Outsmart Your Brain

Reading Outsmart you Brain by Daniel.T Willingham has proven to be a very interesting experience. My entire life I have had to study for exams and havent really known how to study. I would usually tend to just cram it all in and hope for the best. However until more recently I have been studying more efficiently by rewriting my notes to understand the content then practicing it via practice test or exorcises. I have noticed that a lot of what I already do was described in this book. For example one of the things he talks about is making meaningful study guides. He really emphasizes putting the entire syllabus and make the study guide good enough to learn the entire subject from it alone. This is similar to what I already do which is rewrite my notes from a textbook, however I only write down the things I deem important which differs from Willinghams strategy. For the upcoming mock exam I will most likely make a full a thorough study guide for each subject.

He also really emphasizes that are viewing notes isn’t a good study method, and that you need to probe your mind by stimulating it. I completely agree with his point about this. I find that in my classes when I take notes in class the notes I take have never helped and I only understand the topic after rewriting new notes then practicing the theory(probing my brain).

In conclusion,  what Willingham has to say about studying is very valid and will ensure you get a high mark on your exam. My original studying styles is very close however differs in some areas, and I may consider switching to his way of studying to receive a high mark on the most important exams of my high school life coming up.

SlaughterHouse Five PR

This personal response will focus on the use of a unique timeline in SlaughterHouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut. In SlaughterHouse Five the timeline is jumbled and not linear, and instead in a non chronological order. This at first is very daunting and confusing however after continuous reading I began to notice things about this form of writing which enhanced the way the story impacted me.

First thing I noticed was how due to the era of Billy’s life switching almost every page it created a sense of tension almost like you have absolutely no idea what is coming next. Relating this to the topic of the book which is war, we can see how it is very similar. For example, in war the events that take place are very unexpected and you would feel great tension being a soldier who doesn’t know what is going to happen next. Because of this tension it makes me question if Kurt Vonnegut decided to write SlaughterHouse Five in this way to show the reader the feelings soldiers go through while fighting for their nation. 

The second thing I noticed about this form is that it reminds me slightly of past memories. For example it’s almost like the entire story is the past memories of a trauma induced soldier who only remembers bits of his past and continuously switches between them. This would make sense as there are also lots of sci-fi parts to the story which could just be imagination mixed in with the broken up memory of a soldier. Reading it in this way made me think that even if you survive the war, your brain will never be the same and memories of the horrible past will live on with you. 

The third and last thing I noticed is that because of the crazy timeline and crazy events happening and how the war scenes fit in perfectly, it’s almost like Kurt is showing us that war is just as crazy as the sci-fi parts in the book. I have never experienced war and considering how the war events fit in well with the sci-fi parts it makes me imagine that war is a truly insane and crazy thing that has happened throughout all of history.

(Im so tired)

Response to Byerman’s Essay on The Color Purple

After reading Byerman’s essay on The Color Purple, I was left confused about what his points were, and was doubtful of his knowledge of the book. Firstly, his essay took the form of a summary with little analysis and connection to his arguments. This made the points he was trying to cover seem unclear and left me confused. He also summarized the story in a different order then what was chronologically true adding to the confusion of his essay. Throughout his essay I also got a feeling of doubtfulness in his knowledge about the book. One of the main factors contributing to this feeling is when he referred to one of the characters as “Sophie,” instead of “Sophia.” This showed me that he wasn’t knowledgeable about the characters which made his arguments seem unreliable.

The Awakening – PR

The Awakening by Kate Chopin was about Edna breaking free from her traditional role in society and becoming free as a woman. The story begins with Edna in a marriage with two children. From the get go we get a feeling of disconnect from her family and her marriage to Léonce. An example is when Edna is talking with her friends and we get the passage, “they all declared that Mr. Pontellier was the best husband in the world. Mrs. Pontellier was forced to admit that she knew of none better” (p. 8). Léonce her husband is set up as a typical husband from the 1800s who is very controlling over his wife. Edna from the start feels like an object or valuable piece of jewelry to her husband as shown when Edna says, “I am no longer one of Mr. Pontellier’s possessions to dispose of or not. I give myself where I choose” (p. 128). This situation that the story begins in, sets up the rest of the story for her awakening and makes the problem the book is addressing clear. 

