “How few! yet how they creep, through my fingers to the deep.” This line helps to strengthen the mentioned idea that time is a personal belonging to the poet because he regards the grains of sand as being in his hand and how little sand he clutches. This shows us that he is aware of his time as he is able to create a metaphor for how he perceives his time which shows he has a great sense of awareness around his own personal existence on earth. This concept is rather empowering because it gives the reader the feeling that their time on earth is only as good as what is made of it. How does one chose to spend their precious time, their ‘grains of golden sand’. Life and time. They are are the same thing intertwined into ones purpose. Your purpose is dependent on how willing you are to take action towards whatever aspirations you have. Time is not a physical thing but merely something we human beings have created for the sake of systems, measurement and security but this poem takes it out of the context and puts it into a philosophical perspective. When someone becomes aware of time and sees that they are not controlled by it but are the one who is in control of their time amazing things can be achieved. However it’s up to you how you perceive time and only you can be the decider of your fate.

You may find a positive message buried inside the poems discreet writing or perhaps you’ll be left with a negative outlook on life or maybe nothing at all. This is why it’s important after reading this poem to take some time in thinking about the poem and any questions that arise.

Creative writing Portfolio

The Lonely Tree

The cold is sharp on your skin, piercing underneath your clothing. Shivers creep down your spine, the chills are a mix of freezing cold temperatures and the feeling of isolation. Around you is a white landscape that contains little life. Looking to the horizon you see nothing but whiteness stretching across the flat landscape. You feel intimidated by this barren landscape, it feels strange to be so far away from human civilization. Rotating yourself in a circular shape you notice a singular tree that sits atop a small hill. The tree is just a skeleton, naked without its leaves. The coldness has stripped the once thriving land of vegetation and all that remains is the white sheet of snow you stand atop of. Staring at the blank landscape you are intrigued by the tree that’s sits alone.

You make a start for the lifeless tree, hearing the crunch of compacting snow under your feet. You look back at where you’ve walked to see a small trail of footprints pressed deeply into the snow. Peering into one of your footprints you see a mixture of snow mixed in with the brownish soil that lies below. You’re reminded that there is land underneath the snow that is desperate for sunshine. Your gaze drifts away from the ground to the sky where you see the dim sun being shielded by a blanket of cloud. A chilling breeze pierces your skin as you stand still in the open landscape. You level your head and stare at the tree that sits atop the hill. Inhaling the air you feel the coldness enter your lungs and chill your inners.

Letting out a cold shiver you continue on your path to the tree, the one interesting thing in this deserted land. Your trail of footprints has grown long as you arrive at the bottom of the hill. The hill looks rather ominous in this deserted land but you begin to ascend up it regardless of its appearance.  Your feet dig deep into the snow coated hill where the lonely tree stands, however a feeling of tiredness begins to enclose your body. The cold air has been slowly eating away at your warmth leaving you with little energy. The blood in your body is flowing slowly, it feels as if there is only ice chilling through your veins. You inhale, then exhale. Feeling light your head begins to buzz as you become unable to focus on the anything in this wintry land.

The snowflakes begin pelting down with ferocity as your eyes become blinded in a white layer of snow. You feel as if your clothes have been stripped from your body as you feel completely exposed to the brutal weather. Brushing the snow off your face you begin to feel numb as your joints tense up. Feeling drained of energy you collapse to the soft ground with your limbs sprawled out and your head facing the murky sky. Peering up at the pale clouds you see snowflakes drifting down, they land weightlessly on your skin as the snow around swallows you up. 

6th book response

Do not go gentle into that good night
Dylan Thomas


Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

What are my initial thoughts about this poem as to what its about? Its written a very different way. 

Curiosity arose inside of me the first time I read Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night as I was overwhelmed with questions and needed to re read the poem to figure out what it meant. This may be a common scenario for many people but it was more than just my questions that urged me to read the poem over again. It was the words. I began to enjoy the tone the author uses in the poem more and more because of its well crafted writing. This helped to evoke emotion inside of me that I hadn’t gotten from reading a piece of literature in quite a while. Author Dylan Thomas has put so much care into these sentences he has written and it really helps bring quality into the poem.

I was recommended to read this poem by a friend and since I had never heard about Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night prior from being told  about it I went into this poem feeling rather intrigued. I noticed at first that this wasn’t going to be an ordinary poem due to the tone of the words and the passion I could feel from reading it. After reading through it a couple of times I began to find a meaning within the poem. The line, “Do not go gentle into that good night” was what first gave me insight into the poems meaning as it is used constantly throughout the course of the poem, so I figured it must have some deep connection to the poems purpose. I believe this line is somewhat of a plead from the author because he wants someone to hold onto their final night a little longer. From this I could understand that whomever the Dylan was referring to was of great importance to him. It was when I realized this that I also made sense of the sentence, “And you, my father, there on that sad height”, that this poem is dedicated to Dylan’s father.

