The Cove- Dolphin Slaughtering in Japan

            The Japanese government has been lying to their people about what really happens to the dolphins that inhabit their local waters. They falsely stated that everyone knew that the dolphins were being killed. The journalists, under the assumption that the Japanese believed it was a cultural tradition, set out to find the real story. To determine if it was actually a tradition or not, the journalists interviewed people on the street. By doing this, they discovered that many people did not have any prior knowledge of the dolphin killings, and were absolutely disgusted that it was happening. Also, it was in no way a cultural tradition. This was significant to the film because it proved that it was not the whole Japanese culture slaughtering dolphins, just the government. Japanese leaders have let their people believe that their dolphins have been happy and protected the whole time.

 

                Many people are starting to take a stand against the killing of dolphins in Japan. As knowledge of the killings has been moving more into the public eye, people have been trying harder to stop it. Activist groups, celebrities, and locals have banded together to help save the cetations’ lives.  In The Cove the group risked their freedom numerous times just to stand up for what they believed in. For example, they dangerously planted cameras all around the cove. Setting out late at night, they used diving equipment and military cameras to set up video cameras in the hills and under water so that they could catch footage of the dolphin killings. This event showed how committed the dolphin activists are to their cause. If everyone all over the world, not just activists, could stand up to the Japanese government and workers our dolphins would be much safer.

The Michelle I Know

                When Michelle learns she has cancer she is forced to make many decisions. For starters, she has to decide to think on the Brightside and be happy or not. Michelle chooses the latter and allows her cancer to sink her into depression. Another decision Michelle is forced to make is to trust Rob and believe that he loves her and will stick by her or not. Michelle’s trust in this is tested when Rob doesn’t show up to the hospital and goes to a dance with another girl the night before. Michelle finally ends up deciding to trust Rob because he makes her happy and helps her forget that she is sick.

                  First off, I would never want to be in the position that Michelle is in or have to make the decisions that she does. If I were in her shoes, I like to think that I would try to stay happy and upbeat. Also, I’d try and trust that my friends wouldn’t forget about me just because I was different. I would try not to let cancer ruin my life.

The Courage to Turn the Other Cheek

As a peacekeeper for the United Nations, Lt.-Col. Donald Ethell put his life on the line every single day. He was truly one of the bravest men in the whole UN. Ethell did things that many men would be too afraid to even attempt. For example, with the help of other UN officers, Ethell stood right between angry Syria and Israel armies-unarmed- and convinced each army to give back the others’ prisoners. That would have taken huge amounts of courage, especially because he was defenseless to the armies’ weapons. That wasn’t the only brave thing that Ethell did. In his 33 year long career he managed to separate many warring countries and even earn himself a Nobel Peace Prize. Donald Ethell is a great example of a true hero.   

Courage and Leadership

waitingforyou        If you look at almost any book you will find they all have one thing in common. Every book contains a theme like quest, adventure, courage, and leadership. These themes can be as complicated as someone going on an amazing adventure to try and avenge their dead parents or as simple as trying to get through the everyday struggle of surviving high school. The main character must always gain enough courage to get over their fears to better their lives in some way. I think that these themes are so popular because everyone wants a happy ending and for the main character to succeed. Courage and adventure themes definitely make for some very interesting plotlines.  

            The book I’m currently reading, Waiting for You, may not have great adventures or huge acts of courage and leadership, but it still follows these themes in some way. It’s about 16 year old Marissa and how she attempts to make the most of her sophomore year even though everyone thinks she’s weird because of her depression the previous year, she’s struggling with anxiety disorder, her mom is cheating on her dad and they’re splitting up, her new popular boyfriend is acting like a jerk, her and her best friend are drifting apart, and she’s kind of starting to have feelings for her best guy friend Nash, who she already previously rejected.  Marissa must find the courage to not let her anxiety disorder overtake her life again and stand up for what she believes in. By the end of the book Marissa has found this courage. She ends up breaking up with her boyfriend, getting together with Nash even though everyone thinks he’s a loser, and coming to terms with her parent’s separation. This book proves that everyone faces everyday challenges and adventures.

Science Fiction

ChrysalidsWhile reading a book or watching a science fiction movie you may notice some similar things between all of them. Science fiction is a genre that deals with events that could be scientifically possible and has a lot of technology in it. Science fiction is often written to warn readers against the dangers of taking technology for granted. It tells of how if the world starts to rely too much on a form of technology, then the technology will turn on mankind. An example of this would be in the movie I-Robot. The humans have gotten so lazy that they have built robots to help them with their everyday life. Everything works out fine until the robots start to turn on them and try to take over their world. I find it interesting that even though science fiction usually involves complex ideas and advanced technology, it warns us about the dangers of them.

            An example of a great science fiction novel would be The Chrysalids. This book fits the science fiction genre because it is all about how people got so far advanced and relied on technology so much that god supposedly got fed up because they were straying so far away from the true image he created that he wiped out all of mankind. What actually happened was an atomic bomb was dropped on the earth which made some people have different body defects. I found this book very interesting because the author had such a strong message. He was trying to tell people that there wasn’t one true image that everyone needs to follow.

