Gone, you are, and gone, am I

My love,

 

Two years to the day. Two years I’ve spent living as half a person. Has it only been two years since I lost you? It feels like an eternity has passed since I last glimpsed the cascading black waterfall of your hair. Yet it also feels like no time has passed at all; your scent of fresh spring rain still lingers on the empty half of our king bed.

 

I’ve finished the book, I’m sure you’ll be glad to hear.The morning after that fateful incident, as I was re-assembling the manuscript’s paper skeleton, I thought we could both pick up the rudely shattered pieces of our lives too. Naive. Looks like we’re a story that will never see the words “and they loved happily ever after”. Seventy six times I’ve had the blood thrumming in my head, urging me to let my book- my craft, my other love- die. Seventy seven times, I heard and felt your lilting soprano smooth my crinkled brow: “You can do it, love. I believe in you”. It’s this phrase that adorns the second page of ‘A Clockwork Orange’, beneath the name of the only woman I’ll ever love.

 

I’m dead too, just like you. I died twice. First was when your snow white lids did not flutter open and stayed still, lashes casting long shadows across your cheekbones,even after I called your name and shook you gently. Your rosebud lips did not quiver even as my own lips and eyes trembled in dread. The second death was when I felt no cadence jumping up to meet my fingertips in the way the stray rabbits would reach up to nuzzle your hand. My own heart flat-lined, as if it desperately wanted to be in sync with yours. You just lay there in the swaying grass and pastel flowers, bundled in your favourite yellow and royal blue dress. Like you were merely sleeping and waiting for your prince to awaken you with a kiss of true love. The whole time, a bitter smell of almonds dancing around the vial cradled in your soft palm. That gleaming red vial: looking all innocuous when in fact, it hid a toxic secret. One you had been seduced by and partaken from.

 

You were strong for too long. I should have seen the signs. The dark moons hanging from your eyes. The way in which your bones dug into me when I held you in my arms. The long periods you spent, locked up in our room in silence. And the sharp screams that woke me up, followed by muted sobbing, that accompanied the nightmares. Nightmares that probably featured four masked fellows and an absolutely disgusting violation of the sacred physical ritual of man and woman. I was merely beaten; you were beaten and raped. While our bruises faded and bones healed and we stopped bleeding eventually, I know they took something from you that could never be replaced. And the loss of that something drove the love of my life to her death. You shared nothing about your experiences and feelings about that night, choosing instead to encase your heart in ice. That wasn’t a wise choice, my love. Ice cracks. And crack went your heart, two years ago.

 

In the note you left me, you wrote “I’m sorry for being weak”.  No, my dear. You were anything but weak. In fact, I am the weak one. What kind of man does nothing as he watches his lover being ravaged in front of his own eyes? You always called me your ‘knight in shining armour’. I’m sorry your knight could not dash to your rescue on his white stallion, with shining blade raised to defend his princess; he was too busy writhing in pain, swearing in English, Russian and fairytale tongues, and being subdued by mask-wearing ferals to come to your aid. That’s what hurts me the most: the fact that I could do nothing while you were being humiliated and abused. Forgive me, my love. You may also be interested to hear that The Divine Creator brought to our doorstep one of those four boys responsible for half our bed being cold at night. The initial shock of finding out his identity conjured an inferno of rage in me; I wanted to take our hunting knife and carve retribution on his body. But I didn’t. You wouldn’t have wanted me to do it. Christ tells me to forgive; that I cannot do. But I will not kill. He has already taken everything from us and I won’t let them take my humanity too. Besides, slaying the evil dragon won’t bring a dead princess back to life.

 

My wedding band gleams a cold silver as it stares questioningly back at me, wondering where his female counterpart is. He doesn’t know she’s sitting on your finger still, five feet below ground. These rings unite us- in death and in life. Do you remember the vows we recited excitedly to each other when we were sixteen? “And I will love you till death do us part”. Well, I still love you with all of my bleeding heart. Our story doesn’t end here, my dear. You will always be the only one, the only one I’ll ever love.

