Reflection upon Use of Force by William Carlos William

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The story is simple. A doctor tries to perform his responsibility to open a little girl’s mouth and check if she’d got diphtheria, with the girl fiercely defending and the girl’s parents being more of a hindrance than a helper.

The story was used by the professor to illustrate how a plot function in a short story, so its interpretation awaited being done till I found the teacher and talked. Through the conversation, I found myself thinking too much about the doctor’s dark side–be a monstrous morbid adult who enjoys the seesaw battle with the “damn little brat”, enjoying the blind fury, wiping away the feeling of adult shame, bred of a longing for muscular release. I thought the doctor tends to stand on a high moral ground, criticizing the girl and her parents’ noncooperation, and win the game.

Later, I was conversed to the opposite.

As a doctor, his character is to perform his duty, to save people, instead of acting like a normal person who has no certain identity fight with a stray dog. The “damn little brat” is uttered only because the girl refused the doctor’s willingness to help, the doctor feel his kindness lost in the middle of the battle. The doctor actually holds full heart for the sick child, but hold passive opinion for her parents, who were hesitant all the time thus failed to performed the duty of parents. They should have determination and decisiveness to inspect the girl’s well-being way before they called the doctor, or they should at least help the doctor perform his duty, to be firm and help the doctor open the girl’s mouth. Instead, the parents became the impetus of two rival sides, making the child more nervous and frightening by constantly blaming the child for not listening to the doctor. Technically they’re the impetus which push the conflict to become bigger and eventually led to the climax. The climax is perceived as “anti-climax” as it writes mainly about the deadlock throughout the story and appear the climax near the end.

The final part is different from traditional short story, which often arranges a paragraph or two to describe the collapsing ending, but this short story goes away from traditions and seems to start another new conflict–the girl tries to fight back.

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Reflection upon “Living Like Weasels”

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In ENG 4081, the professor recommended us an essay named Living Like Weasels written by Annie Dillard, a very famous American writer who won the Pulitzer Prize. The essay is about the author’s experience of encountering with a weasel in the wood. Simple horizontal movement, very complex vertical movement.

Annie starts her essay by defining what a weasel is like, saying “a weasel is wild”, how come? Normally public conception upon this animal weasel would link with the image in which a cute flexible mouse-like animal jumping around, trying to find and befriend rabbits. But a weasel, a real one does not befriend other animal species, a weasel kills rabbits for living. A weasel can be really wild and persistent to chase after a rabbit and chase and chase until the rabbit exhausts itself, while other rabbits all standing still watching, and falls into its fate of being bit on the jugular and die trembling. A weasel is a killer, that’s what’s been shown in the video the professor has presented. Then Annie begins to ask the question, “Who knows what he thinks?”, as much like asking herself as asking the audience. Have human beings ever considered other creatures other than themselves what they think, about anything? Do we care? That is really a weird question. When we walk into a zoo and tries to feed the banana to the gorilla, would we think about what feeling does that funny-looking animal contain while they are eating the banana? Or we are just entertaining ourselves, fulfilling our own self-pride, satisfying our needs of making ourselves feel so generous, so benignant to other creatures? The thing is, it’s easy for us to observe what a weasel normal like is like, as it is described in Annie’s essay, but we’ll never know what a weasel thinks, we can only predict from what the weasel does what he thinks, or predict that a weasel doesn’t think at all, he just live in what he needs for survival. A weasel doesn’t think of anything, he is obedient to instinct, he does not make choices, simply because he does not have any choices. When he chases after a rabbit and tries to kill it, he doesn’t think of the reason why he choose to kill, but his instinct directs him to kill for living.

The first and the second paragraph writes respectively about how a weasel kills and how a weasel is killed. Like the way a weasel drapes his tail over his nose, a weasel’s instinct is indefinite, it can hold on when you kill and eat a rabbit, and it can live on when you try to challenge an eagle of his attack. A weasel doesn’t have that much choices as human kind, but they sure do have more freedom to stick to their instinct, and to follow their need. If human beings are like weasels, take the thing we desire, the job we want to occupy as the thing we must do, or we need to do, and to stick to it like a weasel, then we sure have no regret for what we fear but want to do.

Annie Dillard tries to convince the reader that she successfully sneak into a weasel’s mind and the weasel does the same. And she sneaks in and she finds the weasel’s mind empty. No regret or sorrow for the past, no plan or worry for the future, empty. But how can a human being think of the thinking of other creatures, we can’t even interpret what other people say most of the time. Here Annie tries to plays a trick and through which she tries to tell the readers that literally there is nothing in a weasel’s mind, why would we bound ourselves with so many choice, so many boundaries, when we tries to grab the things we like. Not only do we want something, but we want to want something, want the feeling of wanting, only knowing that we have desire for something would put us in comfort, feeling proud of our freedom to choose. As for how we should gain the things we want, we begin to hesitate, stuck in the dilemma deciding which path to go on, because there are so many things we want and unluckily they are not all on the same path. We just cannot be like weasels, not in want of something, but in badly need of it and making no thinking to gain that thing, out of necessity. The weasel seems to grab the freedom we claim to own.

