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Changing World Essay

Analytical Essay:

The world is constantly changing anywhere from advancements in technology to changes in the environment. Humans are also always changing mentally and physically. When the men in “The Things They Carry” get drafted into war they are forced to face many changes in their lives. To cope with all of these changes many people shut them out and ignore them. Ignoring or not embracing change is one of the worst mistakes a person could make.

Dave Jensen and Lee Strunk didn’t start off as friends at all. However, based off of this story, when a person is at war they need to learn to trust people extremely fast. The two men made a pact that if either of them ever got critically injured in battle, than the other would kill him. They signed a document and had witnesses. When Lee got his leg blown off this pact went out the window. Lee said “But you’ve got to promise. Swear it to me--Swear you won't kill me. Jensen nodded his head and said “I swear,”...” Lee died shortly after that. In this scenario Jensen embraced change extremely quickly and went back on his written word. The two men changed their pact. Many people would have stuck with it because they wouldn’t want to change what they said. Jensen wouldn’t kill his friend because he didn’t want to have that burden.

Before Lieutenant Jimmy Cross went to war he met a woman named Martha. He quickly fell in love with Martha. Throughout the beginning of the book he could not stop thinking of her. This caused him to lead his men into a bad situation and someone got killed. “He felt shame. He hated himself. He had loved martha more than his men, and as a consequence Lavender was now dead, and this was something he would have to carry in his stomach for the rest of the war.” Soon after that he came to a realization “... and because he realized that she did not love him and never would.” When Jimmy Cross went into the war he wasn’t ready to embrace the change of leaving Martha behind. Jimmy hung onto Martha like a little kid with a pacifier who just isn’t ready to give it up. Him going into battle with his mind full of thoughts about Martha got one of his men killed. He now needs to live with that. He got a man killed because he wasn’t ready to embrace change. By the time he finally realized the truth about Martha and his relationship, it was too late.

''I went to my room in the basement and started pounding the typewriter,'' he recalled. ''I did it all summer. It was the most terrible summer of my life, worse than being in the war. My conscience kept telling me not to go, but my whole upbringing told me I had to. That horrible summer made me a writer. I don't know what I wrote. I've still got it, reams of it, but I'm not willing to look at it. It was just stuff - bitter, bitter stuff, and it's probably full of self-pity. But that was the beginning.'' Tim O’Brien getting drafted into the war seemed like the worst thing possible to him. However, he embraced this change. By coming to the realization that he should just accept this life changing encounter instead of pushing it away. By accepting it, it made him the writer he is today. He vented his anger but acceptance of this change by writing and it made into an extremely successful author.

When people are faced with change they either choose to embrace it or ignore it. By ignoring change people put themselves into situations that aren’t always the best. It’s best to embrace change instead of completely ignoring it.

Narrative Essay:

It was finally December and that meant it was almost Christmas! Christmas time meant a million phone calls from every family member asking what I wanted. One call was special though. It was the phone call from my grandmom that always stuck out to me. We had a great relationship but many people would call it strange. For starters, I didn’t call her my grandmom. I called her my aunt. I did this because she always said she was to young to be a grandmom. She wanted me to call her Aunt Jan so that’s what I did. She was also a very open person. Anything that was on her mind she would say. That’s what I loved, but sometimes hated, about her. She had a saying “Lord keep one hand on my shoulder, and the other on my mouth.” So back to the phone call. It always started with a “how was your day?” I’d say “Good, what about you?” Then it would go on to “So Bella you know it’s that time of the year right.” We’d talk about how I’ve already talked to a billion people and told them all the same thing, I just want money. After finally telling her something different than money, we’d hang up. When Christmas came along I would go to her house in the morning, still wearing my pajamas. I would see all the things I asked for but every year there was always one extra thing. It was the same thing every year just a little different. It was a Victoria Secret sweat suit. The only difference between this years and last years was the color. She never got me the same color two years in a row. The last sweat suit I ever got from her was purple, one of her favorite colors.

A few months before the Christmas of 2012 we got some bad news. Aunt Jan got diagnosed with breast cancer. It was a really hard thing for all of us to wrap our heads around because none of us saw it coming. My grandmom fought hard and beat cancer once. When Christmas of 2012 came nothing changed. We had our same phone call. I still went there in the morning, just our usual Christmas.

After Christmas her cancer came back, and it came back stronger than before. Unfortunately, on one sad day in May of 2013, my grandmom lost her battle to breast cancer. Cancer had gotten the best of her and none of us could believe it. We all knew that she wasn't going to make it because that's what the doctors told us but we still had hope that she would beat it again. None of us were ready to accept the fact that she would be gone, especially me.

I saw her the night before she died. I looked at her and she looked back at me with a very particular look. A look that said the words I never wanted to hear, without even saying them. A look that was certain that her time here was over. It hurt to bad to agree with her.

After her death I wasn't ready to accept all the changes that were about to happen. I started to let my life fall apart. In my eyes the only way to really deal with my problems was to drink. Where I live teen drinking is a pretty normal thing. Almost everyone teenager drinks to have fun. That's not why I started though. Sure it might of seemed like I was having fun in the moment, but when I got home and it was just me it wasn't fun anymore. I called her phone almost every night and listened to her voicemail over and over again. I left long messages of the things I never got to say. I hoped that one day maybe, just maybe, she would answer.

I knew that it was time to finally accept that she was gone. The final realization was when Christmas of 2014 came along. I didn't get that phone call I usually got. When I went there in the morning, there wasn't a sweatsuit waiting for me to change into. The house felt empty and not whole. All the things that we did together, I would now have to do by myself.

When I finally accepted this change I realized that everything was going to be okay. I knew that she wouldn't want me to let my life fall apart just because she isn't here anymore. I knew that if she were here she would ask me what the hell I was doing with myself. Whenever I felt down I would just ask myself how she would react if she were still here. By accepting the fact that just because she's gone physically, doesn't mean she's gone spiritually. I know that she's always there watching over me and I'm now able to accept that and be a better person because of it.

Works Cited for Analytical Essay:

Bruckner, D.J. "A Storyteller For the War That Won't End." New York Times Online. The New York Times. April 3, 1990. Web. October 20, 2009.

O'Brien, Tim. The Things They Carried. New York: Broadway, 1998. Print.


Changing World Essay

Analytical Essay:

Friendship is a mutual bond between two or more people, a stronger form of an interpersonal bond than an association (Wikipedia). Such a dry definition does not give the concept of friendship justice. Friendship is putting someone else first, and it is not a large theme in The Yellow Birds. The relationship between the two main characters, Bartle and Murph is not one of close friendship. It is difficult to define their relationship. The main reason that Bartle concerns himself with Murph at all is because of a promise that he made to Murph’s mother, he promised her he would look out for her son, and bring him home from the war. Despite the fact that they were almost complete strangers. Still, he felt obligated to keep his promise, regardless of the fact that he despises keeping it. Bartle spends a fair amount of time thinking about how much he doesn’t want to be responsible for Murph. After Murph dies, Bartle looks back on the moments that he didn’t comfort Murph, or ignored his behavior, and wonders that if he had comforted and consoled him, could there have been a chance that he could’ve saved him? Reliving each moment and thinking of different scenarios is what caused Bartle to become so depressed after he was discharged, but the root of it was that he did not keep his promise.  

Although it feels like a memoir when reading it, all of the characters are fictional and the story is fictional. Author Kevin Powers enlisted in the army when he was seventeen years old, he fought in Iraq as a machine gunner assigned to an engineer unit. "I think I had to come to terms with my own experience before I was able to contend with it in writing," Powers said in an interview with The Guardian. The Yellow Birds is Powers’s answer to the wider question of "what it was like over there.” He set out, he says, with the aim of "seeing if it would be possible to paint a portrait of the war looking out from inside of this one soldier" (The Guardian) The focus of the book, very personal, going back and forth between the war, and Bartle’s life after in Virginia, he switches, sometimes mid-sentence, between the two places.

“The root of his guilt is that he wanted to be good, and he tried to be good, but he failed. His conflict is between his desire to redeem that failure and his acceptance of complete powerlessness.” (Kevin Powers) This is about where all of  Bartle’s guilt really comes from, he does feel guilt from Murph’s death, and from his survival, but the root of it all is the fact that Barle never actually kept his promise to watch out for Murph, and bring him home.

"What Is Friendship? - HowStuffWorks." HowStuffWorks. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Jan. 2015. <>.
Percy, Benjamin. "On the Ground." The New York Times. The New York Times, 06 Oct. 2012. Web. 13 Jan. 2015. <>.


Bella Mezzaroba The Self and the Changing World

Analytical Essay:

Human’s have a variety of coping mechanisms that allow them to continue living after something life changing has happened. It’s human nature to survive, so therefore, humans must find ways to keep living when life becomes difficult to handle. In order to deal with tragedy, loss, or difficult times, humans detach themselves from the situation at hand in order to cope. Different personality types detach themselves differently but overall, people dehumanize suffering in order to get through it.

In  Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried, the men have rituals that they carry out when they come across a dead Vietnamese soldier. The men do things like shake hands with the dead, toast the dead, and speak to the dead as if they were as alive as they. In this specific example, O’Brien’s talking about the way the men toast to a dead man they found. “It was more than mockery. There was a formality to it, like a funeral without sadness.” Most of the men aren’t rude about death. However, by removing the sadness from the atmosphere of death, they’re not associating their own emotions with the situation. Removing sadness from the equation removes the sense of attachment to the circumstances. By acting as if death is a game, the men not only separate themselves from the grief, but separate themselves from the guilt of taking another man’s life.   

O’Brien, in one of his interviews, says, “The one way to psychologically endure it all is to escape in your head.” O’Brien’s speaking about retreating into his imagination to mentally survive a hardship such as war. That was his specific way of detaching. It was also a way he expressed through the actions of many of the soldiers in his story. O’Brien writes a character named Kiowa, a native american young man who hasn’t let the war change his outlook on life. By staying true to his pre-war self, Kiowa lives in an illusion. He’s escaping into his mind, into what he was before he was surrounded by death and destruction in Vietnam. By refusing to change who he is, Kiowa is building a mental wall that keeps the war from destroying him psychologically.

In The Things They Carried, there is a chapter titled, The Man I Killed. The entire chapter is describing a man O’Brien shot and the backstory he imagined for the man.  O’Brien, when describing what the man looked like after he shot him, says “...and his other eye was a star-shaped hole.” This phrase, “star shaped hole” is used throughout the not only the rest of the chapter but the rest of the book. The repetition gives a sense of importance to the phrase. By saying it often, O’Brien is showing how difficult it is to separate your life from a death you caused

Later on, in the last chapter of The Things They Carried, O’Brien describes his first experience with death. His childhood love, a girl named Linda, died of cancer when she was nine. O’Brien refuses to accept she’s dead so he begins to see her in his imagination, so that she’ll never really be gone. “And at night time, I’d slide into bed knowing that Linda would be there waiting for me.” This is a direct example of coping with death through denial and detachment. The young O’Brien imagines his childhood love as alive even though she is very much dead because he can’t cope with reality. These coping mechanisms of separating oneself from reality don’t only apply to dire circumstances such as war. These coping strategies are used for everyday tragedies, such as the death of Linda.

These psychological coping mechanisms aren’t only relevant to soldiers, veterans or enlistees. These detachment methods are used, sometimes unknowingly, in everyday tragedies like death of a family member or loss of a job. Even children will employ these methods when faced with school bullies, ostracization or, more serious, parental abuse. Everyone will handle their grief differently but in general, humans will detach themselves and dehumanize their suffering in order to get through it.

Works Cited for Analytical Essay:

O'Brien, Tim. The Things They Carried. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1990. Print.

"In the Name of Love." In the Name of Love. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Jan. 2015.

Narrative Essay:

I attended Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry for 10 years. I know, it’s a little longer than most students spend at Hogwarts but I was a special case. Due to having to live a double life, as a wizard and a muggle. I started off at Hogwarts a lot younger than most, around the age of 4. Ironically enough, it was the same year my mom enrolled me in Pre-K at Epiphany of Our Lord Catholic Grade School, but between you and me that was more of a side gig. My real focus was on spells and magic, I never cared much for storytime or coloring books. I did a good job of keeping my magic life separate from my muggle life. I hid my Hogwarts school books with Cloaking Charms, I practiced my Hovering Charms while simultaneously doing my muggle homework with a levitating pencil. No one expected a thing.

For years, I studied the wizarding basics. How to brew a basic potion and how to transfigure a matchstick into a needle. Sometimes, Catholic school would interfere with my studies. Like in 3rd grade, when the teacher told me I was too young to be reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, a required reading at Hogwarts. I explained to her that I must read it, as Professor Binns had assigned it as homework, due the following week. I suppose she didn’t appreciate that I was putting my magical studies before her class and she forbade me from reading it again. I began having to do my Hogwarts homework in secret at home, instead of in Catholic school where I usually did it.

What these Catholic School folks didn’t understand is, I put their school secondary to Hogwarts. I only went to Epiphany because those gosh darn muggles required all children to attend their schools. I didn’t see why I needed math to solve problems when I could brew a perfectly good potion or cast a spell instead.

As I continued through my education, I continued juggling my muggle work and my wizarding work rather successfully. Around 5th grade, however, things became more complicated. I loved Hogwarts, not only because the coursework was so exciting, but because everyone was my friend there. Whether someone was Gryffindor, Slytherin, Ravenclaw, or Hufflepuff, I was friends with them. In the muggle world, though, things were a little different. In 5th grade, all the other kids started having big birthday parties or weekend get togethers. I was rarely invited. I was so busy at Hogwarts though, I probably wouldn’t have found the time anyway. People started whispering about me being friendless. Obviously, I wasn’t, I had so many friends at Hogwarts, more than I could count! But... I couldn’t tell the muggles about that. It’s all part of the Wizarding Decree of Secrecy.

In time, I began to learn more complicated magic. I was succeeding in Hogwarts in ways unimaginable. I received 8 O.W.Ls, Ordinary Wizarding Levels, a type of wizarding certification that allowed me to further my education in my chosen fields of magic. I was Captain of the Gryffindor Quidditch team and was leading my team toward the Quidditch Cup for the third year in a row. Things were really working out for me in Hogwarts.

In the muggle world, however, I faced more challenges. Teachers were getting aggravated with me, claiming I wasn’t paying enough attention in their classes. If I could only have explained the situation to them but I had learned my lesson in 3rd grade. If only I could have mastered that Replicating Charm, I could have been in two places at once! Alas, it seemed I was doomed to this double life.

Around my 9th year at Hogwarts and my 7th year at muggle school, everything became so hectic that my two lives began to merge. How I longed for simpler days of Wingardium Leviosa and times tables! I started getting confused. I couldn’t tell the difference between my American History textbook and my copy of A History of Magic. I was lagging behind at Hogwarts and my title of Captain of the Gryffindor Quidditch team was revoked. I started to loose my friends, I started to forget what they even looked like. My memories were fleeting and far and few between. I forgot my schedule, my spells, charms, hexes, potion recipes, and even the hallways of Hogwarts.

I had no trouble recalling my math homework or when the next Religion test was. I knew the names of everyone in my class and how to navigate the halls. I no longer swished and flicked my pencils, practicing the motions for spellcasting, because I no longer remembered how to cast a spell. I was becoming a muggle.

I left Catholic School the same day I should have graduated Hogwarts. It’s funny how things change. I graduated from the muggle school the way I meant to have graduated Hogwarts; top marks and a future lying ahead of me. I left Hogwarts though, a few months prior. No self respecting witch forgets how to perform basic spells, as I had. After ten great years, I lost my imagination. I lost my Hogwarts and I lost my magic. I had to face reality.


The Self vs. The Changing World

Analytical Essay:

Depression and anxiety are common emotions experienced by people when their world changes in a non favorable way. People develop different habits in order to cope with what they are experiencing. Sleeping is one way to cope with it. It is very common due to the fact that people attempt to have happy dreams of what their life used to be before their world changed. It provides people with a pass time to get over with their change. In the book, The Things They Carried, by Tim O'brien, people cope with the changing world by attempting to dream because then they avoid having to consciously think about their troubles and can make their own fantasy.

