May 12, 2014
May 12, 2014
October 17, 2013
September 25, 2013
My picture collage has a red matrix background because red is my favorite color. I have many pictures stacked on top of this background to describe me and my hobbies. I also put pictures of my favorite items of interest, usually edited to hold a red or blue design, because blue is my second favorite color.
May 28, 2013
A Separate Piece is based upon two boys who become friends and then go through betrayal and many hardships. Both Gene and Phineas form a bond beginning with a jump into a river, and later the bond weakens with the fall from the very same tree, the fall of Phineas. Gene is responsible for this, becoming suspicious of his friend and trusting no one but himself. This non-trusting nature forces Gene to jostle the limb when is friend goes out into the tree. Gene visits Finny and attempts to resolve his guilt, but fails to do so and must leave back to Devon to continue his school year. Gene continues his year until Finny returns, where they once again form a bond and become the troublesome duo of Devon’s school grounds. These two friends continue their year with barely and bumps at all in their relationship, until another friend decides to hold court. This court looks over the accident at the tree, and turns Finny bitter against his best friend. As he attempts to leave he falls down the stairs and breaks his leg once again. Gene visits Phineas, and eventually they forgive and forget, only to result in the death of Phineas the next day. Gene finishes the year as an extension of Phineas, grateful for his many lessons on freedom and the value of life. He does not cry at his funeral, because you simply would not cry at your own.
May 27, 2013
“In the deep, tacit way in which feeling becomes stronger than thought, I had always felt that the Devon School came into existence the day I entered it, it was vibrantly real while I was a student there, and then blinked out like a candle the day I left.”
This sentence reflects from Gene’s time as a man back to the childhood spent at Devon. His memory still has a tremendous hold on him, as evidenced by his ability to recall the events of fifteen years with such ease. He remembers the past with ease, and yet Gene admits that the school is valid only to him, existing simply within memory fifteen years later. The presence of memory, and its role over time, is a major theme of this book. When Gene ponders his thoughts on the past and on the lasting impact of the events he is describing, he only increases the importance of this theme within the novel.
“I didn’t entirely like this glossy new surface, because it made the school look like a museum, and that’s exactly what it was to me, and what I did not want it to be.”
May 27, 2013
1. In the beginning of the novel Gene is in captivity to Devon and it’s thorough rules, determined to create a name for himself that excels past the background of all other teenagers and their history. His origination being a poor home is the south, he scrambles to screen his identity from spectators and create a cover of pure grandeur. Phineas is the exact opposite of Gene, determined to reject the system of Devon and be a nonconformist. He relies on his own freedom and self-ability to survive and create a name for himself, not the standards and merits of the boarding school he attends.
2. There is a situation in the book that both Phineas and Gene have different beliefs about, concerning actions and the initial intentions behind them. Sometime in the summer semester both of the boys ditch class and head to the beach. Gene is worried about his test the next day, fearing he will fail it without intensive study. Afterwards, when he does in fact fail the test, he begins to believe that Finny is sabotaging his studies so that he can be the best out of the two of them. Gene is captive to his suspicion and lack of trust, while Phineas is free of guilt and seeks only to entertain himself with daring activities. To Gene the beach trip is a front used to destroy his perfect record, while initially it is an attempt at personal freedom.
3. The development of the plot follows an interesting pattern concerning both freedom and captivity. In the beginning Gene is in captivity, chained to the rules and standards of Devon. However, Phineas begins to break the chains and teach Gene the true freedom of oneself. Whenever the first “accident” occurs, Gene simply falls captive once again, instead only to his own guilt. On his best friend’s return he begins to remove his bonds and free himself completely, but near the end of the novel Phineas becomes injured once again. Gene quickly overcomes his feeling of guilt only for his friend to die, and lives on with a silent defiance. The system will not control him, because he is an extension of Finny, who never could be controlled by the “fat men” of the nation.
4. The tree is a symbol, used as a branch to a new subject from page to page. One of these is the dual subject of freedom and captivity, which is mirrored perfectly from the defiant jump into the river to the excruciating fall to the ground. The tree becomes a symbol of hope, where Phineas can jump and remind himself that he doesn’t have to obey the school or become apart of the system and jump in his later years. However, the tree betrays him and sends him crashing to the ground, strapping permanent chains onto him for the rest of his inadequate life.