 

With all of me,

Your F. Alexander

~~~~

Based off ‘A Clockwork Orange’ by Anthony Burgess. Written from POV of F. Alexander after his wife kills herself after being raped by four delinquent teenagers.

Didn’t plan to publish bcos it’s as stink as my mood but I think I just need some real angsty stuff to just offload my feels atm. Can I just not go to school and sit and write corny and melodramatic crap to avoid thinking about real life?

Einstein riddle (2015 version): SOLVED

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This is the revised version of the age-old Einstein riddle (the one with the Pall Mall and Dunhill and all the stuff that 12 year old Asian girls don’t know very much about). I remember completing the old one in year six for fun but a few years on, I’ve forgotten the answers completely.

I’ve been told by mostly everyone that I’m smart for pretty much my whole life (#stayhumble) and I can never resist a chance to prove to people that they are not wrong. In the following, I will go through the steps explaining how I arrived at my answer:

I started with a table, which I used to work out what goes where. The table looks like this

000

Now onto using the clues.

CLUE 9- tells us American lives in the first house CLUE 14- tells us house two is yellow CLUE 8- tells us man in house three drinks water

001

CLUES 4 & 5– tells us red house is directly left of the white house and that the red house owner drinks coffee. The red house cannot be #1 as it is to the left of the yellow house, nor can it be #2 as we have already established that it is yellow, nor can it be #3 as the owner of the red house drinks coffee but #3’s owner drinks water, and nor can it be #5 as the white house is directly to the red house’s right. Therefore, the red house is #4 and the house on its right is the white house.

002

CLUE 1– The British man lives in the blue house so he must be in the centre. The only colour left is green so that must be the colour of the American’s house.

003

CLUE 7– Tells us the American plays XboxOne CLUE 11– Tells us his next door neighbour, the man in the yellow house, owns a Samsung Galaxy S6.

004

A process of elimination tells us what the American drinks: He can’t drink water (Clue 8 tells us the man in the middle drinks water), he can’t drink Coca-Cola because the German drinks it (Clue 3), he can’t drink beer (Clue 12 says the PS3 player drinks beer but the American plays XboxOne), and he can’t drink coffee as he does not live in the red house (Clue 5). Therefore, we are only left with Pepsi and that is what the American drinks.

CLUE 15– The PS4 player lives next door to the Pepsi drinker. Since we’ve established that the American drinks Pepsi, the man in #2 must play PS4.

005

There are three nationalities left: German, French and Swedish. They cannot be in the green or blue houses as these are occupied. CLUE 2– The Frenchman cannot be in the yellow house because the yellow house owner has a Galaxy S6 while the Frenchman owns an S5. CLUE 13– The Swede cannot be in the yellow house either as the yellow house owner plays PS4 while the Swede plays Xbox360. Therefore, the German has to reside in the yellow house.

006

CLUE 3– The German drinks coke. The person in the white house must drink beer because the drinkers of water, Pepsi and Coca-Cola have been established, and the owner of the red house drinks coffee (Clue 5). 007CLUE 12– Tells us the beer-drinker plays PS3 so he must live in the white house CLUE 13– Tells us Swede lives in the red house because he plays Xbox 360. House #1-3 already have the nationalities figured out while the Swede cannot be in the white house as the white house owner plays PS3. This leaves the Frenchman to occupy the remaining house, which is the white house (no jokes about French surrender pls).

008

CLUE 2– Tells us that the Frenchman has a Galaxy S5. CLUE 6– Tells us that the British man is the one who owns both the Nokia Lumia and the PC as he is the only person left with both those slots available.

009

CLUE 10– Tells us the American owns the iPhone 6. This is because the PS4 player (the German) is neighbours with someone owning an iPhone 6; on his right is the British man who owns the Nokia Lumia, leaving the American as the one who owns the iPhone 6.

This leaves us with the solution to the question of “Who owns the iPhone 5s?” As you can see, it is in fact the Swedish man who owns the iPhone 5s!

010

Hope you could follow along with the reasoning and that this encourages you try out more mentally-stimulating puzzles in the future.

Change is coming

An essay exploring how the beginning and end showed a change in a character for “Gran Torino” by Clint Eastwood

Many people say that old people fear change as they have grown so accustomed to their old ways but in Clint Eastwood’s film ‘Gran Torino’ we can clearly see that this anyone is capable of change. Protagonist Walt Kowalski is a racist war veteran whose cold heart is thawed through his interactions with his Hmong neighbours, inspiring a great change in the way he treats others and himself. Eastwood uses the beginning and ending to highlight this change and teach the viewer important lessons through symbolism, camera angles, inter-cutting and dialogue.

