The walls drip with the blood of the damned.  The dark liquid boils with all the hate of hell. Burning everything it touches. I try to scamper away from it but I cannot move. I can feel it crawling closer. Feel her reaching for me. Her clawed hand stretching for me, raking her talons down my legs. Shredding my flesh from my bone. The pain is insufferable, and I try to fight her off but every time I swing my arm to hit her away, there is nothing there. But I know she’s there. I can feel her. She is as real as the terror in my heart and the adrenaline in my veins. The heat is unbearable. From somewhere unseen a fire rages, ruled by the pain and loathing of humanity.  I curl up in a protective ball, accepting defeat. The blood reaches the wounds on my feet and I throw my head back in a blood curdling scream as all the agony of the world enters my limp frame. I wake in my scream, my body convulses and I vomit on my floor.

I fell asleep again. How could I let this happen? I wrap my arms around my knees and wait for the shivers to subside before I do anything, my skin is still alight with heat, and I open the window to cool down, and to air out my room. The mop and bucket had recently been moved to my closet, so I could use them to clean the remnants of my regurgitated dinner from the floor. The smell clings to my nostrils, but I have gotten used to it. I rinse the bucket and mop it out in my bathroom and put it back in my closet. My clock reads 4:47, I still have two hours until everyone gets up. I can’t get into bed and risk falling back asleep. Retreating into my bathroom, I turn on the bath tap and wash out my mouth out in the sink. The reflection in the mirror is not one that I recognise, it’s sunken, the eyes held dark rings around them, the normally tan skin is pale and slick with sweat. The usually full lips are shrivelled from dehydration. The wild dark hair was dull and matted. The vomiting and lack of sleep has taken its toll. I turned the tap off and step in. The cold water feels good on my skin, helping to calm me. I relax my body, sinking into the water, and put my head back. After a while I stretch out my limbs, trying to shake out the lack of sleep. They groan in response, but eventually submit to my commands. I have to clean the death-like smell off me, I grab my scrubbing brush and soap, starting at my feet, and working my way up to my shoulders. The scratchy sensation is comforting to me now – It’s refreshing. The soap smells like lemongrass and tea tree which clears my nose and my mind. With the stench of vomit and sweat off me, I feel much better like I had scrubbed the dream from my skin . My hair is difficult, as it always is. I douse it in shampoo until it smelled like jasmine, then wrench a comb through it with an expensive amount of conditioner.

I don’t want to get out of the bath, I don’t want to face school, I don’t want to face my parents. They always knew when I had the dream. Of course we went to the doctors about it. After the first week we noticed something was wrong, and they prescribed all kinds of sleeping pills. But they didn’t work, they just trapped me I the dream. After a while they just said it was some kind of PTSD like condition, and sent me to a shrink. It rapidly became clear  she didn’t know what was wrong with me either. Eventually we just gave up. Now I suffer from it through every day. I’ve gotten lucky before, and managed to not fall asleep during the night. But every time I sleep, I have the dream.

Stepping out of the bath, I ruffle my hair with my towel, then wrap it around me. Time to make myself look normal. I drop my towel and pad over to my make up table. I often get a lot of stick for all the makeup I wear. But to me it was a art, it was beautiful. I have been wearing makeup since I was 11 years old. Of course, I sucked at it then, and I cringe at old photos of me, with messy hot pink lipstick, and wild glittery eyeshadow. I had perfected my skills since then, but now I used it as a way of covering my exhausted face. I sit down at the small bench in front of my make up desk and vanity mirror and comb my thick eyebrows into place, holding them there with gel. I have to mix two foundations to match my face properly, or what shade my face used to be. I had gotten pretty pale these days. I prime, conceal, cream, powder, contour, shade, line, and fill. Pausing, I sit back and took in my reflection. I had always considered myself at least somewhat pretty. Especially when my winged liner looked this good. Despite myself I couldn’t help but smile.

My clock read 6:37. I get up and stretch towards my ceiling, taking a moment to survey my room. It was quite clean for a teenager’s, there’s nothing on the floor. A single bed with sky blue sheets, a clothes basket near the door that was empty right now, a shelf full of mystery and fantasy books, a small couch covered with little throw pillows, a makeup table, and desk with a lamp, wooden floor, white walls covered with my various abstract drawings sloppily tapped to the wall. Swaying from side to side, I make my way over to my walk In wardrobe. It contains mostly jeans and t-shirts; I was never really a fashionista, never very interested in clothes. The jeans I choose are blue with small rips. While I jump around and struggle into them I remember what my mum always said about me being lucky to take after her, with my thick Latina thighs and round ass. But at times like this I wasn’t so sure. I pull on my shirt, and my converses. 7:20, my mum will be cooking breakfast right about now. The wood under my feet creaks slightly as I scuffle along the hall and down the stairs. My mum was bent over the oven, starting a pot of something.

“Buenos Dias Mama” It came out more deflated than I wanted, and I knew right away that I had given myself up. She looks up from her stove.

“Hai, mi hija, did you sleep at all?” Her voice is sorrowful, but not surprised. Everyone knows I wasn’t sleeping. It isn’t a big secret.

“A bit” I mutter weakly. Even trying for a smile to try and ease her worrying. But it’s weak and unconvincing. It makes me worry for her, this has taken as much a toll on my family as it has on me. I was saved from my mum’s heartrending gaze by my little sibling. They ran up and wrap their arms around my leg and bury their face in my shirt.

“Hola Hermano” I sigh, ruffling their long brown hair, which strongly resembled mine and mum’s.

“Hai, porfavor. Tie up your hair before it gets knotty” Mum scolds, not wanting the challenge of taming their mane again. They run off giggling, and come back with a scrunchy. My dad waltzes into the kitchen leisurely, dressed for work, in his pyjamas. He’s a mystery novel writer, and works from home. Mum scolds him for being late for breakfast.