In the chapter “Lives of the Dead”, Tim O’brien talks about how he coped with the death of his friend Linda who died of brain cancer. After her death he slept a lot more often. This is when his mom started a conversation with him to see if he was alright. He responded, “‘Nothing. I just need sleep, that's all.’ I didn't dare tell the truth. It was embarrassing, I suppose, but it was also a precious secret, like a magic trick, where if I tried to explain it, or even talk about it, the thrill and mystery would be gone. I didn't want to lose Linda.” (244) This shows that events that cause depression are sometimes dealt with by dreaming and therefore sleeping in order to make a place where the real world changes that caused the depression is no longer there. He really believes it is a successful way of coping with it, even though he doesn’t understand how something so simple can be so joyful. The reason for dreaming as opposed to eating or some other way of coping is because while eating takes you away from what happened, it does not take you back to when that change happened, whereas dreaming does. Also, there are less adverse side effects to sleeping than to excessive eating such as weight gain and risk for heart disease and several others diseases that are life threatening which are common side effects of excessive eating.

In the chapter “On the Rainy River”, O’brien was staying at a lodge owned by Elroy Berdahl in Minnesota near the border between the United States and Canada. O’brien had sleeping problems because of his anxiety of being drafted into the Vietnam War. He was tempted into going to Canada to escape his draft order but was too scared to. “I couldn't sleep; I couldn't lie still. At night I'd toss around in bed, half awake, half dreaming, imagining how I'd sneak down to the beach and quietly push one of the old man's boats out into the river and start paddling my way toward Canada.” (50) Here is an example of a time when a character desperately tried to sleep in order to avoid their real world change. While he was not fully asleep, he even mentions the fact that when he was “half awake, half dreaming” he dreamed about doing what he was too afraid to do in real life which was going into Canada. This show that even when one cannot successfully sleep, if they are in a half dream state, they can at least experience part of what they would if they were fully asleep.

In the chapter “Enemies”, soldiers Dave Jensen and Lee Strunk got into a fight. Jensen being larger in size, was victorious and ended up breaking Strunk’s nose. After that event Strunk was always on edge at night while trying to sleep. “At night he had trouble sleeping—a skittish feeling—always on guard, hearing strange noises in the dark, imagining a grenade rolling into his foxhole or the tickle of a knife against his ear.” (63)  While he was never able to successfully go to sleep, this does show what happens when you are awake and worry about the changing world. In this case while he was awake he stressed out always thinking Jensen was waiting to kill him. His attempt at sleeping in order to dream would have proved as a good way of coping if we was able to. It is certain that him being awake made him not able to think about anything other than the possibility of Jensen killing him.

During an interview with Mars Hill Review (MHR), Tim O’brien was asked why  he thought imagining was crucial to him as a soldier and a person. He responded, “Imagination is important in a couple of ways. One way is as a psychological means of escape. If you can lose yourself in a fantasy, then you're no longer trapped in the horror of, say, Vietnam.” Dreaming is when one’s imagination is at its fullest so it would make sense that most of that imagination came from dreaming. In your dreams its much easy to escape reality because its when things seem most real but actually aren’t.

While there are many different ways to cope with the changing world dreaming is one of the most easy and common that provides escape. It gives people the ability to experience the most realistic feeling of places that isn’t real yet can mimic a person’s desire for things to be how they were before the world changed. While people cannot always controls what happens in their dreams, just the hope of them being able to experience their better past life is something for them to look forward to. Without dreaming, many people wouldn’t have something to look forward to in order for them to be in a happy place.

Works Cited for Analytical Essay:

O'Brien, Tim. The Things They Carried: A Work of Fiction. New York: Broadway, 1998. Print.

Sawyer, Scott. "In the Name of Love: An Interview With Tim O'Brien." Mars Hill Review. (Links to an external site.). Winter/Spring 1996. Web. October 20 2009.

Narrative Essay:

“Nebil are you okay?” my mom would usually ask.

“Yeah, I’m fine. I’m just tired” was my response.

Under the covers of my bed, I was in a place of comfort. I preferred to sleep facing my window, so I wouldn’t be looking at anyone who came in my room. I either stared at something in the room or out of the window before I slept. Sometimes I slept from twelve noon until 8 at night and often times much more erratic sleeping patterns.

Sleeping was my way of coping with something that happened to me, whether it be that I was a mad at my parents or friends or whether I was depressed about something. This time I slept because I was depressed about my grades in class. I used to always be stressed about my grades and thinking they had a big snowball effect on my future. I used to think that if I got a B in Math for even just one quarter my chances of getting into an Ivy League instantly dropped to nothing. Pressure from academics like that always used to get to me. I used to see a lot of my friends getting much better grades than I was, and they were worried about their own future which made me think I should be even more worried about my own. The stress from worrying about my future and classes often times required for me to sleep.

The reason I slept was because when I slept, I didn’t think about anything. I was free from the worries that encompassed me while I was awake. In my dreams I did what I normally did while not thinking about what I would have to when I woke. I guess I like that feeling of being care free or unaware. It relieves me of stress and allows me to enjoy myself. After waking up I am usually much more alive than I was before I slept. I still would keep that feeling of being carefree for a while after I woke up. That is until my friends say something about homework, projects, colleges, and SATs.

Aside from my parents, my friends started to worry about me too. At first on school nights I would usually chat with them on skype. When I went to sleep early because I was angry, stressed, or depressed, they often ask me what’s wrong. “Hey Nebil, what’s wrong?” someone usually says in school when they see my head down.

“Nothing, I’m just not feeling great. I just need some sleep.” was my usual response.

“Okay, hope you feel better?” they could tell I was lying, but it’s not like I would put much effort into it anyway.

My sleeping habits started to become unhealthy. I used to sleep in school very often. In my sophomore year, in almost every History class for the first quarter, I slept through just because I couldn’t stand some of the ignorant comments that were said from across the classroom. It was so bad that it got to the point where the teacher took me out of class and asked why I was sleeping so much. My response was the same to him as well.

My sleeping habits only got worse. I started to sleep in on weekends. Whenever my friends asked me if I  wanted to go with them some where, I would come up with some excuse and tell them that yesterday was rough I wasn’t feeling good. I got too used to dreaming as a way of escape. While initially it seemed harmless, I later realized I was desocializing myself from the world. The few times I didn’t make an excuse and went with them somewhere, I would hear them converse about funny events that I missed because I didn’t go with them the previous time. At first I made nothing of it, but later I realized I asked the question, “What are you guys talking about?” a little too often because I didn’t meet with them as often as I previously did.

I tried to stop myself from sleeping by doing something else to cope with my stress. Eating didn’t work at all because I didn’t like to eat while I was angry, stressed or depressed. While I liked exercising, I was never in the mood to do it for the same reasons I didn’t eat. In the end I just went back to sleeping and pushed the thoughts of my friends, parents, and teachers worrying about me to the back of my head.

One of my friends who I talked to often always told me not to worry about school because I was doing just fine in school. They told me that I was getting all A’s so there was really nothing to worry about. While it was nice that they did that, it was hard to take them seriously because they were doing much better than me in school and much more outside of school to have things to put on their resumé.

Since then, that friend has kept on telling me that I’m at an okay place. Ever since then, I started believing what they said more and more as believed their sincerity. To this day I still do sleep when I’m depressed but I noticed that I sleep less. It’s not because I found a different way to cope with stress, depression, and anger, but now I don’t experience those emotions as often because my friends helped take those emotions off of me. I found out that my friends have become a more important tool for me to deal with an uncomfortably changing world.


The Changing World vs. The Self


Many things can change within a given amount of time, throughout life there are many situations where you have to adapt to get through to the next task, to the next day. The individual has to change themselves in a positive or negative way to be able to get through the pressing situation in their lives,and the changing world evolves based on past mistakes. The changing world and “the self” are related through a mutual bond of pain and adaptation.  Generally the bond of pain has to do with loss or negative issues within the world, and the adaptation is how the world and individual change within themselves.

Throughout the book, “The Things They Carried” by Tim O’Brien, the characters change based on the unfortunate things that happen to them. One of the best examples of this is at the beginning of the book, while O’Brien is still introducing the characters, saying their names and what they carry. In this moment the author is talking about a soldier named Jimmy Cross and how he deals with having to be in the war while the love of his life is elsewhere. “They were called legs or grunts. To carry something was to hump it, as when Lieutenant Jimmy Cross humped his love for Martha up the hills and through the swamps.” (Pg 3)

The soldiers have to learn to adapt to the new weight of their equipment, which obviously puts new weight on their backs plus the strain of being in a new place. This causes them physical pain (at least a little). And they have to learn to deal with the pain/strain and move on. They must trudge on through the new environment they are in and adapt to everything they go through to stay alive so they can get home. The changing world is were they actually are (in the field aka Vietnam), and the self is exactly that (inside all their heads/how they feel). This is really personified throughout this quote, even though it is pretty short, just by Jimmy deciding to focus more on ‘humping’ his weight and the job he has to do rather than Matha at home. He’s adapting to his situation by blocking out the part of his life that is causing the biggest problem; Martha is making his service difficult, so he decided to block her out and think more about what he has to do, rather than what he misses. And the over all changing world just goes on through the war it is already in, which is the personification of pain for the world. The fact that its getting destroyed over territory and politics etc.

Tim's explanations of what the men have to deal with show more examples of how the men adapt He makes their characters seem more human so can connect with them and sort of feel their pain.(Pg 21) “They were tough. They carried all the emotional baggage of men who might die. Grief, terror, love, longing- these were intangibles, but the intangibles had their own mass and specific gravity, they had terrible weight.”Again the soldiers have to deal with all the different issues/situations they go through in the war, and everything that also doesn’t happen. Like all the men that don’t survive, all the people they can’t see everyday, all the battles they don’t win etc. They also have to deal with everything bad that may or may not have happened to them before they even went into the service. The changing world in this situation is again where they are, but more specifically being in the military (U.S Army). The self is also within the subject, more exactly, were the individual is in their mind. Mostly involving their acceptance of past events (Emotional stability). Just generally meaning that the world changes its scenery and location, while the individual changes as a person to adapt to changes around them.

While in the war a soldier named Rat Kiley writes a letter to the sister of his best friend, who was just killed in battle. He does this because they were so close during their service and he thought it would be better than her just getting the Killed In Action notice. After he sends the letter out she never writes back, and this is Rat’s reaction to her lack of a response, “Listen to Rat Kiley. Cooze, he says. He does not say bitch. He certainly does not say woman, or girl. He says cooze. Then he spits and stares. He’s nineteen years old- it’s too much for him- so he looks at you with those big sad gentle killer eyes and says cooze, because his friend is dead, and because it’s incredibly sad and true: she never wrote back.”(Pg 69)

This proves the point that the changing world and “the self” are related through a mutual bond of pain and adaptation. It illustrates that the ‘characters’ or soldiers in the real world will adapt each other’s stories for one another and tell them as their own. Effectively this makes their coping go over easier. Although they still feel the need to tell the stories, which is a way of expressing the emotions they felt in order to adapt. In most situations the emotions they’re expressing, his pain from past war experiences.

Even throughout different interviews with the author of “The Things They Carried” Tim O’Brien alludes to the issues he and his fellow soldiers had during the war that he touches on in the books, even though most of the characters in the book are fictional they are based off real people he met.

''We all wondered why the place was so hostile. We did not know there had been a massacre there a year earlier. The news about that only came out later, while we were there, and then we knew. There is a monument in My Lai now and I want to see it.''

This is probably the most obvious and literal quote that could be found. The changing world having to go through a massacre, a large loss of life in a certain area, then having that area be physically changed into a memorial for those who lost their lives during that tragedy. The individual being the people that were affected, the killed, their families, the community members. Then those individuals somehow having to adapt in order to cope with all the changes caused by the massacre itself.

During this same interview with New York Times, O’Brien was speaking to the interviewer about how he felt getting drafted, the shock he felt and what he did after receiving the notice himself.

“His reaction to the draft notice still surprises him. ''I went to my room in the basement and started pounding the typewriter,'' he recalled. ''I did it all summer. It was the most terrible summer of my life, worse than being in the war. My conscience kept telling me not to go, but my whole upbringing told me I had to. That horrible summer made me a writer. I don't know what I wrote. I've still got it, reams of it, but I'm not willing to look at it. It was just stuff - bitter, bitter stuff, and it's probably full of self-pity. But that was the beginning.''”

Tim openly admits to how he felt as his life changed around him. The war becoming worse to the point where the military needed more bodies to the point where more men were drafted into service. He changed in himself, based on the fear and shock he felt at having to go into a situation that could possibly lead to his death.

O'Brien, Tim. The Things They Carried: A Work of Fiction. New York: Broadway, 1998. Print.

Bruckner, D.J. "A Storyteller For the War That Won't End." New York Times Online. The New York Times. April 3, 1990. Web. October 20, 2009.


Most of my family is involved with the Military, and even those who aren’t work for the government. My father was in the Army, My uncle was in the Marine Core, My aunt in the Navy, and my mother, grandmother, great-aunt, and uncle, all work for the IRS. Reading Tim O’Brien’s “The Things They Carried” was very helpful in putting everything they had to go through into perspective.

More so my uncle Ray honestly. He came home about four years ago, but he was flown overseas and served in Iraq. Dropped into an unfamiliar place, fresh outta high school and dead set on bringing the family honor. Although thats not really what happened. He doesn’t suffer from PTSD or any other of the myriad of psychological issues he very well could from being in the war.

Although if you go through his phone you’ll see pictures of what its like, and he has buried many friends while he was in the war. Which is touched on very often throughout the book and also in interviews with the author himself. “The Things They Carried”, shows how the soldiers felt doing what they were ordered, and how they reacted to all the death and destruction around them.

That was always something I wanted to better understand, because I knew that my uncle had seen dead bodies, and buildings crumble. Seeing those things can completely change a person and their point of view on life, so I wondered how that affected Ray. I could never actually ask him though, because even if it tore him apart inside he would put on a brave face and act like it didn't phase him in the slightest.

Tim opened my eyes to the fact, that sometimes people in the service just can’t talk about those things, that I can’t just expect anyone to pour out everything they ever saw in the field to me. That sometimes its better not to ask, and just let your imagination assume the worst, and try to be as kind as you can. Just show them all the love you have, so they don’t forget its there when they need it. Just always be happy when they make it home, and try to be the best family you can when they do. Give them support. Everything you can, but not too much so you don’t overwhelm them into thinking there is something wrong with them. Just in general, take everything in stride and don’t think about it too hard, just love the person that comes back as much as you loved them before they were deployed.

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How The World Changes The Self

Analytical Essay:

The world is constantly changing.  When people are young they don’t catch on to the change as easily.  Once those people get older they start to question whether they’ve changed as well or is the world just changing drastically around you.  Though many people believe that either the world changes a person or they change the world, the truth is that both happen simultaneously, with each being affected by the other's changes.

War is something that has been on and off between countries for many many years.  “The Yellow Birds” by Kevin Powers is a fictional story about the Iraq war.  Powers was a soldier who fought in the war so he used his first hand experience to make the story as realistic as possible.  "I was not surprised by the cruelty of my ambivalence back then. Nothing seemed more natural than someone getting killed."  This is a quote from “The Yellow Birds.”  The character saying the quote proves that the world is starting to change him and how it has changed him since then.  During the war he got used to death because it happened so frequently.  Since he’s talking about how he thought of death during that time in the past tense it is assumed he no longer is so numb to death.  The world may have changed his outlook on death atleast twice in his lifetime.  

The Yellow Birds really shows how numb the war makes soldiers.  the way almost every character talks about war makes it seem so common.  “People are going to die,' he said flatly. 'It's statistics.' Then he got up and left the room."  This quote proves that not only does this particular soldier look at death as a common thing, but also shows that life itself loses its quality and is not as valuable.  He views people’s lives as statistics or numbers.  Soldiers thought that if they’re numb to loss then they’ll survive the war, but they didn’t survive the war at all spiritually.  They turned numb to loss and almost lost the emotion of sadness.  Losing any emotion is like partially losing a quality of life, or losing something that proves a person is a healthy, living human being.

The last quote from “The Yellow Birds” isn’t like the other quotes.  The other two quotes do not occur when a death happens, but this quote does.  "I'll yell, I thought. I'll tell him they are old, let them pass... I said nothing.  Holy sh**, that bit** got murdered... there was no grief, or anguish, or joy, or pity in that statement. There was no judgement made. He was just surprised."  This quote proves that this particular soldier doesn’t grief the death of the woman at all.  He only feels surprised that she died, and will most likely get over it by the next day.  The world around him has changed soldiers outlook on death and life in general.  

