I asked my mother to try to remember an old story
she knows about our family. At first, she felt that she would not be able
to remember anything interesting, but about twenty minutes later she came
to me with a story of my great grandfather on her mind. It was a story she
was told by her mother years ago. Many years ago in Indiana, my
grandmother lived with my great grandparents in a very small town. My
great grandfather was a member of a workers union, and at that particular
time, the union was on strike. At that time, unions had very little power
and strikes were illegal. As the strike went on for a while, the law was
forced to step in.
My great grandfather, along with a few other
members was thrown in the local prison. This was a very small town and the
sheriff knew these men well. He knew they were very good and honest people
and he respected them. After a while, the sheriff felt it was ridiculous
to watch such decent men sit in cells all day long, so he made a deal with
them. He would allow the men to go home everyday for a few hours, as long
as the men returned by 7 pm. This made my grandmother happy because she
was unable to see her father. One time she did visit him, but he told her
to leave, telling her, “It is not suitable for a young lady to be in a
county jail.” I am not able to get all the details of this story from my
mother because she does not know all the details by heart. Also my
grandmother is deceased so the full story may never be known.
do know that I find the story kind of funny and regard my great
grandfather as a very proud and good man. From this story about my great
grandfather, I feel that a lesson can be learned. If a person believes in
something enough then he/she will do things that display how much
character the person has. For a hardworking father to go to jail for his
beliefs, it shows us that he was very strong and devoted to his union, a
loyalty rarely spotted today.
On an urban
street in the town of Jamaica Plain, it is often hard to find a patch of
grass on the sidewalk that is not used for the planting of flowers or much
of anything. Near my house on Custer Street in Jamaica Plain, amidst the
cars and frequent people on route to the Arboretum, is a big, empty green
patch of grass on the sidewalk. For two weeks I observed the changes that
this spot went through, whether by the hands of Mother Nature or the by
hands of a human being. Thoreau said, "Direct your eye right inward, and
you'll find a thousand regions in your mind yet undiscovered. Travel them,
and be expert in home-cosmography.” After living in my home for ten
years, I never discovered this place until recently.
One day I observed twelve dogs pass by this patch of grass. Of the
twelve, two of the dogs chose to poop right on this patch. The owner of
the first dog was prepared and happy to clean up after her dog. The
second owner did not clean up after his dog, even though he had a plastic
bag in his hand. After his dog did its thing, the guy walked away. The
funny thing is that the same man cleaned up after his dog the day before
when his dog pooped across the street. I feel that many people are very
considerate in my neighborhood and thought for a minute about this. When
I watched the man I realized that he felt that the patch of grass is an
ignored spot that no one cares about. After this observation I am sure
that I chose a correct spot for this topic.
On one occasion I looked very closely into the patch of grass. All
over were these nasty little bugs. At first I thought about how dirty
that the spot was and that it was very gross. Then I began to think that
this spot was more than just a patch of barren grass. It was also a home
to all of these little creepy crawlers. In a way this is kind of a stupid
point, but I think of this spot as an American one because it provides a
home for these creatures. The tall grass provides protection for them and
they are able to live in peace. If they were in a spot in Afghanistan, I
can assure you that the bugs would not be as safe and as healthy.
One Saturday morning I sat on my porch and observed the patch of grass.
It became pretty boring so I began to drift a bit off. Then I noticed
across the street, my neighbor was clipping a similar patch of grass on
her side of the street. When she was finished, it did look much more
attractive and nice. I wondered for a minute why this lady was messing
with the sidewalk anyway? Isn’t that the job of the city? Then I looked
at the patch of grass on my side of the street that I have been observing,
it was getting long and there was some trash in it, very ugly in
comparison. Then I thought, Maybe this spot is ignored mainly because of
me? Maybe I should be the one to care for this spot because it is near my
I found that observing this spot in nature was not too fun. I think
Thoreau was a very strong-minded man for him to spend such a long time in
the woods. I found that I did enjoy having an excuse to sit outside in
the fresh air. Now when I look at this spot I will feel like it is mine,
and that I should start to take care of it so that it can shine along with
other beautiful things in nature. Emerson said, "The greatest delight
which the fields and woods minister is the suggestion of an occult between
man and the vegetable." I have come to realize that this spot is not just
a piece of property near my house, but has now become part of me.