Guns -symbols of violence- make appearances several times in the film and the way in which Walt uses them also changes to reflect his increasingly peaceful character. Walt starts off a belligerent man and the Hmong gang is first acquainted with the other end of his shot gun and a growl of “Get off my lawn” before they actually meet the man himself. Shot with a subjective low angle shot, the audience feels as if Walt is aiming the weapon at them personally and combined with the immense sense of power that the low angle conveys, his violent nature is emphasized. When faced with any signs of conflict in the beginning, Walt does not hesitate to take out a firearm. This can be attributed to his long-term exposure to violence in the Korean War, which also provided him with his weapons. Just before his death at the end, a midshot captures Walt aiming his ‘finger-gun’ at the Hmong gang in a manner similar to when he confronted Sue’s harassers and subsequently pulled out a real gun. From this earlier experience, Eastwood sets the viewer up to believe that Walt will reach for a weapon concealed in his jacket, thus surprising them when his clenched hand later reveals no firearm. Like the audience, the Hmong gang is also deceived and quickly shoot him. According to Walt’s plan, the Hmong gang is taken to prison and therefore cannot trouble the Vang Lors anymore. As Mahatma Gandhi said “You cannot shake hands with a clenched fist” and Walt demonstrates this: he lets go of his violent ideals and in doing so, makes peace with his past.

Walt started out a conflicted man but by the end of the film, we see that he has made peace with his conscience. Two extreme close shots of Walt’s Medal of Valour are used -one while sitting in its box in the beginning and one while pinned to Thao’s shirt in the end- to symbolize the discarding of Walt’s guilt. Awarded to him for “killing a scared little gook kid who just wanted to give up”, Walt’s feelings of remorse are ‘boxed’ up like the medal and his sins torment him at the beginning of the film. However, he gives the medal to Thao before he leaves to confront Smokie’s gang; this is symbolic of him letting go of his guilt. When Walt falls to the ground after being shot, Eastwood uses the unnatural angle of a birds eye view to highlight the crucifix position of his body. This reference to the death of Christ connotes atonement for sin, communicating that Walt has redeemed himself through his sacrifice for the Vang Lors. Following his death at the end of the film, the second extreme-close shot of the medal takes place, reinforcing the idea of redemption and reminding us of Walt’s change. Walt’s newfound peace manifests in the non-violent way in which he confronts the Hmong gang, ensuring that Thao would not get involved in the bloodshed and live with the guilt of manslaughter unlike himself. The camera angles and symbolism used in the beginning and end convey to the reader the importance of letting go of the past and not letting it dictate your future.

The beginning and the ending highlight the change in Walt’s willingness to be a father to his own sons. In the opening funeral scene, a close shot of Walt’s sullen expression and perpetual scowl cuts to a midshot of his son Mitch whispering to his brother that “There’s nothing you can do that won’t disappoint the old man”. This gives the viewer the impression that the father-son relationship is strained- an impression which is strengthened in the very next scene where Walt snaps “I need the chairs now, not next week”. Intercutting between wideshots of Mitch and Walt conversing by phone with each other also happens in the beginning, with Mitch asking a cheerful “How’s it going, dad?” before he asks for a favour and Walt promptly hangs up. Interestingly, the ending of the text utilises similar intercutting during the phone call where Walt voluntarily calls Mitch and asks him “How’s everything going?”, followed by a close shot of Mitch’s perplexed expression. These parallels of intercutting and dialogue emphasise how much Walt’s personality has changed. Though he confesses to Father Janovich that “I was never really close to my sons. I didn’t know how”, his father-son bonding with Thao encourages Walt to make that awkward first step in repairing his relationship with his biological sons. The contrast in Walt’s attitude from the beginning to end gives viewers hope that any relationship can be repaired so long as one is willing.

The beginning and the end of ‘Gran Torino’ were crafted skillfully by Clint Eastwood to highlight the important change in Walt’s character. The contrast between the man he was at the beginning and the man he was when he died encourages the viewer not to be afraid of change as it will lead to development of one’s personality.