I find it rather beautiful that Dylan Thomas wrote such a mesmerizing poem to honor his dying father. I don’t know the emotional feeling of loosing a parent but this could be why Dylan’s poem is written with such an emotional tone. Its as if this poem is Dylan’s cry for help, pleading for his father to stay a little longer.  There’s not many cases where I have read a poem that been written from this perspective and it really helps make this poem feel more sincere and heartfelt. However in certain places the poem doesn’t seem entirely dedicated to his father. There are mentions of men such as the, “Wise men, Good men and wild men” who are also pleaded to not go gentle into the good night. In my opinion the author describes these other men to symbolize how different people will react when death is upon them. Which is whats so significant about the line “Do not go gentle into that good night”, as I believe it describes how one must put up a fight in which there is no feeling of regret, rage or shame in the final days of their life. The contrast of “good men” and “wild men” shows that the author wants every man despite any of their wrong doings in life to rest peaceful when death comes. We are all just human and even though some people don’t deserve sympathy for their sins all people are still deserving of one thing above all. To die happily. However I also believe when the author mentions the, “Wise men, Good men and wild men” that these could be characteristics of his own father. No man is perfect as you can never go through life without making mistakes since that is how we learn as humans and perhaps that’s why Dylan would be referring to his father as “wild” or “wise” simply because he was. I believe that the line, ‘Do not go gentle into that good night’ is a plead from Dylan which makes sense when referring to his father because at the end of the day no one really wants their parents to die. No one can emotionally prepare for the loss of a loved one and to me that’s what this poem symbolizes; a man who doesn’t want his father to let go. 

There is one guarantee in life. You, are going to die. We can’t control when or how we die and this is something we must come to terms with otherwise we can live a life full of fear towards the end and regret towards what we never did. Even people who have made bad decisions and done bad things in life deserve to rest in peace. I believe that all people perceived as bad are often just as innocent as anybody else but have been shaped into something they are not by world around them. I believe in no god but I believe to rest in peace is to die with no fear when the end has arrived.  

If you want a poem that has been superbly crafted with pure emotion and love then I cannot recommend Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night enough. You wont be able to read this poem once without fully understanding it so take your time and enjoy the process of deciphering each sentence and its meaning. I would highly recommend you take a few minutes to read this poem as there is plenty of thought provoking text in this poem that will leave you questioning several things about death.

A Dream Within A Dream

Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow —
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?  
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand —
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep — while I weep!
O God! Can I not grasp 
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?

I rarely find that questions arise from my inner self after reading a poem, but A dream within a dream written by Edgar Allan Poe made me question my lifes purpose as soon as I had read the final sentence. As deep as that may sound its true, for this poem holds some very powerful messages. The poem has a rather grim tone and discusses some things that most people tend to steer away from. That being death. Even though its a dark poem I found beauty within, for it’s a poem that leaves one questioning many things. I cannot summarize what the poem is about other than what I believe its about because A Dream Within A Dream is a bit like art. Different people will take away a different message from it and for me that’s the beauty of this poem. What I believe this poem is depicting is the reality of how time is passing away and there is nothing we can do about the inevitable end that all humans face. 

There is no denying that death is inevitable and when said like everything sounds rather miserable.  Even so life is filled with so many joys that it becomes easy to brush of this truth. Death is something one mustn’t dwell on as it easy to find yourself becoming absorbed in a world of negativity. This poem resembles the reality we all face in life but that doesn’t mean one must surround themselves in these realities. We all face death regardless to the quality of life we live but that doesn’t stop us from living. I believe its important people must live a life of fulfillment in which they set and achieve their ambitions. Time is always ticking by and for some they are unable to grasp onto the time they have and put it to good use, whilst others can achieve extraordinary things with their time. I find this line from the poem, ‘And I hold within my hand, Grains of the golden sand’ reiterates this idea as it is referring to the sand in what I believe is time. Its as if the poet is saying that he is aware he controls his time on earth and its up to him how he uses it.  By controlling time I do not mean he can control the time continuation but what he chose to do with his time. The author makes its out like time is a personal belonging that is only effected by what he does with it. This concept stuck with me after reading the poem as it made me feel motivated and empowered with the sense that my time on earth is only as good as what I make of it.  How does one chose to spend their precious time, their ‘grains of golden sand’. Life and time. I find that they are the same thing intertwined into ones purpose.

