A separate peace

A Separate Peace by John Knowles

A Separate Peace is a novel by award-winning author John Knowles. In this novel, Gene Forrester is a preparatory school student whose best friend is an outgoing and much beloved athlete named Phineas. Gene finds himself struggling beside Phineas and comes to the conclusion that Phineas wants to sabotage Gene so that he can be the star of the school. When this assumption proves to be false, Gene becomes confused. Gene causes an accident that will end Phineas’ athletic career and derail his plans to join the war overseas. Gene will struggle with this single episode for months until finally Phineas learns the truth. A Separate Peace is a story of coming of age and of young men who struggle to find out who they are and what motivates them in a time of uncertainty and fear.

Gene Forrester returns to Devon, the preparatory school he once attended, fifteen years after graduation. As he walks across the campus, Gene begins to recall the year that changed his life. It was 1942, and Gene is part of the first summer term at Devon, a term designed to prepare the young men of his class for service in World War II. Gene’s roommate and best friend is Phineas, Finny, an outgoing character who can talk his way out of just about any situation. Over this summer term, between classes, the boys create a club centered around those brave enough to jump into the Devon River from a tree and create a new ball game that centers on Finny’s own unique rules.

One afternoon, Finny questions Gene’s dedication to his studies. Finny accuses Gene of wanting to be the top of the class at graduation. As Finny jokes about this, Gene finds himself wondering if Finny is really jealous of him and if he has been sabotaging his studies in order to be the top student himself. This thought causes Gene to work harder at his studies and to ignore Finny’s frequent pleas to go play. One day, Gene finally tells Finny that he is interrupting his studies. Finny is surprised and expresses a belief that Gene did not need to study, that his good grades came naturally to him. This confuses Gene and makes him angry with Finny. As the two boys prepare to jump from a tree limb into the river below, Gene shakes the limb and causes Finny to fall too early. Finny fractures his leg badly on the river bank below.

Gene finishes the summer term and returns home for a brief visit. When Gene comes back, he stops by Finny’s house to speak with him. Gene tries to tell Finny that he caused him to fall from the tree intentionally, but Finny does not believe him. Gene returns to school alone as Finny recovers. Others seem to think Gene caused Finny’s accident, but Gene brushes off the accusations and no one pushes it. In a few months, Finny comes back to school and the rumors are put to rest.

Finny returns to his same old antics, but they are tinged with some bitterness. Finny insists that the war is not real and he trains Gene so that he might take Finny’s place in the 1946 Olympics. In the middle of the winter term, one of their friends, Leper, joins the Army. A few months later, during a winter carnival that Finny has planned, Gene gets a telegram from Leper telling him he has escaped. Gene goes to see Leper only to learn that he has gotten a discharge from the army for mental instability.

One of Gene’s classmates has been bothered all along by Finny’s accident. In the middle of the night, this boy and several of his friends kidnap Gene and Finny from their room and place Gene on trial. Finny cannot recall what happened that night, but Leper, who has returned recently to the school, remembers every detail. Leper tells them Gene shook the limb, causing Finny’s accident. Finny leaves the hall in anger and falls down the marble steps.

Finny’s leg is broken again. Gene goes to visit him, but Finny is angry with him. Gene returns the next morning to apologize again. Finny accepts his apology and tells him how he had wanted to join the military, but no one would take him now. The doctor comes and asks Gene to return later because they need to set Finny’s leg. When Gene returns, he learns that Finny has died from escaped bone marrow that traveled to his heart. Gene graduates months later and enters the Navy, wiser and with the understanding that everyone deals with war in their own way.

 

The Common Effects of COVED-19

Covid-19

Here is a single word to describe the world right now: chaos. There is the world-wide pandemic called COVED-19, also known as the “coronavirus,” that is changing everybody’s lives just about everywhere. Many states in the U.S. have closed schools, airports are closed, workplaces are closed, and just about every “non-essential” public location is closed, including malls, restaurants, etc. Grocery stores have empty shelves, people are to stay at least 6 feet from each other if they must be out at all, and everyone is advised to stay quarantined in their homes. Federal officials here in the U.S. are really sort of doing too little too late, so state governments are taking over and have actually done pretty darn good so far. The economy is lowering us into the path of a recession.  Some folks aren’t being paid and kids are bored since no one is supposed to be with others outside of their households.  Cleaning supplies and hand sanitizers are getting expensive due to demand and mark-ups.  The internet is predicted to crash due to everyone trying to use it for keeping up with daily life in a digital manor, and, as I am sure this will be the most remembered effect of the pandemic, there is currently a world-wide scramble for toilet paper. No one can truly be sure how long this will all last. Schools in some states are closed for the year, others until further notice. Everything is up in the air. Even elite sports teams have canceled seasons! That is one thing I would never think to happen… they seem to go on through everything! We are sure living through history. It will probably be a unit in Social Studies classes for the next generation. Through all the craziness, we can look for some good. We can get some cleaning done, watch re-runs of the “Golden Girls,” and spend true quality time with our families. May it be over soon.