How about we human being, like what Annie says, like the title suggests, live like weasels? Not literally in the way a weasel lives, but live holding the same attitude as the weasel’s. How about we treat things that we want or we want to want as things we are in badly need of? That we treat them like we cannot live without them? Once we are certain about one certain thing that we’re going to pursue after, we start off right away thinking time waits no man and nothing else. During the process, we stick to our want, never get our determination and our want eliminated, like a weasel chasing after a rabbit, we chase our dream like we’re chasing our living; like a weasel tries to make the reversal when attacked by an eagle, we swiveled around to avoid being the prey and make the positive attack towards our rivals, and bit in its jugular vein, nailing the target in an instant; like a weasel dangling from its want limp wherever it takes it, we hold our want tight and try hard till it really makes us what we want.

Living like weasels may not be the best way to live, but learning the weasel’s attitude towards its need can enlighten human creatures to treat their wants as their needs and chase after them like we really need them. That’s the spirit.

 

Unconventional love story

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This is one of our ENG2010 class assignments. The advice I got from my professor was that I should use precise verbs more to substitute those redundant adjectives and adverbs used. I thought that was a pretty fair advice, and now the draft has been cut half shorter than it was. I posted here the first draft still, for later reflection.

He’s now of the opposite sex of what he used to be. Now he dumps his former ill-fitted neutral clothes he used to wear, which were once only aimed to blur people’s visions and most of all, his own. To fool them and himself that he was only a little bit abnormal than others, but not outrageously whimsical enough to breach his faith for the church for his sick mind and thus be banished from the land of the Lord. For the time being he still retains the fear and shop online for clothes he wants to wear instead of going out on the street above board. Online shopping is good, he thinks, at least he doesn’t have to hide behind a gear of disguise out and bear with the saleswoman’ embarrassed and colored eyes. He knows what that implies. We don’t want you here, get out with your filthy money, even if that’s what we open the store for.

He didn’t agree with his inborn identities. He hated his bodies from head to toe. He felt the same amount of filthiness and had this nauseous feeling with his external appearances and unfitting genitals as people do with his evil maniac thoughts of changing their biologic sex through transsexual operations. He wanted to change, to finally meet with and embrace that athletic man in the middle of that mountain of meditation.  He even wanted to find someone who appreciate his sacrifice for longing for his true identities and love and live with that endearing someone.

So he did.

Lying in the ward for more than three months, counting numbers to sleep till awaken by the same nightmare. That body injected with excess amounts of anesthesia, got cut into pieces and piled up on the operating table with brutality and emotionlessness, like slaughtered cattle in the farm. Blood dripping down on the off-white floor, gradually forming a random shape, its profile sinking into their own faces. Later the piled squares are retrieved and seamed back onto different parts of their bodies, using oversized needles. It was strange that he was lying on that freezing iron racks, with another vague figure, one beside the other. The light above their heads seemed to burst out, that dazzling, dazzling, dimming light, gradually faded away, until they were all buried in total darkness.

The day after transacting the hospital discharge and got home, the first thing he did was to set all the things he owned in the past on fire. Embracing a hug of pictures, he glazed at the fire and decided to dispose their memories, and the picture. He decided to bury his past and start a new living, though faintly he knew that the dead still had huge power upon the living. He believed in fatalism. He approached the furnace, and suddenly release his arms. Like snowflakes, the pictures shortly flew above the air and then instantly buried one on another in the fire, the corners of them darkened and flamed to ashes as the fire kissed them fiercely and maniacally. It’s strange that he should want to risk being burned rescuing one picture out of that fiery flame. To keep one last piece of memory of his past, to be able to finally compare himself to the person in the picture at the hour of death, to show guilt and apology for his faulty fate.

People, except his family, who barely broke and swallowed down their teeth with bitterness and acclaimed to accept and support who he really is, began voluntarily to produce and spread rumors. The same cliché they had about that runaway priest who fell in love with a pregnant girl who confessed her sins every dusk sitting on that cleverish stool. Everyone felt betrayed and contemptible. It’s astounding that they should have revealed their sins and misconducts to someone who committed even more unforgivable sin and run away with all the sins. No one but that man should go to hell, they claimed with intense chagrin. Now it’s his turn to suffer, to bear those professional critics’ harsh endless curse and expletives. The vicious words are about to float on the air. Over and again, people chew and swallow and digest and then ruminate those obsolete meaningless words, like a tireless willing ox doing the rumination thing, without ever getting bored.