“lo siento mi amor” He purrs, wrapping his arms around her waist and pulling her in for a kiss. I don’t have the energy I once had to remark on the grossly romantic display. So I let them be, and allow myself to collapse on a stool at the breakfast bench. Mum had laid out breakfast there, and I dig in to my plate, hungry after ejecting last night’s dinner onto my floor this morning. Dad and his English stomach couldn’t handle mum’s Latina cooking, so we usually had pancakes for breakfast.

I take my time getting to school, because I had P.E. first, and I was not in the mood to run laps. Which sucks, I used to be quite good at basketball. But sleep deprivation and sport don’t mix. I get into my cheap little car and drive around the back of the school to avoid prying eyes.  My school is quite small, and we only have one court for P.E., so I knew where to find anyone. I don’t bother changing into more athletic clothing, instead I just sit down by the edge of the court and get out my sketch pad. Coach knows about my situation, so he doesn’t bother me – while he is usually hot headed, he is compassionate as well. My blank page stares at me. I hold my favourite pencil in my hand. I have always drawn not what I see, and how it feels to me. I would draw the black and white swans at the park as daemons and angels, and the water as a parallel universe, and the trees as tired old souls. I would look at the scene before me and let my imagination run into it, filling the cracks. I take the simple frames of  the individual people in my class. Izzy, Christian girl, very pretty and polite. I draw her as an angel. Ethan, quiet boy, loves anime. I draw him as a shadow. Coach, loud man, large personality. I draw him as a volcano. I draw their gladiator arena, and battle amor. A simple game of capture the flag becomes so much more. The bell rings, and I crumple the paper up, and throw it in the bin on my way to history. My teacher is ramping on in her South African accent about trade in the Ming Dynasty. It’s not that I didn’t like history, it’s just that it was boring, and it was hard to focus while getting no sleep. I’m just kind of staring out the window when the principal’s secretary comes in and hands the teacher a  piece of paper. She takes in from his had, and pauses for a second to read it. Then glances out the door, past were any of us can see.

“We have a new student joining our class. Her name is Kristy” Her voice is warm and excited. It’s a sharp contrast to the utter despair that had come to blanket my life, and I find myself repulsed. However, what walks through that door is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. Her skin is deep shining ebony, her hair a simmering black halo around her head, her eyes deep endless pools of gleaming brown, her eyebrows and eyelashes thick, and well groomed, her full protruding lips a deep shade of red, her cheekbones high, sharp and slanted, giving her a sophisticated look. She’s tall, thin, willowy. She’s wearing a pale yellow, flowy, knee length summer dress, dotted with bright pink flowers, with a light white vest. She resembles a spring nymph. The fabric swishing around her knees is mesmerising. She truly was an angel. She walks in on powder pink ballet flats and turns on her heel to face us. I’m sure my mouth is hanging open, as she pulls back her face in the most amazing smile, her teeth sparkling with the purest white, and her cheeks dimpled.  Her celestial gaze sweeps over the class, then comes to rest on me. Our eyes lock and I feel Thor set my spine on fire as an army of enraged butterflies attack my stomach. Her smile settles into a slight smirk. She nods at the teacher, and glides down the aisles of desks, her arms swaying by her sides. She comes to rest at the desk next to mine and adroitly sits in the chair, we never take our eyes off each other. I am fully aware that I’m staring, and probably drooling, but I can’t help it. I have always like girls, but I have never seen a girl quite like her.

