HAMILTALONS: The Room Where It Happens

A: Character Development-

“The Room Where it Happens,” the 28th song in the musical Hamilton, focuses on the private dinner that Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison attend and the feelings of Aaron Burr towards this. At dinner in 1790, they discuss Hamilton’s plans and eventually come to a compromise that gives Hamilton support for his financial plans to assume state debt and moves the US capital from New York to Washington D.C, which is closer to Jefferson’s hometown, Virginia. These two topics were separately a debate in Congress, so this compromise “[could] solve one problem with another” (Hamilton). Burr is jealous and envious of the power that Hamilton has and wants to be included in the plans that are made. Hamilton and Jefferson with Madison want different things but in general, they just want their ideas to get put into place with the government. With this, we can make inferences about the characters’ fears. Burr fears being left out of important decisions and decisions that he doesn’t approve of being made without him. Hamilton, Jefferson, and Madison fear wrong decisions being made for the country.

This is one of the first songs where we see a wedge driven between Burr and Hamilton, and in the next song, “Schuyler Defeated” Burr switches political parties and wins Phillip Schuyler, Hamilton’s father-in-law’s, seat in the Senate. Burr does this because he wants more power, as we see in “The Room Where it Happens.” Some other interesting points that we can see in this song that indicate character development are Hamilton’s uncharacteristically brief responses in Hamilton and Burr’s back-and-forth at the beginning of the song. They seem to show that Hamilton has finally decided to take Burr’s advice to “talk less, smile more.” This is confirmed a bit later in the song. This, along with Hamilton cutting Burr off when he has to go to the dinner, shows that, as opposed to the beginning of the play, Hamilton now has more power than Burr. Hamilton now has more to lose and tries to refrain from speaking too much to ruin his legacy.

B: Connections to Historical Elements-

The song is centred around what is known as the Compromise of 1790. In general, the song does a very good job of explaining what happened at the private dinner, as well as how and why it happened, but historically, after attempts to move the capital south and Hamilton’s financial plan both went unresolved, Hamilton went to Thomas Jefferson for his input. Jefferson arranged a dinner for the two of them and Madison, who was also part of the decisions, to resolve the issues, which succeeded. The capital was moved to Washington D.C, close to Jefferson’s (and other early leaders’) homes, and Hamilton was able to put a plan into place that would help pay off the huge amount of debt that the country had accumulated during the American Revolution. The debt was the more significant issue, especially to Hamilton, as the location of the capital seemed like a more aesthetic issue rather than a decision that would actually impact the country, so he was able to use the location of the capital as a compromise point to get what he really wanted.

One thing I was confused about at the beginning of the song was the mention of “good old General Mercer.” Who was he and how does he relate to the song? I found that Hugh Mercer was a brigadier general that died in the Battle of Princeton in 1777. In 1799, Clermont Street was renamed to Mercer Street in honour of Hugh Mercer. Interestingly enough, the Compromise of 1790, the private dinner that the song is centred around, happened in… well, 1790, which is 9 years before the renaming of Clermont/Mercer Street. It seems like it was just a choice by Lin Manuel Miranda to include the Mercer legacy into this song, but throughout the musical, we can see how both Hamilton and Burr care a lot about their legacy. It’s something that they can discuss and we can see the similarity between them in this way, but when Hamilton cuts Burr off and leaves, we can see how they’re also different, and starting from this song, start to have very different legacies. From these three characters, we can see that people during the American Revolution, and even now, care about their reputation and their legacy.

“The Room Where it Happens” is a great example of how “Disparities in power alter the balance of relationships between individuals and between societies.” Burr is jealous of Hamilton’s power and sway in the government and from this point forward, there’s a change in their relationship. Like I mentioned above, in the next song “Schuyler Defeated,” Burr wins Hamilton’s father-in-law’s seat in the Senate, which upsets Hamilton, as he thought that Burr was being disloyal. Their relationship goes on a downward spiral from there, and as we know from the first song in the play, Burr eventually shoots Hamilton.

C: Guided Question-

In “The Room Where it Happens” we can see lots of information about the rights, privileges, and general information about the American revolution. The first quote I’ll analyze is “We want our leaders to save the day— But we don’t get a say in what they trade away” (Hamilton). This is very similar to the big idea, in the way that those with more power get more say in what decisions are made for the country. Burr is upset that he didn’t get a say in the compromise, and he is upset that the capital is moving. This is representative of the whole American Revolution because even though the US became a democracy, citizens, and even some leaders, still didn’t get full control over the laws that got made.