He daren’t walk on the street and face those sharp sights coming from all directions, of which the generators contain half aloofness and half contempt. During the day, he does all the things at home, all necessities that living creatures need to do in order to survive. Eating, sleeping, doing launches and dishes, planting sunflowers and chrysanthemums, while his wrenching heart slowly healing. Nights are the celebration of owls and them. Echoing with that gloomy, lonely yet sincere hooting sounds, he walks on the dimming street, constantly turning his heads around, trying hard to imagine what the scenery before was like during the day. Here around the cobblestone track people sit and talk and laugh, there must be gathering children playing skateboards.

The days he spends at home are like watching silkworm nibbling mulberry leaves. He listens to the clock tickling and sunflowers turning their head towards the direction where locate the sun. Then by the time he turns their head to take a look at the time, five minutes has just passed. He feels like finding someone who understand his pain and rejoice his rebirths, and now he have a new hobby—searching dating site, where he doesn’t have to meet with the virtual potential dating mate in person and thus feeling more comfortable with enveloping his secrets and guts feelings, and probably sometimes, lying about his genders, of which the past and the present. However, he filled out the form requiring about his background and stuff mostly honestly.

That they both like watching Happy Tree Friends and enjoy the bloody fun short animation and both just undergoing an excruciating rite brought them together. He likes to watch someone suffering without causing himself pains, or to use a better way to put it, to feel less painful about his own experience. As for the reason why the girl like the same thing, he doesn’t inquiry. Who knows? Girls are strange these days.

So very naturally they meet online, with both sides overlooking the other’s original decadence and shoddy appearance. They had smooth conversations. As their relationship gets more serious, they begin to date virtually, despite people increasing rumors. He knows that everyone in town knows his secret, but he innocently pretends to know that his accompaniment doesn’t know.

Apparently he doesn’t know about her secret, until one day he saw a picture taken when the protagonist looks like his girlfriend but wears a kilt and has her hair rather short like a man.

The revelation was astounding, to both of them. They felt cheated, but then have more freemasonry for each other. They know that a lying cheating guts are not residents of theirs, but a twain brittle hearts longing for love.

 

Why is it ok to be a nerd?

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During class each student was assigned to introduce an article one previously picked up from various magazines in the library. A classmate proposed a lecture-like article produced by Will Wheaton, an American actor starring in Star Trek: The Next Generation and Stand by Me. For me, I knew him from the American TV drama The Big Bang Theory. The student proposed the article as an impetus to inspire ordinary people who are not perceived as nerds, and the teacher scented that and then emphasized on the specific function of the article, which is targeted at nerds, then expressed that she was sorry that nerds’ adolescent years are really hard, mixed with discrimination from peers and bullies from swashbucklers, then she gave me a deep sympathetic look that can stab deep down through my bowel to my mental heart, which denotes that I am one of those who deserve others’ sympathy, as if saying, “Lotus must be hard in her high school years.” To this I made no comment, but I appreciated for the sympathy expressed, for I did suffered a lot from the complicated human relationships a lot since I was in elementary school. I felt sorry that I didn’t live as people expected me to, to be normal like other girls, which means wearing long hair, pretty princess dress, and acting like one. I used to wear a colored glass to look at myself with others’ criteria, then I changed conversely to adopt the opposite criteria to behave like a tomboy as a way to rebel others’ repression, now I believe in whatever I want to be. I step totally outside of what people think of mean and convince myself that whatever I want to behave with, as long as it’s legal, is ok. The attitude I adopted claims to be neutral. I recently read an article posting opinions upon the issue that a black young actor named Lupita Nyong who has been awarded Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, saying that it is such a radically newsworthy issue for black woman who were once prohibited to participate in the beauty contests are now publicly elected by the “beauty” authority, that black women no longer endure the criteria of beauty fixed by white people. Nyong has her own unique beauty, with very short hair, flat chest and dark skin. She’s the most beautiful of the beautiful because of her characteristic of being a beautiful black woman. This makes me think that I have no obligation to fit in rules fixed by “white people” around me, but only be patient to discover my own beauty and value. I did experience tough life during my earlier school, but not because of being nerd. I guess I only have this different aesthetic and perception from other students that distinguished me from being what was conceived to be ordinary. In terms of this, I was same with the nerds.