Minority Report

During the scene in which the ‘spiders’ are searching the apartment building, the first thing we notice is the casual manner in which the pre crime unit goes about distributing the spiders into the building. One of them even saying remarking that he would like to get this done quickly so that he can eat. This leads to them putting more spiders into the building so that they don’t have to search them by hand, in their mind saving time. This shows the casual nature of their investigations, and how simple and meaningless they consider it to invade people’s lives with their robotic scanners. And how integrated technology is into their society that there is an easy, and readily available technological substitute for door to door searches. The police officers throw the spiders towards the stairs of the building, where they sprout tentacles to move up the stairs and into the building. The second thing we notice is the noises the spiders make when moving. The first sound is the tinticles hitting the ground as the spiders move up the stairs, this is a metallic sound reinforces their robotic nature, but also adds a creepy vibe to them as it reflects humanities fear of insects, as the sound resembles that of a small insect. There is also a suspenseful music that follows the spiders around, this gives the spiders a larger presence then their carbon bodies appear to have., showing the real impact they have on their environment despite their size. The suspense also implies a sense of danger that comes with the spiders. During the scene, we see a birds eye view shot of the spiders in the rafts looking down on the inhabitants. This shows the power of the spiders, and the control they have over people. As well a belittling the people in the apartments. During this moment, we see many different people engaged in different activities. The first one we see is a seemingly single mother with too young girls. The first thing this does is set up the idea of the type of people that live in this apartment, those who don’t have as much money, showing the exploitation of the poor. It also shows that although these spiders appear to be the norm, that does not mean they are not still invasive and scary. This is shown when the woman has to console her daughters, who are scared of the spiders. The next room we see is of a couple being intimate, as the spiders scan their eyes. Again, this shows the invasive nature of the spiders, as they do not register the scene, and instead simply follow their programing. This reinforces their robotic nature of the spiders, as well as the power the pre crime unit has, as the inhabitants have no private space that is not invaded by the law enforcements when they deem it necessary. In the next room there is a couple having an intense argument, and they suddenly and casually pause their argument while they are scanned. And they start arguing again as soon as the scanning is complete. Showing that this invasion has become a part of their everyday lives, and they simply accept it. Also suggesting that this type of search has happened many times before. When we see the spider, we always see many spiders moving at once, some in different positions, often working together to scan the eyes of the people in the building. Which implies intelligence. The multiple spiders we often see resembles an infestation, which shows the control the government has on the building, and also the creepy and animalistic nature of the spiders. When the spiders come to John’s door, they cannot get in, so they go under the floor vents, this shows their ability to problem solve, as well as that nothing can stop them in their objective. Each of these mechanisms are equipped with a small spot light, this implies a sense of intelligence, as the spiders seem to be aware of what is around them. While John is hiding in the ice bath to avoid the erase his heat signature, while he is doing this a small bubble scapes his nose and pops on top of the bath. The noise the bubble makes is magnified to increase its presence and significance. This is also to show what the spiders hear, as such a small bubble would not be audible to the human ears. Which also shows how advanced the spiders are. When the spiders return to the bath, they shock the water to get him to come out. Which shows that these spiders can be dangerous, as they are equipped with weapons, it also comes into question when they would use these, and raises questions about police brutality. When John’s heat signature is detected by the pre crime unit, as he is forced out of his ice bath by the spiders, two pre crime officers come up the building to the room he was detected in. Going past the single mother and her kids, the distressed mother is shouting at the officers that they were scaring her kids. He dismisses her, even saying “If you don’t want your kids to be terrified, keep them away from me.” This shows his complete lack of empathy for the people in this apartment, and how highly he values himself, and how important he thinks his job is that he thinks it’s perfectly ok to invade people’s lives with no regard for their wellbeing. When the spiders attempt to read John’s eye, his breathing and hands are shaking, and he is taking a long time to lift his bandage, exposing the dried blood around his eyes. This is all meant to display the discomfort and pain that John is in. As well as the fear he feels that he will damage his eyesight if he opens his eyes now, to reinforce this we see an image of a clock counting down to when John was supposed to take off his bandage, showing that time was not yet up, and there was a serious risk to his eyesight. We move from an extreme close up shot of his sore looking eyes to a point of view shot as his eyes are scanned, and we gain an appreciation for how painful it must be to have such harsh lights shone into your eyes. Once he is scanned, and it is revealed not to be him. The officers immediately cease their investigation into the building, showing not only their total faith in the technology and their methods, but again, the casual nature in which they conduct these investigations. As one officer remarks upon the the imminent possibility of a lunch break now that they have searched the building.

Essay ideas page

The Handmaid’s Tale is a novel written by Margaret Atwood in 1985. The book tells the story of a middle aged woman who is trapped in a dystopian tufter, in which she is a handmaid, which means it is her job to carry and bare children for the Commanders, who’s wives are barren. This book was written as a warning to readers about the pattern of human nature. She was careful in telling her story, making sure to keep to facts, not writing anything that had not yet happened. This is to add authenticity to her work, to insure that it was entirely possible that this story could be our future. Atwood uses many techniques to execute her ideas in a way that brings her world and her character to life. I am going to write a critical review of this novel, focusing on the suppression of minority groups, the narration of the story, and the meaning behind the writing.

There is power in the written word. To create it and consume it grounds us, it binds us the the Earth, and to others. To not have access to is cuts us off from others’ thoughts. There is also power that comes from gaining knowledge through reading. The ability to attain new information is a large part of how we grow and evolve as humans. The be cut off from that is to be cut off from our evolution, to be stuck in the same place. Unable to progress forward. This is a powerful tool of manipulation for those who do not want certain minorities to progress in society. Furthermore, those with the power to control written word can alter the facts, without being questioned my those who do not have access to it. In The Handmaid’s Tale, the Handmaids are forbidden from reading and writing, this is an effective tool of oppression, as when the handmaids are told they are doing the lords work, they are unable to confirm this, as they are forbidden from reading the Bible. they have to take their oppressors word for it.This puts the oppressors in a prime position to manipulate the words of the lord to control the handmaids.

The Handmaid’s Tale was made as a warning to it’s readers about a seemingly impending future. Margaret Atwood never wrote about anything that had not happened before, from women sterile due to pollution, to not being able to walk alone out of the house. I would like to invite a quote from V for Vendetta to help summarising this idea. “I felt like I could see everything that happened, and everything that is going to happen. It was like a perfect pattern, laid out in front of me. And I realised we’re all part of it, and all trapped by it.” The idea is that, if it happened once, it can surely happen again. like the world is caught in a circle, forever going up and down, chasing it’s tale around and around. Actions have consequences, as well as being complicit has consequences. Every action is part of a pattern that leads to one inevitable conclusion. Margret simply condensed those ideas into one story. A future that is very possible for us if we remain on our current course. Already in the world we are seeing people with there rights taken away from them, specifically women, which was the group oppressed in the Novel. As well as hate crimes against minority groups such as gay people.

The handmaids are given the names of their Commanders, Ofglen = Of Glen, Offred = Of Fred.This is a way to show who the maids belong to, as well as a way to passively suppress their identity. This is only one of the many tools used to slowly strip he handmaids of a sense of self. Some methods are uniform, plain rooms, and uniforms. Making them equal, and indifferent to each other. It is easier for the suppressors, as not only can they then treat all Handmaids the same, but that Handmaids are compliant, giving up their individuality. Also, teaching the girls to walk with their head’s down, teaches submissiveness, and inferiority, as well as forbid them from looking directly at anyone, or anything, encouraging them not to care about their appearance, further distressing they’re sense of self.

the novel is written in first person to help us realise the day to day life of the handmaid, we get to almost see her world through her eyes. Experiencing her inner monologue as well, which provides a contrast of what she actually thinks, which shows the behaviours and opinions she has been taught to suppress. And how she has learned to live inside her mind as a means to survive. Sharing her true thoughts with only herself. this also shows how incredibly isolated she is from the outside world, as her true self exists only inside her mind. We also get flash backs from her past, allowing us to slowly build an opinion on who she is/was as a person, and how the world operated before the era of the handmaids. We see that she had life, with friends, a husband, and daughter, people she cares about, and lost. It shows us how hard the transition was for her, as she lost everyone close to her, and she had to live and study with people who are part of the system responsible for the death of her loved ones.