Fantasy

Harry PotterAlthough fantasy is such a unique genre that all the books are special in their own way, they all usually share the same kinds of themes and general ideas. These themes could be such things as Good vs. Evil, or a hero’s self realization through a quest. Almost all fantasy books contain at least one of the following: magic, a hero and villain, and the supernatural. A popular setting for fantasy novels is medieval times. Because fantasy is such an out there genre authors can let their imaginations run wild and create whatever kind of unrealistic world they want. This allows readers to be teleported into a world where boring everyday things don’t exist.

            A fantasy series that I absolutely love is the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. These books are a worldwide phenomenon that everyone from kids to adults to the elderly will love. The Harry Potter books most definitely fit the fantasy genre. Almost everything in the books is made up such as wizards, dragons, giants, and three-headed dogs. In addition, Hogwarts School has a strong medieval feel to it considering that it is set in a castle. These books are also fitting in the fantasy genre because of their themes. Harry is always fighting against Lord Voldemort (Good vs. Evil), and for a long time is trying to find out who he is and whether he is the chosen one (a hero’s self realization through a quest). This series of books is extremely popular because J.K Rowling made it a story that everyone can enjoy. The books are all fairly simple to read and deal with magic which is good for children, but as Harry gets older he has to deal with some more complex issues such as romance and finding himself, which the adults tend to enjoy. These books are also popular because readers love to read about the out-there world Rowling has created, and imagine that that world could somehow exist in real life.

The Unexplained

GhostsFor many years people have been enchanted by the mystery of the unknown. This includes a wide variety of things like ghosts, crop circles, aliens, spontaneous combustion, etc. The Unknown interests many people because they are things that cannot be scientifically proven. You either have to believe in them or you don’t. These types of things are regularly used in movies and media because they make for very interesting stories. Because these things aren’t proven, writers and directors can let their imaginations run wild to make up whatever kind of story they want without it being called false.

In my opinion, the most unexplained phenomenon is ghosts. It is often debated about what happens after you die. Some believe you go to heaven, while others believe that your spirit stays on the earth in the form of a ghost. I don’t really know what to think about ghosts. Part of me wants to believe that they exist because all of the stories and movies I have watched have made it seem very plausible, while another part of me thinks that it is completely impossible for someone to stay on the earth after they have passed away. If ghosts are real, I think that they can be very reassuring or extremely dangerous. For people that have had a loved one pass on, they may feel comforted if they think their dead loved one is still with them in some way. On the other hand, there have been many stories where ghosts have terrorized people moving into the ghost’s former home. To me, it doesn’t really matter if ghosts are proven to exist or not. I like the fact that we don’t know the truth and can make up our opinion for ourselves.

Mystery and Suspense

detective-main_Full Mystery and suspense is a very interesting genre of writing. The author of these novels usually adds lots of action and twists in the plot so that the reader has a high sense of anticipation to read what is coming next. More often than not, these stories have a very big conflict or mystery to be solved. This is typically resolved by the end of the book.  Mystery and suspense novels often involve detective fiction or stories of ghosts and the unknown. Even though the stories in suspense novels are sometimes repetitive, they still draw the reader in time after time because the plot changes so much that you never know what’s going to happen next.

One short story that we read this year called The Death Trap certainly fits in with the mystery and suspense genre. This story was about The Great Armando- an escape artist who was even smarter than Houdini- and how his final trick almost brought him to his death. Many parts of this story were suspenseful. First because the character of Sheriff Massin had such hatred towards Armando that I just knew that something bad would be coming soon and was on the edge of my seat waiting for it. Another time where there was a lot of suspense was when Armando was in the water and didn’t come up when he was supposed to. I felt just as anxious for Armando as the people in the story did. An example of mystery in this story is when the mail bag is opened and Armando is not inside. No one has any idea where he went. They search for days and cannot find any trace of him. This story was a great example of mystery and suspense and I would highly recommend it to anyone who likes this type of genre.

Online Experiments

Life and Personality Assessment: http://www.courses.rochester.edu/surveys/niesta/survey1/tmttraitsubmit.htm

In the Life and Personality assessment you were asked questions regarding death, how it effects your thoughts, and what this has to say about your personality. During this survey you rated the questions between strongly agree and strongly disagree. I thought this survey was alright, but did not like how some of the questions seemed repetitive. They continuously asked if you thought about your own death, but used different wording each time.

Beliefs About Social Status:  http://www.psych.lse.ac.uk/cgi-bin/surveys/social_status_beliefs/load.cgi#top

In this experiment you were asked questions about high and low social status. You were also given examples of two women. One with low social status and the other with high social status. You then had to answer questions about each one such as if they had good jobs, nice cars, and lots of money. You were also asked personality questions like if they were greedy or incapable or happy. While doing  these questions you rated the questions between one and seven. One if you strongly agreed and seven if you strongly disagreed. This was a good method to use but there were so many questions that it got very boring after a while. Doing this survey I learned my perception on social status and how important it was to me.

Personality Soup:  http://www.psychology.soton.ac.uk/isurvey/finish.php

In this experiment you were asked an array of different questions about yourself.  This was done to learn about something called social desirability. The experimenters wanted to find out how sure of themselves people were and if they tend to put over-positive answers to questions.  This experiment was done in survey form. You were asked lots of different types of questions. On some you had to put if you agreed or disagreed, one you had to put if you thought a statement was true or false about yourself, and on another you had to check if the characteristics applied to yourself or not. This was a good method to use and I found this survey very interesting and not boring at all. While doing this survey I learned how sure of myself I was and how I responded to groups.