In an interview, the author of “The Yellow Birds” Kevin Powers said “ I wonder why people are the way they are. I wonder how do we justify the things that we do, because it always seems like we are doing terrible things. But the stories that we tell ourselves are always about our goodness and our idealism and that contradiction has been interesting to me throughout my whole life.” This is an example of how people change the world or how it’s looked at by other people.  If all people hear about is good things in the news or any source, then they’ll believe the world is a good place and change its reputation everyone has of it.  When all the news talks about is negative things going on in the world it changes people’s outlook on it in a negative way.  Some may be concerned with the world when it’s in this state and some may just lose hope in the people around them.

There’s lots of different ways the world changes people physically, mentally, and emotionally.  People can only change the world physically and how other people look at it.  “The Yellow Birds” depicts a very negative and sad world where the soldiers are fighting emotionlessly and are not phased by anything going on around them. In a world like that the people will not continue to prosper and do great things like they have continued to do for centuries.

Works Cited for Analytical Essay:

Powers, Kevin. The Yellow Birds: A Novel. New York: Little, Brown, 2012. Print.

"An Exclusive Interview with Kevin Powers, Poet and Iraq War Veteran, about His Debut Novel, The Yellow Birds." Foyles. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Jan. 2015

Narrative Essay:

Growing up I never had to worry about money.  My parents always gave me money in exchange for doing things they ask of me.  Then once I got a little older, like any other kid my demand for money became higher and higher.  When I asked for a cell phone my parents told me the only way I could get one is if I can pay the bill.  So I got a paper route and started delivering papers. I got paid enough to pay my bills and occasionally some spending money for a week or two.  In the summer I’d do landscaping jobs with my friend Stephen just because my demand for spending money is higher when I have more free time. Last year I realized that I needed more money than Both a paper route or mowing lawns could provide, so as soon as I turned 17 I started looking for a job.  I didn’t find a job until around June.  I started working at a nursing home in Andorra called “Cathedral Village”.  I didn’t care how much they paid me hourly I just wanted money in my pocket over the summer especially since I had a girlfriend I knew dates would be expensive.  

As I got older a lot changed.  The things I bought, the amount of food I ate.  I just would not be able to make $40 last a whole month.  My world changed around me in that sense because prices of things I liked such as food, video games, and hockey equipment all went up in price.  The price of things is constantly changing because there is more of a demand or less of a demand for them.

Once I got a job it definitely impacted my weekly routine.  In the summer I worked about 24 hours a week.  When I used to delivers the newspaper I had to only work once a week for an hour.  I wasn’t used to having that little amount of free time, especially in the summer.  When I was younger I barely knew what day of the week it was in the summer.  But now I constantly have to keep track of it.  It was a real adjustment for me.  Getting a job was entering the real world for me.  A world I had previously not even thought about.  My world felt like it was moving too fast and because of that I had to change things I did and when I did them, like sleeping.  I stay up late and sleep late in the summer.  With a job I couldn’t do that because if I slept from 4am-4pm every day then I wouldn’t get to see any friends or my girlfriend on days I worked.  So I slept at a decent hour and still got to see friends and my girlfriend.  

The world changing around me resulted in me changing to adjust to the real world. Prices of things I wanted went up and I needed money if I really wanted those things.  I also plan to drive this year so I’ll need money for insurance, gas, and eventually a car.  Having a job matured me.  It got me used to working long days.  My world will continue to constantly change and I’ll change with it.  The key is to take everything day by day and one thing at a time.  


Self and Changing World

Analytical Essay:

In the Yellow Bird’s, war changes the lives of many soldiers. PTSD is an outcome of the war. While the world remains ignorant to the war’s side effects, the soldiers continue to experience a change that will change their lives forever. There should be sympathy and understanding in the heart of every American when there’s a discussion of people at war.

“I was not surprised by the cruelty of my ambivalence back then. Nothing seemed more natural than someone getting killed... I had to see the world with clear eyes, to focus on the essential. We only pay attention to the rare things, and death was not rare.” p.11 People at war are stripped of morals and codes that they were taught at a young age. When in war, what’s wrong becomes right and what’s right becomes wrong. Killing is wrong, any type of violence is. Love is taught to be given to everyone, including your enemies because it’s the right thing to do. People at war are not allowed to have a heart or to show emotions because when they do, they show weakness, they’re supposed to be ruthless and be able to kill when demanded. For some, holding a gun is scary enough, but asking them to pull the trigger is another story. When Americans look at people who have been in war, compassion should be racing through their hearts because the soldiers did it so no one else had to. If soldiers were given sympathy, that would show that there is understanding. Having someone understand what you’ve been through can go a long way.

“As human beings, we have the blessing and the curse that we’re able to adapt to almost anything. No matter how extreme the circumstances you’re in, they become normal.” Because humans adapt, they don't understand. At one point, after readapting and readapting, humans stop. Some soldiers become adapted to the war lifestyle, so when they come home they can no longer readapt. As people try to understand people in war, they often figure out that war is something that needs to be experienced to understand. Once given the opportunity to walk a mile in their shoes, then there will be an understanding.

“I realized, as I stood there in the church, that there was a sharp distinction between what was remembered, what was told , and what was true. And I didn’t think I’d ever figure out which was which.” PTSD gives soldiers a fight or flight instinct caused by fear that’s stuck in their heads from war. This feeling that they have comes, even when they may not be in danger which may make them seem crazy. It comes with experience from physical harm.

“I wonder why people are the way they are. I wonder how do we justify the things that we do, because it always seems like we are doing terrible things. But the stories that we tell ourselves are always about our goodness and our idealism and that contradiction has been interesting to me throughout my whole life.” Humans try to come up with an explanation for everything. They’re always trying to fix something. Some things in life just can't be fixed. Life does not owe anyone an explanation, somethings you can only wonder why they happen.

There should be sympathy and understanding in the heart of every American when there’s a discussion of people at war. They do they job no one else wants to do. To label them as crazy is wrong, they should only be labeled heroic.

Narrative Essay:

From a small child, I was always told to reach for the stars.  “You can do anything you want in life, you just have to want it and work for it.” I remember being asked what I wanted to be when I was 9. At nine years old, you don’t the variety of jobs that are offered in the world. “I wanna work at McDonalds, it’s my favorite fast food restaurant.”

The conversation stopped. “You wanna struggle your whole life?

“You won’t even be able to support your family?”

Questions were being thrown at me. I’m just a kid, I don’t understand what I’m saying and why I’m saying. I honestly thought people at McDonalds were very kind people. Who else wants to stand at a window and wait on people. Jobs like this should be appreciated, not shunned upon.

I remember when my brother said he wanted to be a cop. My mom wanted to know why none of us wanted to be a doctor. She said McDonalds workers aren’t paid enough and being a cop is a dangerous job. All of a sudden, that statement about being whatever we want turns out to be false.

You can be anything that isn’t a danger and pays well. Society has conjured up what is an acceptable job and what isn’t. Everyone plays a part in the way the world is now, but before you can play a part, you have to find a part. In The Yellow Birds, the main character found his part in becoming a soldier.

Bartle forgot the importance if his role. He began to build a friendship with Murphy. He promised his mother that he would bring Murphy back safe and sound. The thing about promises is that you can’t make one unless it’s something you can control, you can't control death and who it strikes. That’s what the world revolves around; control. Some are born with control, some are born without it. People can’t control what they’re born into but they can control what they do with it and whether they want to work a McDonald’s job or be a doctor, it’s their decision. They should be appreciated regardless.

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Self and the Changing World

Analytical Essay:

There comes a time in everyone’s life when there are decisions that have to be made. For some deciding whether or not to do certain things can be a difficult and grueling process. Sometimes decision are only minor while other times that can be extremely difficult and even life altering. Decisions like not going to the college or not standing up for what you believe in put up a large amount of pressure on people to make the decisions. People tend to take on and act out certain roles according to the expectations placed upon them by the culture they come from. As a result, they let the fear of societal expectation rule them, which turns them into cowards in the face of big changes or decisions.

Tim O’Brien, in The Things They Carried, described his experience in Vietnam as a soldier. At the age of 21, he was drafted to fight in a war that he had always hated. In the book, O’Brien described himself as young and politically naive. He also talked about how he viewed the American war in Vietnam as nefarious. At the end of “On the Rainy River”, he describes his feelings after returning from the war, “I survived, but it is not a happy ending. I was a coward. I went to the war.” (The Things They Carried Pg. 61) This basically finalizes the chapter and it is a very vital quote to the book because it has an ironic meaning. Usually, those who go to the war are considered to be heroes; brave men who fight for their country. Meanwhile, those who run from difficult tasks are often associated with cowardice. Tim O’Brien recalls himself, in this quote, as ‘a coward’ for going in the first place. He was cowardly for fighting. He wasn’t capable of escaping and leaving something he didn’t believe in behind. He wasn’t capable of standing up for his beliefs and his conscience. Instead, he let shame, fear, and society win over his beliefs. Looking from a different angle, this quote shows a different meaning of bravery as well, where it’s not about how much one can fight against the enemy, but how much strength and courage they have for following their dreams and going against the fear of embarrassment. The society, the fear of embarrassment pressured him to go the war which he always hated.

The author of this book discusses the similar problems that every soldier faced. “They did not submit to the obvious alternative, which was simply to close the eyes and fall.. It was not courage, exactly; the object was not valor. Rather, they were too frightened to be cowards.” (The Things They Carried Pg. 21) This quote not only emphasizes the ‘soldier’ experience but also the experience of every person as a human being. Tim O’Brien used this quote to describe how it is inevitable to live within a society that constructs expectations for certain roles that humans must fill, regardless of their choices. The soldiers in general feared and their instinct to run had to be restrained due to the fear of being made fun by friends and being called a coward. They all carried that burden. “It was what had brought them to the war in the first place, nothing positive, no dreams of glory, or honor, just to avoid the blush of dishonor” (The Things They Carried Pg. 21) The war changed them and forced them to do certain things that they wouldn’t basically do because they were ashamed. But in the end, they sort of embraced their reputations, which become more important than the life itself. They would do anything to avoid the dishonor and trampled their own hopes and dreams.  

Tim O’Brien, the author of the book gave an interview to the Mars Hill Review where he talked about creating a fictional story based on true facts and his harrowing over the fear of embarrassment. “So I made up the Rainy River story-going to the Canadian border, agonizing over whether to go across it or not-because it's a way of getting at a truth that's in my heart but that isn't in the actual world. It's the truth of a real dilemma: “What should I do? I'm caught up in this terrible bind. I hate the war and I shouldn't go to it. But at the same time I love my country, and I'm terrified of the embarrassment if I don't go. So, what should I do?" (O’Brien Article #2) Tim O’Brien had to live up to social expectations where he had to follow their plans for him without regard to who he was, what he wanted, or that dying fire inside of him that used to be a spirit. But unfortunately everything turned in the opposite direction. The individuality he once possessed was stripped from him by the time he reached an age where the society was confident in turning him into something different. Furthermore he added,“My conscience kept telling me not to go, but my whole upbringing told me I had to.” (O’Brien Article #1) He was afraid that if he didn’t follow the ‘rules’ then he might somehow be a loser or even an outcast.

Many Soldiers like Tim O’Brien might have faced the similar problem where they had to be coward, adopt the social norms and tailor their behavior to meet certain expectations. They were afraid of being ostracized from the community. They didn’t live up to their expectations. As a result, they decided to change themselves fundamentally for social expectations that they didn’t believe, they eliminated any little possibility of self-esteem or happiness.

Works Cited for Analytical Essay:

"Social Roles and Social Norms | Simply Psychology." Social Roles and Social Norms | Simply Psychology. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Jan. 2015. <>.

O'Brien, Tim. The Things They Carried. New York: Broadway, 1998. Print.

Sawyer, Scott. "An Interview with Tim O'Brien." In the Name of Love. Mars Hill Review 4, n.d. Web. 8 Jan. 2015. <


Narrative Essay:

When I first made the announcement they didn’t say anything, and this raised my hopes. But then, just as I turned onto my side to stretch out and sleep. Dad got up, grabbed me by the arm, and pushed me out of the room. “You are not welcome back until you have gone to the school,” he said coldly. I stood there and stared at the door. Then, before the cold floor could freeze my feet, I heard someone outside. Opening the door, I saw that it was my uncle’s friend, whom my dad hired sometimes on the coldest days to give me a ride to the school. Feeling resigned, I grabbed my book bag and rushed towards the car. As we rode to the school, I began to think of a million other things I’d rather be doing. I could sit and play card games with friends. I could go and swim near the lush green fields, or watch Indian movies, or drink glasses of sugarcane juice spiced with ginger and lemon or get a case of mangoes. What I didn’t want to do was to sit in the classroom in the stale sleepiness of early morning to the late afternoon. Nor did I want to sit there for long lectures. I missed the old life I had before. The days of playing cricket with friends, dreaming of becoming a fighter. The afternoon when I would go outside and make a fort and call myself Saladin the Liberator, spilling oil onto the Crusaders’ armies, withstanding a siege by Richard the Lionheart, and doing diplomacy with him during which I impressed him with my warrior prowess by throwing a piece of cloth in the air and then cutting it in two perfect halves with my sword. I wanted to live in my imagination - not as a spindly-legged spider in the cryptograms of Math or any other subject. Within half an hour we got to the school. I got out of the car and waved back to him until he disappeared. I decided to ditch again and took the local bus and came back.

When I got home the power was out, as was often the case midday, and so the heat was off and everyone was just in a bad mood. Dad sat on the couch staring at the window while Mama was upstairs. He had just finished eating mangoes; a tray of emptied plate sat near him. A cup filled with lassi, a yogurt drink, sat in front of the table. The fact he had eaten mangoes without me made me think he was decadent, and that made me even more upset. He looked up, surprised to see me at home when I should have been in school.

“I’m not going to the school!!,” I announced, trying to sound even more this time. “If you make me go, I’ll run away to Lahore. I have learned where the bus leaves.” I sat down and began drinking the leftover lassi. Even though it was warm and salty, it felt really good going down. I felt in charge. When I’d finished and had burped loudly, a slap the back of my head and sent me hurtling toward the door. “I told you,” He said. “You cannot come home until you’ve been to the school.” He wasn’t messing around this time though. Normally I would have cried a little bit and made a scene and ended up in grandmother’s arms, but this wasn’t the time for empathy. I had to up the ante.

“Well, that seals the deal.” I said, standing up. “I’m going to run away from home. I’m going to take the bus that goes to Lahore. Then I’m going to start doing the child labor. That means you will never see me again. This is what you reap for sending me to the school. Khuda Hafiz.” I added in farewell. My Mom listened to everything, she hurled the bedroom door and came down. “Come on, Huzaifah. There is no such reason to run away. Just be a good boy and go the school. No deal.”

Dad stayed quiet for a while. Then he spoke up rigidly; “All right. Run away, then. We won’t stop you.”
“You don’t believe me do you? All right. Forget running away. Instead of getting in the bus, I’ll just let it run me over. Do you still want me to go to the school?
“Yes” He said. “Do it.”
“You don’t care if I die?” I shouted. “Fine! I’ll just kill myself right here, in this house. So that my blood is on your hands. I’m going to suffocate myself in the bathroom.” I went to the bathroom and slammed the door. Turned on the hot water so the steam would vaporize . Thinking that if the door stayed closed from some time I would run out of air. While inside I realized that the bathroom had a big window that was always open, so the chances of suffocation were low. I also realized that going back outside to retrieve a tool with which to kill myself would take the fire out of my revolt. “This bathroom will be my grave!” I shouted in a last-ditch effort. Much to my satisfaction, I heard mom right outside the door. “No, my son” She urged. “Don’t do such thing!”

“You know what? Why should I wait till I’m suffocated to die? I’ll just drink this shampoo here and make it quick.” Just to show I was serious I spilled some of it underneath the door. Now mama banged on the door loudly. “I know I’m a horrible mother, but even horrible mothers don’t deserve to lose their children. Come out of there, my son!” There was a complete silence of about 1 minute and then I decided to come out. My Mom’s words hit me hard. Soon I began to realize the fact that I’m her only precious son so there is no point of doing such stupid act. I had to avoid the blush of honor and show the world that I’m brave enough to do anything. It was also a fear of embarrassment because students in my age group had really good grades and their parents were proud of them as well. I wanted to the same thing, I wanted to my make my parents proud so I promised with myself to go the school regularly.


