Critical essay – 10/14/13 9th Grade Year

Even though an individual might not be the best character, compared to gut wrenching, heart-cushing, murder he might look like God himself. This truth is really shown in the short story “The Most Dangerous Game” written by Richard Connell. For example Rainsford is a hunter consumed with self-pride and egotism that makes him boast at his friend Whitney that animals know nothing and have no feelings,”Who cares how a jaguar feels”. On the other hand, Zaroff takes the utmost pride in his hunting of humans,”Life is for the strong, to be taken by the strong.”. Zaroff dug himself into the idea that he is superior in every single way and to anyone that does not have reason. Since he is superior he believes the he has the duty to cleanse the world of the people without reason for the people with reason and the more intelligent. In this way Zaroff foils out Rainsford and shows how Rainsford is somewhat good in his moral code of what is right and wrong, in his over zealous pride, and in his epiphanie that changes the stories outcome.
The first major conflict between Rainsford and Zaroff inhabit their views of what is justifiable or unsound. Rainsford knows that Zaroff has different views when he tells him that he hunts the “most dangerous game” which is humans: “Here in my preserve on this island, he said in the same slow tone, I hunt more dangerous game.” and continuing, Rainsford baffled by Zaroff’s inability to care about the feelings of the people he hunts as sport, ”I’m a hunter, not a murderer”. This displays that Rainsford is now starting to think about the animals he hunts and the feelings they have when their being driven in fear by his long barreled weapon. On the other hand, Zaroff blocks out all the ideas that Rainsford tries to complem him with like maybe hunting people is not as fun for the person meeting their fate and then Zaroff offers to show Rainsford his library, “I want to show you my new collection of heads.” but Rainsford refuses Zaroff’s sick request, “you will excuse me tonight.”. Anyone can convince their self what they do is right, like Hitler justified in his own mind killing the jews. Zaroff convinces himself that life is for the strong and it is up to the strongest people to carry out the duty of cleansing the world of the insuperior. Even though Rainsford doesn’t care about the feelings of his hunted, he looks like a saint compared to Zaroff’s lack of sympathy for the people he hunts, only giving them the choice of either the hunt or letting Ivan have his fun, “If he does not wish to hunt, I turn him over to Ivan.”.
Both Rainsford and Zaroff have a problem with confidence and unwillingness to take suggestions of others. For example, Rainsford is resentful of Whitneys concerns of what an animal might feel like because he believes Whitney is inferior to him,”Don’t talk rot, Whitney.”. Rainsford continues to mock Whitney about his “rot” talking of a mystery, cursed islands, “Off there to the right somewhere is a large island. said Whitney. It’s rather a mystery”, while Rainsford carelessly smokes on the deck. Likewise, Zaroff thinks Rainsford is just being foolish about resenting his way of hunting,”I can show you that your scruples are quite ill founded” and “even in America, with such a naive, and, if I may say so…” Zaroff stresses to Rainsford that he is just not looking at his beliefs correctly and is looking with a naive point of view. Zaroff makes Rainsford look like a worthy hero in the story again because he ignores the ideas that Rainsford is trying to emphasize like hunting defenseless people may not be a crack way to handle his need for sport. Rainsford is now realizing that how he treats whitney is wrong by ridiculing his ideas and teasing his “rot” talk because now Zaroff is ridiculing him and shunning his naive thoughts.
Also, the epiphanies of Rainsford and Zaroff were almost the same except, Zaroff’s was just a little to late. For example, Rainsfor shows very clear signs that he just doesn’t care about what others think like his friend Whitney, ”Rainsford, reclining in a steamer chair, indolently puffed on his favorite brier.”. Rainsford is soon forced into a situation where he learns the error of his ways,”Rainsford knew now what a animal at bay feels.”. Rainsford had his epiphany when Zaroff and his hounds were closing in upon him, but luckily Rainsford made it out so he could use what he learned to hopefully better himself as a hunter, and a person. On the other hand, Zaroff was not so lucky in learning his flaw because Rainsford came back for revenge, “I am still a beast at bay.”, “He had never slept in a better bed, Rainsford decided.”. Zaroff learned that even though he might be superior, a “beast at bay” will not stop until someone emerges on top.
Even though Rainsford might not be the best moral character because of his over zealous pride up until he has a life changing epiphany that shows him the errors of his ways, he looks exceptional compared to Zaroff. Finally now, Connell lets Zaroff destroy himself to let Rainsford foil out and develop his true true meaning and self. For example, Zaroff was killed by Rainsford who then learned a major lesson about the mistakes Zaroff made such as how he disregarded the feelings of the animals in which he hunts because he takes to much pride in what he does and that makes him block any other ideas out, just like Rainsford did. Zaroff also made Rainsford look like a heavenly angel when he introduced that he hunted humans. He did this because he had no moral compass of what is right and wrong. In conclusion, Zaroff’s motto which he lived by and that shows how different he thinks from most humans and Rainsford is, “Life is for the strong, to be taken by the strong.”.

Dandelion Wine Critical Essay – 2-20-14 9th Grade Year

In the fictional story “Dandelion Wine”, Ray Bradbury presents a little boy named Douglass who is on his summer break, in which he has many life changing moments where he has encounters with death at several points in time and has to face abandonment of a friend. Therefore, Douglas Spaulding’s coming-of-age development is closely linked to his encounters with death in Colonel Freeleigh, abandonment with his friend John Huff, and the less of his grandmother.