I believe ones purpose is dependent on how willing someone is to take action towards their aspirations. I believe this is why the author is saying that time is created in the imagination. Time is not a physical thing but merely something we human beings have created for the sake of systems, measurement and security but this poem takes it out of the context and puts it into a philosophical perspective. When someone becomes aware of time and sees that they are not controlled by it but are the one who is in control of their time amazing things can be achieved. However its up to you how you perceive time and I cannot be the answer to how you do so. What I can do is recommend you read this poem and take some time to think about its contents for yourself. You may find a positive message buried inside the poems discreet writing or perhaps you’ll be left with a negative outlook on life or maybe nothing at all. What I believe is important to do after reading this poem is to take some time in thinking about the poem and any questions that arise. For people with more philosophical minds I can guarantee you will question about the greater image of life after reading  A Dream Within A Dream.ezdXD

Book response The Hate U Give

The hate U give

Angie Thomas

Starr Carter is a teenage African American that lives in two separate worlds. One of these worlds is the poor neighbourhood of Garden Heights where she has grown up with her family and the other is the posh prep school she attends. Starrs parents want to give her a life better than what her neighbourhood offers so they invest a lot of money into giving Starr a proper education. She finds it hard to balance between these two worlds as they are so different from one another, but this balance she tries so hard to maintain is completely broken when she witnesses her unarmed best friend, kahill get shot dead by a police officer. Being the only witness at the scene causes Starrs life to become busy with news networks and police. It’s amazing how much friction is built up when Khaill gets shot as it causes Starrs neighborhood to erupt into a violent protest for Justice. The novel is surprisingly in depth about real world issues and discusses many of the racial problems people face in the USA.

 

Despite this novel being fiction it taught me plenty about the world we live in because The Hate You Give tries very hard to keep things close to reality. This book is centered around the shooting of Kahill and how people reacted to it. Multiple protests were held by large groups of African Americans who called for justice, some of these protests were violent whilst others were people speaking up and demanding for something to be done. Many of the problems that occur in this book are based on actual events that happened. I am aware of the struggles African Americans have been through in the past at the hands of white people and within modern America there is still plenty of friction between the whites and blacks as there has never been resolutions to all the previous problems. This caused stigmas around how some people perceived blacks in USA which I will delve into later. The Hate U Give makes this friction between whites and blacks very clear when Starr is confronted by officer one fifteen,‘ “Hands on the dashboard!” the officer barks at me.“Don’t move” I do what he tells me, but my hands are shaking too much to be still” ’. Kahill and Starr get pulled over by officer one fifteen who tells them they have a broken taillight. When Kahill hesitates to cooperate with the cop officer one fifteen loses his cool and tells the two to wait by the car. As the officer has his back to them Kahill walks around the car to see how Starr is doing but that’s the moment he gets shot dead by the officer. Kahill was unarmed and the officer wasn’t being provoked in any noticeable way. It happens so quickly and feels so weird because there was such little build up to the shooting, it just happened. The shooting made me angry because I couldn’t understand why this man would pull the trigger on an innocent black teenager.  I am highlighting the fact that Kahill was indeed black because I strongly believe that if he were to of been white this event would of turned out very different.

The lesson.

The book is heavily centered around the shooting and how the results of it afflicted Starrs life. Shortly after the shooting Starr is asked if she would like to have an interview with the cops as it would help them understand the situation better and get another perspective. When Starr is interviewed about the night of the shooting the cops ask her multiple questions that slowly become less and less related to the matter at hand. Those questions being things such as if Starr knew Kahill sold drugs on the street. Starr never denies any of these questions but never admits she knew about them either. I found it upsetting that the cops were asking about questions unrelated to the shooting, especially ones that were asked in such a crafty way. The reason I find it upsetting is because its clear that the cops are trying to justify Kahills death with the association he had in selling drugs. I found it incredibly disrespectful for a number of reasons but the thing that resonated with me the most was how racist the cops were being. The cops are trying to make this look like a typical black drug dealer got shot and that officer one fifteen is actually the one who deserves praise. But in reality officer one fifteen shot the black teen because he presumed Kahill was going to threaten him. The cop didn’t question his actions, instead he presumed based off of a poorly misconceived stereotype. The cops in this novel are ill minded by making a tragedy look like a fortune and I have no respect for people that are liars because there is no justice in keeping the truth locked up.