5. There are two rivers that simply cannot exist next to each other, being the complete opposite in every trait. The Devon is clean, pure and revitalizing to the touch, inviting a sense of superiority into any who enter it’s waters. It’s rival, the Naguamsett, is everything the Devon is not. “It [is] ugly, saline, fringed with marsh, mud, seaweed,” and dampens the spirits of all who glance at it. This is of course where Gene must have his first fight, being under the influence of rage pent up against himself and against his jailer: guilt.
May 23, 2013
In John Knowles’ complex and mesmerizing novel, A Separate Piece, the book is presented as a fascinating story of two young boys who attend the military boarding school of Devon, New Hampshire. Based back in World War II, the story focuses on the development and maturity of two boys who openly reject the war and create a mind set for other goals, such as the Olympics of 1944 and everyday freedom. However, as they excel through their senior year the threat looms ever closer and the two boys must deal with the problem once they graduate.
The novel presents an interesting view on the complexity of friendships, combining love, hate, war, and peace to create a chemical time bomb capable of wrecking the reader’s mind relating to how bonds originally function. The piece is a nice dose of twists and turns to keep the reader in silent anguish until moments of injury, insanity, and death interrupt the smooth flow of peace. Personally, there couldn’t be any changes that would create a novel that would twist the mind like this does. However, it would be interesting to view the story through Phineas’ eyes, and have Gene as the one who was injured. There is no doubt indeed though that John Knowles created the sensational novel for his readers, with every death and every betrayal a part of his grand plan.
May 23, 2013
1. The human being as an individual reveres himself above all else, often forgetting the pain and misery many others suffer around him.
Phineas could be used for this text, but Brinker proves the far better individual to analyze. Before the second accident, Brinker pulls aside Gene to accuse him of “putting off enlisting” due to Finny. In his own blind path of glory he doesn’t care that Phineas could be hurt mentally from the “truth” he wishes to clear up. Brinker can’t have Gene because Phineas stole him away out of pity, and so the Yellow Peril determines to end this relationship once and for all by calling a court to serve his own needs.
2. The common individual who does not trust himself cannot trust others, which results in a paranoia that haunts the mind and causes it to find deception in every ally.
Gene is obviously the focus of this truth, being the main character who struggles with trust. Early in the novel he begins to develop a paranoia that leads to his betrayal of Finny. This paranoia begins when he thinks that his “best friend” is plotting against him, to excel beyond him and sabotage his attempts at valedictorian. Though not true, this thought propels Gene to do the unthinkable: intentionally harm his best friend.
3. When caught in the spotlight of weakness, everyone’s first instinct is to look for an exit where none can be found, and in desperate cases take extreme measures to escape the corner.
Gene exemplifies this trait early in the novel, and even recognizes that “sarcasm [is] the protest of people who are weak.” This is significant because he hides behind his mask of indifference, using sarcasm to form a wall so that no one can impede upon his true feelings or true life. Whenever he realizes that his wall is defective though, Gene panics and immediately brands Phineas as an enemy. This attempt to worm out of his position of weakness results in the injury of his best friend, Finny, who never did desire to condemn him.
May 22, 2013
1. “So the more things remain the same, the more they change after all–plus c’est la même chose, plus ça change.” (p. 14)
Gene cites this phrase in the beginning, where he is 15 years past the time of his story. The quote is particular in the fact that, with a glance at the real world, it indeed proves to be true. Nothing seems to endure the degrading acid of time. Love does not last permanently, either faded by time or by bitterness. Memories do not last, being the substance of those who live a century and die longing for life. As for material substances, such as the tree, they do not last long due to the many forces which pass through and leave their own mark.
2. “It was only long after that I recognized sarcasm as the protest of people who are weak.” (p. 29)
Gene recognizes sarcasm as the defense mechanism for the weak, even though he himself is riddled with it. Those who cannot face the problem directly often stoop to avoiding it, using sarcasm as the back door to their situations. Many people use it in their everyday life, and what I can’t help but think is: if sarcasm is the tool of the weak, what does that make the human race?