The Handmaid’s Tale is a novel written by Margaret Atwood in 1985. The book tells the story of a middle aged woman who is trapped in a dystopian tufter, in which she is a handmaid, which means it is her job to carry and bare children for the Commanders, who’s wives are barren. This book was written as a warning to readers about the pattern of human nature. She was careful in telling her story, making sure to keep to facts, not writing anything that had not yet happened. This is to add authenticity to her work, to insure that it was entirely possible that this story could be our future, a subject I touched on. Atwood uses many techniques to execute her ideas in a way that brings her world and her character to life. I am have to written a critical review of this novel, focusing on the suppression of minority groups, especially the means in which they were suppressed, the narration of the story, and how that helps us to understand her character, and the story, and the meaning behind the writing, and what it could mean for your future.

The Ice Child

The Ice Child is a psychological thriller novel by No.1 international bestseller and Swedish crime sensation Camilla Läckberg. The story follows a series of disappearances in and around a small town in Sweden called Fjällbacka. At the start of the book a young semi naked girl wanders aimlessly through the forest in midwinter. As she nears a road, a car comes around the bend and does not manage to stop in time. The girl is killed. However the disturbing part comes after the biopsy shows that her eyes, and ears were permanently damaged with acid, and her tongue was cut out. The police are pressured to find the other missing girls, anxious that they might have suffered the same fate.

One of the main aspects of this novel is that every chapter follows a different character, and tells of their experiences with the events that unfold. This can be startling at first, because it does not say anywhere in the book that this occurs, of which character this chapter is in the perspective of. As the book progresses you learn to tell what character you are with through their thoughts, and who they associate with. But at the start it can be a little hard to follow. The overall effect, though, is quite stunning, especially when it comes to understanding the motives of the antagonists.

Possibly the most clever aspect of this novel, is that originally, it primarily follows a detective working on the missing girls cases, and his wife, who is an author of true crime stories. She is working on a new novel, and is visiting the woman -who confessed, and was prosecuted of the murder of her husband- in jail. At the first the two crimes appear unrelated, but as the story unfolds, a major link between the two crimes appears, a small box of newspaper cutouts of the disappearances the convicted woman keeps under her bed. A box she never mentions and believes no one know about.

A very interesting concept in this novel that I found is that one of the antagonists is a psychopath. It does not however, portray this mental illness stereotypically, with the antagonist being ‘crazy’ in a sense, and not as a functioning member of society. In actuality psychopaths appear just as any other person, a psychopath is actually defined by a set of certain traits, including, but not not limited to, a lack of empathy, shallow emotions, irresponsibility, selfishness, pathological lying, narrowing of attention, and overconfidence. The antagonist in question appears as a ‘normal’ person apart from a few subtle clues that you would miss, or would simply confuse you if you did not know the criteria for a psychopath. The most noticeable of these is when she and her daughter are chained up in a basement, her daughter is beside herself with panic, and desperation at her disabled state. Her mother however, remains calm, and simply tells her daughter to stop yelling and be patient. She makes no move to comfort the girl, and even recoils when the daughter reaches out for her mother. When the girl’s father comes for them, she begins crying with relief, and her mother thinks: “Why is she crying, we’re being saved. This is what she wanted.” This is classic psychopathic behavior; showing a lack of empathy for the emotions of even your own daughter.

In conclusion, this psychological thriller, The Ice Child, by No.1 international bestseller and Swedish crime sensation Camilla Läckberg is a complex story. It is not for the faint of heart as it deals with themes that may disturb some people. However, for those who appreciate decisive writing, and/or love a convoluted mystery, it is a great read and impossible to put down. I would definitely recommend it, especially to people who enjoy the thriller/horror genre.

Yuri on Ice

Yuri on Ice is a sports anime television series centered around a top male figure skater named Yuri Katsuki, and his relationship with his coach Victor Nikiforov, as he attempts to win gold at the World Grand Prix. It shows of Yuri’s struggle with confidence, and anxiety as he attempts to win a competition he was previously unable to qualify for. As well as the mentality of Victor, who is coaching his first season. He took to season off to coach Yuri after being inspired by watching Yuri skate. This television program was created with the idea of focusing on and exposing the relationship between a skater and his coach.

This program has some very authentic source material. The writers interviewed competitive figure skaters and asked them what they would want a coach to do. To which they replied that they would prefer a coach that pushed the limits and demanded unreasonable thing to one that was more relaxed and compassionate. And so we got Victor’s style and personality of harsh criticism, and high expectations. The skating was choreographed by Kenji Miyamoto (a Japanese retired ice dancer who currently works as a coach and a choreographer) and he performed the routines himself, which were recorded and used as skating sound effects. In addition to this, many of the characters in the anime are based on real people, such as Guang Hong Ji (a seventeen-year-old Chinese figure skater making his senior debut this season), who is based on Boyang Jin(his senior debut during the 2015-2016 Grand Prix season and received a silver medal at the 2015 Cup of China) All of these aspects add authenticity to the T.V show, and it has received great reviews from figure skaters about the portrayal of the sport in the anime.