~~~

necromancing this poor blog
if i treat my children the way i do with this blog, they’re gonna run away from home as soon as their little legs will allow them


English this year is so much harder TT____TT bye bye English award </3 i’ll miss you

Tomorrow, we find out who the head students are and I’m so nervous and worried that I can barely function tbh
I’ve put off preparing for the timed essay in English and Physics electromagnetism common test to control my feels but it just doesn’t feel right to not try my best in preparation.
Lucky me- I get to do Level 2 English in the afternoon of Thursday 13th November after the Level 3 Bio exam QAQ we even have to be supervised in the break to prevent cheating oh dear lord
ok i’m gonna go try and sleep
i’m so nervous i could puke and I’ve cleared my weekends and bought lots of preparation in anticipation of a weekend of moping and eating my feelings
I didn’t realise how badly I wanted head student until I actually got shortlisted
But then, who wants to give up on a dream and goal they’ve worked towards since year 9?

Thank, live and love

Personal Response: ‘My Sister’s Keeper’ directed by Nick Cassavetes and based on novel of the same name by Jodi Picoult

After watching the film ‘My Sister’s Keeper’, directed by Nick Cassavetes and based on the novel of the same name by Jodi Picoult, I feel compelled to reflect on the troubles in my life. Sure, I have a truckload of responsibilities as a student, athlete, leader, sister and daughter; there never seem to be enough minutes in a day to accomplish tasks; and my bank account is sitting pretty with a grand total of twenty dollars and seven cents. These problems feel so petty though, when compared with those faced by the Fitzgerald family in ‘My Sister’s Keeper’. Eldest daughter Kate suffers from leukaemia and it seems as if the purpose of the whole family is to keep Kate alive- younger sister Anna is the in vitro child who provides the body parts, mother Sarah takes on the role of a caretaker and father Brian brings in the money to pay for Kate’s frequent hospital trips. The film tugs on my heart strings as I watch the family’s relationships become strained and Kate’s condition worsen. Though I suspect few have experienced an identical set of circumstances, there are an abundance of life lessons which the viewer can take away from the family’s situation and the director does a commendable job of highlighting these important lessons through expert crafting of film techniques.

With today’s society so heavily promoting individualism and personal satisfaction, the magnitude of Sarah’s selfless devotion to her daughter leaves a lasting impression on me. Cameron Diaz plays the role of Sarah Fitzgerald, a lawyer-turned-permanent-caretaker, as she desperately does everything in her power to protect her daughter and keep her alive. A voice-over at the beginning of the text informs the viewer that she quit her high-paying job as a lawyer so she could attend to Kate’s frail condition. I feel that this was a shame as she is a lawyer of decent caliber, proven by her sound knowledge of the law during the first encounter with Campbell Alexander and through the confidence and authority she portrays during the court hearings. All those years of studying and law school, just to end up as a live-in caretaker- it seems a waste of her hard work and talent as a lawyer… This trade of a successful profession for a less desirable, low-class job reflects the sacrifice made by many parents to ensure brighter futures for their children. Being the daughter of Chinese immigrants, Sarah’s decision to give up her career hits particularly close to home as my own parents performed a similar exchange in profession; my brother and I are beneficiaries of this decision because we were consequently given the opportunity to grow up in clean, green New Zealand instead of the smog-covered and incredibly competitive Hong Kong environment. As year twelves, we have about one more year before we are legally deemed adults and somehow this knowledge seems to make us think that we have walked through life so far by our own efforts. However, we forget that our parents are always the ones behind us – the ones who gave up so much for us – the ones who poured their souls into our upbringing. I feel that we should remember this when we are proud of our achievements –we would not be where are if not for our parents’ sacrifices- and also strive to become selfless parents like Sarah when it is our turn to raise children.

The director uses a close-up of a male and a female silhouette to guide the audience into a memory of Kate’s first love, a beautiful example of unconditional love between herself and a fellow cancer patient. During a routine check-up at the hospital, Kate meets a boy named Taylor who is also receiving treatment for cancer and exchange cell phone numbers, soon after which the two begin dating. While the pair is unlike most other couples in that they are bald, frequently visit the hospital for treatment and are always aware of the fragility of their existence, they do not hold back their adoration. Much like other teenage couples today, they go out to eat together and ‘compare hand sizes’; they sneak out at night and share romantic moments in the darkness; they visually document their affections. By using Kate and Taylor’s very normal relationship, the director prompts the audience to reflect on their own romances and to draw parallels between the characters and their own life. Interspersed between these happy times are a few reminders of the couple’s vulnerability, such as the scene in which Kate still has her hair and is coughing up blood in the hospital. Taylor is there beside her gently holding her hair out of the way, tenderly rubbing her back and whispering words of reassurance in her ear. This scene demonstrates that love is a universal theme which extends to all, even those who are not viewed as being ‘normal’ by society. Kate apologizes for her sickness, to which Taylor replies “Don’t be. Tomorrow that could be me”. This unconditional love really touched me as the two set aside their problems, chose to be positive and focused on nurturing their relationship. The juxtaposition between the warm moments of their romance and the cold reality of their future encourages year twelve students to analyse their own relationships in a time where such relationships tend to be casual, petty and frivolous.