Bobby was always a bit of a trouble maker in school. He
was not a bad kid, but one who enjoyed having fun.
One day he and his friend James walked down the hallway of Boston Latin
School looking for something to do. "We can either go to gym and play ball
or wait for class to end in the bathroom," James said to Bobby. Then from
around the corner walked a student named Miles. Miles is an annoying kid
who is the class clown. "Hey what's up Bobby? Hey James what's up James
Dog?" Then Bobby and James pick up Miles and put him in a big trash
dumpster sitting in the hallway. "What are you guys doing?" yells Miles.
Bobby and James then run to the gym laughing.
Meanwhile, Miles is stuck in the dumpster and is screaming hysterically.
When Mr. Myers finds him, Miles tells him who did this and they go
straight to Principle Kelly's office. When Ms. Kelley hears the story it
is a bit exxagerated and she becomes furious. When Bobby gets home, his
parents are waiting for him. "What is wrong with you?" asks his mother.
The practical joke is almost cleared from his mind by this time because it
is almost a regular occurence, so Bobby looks puzzled, angering his
parents further. "You have an expulsion hearing tommorow!" screams his
Within a few days, Bobby is expelled from Boston Latin School and in
search of a new school to accept him. He applies to Catholic Memorial. He
writes on his application that he, "Is in search of a Catholic environment
where he can prosper." He promises a certain Dean of Discipline that he
plans to change his behavior for the better. Bobby is accepted to CM and
is happy to be in school again.
Immediately Bobby is the new troublemaker at CM. He racks up countless
jugs, a few suspensions, and many times he is kicked out of class. One day
Bobby decides to get drunk before school. He drinks ten Natural Ice beers
and walks to school. He stinks of alchohol and is stumbling everywhere. "
I don't think you should go to school today," I warn him at the Shell gas
station. He ignores me and walks right in and gets caught.
Within a couple days he is expelled from CM and in search of a new school.
On all of his applications he sends out to schools, the same phrase: "I am
in search of a new environment where I can prosper."
Emily Dickinson was a woman who kept to herself and
was quite reluctant to share her work with others. She only published
seven of her one thousand seven hundred and seventy five poems she wrote
during her lifetime. She also preferred to seclude herself alone in her
home for the last many years of her life. This loneliness may have
prompted Dickinson to write about tragic things such as death. In the
poem, “I Heard a Fly Buzz—When I Died—,“ Dickinson gives the reader new
way to think about the end of life.
In this poem, the speaker is very much prepared for death. It is not
something that has suddenly hit the speaker without warning. Dickinson
I willed my Keepsakes—Signed away
What portion of me be
Dickinson makes death appear to be acceptable to the speaker, who does not
at all seem to fear that her life is soon over. Dickinson does this by
writing about such a sad topic, but not writing about it in a sad tone.
The speaker has done what she needed to do and is now ready and waiting
for what is going to happen to her. This is a unique way to think about
death because death seems like something that would be extremely difficult
to prepare for.
Dickinson’s writing leaves me with many questions. Some are, “What
point is Dickinson trying to make?” and “ How does Dickinson feel that she
knows what death is like?” To answer my first question, I feel that
Dickinson is trying to show the reader the thought process of a person who
is dying and try to capture the final moments of human life. She writes:
“And then the Windows failed—and then/ I could not see--.” To answer my
second question, I feel that because of Dickinson’s secluded lifestyle,
she truly believes that she knows the feeling of death. She lived a
peculiar last years of her life and may have felt that due to her
loneliness, she was already dead in a way. I get this feeling even more
vividly when she writes, “I could not see--” to end the poem.
The poem contrasts life and death. Dickinson does this by
writing about a living creature buzzing, the fly, and a person who is
about to die. She writes that everything is slowing down to the person
and that he/she feels that everything is very still and calm, except for a
fly buzzing. She writes:
I heard a Fly buzz—when I died—
The stillness in the Room
Was like the Stillness in the Air—
Between the Heaves of Storm—
This makes me feel that death is a stage of life, one that can be full of
calmness and tranquility. Dickinson makes death seem peaceful amidst the
annoying buzzing of the fly. The fly represent that life still remain
when one person’s life comes to a close.