The second quote is “God help and forgive me, I wanna build something that’s gonna outlive me” (Hamilton). The American Revolution was about moving away from the standards of England and building something new. Something new that is going to last into future generations. In this case, Hamilton was talking about making a new financial system that’s going to support the country, but it can be applied to the revolution as a whole, because in a way, the revolution itself was building something that’s going to outlive everyone who fought/had a part in it; the United States.

Finally, “When you got skin in the game, you stay in the game, but you don’t get a win unless you play in the game” (Hamilton). This is Hamilton telling Burr that if you take some risks and just go for it (got skin in the game and play in the game) then you’ll be able to get what you want (stay in the game and get a win). This relates to the revolution because it shows that a group of people that initiate things usually get what they want compared to those who sit around. In his song “Wait For It,” Aaron Burr is shown to wait for things to happen instead of taking action, and in this quote, Hamilton is criticizing Burr’s ways. He even goes to say “You get nothing if you… Wait for it, wait for it, wait!” which is a clear reference to Burr’s song. Hamilton gets what he wants out of the compromise because he takes action and gets things done. Similarly, the American Revolution would never have happened if no one took action and made it happen.

However, from Burr’s perspective, Hamilton is going too far to get what he wants. He is almost manipulating others and simply “[doing] what it takes to survive” as Angelica says later in “Burn” (Hamilton). It almost seems as if he doesn’t care about morals anymore and just does whatever he can.

“The Room Where It Happens,” like every other song in Hamilton, is wonderfully written and there are many more references and hidden meanings within the lyrics and the way the characters speak than I talk about above, but I wasn’t able to expand on each one and I probably wasn’t able to catch all of them either (though https://genius.com/Original-broadway-cast-of-hamilton-the-room-where-it-happens-lyrics helped me see a lot of them). I enjoy listing to this song so much and being able to dive deep and analyze it to see all of those hidden meanings was amazing!

https://genius.com/Original-broadway-cast-of-hamilton-the-room-where-it-happens-lyrics

https://www.themusicallyrics.com/h/351-hamilton-the-musical-lyrics/5418-hamilton-synopsis.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compromise_of_1790#cite_note-Ellis51-3

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TINATalk 2019

How does artificial light affect the growth of plants?

Research, Notes, and Script Portfolio

TINATalk (Youtube)

I apologize for the poor recording quality at times, the recording was done on my phone.

I hope you enjoy my science talk for this year!

My Ecological Footprint- Plan and Reflection

When I calculated my ecological footprint about a month ago I got a grand total of 7.03 hectares. Compares to the scores of some of my classmates, (which were 7.2, 7.89, and 5.6) it seems like mine is fairly average. I know that mine was pushed up because of my living space, since I live in a pretty big house with only two other people (my parents).

The following are ten actions that could be taken to reduce my ecological footprint. I have bolded five that I have actually tried changing.

  1. Limit the use of private vehicles daily
    • This was a pretty big part of my score. I think that it would be a good way to limit my ecological footprint and its something that I can realistically change.
    • To do this, I can take the bus to and from school more often. Unfortunately, I live up too big of a hill to bike or walk but taking public transport would be the next best thing.
  2. Take shorter showers
    • I can change this easily and it wouldn’t affect me very much. It’s an easy and effective fix that would reduce my ecological footprint right away.
    • To do this, I can take quick showers less often (every other day, with exceptions) instead of long ones daily.
  3. Re-wear clothes if they are clean
  4. Turn off water while brushing teeth
  5. Eat more local/B.C. grown food
  6. Limit waste from food packaging
    • Personally, I eat some food that is wrapped in plastic almost every day. I try to limit this already, but it often depends on what my parents buy. This is something that I think can be an effective way to reduce my overall waste production.
    • To do this, I can encourage my parents to buy more food in bulk instead of individually wrapped and pack my lunch in reusable containers.
  7. Be conscious of spending money
    • Even though this wasn’t a problem for me during the tracking period, I would still like to keep this in mind because its useful to save money even without thinking of my ecological footprint. Now that I know it’s something I can do, it’s even better.
    • To do this, I can think about the necessity of spending money every time I am thinking of buying something. For example, I need to buy a lunch in the cafeteria sometimes, but I don’t have to spend money at the mall if I go there with friends.
  8. Limit equipment and space needed for play
  9. Eat less meat products
  10. Take only as much food as you can eat
    • This is a good way to reduce food waste. Again, I think that this is an easy and effective way to reduce my overall waste production.
    • To do this, I can take less food first and then take seconds if I still feel hungry instead of taking too much and having to throw most of it away.