The Changing World Essay

Analytical Essay:

      In the words of Chinese Philosopher, Lao Tzu “Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don't resist them; that only creates sorrow.”  Life has a multitude of change, which most of the time is almost unavoidable. Something leads to change, then the person affected by the change  is left to process what happened. It is not the easiest thing to do, especially if the change is formidable. The fact of the matter is, Bartle is almost forced into a changing world. Things happen that aren’t always ideal, and the more one thinks about it, man is merely a small piece in an even bigger picture, and no matter how hard one tries, the reaction is never going to be a good one.

Things happen all the time. It’s a fact of life people have come to accept. It’s not always good, but it isn’t always terrible. Kevin Powers explores this in his book, The Yellow Birds, a story set through the duration of the Iraq war. “And you can’t explain it, but, it’s just, like, fuck you, but then you signed up to go so it’s all your fault, really, because you went on purpose so you are in the end, doubly fucked, so why not find a spot and curl up and die and let’s make it as painless as possible because you really are a coward.” Some of the worst things that can happen to someone is dealt by the person themselves. Often times dealing with a sudden change  is carried out with the best intentions in mind, however, as quickly as the world can change, so can everything in it, and the ultimate reaction to all this can be pretty shocking. The world isn’t a nice place, especially if one gets too caught up in all the small things.

Reacting to change can almost be fitted into stages. Someone can either react with some deal of emotion, or with none at all. In this circumstance, its more or less a personal struggle, rather than something against whatever change is occurring. “The closer I got to reconstructing him in my mind, the more the picture I was trying to recreate receded.” This quote, taken from Bartle, describes his process of attempting to recollect his memories after coming home from the war. When things slowly begin breaking down, and Bartle begins attempting to process what  happened, everything else begins distancing from whoever him . This is dangerous in an ever changing world, because when someone finds themselves so caught up in previous events and ideas, they’re almost slipping away from what's actually going on, ignoring whatever change may be happening.

Sometimes after situations such as this, one becomes desensitized with the rest of the world. Forgetting everything else in favor their own feelings. “At one time you could of asked me if I thought the snow meant something. I would’ve said yes. I might have thought there was some significance to the fact that there had been snow on the day that Murph had come into my life and snow on the day I willed myself into the one that had been taken from him.” Once things begin changing, it almost seems like nothing else begins to matter.Bartle’s world changes after the death of his best friend. Small things, things that he never really paid much attention to slowly became a trigger to him. Things he barely looked at became something of detachment.

Kevin Powers associates most of his writing toward generating a genuine recollection of what happens during wartime. That being said, the relationship between both past experiences in real life, and through the war, are almost parallel toward the idea of change. I've always had a certain level of comfort with the dark part of the human experience. It hasn't had an attraction, but it has certainly had a fascination.”

Change often brings a variety of difference into a situation, and these experiences aren’t always so bright. The dark part of human experiences that the author is talking about relates back to how one can react to the change in the rest of the world.

Works Cited for Analytical Essay:

Powers, Kevin. The Yellow Birds: A Novel. New York: Little, Brown, 2012. Print.

Lewis, Tim. "Fiction: Meet The Author." The Guardian, 23 June 2013. Web. 11 Jan. 2015. <>


In my opinion the real world is terrible, and I’d rather not deal with it at all.   Considering the fact that I’m always one incident away from full blown insanity, I try to change whenever I feel necessary, rather than changing with the rest of the world. Life is too short to try and keep up with small things. You’re either moving whenever things feel right, or you’re caught up in something you’ll end up forgetting later.

And that’s how I figured out I was manic-depressive.

For me,the  only real worldly changes that have to be looked out for are whether or not someone is still going to be there five years from now or how badly an episode is going to affect anyone else. I can’t react to a constantly changing world, because that’s another source of anxiety and bad feelings in and of itself, so I’d rather not worry about something thats going to cause me pain in the end.

Then there are small moments that aren’t the epitome of being completely miserable. Those idealistic pieces of memorabilia aren’t easily found, but once they do, everything changes, and for one day, everything feels alright, and in those moments, you can feel amazing. You can do anything, and nothing can make you feel any less real. That’s called mania.

But hey, who said it’s not okay to feel subsequently human?

I digress, really, depending on how bad the situation, sometimes things are easier to bounce back from, but as a whole, to put it lightly, life has quite literally made me it’s bitch, and there’s nothing I can do about it. The insanity was never my fault, but it didn’t bother me anyway.

Let the rest of the world change, I’m perfectly fine in my own little bubble.

But you wanted to know how it feels like, right? Waking up in the morning realizing you’re the very thing that makes you hate your own reflection, and every ounce of love someone ever had for you is now gone because you’re unstable, and cut up arms are always prettier than soft ones.

Let’s reiterate one last time. I’m finished with the rest of the world. Things can change, but I won’t.

But’s that’s just my illness talking.

And that’s also what happens during the lower parts of the depression, which is almost like the ‘world,’ changing me, if that makes any sense. I react differently to certain things than others do. I say things that other people may find unusual. This is because I had to grow up much faster then most people.

It’s no one’s real fault, because when you’re born, your parents aren’t, (hopefully,) sitting around you saying how much they’d like to see you suffer. But sometimes someone does something stupid. And that stupidity grows into something much larger, and because you’re already impressionable, you’re holding all of that in, until you reach a certain age and look back at your life. Then you realize that something went wrong, and that you’re no longer the only thing you’re supposed to keep safe. Because sometimes, those monsters that your parents told you never existed, suddenly become real. And they’re everywhere, but nobody can make them go away. And the rest of the world sits back and judges you for not being able to let go of things that aren’t real to them.

But you really aren’t crazy. It’s the world’s way of protecting yourself. It keeps you safe, even if you’re doing stupid things. You learn that you’re actually not a good person, and because of that, nobody loves you. And you know what? It’s okay to feel these things. You just can’t hurt yourself over them, or life sucks even more than it used to. You’re actually a half decent person when you’re not threatening to kill yourself every five minutes.

You just can’t let the monsters of the world tell you otherwise.


The Self And The Changing World Essay

Analytical Essay:

In today's world, everything is constantly changing. Money is becoming of lesser value, gas prices are going up, new laws are being made and unemployment rates rising. As the world changes, people change too. It’s the natural order of things, humans do what they can to fend for themselves. In the book, “The Things They Carried” by Tim O’brien, a message of the changing world and the self is conveyed through experiences by a group of characters in the army. In this book there are cases in which the world continues to change in different ways, and as it does it shifts and develops human thinking to survive and adapt for the self along with it.

Jimmy cross, a character in the book, The Things They Carried, is a lieutenant with a lot of responsibility on his hands. He is in charge of a group of army men in a division called Alpha Company. Cross had good intentions from the start when it came to his men but became unsure how to truly lead them after suffering through the loss of two members of his team. Ted Lavender and Kiowa. A passage from the book reads, “Jimmy cross remembered the kids face but not the name. That happened sometimes. He tried to treat his men as individuals but sometimes the names just escaped him.”(Pg. 172) Jimmy Cross, before coming to the army could have lived an average life, but has went through the torment of losing the men he was assigned to lead and protect. He thus has been altered by the changing world and now has a lot of things under his belt which in turn has changed the way he treats people. His men may have started off as Individual people to him, but through that experience it seems names have become less important to him, his thinking on his men has thus changed. He sees them now as only that, men in the army. This hardened attitude is his way of adapting to the change, his way of not having to experience the pain of losing “his men” anymore. Losing his men changed the way he thought of the remaining of his men in the army.

Bob “Rat” Kiley, the platoons medic, is much respected by Tim O’Brien for the way he handles his job as a medic. Rat is usually a level headed and kind man, but over time the war took its toll on him. One day while Rat and another medic assigned with him on an assignment, Mark Fossie, were waiting for Fossie’s girlfriend to answer the door. Rat expressed his distrust for the girl. “Rat shook his head. He said to Fossie, “Your decision. I was you, though, no way i’d mess around with any greenie types, not for nothing.”” (Pg. 108) Rat begins to let the weight and stress of the war weigh down on him. His trust in people begins to waiver and it shows in this quote. He notices that he needs to adapt to protect himself as he shifts along with the changing world and that doesn’t leave much room for anyone else. He brings out to Mark that he wouldn’t “mess around” with any greenie, knowing that Mary Anne is marks beloved girlfriend. Rat it appears, though, has let the world shape his thinking in that he has lost trust for certain people, and she is one of them. He let the changing world impact his thought process with this girl developing his human thinking.

Mary Anne Belle, Mark Fossie’s high school sweetheart, although Mary appears to arrive to vietnam in total innocence, she develops a respect for death and the darkness of the jungle. According to legend she retreats and disappears there. Unlike Martha, who is just a fantasy for Jimmy Cross, Mary is very real for Mark and her change is one that shatters his world and hers both. Mark and Rat were waiting for Mary Anne to come out when, “.. She stepped out of the shadows. At least for a moment she seemed to be the same pretty young girl who had arrived a few weeks earlier.” (Pg. 110) Mary Anne has it hinted about her in this quote that she has changed as a person since her arrival at the military base in Vietnam. She, as the quote brings out, was at a time a pretty young girl but it can be inferred that she has changed and is no longer that person she was because of the words "at least for a moment" implying change. Mary Anne's heart hardened due to the truth of war, and this result changed not only her but in effect made Mark Fossie a sader soul as well. This is another case of the world around a person changing their way of thinking and thus changing, ultimately, the person themselves.

Tim O’brien, the main character narrator and protagonist of the novel, is also the author of the book. In an interview with Sawyer Scott about his output on his book The Things They Carried he says, "Imagination is important in a couple of ways. One way is as a psychological means of escape. If you can lose yourself in a fantasy, then you're no longer trapped in the horror of, say, Vietnam. You're back home with your girlfriend, eating a nice dinner at the Ritz instead of C-rations."(Interview 2) Imagination is important, it is the brains way of escaping reality, helping humans dream the impossible. After all, imagination is thinking and that positive thinking or imagination can be changed if the world around you changes in a negative way before your very eyes and vise versa. Trapped in the horror of Vietnam, is how Tim felt until the world around him changed, and he was able to clear his mind and focus better on other things. This again shows when the world around us is changing, as humans we must change our thinking to change with the world.

Works Cited for Analytical Essay:

"Tim O'brien Interview." N.p., n.d. Web.

"The Things They Carried." By Tim O'Brien. 1998 N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Jan. 2015.

"Robot Check." Robot Check. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Jan. 2015.

Narrative Essay:

One hundred bucks is crazy money in my book. One hundred bucks can’t even afford some jeans out there, though, to put it in hindsight, and I use to wonder why money was such an important material to people. It’s pretty obvious now, money is power. And power changes people. I think back to an experience of a close cousin of mine. He and I were pretty close growing up, he is a few years older than me and lived in North Carolina but we made it work. Every year, three times a year,  my intermediate family and I would take the trip down to NC to see him and our other relatives.

My cousin, JeMario, was a good natured person, a very kind and thoughtful personality who happened to have a keen talent for music. He played the bass for as long as I can remember, and he was always pretty great at it but honestly I would have never thought he could get famous off of playing the bass. But he was talented, so much so, that one year while we were staying “down south”, as my mom referred to the trip to NC, his mother influenced him to join, a at the time popular musical career jump starting show, MTV’s Making A Band. He did and through the course of the show he survived every round up until it was just him and one other male in the finals. In the final round he did not get enough votes to win and lost to other guy, but it wasn’t a total loss he had been noticed by a lot of people for his talent on the bass instrument. A few weeks after he returned home he got a call from two big names in the media, Tyler Perry and Bruno Mars. Mr. Perry wanted my cousin to play bass for his plays, while Bruno wanted him to play bass for his live band. My cousin, being young and into Bruno Mars music, decided to go with the offer from Bruno. He left for California and began recording music and touring with Bruno. I was happy with his decision being a fan of Bruno Mars myself and I have been proud of my cousin ever since. But he isn’t the same person he was when he left that year, I believe being around the spotlight, something he was very uncommon to living in a small town in North Carolina, changed him thoroughly.

The summer after he left to go on tour, I remember hearing from my aunt JeMario was going to be in town when we went on our annual down south trip. I was overjoyed to hear this it had been a year. The first time I caught a sight of my star studded cousin back home I couldn’t tell if it was him or some clone that dressed better, sounded different, and acted different but looked exactly like him. I could hardly hear his southern accent anymore. I remember the first conversation we had when he came back, “Yo cuz! You're a big shot now huh?”

“Yeah little cousin out here making this money man.” He responded to me.

“Wow. All I know is.. That haircut is bad real bad Michael Jackson, should probably never get that again?” We both laughed.

“It’s whatever man. I got it cause’ it’s what everyone got.”

“Well, everyone else does not look good on you man.”

“Looking like everyone else is what makes you relatable and famous and paid. And that’s all that matters.”

“What man? Forget the money. Forget how you look, you got that suspect jacket on.. Wearing that is not worth all the money in the world” I laughed, “You're on tour with Bruno Mars... That must be like living a dream or something”

“Ain’t no dream unless I’m getting paid little cousin, you must not understand that money is all that matters in this business and whatever you gotta do to get it. I got the talent now I’m just looking to get much as I can man.”

JaMario wasn’t the same. I could feel it the moment I saw him, there was something off about him. His once pert and lively character had abandoned him. The glory lifestyle took it’s toll on him much sooner than anyone could have expected. JaMario had let the changes in the world around him affect his being, he went from being a kind content heart to a cold one endlessly searching for more.


Changing the World Essay - Jackie Middleswarth


When the Earth was created, life also was created. There are now very different forms of life out there who live everyday just to survive. Everything that lives, eats and poops. These are essential to stay alive. Everything lives to survive even humans, because death is the equalizer to life. Death is a natural cycle of life, which people try to deny. When they do acknowledge it, however, they often become afraid of when they realize how much time on Earth they may actually have left.

In the book “The Things They Carried,” by Tim O’Brien, who was a soldier in Vietnam, had two comrades in the war, Dave Jensen and Lee Strunk. They became acquaintances because after a while of messing with each other, they learned to trust each other in the war. When there were ambushes, they teamed up and protected each other. ““Dave Jensen and Lee Strunk made a pact that if one of them should get totally fucked up - a wheelchair wound - the other guy would automatically find a way to end it… Lee Strunk said, “But you got to promise. Swear it to me - swear you won’t kill me(pg 65-66).”” When the two guys, Lee Strunk and Dave Jensen, originally set up the pact Lee Strunk expected for Dave Jensen to be the one to get so badly wounded he would need to be wheelchair bound. It was easy for Lee Strunk to agree to this because he didn’t expect for his life to end this way, he would be killing someone else which is what he has been doing the whole time in the war. Although when it did happen to Lee Strunk, he tried to deny his death by making Dave Jensen not kill him. Strunk didn’t want Dave Jensen to kill him because he didn’t want it to be his time to go. He realized that if Jensen killed him, that would be the end of his existence, and he started to panic; he didn’t want to die then.

Rat Kiley and Mitchell Sanders, soldiers in the same unit as Tim O’Brien, were talking about the gruesome pictures that Rat Kiley kept seeing in his head. They mostly consisted of the insides of a person and his own death. “‘Anyway,’ Rat said, ‘the days aren’t so bad, but at night the pictures get to be a bitch. I start seeing my own body. Chunks of myself… I swear, it’s too much. I can’t keep seeing myself dead(pg. 223).’” Rat started to go crazy, and as he saw this he became scared of his own death. Seeing himself dead was a sort of inception that he couldn’t escape, and by being scared of seeing his own death he started to realize one day he would actually die. Now eventually, Rat did kill himself, and that was because he wanted to escape the thoughts and pictures he was having about him seeing his own dead body. By actually being dead, he was able to escape his fear of death. Rat knew how much time he left since he committed suicide, but he also knew that if he didn’t do it now, someday he will die like how he imagined. He wanted his death to be something he controlled because he was afraid of the other possibilities on how he could die and he didn’t want to live with those dreadful images of his death anymore.