Roughly a week later an update on the shooting appears on TV discussing how the victim was involved in selling drugs. The cops were only using Starr to manipulate what she said so they could tell a different story to the media. The story the cops told the media looks like this on the headlines, “Black Drug Dealer has been shot dead”. I find it absurd that the police find it acceptable to make Kahill look like the bad guy because in this novel the cops are really the bad guys. Firstly an officer shoots an unarmed black teen and then they are blinded in racism and go on to tell the media that Kahill was a threat. If I were Starr I would be absolutely furious with the cops and most certainly take a stand in the protests held for Kahill to show my support for what really matters. What I believe really matters is for everyone to be equal despite what Stats or the media tell us because the reality is not everyone in the USA is treated with the equality they deserve.

I want to further discuss the reason as to why Officer One Fifteen shot Kahill as I believe the reason why the officer presumed Kahill was a threat is vital in regards to the entire novel . When he shot Kahill it was unjustified and wrong but its important to understand why the cop pulled the trigger.  I am not trying to justify his actions for I am disgusted by the outcome his actions caused, I’m merely trying to express my opinion on where the stigma this cop has towards black people came from;which I believe falls onto Racial Profiling. This is when law enforcement suspects somebody of being associated with illegal activity without proper evidence and purely assuming so by their race. Racial profiling occurs everyday in the USA and unfortunately for Kahill it was the cause of his death. What Racial Profiling does is awful because it creates a fear in the people towards those they should trust, those being law enforcement in this situation. I also believe it isolates communities because they feel as if they have no protection.  These signs of racial profiling are made clear in the book as Starr Carter remembers what her dad told her to do in a situation with cops,‘ “Starr-Starr, you do whatever they tell you to do,” he said. “Keep your hands visible. Don’t make any sudden moves. Only speak when they speak to you.” I knew it must of been serious’. At a young age Starr was told how she must act if she ever had to deal with the cops. This struck me with anger and annoyance because there was only one clear reason why Starr was given this talk. That reason being that black people are racially profiled to such a level in some areas of USA that they need to take action to prevent or lessen any  incidents from occurring. I know none of my friends or myself were given a talk about this type of scenario and I completely understand why. However circumstances in New Zealand are rather different for we never had a history of racial segregation or black slavery tied to us. It’s unfortunate that families such as Starr’s have to take such precautions to prevent anything bad from happening to one another but it’s also their reality.

After the shooting there is very little written about the cop other than how his life has been a struggle ever since the incident. It’s hard to understand the cops point of view on the situation when so much of the novel focus on the family and friends of Kahill. We get some insight into the cops emotions and thoughts after the shooting in a brief interview with a news station. The cop tells the interviewers how he saw the situation, ‘ “And they kept glancing at each other, like they were up to something, Brian says that’s when he got scared, ‘cause the could have taken him down if they teamed up.” I couldn’t have taken anyone down, I was too afraid. He makes us sound like we are superhuman. We are kids.’  The reason officer one fifteen thought they could of taken him down is based off the stigmas. In his mind the officer truly believed that these kids were capable of taking him down. He was so convinced that Kahill and/or Starr were going to team up and ‘take him down’ that he took the matter into his own hands and shot the Black teenager that supposedly posed a threat. These actions were purely based of presumptions that lead to the death of an innocent black teenager. Though it is awful that we must learn from such tragic things in life they are also what allow us to learn and move forward. The only way for stigmas such as the ones I have discussed can be abolished and put in the past is if people become more accepting. If we were all respectful of peoples ways then there would be so much more acceptance in this world and people could be who they wished to be.  I am not saying that if someone is religious you should join their religion or if someone is from another country and talks differently to you that it is required for you to learn their culture. Just be respectful of their ways because everyone is tied to different backgrounds making us see the world in different ways. If someone comes along and tells you your way is wrong how do you think you’d react;I imagine you’d be annoyed and upset. This is why I believe we must look at everyone as their own unique self and be prepared for all the diversity we will encounter in life. 

 

The Hate U Give will make you question how we think as a society as there is plenty of thought provoking moments in this novel.  I won’t spoil the ending because it’s such a gripping novel that its truly worth finding out for yourself.  The book takes in depth looks into American society and how the blacks are treated over there. Despite this book being fiction is holds incredible value as it is written in such a honest way that reflects plenty abut the world we live. I highly recommend this to as much people as possible as it will open you up to the USA in ways you may of not seen it before. 