If there is one criticism I have to make about the film, it would be that the conclusion is completely unsatisfying and does not wrap up what is otherwise a great story. The film’s ending deviates greatly from that of the novel in that Anna does not get into a car accident and end up with severe brain damage, which is what transpires in Jodi PicouIt’s novel. The novel version sees that unresponsive Anna’s kidney is donated to Kate, effectively saving her life. However, Cassavetes’ version concludes with Kate’s death while Anna lives. I feel that if the ending of the film had stayed true to the one presented in the novel, the director would have created a more gripping conclusion through the irony of the situation: while trying to help her sister die as per her wishes, Anna dies instead and Kate is forced to shoulder the burden of this knowledge for the rest of her life. The movie depicts Kate consoling her crying mother in the hospital, using a bird’s eye view of Kate wrapping her arms protectively around Sarah as they sleep in the hospital bed. This reversal of roles is highlighted by the strange angle from which the viewer looks down at them. Anna’s voice-over then tells us that Kate died during that night, directly after all the problems surrounding medical emancipation, familial dispute and letting Kate die had been resolved. How is it just so convenient that she dies at this exact time? And how would Sarah feel waking up in the embrace of her now dead daughter? Despite feeling as if this was a very contrived ending, I am reminded of the important lesson that life is a precious gift and we never know when it will be taken from us. This idea is so relevant to year twelve students as the whole idea of YOLO (You Only Live Once) and carpe diem is becoming such a central message in society. Knowing this, we should be encouraged to make the most of the time we have here on earth and chase after the things we really want in life.

After viewing the film, I felt obligated to try and list at least fifty things I should be thankful for and my list exceeded the target amount by a great deal. ‘My Sister’s Keeper’ reminds me of how fragile humans are and how death waits in the wings to claim every single one of us. Nick Cassavetes’ interpretation of Jodi Picoult’s tragic novel put a new (but rather mediocre, in my opinion) spin on the ending of the tale and this further emphasises the idea of human mortality. The characters and their interactions also serve to demonstrate the importance of loving others. Also, just because a person has cancer or any other illness or looks different from the normal standard does not warrant the sometimes odd looks they receive from others; the blood in our veins runs the same red and thus we should love everyone regardless of their circumstances. ‘My Sister’s Keeper’ reminds us all of these values and if we were all to learn from and act on the lessons learnt from the film, our society would be transformed into something much better.

Goodbyes: the good and the bad

A poetic techniques/theme essay for “Walking Away” by Cecil Day Lewis

William Shakespeare’s Juliet once said to Romeo “Parting is such sweet sorrow”. This use of oxymoron highlights the key idea of “There are both positive and negative aspects to saying goodbye”. ‘Walking Away’ by Cecil Day Lewis is a poem that explores this theme through recounting an incident where young Sean Day Lewis leaves his father for his friends after a football match. As a parent, the poet had mixed feelings about this event as it symbolized much more than brief physical distance. Cecil Day Lewis utilizes a variety of literary techniques to encourage consideration of both the good and bad that comes out of parting.

Farewells bring about separation and the poet uses structure and connotation to convey this. ‘Walking Away’ consists of four stanzas with five lines each. By using lines of similar lengths and distributing words carefully in the text, a steady rhythm is created within. This reflects the steady gait of walking and adds an extra dimension to the idea of walking away creating distance between loved ones. Connotation is contained in the form of “touch lines new-ruled”. Lines are commonly associated with division they parallel the physical and emotional separation that is beginning to develop between father and son. Day Lewis’ son was about to begin boarding school and the use of “new-ruled” suggests the start of a new chapter in their relationship and also a loss of intimacy. The likes of Skype and phone calls are mediocre attempts to bridge physical separation while there is virtually no remedy for patching up psychological separation. This is why partings bring such heartache and is also why Day Lewis chose to place emphasis on this particular aspect of the theme.

Letting go will inevitably produce pain. “Like a satellite// wrenched from its orbit, go drifting away” is a simile used to compare with Sean’s symbolic act of walking away. A smaller satellite is held securely in its orbit by the gravity of a much larger celestial body; this is the cosmos expressing the natural dependency in a parent-child relationship. However, this perfect image is ruined by the word “wrenched”, which indicates excruciating agony. The poet feels tormented as he realizes that Sean will not require his guidance for much longer and that he will be unable to protect his precious son from the harsh world. Enjambment is used to suddenly split the train of thought and reflect the abrupt – and obviously violent – pain that Sean’s independence has brought about. The author further reinforces this by using personification through “[the parting] gnaws at my mind still”, implying that the pain is on such a level that he can almost feel it leave a physical wound. These techniques combine to communicate the negative consequences of parting.

Leaving a loved one is not always a bad thing; it can bring about a sense of independency and a brighter future. The simile “Like a winged seed loosened from its parent stem” is used to highlight this particular point. A winged seed is designed to be carried far away from its ‘parent stem’ by the wind. With no oppressive shadow to block out light and with less competition for resources, the young sapling is able to grow into a strong tree. In many families, elders tend to cast expectations on the younger generation and oppose anything which deviates from the path that has already been selected. However, this path may not be the best choice and there could be an even better option somewhere else.  Day Lewis uses this comparison to point out that parting can often bring about better opportunities and generate self-sufficiency. It also reminds parents that there is no Neverland in real life; children will grow up and leave the nest to start their own families. Parents must accept this and let their children determine their own futures.