Douglass has a coming-of-age development when Douglass looks death in the face through Colonel Freeleigh and he realizes there is more to life and he rethinks what he knows. First, when Douglass heads to Colonel Freeleigh’s house to hear his compelling stories of war, hunting, and his times of youth. Douglass sees the other side of life through the Colonel’s “quite cold fingers” and seeing “the old man seated there on the floor.” Since Douglass, only earlier this summer, realized he was alive, it comes in as a shock to him that someone could be not like him and his carefree self that lives on. Next, Douglass has to head back home after a sad meeting with Colonel Freeleigh’s dead body sitting on the ground and Douglass states, “It ain’t every day you got half the population of the world keeling over on you.” because as a kid Douglass has “never dreamed so many people could die so fast”. Douglass is taken by surprise when he, for the first time, sees death in his own backyard and he is then put into deep thought of what it is to be alive and how everyone that lived before him had to die. Overall, Douglass’s realization of death contributes to his coming-of-age development by making him see the other side of life that makes an end to the cycle.

Douglas’s next coming-of-age development is when he is forced with the realization that everyone including loved ones can die, but death is not really the finality of a person. First, Douglass is presented with a life changing moment where Douglas’s Grandmother is on her deathbed. Grandma calls Douglass to her side and compares herself to “fingernail clippings” and states, “Any man … is a fool” that saves them, referring to the fingernail clippings, and then later Douglass describes how “Great-Grandma was going to live forever” and if she can die, then any one can die. This takes Douglass by surprise because in his life he has never had a family member to pass away, so in his mind he thinks they can just live forever and nothing will ever change but these thoughts are easily crushed by the cold, harsh, and brutal force that is reality. Next, Douglass has come to the realization that when a person dies not every aspect of that person is killed just like Grandma. She then states,”I’m not really dying today” and goes on to say that her “offspring will be biting sour apples in the gum wood shade” in place of her. Douglas’s grandma is just trying to keep Douglass from morning over her to much and try to preserve some of his childhood innocence and she is giving him a lesson that develops his mind but leaves him very unhappy still with the knowledge that she will not be around, compared to her always being around in the past. Overall, Douglass is again put in a situation where he has to face the cold, grasps of death and the reality behind it that teaches him that all people must die. He does have development when he learns that death is not as bad as he thought but it is not what he was looking for.

Douglass is forced into a coming-of-age development when his best friend moved away and Douglass learned that he can’t trust everyone and that anyone can leave him at any time, whether it be by a train or even death. First, Douglass is left by his best friend when their playing one last game of freeze tag and Douglass says, ”John, you’re my enemy, you hear? Your no friend of mine!” He then goes on to realize later that “you can’t depend on people because they go away.” Douglass has a coming-of-age development the instance he realizes that John is truly gone and in Douglas’s mind doesn’t know how to react to that loss of a friend so he responds with anger to block out the sadness of his loss because he has never dealt with this kind of pain. Next, Douglass is pulled into the realization that anyone can leave him at any time. First, when John left him and Douglass says, “It’s all off between us, your dirt” and then Douglass goes on to try and make sure this doesn’t happen again with anyone else he knows by telling his brother to “stick around, all right?” Douglass at this point still does not realize that even though he doesn’t want to think about, just like death, everyone will leave him at some point, some will leave him by train, some might leave by boat, and some by death but everyone will be gone at some point and he can’t grasp it because it refuses to acknowledge that this is a hopeless matter that can not be changed. Overall, Douglass has his coming-of-age development when he learns that just like how Colonel Freeleigh and his grandma left him by death, others can leave by train and all that stands in the way is one little train ticket.

Douglas’s last scene with him conducting an orchestra of activity winding down with scenes such as, “now, he said, out with the lights” and “And sleeping put and end to summer, 1928”. These events convey that Douglas has learned his lesson and message throughout the summer that all good things must come to an end, whether that be through death or just a simple matter of the turning of the earth. This is done well by Bradbury because it makes a full circle back to the beginning of the book and conveys the theme that nothing is permanent, the world is constantly changing and us along with it. In conclusion, Douglass learns this theme through looking through colonel freeleigh at death, facing the fact that he will have to live without his Grandma, and dealing with abandonment of a friend which helps him change and improve his life.

Walk Beside Me – 12/12/13 9th Grade Year

“Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend (Albert Camus)”. Just like this quote states, everyone needs a friend who will walk beside them and bring out important values such as trust and helpfulness. The two most important values in a friend is trust and helpfulness.
For example, everyone needs a friend they can trust with secrets and privacy just like the NSA. A friend that can be trusted, can be that key that unlocks your deep, dark, hidden secrets people keep tucked away. Everyone has those things they have done that they wish they could burn out of their mind. Friends are there to help take the weight off your shoulders with a simple ear. Also, good friends can be trusted to not rat people out. When someone has either not finished their homework, broken something of their parents, or cheated on a test, trusted friends will have their back all the way. Lastly, a trusted friend will be with someone all the way. If someone is lying out in the searing sun on dry sand in the pale, lifeless desert, their trusted friend is there to pick them up.
Next, it is important to have a friend who always has a hand reaching out. For example, when certain people don’t finish their homework, it is very critical they have a helping hand in the morning. Without this hand they would be failing and would have a future at Mcdonalds. Next, when someone needs a helping hand with parents, a friends there to help. It is a hot summer day and the sun is beaming down on a young boys head, his mom has sent him out to run around outside and that he can not come in until night. In the blazing sun, the boy will surely just mope around all day and get sweaty, but wait there is a hand to pull him inside and cure him with milk and cookies. Lastly, when someone needs a little extra backup a friends there to aid. Whether someone is in a voice raising, fist flinging, blood flowing fight or someone just had a emotional breakdown, a friends there for support.
In conclusion, the most beloved qualities in a friend are measured on the inside like trust and helpfulness. Whether someones dying in a desert or just need a little compassion a friends always there to help and stay by your side.