    One of the key characters in the story is Adele. She is set up as a perfect motherly figure in order to show contrast between her and Edna. Adele is in the story shown as beautiful, earthly, never complains and basically a perfect mother. She is also pregnant which further fits her into her role in traditional society in the 1800s. On the other hand we have Edna who is shown to care for her children but doesn’t make them her life and instead prioritized herself. The existence of Adele makes Edna’s want of being a free woman more impactful and clear to see as a reader.

    This story uses other men to also show Edna’s awakening from society. She loves Robert, hooks up with Alcee Aroban, and is married to Léonce Pontelier. On the surface this may seem like she is not a very good woman however in the context of the story it makes sense. Edna wants to be free of her societal role so she doesn’t bother to stay loyal to her husband who treats her as an object and instead loves who she wants to love. This is an awakening for edna to be able to love whoever she wants however I think she is still somewhat trapped to society as shown when she commits suicide in the last chapter. I believe this is saying that the pressure from society on women is enormous and even if you try to break free society you will just ruin yourself and be all alone. This makes me wonder if the author Kate Chopin felt the same as Edna and is trying to tell us the reader that society doesn’t have room for those who break free from it. It’s as if she is criticizing the way the world is and wants society to change and becoming willing to accept people who break free from the standards.

Pygmalion PR

(This is a bad PR, I wrote this with a headache)

Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw Is an odd adaptation of the original Greek myth, and also had amazing character development. The original Greek myth of pygmalion, the sculptor falls in love with his sculpture that he created. In this adaptation I find that it may seem different but actually much more similar than expected. At a glance we can see that professor Higgins makes Eliza a woman, and according to the Greek myth Higgins should fall in love with Eliza but that isn’t what happens in the play. At the end of the play Eliza says to Higgins, “Buy them yourself (p.72) after he requests she pick up a few things while she’s out. This is different from the myth as no love relationship happens however I noticed that Higgins in a way did begin to “love” Eliza(love as in like a friend or family not as a lover). I noticed this when he asked her to be his adopted daughter, “I’ll adopt you as my daughter and settle money on you (p.69).” Although he is in a way using her, the fact that he doesn’t just let her go completely, and instead still wants a connection with her makes me think he has begun to gain feelings towards Eliza(feelings as in for a friend or family). If we look at Eliza at the beginning of the play she is no better than a statue to Higgins however at the end he having some sort of feelings for Eliza symbolizes how Pygmalion falls in love with his sculpture.

This play also has amazing character and development of the characters. All the characters in the play are very interesting and it’s enjoyable to see how they interact with each other. I think my favourite interaction between characters is Henry Higgins and his mother Mrs. Higgins. Henry, who is very egocentric and believes he is extremely smart talks to his mother who isn’t egocentric but is in reality much smarter than Henry. I loved reading the part when Henry and Pickering try and guess the problem that eliza has and Mrs. Higgins responds with, “No, you two infinitely stupid male creatures (p.44).” This was interesting because Henry throughout the play is known as a very intelligent human but seeing him be called stupid by his mother was oth funny and interesting to me. 

The character development in this play is also worth mentioning. I’ve already talked about Higgins feelings for Eliza as the play goes on however Eliza has interesting character development as well. At the beginning of the play Eliza is not submissive at all, and won’t listen without whining and yapping. Throughout the play she begins to help Higgins with his things and does what she is told to do. However near the end of the play she reverts back to being unsubmissive and says her last line which is, Buy them yourself (p.72). This shows how she reverted back to almost her past self of not being controlled and sold. I think one of the main things this play brings up is how women sell themselves in marriage, and when Eliza says that she wont buy Higgins things it shows how she won’t sell herself and she can’t be shaped by the society around her.

PR A Doll‘s House

Ibsens, “A doll‘s House,“ made me feel lots of emotions of uncomfort and sympathy. This was because of how real the characters’ situations are, and because of the way the characters treat each other. While reading this book I always thought that the characters’ situations were created to be very realistic. For example, Nora and Torvald are a very trope-like family that most people in our day and age have knowledge about. The man works and the woman makes the man satisfied by cooking, etc. This was what it was like in the olden days and it made me feel sympathy for women who were always treated unfairly and wouldn’t be allowed to do the things men were allowed to. I believe this play was made to give lots of emphasis on the misogyny that women used to face and still do in our current day. 

