In Holt’s essay, “Code Breaker” he describes the achievements of Alan Turing; breaking the German Enigma code and creating the blueprint for the modern computer. Holt briefly speaks to Turing’s homosexuality and mysterious death. Holt doesn't successfully portray the trials and difficulties Turing experienced during his lifetime because he aims to portray his successes, not his difficulties. Furthermore, he doesn't aim to emotionally engage the reader to think about what life was like for gay men at the time.

Holt doesn't aim to successfully portray the trials and difficulties Turing experienced during his lifetime. Holt wants the reader to see past Turing’s homosexuality. He aims to showcase all of Turing’s successes.  Holt’s tone states that he wants to give the proper acknowledgment to Turing for his accomplishments. He speaks to Turing’s mysterious death and secret homosexuality to engage the reader, then follows by writing, “[a]nother [secret], however, had not come to light” his achievements such as, breaking the German Enigma code and creating the blueprint for the modern computer. Holt says that biographies and broadways “gave a lucid account of his technical achievement” (344) but “gets wrong the central idea of a ‘computable number’” (344). These examples imply that his primary focus is to shed light on Turing’s achievements, not his homosexuality.

Holt only mentions Turing’s death and homosexuality to engage the reader. Holt does not do so to engage the reader to think about what life was like for gay men at the time. The essay is not called, “What Life was like for Gay Men in 1900’s” it is called “Code-Breaker”.  Any good writer knows, the first few sentences are vital in intriguing your audience. This is why Holt begins his essay by including the mysterious “death by poison apple” and “gross indecency” (337).

As a writer Holt understands that there are certain procedures to follow in order to engage a reader. He uses this knowledge to engage the reader but not to portray Turing’s difficulties but rather to shed light on his achievements. Holt speaks to Turing’s homosexuality and death only to dismiss the idea that this information is relevant when speaking to a man who “solved the most important logic problem of his time, saved the countless lives by defeating a Nazi code, conceived the computer, and rethought how mind arises from matter” (346). 


Jun. 9th, 2013 11:41 pm
 Thomas King’s fictional story “Borders” is about a woman who, when stopped at the border, would rather identify as Blackfoot than Canadian or American. The woman, who is travelling with her son, is going to see her daughter, Laetitia in Salt Lake City. King tells the story through the Blackfoot woman’s 12 year old son. King strategically bases the story at the Coutts border to make the reader consider both the physical and metaphorical borders that exist in the story. Although, the physical border is where the story takes place, this is not what King’s title “Border” is referring to. King cleverly leaves this up for interpretation. King wants the reader to think about the many metaphorical borders in the story.

The relationship between the mother and daughter in the story can be a metaphorical interpretation. There is a constant bickering between the two. The daughter clearly wants to leave and be a grownup at the age of 17. There is that borderline of where a mother needs to let go of her children. The back and forth between the mother and daughter exemplifies the struggle that the mother is going through knowing that her daughter is growing up. The mother continuously counters Laetitia’s excitement of “wanting to see the world” (132) with the argument that things are just as good on their reserve.

Although the story is told from the young child’s perspective it is evident that the mother wants to teach her son a life lesson. The metaphorical border between the mother and sons relationship is that she knows Laetitia has done well (possibly from other influences) and the mother would like to reciprocate this into the way she raises her son. Her stubborn approach to the “border” situation is subliminally teaching her son to acknowledge his Blackfoot ancestry. Often things that stick with you are messages that weren’t conventionally relayed. The mother does this not only by addressing only with being Blackfoot but in other ways too. For example, when she tells her son, “[w]hen I was a little girl, my grandmother used to take me and my sisters out on the prairies and tell us stories about the stars” (142). The boy seems to not be paying attention by talking about other things, but will retain the story just as he will forever remember his mother not declaring her citizenship anything other than, Blackfoot at the border.

The most obvious metaphor in King’s “Borders” is perhaps the border in which the mother identifies herself with. The mother chooses to straddle herself between borders because she chooses not to identify with being Canadian or American but rather Blackfoot. Although this is a fictional story the message is quite clear. Many First Nations people lived on land that was not separated by an invisible American/Canadian border. The mother intends to make this point not only for herself, but for her son.

Thomas King strategically places a physical American and Canadian border in order to engage the reader into understanding the Blackfoot woman’s scenario. There are many metaphorical borders in Thomas King’s “Borders” such as the borders between the mother and the daughter, the mother and son and between her Blackfoot identity and her Canadian citizenship. There are many different interpretations to be made about the metaphorical aspects within the story. What is most interesting is the way that King leaves it to the reader to decide. 