 

 

level 2 essay portfolio

Analyse how language features revealed the writer’s purpose in the written text(s)

The author uses language features to give an in depth perspective on a WW2 setting. When reading The Book Thief there were many ideas presented with well thought out meanings however many of these ideas tend to be based around the negative side of WW2 but this doesn’t change the amount of value the ideas presented give the reader. Many of Markus Zusak’s most important messages were inside of the novels Liesel encountered during The Book Thief. Liesel is a 9 year old girl and the main protagonist of the novel.  One of the important novels Liesel encounters is called The Word Shaker, the story Max Vandenburg wrote and gifted to Liesel. Max was a Jew who Liesels foster parents were sheltering during WW2. Liesels and Maxes relationship is very symbolic and many of these symbols are presented in The World Shaker.

“It was a nation of farmed thoughts”-The word Shaker

Its ironic that only 10% of the German nation was part of the Nazi party whilst the other 90% were controlled by their movement. There were those who didn’t agree with the Nazis view but even so the majority of people were controlled by them. Even people like Hans, Liesels foster father who was completely against the party had to make efforts in trying to look like a supporter of the Nazis. There was no tolerance for openly being against the Nazis which goes to show how much power over the people they had. You weren’t able to express your thoughts because the nation was only allowed to think a certain way;the Nazi way. At the top of the Nazis was Hitler the mighty leader. The one with all the power on top of his great nation, but where and how did he get such power? The Word Shaker gives the reader a different view on how Hitler rose to power. This is important is because Max was not a person blinded by the Nazi ways. Maxes religion was frowned upon by the German masses because Hitler told them Jews were like a disease that would eventually take over Germany. This is not true and max knew this which is why the Word Shaker is so important because it gives us a viewpoint on Germany WW2 from a Jewish perspective. A perspective that wasn’t mislead by a foul leader who filled peoples minds with misconception.

The Word Shaker

The Word Shaker opens with Hitler wondering how he would make the world his and one day it hits him, ‘ “I will never use a gun” he said “I will not have to.” ‘ Hitler was a smart man and figured out how he would gain his power. Words were the key. Words were the way for Hitler to push his thinking into a reality.  However some denied his thinking. Some stood true to their own beliefs despite the changing world around that was pressuring people into a new era of thinking. Liesel was one of those people who opposed Hitler’s ideas. The word shaker shows Liesels defiance in a very symbolic way. The story starts with a powerful message,’The best word shakers were those who understood the true power of words’.  Liesel Understood the true power of words for she was once without words giving her the insight into how powerless one can be without them. She wanted to use her words for good putting something positive into the world unlike Hitler who used his words in a manipulative way to create a nation of ‘farmed thoughts’.  The Word Shaker goes on to explain how a young girl befriends a man who his despised by his nation. When this man becomes ill she sheds a tear of pure friendship onto his face, this teardrop grows into a tiny seed which she then plants in a forest filled with trees, she nurtures the tiny seed until it grows into a big tree. This is a very symbolic moment in The Word Shaker as it is referring to the time when Max was ill and Liesel tended to him everyday hoping he would get better. The tear that Liesel drops shows how much she cares for Max and how she will not give up on Max, continuing to stay by his side despite all the negativity surrounding the Jews at this point in time. At this time in history Germany was a place that had no acceptance for the Jewish people so for Liesel to care as much as she did for Max was incredibly dangerous for the both as it meant risking their lives to maintain a friendship.

The story goes on to explain how Liesel plants the tiny seed which grows with time and becomes a strong and tall tree. This tree resembles Max and Liesels friendship as it grows stronger and stronger with each day, until its the biggest tree in the forest. This symbolizes how friendships can have very small beginnings but grow into something strong if someone is willing to nurture it. The forest its surrounded in is full of Hitlers trees, these trees hold only negative words that bring nothing but hate into the world. Hitler spreads his hateful words throughout the nation and like a forest his words begin to root themselves into the ground. This rooting is similar to society when people become indulged in false information and begin to believe what they are told, over time those words grow and become more and more embedded in the people and as a forest would, begins to spread. Despite the forest that Liesel and Max are surrounded by they continue to remain friends. This shows how defiant Liesel was as she would risk her own life for Max. Germany was a Nation filled with hate towards the Jews but Liesels friendship with Max means more to her than what the Nazis thought. This is shown when the axe men attempt to cut down the tree of Max and Liesels but in The Word Shaker Liesel climbs up in defiance to stop them from cutting it. Liesel will not be put down by the nation she lives in for what she values is far to precious to lose.

