The Smile of Night

Night is possibly the saddest book I have ever read. I know that everyone says that, but it’s true. Though the entire novel was extremely impacting, my favorite part, the passage that stood out the most to me, was one paragraph that contained this miniscule glimpse of hope and kindness. I am in love with moments in life where everything seems completely awful and terrible, but someone unexpected comes along and says something that makes you feel better.

“Comrades, you are now in the concentration camp Auschwitz. Ahead of you lies a long road paved with suffering. Don’t lose hope. You have already eluded the worst danger: the selection. Therefore, muster your strength and keep your faith. We shall all see the day of liberation. Have faith in life, a thousand times faith. By driving out despair, you will move away from death. Hell does not last forever. And now, here is a prayer, or rather a piece of advice: let there be camaraderie among you. We are all brothers and share the same fate. The same smoke hovers over all our heads. Help each other. That is the only way to survive.”

“Those were the first human words.”

In the situation of Night’s characters, I can’t even imagine how much it must have meant to everyone who was listening, to hear those words of kindness. Right now in my life, one of my best friends Shawn is that ray of positivity for me. When things get stressful and complicated, we say to each other “Breathe in, breathe out, don’t freak out.” We keep each other stable in that way, and constantly remind each other that worrying about things doesn’t help anything. He tells me “Smile; smiling makes everything better”, and I know he believes that with one hundred percent of his heart.

I’ve been really doing my best to focus on the good things and find the positive angles from every situation lately. As a result, this scene from Night really reflects that important part of my life.

The song “Big White Room” by Jessie J talks about being really unhappy and everything going wrong, but then the song picks up tempo and she sings:

“What do I do now? SMILE.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vAaos80oPqg

I think that moments like that, where you realize that you have to believe you’re going to be okay, are so special. Night makes people cry and feel sad and experience pain, but hidden on page forty-one there is this LIGHT. This is the Smile of Night.

I would like to close with a thank you to our readers. Contributing to this blog has been an eye-opening experience. It’s crazy to think this blog started only as an assignment for Honors English. Thank for you proving to me that my words matter.

Rock n’ Roll Forever.

Signing out for the last time, xoxo,

The Musician

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Words Can Paint a Thousand Pictures

“The night was pitch-black. From time to time, a shot exploded in the darkness. They had orders to shoot anyone who could not sustain the pace. Their fingers on the triggers, they did not deprive themselves of the pleasure. If one of us stopped for a second, a quick shot eliminated the filthy dog.”-Night by Elie Wiesel

Reading Night by Elie Wiesel gave me a completely different perspective of the Holocaust. I’ve read about it in books like The Diary of Anne Frank, where they give a few bits of information about the concentration camps, but Night portrayed what the Jews actually experienced in the Holocaust. The detailed passages of the narrator’s experience made me feel as if I was one of the prisoners having to endure the hardships of the concentration camps and the cruelty and brutality of the Nazis.

In this scene stated by the passage above, the Nazis are evacuating the Jews to a new concentration camp, which the Jews are suffering from. Everyone had to run barefoot and anyone who lagged behind was shot and trampled by the crowd. The march was ‘survival of the fittest’: the prisoners abandoned each other just to not get shot; even sons abandoned their fathers and leave them to die at the mercy of the Germans. Cruelty breeds cruelty and because of the Nazis’ brutality and constantly threatening to kill anyone who was not able, the prisoners felt they have to fend only for themselves now. When I read this passage, I imagine a large crowd of Jews marching across a rough terrain out in the unbearable weather conditions; fathers begging their sons to help them get up and the sons don’t even offer their hand to help them continue; and the sound of gunshots as the Nazis kill all the people far behind by the hundreds. One by one, prisoners collapse from exhaustion and the Nazis would yell at them to get up or be put out of their misery. I really experienced the Jews pain and suffering through the book. Just like Elie, I hope that such events like the Holocaust will never ever happen again.