Jenifer Turpin's essay, “Women Confronting War” effectively engages the audience and pulls them in to gain a deeper understanding of the effect that war has on women. Turpin’s topic is something that most would not think about; when most people think of war they instantly think of the classic male soldier and how it affects him. To write from the angle of how war affects women is something that instantly engages the reader. The topics of the Turpin’s essay are extreme and brutal. The essay is well structured and the arguments are fast and straight to the point. Turpin uses this rhetoric to engage and support her argument that, “[w]omen suffer from war in many ways, including, dying, experiencing sexual abuse and torture and losing loved ones, homes and communities” (325).

Every line is meant to give the audience the information to gain an understanding of Turpin’s argument. Under the header, Women as Direct Casualties, Turpin references Hauchler and Kennedy saying that “[w]omen and their children continue to be the vast majority of these civilian casualties” (325) speaking to the 90% of civilian casualties in 1990 due to war (325). Under Women as War Refugees, Turpin says that, “[b]y the end of 1992 more than 46 million people had lost their homes; about 36 million of these were women and girls” (325). This information is both shocking and factual.

The headers alone pull on the heartstrings of the audience. When Turpin speaks to Wartime and Sexual Violence Against Women, she stresses that none of the women affected by war are safe from rape and prostitution. Turpin elaborates that, “being young and pretty has very little to do with becoming a victim of wartime rape” (326) because there are also many cases where elderly women have been raped due to their vulnerability (326). Turpin addresses the “psychological torture” (326) that occurs when rape results in pregnancy by explaining, “women may be shunned by their own families and communities, viewed as tainted, worthless ‘property’” (326). The thought of experiencing rape and not having your family for support is heart-wrenching.

Making sure that every line begs, “tell me more” Turpin changes the topic to prostitution. She explains “[w]artime prostitution may be either physically forced or economically coerced” (327). Young women, orphaned and non-orphaned girls often turn to this as a way to provide for themselves and their families. Turpin concludes by speaking of Wartime Domestic Violence. She acknowledges the increase in women that are abused physically and sexually in their own homes. Women suffer from wartime domestic violence not just from their husbands but often from their sons. Turpin makes each sentence count towards educating her audience on the many ways in which women are affected by war.

                By the end of the essay, “Women Confronting War”, the audience is informed that men are not the only victims of war. Turpin uses shocking statistics and unfathomable information to appeal to the audience’s emotions. Women should not be forgotten during wartime because they are most likely to die, become refugees and victims in their own homes, be raped and forced into prostitution. “Women Confronting War” is an essay meant to voice a sad truth which should be understood and recognized by everyone. 
Wade Davis: Gorgeous photos of a backyard wilderness worth saving

Using spectacular photographs as his platform, Wade Davis speaks to the proposal of the Enbridge pipeline. He begins by speaking to the natural beauty of his backyard, Canada. Davis speaks specifically to the territory of the Tahltan people. The territory is rich of untouched wilderness that spreads larger than Oregon State. Davis shares while working as a forest ranger in the territory, he was privileged and honoured to meet a Tahltan elder named, Alec Jack. Davis states that he and Alec Jack exchanged stories for 30 years. Before passing, Alec Jack gifted Davis with a tool used traditionally to skin out the eye lids of wolves. Initially not knowing what the gift meant, Davis soon realized that the gift was a metaphor in that he needed to open his eyes to his surroundings. Davis explains that the isolation of this territory has become the territories doom. He explains that 41 industrial proposals have been brought forth: mining projects, fracking projects, and the oil pipeline proposal. These projects will create millions of tonnes of toxic waste to destroy rivers, streams and land. Davis describes that for over a decade the Tahltan peoples have been standing up to these corporate giants. Davis elaborates that the Tahltan people are in need of help from communities all over the globe. He also speaks to the fact that if these proposals go through there will be universal problems. Davis makes a plea to Shell and other oil companies alike to discontinue their projects in order to protect the land. In his closing remarks, Davis asks the audience and viewers to join him in the fight to protect the territory of the Tahltan people so it lasts for eternity.
"The Game", by Ken Dryden, speaks to the negative and positive aspects of being a celebrity. Dryden seems in turmoil, constantly reciprocating negatives after positives and vice versa, this leads me to believe being a celebrity creates a battle within. Dryden writes that celebrities “hate the nuisance” of fans but at the same time it makes them “feel special”. (133) In terms of his image, Dryden mentions that if he didn’t like the image of himself that was being portrayed, he could do something that was “good for [his] image” or stop doing something that was “bad for [his] image” or he says, “I can do something to change my image”. (135) The continuous alternation throughout the text is precisely the message Dryden is trying to relay; being a celebrity creates an internal battle.



June 2013



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