The physical copy of the word shaker is very symbolic too as it is written over what was once Mein Kampf. To Max Mein Kampf became his source of survival for it was what gave him cover from Nazis. When Hitler was rising to power he released a novel named Mien Kampf which is German for my struggle. The book was an autobiography written by Hitler that outlined his ideology on the the future for Germany. Mein Kampf essentially acted as Nazi German bible as it contained the core beliefs of their mighty dictator Hitler. Max used Mein Kampf like a passport because it created a fake identity for him, making him look like a believer of the Nazi movement. In some instances Maxes life depended on this novel so its understandable why he cherished it so much. However later on in The Book Thief Max paints over Mein Kampf in white paint so he can begin writing his own stories over top of it. This shows that Max is defying Hitler by no longer letting his words control the way he lives. It also shows how much he cares for Liesel as he writes The Standover Man and The Word Shaker over top of Mein Kampf as if to say, ‘I no longer care what you think Hitler I have new beliefs.’ To Liesel these books showed her who Hitler really was and how words are the most powerful weapon you can posses.

WW2 took many things from Liesel Meminger that she will never be able to get back but it also gave her things that will be with her all her life. It took her family, her friends, her home, her innocence but it also gave her words, friendships and courage. People like Max taught Liesel some of the most powerful lessons she will ever be taught as well as people like Hans who was the first to teach her how to read and write. It is hard to say what WW2 did to Liesel but one thing is certain, she would never be the same. The authors message in all of this is how the power of words can be used for good in times of anger and hate. Even someone as young as Liesel can use her words to create a strong friendship with someone like Max whose region is being oppressed by the entire nation. Words can have huge impacts on peoples lives be it good or bad, in the case of Liesel and Max words were used for the greater good.

The maturation of Liesel

How did I initially picture a book thief to look like?

1)I think thieves in general are people with few possessions and little to lose.  A book thief is no different to a jewelry thief in my opinion because all thieves share the same traits. Sympathy must be given to those who steal because they are people who aren’t as wealthy or secure as the general population may be. I don’t have any particular stereotypes attached to what a thief may look life for it could be anyone. Hypothetically if I were to be in a very poor country with little money I am near to certain I too would attempt acts of thievery. I don’t believe a thief looks any different to any one else, even their hearts can be in the right place.

2)To lose your entire family at such a young age comes with tremendous amounts of pain and grieving. Liesel is lucky to be taken in by Rosa and Hans for they give her a life where she is loved like any other family would love their child. If this never happened then I believe Liesel wouldn’t of recovered so quickly because her new foster parents gave her a normal life so shortly after having to part with her brother and mother. However they cannot replace what she once had.  I cannot speak for Liesel because those that suffer the loss of loved ones can deal with the matter in many different ways. She may feel a great deal of pain and suffering when she is older or she may not. For some the loss of a loved one can make them a fragile and unstable person. For others they may become a stronger person through their loss and learn how to deal with certain elements of life in a new way. As time passes I can imagine Liesel becoming a much stronger person because she has learnt how to deal with such tragic moments from a young age. At the need of the day Liesel is the only one that can truly know how she is feeling and I can only speculate so much as to how her losses truly made her feel.

3)Words give Liesel many things. They give her new worlds to dive into and unravel their mystery’s. Words give her challenges as she learns new and more complex words each day. They give her the power to speak her mind. They allow her to connect with new people such as Max Vandenburg. Liesel gains many things from words and grows a love for words that results in her stealing several books. Even with all the great things that words teach Liesel she also discovers that they give men like Hitler power. They may teach her the wonders of literature but they are also responsible for many of the deaths during WW2.

4)Liesel loved Rudy, there is no denying it. Though the love she had for Rudy was from a friendship perspective not a romantic one. She ends up regretting her decision to never kiss Rudy as she only does so after he dies. However that doesn’t change the past, for she technically never kissed him. Rudy and Liesel both loved each other however I think Rudy was coming from a romantic point of view. They have such a strong relationship in this book that is one you wish they can keep for ever and that’s why it hurts so much when Rudy dies at the end of the book. If Rudy were to of lived I can imagine the two of them ending up as either life long friends or partners. They symbolized love in a very pure form which showed us that love is not always from a romantic feeling.

5)Max opened her mind up to many great things. Some of those things were also rather grim such as his reasons for staying with the Hubbermann’s. Max is running from the Nazis for being a jew throughout the course of the novel and has to part with his own family to save his own life, knowing they will mostly likely die. Liesel didn’t have it easy but neither did Max, however I am not going to justify that one of the characters had it harder than the other. This is because both were suffering equally as much as the other, there is no need to saw who was going through more pain than the other. What Max did for Liesel was give her comfort and allow her to share her grief and nightmares with him. Max was like an older brother for Liesel and gave her the comfort and reassurance that she needed. Being of an older age meant that Max could deal with his situation rather well which is why he acted as a role model for Liesel.