The main focus in this anime is the relationship between Yuri and his coach Victor. This relationship eventually evolves into something more as the two develop romantic feelings for each other. The anime has been praised for it’s depiction of same sex relationships, it is presented in a way that is not stereotypical or queerbaiting. This is a big deal, because there is a problem with homophobia in competitive figure skating. There have been many cases of male figure skaters only commenting on anything to do with homosexuality when they have secured themselves an Olympic berth, so that their views or sexuallity could not jeprodize their career. The show takes a different approach to this topic,placing the anime in a world where things are not recognised as gay and straight, it’s just love. Which is very beautiful and something the world sorely needs, when I look to the future i like to imagine a world with similar views.

The relationship between Yuri and Victor is very elusive, their feelings for each other being revealed in subtle ways. Their love for each other never being explicitly stated, but rather is an unspoken truth. In this way their relationship is quite like a fairytale. Without the need for discussion of where you stand in the relationship, or to justify your feelings to each other. The love between you is simply a given fact. It is a simplified and beautiful version of reality, that instills a sense of wonder and hope in you. It is not even known if they have romantic feelings for each other until late in the season when Victor and Yuri are shopping together, and Yuri decides to buy Victor a ring to thank him for helping Yuri with his skating. He purchases a gold wedding ring, and takes Victor by the hand, leads him outside and slides the ring onto Victor’s ring finger, and thanked him for everything he has done. Victor in turn surprises Yuri by sliding a matching gold ring onto Yuri’s ring finger. As this takes place church bells can be heard ringing in the distance. This is to symbolize an engagement, and the expression of their love for each other. It is done in a symbolic and beautiful way. Much like the love story in a fairytale.

In conclusion, this is a very different take on a well known sport, and an almost cliche love story. It is very accurate, with authentic content, and has received recognition for its representation of same sex relationships, and the affects of anxiety. I recommend it to people who enjoy, or participate in figure skating. Or simply those who are a fan of anime. Although it has serious themes, over all it is quite light hearted and funny, and I think everyone can find entertainment, in this television show.

The Maze Runner

The Maze Runner is a novel about a teenage boy named Thomas who finds himself in a strange environment with no recollection of his life. He is transported in an elevator shaft into what the residents call ‘The Glad’. It is a square piece of land much resembling a courtyard, roughly the size of 3 football fields, surrounded by concrete walls hundreds of meters tall. Beyond those walls are a massive maze, spanning unknown size, and being the only way out. The occupants are solely comprised of male teenagers, who like Thomas, have no memory of their life before The Glade. No one knows why they are there, who put them there, or how to get out.

I found this book particularly interesting because the characters are solely comprised of male teenagers, and representation of teenagers is something that a lot of writers struggle with, as teenagers have a different thoughts process to most adults. The result is often an unrealistic, and far fetched depiction of what teenagers are actually like. Often portraying us as more juvenile, or more mature than reality. The characters in the book are portrayed as often short tempered, and foul mouthed, with quite juvenile spirits. You get the sense of adolescent friendship among the people there. Behaving much like you would expect teenagers to behave in a normal school environment. However, they understand the value and necessity of hard work, and are capable of making difficult decisions. It is important to have accurate representation of teenagers in the same way it is important to have accurate representation of all races of people. Young people who grow up reading material that inaccurately represents teenagers, who grow up to think that’s what teenagers are and how they look/act. It can create unrealistic expectations for them, or give them the wrong idea about what it is like being a teenager.

A lot is left a mystery for the duration of the novel, both to the reader and the main character. Some things, such as the purpose or location in which they are being kept, remain a mystery to all of the characters. This creates a bridge of understanding between the characters and the reader, as neither know the true nature of the world they reside in. It also creates a void of mystery for the reader to fill with their own thoughts, and draw their own conclusions and theories about what is happening. The reader can make up their own story within the novel, making the intentions of the perpetrators as malicious as they like. Affecting the mood of the story, and allowing the reader to make the story their own.

In conclusion, this is a very rewarding read, great for those who are a fan of mysteries, or those who were a fan of the hunger games. For those who love reading it is a great novel for truly immersing yourself in the novel’s world, and making it your own. I would recommend it to a teen audience, especially if you are a fan of dystopian future-type novels. It has very relatable characters, and I truly loved reading this novel.

The Last Mile

The Last Mile is a mystery novel by David Baldacci. The novel follows Melvin Mars, who was once one of America’s most promising football stars on death row, falsely convicted of the murder of his parents. When he is about to be executed by lethal injection, a man who is also on death row for various crimes,confesses to the murders of Mars’s parents. Amos Decker, newly appointed special agent with the FBI hears of the new case surrounding Melvin Mars, and immediately takes an interest. Soon, Amos discovers that there are facts about the case which don’t add up, and as the investigation deepens, Decker and his team uncover layer upon layer of lies and deception which are rooted at a time in American history which most would rather forget, but some seem keen to remember.

The writing techniques in this book are very interesting, because the writer uses short sentences, and small hints to leave the reader in cliff hanger suspense.Short sentences can be very powerful, because they are often very blunt, and get the point across quite well while still providing a sequence of mystery because they often need elaboration, which prompts the reader to read on. The writer also uses these short sentences to create classic cliffhanger endings to chapters. Often with a small piece of information revealed, or an idea the character expresses possession of, but not the context of their thought. These techniques make this novel a great read, and impossible to put down.

Mental illness plays a part in this novel, as one of the main protagonists (Melvin Mars) is held in solitary confinement before his execution. He speaks of the human need of social interaction, and how one of the key elements in mental health is interaction with other humans. During his time in solitary confinement Mars talks about how he could feel the solidarity taking a toll of his mental health, so he clung to memories of an ex girlfriend to keep him same. He filled the space with mental images of her, so much so that when the guards came to take him to his execution he saw an image of her in their place when they opened the door.