Tim O’Brien is reflecting on the characters that have died and how he has grown over forty three years. He reflects on his young self as he moved too fast, not experiencing everything, but when he looks at why he started writing he came to a revelation. “I’m young and happy. I’ll never die. I’m skimming across the surface of my own history,... and when I come down thirty years later, I realize it as Tim trying to save Timmy’s life with a story(pg. 246).” When Timmy was a little boy and thought he would never die, death never scared him because he wasn’t faced with life or death situations that made him scared or unhappy. Since he was young, he felt invincible. Although, as Tim O’Brien grew older and reflected on his life, he figured out that when he went to the war he was afraid of death because he was put in a life or death situation. Since being out of the war, all of the books Tim O’Brien has written has been about his experience in Vietnam. By writing out his experiences with the war, he was able to save himself, the version that thought he was immortal of death. As Tim started to write, he realized that when he was in the war he was aware of the time on Earth he may have left. He started to write to relieve himself of the terrifying almost death experiences he had in the war so he didn’t have to constantly relive them in his mind. This way he gets to feel happy, and like he won’t die again.

Tim O’Brien was interviewed about his reaction of being drafted to the war. He was also interviewed on other aspects like what he wanted to do with his life, and most of his responses are curved around about his surprise of him finding his profession through writing. “His reaction to the draft notice still surprises him. 'I went to my room in the basement and started pounding the typewriter,’ he recalled. 'I did it all summer. It was the most terrible summer of my life, worse than being in the war.’” Tim O’Brien went to his typewriter because it was an antibiotic that let him get his feelings out. Initially when he got drafted he knew immediately that there was a chance he could die. O’Brien was afraid to submerge himself into a death situation because he wasn’t ready and he didn’t want to know approximately how much time he would have left. He felt as though he wasn’t supposed to go to war. He was, in fact, a political science major. Tim O’Brien almost didn’t go to the Army, he tried to deny it as much as possible because the fear of knowing he could die was too much. That is why when he wrote it, it was worse than being in the war because he started to become aware of what the actual consequences could be.

Although death may only seem important to those who are already dead, it does in fact impact everyone who lives. Everyone who lives, will one day eventually die. And when people realize this, their denial put themselves in a state of fear. The realization that death is inevitable is a terrifying fact to acknowledge because people usually feel like they are immortal until death is close.


All the stars are going past me, along with planets, asteroids and other beautiful things encompassing us in the galaxy. Although as I sit here, in the IMAX theatre at the Franklin Institute, I don’t think it’s beautiful. It’s terrifying. I start to shiver as if I were cold, but I’m not. I’m surrounded by a dome of moving pictures, creating a 3D effect. Heavy quick breaths escape me, and I close my eyes which is worse. There are too many thoughts racing in my mind, too many patterns my eyes see when I close my eyes which gives me a headache. I reopen my eyes, and taste the stale air, and I have to lean forward. My stomach is flipped inside out, and I have no control over how I feel. “Jackie, calm down,” I tell myself, “just try to sleep, wait until the movie is over and you won’t always feel like this.” But I’m having trouble keeping it together next to my friends, it’s taking all my might not to bolt towards the exit signs and never return.

As I watched the IMAX movie in the beginning about space, the feeling of things floating behind me as if I was moving through space was extraordinary. But then the fear of death caught up to me. Seeing the Earth from the viewpoint of space made me feel small,  made Earth feel small. Going through the beginning of time and how the Earth started made me realize that time was a concept to figure out the length of things. For example, the length of a life. And as I watched the space video, I feared that when I die there will be no afterlife. It’s a simple matter of a life is created, lives for a certain time and dies, and that’s how life on Earth works, a continuous cycle. When i’m dead I won’t be able to experience things anymore. I know my life is definite, but I want to experience everything.

Right now as a young teenager I feel immortal. So far, I haven’t seen anything die in front of me. It’s almost as death is a foreign concept. Death is foreign because I haven’t experienced loss, I can’t compare it to something. Death is just the end of road for something, and the scary part is when your heart stops, and you die, you can’t then tell someone what it was like. We’re afraid of the part after death. Knowing one day that I will die, like everyone else before me scares me because I want to always have the ability to feel physical objects, have emotions like being connected to those I love, even the ability to come home after a long stressful day, and take a nap, knowing later that dinner will be ready, warm and fill your stomach with satisfaction. But you don’t get that when you’re dead, the fear is that when you die, you just feel nothing.

The pain caused when someone dies is just useless because the person who is dead won’t be able to see your tears, the large amounts of time you grieve in your bedroom, tears dripping down to your mouth, the saltiness just making you feel worse. Death is an inevitable thing to escape, but to know that is terrifying because you don’t want to give up on the idea of immortality.

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Mali Fenning English Quarter 2 Benchmark: Self and Changing World

Analytical Essay

English Quarter 2 Benchmark


Mali Fenning

Parades, Veterans Day, and Memorial Day are all celebrations that support soldiers and veterans. Parades are common for soldiers returning home, and Veterans and Memorial Day are holidays that occur once a year. These celebrations help soldiers know they are appreciated and not forgotten. However, when soldiers return from the war they are very different from when they entered the armed forces. Their personalities and aspirations can often change while they are overseas. The Things They Carried is a novel by Tim O’Brien, in which he recounts his experiences as a soldier in the Vietnam war and as a veteran when he returns home. Norman, Tim, and Rat are all characters in The Things They Carried who are soldiers in the Vietnam War, that were changed forever by their experiences. The reader learns, when an individual changes, the world does not change along with them.

In the book, The Things They Carried  the characters are soldiers in the Vietnam war. In the war the soldiers witness many tragic things, like Curt Lemon’s death. When the soldiers thought they were completely safe they were proved wrong when a booby trap exploded and Curt Lemon was blown to pieces and left to hang in a nearby tree. Death is a regular occurrence in war. This is an experience that their families back home have never endured. When soldiers return home they find it hard to relate to their friends and families. The reason being, when the soldiers were experiencing tragic events and situations their families were still living out their daily routine. Their world back home did not change or become affected by the war in the same way the soldiers did. Tim O’Brien describes one of his comrades return back home in the book. When Norman Bowker is back in his town he realizes everyone has moved on and continued living their lives without him. In the chapter, “Speaking of Courage” the author states, “The town seemed remote somehow. Sally was remarried and Max was drowned and his father was at home watching baseball on national TV.” (p.139) Just because Norman experienced the life changing effects of the war does not mean his town would understand or notice the changes. The soldiers often wished that there families would listen to them because then they could understand what it was like to be a soldier overseas. The author of the book writes about Norman Bowker wanting to talk to his father about the war, “The ribbons looked good on the uniform in his closet, and if his father were to ask, he would've explained what each signified and how he was proud of all of them, especially the Combat Infantryman's Badge, because it meant he had been there as a real soldier and had done all the things soldiers do, and therefore it wasn't such a big deal that he could not bring himself to be uncommonly brave. And then he would have talked about the medal he did not win and why he did not win it.” (page 141) This shows how much Norman wanted to talk about his experience and how he changed in the war.

Like Norman Bowker many other soldiers were drafted, taken away from their families, and thrown into the Vietnam War at a young age unaware of the challenges ahead of them. Through the 1950’s and 1970’s the draft was used as a lottery to randomly pick men to fight in the war. If a man chose not to go then they either faced legal sanction or some men and families moved to Canada. Tim O’Brien in an interview by the Stanford Report states,  "I went to war kicking and screaming. I was terrified of dying." Healthy and educated men were picked to go into the war. When they went to Vietnam they were often very cultured shocked by the dead bodies they would often see or the separation they would feel from their friends and family. They were often also shocked by the physical strain of a normal day.  In the Chapter “Nightlife” O’Brien describes a soldier, named Rat Kiley, who has reached the end of his tolerance for the war, “It was a tense time for everybody, Sanders said, but for Rat Kiley it ended up in Japan. The strain was too much for him. He couldn't make the adjustment...Rat just sank inside himself, not saying a word…” (page 220) Rat Kiley was always very cheerful and a dependable comrade. People trusted him and were friends with him. Rat’s surroundings and environment eventually took his emotions and affected how he functioned. It eventually became too much and he had to physically remove himself from the situation. When change happens the person himself can sometimes not handle it at all.

Rat Kiley and Norman Bowker both suffered greatly because the world around them did not understand what they were going through or what they had sacrificed. The consequences of war are dramatic as Norman Bowker later committing suicide and Rat Kiley shooting himself in the foot so he can be taken to Japan, and away from the war. The world does not accommodate for someone when they change or cannot handle a situation. In the chapter, “The Things They Carried” the author provides details about what it was like to have to suffer through a normal day in the war, and he explains a soldiers thought process. Tim O’Brien states, “ can't change what can't be changed, there it is, there it absolutely and positively and fucking well is. They were tough. They carried all the emotional baggage of men who might die…” (page 20) This thought process, that things can’t be changed no matter what, is common when life seem to be too awful. When people feel burdened they feel as if they can’t get rid of it. Darkness can feel permanent even when it will only be temporary. In the case of the war, the baggage the men were carrying and the darkness they were surrounded with could be temporary or permanent. In the book, some of the characters baggage became permanent, like Norman Bowker’s struggles when he returned home from the war. Many men who came home thought it was going to be temporary, but then struggled with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a particular type of anxiety disorder that occurs after a person has gone through an extreme emotional trauma, for example combat and war. Tim O’Brien in the interview with Stanford Report touches on how he could not fully recall actual combat situations due to simple human memory. In the interview he states, “As a result of the short-circuited memory and the fear, “‘What I end up writing about is aftermath stuff – what you end up carrying around for the rest of your life.’” In the book, Tim O’Brien focuses more on recounting the struggles of being weighed down by the terrors of war.

Through reading The Things They Carried the reader understands how a person is ultimately changed in one way or another from being involved in war. Even though a person changes it does not mean the world around them may change. Regular people often do not understand the terrors that soldiers endure. Even though America attempts to show soldiers a great amount of appreciation it sometimes is not enough to show soldiers that civilians understand what it is like to be them. Although the understanding of a soldiers experience may only seem important to family members of soldiers it should in fact concern anyone who cares about suicides occurring from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Works Cited:

HAVEN, CYNTHIA. "News." Two Famous Authors Discuss One War: Tim O'Brien, Tobias Wolff on Writing about Vietnam. Stanford Report, 26 Jan. 2011. Web. 12 Jan. 2015. <>.

O'Brien, Tim. The Things They Carried: A Work of Fiction. New York: Broadway, 1998. Print.

Sawyer, Scott. "In the Name of Love: An Interview With Tim O'Brien." Mars Hill Review. (Links to an external site.). Winter/Spring 1996. Web. October 20 2009.


English Quarter 2 Benchmark


Mali Fenning

“Beautiful,” Devi said as she pinched my face extremely hard.  

Hoping she would release me from her grip I responded with a smile and said, “Thanks.”

As she let go of my cheek, she embraced my hand and we walked to the missionary dining hall. I tried to hide the throbbing pain I was feeling on my face from her grip. We walked down the trail together passing the Girls Home and the squawking chickens who were obnoxiously demanding food. As we continued to walk I could feel the beautiful sun of India tanning my skin.

“See you later, Mali,” she said as the aroma from the food leaked out from the dining hall. It smelled of spiced chicken and naan and french fries, which the cooks made specifically for the American teens. When she said goodbye, I wished she could come in and eat with us. I wished she could taste a french fry. It felt odd having to separate myself from someone who was my equal. It felt odd knowing we were in the same place, but she was eating different food. Since she was an orphan from India and I was an American we received very different meals and very different treatment. Let’s just say, her plate of food looked very different from mine. Instead of a full colorful plate of  butter chicken and dal she had a small bowl of rice, lentils, and a dose of protein powder to replace the lack of meat in the meal.  

This was the first time I realized that Devi was my exact equal. I never saw her below me, but it was the first time I saw that just because someones circumstances are “worse” than yours does not make you better than them. This was the first time I wanted to make a change because I saw that everyone was my equal. Before I was selfish, and all I wanted was to climb the social ladder at my school. Now I no longer imagined a better social life for myself, but a better way of life for Devi.

When I was in India for a month, I stayed at the Bethel orphanage in the southern country side of Tamil Nadu, India. So many things about the country were beautiful and new, but there was also an incredible sadness that traced the streets. An aroma of sadness that was left by the broken people of India. The broken people who were only trying to find a way to live their life happily. I noticed the lower class people were simply left behind by the wealthy and educated people of India. I was left feeling overwhelmingly burdened. I did not feel this sadness because I was a privileged American. I did not feel the need to help them because I was better or wiser. Rather I felt the need to be simply nice to people and to treat people decent, so they did not have to be left behind, orphaned, or on the street.

Devi was a thirteen year old girl with dark skin who wore her hair consistently in two pigtails that hung at the side of her head. Her dark brown hair was silky straight and I always wanted to braid it, but was told not to. My mother was greatly afraid I would acquire head lice if I touched Devi’s hair and then touched my own. Which would be one of the worst things for a curly headed girl like myself. And this fear was true. Devi’s hair as beautiful as it was, carried head lice. There comes a time when there is nothing you can do about head lice in a place like Bethel Orphanage. In a typical American school when one child gets head lice the whole school seems to momentarily shut down. At the Bethel Orphanage, there is no momentary shut down. The only option is to shave everyone’s head, and then resume the daily routine. There is no time to stop for head lice in India.

I loved Bethel’s daily routine. I loved when the girls and boys would come back from school, and it would be time to play. I loved getting to know Devi and her friends, and learning all the games.

“Take your hand like this,” Sheba Lily would say directing my hand into a handshake position.

“Ok, now go like this,” I would copy the motion of Sheba Lily and then Devi would chime in.

“No. No. No. You are doing it all wrong. Like this. Like this, ” She grabbed my hand and shaped it back into a handshake position and then cupped my fingers. She grabbed Sheba Lily’s hand and then brought our hands together. They taught me the words of the hand games song, and then we swung our hands back and forth and played the hand game for what seemed like hours.   

The hand game was only one of the many things I missed when I left India. When I returned to America in the beginning of Pennsylvania’s cold February I started to miss everything about India. I missed the potent smells, and the loud sounds, and the cheerful smiles. I missed the naive thought that people cared just as much about my friends in India as I did. I missed the naive thought that all my friends at my school would want to change along with me. However, they instead reminded me of their sheltered minds unable to see beyond America. When I returned home not only was I scared for India's people, but for Americas as well.

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Clio Fleece – The Yellow Birds – Q3 Benchmark

Analytical Essay:

Everyone goes through important changes and phases in their lives, whether it be someone very close to them passing away, winning the lottery, or finding “the one”.  All of these things can cause a change in one’s character that greatly affects their view of the world.  In Kevin Powers’s novel The Yellow Birds, the main character, Bartle, goes through one of the most life-changing experiences possible: fighting in a war.  During his service in Afghanistan, he sees himself and many others change in many ways. Many people, when going through or having gone through a big change in their life, may feel like the whole world has changed because their world has changed.

At one point in Bartle’s time abroad, he goes AWOL in Germany, when the troops are waiting to fly back to America.  While he’s away from the base, he goes into a church and has some time alone with his thoughts.  When remembering this moment, he says, “I realized, as I stood there in the church, that there was a sharp distinction between what was remembered, what was told , and what was true. And I didn’t think I’d ever figure out which was which,” (Powers 60).  This is an interesting way of thinking of the human memory, because often times, those three things are seen as the same thing.  Bartle, as he remembers certain events in the war and is talking to the priest in the church, realizes that his mind wants to remember things differently than how they happened.  After he had these traumatic experiences, his view of the world was changed, although he didn’t notice at the time. His changed perspective caused him to believe that things had happened differently than they actually had.

Kevin Powers, when talking in an interview about life in combat compared with civilian life, said, "As human beings, we have the blessing and the curse that we're able to adapt to almost anything. No matter how extreme the circumstances you're in, they become normal,” (Sherr).  The Yellow Birds is written in a way such that one chapter Bartle will be fighting in Al Tafar, Afghanistan, and the next chapter he will be back home in Richmond, Virginia after the war.  The way the book jumps around like this, the reader can see a clearer comparison between his experiences in the war and how they affected him once he was back home.  This quote says that “no matter how extreme the circumstances you’re in, they become normal” (Sherr), meaning that even when Bartle was fighting in Afghanistan, at some point he became so used to it that he felt like that was normal.  The reader notices this once Bartle is back home in Richmond, because he goes out and shoots his gun at the ground to relax; the fact that this action is relaxing instead of stressful or exciting means that he is used to it, and that he believes it is normal in the world he is living in.