– The Little Artist

Night

In the book Night the scene I chose was a reoccurring event.  It was in the beginning of the book, when Elie was still with all of his family.  They were in the cattle cart, and Mrs. Schachter kept seeing fire.  Every time she saw it she screamed “Fire! I see a fire! I see a fire!” and it happened repeatedly.  After a while they started beating her, gagging her, and binding her together, in hopes of her quieting.  That didn’t work.  Then when they finally arrived at the camp she screamed again, but this time there really was fire.

This scene was important to me because it just shows how people were warned before the Holocaust happened, but people chose to ignore it until they had it right in front of them.  I think Elie was arguing that they didn’t want there to be fire; they didn’t want it to happen.  With all the beating, silencing, and ignoring they hoped it wouldn’t happen, and they made up lies like that Mrs. Schachter was crazy.

The picture below is what caused the fire Mrs. Schachter saw–the incinerators that burned the bodies during the holocaust.Image

~The White Crayon~

 

REFRAMED: The Art of Cheating

I know we are all human, and most of you would jump at any chance if you could get to do anything you wanted to do. For example say being able to fly, being invisible, going anywhere you wanted to go, even cheat on a test. Well, let me tell you something, I got to do one of them! Of course it’s in the title but that’s beside the point. My English teacher told us to purposefully to cheat on the test. Who could ask for a better teacher? Well except if you got caught you would get docked one point and he would take whatever cheating material away.
It is time now to get into the title, the art of cheating. Since I want to share my ways I shall tell you my art style in this. I got the vocabulary list and put it on the floor for my reference and hid them under my backpack and binder, I know pretty lame huh. I still tried it out and it was interesting. When the teacher left it was the best part… but I think you know what happened so I won’t need to go into detail.
Now I know my ways were lame but I can tell you some better ones. For example say you are “thirsty” and “want a sip of water” well then take your water bottle out and put the answer sheet in the wrapper surrounding it (it can also be used on a coffee cup but turn it around when the teacher walks by). Now I will tell you one more since of course I want you to learn it your own way. Say you know a language your teacher doesn’t, write the answers in that language and have them out, if the teacher notices them say its homework.
Now let’s give you a test to see what you learned.
1. Quick the teacher is coming by and you have your answers out you
A. eat it
B. Do nothing
C. Hide them in a safe place
D. Nothing because they are already hidden in and not out in plain sight
2. The teacher has left the room you automatically
A. Yell out “What’s number one?”
B. Do nothing
C. Poke the person next to you and ask them a question you need help on
D. Wait and see if the teacher is not peeking through to see if anyone is cheating
3. Oh no you need an answer but the teacher is on the prowl you
A. Take out the answers in front of them
B. Do nothing
C. Take a quick peak at the hidden answers
D. Wait for them to walk away
4. Quick the bell just rang and you need to finish up the last few answers that you’re stuck on you
A. Don’t finish it
B. Guess
C. Glance at someone else’s paper
D. Look at your safely hidden answers

Okay the test is complete! How do you think you did? Well let’s find out.
If you got mostly A’s you aren’t ready yet and you need to take more training.
If you got mostly B’s you probably will never cheat in your life even if you were given the opportunity.
If you got mostly C’s you are almost there but a little more training is need for you to become a master.
If you got mostly D’s then CONGRATULATIONS!!! You are an expert on the art of cheating!
-Applause-.
WARNING! I didn’t make this to tell you to cheat! I made this to give you ideas if a teacher ever gives you permission to cheat on a test.
P.S. This will be my last post so I want to tell you Good Bye and I hope you enjoyed my posts!
~The White Crayon

Re:d Riding Hood

So, it’s that time of year. Testing. I know it stinks. But, that’s high school. Just be glad you aren’t being driven away from the one you love in fear of him being a murderous wear wolf. Ya, I know. No connection. I read this new book, Red Riding Hood, by Catherine Hardwicke. In a nutshell, the main character, Valerie, is chasing after her true love, Peter, while fighting off an arranged by her mother marriage and the townsfolk thinking she’s a witch because she is the only one who can hear it speaking. Comparing this to state testing, basically the same amount of pain. Spoiler alert: she gets the guy. That’s the difference between the story and state testing, we don’t end up with a hot guy when we finish. I feel like I compare to Valerie, her chasing Peter, and me chasing a chance to pass so I can gain acceptance into a good college. She got what she wanted, let’s pray all of us who took this test got what we wanted.