Penicillin: Compound Story Part Two

beaker

Hm, why is this newspaper dated in 1929? Roni thought. Maybe I should ask them how to get home I guess…

“Howard, we just isolated the pure Penicillin from the mold juice!” The unknown man exclaimed at Roni.

“Penicillin? I was just reading about that compound with my grandma!” Roni stated proudly.

The man looked confused though and then laughed, “You are so funny, Howard. Now let’s actually get to work. How about you jot down the physical and chemical properties of this pure Penicillin for further research. Here, grab something to scribble on and I will tell you what to write.” He handed Roni a notepad and pencil.

“But I am not Howard. My name is actually Roni, sir,” Roni stated. Both the men looked at Roni in confusion.

“Hello, Roni. My name is Ernst Chain.” The man with the mold juice said jokingly. Roni realized that it was pointless to convince these men that he is not the Howard they know.

Maybe I look like their Howard. Roni thought. Ernst grabbed gloves and some googles as he looked at the pure penicillin, and did something to it that Roni could not see.

“Jot down that the boiling point is 663.3±55.0 °C at 760 mmHg and the melting point of Penicillin is 214-217 °C.” The man, now identified as Ernst, said.

The Cure, Part 5

Andrea jumped. Shouting filled the air. People in gowns and suits and crowns rushed over to a person on the ground.

“What’s going on?” she shouted. “What happened?” Similar questions emanated from around her.

She pushed through the crowd, fighting to see the fallen person.

Her stomach dropped. Was it the plague? It hardly ever attacked royals. Her mind reeled through all of the terrifying possibilities, but nothing could have prepared her for what she saw.

Lying on the marble floor, deathly pale and eyes bulging and bloodshot, was High Queen Callista.

“No,” Andrea gasped. Tears flowed down her face. Her mother had the plague. Panic filled her mind, making everything foggy. She couldn’t live anymore. She couldn’t do this . . .

The sharp feeling of nails digging into her arm woke her up out of her daze. “We have to get out of here,” Prince Darian pleaded. “The plague is fast moving. We have to leave or we’ll die!”

Her mind cleared. She had to leave. Now. Around her royalty collapsed. The sound of skulls hitting the floor rang out. But . . . she couldn’t leave! Her mother was dying! This was her home!

An infected home that she couldn’t stay in much longer.

The truth penetrated her mind, and she hesitated before saying, “Okay.”

Prince Darian hauled her up off of her knees. She found herself sprinting, leading him through through the now dark and ominous ballroom, through mounds of fallen people. She dashed to the front entrance, cavernous and illuminated with flickering candles. She pulled open the ornate silver doors and down the shining glass path away from the palace. 

Time and tears blurred, until she found Prince Darian saying, “You don’t have to run anymore.”

They were standing in the vivid green grass outside of the evergreen forest, large and snowy. She found herself shaking, from cold and from fear, holding Prince Darian’s hand like it was the only thing left.

Sadness struck her like a monster digging in its claws. He was the only one left. Nobody had made it out of the palace with them. She took a trembling breath and said, “We’re the only survivors.”

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by: C.S. Lewis (Book Two)

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by: C.S. Lewis (Book Two)

“I’m very sorry, Mr. Tumnus,” said Lucy. “But please let me go home.”
– Lucy to Mr. Tumnus, a Faun

Cast of Characters:
The Greatest Character
Aslan: “The King, Lord of the whole wood, and son of the Emperor across the Sea. Aslan is the Lion, the Great Lion. He comes and goes as and when he pleases; he comes to overthrow the witch and save Narnia…”
The Main Characters:
The Pevensies (there are four of them and this is oldest to youngest)
Peter Pevensie: King Peter the Magnificent, and the High King
Susan Pevensie: Queen Susan the Gentle
Edmund Pevensie: King Edmund the Just
Lucy Pevensie: Queen Lucy the Valiant
*they all send Narnia into its Golden Age during their rein until they disappear*
Other Important Characters
Mr. Tumnus: the Faun who was in charge of killing the Daughters of Eve (Lucy and Susan) by the White Witch, first person to meet Lucy, is an ally and friend for the Pevensie children
The White Witch: also known as Jadis, always makes Narnia stay in winter but never Christmas, shows no mercy, all the Narnians hate her
Mr. and Mrs. Beaver: the ones that meet the Pevensie children after Mr. Tumnus’ arrest, goes on an adventure with them to overthrow the White Witch, etc.