When Bartle is back in America and reflecting on his current life, he talks about whether he thinks he and his life are normal.  During this reflection, he says, “The details of the world in which we live are always secondary to the fact that we must live in them,” (Powers 224).  What this means is that humans can never have experiences in life or views of their world without either of those being affected by their own thoughts and feelings.  Bartle is acknowledging this, by saying that even though he feels like his life is normal, he knows that this is partially because of his past experiences and feelings.  If he was completely separated from his past, his thoughts, and his feelings, he would see that this is not normal behavior.  However, there is no way for him to perceive his world outside of his own mind.

Many people who have never fought in a war may feel like there is no way in which they can connect to a soldier.  While it is true that a soldier’s experience is incredibly different from a civilian’s, the fact that a life-changing moment or period in one’s life can change his or her perception of the world is something that applies to everyone.  Whether someone is a civilian who has just had a child, or a soldier who has just lost a close friend in combat, both situations will greatly affect a person.  This is a uniting factor between two different groups of people that should be remembered when civilians connect with soldiers.

Works Cited for Analytical Essay:

Powers, Kevin. The Yellow Birds. New York: Little, Brown, 2012. Print.

Sherr, Lynn. "A Soldier's Story: Returning Home From Iraq." Parade's Community Table.

Parade Publications Inc., 21 Oct. 2012. Web. 08 Jan. 2015.


Narrative Essay:

Ugh, I hate everyone.  Why is everyone so annoying?  Wait...are they talking about me right now?

These are just average thoughts I have had sitting in class, on the bus, or pretty much anywhere when I have gone through more depressed periods in my life.  We all have these types of thoughts every now and then, but they were an almost constant occurrence in my head.  Someone walking in front of me would do something mildly annoying and I would berate them in my head, my mood having been ruined by them during the rest of my walk to school.  This negative attitude towards even strangers is just an example of how I viewed the world in this part of my life: annoying, boring, and joyless.

One way in which my perspective on the world and my life was changed is that I became much more paranoid about my friends or people at school talking about me.  It wasn’t because I thought I was so important, I just thought people were talking behind my back, when I left the room or walked down the hall past them.  A few times, I got so worried about it that I actually would ask one friend if another had said anything about me, or if they thought someone didn’t like me.  Always, the answer was something like, “No, why would you think that?” or “No, why would they be talking about you?” and whoever I was asking would look at me funny.  I’m sure that at least once, the person I was asking about found out I had been asking about them, and it probably annoyed them or made them uncomfortable.  At the time, I never thought about that, but now that I am outside of my depressive state of mind, it seems clear that that must have happened.

Another big affect of my depression was boredom and indifference towards the world around me.  Often times, I just wouldn’t bother to make any plans over the weekend, and because I had no plans, I would start on this train of thought that I didn’t have any plans because no one wanted to hang out with me, when in reality it was just because I didn’t ask anyone.  This would cause me to just sit at home all weekend, incredibly bored and often unhappy.  My parents would suggest all sorts of things to do, and to each option I’d say that I “didn’t feel like it” or I would just say no.  At the time, I really didn’t have any interest in any of the things they were suggesting; I would even think to myself, “Why don’t I want to do anything?  All of those things seem so boring.”  At that point in time, I saw the world as very boring, with nothing exciting going on in it.  Again, thinking back, most of the things my parents suggested were pretty interesting, but that just isn’t how I viewed my world.  

Possibly the worst affect my depressed state of mind had on myself and my life was the actual change in my personality.  I was much more negative and rude or mean towards both my parents, my friends, and my boyfriend.  I believed I was behaving normally, but at one point or another, all of the people in my life confronted me about my behavior, and in some cases it was too late to fix the damage I had done without even realizing it.  Even in the cases where my apologies were accepted, I still felt terribly guilty about the feelings I had hurt and the anger and frustration I had caused.  This would send me even deeper into depression.  Once again, in these situations I had believed that I was behaving like my normal self, even though it was obvious later on that I hadn’t been.

While I will likely never be able to fully relate to the life and experiences of a soldier, I feel that the factor of a distorted reality can apply to both people like me and people from the army.  Like Bartle, I believed that my abnormal behavior was nothing out of the ordinary, even though to others the change was obvious.  The effects of my depression included ruined relationships, lost time, and inaccurate world views.  The effects of Bartle’s return and assimilation back into civilian life were changed relationships, time wasted being angry and depressive, and a distorted view of the world.  This is perhaps the only connection I can make between myself and the character of Bartle.  But it is a strong connection, and a thought-provoking one; a connection that will stay with me as I continue to learn how to connect with others who are different from me.

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Self and the Changing World Essay

Analytical Essay:

People experience death everyday. A family member could die of cancer, a family pet could pass away or soldiers could kill or watch their friends get killed. In the book, “The Things They Carried”, by Tim O’Brien, people are affected by their changing world everyday because they are in a war. One of the biggest changes that affects them would be death. Since there are so many different people in the war, reactions to death would differ from person to person. The relationship of the changing world and the self can be different according to how they deal with strong emotions.

Azar was one of the first characters in the book that stood out as someone who wasn’t really the nicest guy in the platoon. He blew up a puppy, made jokes about people when they died and always had something snarky to say. When the main character, Tim O’Brien killed is first man, Azar was one of the first people to comment on it. “Oh man, you fuckin’ trashed the fucker” Azar said. “You scrambled his sorry-self, look at that, you did, you laid him out like Shredded Fuckin’ Wheat.” (pg. 125) Azar needed to deal with death in a way that wouldn’t affect himself directly. He did this by making jokes about the dead and he didn’t try to comfort the person who was shocked by the death. In the quote above, he talks to O’Brien in a way that shows that he is tough and that death doesn’t affect him. He doesn’t know how else to deal with the fact that someone was blown up in front of him. He doesn’t have a filter, so he says whatever comes to mind. Since he has gotten to war, his world has been changing with every death that Azar sees. He has created a person who says that he isn’t fazed by death so that he seems tough, like society’s image of a soldier should be.

When O’Brien killed the man, it was his first experience with death that he had caused. He fills up two chapters talking about how the body looked and what people were saying to him. He also made up a narrative about the man that he killed. He imagined the dead man’s education and his family and his personality. “He liked books. He wanted someday to be a teacher of mathematics. At night, lying on his mat, he could not picture himself doing these brave things his father had done, or his uncles, or the heroes of the stories.” (pg. 125) O’Brien can’t stop replaying the scene of the death over in his head after it’s happened. All he can do is stare at the body and repeat the details over and over again. To cope with the death, he makes up a story about the body. Some people would think that this is a bad idea because then O’Brien would be seeing him as someone who is equal to him with a life and with people who cared about him, which would then make O’Brien have grief and empathy for the person he just killed. O’Brien would want to distance himself from the person, not see the person as someone just like him. In the book he never explains why he does it or if it makes him feel better. In O’Brien’s changing world, he is someone who kills people and that makes him feel guilty and sad.

Death of a real person isn’t the only death that someone in war can see. In one chapter, a man is telling a story about how one soldier was able to arrange his girlfriend to come to Vietnam. No one had ever done it before so people weren’t sure what to expect. The girlfriend’s name was Mary Anne and everybody loved her when she got to camp. The only problem was that she wanted to be in the war. She was taken by the war and she would go on midnight stake-outs with the men. “Vietnam made her glow in the dark. She wanted more, she wanted to penetrate deeper into the mystery of herself, and after a time the wanting became needing, which turned then to craving.” (pg 114) Mary Anne became so interested in the war that a part of her old self died. She didn’t think that she would ever be able to go back to America after what she’d experienced in Vietnam. This is because she came into the war innocent and since the war was such a shock and adrenaline producing, she wanted to stay forever in the war. Before the war she was someone who wore headbands and cotton shorts but after the war she was someone who wore a human tongue necklace and went around barefoot. Her way of dealing with the war and shock of death is by becoming a completely different person.

In an interview, Tim O’Brien talks about how he noticed different people coping with the changes in their world. He said that a way that was commonly used was imagination. “Imagination is important in a couple of ways. One way is as a psychological means of escape. If you can lose yourself in a fantasy, then you're no longer trapped in the horror of, say, Vietnam. You're back home with your girlfriend, eating a nice dinner at the Ritz instead of C-rations.” Throughout the whole book, people have to create a fantasy so that they can deal with death and war. He said this because he wanted to confirm that this a feeling that can happen with the war. He is saying that by pretending that you are in a fantasy world can help you deal with the war and the deaths that happen in the war. Without a way of coping, war can be stressful and quite possibly the worst event in someone’s life.

In war, people’s lives are changing and almost all of the people need a way to deal with the changes. People have to figure out what works best for them and sometimes they don’t even realize that they are finding a way of dealing with their problems. Because of these changes in someone’s world, they react in whatever way they can cope with the changes.

Works Cited for Analytical Essay:

-Sawyer, Scott. "In the Name of Love: An Interview With Tim O'Brien." Mars Hill Review. Winter/Spring 1996. Web. October 20 2009.

-O'Brien, Tim. The Things They Carried. New York: Broadway, 1998. Print.

Narrative Essay:

It was late afternoon on a Thursday in the middle of May and I was nine years old. I had just started to set the table for dinner when my mom’s cell phone rang. My mom picked it up with her usual cheery “Hello?” But everything that happened after that was not usual. Her face dropped and she went out the back door to sit on the porch. I tried to listen to the strains of the conversation to see if I could guess who was on the phone. My mom used different tones of her voice for different people, but this tone was something that I had never heard before.

My dad was making pancakes in the kitchen while she was talking on the phone. He gave us some to eat before going outside to talk to my mom. My sister, who was about to turn four, didn’t seem to be bothered by the events happening outside, but I was worried. Why did both my parents need to be outside? Who were they talking to?

I got bored, waiting for them to come back, so I finished my pancakes and went back to my room to read on my bed. Finally, I heard the phone being put down and footsteps coming back to my room. I sat up, ready to know what was going on.

“Mom? Who was that?”

“That was Andrea from Virginia. Um...Lee killed himself this afternoon, and she was calling to let us know.” Lee was my best friend’s step-dad, who was like another dad to me. My real dad called him his best friend as an adult and our families did almost everything together. My best friend and I grew up together in Virginia, living about 200 feet away from each other.

When I heard the news about Lee, the thought that I would never see him again, didn’t hit me right away. I was more concerned about how he killed himself and when the funeral was. The memorial service was the next Monday, which meant that we would be leaving Iowa (where we had been living at the time) on Friday right after school and be gone for the whole weekend. I was slightly relieved at this news because it meant that I was going to be missing my violin recital, which I had been dreading since the date had been set.

Other than those few emotions of relief and sadness, I didn’t experience much more. It didn’t sink in that I wouldn’t ever get a hug from him again or that I would never laugh at one of his crazy jokes. When we were driving to Virginia, all I thought about was that I was going to see my friends again. Once we were in Virginia, I thought about dresses to wear and what toys to play with. At the memorial service, I thought about how hard everyone was crying and how much I couldn’t wait to get out of the dress I was wearing. At the burial, I thought about how it was kind of cold and rainy and how we were going to be leaving the next day. Driving back to Iowa, I thought about how I have school and what homework I have to do. Not once did I think about how Lee was in the ground forever.

Something that I have done since I was young, was bottle my emotions up and push them down. I would deal with them later, when they would rise back up. I would feel sad for the day but then I would put any remaining emotions away. I would do this whenever there was an event that would make me feel strong emotions.

This wasn’t the healthiest habit though. I would have crying spells over smallest things; like my books not fitting on my shelf correctly or getting a bad grade on a homework. I realized that my tears weren’t actually about the homework or the books but actually about whatever else I was angry with or sad about, from years ago. To fix my habit, I would try to make myself cry when something sad would happen, like a death, but it would feel insincere and almost sarcastic because I wasn’t actually feeling that emotion. I learned that I would have to just deal with the fact that I bottle my feelings up. This was my way of coping with the changes that were happening in my world.

My crying spells still happen now, as I haven’t fully grasped the idea that he will never see me as a young woman or that I will never share one of my own jokes with him, but I’m getting there. The thing about changes that are related to death is that many people experience them but the emotions never truly go away. They will always be there to pop back up when called upon and they will make good days into bad days. That’s why every person has a way of coping with the changes, whether it is to push the emotions down, makes jokes about the deaths, makes stories about the victim, or even become one with the dead. Every person has their own way of dealing with death because death is inevitable.

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Kadija`s Q2 Benchmark: Self and the Changing World

Analytical Essay:

Imagination is a source that the brain strays from reality. In the book, The Things They Carried by Tim O'brien , dreaming and imaging are constant survival tips that help people from thinking about emotions that soldiers deal with everyday, such as death and pain. In society, people use imagination for everything, especially children. Whether it may be imagining your mom`s vegetables were candy or imaging that someone that died was still here. Imagining can put a perfect world in perspective. It can eliminate the negative things that one may not want to deal with. A perfect world can easily be dreamt and created through the mind and elude any change that may not be wanted. Fantasies and dreaming is a commonly used escape mechanism that individuals use to stray away from the harsh reality of the changing world.

Imagining  someone is still alive is something so many people use to deal with hurt and pain. In the book, O'brien does this a lot. With the character Linda in the book, it brings back unwanted and wanted memories for O`brien. Linda is imagined to be alive and living, because in a perfect world for O'brien, tumors and the disease that killed her would not exist. “ And yet right here, in the spell of memory and imagination, I can still see her as if through ice, as if I'm gazing into some other world, a place where there are no brain tumors and no funeral homes, where there are no bodies at all..” (pg. 245) Tim O'brien sees a place inside his head where disease and dying are a mere faded memory. He plants a seed inside his brain that stimulates a world where unhappiness is impossible. Imagination is used to dismiss the bad things that cause pain or hurt. In war pain and hurt are always emotions that run through the mind and if one can seemingly turn it off by imaging that will be the case. O'brien does this throughout the book where he shows a different world where he is comfortable, because in war , comfort are only found in those that are dead, or those who dodged the bullet, but only for a brief moment.

Again the power that one has over their dreams and what could be reality are astonishing. O`brien clearly has the ability to make his own reality and make the things he want to come true, to be true, by dreaming. “Lying in bed at night, I made up elaborate stories to bring Linda alive in my sleep. I invented my own dreams. It sounds impossible, I know , but I did it.” (pg. 243)

O'brien has a powerful way to dream up what he imagines a perfect scenario that depicts happy people and a happy time. Linda was a escape. She was the dream that made the mind stray away from the unhappy events of war. O'brien uses his imagination with his classmate in from middle school to tell a story about how one can just simply dream that those horrible events never happened and that death is no longer involved. O`brien places himself in a comfortable place where he can control everything, because in war everything is out of your control. When someone can place something in their control and make things easy for them to cope with, that would be the best idea to do.

In the book, a lot of  stories are based again on imagination. Memory has to do with the start of it, but when the brain starts to flow, there is a lot of dreaming and creative power. O'brien definitely isolates that tool. “ The memory-traffic feeds into a rotary up on your head, where it goes in circles for a while, then pretty soon imagination flows in and the traffic merges and shoots off down a thousand different streets. As a writer, all one can do is pick a street and go for the ride, putting things down as they come at you. That`s the real obsession. All those stories.”(pg.35) A lot if the stories are based off of imagination. O'brien says that memory only plays so much into the story before involving imagination.  As a writer O'brien is using his imagination to make the story telling even more true. It makes the reader go on a journey and believe, rather than read a story with chronological events and facts. O`brien grasped the idea of the story and then dreaming and imagination took hold and creates something more deeper and truer to the self.

Creating a world designed specifically for your wants and needs is something incredible. In the book, O'brien makes it seem that all he ever dreams and imagines comes alive through his storytelling. It shifts and makes the mind believe what is wants to believe, conveyed in imagination. Pretending also doesn't have to be bad, people do it all the time. Acting is a way that people imagine also. It allows people to experience lives that they wish the had or pretend to have through imagination. This may even be the reason people love watching movies and going to see them at the movie theaters. If someone could spend 3 hours watching a movie that had a setting that was not the norm of their world, they would go see it. For instance action movies are so exciting because not every day people jump from skyscrapers and save presidents from assassination. If people could even be able to see that on a screen, it would be cool.