I found that changes that only depended on me were a lot easier to make than those that depended on others as well. For example,taking shorter showers, spending less money, and putting less food on my plate were easy changes to make because I could control these individually and keep track of my progress, while busing more and limiting food packaging was harder because it depended on my parents as well as me. My mom would often pick me up from school because I had other plans after school, which wasn’t always my choice. Like I mentioned above, often reducing food packaging depends on what my parents buy, so even though I did what I could, I still had to eat the food that we had in our house. I obviously can’t control others’ actions like I can control mine so it makes it harder to make and control changes.

Some obstacles that I encountered were, again, cooperating with others to make the changes, but also having the willingness to make the changes myself. Since I already have the habits, it was hard to convince myself to make some of these basic changes or sometimes I would simply forget and do small things automatically such as packing myself an individually wrapped granola bar.

I would like to continue to try and make these changes (and others) to reduce my ecological footprint. Two things that I would like my family to focus on as a whole is reducing food and household waste and fuel emissions from vehicles. My parents both work from home some days of the week so this already reduces the amount of times per day that our cars are being used, but we should all continue to think about this and make less unnecessary trips. If we also recycle and buy food in bulk more, then I think that we can really reduce our ecological footprint as a family and make less of a negative impact on the rapidly changing environment around us.

In-Depth #6

This year, I’ve been working with my mentors on tutoring and starting a business. I had some problems at the beginning of the year with communication, and even though that mostly got resolved, I connected with a secondary mentor at school, Ms. Lewis. She has been very helpful.

With my original mentor, Lucas Morisette, I’ve discussed concepts more related to business, such as starting one, and all of the effort that goes into it. One big concept we talked about recently was advertising. I talked about this a little in my previous post, but I will explain it in more detail. We talked about how advertising is crucial in starting and keeping a business because without it, you won’t have anything to do. I really understood this when I tried to advertise for for tutoring. I put some posters up around the city and went to elementary schools to hand out business cards in person like Lucas had recommended. I thought that all of this would bring in at least one potential student, but unfortunately, I was unsuccessful. With Lucas, we decided that we would continue to meet up and he would talk more about starting a business and a bit about tutoring. This way, I will have all the tools I need if I ever decide to start my own tutoring company in the future. Now I’m able to focus on the business part of my In-Depth with one mentor and the other part, doing the actual tutoring, with my secondary mentor.

With Ms. Lewis, I’ve been more focused on the tutoring portion. One important concept we’ve discussed is the need for tutoring. We talked about how some people just want to excel more in a subject that they already feel comfortable with, some people want more help with a certain subject that they don’t understand as well, and others look for a tutor because they might have a learning disability of some kind. For example, the student I worked with (and will continue working with), Jibril, needs a bit more time to process and understand information that he’s working with. Ms. Lewis and I also talked about having a growth mindset and how it relates to math specifically. She showed me an online course by Jo Boaler that I took. It talks about how many people have a growth mindset with most subjects, (the growth mindset is about thinking of ways to improve and knowing that a challenge will help you improve rather than just saying “I’m not good at this”) but they think that math is something you’re either good at or you’re not; they think that people just have certain math abilities that can’t be improved. Jo Boaler points out that this isn’t true at all and goes on to explain ways to feel more comfortable with math. The course was interesting because it taught me something about having a growth mindset myself and helping the people I tutor have a growth mindset. I’m also continuing to meet with Ms. Lewis regularly and I will be able to use my learning firsthand as I continue to work with Jibril.

Throughout my In-Depth, I’ve had lots of changes and obstacles to overcome. This meant that there was lots of opportunities for me to discuss alternatives. Close to the very beginning of In-Depth, one alternative that I had was choosing whether I should focus more on business or tutoring with my first mentor. This was mainly an alternative that I presented, however Lucas had input in it as well, of course. Second, when I was trying to advertise for the tutoring company and it didn’t work out, Lucas suggested that instead of me continuing to advertise, we could simply continue meeting and he would continue to teach me more about my skill(s). Finally, when I was having communication issues with Lucas, (we couldn’t get a hold of each other) Ms. Mulder suggested that I could work with Ms. Lewis so that I could still meet with someone regularly.