6)Liesel’s continuation to steal novels is driven by curiosity, anger and passion. Books gave her many great things in her younger age so it makes plenty of sense as to why she would keep stealing books. You have to put yourself in Liesels shoes to understand why her thievery never stopped. Books were one of the few important things she had in her life so she cherished them very deeply. Bookstores were filled with propaganda during this time period so she couldn’t buy them there if if she had the money. With few options there was only one way to acquired what she desired.

7)The lessons Liesel taught me were few but valuable all the same. People can recover, even from the most desperate of situations. The amount of loss Liesel had to bare in her younger age is immense.  If a writer can make me emotional from watching/reading a young girl lose her most beloved people then I can only imagine how much pain it caused Liesel.  Recovery sounds far fetched for someone in Liesel’s condition but she pushes through the worst to become her best self. I find this great motivation for the times when I am in need of reassurance that it will be ok. Words are peoples greatest power. The book thief mainly revolves around Liesel Meminger and her love for words. Many of the people around her also helped me to acknowledge the power of words.

 

 

Who is Rudy – Book Thief Characterization

Who was Rudy

Rudy is no more for he no longer is but was a young boy, even so he represented some ideas that are fairly significant

He was blonde and an ideal of Hitlers beliefs

Rudy gave us a closer look at what Hitler wanted  in the future generations. White, Blonde, Athletic, Smart. Kids like Rudy were considered another race of superior human called Aryan. During the Nazi revolution Hitler wanted to eradicate all other races that were considered impure to him, so people such as Jews and Blacks were attempted to be eradicated.

He was Naive to the Jesse Owens incident

If a grown adult were to be caught doing what Rudy Steiner did the consequences would of been most likely sentence to death. Luckily for Rudy he wasn’t an adult and was caught by his father which are two reasons why he wasn’t taken away from Molching. Rudy didn’t care about the consequences of his actions because he couldn’t see anything wrong with what he did. He loved Jesse Owens far more than the Nazis beliefs in the eradication of blacks and Jews for Rudy didn’t value their ideas whatsoever.

He liked to win

This doesn’t necessarily have anything to with the big picture of the novel but its an important aspect to who Rudy Steiner was. A young boy who had an abundance of determination that lead him to greater places than those around him. I could see Rudy going great places in the future if he never died at such a young age(14).

He was determined

Rudy always had a competitive streak in him that he loved to display in his sport. In particular, running. Whenever he got the chance he’d race Liesel for the one prize he cherished the most, a kiss. He never got that kiss. But he never gave up. He was a fighter that kept on going even if he knew he’d lose.

Family comes first

Despite the flaws in Rudy’s life he was always a happy kid. Money couldn’t buy him the loving family and friends that he had which Rudy cherished deeply. Even when offered to be sent away to a Nazi Elite school that was only for a specific few, he denied. He couldn’t put this offer before his family because he was a boy with values. Plus Rudy wasn’t a big fan of Hitler since he discriminated Jesse Owens,  Rudy’s idol.

 

What does any of this mean?

Well when mixing all of these points together it would seem Rudy resembles a young, genuine boy that lives his own life no matter what those around him say. He follows his dreams and carves his own path no matter what surroundings he is in. He taught us things about the people around him such as his dad being controlled by fear and a nation ran by ill minded national socialists. He gave us insight into the nation that had people controlled through fear.

2.9 Reading Response Born a Crime

Author: Trevor Noah

Date: 25/05/2018

Title: Born a crime

 

If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart. Nelson Mandela

 

In a post apartheid nation some have it a lot easier than others, Trevor Noah the author of this biographical novel is on the other end of the stick. Despite Trevor being one of the nicest and funniest guys I’ve ever read about he is not seen this way by everyone due to his parents being mixed races. Yeah that’s right, a black mother giving birth to a child whose father is white is a big Cha Cha(Zulu for No No) in the post apartheid country. South Africa was and still is split by colour which creates these strong social and racial barriers that will take decades to break down.  However this isn’t a story of Trevor Noah’s struggles but a story of the struggle around him.