Imagination is important in a couple of ways. One way is as a psychological means of escape. If you can lose yourself in a fantasy, then you're no longer trapped in the horror of, say, Vietnam. You're back home with your girlfriend, eating a nice dinner at the Ritz instead of C-rations. Whenever people testify about their life in the concentration camps, they say much the same thing. The one way to3 psychologically endure it all is to escape in your head, in your imagination.” (interview 2)

Imagination is a powerful tool that people use to escape things that they may not want to come in turn with. Especially war soldiers that are not trying to imagine something that they come in contact with and witness everyday, death. Dreaming and imagining is a paradise where anything that someone wants to be real is real, where one can make what is true and what is not. A world where war is non existent. War obviously is something that was so unpredictable. Some days people would be like sitting on the sidewalk talking and others soldiers could lose their best friend right in front of you. While imaging and dreaming people would be able to imagine that  their dead best friend was still alive and both of them would be back home sitting on the sidewalk talking. Someone could imagine their loved ones all here with them, watching over them. One could imagine that the war was all but a bad nightmare and they could wake up in your cozy bed, instead of a dust cot with 45 other men.

Imagination again is a very powerfully designed tool that people use to blur the harsh realities that they don't want to deal with. For kids imagination is at its all time high, because reality is something that is not always fun, for anybody as far as that goes. For O'brien he uses women as a comfort for the harsh reality of war, such as Kathleen and Linda. In other scenarios, a lot of the men in the stories use objects to help stimulate a happy event that once was associated with that object. In a case like mine, imagination was simply beautiful. As a young child, eating your vegetables and such wasn't exactly fun. A child would imagine that that vegetables were tablets that made them big and tall and have super powers, so they could save the world from evil villains. The same thing with cleaning. Lots of children absolutely dreaded chores, so if they could place themselves in a different world, like O'brien did, then they would. Some children would sometimes even go as far as to  put on a different outfit to better grasp their imagination. People loved doing this, it could make them feel like nothing could go wrong. One could also go deeper and still imagine that their deceased loved one, like a grandfather was still alive.

Works Cited for Analytical Essay:

Klay, Phil. "After War, a Failure of the Imagination." The New York Times. The New York Times, 8 Feb. 2014. Web. 9 Jan. 2015.

Brien, Tim. The Things They Carried: A Work of Fiction. New York: Broadway, 1998. Print.

"Leadership University." Leadership University. Web. 13 Jan. 2015.

Narrative Essay:

Remember Kadija, I will always be with you. Just remember these words, Always believe in yourself and when you don`t think you can do it, just imagine me there with you.” said my grandfather, laying in the hospital bed.

I hated seeing my hero like this. My grandfather had been diagnosed with lung cancer and was very ill. He had been in the hospital now for about 2 months in and out. I loved him so much. I didn`t know why God did this to such a great man.

The walls were this yucky white color, not the clean holy white color, but the nasty kind that made you feel even worse. The nurses had to make sure to be very careful, because the medicine had made him very frail and weak.

As he told me that, I could see that he really meant it, that he wanted me to succeed and not to let myself go because he was no longer physically here. He will still always be in my heart, because I love him.

“I love you grandpa, you will always be in my heart.”

Those were the last words that I said to him before he died. He died 2 years ago, and I am now in high school. I miss him everyday, but I still can see him sitting on that same chair on the patio every morning. This is when I really started to use my imagination. It made me feel more at ease, to know that my grandfather would always be with me.  

“Girl, go get the shoes that I just put down over there.” my mom said as she put her purse down at the cashier.

My grandfather`s death really hurt my mom the most, going off of the fact that he is her father. I could tell she wanted to be strong for my brother and I, but sometimes at night I could hear her crying softly. She had told us that he would always be here and that he would never be lost.

“ These or the blue ones.”

“The blue ones, I don't wear that kind of stuff, you know that.” mom said angrily.

I'd imagined she'd  say that, but I just wanted to make a joke. I quickly grabbed the blue ones and ran back to the cashier. My mom took out her coupons as she always had. Which reminded me so much of my grandfather, because he was cheap also.

When we got home there was so much stuff on the floor from our yorkie, Fendi. She was so playful and energetic, sometimes even too much sometimes. She had ripped all the paper towels up and messed her food basket all over the floor. I know it was my responsibility to clean after her, so I didn't even fuss. My imagination had come into play when I cleaned. I hated cleaning, but if I'd imagined doing something else, cleaning wouldn't be so bad. When I would sweep, I'd imagine that it was a big tornado and I had to get the little dust ghosts off the floor or they would try and attack me, and I didn't want that. Sooner or later, I would be finished cleaning, so imagining things like that made it easier for me.

When it really helped to use my imagination is when I was getting ready to perform in my ballet group. I was now in 10th grade and I had been in this dance group called Eye Candy Chicks. It was super fun and I got to do what I loved, dance. We had our first real dance show in November of 2013. I had never performed for more than 300 people before. I was panicking and didn`t know if I could do it.

“Ok, your group is next.” said the stage coordinator.

Everything was happening so fast. I looked out on stage from the back and saw how big the crowd was. Everybody was cheering for the people who were performing. They were doing great, I was just wondering if I would be able to be as great. I looked up and closed my eyes. Someone who I loved so much came into my mind, it was my grandfather.

“Hey baby girl, you scared, aren't you?”

It was like he was standing right here with me. He knew exactly how I was feeling.

“Grandpa, is that you?” I asked

“Yes, it`s me, granddad. Something told me that you needed a little advice before your big day.”

“Oh, grandpa, I miss you everyday. I know I could count on you, when I needed you.”

“Yes, baby. What did I say to you when we were at the hospital. Tha-”

“That you would always be in my heart. How could I forget that, and you are always in my heart.”

“Yes, I am, but what else did I say?”

“You said, you said to always believe in myself and never to give up on myself.”

“That`s right pumpkin. Never, never stop believing in yourself. Now go out there and make us proud!”

“Alright, you guys are on in 1 minute.” said the stage coordinator.

I opened my eyes and felt more determined than ever. I looked around at my team and said a little prayer. We held hands and told each other that we believed in one another. My imagination was something that I knew I would always be thankful for. It helped me in so many ways.

“I love you grandpa.” I whispered to myself as we walked on stage.

That night we went out to celebrate. I had finally overcome that fear that I had. Thanks to my grandad, we made first place in our division. Everyone was so proud, just like how my grandad wanted. I could imagine a world where nothing could go wrong, and for the first time, I felt like I was living in it.

“I`m so proud of you sweetheart,” my mom said, as she hugged and kissed on me.

“I talked to grandpa before I went on stage. I was scared, but grandpa talked to me before I went on stage.” I said holding her hand

“Oh, honey. I'm so glad. I`m very happy. You know we all miss and love your grandad.” she said.

She had a little tear in her eye and I know how much she missed grandad. She never really talked to me about him, I guess that was just her way of grieving and coping.

“I know mom, but he`s always going to be right here.” I said as I pointed to her heart and smiled.

I am now enrolled in college at Oklahoma City University of American Dance and Arts Management. I absolutely loved it there. I majored in ballet. The story of my first time performing has followed me this far. I know perform in concerts and I am planning on having my own studio to teach girls that may not be as privileged. I always think of my grandfather and still does all my family. He will be missed, but never forgotten and never gone.

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Self and The Changing World Q2 Benchmark

Analytical Essay:

Everyone is inspired by something and what they do with their inspiration makes them happy. Tim O’Brien, the author of The Things They Carried loves writing and he is passionate about his experiences in the war, so his book is about the war. He wants people to experience the same emotions he felt by reading his book and to see what it feels like to be in the war, and how scary it is. Writers express themselves by making the reader feel their emotions in the story in a way where readers know what happened in order, but also show how it changed their life and how readers are affected by it.

People look back at their experience to not make mistakes and make their future better. The past is important because people remember to go back to it and rethink what they did wrong, and want to try to do better in the present. In the book The Things They Carried Tim O’Brien says, “And sometimes remember it will lead to a story, which makes it forever. That's what stories are for. Stories are for joining the past to the future. Stories are for those late hours in the night when you can't remember how you got from where you were to where you are. Stories are for eternity, when memory is erased, when there is nothing to remember except that story” (pg. 38). Being in the war for Tim was not easy. Those kind of memories people do not forget because it’s a fear they face. This shows that events that happen to people in the past are connected to the future because there is something new in each situation where people learn something new. It gives a new perspective on things people do not think of, but also shows what life has for people, and that a lot of different stories stay in people’s mind and they remember it. They remember what happened and how it could affect them.

There are things people want to remember from their stories or from stories they’ve heard. It is hard for writers to not have an obsession about one topic because that topic is  something that inspires them, and it is something they look forward to share with the world to let  people know what is happening and how people are affected by things like wars. In the book Tim O’Brien says, “I feel guilty sometimes. Forty-three years old and I'm still writing war stories. My daughter Kathleen tells me it's an obsession...I guess, she's right: I should forget it. But the thing about remembering is that you don't forget. You take your material where you find it, which is your life, at the intersection of past and present… As a writer, all you can do is pick a street and go for the ride, putting things down as they come. That's the real obsession” (pg. 34). Here this quote talks about how no matter what people say people follow their conscience. That strong inner voice shows them what they can achieve and that it is something they want to do. A person’s inner voice can help them express themselves and what’s on their mind. Tim O’Brien listened to what his daughter had to say, but he still thought of being a writer as something that not only writing inspires him, but wars as well. He thinks about writing as his future because that’s what he likes to do even though some of the things are not true, for example in his book he had a daughter, but in the real world he does not have one.

As a person Tim O’Brien wants people to know what it means to go through something that stays with him his whole life. War is something people do not forget because these are feelings and emotions that will stay with a person even though they will move on. Tim says that even if the story is made up he wants people to know what he felt and show what it was like to go through something really hard and frightening. He did not think of what others thought about him writing and said, “But listen. Even that story is made up. I want you to feel what I felt. I want you to know why story-truth is truer sometimes than happening truth.” (pg. 179). Sometimes there are stories where when they are said and made up a little they come out as a better story, than a real story that happened. Tim O’Brien wanted to show how factual stories are not always the best way to explain an emotion one feels in a certain moment or situation.

From the interview “In the Name of Love” with Tim O’Brien, he expresses and answers the questions that are important for readers to know about because they can see what Tim meant and thought about writing his book. He wanted to let people know how it feels to be in the war even though it was not all the factual. In the article An Interview with Tim O'Brien Tim says, "Events, especially those that carry elements of trauma, tend to get scrambled in terms of chronology. And I try to present them that way as much as I can in my writing. I don't clearly sort out for the reader what happened first, second, third, and fourth in a causal chain. I take this approach because I think it's the way our memories often work.” When writers want to tell the story they want the reader know the order of what happened, but they also want the reader to feel what they went through. It is easy to just write a story and say what happened, but writing it in a way that the reader understands the feelings that are happening in the story is very important in literature. It means the writer achieves the goal in writing something that makes people feel everything they went through or even when a story was made up. Stories that are made up can be well written just like real stories, but it is in writer’s hands to see if it connects to a person and their feelings.

When it comes to feelings and emotions it is hard for people to feel what the writer is trying to portray with their writing. In order to feel their emotions the book needs to show situations where readers can imagine the place. It is not easy to do that, but Tim O’Brien did a good job by giving a lot of details so people connect to his story. He also showed people how it feels to be in the war so others can imagine it and realize how they work hard to be there.

Works Cited for Analytical Essay:

  1. O'Brien, Tim. The Things They Carried. New York: Broadway, 1998. Print.

  1. Sawyer, Scott. "An Interview with Tim O'Brien." In the Name of Love. Mars Hill Review 4, n.d. Web. 8 Jan. 2015. <>

Narrative Essay:

“Oh no. I don’t know what to write about. What should I do?”

“Write about something that you usually don’t tell people because it’s hard to talk about it, ” said my friend Hannah.

Hannah and I became best friends during freshman year. The first time we met was asking each other “What class do you have?” and looking at our schedules, and realizing we have the same classes. Going to our first class was weird and we had that silent/awkward walk to the classroom because we had no idea what to say. I remember having Bio-chem as our first class.

Freshman year we wrote more analytical essays, than personal essays. That’s when we learned to write thesis and how to put all information together to form an essay. The first English class during sophomore year was different comparing to my classes in middle school and freshman year. When we went to the classroom Ms. Pahomov explained to us that we will focus on writing workshop. I had no idea what it was, but in my head I just thought, “Oh no I hate writing.” When we started writing our first essay I started with a personal essay because I thought it will be easy, but that was not true exactly. I did not know what to write about and I did not like writing in general. I started my personal essay with writing about me coming to the U.S. and my first years here. Then I wrote about my grandpa, which was something I did not tell people because it’s a really personal topic to me.

Writing personal essays showed me a way where I can tell people my stories, but also express my feelings. I am a shy person and do not share all my stories with everyone. I take my time to start trusting people because I had situations where people would talk and tell my personal things even though they said they wouldn’t. It is hard for me to start trusting from the beginning. Hannah’s thought about my essays made her emotional after she read them.

“When reading Malwina’s writing I was supposed to just edit it, but once I read the whole story I actually got very into it. I ended up learning more about her through her personal essays. It’s been a while since I read one, but there are still two stories that she wrote last year that I can recall. Her pieces were memorable allowing me to remember the ones she wrote last school year. They were about her grandfather and one about her dad. Malwina did a great job with details in her personal essay about grandpa that I felt emotional. I could imagine what happened and the story brought tears to my eyes.” said Hannah when I talked to her recently.

Usually when I talk to my family about things that happened most of them are emotional and do not like to share these stories. It is hard for them to say things like that because it is something they would want to keep between people in our family. Writing something and sharing how my grandpa was fighting with cancer was something completely different. I did not really tell my family that I wrote that essay because of the fact them not feeling comfortable to talk to people they do not know about personal emotions. From writing these essays I feel like there is another way to express my feelings to others. It is easier to write it and let people read it because if I were to talk to them in person I do not think I would be able because I would get really emotional.

Expressing my feelings through essays feels better because I do not have to face some of the situations that I would not feel comfortable to talk about. I was really surprised that Hannah after reading my personal essays was emotional because I would not think my writing would make someone feel what I felt at the same time. Expressing feelings is something challenging  because it is something you share with readers that you are not sure you can trust, but it is a way to show and make readers feel what you felt.


Q2 Benchmark: Self and the Changing World

Analytical Essay:

Many people believe that change is something that you can avoid. They believe that if they try hard enough they can go their whole lives and not make any significant changes to the way that they deal with life. However, there are some situations where this is not the case. The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien is a perfect example of this. O’Brien’s book is about war and includes himself as a character going through changes in that type of an environment. It teaches a lot about what war is like and how there is no way to avoid it. People tend to avoid change when they can, however, there are some environments that people cannot escape in life, it is in these environments that these people cannot help but change. The change could be physical, but it could also be mental.

The beginning of Tim O’Brien’s story in The Things They Carried starts when he is alerted through the mail that he has to join the army and go to war. The feeling O’Brien describes is one of the least desirable most painstaking feelings one can have. The feeling of shock, surprise, and hopelessness combined. O’Brien knew that his life was about to change is a monumental way, he was scared for his life. He even thought about fleeing the country to get away from this change. At one point he even says, “I felt something break open in my chest. I don’t know what it was. I’ll never know. But it was real, I know that much, it was a physical rupture-a cracking-leaking-popping feeling…..I remember packing a suitcase and carrying it out to the kitchen, standing very still for a few minutes, looking carefully at the familiar objects all around me” (Page 46). At this point, O’Brien’s shock and fear has turned to determination, he says that if his life is going to change it is going to be on his own terms and he flees to Canada. However, the fear of disappointment and shame from his parents and all those that know him is enough to overpower this fear of change and war that he is hiding from. He is eventually willing to come back to the United States and fight in the war. O’Brien was trying to get away from a change that could ruin his life. A war is an inescapable environment in which change is not only common, but even expected.

Later in O’Brien’s story he starts to reflect on how his life had changed from the war. At this point O’Brien had been in the war for quite some time and was starting to notice some changes in himself. Upon discovering these changes O’Brien was disappointed that he let the war change him this way. He explains, “I’d come to this war a quiet, thoughtful sort of person, a college grad….all the credentials, but after seven months in the bush I realized that those high, civilized trappings had somehow been crushed under the weight of the simple daily realities. I’d turned mean inside” (Page 200). At this point of the book the character Tim O’Brien was trying to get revenge against another character named Bobby Jorgenson. After a while he realizes that he acting rashly and not quite like himself. He concedes that the war is changing him, and he does not like what he is becoming. Change is scary for O’Brien along with most people, but sometimes you can’t help but change. The change that O’Brien is describing undergoing is a completely mental change. His body isn’t just changing, and neither is just is situation. The war changed the way O’Brien thought and felt and made him into a person he didn’t want to be. This is why people are scared of change, especially in such drastic situations like war, they do not want to become something that they are not. It is hard to overcome a situation like this, because first you would have to leave the environment you are in. If the environment is not escapable, like war, than you might have to embrace the changes.