I have always wondered (since I started the book, anyway) what it would be like to be in Valerie’s situation. Is it an adrenaline rushing thrill for love or a mind draining experience which will end up for nothing. Kinda like testing, you either get the grade (the guy) or you don’t. Sadly, your entire chance of college could land on this one test grade. Messing up ONE day, and-poof, no college admission for you. That’s the connection to the story- if she made just one (crucial, read it and you will see she made many) mistake, she would’ve lost everything-lost him. Only difference is its a much bigger prize for her. For us-it’s only college admission. Wow, I sound so silly, “only college admission”. I know, I know, “you need college for a career and money, blah, blah, blah…” I’ve heard it all before.

Wait, isn’t this my life? Shouldn’t I do what I want? I can’t really do that if all I’m being ranked on are a test score of one day. I wonder what it would be like if testing didn’t exist. Or how the story would’ve ended if the wolf had been destroyed earlier. How different would our lives be? Would life be a breeze or would it lack excitement because we would have no goals or ambition? That’s kind of the only good thing about state testing. It gives us a goal-something to work really hard for. I guess that’s what the wolf did to Valerie. The anticipation for freedom, to think how life would be once the wolf was destroyed. And, now I’m just rambling. But, it really is something to think about. So tell me, in what ways do your lives compare to the life of a teenage girl in Valerie’s situation?

Moral of this story, always try your best and strive for what you want. Work hard and leave the rest to fate, if it’s meant to be, it’ll happen. Take care, everyone.

Xoxo, The Fire

Jujitsuing Reality

During our English class, we watched a video called “Jujitsuing Reality”. It’s about a man named Scott who lost his ability to move and talk, but even with his inabilities he is able to write movie scripts. I have seen and heard many stories of how people have lost their ability to walk around or not have certain parts or their body. Some people were born with no arms, hands, and even both arms and legs. Scott is no different. Not being able to talk or move his body does have its disadvantages. Even when all these people might not be able to do things like how we normally do, they find unique ways to get around and be able to do things that we can do.

Even though Scott can’t talk or use body language to communicate with other people, he has help from a girl named Alisa. As you can see in the picture, Scott has an infrared headpiece that sends a signal to a sensor on top of the screen. Wherever Scott moves his head, the sensor uses the movement to help him type something on the screen, like how our body movements help us control a game on an Xbox360 Kinect. Then Alisa looks at the highlighted key on the onscreen keyboard and type out the letter to spell out a word Scott is trying to say. Usually at this pace, if Alisa is able to correctly guess the word Scott tries to say at certain times, Scott is able to finish a movie script in a matter of months. The process is slow, but the technique used to accomplish Scott’s goal is very interesting.

Scott’s inability to talk or move his body is much like the inabilities of Nortier de Villefort from “The Count of Monte Cristo”. Like Scott, Nortier can’t move or talk; however, his method of communication is different. Nortier uses his eyes to communicate with other people, very much like Morse code. Both Scott and Nortier have inabilities that prevent them from living their lives like other people, but they are able to find other ways of being able to communicate with people that don’t require talking or hand gestures.