Another instance when the mental state of a character played an interesting part in the story is when three of the main protagonists in the novel are meeting in a private airplane. The most unruly character points out a lack of action of the other two towards their cause. Their cause being keeping America ‘pure’, fighting against integration, and rights for the gay community. They speak of things they have done in the past to actively oppose these movements, such as protests and bombings, acting almost like a terrorist group. This man cales the other two cowards, and accuses them of looking after their own interests. The two men respond saying that they would like to continue fighting for their cause but times are changing, and these movements are becoming more and more accepted, and to keep face in public, and be accepted by the social system, they have to ack as though they accepted them as well. This is interesting for two reasons, the first is that it shows the human need to be accepted by society. The need for approval and acceptance has long been apart of the human psyche, and this need can even prompt one to go against their values and beliefs. The second reason is that it shows that humans have a strange need for perfection, and fear of change, so much though that they are willing to take lives and suppress other humans in order to maintain what they deem the norm.

In conclusion this is a very complex book that explores human emotion, and what the human mind can be subject to. It is a great read, although not for everyone. Some may find it to dark or disturbing, but for those who enjoy complex/darker novels and/or mysteries I would highly recommend it. It is full of suspense and impossible to put down. Although it may not be for everyone I believe that young adult audiences will find this a very enjoyable and rewarding read.

Mister Pip Essay

The novel Mister Pip was written by Lloyd Jones in 2006. The story revolves around a young girl named Matilda living in Bougainville during the time of the rebel rise against the Papuan government, that owned and operated a copper mine on the island. It follows this girl as she loses the world she knows, caught up in many conflicts, and how she escapes into the book Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. What I find most intriguing about this book is this novel plays with the idea of ‘good’ and ‘evil’ blurring the lines past the point where we can expect the traditional ‘good vs evil’ story to unfold. How it portrays both sides of the war unfolding of the island. The native rebels are fighting to regain control of their land, and against the poor conditions of the mine, owned the the Papuan government. The story is portrayed in a way that does not make it clear which side is ‘right’ in a sense. While most stories make it clear which side is ‘right’ and which is ‘wrong’, giving the reader a clear path to follow when reading the novel, and telling them what they should think about certain characters and places in the novel. In this book the lines of these ideas are very blurred, making it unclear which side we want to win, and which side our heroin should trust.

The notion of good vs evil began in fairy tales, and it was in these that we hoped to instil morals in young and elder people alike, by showing them what is ‘good’ and what is ‘bad’ and what retribution each side receives. In the old tales, the hero and/or heroine win. Moreover, the evil characters receive retribution for their crimes. The lines between the good and evil characters were obvious, and followed certain criteria. Traditional stories show heroic princesses, valiant knights, and kind fairy godmothers fighting wicked witches, gruesome ogres, and evil sorcerers. While today’s stories for young adults, and adults alike do not involve such fantastical creatures, the basic idea of good versus evil has remained pretty much the same. Presenting us with a clear protagonist and antagonist, each being presented in an almost biased way, that leads us to rout for the protagonist. However, recent literature has challenged these standards, showing “human” heroes, replete with flaws, pitting themselves against antagonists who may be misunderstood simply because they look different. While overtly a parody, the ogres of Shrek suggest that traditionally wicked characters of folk literature have been largely misunderstood and persecuted. This theme has continued farther with anti-heros, a protagonist who lacks conventional heroic qualities such as idealism, courage, or morality. These characters are usually considered conspicuously contrary to an archetypal hero. These characteristics, I believe, resemble the character of Matilda. She makes some decisions through the book some would argue are not morally right, lending her to be more of an anti-hero.

The lines of good and evil are most noticeably blurred in the main war between the rebels and the Papuan military. The military is the first to visit the village, and when they arrive, the quite forcibly rounded up the inhabitants, and took down all their names. They seem suspicious of the village people, for possible aid of the rebels, which is a punishable offence. However, up until this point, the military have been cast in a mildly heroic light. Fending off the wild and violent rebels. They are also associated with the government, which bought pre packaged food, medicine, and electricity to their island before the blockade. However, they act very hostile towards the inhabitants when they do not comply with their demands. Burning their possessions. Although, this is all due to a misunderstanding, so the military might not be to blame, although they acted rashly, and without mercy. Casting them in more of an antagonist than a protagonist light. However, the the rebels arrive, Matilda alienates them, saying “they have become animals” living in the jungle for so long. They even show some hostility towards the villagers, especially Mr. Watts. Threatening to rape him. Many of the village people treat the rebels with caution, and seem unnerved by their presence. This, despite the fact that they are from the same island. Some even from their village. The sense of comradery they should feel towards these people is almost non existent. Leading us to believe that these people are not the protagonists either.

Throughout all the tragedy she experiences in the book, Matilda escapes into the book Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. Especially the main protagonist Pip. Within the stretches of her mind she connects to Pip, and makes friends with him. She often escapes into that friendship whenever something goes wrong in her life. However, there comes a part in the book Great Expectations when Pip moves to the city to become a Gentleman. During this time Pip actively cuts off contact and association with his sister’s husband, and his best friend. Matilda is confused as to why he does this, and worries that Pip might be changing. She confides in Mr. Watts, who tells her “It’s hard to be a perfect human Matilda” again showing a flawed protagonist, almost more of an anti-hero, much like Matilda. It is rare that we see a character escape into another, flawed character. Often times the main protagonist will be flawed, and escape into a perfect character, with strong morals, who encourages them to do the right thing. This is the first time that I have seen a character escape into a character, only to find that that character is also flawed, and struggle to find the reasoning behind their actions. In this way Matilda learns what is is to be human, and how to cope with her current situation, not as a perfect protagonist, but as a flawed anti-hero. Which almost makes it easier for Matilda to escape into Pip, because in some ways they are much the same.