Now it’s also time to plan out my learning centre. I’ve had ideas on how to present my learning that I am going to discuss here. First, since my In-Depth skill doesn’t really let me create a physical artifact to show my learning, or make a presentation on stage, I am going to create a learning centre with a poster board. I am hopefully going to display some pictures on my poster board, as well as information about my chosen skill and the concepts I learned, such as the concepts discussed above. I don’t want to have very much writing so I’m going to try my best to illustrate as much as I can visually. Since I had three broad topics (tutoring, starting a business, and advertising) I am going to talk a bit about each one. I will include evidence of my learning for each and discuss how I learned it. For the interactive portion, I want to show some of the techniques that I learned for tutoring. I want to write up some multiplication questions of increasing difficulty and let people see how far they can get down the page. Then, I’ll introduce some general tips that I learned to help solve problems more easily, and the audience can see if it helps them solve the more difficult questions. I hope this will show some of the learning I did and the audience can gain some knowledge from my poster board about my chosen In-Depth skill. Maybe they’ll even be able to put it to some use in the future.

This is my first rough planning page for my learning centre. It will definitely change a bit before In-Depth night.

I’m very excited for In-Depth night in exactly three weeks so that I can show my work and see what all of my peers did too!

Animal Farm- All Parts

Part 1:
What conditions are need for a revolution to occur? Based on your reading so far, what is the single most significant factor leading the animals to revolution?


Several important factors and conditions affect the start of a revolution. The most important of these is a good leader protesting a situation that is making them unhappy. The leader can then convince others to see a situation from their perspective and unify a group to do something about it. In George Orwell’s Animal Farm, the animals are revolting against their human leader, Mr. Jones. In the old boar, Major’s opinion, Mr. Jones isn’t providing animals with enough comfort and overall, “‘the life of an animal is misery and slavery: that is the plain truth.’” He speaks up to the rest of the animals and convinces them that Mr. Jones, and all humans for that matter, are bad, only caring about themselves. He tells the animals that they should “’get rid of Man, and the produce of [their] labour would be [their] own. Almost overnight [they] could become rich and free.’” He says an entire speech to make the animals see that they are being treated poorly. As “Major [is] so highly regarded on the farm that everyone was quite ready to lose an hour’s sleep,” they all take his words seriously and quickly see why he is correct. This shows how a strong leader ready to show why they think they are being treated unfairly, or why they think a situation is bad can start a revolution by planting the idea into others’ heads. If the leader is convincing enough, this idea will live on past their death (if the leader passes before the revolution, as in Major’s case) and continue to grow and spread within a community and beyond. Eventually, once enough individuals believe in the cause, a revolution will begin.

Part 2:
When, if ever, is the use of force or manipulation justified? What are the long-term benefits and detriments of these actions?

Quite often, the use of force or manipulation is used to achieve a goal, however, it is not necessary to produce some good outcome. It may be true that force or manipulation could get one group or individual the best possible outcome, but others will be left unhappy. Another form of success could have most likely been achieved without force. For example, let’s look at George Orwell’s Animal Farm. At first after the revolution, the animals are happy on their own, without Jones taking away their food and treating them unfairly. However at the end, Napoleon, Squeaker, and the other pigs manipulate the rest of animals into working for them and force them to believe that “all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others” (40). This, on its own, doesn’t make any sense. You cannot be “more equal” than someone else, because that then makes you a higher status, therefore unequal. Very quickly after the rebellion, the pigs get better living conditions, and are somehow able to break all of the Commandments that were agreed upon right after the rebellion. They are able to get away with this because “somehow or other, [events and words keep slipping] out of the animals’ memory” (27). As the reader, we know of course that the animals aren’t forgetting anything, the pigs are simply coming up with excuses and changing the Commandments to fit their wants. After the rebellion, “Jones and all he [stands] for […] almost [fades] out of [the animals’] memories. They [know] that life nowadays [is] harsh and bare, that they [are] often hungry and often cold, and that they [are] usually working when they [are] not asleep. But […] in those days they had been slaves and now they [are] free, and that [makes] all the difference, as Squeaker [does] not fail to point out” (33-34). The animals know that life isn’t very good now, but because Squeaker and Napoleon convince them that everything is getting better, and now they only work for themselves, they forget that they are living the same life as before. This shows how the pigs are able to manipulate the other animals so that they can get what they want, but the animals receive little to no reward for their work. In this case, manipulation was not justified, because it was done for the gain of one group of individuals, rather than the gain of the majority. The use of manipulation and force wouldn’t have been required in the first place, had the pigs looked out for the majority and followed the rules set at the beginning. In that way, a good outcome could have been achieved without manipulation, similar to what they had directly after the rebellion, however the pigs would not have gotten the same level of comfort. In conclusion, force or manipulation is only justifiable if there is no other way to achieve a similar level of comfort/success for all individuals, however this situation is very rare.

