Engulfs the world
And bright with light
Around it swirls.
The storm is strong
And restless. Though
The sky is large,
It's filled with snow.
A cloud of white
Engulfs the world
And bright with light
Around it swirls.
The storm is strong
And restless. Though
The sky is large,
It's filled with snow.
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!
By William Ernest Henley
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
The poem “Invictus” is written by William Ernest Henley. It is one of my favorite poems because it explains how a person makes his own decisions, and that he is independent. Nobody can make him do anything, except himself. When Henley says “I am the master of my fate”, he means that his decisions are up to him. The poem relates to Fenn’s motto, sua sponte, because it conveys the message “it's in your hands”. "Invictus" is a great motivational poem. It gives inspiration to readers, urging them to do whatever they can.
We're not always given what we want. The Absolutely True Story of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie, is a personal narrative novel about an Indian boy's experience outside of his reservation. I feel that the author is trying to make the reader grateful, and motivate them. The message that the book gives is that Junior is less fortunate than most people, and we should feel thankful that our parents have steady jobs and that we have futures. The author also is saying that Junior is escaping his life in the reservation to a life where he can go to college and make a future for himself, even though that is something that Indians think that they can't do.
Junior is a poor Indian boy attending school on a reservation outside of Spokane when he decides to chase his dreams at a school in a nearby town. He joins the school basketball team, only to find his best friend at the reservation, Rowdy, become his worst enemy after abandoning his tribe. Meanwhile, Junior is burdened with the deaths of his grandmother, sister, and friend. Just as things are at their absolute worst, Junior's basketball team goes on to beat Rowdy's, earning Rowdy's respect and regaining their friendship.
The story was humorous and engaging, but it was also deeply emotional. The first few chapters of exposition made me laugh. As the story went on, I started to feel bad for Junior and his family. I related to Junior's thoughts about school, but I couldn't really relate to his living conditions. I live pretty close to school, but Junior sometimes has to hitchhike. Also, I am not attracted to books. In the story, Junior shows that he and other Indians are somewhat jealous of white people, and the opportunities that they have in life.
Junior changed his life, and when the odds seemed to be stacked against him, found a life and a future in the world.
Henry David Thoreau lived in the woods "to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived." He wished to learn what he could about the world through its natural ways. The themes of life, simplicity, and wisdom are evident throughout the book Walden.
There is more to life than simply being alive. In Walden, by Henry David Thoreau, he expresses his belief that a person needs to have a purpose to really live, or else they are unimportant and meaningless. In Walden, Thoreau explores life as something deeper than working for money and spending it on pointless clothing and other things. Instead, he finds a meaning in living simply in the woods, with nature as his neighbor. Thoreau talks about why he wanted to live simply instead of a complex life like the people around him. He explains why they are meaningless, but by living deliberately, Thoreau has a much greater purpose than others:
"Most men, even in this comparatively free country, through mere ignorance and mistake, are so occupied with the factitious cares and superfluously coarse labors of life that its finer fruits cannot be plucked by them."
Thoreau understands life to a point that he can "pluck its finer fruits", or spend more time living. Since he chose to love simply in the woods, he is not engulfed in common life, like business, family, and clothing. Instead, he has enough time and knowledge to find peace and happiness in the wilderness, a place where no other man would spend their life. Throughout the rest of the book, the theme of life is evident. Thoreau describes his life of living and compares it to the life of most "normal" people.
There is no life more complex than a simple one. In Walden, Thoreau talks about his time living simply in the woods and how he was able to experience a better life because of it. Thoreau lived deliberately in the woods so that he could "make my life of equal simplicity, and I may say innocence, with Nature herself." He wanted tone as simple as he could possibly be, in an effort to find a new way of natural living. Thoreau talks about how simple life has almost disappeared from the standard way of life in Concord. He explains why everything that people have needs to be complicated for it to be used:
"Yet so far are we from simplicity and independence that, in Concord, fresh and sweet meal is rarely sold in the shops, and hominy and corn in a still coarser form are hardly used by any."
Thoreau is explaining how simplicity is disappearing in society through this metaphor. He compares the natural foods that are easy for people to make for themselves to the processed food and baked goods that are expensive and require many exotic ingredients. As you may notice, these "complex" foods have become more and more prevalent, while hominy is rarely eaten. Thoreau believes that this metaphor represents the growing complexity is society and the fading of simplicity.
It takes great wisdom to learn. In Walden, Thoreau uses his wisdom to hone his understanding of life. Throughout Thoreau's time at Walden Pond, he has been able to question the common aspects of society by discovering new, wise ways of living. He believes that the greatest way to learn is to immerse yourself in your studies. Thoreau explains why he believes that education should be acquired through experiences in life, and not through standard education:
“I cannot but think that if we had more true wisdom in these respects, not only less education would be needed, because, forsooth, more would already have been acquired, but the pecuniary expense of getting an education would in a great measure vanish.”
In this passage, Thoreau is essentially attacking the modern method of education. He is explaining how his view of education would require less school, because more people would be able to use their common sense. He believes that if people can become wiser through real life experiences, they would not need as much education. This seems contradictory, but in a sense, they are the exact opposite, for wisdom is different from knowledge. Wisdom is how one can judge a situation, how one takes in his surroundings, how one finds happiness and comfort; whereas knowledge is simply knowing facts, such as history and math. When Thoreau says "true wisdom", it means more than simply processing information.
Thoreau lived the way that he wishes everybody else to live. He urges us to live simply, purposefully, and wisely. Thoreau lead a simple life in the woods, with only the bare essentials. He lived to find meaning in life, and find a purpose. And he lived wisely, examining the deeper meanings of life and following them. Life is short. We must all find meaning in our lives.