One of the challenges Matilda faces is an internal struggle over the ethics behind her mother’s actions. Throughout the book her mother is in a cold war with Mr. Watts over the morals of educating their children. Matilda’s mother being a devout Christian, with a great respect for her ancestors and the a great belief in their ways of life and their knowledge of the land. She constantly struggles with her beliefs against the atheist Mr. Watts, who was raised in England and believes in the benefits of a high class education, and of reading fictional books. This angers Matilda’s mum, as she believes such belief in fictional characters is a waste of time, and distracting from what actually matters. She is driven by this anger to steal the book Great Expectations. An action which leads to a misunderstanding, and results in all of their possessions being burned. After this event Matilda finds the book her mother had hidden, and is then faced with a moral dilemma. She can come forward with the book, but then her mother will be shunned for her actions. On the other hand, if she says nothing, the Military has promised to come back, and this time they might not be so lenient. She also struggles with understanding the reasoning behind her mother’s decisions, and why she did not come forward before. Unsure whether or not to condemn her mother for her actions, or to sympathise with her.

In conclusion, Mister Pip, by Lloyd Jones, is a modern adaptation on the traditional protagonist vs antagonist ideals. It follows a young girl named Matilda,who lives in bougainville and how she escapes into the character Pip, in the book Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. She uses her connection with this character to overcome challenges she faces in her life as her island rebels against the Papuan inhabitants that own and run the mine there. Matilda escapes into this character through conflicts in here her life that have no clear right or wrong side, and a less than satisfactory resolution, which closer resembles conflicts we encounter in real life, and really questions our beliefs and our morals, and how we apply them to a situation, and what other factors can influence our opinion, and the outcome of a conflict.


Many people know that at the age of 10, I moved from Papua, Indonesia, which had been my home of 4 years, to Barranquilla, Colombia. My family made this move because our home in Tembagapura had become unsafe. The natives were rebelling against the indonesian settlers that owned the mine our town was built around. They had begun shooting at busses that were leaving the mountain, and one of our family friends had been killed. I was optimistic for this move, for I had always loved change, and travel had always been a part of my life. Flying over was fun because at the time we could afford to fly business class, and flew on a very glamorous airline. The company my dad worked for was very upper class, so they insisted upon a private school by the name of Parrish. At first things were going pretty good, girls there wanted to spend time with me. And I made one or two friends. There was an obvious cultural difference, and I had never been ‘girly’ as the other girls were. And I was introverted, happy to spend my time alone, the Colombian culture was very social. However, despite these differences, I got on pretty well with these girls. I’m not really sure what happened. I credit it back to one moment, when i asked my closest friend at the time to come over to my house. She declined. It was pretty much a downward spiral after that. It suddenly became weird to know me. It was a very cliquey school you see, social status was very important. And I had somehow been blacklisted. I was deemed different, and weird, and that was wrong. Students visibly dispersed when I came near, and were visibly uncomfortable when I tried to talk to them. Looking around as though someone might see them talking to me and shun them for it.

I was bullied in a way that damaged me to this day. Though they did not mock me to my face, or physically harm me. They did something perhaps even more damaging. They alienated me. Although being avoided sounds like every introvert’s dream, It does something to you when everyone in our school actively avoids you. It puts a wall between you and them, and you start to notice all the differences between you and them. It is very lonely to be the only one on one side of a wall. But once you notice the wall, you can’t ignore it, you start to define yourself by it. I felt so different from everyone else around me, so strange and out of place. They used to stand around me and ask me questions. Stupid repetitive questions about what I thought I was doing, and about my appearance. They treated me like a living exhibit, something to gawk at. And that’s exactly how I felt, like a living doll for their entertainment. Something less than human. To this day I am still getting used to the idea that the people around me don’t see me as different to them.That they aren’t afraid to associate with me, that they don’t find it strange and uncomfortable when I try to talk to them.

It was this feeling that led way to my depression. There is no other way to put in. I was failing everything in school. I didn’t want to do anything. I never felt happy, and I never felt like anything mattered. Well, nothing but my reading. And that was my escape. I couldn’t feel the pain of being alone when I had my nose buried in a book. Because then I wasn’t alone. If it was up to me I would have read all day. I read instead of sleeping, I read instead of doing my homework, I read instead of paying attention in class, I read during lunch and break. Which is a big part of why I was failing at school. My teacher once lent me a book to read. It was around 250 pages or so. I had finished it by the next day. She was amazing, but, she didn’t realise that I didn’t want to put the book down, because once I did, I had to face reality. And all the thoughts that went with it. Those thoughts scared me so much. The scariest thing about them was that they didn’t scare me. I rationalised it in my mind, glorified it. I spent so much time on the roof of our house, looking over the edge, wondering what it would be like to jump. Wondering what the point of me going on was. If it would hurt when I hit the ground. In the end the only reason I didn’t jump is because the only thing stronger than fear is hope. And I hoped. Hoped that things would get better, that I would move, that my life would play out like a story in one of my books. And I clung to that. In the end I think that’s the only reason I am here today. Because as stupid as it sounds, I still believed in happily ever after. And when everything seemed hopeless, I thought, if I just make it through today, I’ll be ok. And when one day became too much, I just thought, I’ll just make it through this hour, and when one hour became too much, I thought, I’ll just make it through this minute.

During this time my parents were in a bad place. My dad flew out on monday, to work, and flew back on friday. And when he was home, they were constantly fighting. And I guess that is one of the reasons that my mum didn’t notice what I was going through. Which, I can’t tell you how alone that made me feel. She just thought that I wasn’t making an effort to make friends. And so she was constantly trying to get me to talk to these girls. Which was hard for me cause I really did not want to talk to, anyone really. But she just saw it as me being antisocial and rude. She used to scrutinise me for not making an effort to talk to them. Which hurt, because it was just another reminder that she didn’t understand. And to me, it felt like she didn’t care.