    I found that in this play a lot of the time I would feel uncomfortable with Lora and Torvalds family. The family feels fake and only happy on the outside while very negative on the inside. Lora and torvolds relationship seemed like it was only held together by the security they gave each other. It was so forced that Lora would just tolerate all of the torvalds gentil verbal abuse to ensure that she would have a good family. This weird fake family happiness made me feel really uncomfortable because it is so forced and made me feel sick. Also the way everyone would talk to Lora in a childish way was super uncomfortable. It’s like they are talking to her as if she were an object or pet, hence the name “doll house.”

    I think the author really was trying to emphasize what it’s like to be in a good relationship. Equal rights, communication, honestly, and not being fake, are what I learned to make a good relationship from this play. 

Personal Response Merchant of Venice

Merchant of Venice by Shakespeare was an enjoyable play to me because of the emotions of sympathy I felt, the interesting situations, and the foreshadowing. The merchant of Venice is placed in a time where prejudice against Jewish people was very evident. One character, Shylock who is Jewish, is put in a situation where he gets involved with Christian folk. Shylock gets cheated by them, loses his daughter, his money, and even in trial he doesn’t get what was rightfully his. Because he was Jewish he was treated unfairly making me feel intense emotions of sympathy for him. On page 46, line 47 Shylock has a speech where he says, “He hath disgraced me, and hindered me half a million, laughed at my losses, mocked at my gains, thwarted my bargains…” In the speech he lists ways in which he was treated unfairly because he was a Jew and this made me sympathise with him. No one should be discriminated against because of their religion. It made me feel angry at the society which has made him lose so much. I also sympathised with him because he is seen as the antagonist of this play, even when he has done nothing wrong and has been wronged. 

The Merchant of Venice creates very interesting situations where characters do things that are illogical and this makes you interested in how it will turn out. For example, Bassanio loans money out in order to make an attempt at making more money by marrying Portia. He puts everything and his friend’s body on the line for a one out of three chance and gaining what he is after. This irrationalism that the characters have makes me curious about what would happen later in the play and what situations the characters would get into. It kept me reading and engaged because I would always expect more situations that are unrealistic and exciting.

Adding on to this The merchant of Venice has lots of clear foreshadowing which keeps you hooked to the story wanting to see what plays out. An example is when Bassanio receives a ring from Portia and is clearly told that this ring is the only thing he must not be parted from. This tells us that something is going to happen where Bassanio gives the ring away. This foreshadowing made me feel excited to see how Portia will react when that situation happens. Like my last point, it keeps you hooked to the play and allows you to continue reading and stay engaged.

This play overall was quite an enjoyable experience. You don’t really know who’s the bad or good guy, and you can decide for yourself. Each character feels good and bad. I really love stories where you can use your own perspective to determine how you perceive the story. It shows how complex the story is and I really enjoyed that part of it.


PR to Langston Hughes

The poetry of Langston Hughes has lots of meaning and makes me feel empathy. Starting with meaning, I found that his poetry had a great impact on enlightening me about racism and inequality. For example in, The Negro mother, He tells the tragic story of a black mother. The poem gave me an account of how black people were treated and showed how horrible it was. On line 7 of The Negro Mother, there is one sentance which really showed me what people did to african american people. “I am the child they stole from the sand.” This put the imagery of an innocent child being taken away from their familly and then being forced to work as a slave. This is just one example of how his poems enlightened me about what African American people went through.

Langston Hughes also creates lots of empathy in his poems which helps to show you how it was for African American people. I found this especially in “Ruby Brown,” which is about an African American girl who is treated very unfairly. She is underpaid, a prostitute, no one talks to her. The whole poem just makes me feel for her and how unfair she is treated. 


Langstons Poetry is very smart in my opinion. He is someone who wanted to tell a message about how African American people are treated unfairly and show the horror of what they go through. In order to effectively send his message out to the world to inspire people to change, he did so in the form of poetry. Poetry in my opinion is quite fun to read and still able to capture the emotion of the message. By writing his message through poetry he was able to enlighten many including me about the challenges African American people faced.

Langston Hughes has very meaningful poems which have shown me how it was for African American people and how they faced racism. The poems sound nice to read but still have deep meaning. The amount I have learned about racism while enjoying the poems themself, makes me adore Langston Hughes’ work.