Clothing is one thing that Thoreau doesn't care much about. He expresses this by saying "Every generation laughs at the old fashions, but follows religiously the new." He is mocking people's taste in fashion, because he thinks that fashion is unnecessary. He expands on this with the quote "Of two patterns which differ only by a few threads more or less of a particular color, the one will be sold readily, the other lie on the shelf, though it frequently happens that after the lapse of a season the latter becomes the most fashionable." Again, he shows his distaste in fashion. I think that his opinion of living simply is a major factor in this opinion. He thinks that fashion is something that is not simple, but complex, and Thoreau believes deeply in simplicity.
Thoreau also indulges in talk about shelter. However, in contrast to his opinions on clothing, is more tolerant. He says, "As for a Shelter, I will not deny that this is now a necessary of life." However, he does e plain that there is such a thing as a frivolous house, or rather one with too many things that are unneeded. In support of his appreciation of shelter, he writes this: "Who does not remember the interest with which, when young, he looked at shelving rocks, or any approach to a cave? It was the natural yearning of that portion, any portion of our most primitive ancestor which still survived in us." This explains why Thoreau seems to think that shelter is important. It is because shelter is one of our primal instincts as humans. Primitive versions of us taught themselves to find shelter in caves or dens for safety and warmth.
Although Thoreau appreciates shelter, he believes that they can be frivolous. He says "Most men appear never to have considered what a house is, and are actually though needlessly poor all their lives because they think that they must have such a one as their neighbors have." People believe that a house should be something with furniture, appliances, radios and decorations, when the actual definition of a house is actually just a shelter fit for living. The native Americans only had small tents for shelter, and Thoreau states that "I have seen Penobscot Indians, in this town, living in tents of thin cotton cloth, while the snow was nearly a foot deep around them, and I thought that they would be glad to have it deeper to keep out the wind". This shows that people need only the bare necessities of a house to live in it.
Thoreau says that he has “indulged very little in philanthropic enterprises.” However, he states that he has offered poor people money, but they prefer to remain poor. This may reflect on his preference of living simply and comparing himself to those who do not have as much as him. He later talks about how he met an Irishman who had fallen into the frozen Walden pond while cutting ice. These laborers, according to Thoreau, were less wealthy than most people. He said that the man had three pairs of pants on for warmth. Thoreau then states that "it would be a greater charity to bestow on me a flannel shirt than a whole slop-shop on him." This shows that even some of the poorest people are not always in need of everything.
What truly helps people is fully investing yourself in a cause for philanthropy. Doing things for a good cause should not be something that is meant to stand out on an application, but rather something you do just for the sake of doing. Thoreau says that if a man is very good at something he does, and if he invests his whole heart and soul and life, to continue what he does. He also says "if you give money, spend yourself with it, and do not merely abandon it to them." This means that instead of donating to someone in need, help the person learn how to support themselves. Instead of giving someone a fish, teach them how to fish. People who receive money will not always know what to do with it.
Thoreau, it seems, is almost afraid of philanthropy. He shows this by saying "if I knew for a certainty that a man was coming to my house with the conscious design of doing me good, I should run for my life". This is an agreeable statement, because most people do not want other people to make their lives better, but they would prefer to find a way to do it themselves. Thoreau then says that "A man is not a good man to me because he will feed me if I should be starving, or warm me if I should be freezing, or pull me out of a ditch if I should ever fall into one." He says this because anybody can do those things, even a dog.
I wake up to the sound of my alarm, ringing in my ears, interrupting the deep silence of sleep. My eyes are sore from adjusting to the light, and my eyelids still feel heavy from the small amount of sleep I was able to achieve. The sun was beginning to peek through my window, casting an odd ray of light across the room, although I hardly notice it. I roll out of bed and shut the alarm off. Then I lazily throw some clothes on and slump down the stairs. I sit down on the couch in my living room and doze off once more. Minutes later, my mom walks into the room with her coffee and proceeded to yell at me to “get off my butt and eat something”. I ooze into the kitchen and put a frozen waffle into the toaster. As I wait for the waffle to finish, I sit back down in a chair and shove my binders into my backpack. I stand up to go and use the bathroom, but I am immediately struck with pain from a knot in my back, due to whatever odd position I fell asleep in.
I would like to say that this is an example of a terrible morning, but it is more accurately the average of how I wake up in the mornings. I truly envy morning people.
Every year, the senior class at Fenn are given a project to work on for the entire year. This project can be about anything, from designing a car to be powered by vegetable oil to building canoes. Linked to our study of the book Walden and Henry David Thoreau’s simple 8x10 foot house, this year's project is to replicate his cabin. After school we began to build the floor and walls with hammers, nails, screws, and some big ol’ pieces of wood. Many of us were skeptical at the thought of building a house, but we were able to get so much done that we will be done with the walls in two more sessions. It seems weird building a tiny house with 25 people when it takes the same amount of people to build three story houses.
They say it takes seven years to become a good potter, but I think that isn't true. It must take at least a decade to make a good pot. Ceramics is my upper school art elective, and I thoroughly enjoy the class, the teacher, and the general concept of pottery, but it is so hard I want to scream sometimes. The first part of making a pot is centering the clay on the wheel. Sounds easy, right? Sorry. If you don't manage to wreck the pot while trying to center it, you then must make a hole, which means finding the center and prying a hole open. You can mess this up by making the hole too big, pressing through the bottom of the pot, or tearing through the wall. Then, you must shape the pots from the outside. Being the perfectionist that I am, this is where the majority of travesties occur in my pots.