To describe how bad Trevor Noah’s situation was let’s take a scenario in the book that to anyone reading will consider ordinary.  A walk in the park with his parents. You must understand that there is a very big difference between the ordinary in Trevor’s life and our lives. His mother couldn’t simply take her six year old son into the park holding hands with her white husband. Instead Patricia Noah had to dress up as a maid, get a lighter skinned friend to walk beside her husband to act as a couple and then and only then could she even be remotely close to her husband in public. To Trevor this is the only world he’s ever known, a world of struggle. But it was never his struggle. This was one of the first eye opening moments in the book  because it gave me a glimpse into another country I have heard so little of and how ill minded the people their can be. We live among people and for there to be groups of people who can’t have normal families based on there colour is disturbing. I think the reason this occurs in countries such as South Africa is because we don’t question how we treat one another enough. In this particular case the white people are never seen to be questioning their own actions but instead putting the blame on somebody else. In places like school I can see lots of judgement but little thought.  I have seen many instances where kids are picking on the odd one out, Verbally bullying through judgement, harassment and most importantly the stuff that is said behind others backs. The bullies never question their actions until someone with higher authority steps in and unfortunately a lot of it goes unnoticed until someone speaks up about it.  For those receiving all the harassment it will become embedded in them as normal unless they can find a resolution. In life there will always be the bullies and the receivers. How do the receivers in South Africa react? With violence. You can blame the man who shot a man for pulling the trigger but who blames the man who made him feel the urge to pull the trigger. The change isn’t going to come from the receivers, it’s going to come from the bullies. Yet we expect a change to come from those causing all the violence but cant see where the problem arises from. It’s an endless cycle that hasn’t seen a resolution for centuries. However to Trevor he didn’t see any of the world like this for he could see the truth.“As a kid I understood that people were different colors, but in my head white and black and brown were like types of chocolate. Dad was the white chocolate, mom was the dark chocolate, and I was the milk chocolate. But we were all just chocolate.” Trevor could see people for what they were, people. There was no stigma around colours for him and I think this is heavily due to how he was raised. It is the people that create the problems not the people that are the problem. When the masses in South Africa begin to realize this it will allow for big changes to be made ever since the last big changes that resulted from the end of apartheid. 

 

As you are speaking to someone it’s respectful to look them in the eyes. It shows you are engaging with them and being respectful towards them and their words. I speak English to those around me because it is New Zealand’s first and most common language. It is uncommon to speak more than one language in NZ however it is very uncommon to not speak more than two languages in South Africa. This is because there is eleven different languages in South Africa and many people there know English because English is where the money is. In South Africa Trevor was seen as a white boy among the blacks due to his lighter skin tone. But as soon as Trevor grasped onto new languages he used them in conversations with others from different tribes. This was when people first started accepting Trevor as one of their own because he knew their language. However at first glance they would perceive him as a white person who speaks English because that’s how he appeared on the outside. Trevor’s mother, Patricia Noah had adopted many languages through her surroundings, doing so helped her get around much easier with a lighter skinned child by being able to communicate with a larger variety of people and ask for tips such as shortcuts through the city. Naturally her knowledge of languages was passed onto Trevor who too became very fluent in these languages. Language served Trevor as a way to be accepted by others who perceived him as something else. It gave him belonging within groups of people that misjudged him otherwise. Translation from Zulu to English- ‘ “Let’s get this white guy. You go left, and I’ll come up behind him.” I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t run, so I just spun around real quick and said “Yo, guys, why don’t we mug someone together? I’m ready. Let’s do it.” They looked shocked for a moment, and then they started laughing. “Oh, sorry, dude. We thought you were something else. We weren’t trying to take anything from you. We were were trying to steal from white people.” ’ This stuck with me throughout the course of the book because as Trevor phrased it, ‘even more than colour, language defines who you are to people’. As soon as these men heard him speak in their tongue they became part of the same tribe and Trevor was no longer seen as a threat to them, they were family. Language breaks down the racial barriers in South Africa and allows people to connect with one another. I now realize  how important language is to the people in these types of countries because it brings them closer together as a group of people. It’s no good to have people speaking Zulu to Afrikaans because they won’t understand each other, but with a common language they can all speak and share their ideas together. In South Africa this common language is English which allows for everyone to be on the same foot. However it will take a number of decades for education to reach a level where everyone can be taught English. Hypothetically if you were given the choice to learn English but were a sufferer of apartheid would you really want to learn the language of those that put you through that pain?

 

The story of Trevor Noah is a odd one that will have you gripped until the end. Born a crime made me ask questions about the world we live in and started up some  very interesting conversations with my parents . The book is from the real perspective of a coloured South African who gives us a honest point of view on South Africa.  Trevor Noah’s book is valuable for anyone wanting to be educated on post apartheid South Africa because it ‘s from somebody’s personal experience which is often the best way to get a perspective on something.  If you want to be opened up to the world of post apartheid South Africa in a novel filled with plenty of thought provoking and humorous text then I’d highly recommend to pick this book up right now.