Confidence- Junior’s Biggest Conflict

In Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Junior’s most significant conflict is his lack of self-confidence, because Junior’s way of seeing himself dictates how he acts and negatively affects his story overall. Many other internal and external conflicts, such as his poverty, health, culture, and his relationship with his friends and family feed into his confidence, and as they are all a part of him, it changes how he sees himself. These conflicts often place expectations on him, and his confidence is affected when these expectations are or are not met. For example, Junior’s “all-time [fistfight] record [of] five wins and one hundred and twelve losses” proves the expectation that his health makes Junior weak (62). Junior relies on Rowdy to protect him, so when he is not there, his confidence plummets. He is not able to confront Roger and his gang for a long time because he is “afraid those monsters [are] going to kill [him]” (64). He is letting them continue hurting him and diminish his self-esteem. With more confidence, he could have gone to see Rowdy in person and tried to make up with him sooner. He could have told the kids at Reardan about his true financial status and missed fewer opportunities because of silly lies. Junior’s confidence does grow at Reardan, and he finds an inner strength in himself, but he would not have found the strength without the hardships he endured.  

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Determination Isn’t Everything

Can “anyone can raise themselves out of poverty if they have enough determination?” No. Not anyone. Though, yes, many people might be able to substantially improve their financial situation if they try to, it ultimately depends on the person’s situation. Many situations aren’t the fault of the person and there might not be much they could do. For example, if a person was born into a poor or war-struck country, it might be out of their control to do anything. They won’t have enough to move to another country and jobs just won’t be available. As well, being born into a poor family would be similar. Children especially can’t do very much to raise “themselves” out of poverty. They would need the help of their parents. The only way to raise yourself out of poverty is to earn money. You can only earn money by working or doing something to earn it. As mentioned above, jobs may not be available, and some people may not have the qualifications and/or ability to work. Some people who have an illness, or who have sustained an injury might not be able to find jobs that suit their needs and won’t be able to earn the money they need. The statement seems to assume that anyone who is in poverty isn’t trying their best to help themselves and everyone just needs to try a bit harder. This may be true for some, but for others, they are just people who were caught in the wrong situation. So, no. Not anyone can raise themselves out of poverty. Many might be able to, but for others, the decision might just be out of grasp.  

Three Things That I Learned About Success 

When listening to John Maxwell’s presentation about “How to be a REAL Success” we learned about a lot of different concepts, ideas, tips, and rules to be successful, but here are the three things that I learned that stuck with me the most: 

 

  •  The Law of Mt. Everest 

This is the law that says that as our dream gets bigger, our team needs to get bigger. I can apply this to our cultural and leadership event planning and our adventure trip planning by having a large enough team in charge of every part of our task. We can split up our committee into smaller groups to take care of tasks. In this case, it’s important to give each group the number of people equal to the size of the task they are handling. For example, a group handling a small task such as counting paper may only require 2 or 3 people, however, a task such as organizing an entire event will require a much larger group of people to be done quickly and more successfully. 

 

  • Our attitude is a choice 

A large concept in the ‘Attitude’ session was knowing that we are the only ones controlling our attitude. No one and nothing else can truly change our attitude. People with a good attitude are more likely to advance in their careers/be successful, solve more problems and have a more positive outlook on life. I can apply this concept this by consciously trying to remain optimistic when confronted with a difficult situation and work my way through it. Another concept in Mr. Maxwell’s speech was “Our attitude can turn problems into blessings.” This is impossible to achieve without choosing to have a positive attitude and looking at difficulties as opportunities instead of a dead end. This will help me, as well as my committee, be more efficient and effective when trying to accomplish a task.  

 

  • Follow the 101% Principle 

Following this principle, that says that we should find the 1% we have in common with someone and put 100% of our effort into establishing that commonality, my committee and I can get along better and form better relationships. These relationships will help us, again, become more efficient and effective when working together. We will be able to bounce ideas off each other more easily and be more open to the suggestions of others. This Principle ties in with our Attitude nicely because by having a positive attitude we will be able to focus on the things we have in common with people, instead of spending all of our energy arguing about small things with them.  