*Whew! That was a very long intro! But this is my favorite book in the whole series… but I promise that I’ll shorten the body “paragraph”*

While playing hide and seek, Lucy finds that there is another world hidden behind all the coats in the wardrobe. Nobody believes her at first, saying that she’s crazy and making this up, but that ended up with Lucy crying and everyone feeling guilty (except Edmund).

Edmund loves being mean to his siblings for no reason. (teenage mood swings much?) Trying to kill his siblings just for food . . . Maybe that’s why Jadis wanted to use him.
ANYWHO.

One day, they walked into the closet to avoid a very mean person, and found that Narnia does exist and that no, Lucy wasn’t lying. Once they enter Narnia, they quickly learn of the mistreatment the White Witch (Jadis) has done to all the Narnians. Therefore, everyone, but Edmund because he has his own mission, must go to Cair Percival to end her rule. With the help of some people.

Read on to figure out how the battle goes and everything else.
Until next time . . . read on!

 

To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before: Always and Forever, Lara Jean

Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han

Always and Forever, Laura Jean is the third installment in Jenny Han’s Laura Jean trilogy. The previous novels in the trilogy, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and P.S. I Still Love You, have followed Lara Jean Song Covey, a half-Korean, half-Caucasian teenager as she comes of age. This novel completes the series, following Lara Jean’s final year of high school and her venture into the world beyond. The novel begins with first-person narrator Lara Jean at a party with her boyfriend, Peter Kavinsky. They leave the party so he can get her home before curfew. Since they have a little extra time, they go to the campus of the University of Virginia, the college that Peter has been accepted to on a lacrosse scholarship, and the college that Lara Jean has wanted to go to ever since she was a little girl. Lara Jean’s mother passed away when she was ten years old, and before she died she took classes at UVA. It is important to Lara Jean that she gets into UVA so that she can feel connected with her mother and so she can remain close to her family. Her father and younger sister, Kitty, are very important to her, and she wants to be able to see them every week. Peter takes Lara Jean home and she goes to sleep. The next day, Lara Jean decorates Easter eggs to take to the retirement home where she used to work and she Skypes her older sister, Margot, who is in college in Scotland. The next day, Lara Jean goes to deliver the eggs to the retirement home and to visit her favorite resident, Stormy. Later that day, Lara Jean bakes in an attempt to create the perfect chocolate chip cookie. She, Peter, and Kitty watch movies and then Peter leaves to help his mother. The next day, Lara Jean brings more cookies to school with her and shares them with her friends. At home, she has dinner with her family and her father’s girlfriend, Trina. That weekend, Lara Jean goes on the class trip to New York City. Peter stages a prom proposal straight out of Lara Jean’s favorite movie, Sleepless in Seattle. When she goes back to school, she gets notified that UVA has rejected her.

Lara Jean is depressed after being rejected from the college. She decides to make Peter a scrapbook to take with him to UVA without her. Lara Jean gets accepted into the College of William and Mary and decides to go there for a year and then transfer to UVA for her sophomore year. Lara Jean’s sister Margot comes home for the break with her boyfriend Ravi. Margot does not like how close Trina and her father have gotten. She urges Lara Jean to give William and Mary a chance, but Lara Jean does not take her advice. Their father tells them that he wants to propose to Trina and the girls are happy except for Margot, who only pretends to be happy for him. Margot goes back to Scotland and their father proposes to Trina, who says yes. Lara Jean starts planning the perfect wedding.

Trina sells her house and moves in with Lara Jean and her family. Lara Jean goes to Peter’s lacrosse game and sits next to his mother, who tells her that it might be for the best that she did not get into UVA. When Lara Jean gets up to buy popcorn, she sees a man who looks just like Peter. He turns out to be Peter’s estranged father who left the family and started a new one. He wants to reunite with Peter, but Peter is not open to a reunion. He asks Lara Jean not to tell Peter that he was there, and Lara Jean agrees. Later that week, Peter tells Lara Jean that his father showed up at his house. Lara Jean encourages him to give his father a chance, but Peter is resistant. Lara Jean and Peter go to prom together and dance all night. Afterwards, Peter plans a surprise birthday party for Lara Jean and recreates the iconic cake scene from Sixteen Candles. Peter goes to a lacrosse training camp for the weekend and Lara misses him. When Lara Jean gets an acceptance letter from the University of North Carolina, a prestigious school, she takes an impromptu road trip to the campus with her friend Chris. Lara Jean decides she wants to go to school at UNC and give it a real chance. Her family is excited for her.