Look at the painting in the picture. The first thing that may pop in your mind about the painting would be that they are amazing. Then look at the person who did the painting. You probably didn’t expect that such an amazing painting wwas made by someone who didn’t have arms, but it’s true. Some painters that can’t use hands to hold the brush use their mouth or feet to paint. It’s intriguing how these disabled people are able to create a masterpiece. Scott’s way of scriptwriting is the same. Even though he can’t use and verbal technique or his body to complete his work, Scott has Alisa’s help in turning the script into a movie that becomes a huge hit. This style of painting may seem easy, but it’s harder than it looks. This painter had a lot of practice into being able to get used to holding the brush and painting with his mouth or feet.

Whenever you see someone that might have a disability, like blindness or whatever the case, don’t always think that they can’t get around in their life. People find different ways of doing certain tasks. Some techniques may seem a bit unusual and bizarre, but that’s their way of making it interesting and their way of getting around. Remember, in the words or Scott’s movie “Jujitsuing Reality”, “Don’t be lame. Live an interesting life.” And for all those people out there who have any kind of disability reading the post, I hope you all know that no matter what kind of situation you are in, don’t forget that you have your own ways of doing things in life. Share your story with other people so they can see that not everyone has the easy life, but it doesn’t mean that nothing is possible.

-The Little Artist

Au Revoir

First of all, a big congratulations to myself for finishing The Count of Monte Cristo before the test in class. It’s my favorite book we’ve read so far this year, and I very much enjoyed reading it.
Monte Cristo, though fabulously written and entirely captivating, is a really sad book. It’s actually quite tragic, in more ways than one.

The main character Dantes is in love with the beautiful Mercedes, but that love is taken away from him when he is sent to prison for a crime he did not commit. He’s gone for FOURTEEN DAMN YEARS. To put that in perspective for myself, I’m almost sixteen years old. Fourteen longs years- that’s the majority of my life. I haven’t been in love, but the relationships I have been in have all meant a lot to me. To have to leave the love of your life unexpectedly would be the worst pain in the world. I can only imagine how truly awful that would be.
Fire and Rain by James Taylor has been on my mind today, and I think it applies to Dantes and Mercedes.

“I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain

I’ve seen sunny days that I thought would never end

I’ve seen lonely times when I could not find a friend

But I always thought that I’d see you again.”

Then of course the tragedy continues when Dantes finally arrives back home in Marseilles, only to find his father has passed away of hunger and his former fiancé is married to another man and now living in France.
Before he was taken to prison, his life was perfect. Now look where he’s at.

Yesterday by The Beatles.

“Yesterday

All my troubles seemed so far away

Now it seems as though they’re here to stay

Oh I believe

In yesterday.”

The entire novel is decorated here and there with splashes of suffering and sprinkles of death. Off the top of my head I can think of eight characters that died. There must have been at least ten. My teacher shared with us that another one of his students described the novel in six words: “plot twist, plot twist, plot twist.” Amen.
At every turn, the reader has a new life to mourn, a new friend or family member to sympathize with, and a new funeral to attend. We as readers become a part of the journey. I can’t be the only one who shed a few tears throughout all of the chaos.

What about when Madame Villefort kills her own son and then herself? Her son didn’t need to die! This chick’s crazy! What about when Noirtier sees Valentine’s corpse and believes her to be actually dead? I wanted to jump into the book and explain to him that it was all a trick to save her!

I still, though, think that the saddest part of the entire story is the fall out between Mercedes and Dantes. Towards the end, they are back in Marseilles once again. Dantes is giving Mercedes money he had buried at his father’s house because her life is spiraling downhill. They reminisce over the good old times they had, and remember their love for each other.

Mercedes says, “Just as there is a gulf between me and the past, so there is a vast gulf between you and other men, and I admit to you that my most painful torture is to compare you, for there is nothing in the world that can equal you and nothing that resembles you.”

“‘Will you tell me au revoir?’ he asked, holding out his hand to her.”

“‘Yes, I’ll tell you au revoir,’ replied Mercedes, solemnly pointing to the sky. ‘I’ll say it to prove to you that I still hope.’”

I cried when I read that passage. Well done Dumas, well done.

Au revoir, xoxo,
The Musician