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IRJ-QR#17 November 19, 2009

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The Judge of the Other Side: Duties of the People

In the novel The Golden Compass, Pullman creates a wise Librarian who gives insight into the nature of human kind. The Librarian tells the Master in a discussion of Lyra’s wellbeing, “[t]hat’s the duty of the old… to be anxious on behalf of the young. And the duty of the young is to scorn the anxiety of the old,” (Pullman 32).

The Master has been discussing with the Librarian how he worries about how Lyra will fare on her journey to the North. The Librarian points out how useless his anxiety may be. In the movie Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, Will Turner wagers an eternity of service to Davy Jones in a bet. His father, afraid of what may happen to his son, decides to protect him by putting himself into his position. After his father looses the bet, Will gets angry at him for trying to protect him.

This downward spiral results in distrust between the separated age groups and an unwillingness to be similar in the way they think. When the younger person distrusts the older person, they will not want to accept the wise advice the elder may have to offer, leading to dissatisfaction and confusion in their lives. It is a necessity for all people from their predecessors. If people do not learn young what the old learned in a lifetime, we make the same mistakes or repeat processes for information we already have figured out, giving the future the same amount to work with as we had. We must give them more.


Proposition: Humans should pass their information from generation to generation and forget about what they think others should do, and focus on what others should think.


IRJ-QR#11 October 20, 2009

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Misplaced Magic: Using Two Eyes

When Snooty Buttoo makes an irrational comment to Rashid, Haroun has an epiphany. He thinks to himself, “…the real world was full of magic so magical worlds could easily be real,” (Rushdie, Salman. Haroun and the Sea of Stories. London: Penguin Books, 1991. 50. Print.)

After he observes Snooty Buttoo’s skepticism, Haroun makes a connection between what reality is, and what can become reality. The distinction that Haroun makes between magical worlds and reality is that in reality, the magic is seen less easily but is shoved forward into sight in magical worlds. Magical worlds may be exactly the same as real worlds, but are visualized through different eyes.

As in the beginning of the book The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles, the professor can see things that the children can’t because he has journeyed and understood that the world is magic in itself, while the children still don’t know what to look for.

In the real side of our world we know what to look for, while in magical side of our world we must look through open eyes, observing everything at once. Not everybody is able to look for nothing and find something, but that is what magic behaves like. The word ‘magic’ describes what is in plain view, but what can’t be seen.

Proposition: Humans naturally want to focus on one thing at once, but it can be an epiphany to a person when they realize that magic is nothing to look for, but something to be.

IRJ-QR#8 September 29, 2009

Posted by andrewg2013 in Quick Response.
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Providing Hope: Tricked into Security

In the short story “The Fifty-First Dragon”, Gawaine le Cœur-Hardy kills fifty dragons by saying the ‘magic word’ Rumplesnitz. When the Headmaster reveals to Gawaine that this word meant nothing, he said, “’It wasn’t magic in a literal sense … but it was much more wonderful than that. The word gave you confidence,’” (Broun 6)

In the context of the story, this quote describes the way Gawaine was tricked into becoming a hero by the Headmaster. Gawaine had been psychologically tricked because of his fear of failure. He depended upon his ‘magic’ to do the fighting for him. Similarly, Mr. Wright, who had cancer in the lymph nodes, had high hopes for the drug Krebiozen, and doctors gave it to him. After 13 days he left the hospital. Later, he relapsed because of news reports that questioned the efficiency of the drug. The doctors lied and told him that they were going to give him a double dose of the drug when really none was in the shot. Mr. Wright left the hospital with no symptoms, but months later, when he found out that the drug was useless, he died within days.

This psychological ‘trick’, sometimes called the placebo effect in medicine, provides the brain with the natural phenomenon of false wellness or welfare. The beliefs and the ideas that a person may have about their condition produce the result. This idea in the brain allows outside effects to change the situations that aren’t completely in our power. Without this, people wouldn’t be able to change the inevitable, or have hope for the future.

It is this hope that powers people to move forward, and although things may be changed by point of view individually, they remain the standard for anybody to break, in a good way, or bad way.

Proposition: Humans can be tricked by their own inclination to have hope, and the way that things may be perceived allows for the future to turn out any way they wish.

IRJ-QR#2 September 8, 2009

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Understanding the Truth: Lost in a Sea of Anger

After Curt Lemon, Rat Kiley’s good friend, was killed by booby trapped ammunition while they were playing a game, they climbed higher into the mountains and found a baby water buffalo. At first Rat tried to feed it, then, “… Rat took careful aim and shot off an ear. He shot it in the hindquarters and in the hump at its back. He shot it twice in the flanks. It wasn’t to kill; it was to hurt,” (O’Brien 78-79).

Rat Kiley is sad and angry and decides to take it out on the buffalo. He isn’t able to handle his sadness and it overwhelms him. No one else really could blame him for what he had done, but overall, their reactions were pitiful. Rat was trying to prove to himself that he was still strong, when really, he couldn’t control himself. This useless violence was wicked.

Just as sport hunting is cruel and pointless, this act was as well. When some sport hunters go out to hunt, they think that the killing of other creatures makes them strong. Those hunters don’t understand the animals. Similarly, Rat Kiley doesn’t understand his anger, his sadness, and the buffalo. He thinks that the pain of the buffalo will make up for the pain inside of him.

Whenever a person doesn’t understand something, they like to pretend they do. Rat Kiley doesn’t quite understand his inner self coming out, but he tries to show the others in the group that he does. Rat and the others don’t yet understand the most important part of their lives, life.

Proposition: Humans try to understand themselves but can’t truly until they understand others too. Understanding life is what makes us change and become better people.

IRJ-QR#1 September 8, 2009

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Fear of Failure: The Dangerous Culprit

When Melba Beals, a young African American girl in Little Rock, Arkansas, arrives at Central High for the first day of school, there is a large crowd surrounding it. As she and her mother inch through the crowd, they see Elizabeth Eckford, another girl planning on integrating Central High with Melba. Melba noted, “Not one of those white adults attempted to rescue Elizabeth. The hulking soldiers continued to observe her peril like spectators enjoying a sport,” (Beals 50).

Elizabeth was trying to get to school among the hecklers and people who wanted her dead. The Arkansas National Guard were supposed to be protecting her but instead were enjoying her pain. Everyone was being cruel to her just because she wasn’t the same. People didn’t know what African Americans were like, and were afraid. They didn’t know what the African Americans were thinking or what they wanted, but the segregationists still wanted to be in control of the situation. They wanted to prove their power. Similarly, the Chinese Government on June 4, 1989, was afraid of what the protesters could do to them in Tiananmen Square and other places throughout the city. They decided to try to control the situation by sending troops and tanks. They attempted to show their power, but were cruel.

People don’t like major change. They don’t want to risk not having control over what is happening to them. They are afraid that if they let go of the situation, they won’t have power over themselves.

People are stubborn. When everything is fine for them, they don’t want to risk it not staying that way. Even if they may know that everything will work out, they are used to their current situation and don’t want to give that up.

Proposition: Change can lead to bad or good, but as humans, we need to take change as an opportunity. As much as we don’t like change, we don’t like to do the same thing forever.