Refining of one’s character is possible through parting with a familiar environment and entering an unknown world. “Small scorching ordeals which fire one’s irresolute clay” catches the reader’s attention due to its use of sibilance in the words “small scorching”. Repetition of ‘s’ sounds create an onomatopoeic effect, mimicking the crackling of an intense flame and the difficulty of leaving one’s comfort zone. Clay is a soft impressionable material and the shaping of it mirrors the molding of one’s personality. Sean is like this clay – pliable in mind and moral. After it has been fired in a kiln, clay comes out strengthened and sturdy, just like we will be after facing such difficult circumstances. Day Lewis uses this line to convey that facing hardship- such as parting with one’s beloved- will develop one’s mental strength and is actually beneficial for us.

Tears accompany farewells, as we see so often at airports, hospitals and funerals. It is painful to know that we cannot be with the ones we love, even if this parting is not permanent. However, Cecil Day Lewis’ use of poetic devices has shown us that there is a silver lining to every cloud as these difficult goodbyes often yield positive results as well. Whenever you are faced with a similar parting, remember that there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. After all, a farewell cannot kill us and what does not kill us will make us stronger. Instead of being caught up in the negative outcomes, why not focus on the positive ones instead?

 

Change and overcome fear

A character change film analytical essay: “V for Vendetta” directed by James McTeigue

Scared and afraid, we walk around with masks on to hide our true selves. We are not as strong as we make ourselves out to be. Evey Hammond, the female protagonist of James McTeigue’s dystopian film ‘V for Vendetta’ is a character who changes from an anxious, passive girl into a knowledgeable, bold woman who thinks for herself. The catalyst for this change was the fake abduction that V staged to test her mental strength. Through the intricately woven plotline, expert use of film techniques and an abundance of symbols, the audience is able to connect with Evey and learn from her character change.

The Evey in the beginning half of the film is fearful. When faced with any sign of violence, she always hides beneath something, whether it be a bed or a table. Hiding under objects is a subconscious reaction to feeling threatened and wanting to be protected – a characteristic of Evey’s which can be attributed to her unorthodox childhood. Her parents were political activists who opposed the government, despite the threat of persecution.  The threat becomes reality when Evey is abruptly woken from sleep and told to hide under the bed. Both objective views and point-of-view shots are used to show Evey’s mother being beaten and ‘black-bagged’, an act which involves the placing of a black hood over a victim’s head in a manner reminiscent of how Gestapo in World War Two would treat their prisoners. Evey tells V  “I’m sorry I’m not a stronger person. I wish I wasn’t afraid all the time, but I am”. The audience now comprehends the ordeals that have shaped Evey into a fearful being. This quote also serves to foreshadow the morphing of a timid Evey into an assertive Evey.

In the later half, Evey begins to develop into a strong person after facing hardship and finding the inspiring autobiography of a previous prisoner. Following her abduction, she is subjected to torture in order to break her spirit and divulge information about V. An example of this was when her head was forcefully held under water. Her captor proceeds to pull her up and commands her to “Just tell us where he [V] is”. Face defiant, she firmly replies with “I don’t know”. This mid shot can be compared to the mid shot of Evey when she first arrived at the holding facility, where she was whimpering and shaking so hard that she could not respond to the interrogator’s questions. Her emergence from the water is similar to the act of baptism, wherein an imperfect and flawed person is submerged in water briefly before rising out of it as a new creation. Evey’s afflictions teach us that the vicissitudes of life mold and enhance our character, much like how intense heat hardens clay. This knowledge gives us strength to persevere, even in the direst of times.

The concept of ‘rebirth’ is used by McTeigue to emphasise Evey’s change.  A bird’s eye view of Evey in a fetal position channels this concept and the importance of this scene is highlighted by the unnatural angle from which we perceive her. Coupled with her bald head and closed eyes, the viewer is given the impression that Evey is in a womb and waiting to be born again. Evey’s transformation is complete when she tells her captors that she would “rather die behind the chemical sheds” than co-operate. In response to this, her captor tells her “Then you have no fear anymore. You’re completely free”. With this, Evey leaves her cell and slowly walks out of the corridor, only to find herself in V’s hideout. Her exit from the dark-coloured cell and her entry into the warm, soft environment of V’s home is another touch that McTeigue uses to represent Evey leaving the womb and entering a new world. This parallelism serves the purpose of dramatizing Evey’s change and making it a prominent transition.