PR to Candide by Voltaire

Candide by Voltaire is a very clever and satirical piece of writing. Throughout the entire story, Voltaire continues to make jokes making fun of our world, which I found very clever. I didn’t find them funny but instead I saw them as a clever way Voltaire used to spread how he thinks about this world. For example, in chapter 23, an admiral is executed in order to encourage the rest of the army to fight harder. This was a reference to a real life situation during Voltaire’s time, which was the execution of admiral John byng. Voltaire was known to have disagreed with this execution, and i think he is writting about it because he is trying to show how he felt it was stupid through satire. 


The character Candide is an innocent character which waddles through a very chaotic and depressing world. I believe Candide is just a tool for Voltaire to show how he views the world. Candide in his adventure witnesses countless chaotic and stupid things happening which are all based off real world situations. It makes me think that the reason Voltaire made candide was to show his audience the depressing nature of our world. Especially since candide is a very innocent character which emphasises the chaos because there is lots of contrast. 


Overall this book was pretty enjoyable. It concluded with an ending quotation, “we must cultivate our garden,” which I believe means that Candide now o knows to stay away from the world as it causes trouble. Just stick to your friends and family and people who are close to you. What the world does is none of your business.

Pastiche on Charles Dickens Great Expections

Pastiche 1: At such a time i saw for certain, that this colourful place, overpopulated with children, was none other than the water park: and that parents payed bored on their sun beds; and that Brandon, Coen, Alex, and Adam, teenagers who were also bored from the long lines; and that colourful slide, which looked like a skyscraper, and full of water, were the water slides; and that dirty, smelly place, was the washrooms, and that distant, over priced place was the restaurant, and the short lonely stain on the park, who was terrified of the slides, was Cameron.


pastiche 2: A British man, in a slick suit, with an accent on his tongue. A man with no hat, and with shiny shoes, and a stylish haircut on his head. A man who had travelled the world, seen it all, learned many languages, and became a teacher; who walked, and talked, and wrote with chalk, and put on his glasses as he walked into my clsasroom and lectured us.

Can you make a case that Creon was right?

One of the three stories included in The Three Theban Plays by Sophoclese, is Antigone, which takes place after Oedipus the king. Part of the reason I loved Antigone was because of how there aren’t really any bad guys. The story is mostly about a conflict between Antigone who believes that every person should be buried, and Creon who believes that traitors don’t deserve a burial. 

While reading I kept thinking that if I were Creon I wouldn’t want to give a proper burial to a traitor. But I also understood Antigone’s reason for wanting to give her brother a burial, “no brother could ever spring to light again(p.105).” However in this specific scenario I believe Creon to be more just than Antigone. Antigone basically only wants to bury her brother because it is her brother. Her reasons for her actions are solely based on bias, while Creon overlooks his bias towards a family member, and uses logic to come to a conclusion. Creon has been known in Oedipus the king as being very logical, and I still believe him to be. His decision was based on logic in the sense that you get what you deserve. If he were to give polynices a proper burial, it would be mostly based on emotions and overlook the fact that he was a traitor. If some stranger were to betray his nation then attack it, would you still want to bury him? 


Three Theban Plays – Oedious The King

Oedipus the King is one of the three Theban plays written by Sophocles. It is about the sad story of Oedipus who is cursed by a prophecy to kill his father and marry his mother. It is full of lots of ironic moments and vile things. I enjoyed this story because it has a main character who does everything he shouldn’t do, and fascinating ancient settings.


An example of Oedipus the main character doing something which is the opposite of what he should have done is when Oedipus is told by a seer that he will kill his father and then in the next few pages he does. After being told that he will kill his father he runs away from home instead of talking to his parents who he suspected to not be his parents. The entire reason he went to the seer was because of his suspicion of his parents. This scene filled me with frustration and kept me hooked onto the story.


The story also takes place in Ancient Greece. Ancient greece is a place which i’ve never studied and obviously haven’t been to. Oedipus travels to many different cities in the story. Every time he goes to a new place, I imagine what the area looks like and how it was to live in those areas. It’s almost as if I took a tour bus through ancient Greece while reading Oedipus. This encouraged me to read more and find out more about these ancient times.

Brandon Bibeau – Turning pages – summer reading – this is horrible

Turning Pages by Sotomayor motivates me to read more. Her explaining how much books have taught her and how much she enjoyed them makes me want to experience the same thing. It brings the question up, should you read books, or watch movies? I say both. Both are good for gaining knowledge and entertainment.