Nightmare in the closet

Ittainted keys move on its own, filling the dim room with an eerie, ghost-like sound instead of light. Only the silhouette of the piano could be made out against the tattered wallpaper, peeling from the wall like a dried rose petal dropping to the ground. The room was otherwise barren, a frozen desert. A strange metallic taste lingers on your tongue, and as you stand barefoot on the cold wooden ground, you shiver. A bang echoes through the room, briefly interrupting the broken voice of the piano. You whirl around and stare at the closet. You’re frozen in place. That closet. It contains your terror, the beast you thought only existed in your worst dream. You can hear its raspy breath, smell its wet fur, the foul odor seeping through the crack under the closet door. The door is an earthquake, shaking violently as the creature behind it tries to escape. The last thing you remember is piercing scream escaping your lips. 

Eminent Introductory Post

If you know you are on the right track, if you have this inner knowledge, then nobody can turn you off… no matter what they say. -Barbara McClintock

Barbara McClintock. Who was she? An American cytogeneticist. 1983 Nobel Prize winner. An independent, determined learner.

Known best for observing the genetics of the maize plant and its heredity, Barbara McClintock is my eminent person. She is, undeniably, a very influential woman in science.

Barbara McClintock was born on June 16, 1902, in Connecticut. Her family didn’t have very much money so she had to live with her uncle from the age of 3 until she began school. She was close with her father but had a poor relationship with her mother from a young age. Her interest in science started growing at an early age as her father was a physician. It continued to develop in secondary school and she expressed an interest to go to Cornell’s College of Agriculture. Her mother disapproved of this because she thought it would make her “unmarriable” and she thought it better for Barbara to marry. With her father’s support, however, she did apply and got into her college of choice.

She became interested in genetics about 2 years after she started college through a class taught by C. B. Hutchinson. Hutchinson noticed and was impressed by Ms. McClintock’s interest in genetics and invited her to a graduate genetics course the following year. “Obviously, this [invite] cast the die for my future. I remained with genetics thereafter” (McClintock 1983). Ms. McClintock later earned her Master of Science and Ph.D. from Cornell’s College of Agriculture in botany because it was reported that women could not graduate in genetics.

She began her research on maize plants after graduating. She eventually discovered mobile gene elements, also called “jumping genes.” Other scientists dismissed her research at first. They were skeptical about the usefulness of her discovery and thought that jumping genes were “useless junk DNA”, though McClintock hypothesized that they had a bigger purpose. It was only after decades that her research was finally accepted by the scientific community and she won her 1983 Nobel Prize. We have since found that these jumping genes are very important to our body. They comprise just under 50% of the human genome and are largely responsible for the many different types of cells we have, even though nearly all of them share the same DNA.  

I chose to research Barbara McClintock because she was an inspiring female that truly made an impact in science. She overcame any obstacles that came at her with confidence and was very dedicated, persevering to get to her goal. Ms. McClintock went against her mother’s wishes for her and never married or had kids, instead choosing to devote her life to her research. She and I share a great interest in biology and genetics and though I do think that I can be a patient person, I aspire to have the same amount of determination and focus as Ms. McClintock.

I think Barbara McClintock exemplifies my goal in TALONS very well because I want to learn to be a more independent and focused learner, much like her. She was described as an independent person from her early childhood years. Though Ms. McClintock and I grew up in different environments, I don’t think this makes us different people as we have a similar personality, interests and learning style. I will, however, address our differences in my speech and do more research about the time and place she grew up in.

Ms. McClintock knew never to give up and keep moving forward. Not only has McClintock left us with a better understanding of the microscopic world, but she also shows us how to be confident in ourselves and even each other. We should continue to remember this wonderful female and all her work. I know I will.  