Part 3 (FINAL):
In your opinion, was the revolution successful? Were there any other options available to bring about the animals’ desired change? If so, what might have been done? If not, why was the revolution inevitable?

In George Orwell’s, Animal Farm, the revolution was unsuccessful. The animals end up returning to the exact same conditions that they were in before the revolution, so no real change occurs. The pigs turn into humans, carrying whips and walking on two legs. At the end, the animals realize “it [is] impossible to say which [is] which” (42). Even though all of the animals manage to kick out their previous leader, Mr. Jones, and start their own life at “Animal Farm,” they don’t get the change they want. Before the revolution, “all the evils of [the animals’ lives] spring from the tyranny of human beings” and at the end, since the pigs become human-like, all of the evils come back. One thing that would have made the revolution more successful is to elect a leader and make big decisions together. That way, it wouldn’t be only the pigs who were getting what they wanted, and all of the animals would be happier. Of course, the pigs are mostly thinking of themselves from the very beginning, so this isn’t something that could be changed easily. The animals who have something to say always get interrupted or don’t know how to say it. Whenever “some of the animals might possibly […] [protest,] […] the sheep set up their usual bleating […] and put an end to the discussion” (26). If the other animals knew how to voice their concerns, everything would have gone more smoothly. All this said, however, I do think that the revolution was inevitable. One way or another, someone would have realized the poor conditions they live in and would try to start a revolution. They wouldn’t know that it would lead to the same end, and they would revolt for better living conditions. In conclusion, even though the revolution was inevitable, it was unsuccessful, and fixing a few key mistakes could have changed it for the better.




Animal Farm Inquiry- Part Two

When, if ever, is the use of force or manipulation justified? What are the long-term benefits and detriments of these actions?


Quite often, the use of force or manipulation is used to achieve a goal, however, it is not necessary to produce some good outcome. It may be true that force or manipulation could get one group or individual the best possible outcome, but others will be left unhappy. Another form of success could have most likely been achieved without force. For example, let’s look at George Orwell’s Animal Farm. At first, the animals are happy on their own, without Jones taking away their food and treating them unfairly, however at the end, Napoleon, Squeaker, and the pigs manipulate the other animals into working for them and force them to believe that “all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others” (40). This, on its own, doesn’t make any sense. You cannot be “more equal” than someone else, because that then makes you a higher status, therefore unequal. Very quickly after the rebellion, the pigs get better living conditions, and are somehow able to break all of the Commandments that were agreed upon right after the rebellion. They are able to get away with this because “somehow or other, [events and words keep slipping] out of the animals’ memory” (27). As the reader, we know of course that the animals aren’t forgetting anything, the pigs are simply coming up with excuses and changing the Commandments to fit their wants. After the rebellion, “Jones and all he [stands] for […] almost [fades] out of [the animals’] memories. They [know] that life nowadays [is] harsh and bare, that they [are] often hungry and often cold, and that they [are] usually working when they [are] not asleep. But […] in those days they had been slaves and now they [are] free, and that [makes] all the difference, as Squeaker [does] not fail to point out” (33-34). The animals know that life isn’t very good now, but because Squeaker and Napoleon convince them that everything is getting better, and now they only work for themselves, they forget that they are living the same life as before. This shows how the pigs are able to manipulate the other animals so that they can get what they want, but the animals receive little to no reward for their work. In this case, manipulation was not justified, because it was done for the gain of one group of individuals, rather than the gain of the majority. The use of manipulation and force wouldn’t have been required in the first place, had the pigs looked out for the majority and followed the rules set at the beginning. In that way, a good outcome could have been achieved without manipulation, similar to what they had directly after the rebellion, however the pigs would not have gotten the same level of comfort. In conclusion, force or manipulation is only justifiable if there is no other way to achieve a similar level of comfort/success for all individuals, however this situation is very rare.