What you have to understand is that the number one symptom of depression is anger. And my biggest regret is I took a lot of that anger out on my little sister, Tia. And at the time, it seemed rational to me, I just thought she pissed my off. And I wasn’t until I tried to explain to someone else why I was angry, did my reasoning sound ridiculous to me. Then I had to ask myself, why was I so angry? Because I really didn’t know. And I wish, with all my heart. That I understood how I was feeling, so I didn’t take it out on her. And I wish I could explain to her, that that wasn’t me, and that I love her, and I never meant to hurt her. But even If i could explain it to her, and even if she could understand it. She wouldn’t remember anyway. That’s probably the worst part, because I can’t apologise for something she doesn’t remember, and I can’t forget what I did to her.

I have written a few poems about how it felt to be trapped like that, I will always use metaphors to describe how it was for me, because I don’t know how else to describe it. It’s surreal, the feeling of your life not mattering to you. And I guess that helped me, but no one payed much attention to what I was writing. I presented such a poem to one of my favorite teachers, and he read every word. I talked about how I didn’t feel anything, and nothing seemed to affect me, and how alone I felt. And all he said was. Good metaphor. Which was easier, because if they understood, they would have asked about it. And I really didn’t want to talk about it. It’s strange how when you are depressed, you feel the need to make excuses for your actions. Trying to hide your depression my blaming external factors. I will always remember when, after I presented my first poem like this to my class, a girl in my class asked me what I was about. And I said “It’s about my life. Mostly outside of school” And as soon as I said it, I wondered why I felt the need to hide how bad I felt in school. This was one of the girls that had shunned me, and I was almost defending her. Why did I have to reassure her that I was happy in school. When I so obviously wasn’t. LIke I needed to prove to the world that I was fine. If I had the chance to go back to my school now, I would love to tell those girls how they made me feel. So, why at the time, did I feel the need to hide my pain? I might never know the answer.

Another vivid memory i have is of the day my mum saw my report card. We were walking out of school, and she had just received it from the front desk. She was yelling and ranting at me because I was failing maths. She was trying to make me understand the gravity and consequences of my actions. Telling me my punishment for abysmal grades, and telling/asking me what I was going to do to fix it. But I could barely hear her. I had no interest in what she was saying. Her words washed over me like water over a rock. It just did not matter to me. My responses were a series of grunts that made it seem like I was somewhat involved in this one sided conversation. But nothing could have been farther from the truth. I’m pretty sure I was in the middle of a book at the time, and that’s all I cared about.

That’s my story. And I hate when people glorify depression and suicide. There is nothing beautiful about it. The love stories about a kind man with a heart of gold that ‘heals’ the scars of depression from his lover’s mind with nothing but love and kisses sicken me. The is nothing romantic about trying to reach out to someone who is pushing you away because, they don’t know any better. Someone who hasn’t so much as showred for you In days. And no amount of kisses will make the pain go away. Flowers do not grow out of scars. And all though the things I wrote were beautiful, they are about something very ugly. So please, when you think of depression, stop picturing a beautiful young girl sitting alone in the corner with mascara running down her face. Because that’s not what it looks like, it is dark, and scary, and lonely. And people living with depression need real help. Not just to be told that they are overreacting, or they just need to cheer up, and, make an effort, and that if they just stopped only looking at the negatives in life, than their mood would improve, and they would feel better. Because, to someone living with depression, it doesn’t feel like that, and it doesn’t feel like it will ever get better.

Don’t Tell Me It’s a Phase

My brain unsettled. A cloud of confusion pressurises my skull, threatening to blow my head off. Spikes of doubt stab at my psyche. Scatting my brain, bleeding horror onto my soul. Taboo thoughts dance across my conscience leaving scars of culpability, things forbidden to this intransigent society. My skin feels all at once, too tight, too loose, and too rough. Uncomfort ignites my marrow, propelling me to get as far away as I can but you cannot get away from the force of your compunction. Such ideals that are enforced by society. But Society lies, it had gnarled the truth, deformed it to the point of unrecognizability because they despise what they do not understand. They fill my world with anxiety because they cannot perceive life outside their exiguous existence. Because my precarious reality is too much for their feeble mentality to comprehend.

When I see her my skin ignites with itchy fire. Flaming red blooms across my surface. My stomach squirms uncomfortably in my midriff. The lungs in my quivering ribcage momentarily forget what and where they are. The ground beneath my feet waivers, allowing them to lose their footing, if not for the chair beneath me I would surely fall. Bowing in shame, my head suddenly feels heavy. As she saunters past me, her hips sway to the beat of a rhythm only her heart can hear. Legs sweep beneath her, gliding over the land below her. Chin tilted to the sky, as though all else is inferior to her. Eyes never wavering from a goal unbeknown to all but her, shockingly blue and as clear and pure as the heart of an angel. The skin so lovingly draped on her by the hands of the lord, had not a blemish, and looked silky to touch.

The mind that yearns to feel her touch has been caged by the bigoted tyrants of society. Such ignorant authoritarians as to suppress the self of a young girl. Told that she is wrong, and does not feel what she feels, invalidating her mind to naught but dust in the wind. They have attempted to brainwash her to accept that she is not yet a full person, but rather a puppet controlled by her juvenile impulses. That such things are fleeting, and unimportant. But the foundation is being laid for who she will become, she is crafting the legs she will stand on for life. Consequently, if you tell her that the legs she is beginning to stand on do not exist, she will fall.