I am excited to find out more about Barbara McClintock and look deeper into her life. I am also looking forward to finding someone to interview, though I expect that this might be hard, as so far I have not been able to find any living relatives. I will continue to search for other interviewees and more information about the wonderful Barbara McClintock.

Works Cited:

Pray, Leslie. “Transposons, or Jumping Genes: Not Junk DNA?” Nature News, Nature Publishing Group, 2008, http://www.nature.com/scitable/topicpage/transposons-or-jumping-genes-not-junk-dna-1211.

“Barbara McClintock – Facts.” NobelPrize.org, Nobel Media AB 2018, www.nobelprize.org/prizes/medicine/1983/mcclintock/facts/.

“Barbara McClintock.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 5 Oct. 2018, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barbara_McClintock.

“Barbara McClintock.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 29 Aug. 2018, www.britannica.com/biography/Barbara-McClintock.

Images (in order):

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/a2/Corn_and_microscope.jpg/220px-Corn_and_microscope. jpg

 

The Vacationers – Novel Response #1

I am impressed with how calm Franny can remain when she finds out her husband cheated on her. Even though it is quite apparent that she is angry, she still goes on vacation with the whole family. It seems that her husband Jim’s lack of loyalty has proven to be a weakness. He also acts on impulse and gets fired from his job for having intimate affairs with coworker. Throughout the book it is shown that he enjoys this job, “Weekends were fairly easy – he wouldn’t have been at the office, anyway, … The weekdays were the challenge” (61). This shows that he fears losing his job, though this fear came true. On the other hand, he wants a partner who can give him a good support system. At the very beginning of the book, Jim is doing some last-minute packing and thinking, “There were things Jim would have taken out of his bags, if it had been possible: the last year of his life, … the way Franny looked at him across the table” (1). It seems that he was going through something and his wife wasn’t giving him the support he needed. We can see he has a strong internal conflict and regrets his decisions. He also has external conflicts with his wife and at work. I can understand Franny trying to keep everything under wraps until she figures it out with Jim. This would avoid confusion and rumours from spreading. I would also deal with it quietly and only talked to people who were involved with it.  Though what Jim did is completely unacceptable, I think it helps us gain a deeper understanding of him and the other characters.  

Dad is NOT Dying

I believe that Sam did more harm than good by lying. Lots of people were affected in a negative way, much more than were in a positive way. I also think that the people who were affected positively could have been made to feel better in other ways. When Sam first told his lie in front of his class, he immediately affected everyone there, and before the end of the day, nearly everyone had heard bad news about Dave. It seems that in this community everyone knows each other quite well because they visit each other, go to dinner parties together, etc. This means that most people in this community probably really cared about Dave and really were sad when they heard the “news”. Some people cried. There was even a moment of silence “for those struggling with illness.” Though this moment was mainly for Sam, you can tell that so many other people were hurt. Now let’s look on the other hand, to those who benefitted from Sam’s lie. There were only two people, Dave and Morely. In the beginning, “Dave began to feel listless… ‘You’re fine,’ said Morely. He didn’t feel fine. And neither did Morely. [She had] no time for her family and no time for herself.” However, by the end of the story, Morely was getting visits from all her neighbours, and she was spending more time with her family. Dave was getting lots of compliments and he started to feel better about himself. Sam never even intended to help his parents when he told the lie because in that moment he was only thinking about avoiding getting bullied. The lie ended up making both of Sam’s parents feel better and perhaps livelier, but I think that there could have been other ways to do this. For example, I think that if Morely had just taken a second each day to slow down and ask herself where she is rushing, then she wouldn’t feel so overwhelmed. I think that Dave would also feel better if he spent more time with his family. The compliments he was getting were only semi-genuine as people really thought that he was sick and were only trying to make him feel better. Sam could also help his parents by purposely trying to spend some more time with them and talking to them about his own feelings/insecurities. This way everyone would benefit from it and no one would get hurt by a silly lie. I think that Sam’s lie was unnecessary and hurt more than it helped. Though it would have made for a much less interesting story, this is why I think that Sam’s lie never should have existed.