After her release from captivity, a new Evey stands in the rain on a balcony. “God is in the rain”, she says while looking up at the heavens, quoting the contents of Valerie’s letter. She raises her hands in a V for victory and also as an act of thanks to God. Cross-cutting of both Evey and V’s rebirths follow, with the obvious difference of Evey rising from soothing rain while V rises from the fiery carnage of Larkhill Detention facility. This juxtaposition furthers the religious references by again symbolizing baptism. Water has long been a symbol of healing and life; a contrast to fire’s connotations of destruction and death. For the first time in the film, the horizon is able to be seen without anything obscuring it, contributing to the feel of freedom from fear. Thunder and lightning complete the scene, as white light cuts across the black sky and rumbles of thunder resound. A storm should instill fear, but Evey is afraid no more. These weather elements give this particular scene a powerful quality, reflecting the newfound strength that Evey now possesses and which enables her to complete V’s plan and blow up the houses of Parliament.

We live in constant fear every day. Fear of being unaccepted and lonely. Fear of losing. Fear of humiliation. Fear of sickness and death. Fear of persecution. These phobias can be overcome, though, if we are willing to change. While we are living in a much different society to the one painted in ‘V for Vendetta’, we can still identify with Evey and learn from her bravery in the face of overwhelming fear. A caterpillar is a vulnerable and not very fascinating creature. However, after it ‘dies’ inside of its chrysalis, a beautiful butterfly emerges with wings that carry it to wherever it pleases. Evey has gone through a similar metamorphosis, starting out as timid and weak before evolving into a resolute being. As we have observed, her transfiguration has not come about smoothly; she faced torture, humiliation, paralyzing fear and isolation before she was able to reach her ideal character. This is the crux of what Evey’s character has taught us: when we overcome our fears, we will find strength and confidence.

Blessings: do we take them for granted?

An poetic devices/literary techniques analytical essay: “Blessing” by Imtiaz Dharker

Benjamin Franklin once said “When the well’s dry, we know the worth of water”. This quote reveals the way in which humans take things for granted and then realise its value once it disappears. In the poem ‘Blessing’ by Imtiaz Dharker, a burst water pipe in the Dharavi slum of India causes great excitement for inhabitants as they are often lacking access to it. A theme that directly relates to the text is that of “We do not fully appreciate an item until it becomes rare”. In the arid conditions of Mumbai, water is viewed as a precious commodity and every single drop of the liquid is considered a miraculous blessing. Dharker uses a combination of literary techniques in order to make first-world readers wonder how much they take for granted in their daily lives.

In the first stanza, Dharker combines the use of simile and rhythm to introduce the problems that arise out of insufficient water. The poem begins with a powerful image; “The skin cracks like a pod” hooks the reader into wanting to know what the cause is of such intense agony. A statement is then made concerning the reason behind the pain, which is because “There is never enough water”. The author’s use of hard consonants in the first line creates an onomatopoeic effect, reflecting the hypothetical sound of a bursting seed pod. The simile further extends the comparison between the splitting of a seed pod and the painful cracking of human skin, and also between the gashes that appear on the ground of drought-ravaged countries. Dharker paints this despondent picture in the first stanza to contrast with the exuberance of the third and fourth stanzas, making the blessing of water seem more special because the reader is aware of the bleak consequences of not having it. The people of Dharavi have experienced life without the precious liquid, and Dharker uses these techniques to describe the implications of living without an essential component of a healthy lifestyle.

The poet’s choice of diction supports the extended metaphor of water being a gift from a celestial power. Dharker’s use of the words ‘congregation’, ‘blessing’ and ‘roar of tongues’, imply the idea that the residents of the Dharavi slum view the water as a godsend. A ‘congregation’ denotes a group of people assembled to praise a deity, and the author’s use of the word infers the high importance in which the crowd views the water. As the people are described as a congregation, the author suggests that the collecting of water is a sacred ritual for them. The title of the piece is named ‘Blessing’ and this infers that the precious liquid is a gift of grace given by god. By naming the poem ‘Blessing’, Dharker provides the first hint of the extended metaphor and also the basis on which the rest of the metaphor sits. Later on, an allusion to Pentecost and the descending of the Holy Spirit is made through the words ‘roar of tongues’. Pentecost was the Jewish festival on which tongues of fire alighted with a roar on the heads of the disciples. They were then able to miraculously speak in many tongues which they had been unable to previously. Dharker’s indirect reference adds an extra depth to the religious metaphor and further extends the imagery in the mind of the reader. The use of connotation, denotation and allusion in ‘Blessing’ reveal that the inhabitants of Dharavi slum do not take water for granted and instead revere it – just as they would a god.