When Lara Jean tells Peter about UNC, he is less than thrilled. He gets drunk at a party and cannot drive her home. She continues to encourage him to invite his father to graduation but he is resistant; he does however offer to throw a bachelor party at a steak house for Lara Jean’s father. When yearbooks are handed out, Lara Jean gives hers to Peter to sign, but he cannot think of anything to write so he brings it home with him. He keeps telling her that he has forgotten it until the last day of school, when she goes to his house and sees that he has not written anything. She is upset, but he tells her that he has invited his father to graduation so she is happy for him. The day of graduation, Lara Jean’s family members give her gifts and her father surprises her with a month-long trip to Korea. At graduation, Peter’s father does not show up. Lara Jean feels terrible, but does not have enough time to console him.

Peter arrives early in the morning to pick up Lara Jean and take her to Beach Week. When he finds out that Lara Jean is going to Korea for most of the summer, he is upset. During Beach Week, they get in a fight at a party. When Lara Jean tries to apologize with French toast, Peter refuses to eat anything. Later that night, they make up and Peter walks Lara Jean to her beach house. She invites him up and tells him she wants to lose her virginity to him. He says he thinks that she is only doing it because they got into a fight and asks her if she even wants to transfer to UVA anymore. She says that she does not know and then he leaves. Lara Jean drives home with her friends and Peter texts her to apologize and to ask her to hang out that night. Then his mother calls Lara Jean and invites her over. She tells Lara Jean that Peter has been talking about transferring to UNC, which means he would lose his lacrosse scholarship. Lara Jean assures her that she will talk to Peter, but his mother suggests that they should break up so Peter can focus on school and lacrosse. Lara Jean leaves and cancels her plans with Peter. The next night, she attends Trina’s bachelorette party at a karaoke bar and steals sips of drinks. She gets drunk and when Peter shows up, she breaks up with him. The next day, she wants to take it back, but fears he will not accept her apology or take her back. At her father’s wedding, Peter shows up and he and Lara Jean decide to get back together and to try to make a long-distance relationship work. He gives her back her yearbook, inside of which he has written a list of promises: he will write her a letter every week; they will call each other every day; they will always tell the truth; and he will love her forever. On the night before Lara Jean goes to college, she goes to the lake to watch a meteor shower with Peter and they are as in love as ever before.

Captain America: The Hero

Captain America

In a movie series of many individuals who originate from different elements from in and out of our world, come together to form the Avengers. Iron man (also referred to as Tony Stark), a highly accomplished inventor, uses his ability to add intelligence and thought into the group’s actions. The Hulk and Bruce Banner, a two-sided entity, who brings strength and muscle to the team; whether its physical strength, cause from the use of gamma rays, or mental intelligence strength, depending on whichever face he wears. Black Widow (also referred to as Natasha Romanoff) is the smallest in size due to her feminine state, however, her large amount of determination and dedication to the purpose of the Avengers, cancels out her small appearance. Thor, the alien from Asgard, is the reckless warrior, who shows the most amount of protectiveness towards his home, his family (including his brother Loki), and his team.

Captain America is the Avengers’ Blast from the Past! leader. Captain America (also referred to as Steve Rogers) comes from the small town of Brooklyn, New York. Because of his small, skinny state, Rogers is frequently bullied until his longest friend, Bucky, comes to his rescue. After multiple attempts, Rogers was able to enlist in the United States Army, only to be turned into a Super-Soldier. With his honest and positive disposition, the body-altering serum now in his blood, Captain America brings strategy, honesty, and loyalty not only to the Avengers but to those who are bullied and treated unfairly, causing Captain America to fit the role of a hero.