However, recalling my high school years, surprisingly there left little painful memories, instead, I scented sweetness and uneasy relaxation brought by studious state and above average grade. I understand what it feels like to be not understood by my peers, and I knew the process of sticking to oneself with no outlet. I am glad that I ever endure such a specific period in my life, and I am still not sorry for being different. I found lot of things in common in Wil’s speech, not as a nerd, but as a person who was treated with slight unfairness and general narrow views. So next let’s read what Wil said at the comicon.

My name is Wil Wheaton—and I am a nerd. It’s awesome to be a nerd.

I don’t know what the world is going to be like by the time you understand this. I don’t know what it’s going to mean to be a nerd when you are a young woman. For me, when I was growing up, being a nerd meant that I liked things that were a little weird, that took a lot of effort to appreciate and understand. It meant that I loved science, playing board games, reading books, and really understating what went on in the world instead of just riding the planet through space.

When I was a little boy, people really teased me about that and made me feel like there was something wrong with me for loving those things. Now that I’m an adult, I’m a professional nerd, and the world has changed. I think we have realized that being a nerd is not about what you love but about how you love.

So there’s going to be a thing in your life that you love. I don’t know what it’s going to be. It might be sports or science or reading or telling stories—it doesn’t matter what it is. The way you love that thing and how you find other people who love it the way you do is what makes being a nerd awesome. Some of us love Game of Thrones, while others love Star Trek or Star Wars. But we all love those things so much that we travel thousands of miles—which is probably easy for you, but we’re still using fossil fuels, so it’s difficult—to be around people who love the things that we love the way that we love them. That’s why being a nerd is awesome.

Don’t let anyone tell you that the thing that you love is a thing that you can’t love. Don’t let anyone ever tell you, “You can’t love that. That’s for boys.” You find the things that you love, and you love them the most that you can.

And listen, this is really important: I want you to be honest, honorable, and kind, I want you to work hard because everything worth doing is hard. I want you to be awesome, and I will do my very best to leave you a planet that you can still live on.

Have a great life.

Reflection on “The brain of Einstein” by Roland Barthes

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Barths says that Einstein’s brain is objectified, reduced, it becomes reductive. It’s oversimplified into a physical organ which can produce incredible formula. So what’s wrong with objectifying, reducing people? Its wrongness lies in that people leave out the most important ethics, the spirit, the soul of this human being, and focus on some of his concrete yet virtual properties. Few people cares about the characteristics attached to him when he’s thinking, most people try to figure out what to build a brain as powerful as Einstein’s and get as smart as him. It’s unrealistic but it’s worth practicing. So don’t talk about virtual and abstract conceptions like Einstein’s mentality, or his psychological status. Nobody knows exactly what Einstein was thinking when he was alive, it’s no use to consider the mental state of his since he’s been dead. Instead, make Einstein’s brain an object, an experimental material, and conduct experiments upon the brain to determine the factors that influence his intelligence level. People try hard to figure out what does that equation mean, and they are being through a paradox, during the process they blindly and happily accepted the formula without getting what the equation means. They know that the equation means a lot to human beings, but they don’t know how this equation can make a difference, and they don’t bother that. The paradox is that people try to make Einstein and his brain less mysterious, so they are happy to see that Einstein works out such a simplified equation, but the thing is the equation is even more complicated than those harangue of theories, for the equation doesn’t have explanation, and it makes Einstein even more mysterious. Again, people don’t bother they don’t really know about Einstein and his fantastic equation, they simply label Einstein with that equation and a lot of positive adjectives.

There are two images mentioned showing Einstein together with his great achievement—E=mc2, one is that Einstein stand in front of a blackboard full of his complex equations indicating how he gets to that simple conclusion, the other one has the same background as the former one, but there’s only one single formula on a blackboard. The difference between these two images is whether Einstein gets recognized for his hard thinking work. Whether people think he pays much time and energy on pondering out the equation or suddenly sparkle out this simple but difficult equation. The former shows Einstein’s work, the latter one shows the product. People are looking at the equation as a product instead of focusing on how Einstein think out the equation. It’s stupid to try to figure out how Einstein think, or can human beings think like Einstein. There’s no way that people can get what ingredients added contributed to Einstein’s brain by just looking at the product. People all want to be smarter, so they want to gain something useful from Einstein’s brain, to see why he’s so smart, and they are trying to look at the physical brain, which is obviously impractical.

Science without consciousness is but the ruin of the soul. Scientists should maintain a set of morality in their minds while doing research, they should tell the difference between right and wrong. The atomic bomb invented should not be used in war so less disastrous misfortune would happen, and scientists should make sure that the fatal weapon is controlled by the justified side.

 

Work cited

Barthes, Roland (1987). Mythologies. The Noonday Press