Inhabitants of Dharavi slum do not take water for granted because there is so little of it; Dharker reveals just how little in the second stanza. The author uses enjambment to leave the word ‘echo’ on the end of a line. This re-creates the effect of an echo trailing off, indicating the drop of water is resounding in an otherwise empty container. After the word ‘imagine’ in the beginning of line three until the end of line five, single syllables are used to mirror the sound of dripping water and the echo it creates. The sequence of text ‘… the drip of it/the small splash, echo/ in a tin mug, ‘ is comprised of monosyllabic words and adds an aural dimension to the idea of there being so little water. Alliteration is found in line four through the use of the words ‘small splash’. This is also an example of sibilance; the author uses it because the ‘s’ sound slows down the reader (due to the sound being difficult to say quickly), drawing attention to the severe depletion of water in the land. These techniques serve the purpose of building up imagery of a community desperate for even a drop of the prized resource.

Chaos erupts as precious water gushes out in stanza three. The bursting of the pipe is met with sheer joy and the poet describes the way in which the crowd treasures the water. Later on in the stanza, the line of ‘silver crashes to the ground’ is used as a metaphor to compare the liquid with a valuable metal. Under the glaring sunlight, flowing water can resemble silver. The fact that this water is ‘crashing to the ground’ hints that the treasured water is being wasted as no-one is trying to contain it. In India, Pakistan and other parts of Asia, there is a custom where the wealthy throw silver coins on the ground for the poor. The ninth line mimics this charitable action and also reminds that this water from the pipe will not sustain them forever. Because the people know this is only a short-lived happiness and that the water will eventually stop flowing, they clamour to save as much as possible using their pots, buckets and hands. The author uses the metaphor to accentuate the value of the water, the temporary relief that the water brings and also the indescribable joy that overflows like running water.

While we – with our bathtubs, taps, flushing toilets and bottled water – use water everyday without giving it much thought, there are many who battle to live with an inadequate supply everyday. Residents of Christchurch never could have predicted the earthquake and the shortage of clean drinking water that would ensue. Now many of them are extremely grateful for any amount of the life-giving liquid. When asked about the conditions in India, Dharker stated “When a pipe bursts or a water tanker goes past, there is always a child running behind trying to catch drips of water. Water is like currency, it’s like money. In a hot country in that kind of climate, it’s like a gift. It really is very precious. When the water comes it’s like a god.” Through her use of literary devices, Imtiaz Dharker makes the reader think about whether they fully appreciate the gifts that the earth has presented to them. Aldous Huxley, author of ‘Brave New World’, once expressed that “Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted”. Living in New Zealand, it is common for us to complain about the scorching heat in the middle of summer; during the rainy season of the June-July period, however, every warm and sunny day is greeted with smiles and plans of going outside to enjoy the sunshine. The question is, how many things do we take for granted, and under what circumstances will we learn to appreciate the things we have in abundance?

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Long time no update ^^; neglecting max-leveled =-= Anywaaaays, mocks are coming up and English is the first exam. WHOOPTY DOO. So stressed rn for maths because ughhhh math. While writing up my V for Vendetta film essay, I found this on my SkyDrive. I THOUGHT I LOST IT WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH. The feels when I found it were like ;~~~~~;
This was an essay I wrote for junior exams last year, ALLBAMASELF. Like seriously. The teacher gave us two completely random poems and didn’t even teach it because he probably wanted us to all write about the novel (The outsiders) that we studied instead to save him time and energy. LAZY AS. I learnt nothing last year ^-^ just spent a lot of time arguing with the teacher and chatting in class and doing other subjects’ homework. Ok this essay maxed out the marking schedule TT^TT 7+, it said. harhar I was pleased. First time I ever saw a 7+ on any essay, let alone on the essay of a deranged Chinese girl’s. But then it was pretty bad cos getting a 7+ was my main motivation to do well (well that, and the possibility of getting a trophy). Maybe this was the final plank on the bridge to that trophy, because I did end up getting the award I so coveted, striking it off my bucket list of keeping the top of the year English trophy (hehehe got contribution to debate award and 1 of 6 top scholar awards ^^). I don’t think this is a feat that I can repeat this year though, because I honestly feel as if my English is deteriorating (if you can even put it that way). And I’m getting dumber too; I’ve never seen so many Merits and I GOT MY FIRST ACHIEVED(s) IN MATH OH WHYYYYYYYYYY QAQ /cries a little. Maybe cos I haven’t touched a real book in soooooo long. harhar here I am procrastinating again when I should really be finishing that V essay or even better, heading to bed. ENJOY DIS OK COS I PUT A LOT OF EFFORT INTO IT OTL arigatou gozaimasu.