Captain America was originally introduced to the division of S.H.I.E.L.D during World War II and later introduced to the forming of the Avengers in the early 2000s. Captain America has since been willing to do whatever is needed to protect the people of Earth and to carry out the goal of the Avengers. According to Vogler’s writings and guidelines, a hero is one of two varieties; unwilling and willing. In the movie, The Winter Soldier, the S.H.I.E.L.D base is over-run by a group of HYDRA agents. To identify the identities of the HYDRA agents, Caption America speaks out, stating what the agents have done and that they must be stopped. To prove his commitment to stopping HYDRA, Rogers states, “The price of freedom is high; it always has been. But it’s a price I’m willing to pay.” Without knowing whether or not his speech swayed any confused S.H.I.E.L.D operators, Captain America and Natasha Romanoff (Black Widow) continue into the fight against HYDRA.

Without knowing Steve Roger’s background, one would think Captain America to be flawless. He is a strong American soldier that is always there to lead his team. However, Rogers may be TOO strong compared to your average American soldier. From the effects of a super-soldier serum, Rogers gains the increased strength and speed that a normal human does not have. Although his strength and speed make him different, it isn’t necessarily considered a flaw. Steve Rogers is from the past, so to say. During World War II, the Captain sacrifices himself to save the lives of millions of people located in New York. By landing a fast-moving plane into the icy waters, Rogers is forced unconscious and is covered in thick ice, the only protection he receives is from his Adamantium and Vibranium shield. In his “previous, past” life, Steve Rogers had a relationship with the agent Carter. Since his disunion with Peggy Carter, Rogers has felt as if he is missing a part of his life. During the movie Avengers: Endgame, Captain America is sent back into time to find one of the six infinity stone, and while he is in 1970 New Jersey, Rogers notices a picture of him on a desk. He later identifies the desk to be Agent Peggy Carter’s desk. Towards the end of the movie, Captain America travels back into time to return the six stolen infinity stones, however, the captain doesn’t return during his allotted time. Steve Rogers had made the decision to stay in the 1970s time period with Peggy Carter. The captain had strict orders to return the stones and return without changing the timeline, Rogers, however, had decided on his own to stay, which caused him to display a sense of hastiness or recklessness towards the possible outcome of a change in the timeline.

Throughout the course of Captain America’s movies, he experiences the death of his childhood best friend, his mid 1900s romantic partner, and of the symbolical death of his past self. During the movie Captain America: The First Avenger, Rogers and his friend Bucky are on a fast-moving train, when the side is blasted open. With the force of the wind and the change in air pressure, Bucky is cast outward and falls to his death before the Captain is able to save him. When Rogers wakes up from his coma, he learns that he was asleep for seventy years and Peggy Carter, his romantic partner, is close to death. Once she does die, he is left in a time period where he knows no one; he had lost his best friend seventy years earlier and now he had lost the love of his life. According to Vogler’s writing and guidelines of heroes, a symbolic death may represent a hero’s failure or the loss of themselves. In Captain America’s case, he lost the part of him that lives in the 1900s; the part of him that fought as a soldier and with soldiers. Vogler continues to write of how a symbolical death may include the hero to make a sacrifice. Steve Rogers continues to sacrifice himself throughout the movies, whether it be when he is fighting a robot who calls himself Ultron, an alien who wishes to decrease Earth’s population, or fighting his long-lost childhood best friend.

            A sacrifice from a hero, is their willingness to give up something valuable, whether it’s an object or even their life, in favor of a group or a purpose, according to the writings of Vogler. In the movie Captain America: Winter Soldier, Bucky is under control and is forced to forget his relationship with Rogers and ordered to kill the captain. While trying to do so, Captain America and Bucky are fighting, when Rogers stops and tells Bucky, “I’m not gonna fight you. You’re my friend.” Bucky continues to fight Rogers, without the captain not fighting back, causing Captain America to fall unconscious and out of the plane. Captain America sacrifices his life on the belief that he won’t hurt or fight his friend, even if they don’t remember their friendship.

           Throughout the seven movies that Captain America makes an appearance in, he doesn’t show much of a growth in character. Throughout, a significant change in his character may be how he leads his team of superheroes. In the beginning of Roger’s leadership, he treats the Avengers as more of a soldier unit rather than a team of superheroes. As time progresses, the captain learns to treat them as a group of people who have the power and reception to question and discuss rather than just follow a simple order.

             According to Vogler, a hero is either willing, unwilling, a loner, or group oriented; has character flaws, whether they are obvious or not. A hero makes sacrifices, either its sacrificing themselves or an object. A hero must have some kind of confrontation with death, and they grow as a character. In the case for Captain America, is a hero willing to give up his life for his beliefs and for the Avengers. He knows of his flaws and he lets his flaws shape who he is as a person. He has come into some kind of confrontation with death, whether it be symbolical or a relationship loss. He is a Hero.