Certain changes can come about when an environment takes a mental or physical toll on a person. War is a perfect example of such an environment because one is not able to escape war, and it takes a heavy mental and physical toll on those involved. Tim O’Brien the author recalls such times when war was a hard place. “’Well, yes, I dedicated the book to my characters,’ Mr. O'Brien said. ‘After all, I lived with them for five years while I was writing. In Vietnam people were being rotated constantly, so men you served with you would know six or eight months. These characters are the people I know best’”. O’Brien dedicating his book to the characters within it, or the people he knew is heart warming, but also understandable. The reason that this quote is so important is that it shows another element of change in war. The people that you are with and have your back at all times continuously are changed. This had to be tough on a soldier and even depressing at times. These soldiers do not want this change, most likely if it were up to them they would get to stay with the same soldiers throughout the war so that they know who they are working with and who they can trust. However, it is not their decision war brings on changes that are unavoidable and can be challenging to overcome.

Change can be one of the hardest most emotionally tolling things a person can go through, and while many people attempt to avoid change in their lives there are some environments that people cannot escape and some changes that they cannot avoid. There are various reasons for not being able to escape. Sometimes there is a pressure on a person that is too great that they can’t help but break. Sometimes, as in The Things They Carried there are certain expectations placed on a person that they want to live up to. Some changes affect one in a physical manner, while others can affect them in a mental way. War is one of the rare and scary example of place that can change both your mental and physical state which is why it is so undesirable.

Works Cited:

Bruckner, D.J.R. "A Storyteller For the War That Won't End." The New York Times. N.p., 3 Apr. 1990. Web. 7 Jan. 2014. <>.

O'Brien, Tim. The Things They Carried: A Work of Fiction. New York: Broadway, 1998. Print.

Narrative Essay:

Change is one of the hardest things in life. That being said there are many hard things that can occur in one’s life, the thing that makes change so unique is how unavoidable it is. I personally have dealt with change many times in my life, and while there are times that enjoy the adversity and the benefits that can come with change, there are others where the change is just completely undesirable. Sometimes I find that the change can be hard, but the result can be great. Many times change is unavoidable due to the situation that you are in, but you just have roll with the punches.

There was a time in my life when I was much younger that I liked to keep to myself. Even in elementary school my focus was to get good grades. Because of this, I was left out of much of the social experiences that come with being a fun loving, outgoing child. I was always happy with my life and my small core group of friends, but never truly satisfied. I didn’t expect my personality to change as I got older, I even feared the possibility of a change because of the effect it might have on my accomplishments in the classroom. However, that didn’t stop me.

By middle school the time came where I started to notice how much of the world I was missing by keeping to myself. I tried to put myself out there, but it was hard when your knowledge of what is “cool” is limited, and I faced a large amount of rejection early. I started playing team sports which helped a lot, not so much because I wanted to, but almost because I felt as though I needed to. It wasn’t until later that I felt something break in my head. Not in a negative way, it was almost as if my confidence was trapped in a cage, only pouring out slowly and then all of sudden it rushed out. My inhibitions were gone, I became a much more outgoing person. I still felt that same type of fear that I had know all of my earlier life, but I was able to ignore it and do what I please. I was scared of change, but it happened anyway and I couldn’t be more thankful.

Another example of a change happened to my friend Rob. Rob and I were best friends and we would hang out on quite a frequent basis when we were very young. However, Rob had a very unique situation when it came to the careers of his parents. Rob’s mother worked for the mayor and she was continuously changing locations of the office she was working at. On top of this there were some other unforeseen circumstances that made Rob’s life hard. When Rob and I first met we lived ten minutes away from each other. Out of nowhere, disaster struck for Rob and his family when his house burned down for an unknown reason. Rob lost all of his possessions, clothes, and memories.

“Mom, what happened to my toys?” Rob would inquire.

“They are gone honey, a fire came and ate them up, but don’t worry we will get you new ones”, his mother would often reply.

The change was very hard for Rob, he had to leave his home and move in with his grandmother. He couldn’t help the change, it just came out of nowhere and his life took a hit.

Later his parents found a new place to live, it was an apartment in the city. Rob’s mom needed to be closer to a different office, so she moved to the city and again Rob’s life changed. City life was very different for him, we now lived at least forty five minutes away from each other and began to see each other less and less. On top of that he went to a whole new school and had a much smaller place to live than he was used to. Rob eventually got used to his new life, but it wasn’t long before change struck again.

Rob’s mother was offered a higher paying job for the mayor, the catch is that she had to move again. This time it was way out to Oxford, PA. Now Rob lived two hours away, and we were lucky if we got to hang out two or three times a year.

“Where are we going mom, we’ve been driving forever all I see is trees!” Rob exclaimed on his journey.

“We are almost there, our new house is a little bit out of the way, but trust me it’s worth the drive”. His mom would answer.

The good news for Rob is that his home was enormous. It had four floors including a basement that was all completely Rob’s room. The bad news for Rob is that he lived in the middle of nowhere, he had to commute an hour to get to school, and he didn’t get to see his friends as much. It was hard for Rob to adjust to this new lifestyle, especially after finally getting used to being in the city, but after a while he finally did, but then things changed again, and it was the biggest change yet.

Rob’s mom got a call that a high paying job was available and she was first on the list for possible candidates. She was very excited, but there was a catch, and not a small one at that. The job was all the way in Memphis, Tennessee. After ironing out a lot of details, fighting with her family and watching her son shed many tears, she convinced her family that this was for the best and that they wouldn’t have to move anymore once she took the job. So, Rob moved all the way to Memphis. This was four years ago and I have seen him twice since then. I have kept in touch and I was there for him throughout the process of his move. He had a hard time with such a drastic change in his life, and I’m sure if it were up to him he never would have left Philadelphia. That being said he couldn’t stop this change from happening, he was simply in an environment where changes like this were unavoidable.


Self and the Changing World Essay

Analytical Essay:

People fall into many situations that they never imagined they would. The world is constantly changing and each situation affects how a person thinks or acts. Sometimes there is no control over how someone behaves. The only way to cope with these situations is to react and let it go. In the book, The Things They Carried,when burdened with an emotion or experience, people stop thinking clearly and do things in the heat of the moment.

O’Brien uses the story of Curt Lemon who had a fear of the dentist, to show an example of how soldiers react to their environment. All the soldiers were getting dental checkups and when it was Curt’s turn he fainted. Soldiers are always supposed to be strong and cannot show any form of weakness. So when Curt Lemon’s fear of the dentist got to him, he felt cowardly and weak.  Not wanting to live with the embarrassment that he was scared, Curt took it upon himself to get his tooth removed. “The embarrassment must’ve turned a screw in his head...The dentist couldn’t find any problem, but Lemon kept insisting, so the man finally shrugged and...yanked out a perfectly good tooth.” ( 88) People feel the need to be able to do everything that everyone else does.  Even though he was perfectly fine, Curt made an impulse decision to prove to himself that he was not a coward. He could now live with the fact that he was able to do what every other soldier did. It was not to show off to others but for his self satisfaction and to feel equal to everyone else. He made this decision in the heat of the moment because he felt embarrassed about the way he reacted to the dentist and he wanted to resolve it.

The loss of someone beloved is also a reason people lose control over their emotions and behavior. Rat Kiley was best friends with Curt Lemon. The death of Curt was too sudden and shocking for Rat. The only way he could express what he was feeling was by shooting at a water buffalo they had found. Curt’s death was a surprise to everyone, but it affected Rat the most.

“He shot randomly,almost casually, quick little spurts in the belly and butt… Rat Kiley was crying.” (79) He needed a way to let go of the pain he felt by inflicting pain upon the water buffalo.  Often times people who feel overwhelmed with an emotion or experience do not think but just react. This helps the person to cope with the change that has happened to them and will stay with them forever. By causing pain upon something else or destroying something it makes the person feel better. All the emotions are then channeled on that one object.

Throughout the book, O’Brien shows that soldiers have to always maintain a brave front and anything less than that means they are cowardly. Rat Kiley never showed any moments of fear or lack of courage. He was always someone who did his job the way it should be. Being in war can have a emotional or physical effect on soldiers. Feeling burdened with his experiences in war and the emotions that came with it, he decided he needed a way out. ”He took off his boots and socks, laid out his medical kit,doped himself up, and put a round through his foot.” ( 223) He unable to handle the emotional stress of being in war and with the loss of Curt’s death added to it. Rat knew that the only way of getting himself away from the war was to inflict harm to himself and give himself peace. After a person has too many traumatic experiences bottled up they can’t deal with them anymore.

O’brien in an interview answers how these experiences affects humans. It is not just a story, but how the events affect how a person behaves. He says “It is not the politics of Vietnam. It too is about the human heart and the pressures put on it.” (Interview #3) In his book he describes the pressure that is put on soldiers to be fearless and strong. They fall into many predicaments that they have to face and then move on. They are not given a chance to relax or able to express how they feel. They are always pressured to keep everything inside them which can later cause them to make irrational decisions.

The world is always changing, putting people into circumstances that they are not able to tolerate. People have to find ways to vent their emotions or to get away from things. There are certain decisions that are made that can be harmful in the long run. Instead of pressuring soldiers to put on a constant emotionless and brave front, people should also see that they too are human.

Works Cited for Analytical Essay:

O'Brien, Tim. The Things They Carried. New York: Broadway, 1998. Print.

Bourne, Daniel, and Shostak, Debra. "A Conversation with Tim O'Brien." The College of Wooster. October 2, 1991. Web. October 20, 2009.

Narrative Essay:

“Maybe if I close my eyes tight enough, it’ll all go away. Maybe if I take a few deep breaths, I can stay calm. Maybe if I just ignore everything I’ll stop thinking so much. Deep breaths. Smile. Everything will be alright.” These are the things I used to tell myself, locked up in the bathroom when I wanted to get away from everything.

Growing up, my father was not able to be a part of my life because he was unable to live in the United States for legality reasons. My mother was the one who raised me and took care of everything. My mom worked long hours on a minimum wage job to support us. As I grew older, I understood how the absence of my father really affected us. During this time period, I gradually taught myself to just hold everything in. I didn’t let anyone see how depressed I felt, I always kept up a front of being normal. When things got too much to handle, I let out all the pent up emotions, let the tears flow and felt the heavy weight of the pain go away in that moment. I never let anyone see me this way, I always thought they would think I was stupid or weak.

“It’ll be okay soon, just keep praying, just keep your patience, things will get better,” I’d tell myself every time I felt like crying or felt myself starting to crumble. I remember I’d always put on a strong face while my mom cried or just looked depressed. I couldn’t bear to see her this way constantly. I felt like I was a burden to her, and that it was all my fault she was struggling so much with working, paying bills, and etc. It all felt too suffocating so I never asked for much other than what I needed.

In school I focused on my grades more than anything. Unlike other kids, I didn’t hang out with friends, have sleepovers, or chit chat with each other. There wasn’t any way I could help my mom, so I thought by doing well in school and just trying to stay out of trouble, that would be one less thing she would have to worry about. Forgetting that anything else existed, I put all my energy into my academics. However, in the process I lost close friends and I became separated from everyone. I became a person that existed among people. I just wanted to make things better, but nothing felt right.

I struggled like this until I reached high school, where I was in a new environment. I thought to myself that I could start new. However, my mom got sick and I had to take care of her while managing school at the same time. Things would always seem to get better and then something would come along the way and it would go back to the same depressing situation. Everything inside me was just slowly building up and I kept praying that maybe one day soon my dad would be able to return to us, so that we could be together and not away from another.

During the middle of my freshman year of highschool, my mom had to get surgery done again for piles which caused her a lot of pain. She was unable to work for some time. I took care of her, from waking up to giving her medication every couple hours to making sure what she was eating. I felt broken and exhausted from everything. People may think that crying doesn’t help. For me it was the best way to just release everything I was feeling. Other times, I just hated when people talked to me, I just wanted to be left alone. I didn’t want any sympathy or pity, it made me feel weak and pathetic.

Now, I’ve learned that keeping things to myself and just letting everything pile on top of one another was not the best idea. It changed who I was, how I felt, and the world around me. This experience has made me stronger and has helped me understand the value of what relationships are. As of 2013, my dad was finally able to be here with us and things have gotten much better for us.


Proyecto Sandra

Yo-Hola!  SOy Sandra . Tengo Catorce años. Mi cumpleanos vienti tres y marzo. Me Identities es africano americano. . Me gusta escribir y cantar.

Ella- Es mi mejor amiga y Ella es gusta hermana. su llamas Tatiyana. Ella es muy cómica y artística.

nosotros-mi y mi mama . Mi mamá es bonita y muy rubia. pero es por eso que lo quiero mucho. YO quiero mi mama porque ella es simpatica y inteligente

Ellos- To presento a Mi primo. Calvin y Shamar.  Ellos son moleston depende del dia  sin embargo Ellos son los seres queridos en mi vida. Ellos son manoso y divertido

Gracias tu por attecion.

( This is not late but I had to do this so you could see it because you could not see the other one and . Wee video did not send be the verication so I could verify my email . Thank you for your patience)
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New Slide

I changed my slide because it looked really out of  place and complicated. For example, the slide had a quote text and it also had a background text and I was told that it makes it hard to read the slide and it is very distractible. In addition to this I also deleted my quoted and the background text and made the background text the primary one. In conclusion, I changed the slide so that it can be simpler and easier to read.
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Net neutrality Blog

The internet It's something that everyone uses, from women to children to newborn babies everyone uses it. The internet could be very dangerous to us humans. This could be dangerous because we can be glued for hours at a time which is bad . That's why there is net neutrality.

Net neutrality helps everyone stay on task, limiting the amount of data we get each month. I feel like all teens should know about net neutrality. Teens should know because its very important and  every should know about it. President Obama is all for neutrality.

I think neutrality is a good way to help everyone move on with their lives and get outside or  play with their kids this is an amazing rule and I am all for it .

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Blog Slide pt. 2 - Tatiana Ream

I made my slide have the same concept but changed a couple things up. On my first slide post I got comments that I had to much empty space, so what I did for the new slide is changed the font of the lettering and made it bigger to show that it's the most important. Then, I made the pictures bigger and fade away just a little bit because I feel like it's should blend in just a little bit to show what the quote is talking about. The last thing I did was change my background color because it matched the background colors in the picture and seemed it went pretty well. 
Blog Slide Pt. 2
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Slide pt. 2

I changed my whole color scheme so it would match with the theme of red and blue since the pictures go well with the colors. I didn't capitalize my title or the words I wrote because I wanted to keep it simple and straight to the point. I made my name bigger than the rest of the words so it'll be the first thing people see when they view my slide and they'll know who it's about. I didn't take away the spacing from my name because it looks better when the words aren't crowded, and I also deleted some of the words that I wrote so it would look less crowded as well. I still bled the images off the slide since I learned that tip from the websites and it looks more put together. I also used two new pictures so they would match with the theme, and the pizza sign is a .png because the white background would throw off the red and blue colors. 
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Net Neutrality Blog

¨CANNOT ACCESS PAGE!¨ Has that ever popped up on your screen? Do you wonder why? That, my friend, is because you don't have net neutrality. Net neutrality is when the FCC's rules of the internet have kicked in and allow you to access any website you would like.

Net neutrality is important because if you don't have it, your internet service provider can control what content you look at on the internet. This includes blocking sites that don't pay them extra to run fast or looking up competing service providers. This can also block certain elements on a site. On Facebook, Verizon can block out opposing ISP's pages. So net neutrality benefits you and opposes ISP's.

I think net neutrality is very important. It's unfair to let some people look at some sites and others looking at other sites. It isn't equal. That is what net neutrality is all about.,d.cWc,d.cWc
ediuevfq - Edited
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This is my slide for tech! I aimed to catch the viewer by using three name colors, red, white and blue. In the fanatic word, I spelled it PHanatic, Then I added different colors, those of the Philly Phanatic. These colors appeal to the viewers at a glance, but then also make them observe the details in the slide. The words represent my love for cars. But the colors show my Puerto Rican and American pride, and the phanatic word shows my Philadelphia pride. I then Downloaded my slide as a PDF, and inserted the HTML Embed code to this post. I also gained inspiration from this website.

I hope you enjoy!
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