Dickinson’s poem, “I Heard a Fly Buzz—When I Died—,“ is one that
makes the mind of the reader take extra steps to try and understand death.
One cannot simply read the words and get a true grasp of the meaning.
She does not write about how death affects the dead person’s family and
friends, something many of us have already experienced. Instead, she takes
the reader through the mind of a dying person, something that can only be
discovered once. This sensation is something no one can live to tell
about, which makes it such a complex idea. This poem is a good example of
Dickinson’s work because it is simply put, while it has a deep concept.
A sport is defined as an activity involving
physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes
against another or others for entertainment. Some sports are more popular
than others in the United States. The game of table tennis is a sport
primarily played by two opponents, called singles, and sometimes four,
with two on each team, referred to as doubles. One may find a table
tennis table in a local recreation room or even at a pool hall. The sport
is played on a rectangular table with a net in the center. Opponents
stand on opposite ends of the table and hit a small ball back and forth
over the net with small wooden paddles. The object is to hit the ball at
the opposition’s side of the table in a way that he cannot return the ball
back to the other side. This sport is not as popular in the United States
as it is in Europe and in Asia. I feel that Americans do not adopt the
sport very well because it is not a team sport and the togetherness aspect
we see so much in American sports is not involved. Another aspect that
may draw Americans from it is that it lacks physical exertion and
excitement because the players are standing at a table and not moving
around much at all.
Professional table tennis player Tahl Leibovitzis is twenty-six
years old and plays in competitions around the world. He started playing
the sport when he was fifteen years old at the South Queens Boys Club in
New York City. He did so in order to get off the streets and keep himself
out of trouble. “ I saw few people playing the sport. I thought I could
play OK” (Hodges). Leibovitzis was drawn to the sport because he is
physically disabled, but is able to play at a very high level. His main
disability is benign tumors in most areas of his body. When asked about
how often he plays, he responds, “I would like to say that I train six
days a week five hours a day, but the truth is that I hardly play. Not
because I don’t want to but because there aren’t many people to play. In
our table tennis club a lot of times the club is empty. I try and play at
least two times a week.” He has a reputation as being one of the “Bad
Boys” in table tennis for some of his actions. “I think table tennis
sometimes needs things to pump it up. To make the game more exciting. I
think certain conflicts help entice the game. I do feel, however, that I
am good person. I don’t do things to upset people, I think I do them more
to create conflict and have a bit of fun.” This type of attitude could
bring many more fans to the sport, such as people of this exciting nature
have excited Americans in getting interested in other sports.
Harry Pappas is a junior in high school. His parents bought him
a table tennis set when he was in the fifth grade. He says “ I really
enjoy playing the game because it is not physically draining and anyone
can learn it with practice” (Pappas). Pappas and his twin brother
practiced for years in the basement of their home. Soon Bobby brought his
skills to the Brighton YMCA and later to some competitions in Jamaica
Plain and Mission Hill. “ I am not a gifted athlete when it comes to many
sports, but table tennis allows me to show people something I perform well
in.” When I asked him why he thinks the sport is not very popular in the
United States he replied, “ Americans don’t cling to sports that do not
have long past times in or country. Table tennis is, however, in a sense
an American idea because with hard work and dedication almost anyone can
succeed in the sport. It does not require great physical athleticism, to
me it is ninety-five percent mental.” What Harry loves so much about the
sport is that he can decide how often he wants to play or how far he wants
to pursue the game. The only complaint he has about the game is “ I can
hardly ever find anyone to play with if there are not any local
Table tennis is a sport that can be found on a stage as huge as
the Olympic games and also in the comfort of many homes. One can also
find table tennis tables in recreation rooms and in pool halls. It is a
game of strategy and skill, and a sport that all those who I either spoke
to or read about, feel is on the rise in popularity. One does not see the
sport shown on ESPN or in the paper, but it is a very interesting and fun
game. In order for Americans to grasp the sport, they must play it for