3. “If I had fallen awkwardly enough I could have been killed. Finny had practically saved my life.” (p. 32)
This quote is interesting in the fact that Gene is rescued by Finny when he is about to tumble to the ground, and the tables are turned when Gene causes his “best-friend” to fall from the tree instead. If Phineas had not been true at heart, Gene would have suffered the fate he delivered to someone else, or worse. Many people in today’s era focus primarily on themselves, not thinking about the consequences their actions could deliver to others. Why should others have to suffer for the choices of a few who hold bitterness brought by their own problems?
4. “Everyone has a moment in history which belongs particularly to him.” (p. 40)
When Gene said this phrase I thought about the strong points of Gene’s life as well as mine, and I realize that the quote is quite true, describing every person who lives and breaths. Moments in an individual’s life may seem important, where nothing could wipe clean the event or shroud the emotions expressed at that current time. This is the defining moment of that character’s life, and ultimately describes the person who is participating. This moment could be a birth, death, exciting moment, or a time of mourning, and requires only that the person of interest must always remember it.
5. “It was all cold trickery, it was all calculated, it was all enmity.” (p. 53)
This stone-cold realization that Gene’s friendship is nothing but a sham forces him to become the monster he is describing. Many people try to blame matters on everyone around them, but the truth is that what they try to escape is their own cruelty, their own devices. This is the case with Gene, for he blames Phineas of being deceitful where there is none at all. Instead the result is that Gene pretends to be friendly and then knocks him out of the tree, ruining his life forever.
6. “Now I knew that there never was and never could be any rivalry between us. I was not of the same quality as he.” (p. 59)
Everyone experiences a feeling in their life where they realize they can’t measure up to something or someone. With Gene he realizes it when he finds the complete innocence Phineas radiates, and somehow this realization that he can never measure up caused the poor boy to snap. With an unthinking sureness he jostled the branch and doomed his best friend to pain and suffering for the rest of his life. Small matters such as this begin in the heart and spread to the mind. When they corrupt a person altogether, a nasty sporadic behavior may occur, usually not boding well for anyone in the vicinity.
7. “I fought that battle, that first skirmish of a long campaign, for Finny.” (p. 79)
This is a self-justification for the actions of a boy unable to free himself from an exposed position of weakness, and so he lashes out like a cornered animal. I can relate to this feeling of desperation, where anything can be a savior and anything can be the executioner. So many people fall dead or injured due to the self-justifications that “I’m doing this for my father, I’m killing him for my mother, or I’m jumping off the roof because of the bottle.” Why doesn’t the world drop the justification process and embrace the innocence that Phineas radiates? How could the world prevent people like Gene from becoming desperate at all?
8. “Just like a stag at eve,” Brinker roared back. “It was a winter wonderland, every minute” (p. 100)
This line is lathered with sarcasm, and every time my eyes read over it I cant help but smile. Brinker is the friend everyone wishes they had in their life, being comedic and entertaining to keep life interesting. However, this response is not made for attention but out of outrage. After working hard all day and being confronted with a naturalist who doesn’t seem to care about the labors of others, Brinker seems to lose his cool. The quote is simply ironic because while Brinker and the other guys labor in their “winter wonderland,” Leper is sightseeing in one.
9. “What is all this crap about no maids?” (p. 104)
This quote originates first from when Finny returns to Devon and catches how his bed isn’t made for him. The irony in this statement is highlighted by Gene when he brings forth the fact that men and women are dieing in a war, and Phineas is worrying about maids fixing his bed. However, the boy simply shrugs the remark off and continues to ignore the war as if it were nothing but a fly to be reckoned with. Amazingly, there are people just like Finny who believe that war is a sham, and will continue to believe this until their grave, or until war overtakes them.
10. “I could not escape a feeling that this was my own funeral, and you do not cry in that case.” (p. 194)
When you die, can you see the assembled who come to weep and mourn over your body? Can you weep and mourn with them? No one on earth knows what death feels like, or what it holds, and so they cannot say whether you can weep or laugh when you leave your body. To be literal, Gene knows that Phineas would never laugh again, and he would never cry or speak out ever again. This pains him so much that as he believes himself an extension of Phineas, without the sorrow of his counterpart there would be no sorrow on his end either. Just as Phineas dies with high spirits and a light heart, so shall Gene live.