Tag Archives: Books

What should Virginia have done before giving editor Norman $500,000?

In the utopian fiction novel, In His Steps by Charles Sheldon, a rich, popular, and prosperous newspaper man, Edward Norman, falls into near bankruptcy after making a pledge to do what Jesus would do. Edward Norman does not, in fact, in my opinion, do what Jesus would do. He acts stupidly (see the footnote for greater information) by refusing to advertise anymore for the tobacco and beer industries and he also decides he will not cover any of the subjectively “un-godly” important news or gossip. He quickly reaps the consequences of making such an action and loses a great deal of subscribers and is on the verge of bankruptcy when he pleads his case to a rich young heiress named Virginia Page. Virginia had been feeling rather conflicted about what is to be done with her inherited funds, as she had also taken the pledge to do as Jesus would do. She felt that it was wrong for her to be possession of such a great deal of wealth, and was unsure of “What Jesus Would Do” in her situation.

So, when editor Edward Norman pleaded his case to young Virginia Page, she readily agrees to give him $500, 000 (adjusted for inflation, this number would be equivalent to millions in today’s dollar).

In this essay, I will present my opinion on what Virginia should have done before giving Edward Norman $500, 000.

First of all, we can well see that Norman has a failing business. When one goes from a state of great wealth, to one of poverty in a relatively short amount of time, you know that there is a problem that must be resolved.

So, what was the problem?

The problem was not that Norman didn’t have the original funds to make the newspaper work; he was previously a very wealthy man. No, the problem was in his business plan. It was that his business plan was a failure.

Thus, the first thing Virginia should have done was to investigate his business plan, see that it was an obvious failure, and help him to design a successful business plan.

As it turns out, Edward did have a new business plan in mind. But Virginia didn’t know that. For all she knew, she could have been wasting a great deal of money that could have done a lot of good for the poor people of her area.


Some of you may be wondering why I think that Norman acted stupidly by quitting his advertising for the beer and tobacco industries and by not covering any of the subjectively ungodly important news or gossip.

First of all, while I disagree with his ideology that the Bible says that it would be wrong to advertise for the beer and tobacco industries, if one believes that God is telling them to do so, then one should definitely do as one feels led.

However, Editor Norman earned almost all of his income through those advertisements and through coverage of those “ungodly” reports.

I would argue that instead of going bankrupt, Norman should have sold his business and with his life savings (which were very large) start a new (subjectively) more “godly” one.

A Ridiculous Piece of Utopian Literature

English Lesson 160

As you will all remember from my last post in which I covered several aspects of the very popular socialist utopian fiction novel Looking Backward (written by Edward Bellamy), the main character Mr. West (a man born in the 1800’s) was miraculously preserved in a vegetative sleep for over a century. I left off in my last post discussing the fallacious actions of Dr. Leete. I have now completed reading the book.

This book, as you will see if you complete reading my last post and this one, was a ridiculous piece of utopian literature. However, it amazingly inspired many people of the 18th century (the time in which the book was written) to embrace the concepts of communism. This book was a huge proponent in the rise of the communist ideology.

To bring you up to speed, Mr. West finds that he has fallen in love with Edith Leete. He then finds out that she is the grand-daughter of Mr. West’s old fiancé (the one to whom he was betrothed before he left her behind in the 19th century). He finds that she has also been in love with him…

And so it seems that they will live happily ever after. Then he goes to sleep.

Now he wakes up…except, he is back in the 19th century. The author now informs us that his vision of the 21st century was all merely a dream! Mr. West goes around views his society and the class system therein to be horrendous. It is with new eyes that he lectures and rebukes the men of the day on his enlightenment and the glory that the future can hold. However, the men reject him and are violent toward him – calling him names. Then, all of sudden…

He wakes up. Now the author informs us that he dreamed about having a dream and that the reality was what we would consider the least probable and the most akin to fiction. It is now that he goes and lives his utopian life.

This essay will be my opinion on which of the two “dreams” was more realistic: When he woke up in 1887 or 2000.

I will inform you that it was, in fact, rather disappointing to read that his utopian revelation had been but a dream; and that it was rather relieving to find that his dream of having a dream was a dream. However, it is my opinion that that his dream of waking up in 1887 was much more realistic.

The first reason for why the dream of waking up in 1887 is more realistic is because of the reactions of the countrymen. While Mr. West had been a pushover and simply accepted everything as “the way it is,” the countrymen thought him looney. They laughed and mocked him. Their reaction was a natural, realistic one.

The second reason for why the dream of waking up in 1887 is more realistic is because of the inconsistencies in the plot that had polluted the story thus far. While the novel had managed to convert thousands to the socialist mindset (in real life), it had not only failed to show how the characters in the novel had managed the peaceful, bloodless revolution of the transition from the peak of Capitalism to the alleged perfection of Socialism; it had neglected to include an action step – a call for action – the first step towards achieving the society outlined and portrayed in great detail throughout the book. It made no sense that the wealthy of society would, out of the blue, give up all their riches to the state where the state would re-distribute all the wealth. There was no mention to the steps of the formation of the government, only descriptions of how the government looked once fully formed.

In summary, the dream of waking up in 1887 after his vision of the year 2000 was more realistic than the “dream” of waking up in the year 2000 because of the reactions of the reactions to do socialist idealism and also because of the inconsistencies of the alternative option.

Out On The Pampas or The Young Settlers Book Report!

Lesson 48





“No one is strong in himself, but God gives strength.”

~G.A. Henty


Today I will be doing a book report on Out on the Pampas. The book is centered around 1851 and was written by G. A. Henty. This was a good book and I would recommend reading it if you haven’t already!

Around 1850, Frank Hardy and his wife, Clara Hardy, decided to move to South America. It seems that one of the reasons for which they chose to partake upon this journey was for the betterment of their boys.

Frank Hardy was a Father (of 4 children) and a husband (of one). He was a tall and active man of about 40 years old.

Clara Hardy was a high-spirited woman. Though Frank Hardy was five years her senior in age, she scarcely looked 30.

Charley Hardy (hmm, it rhymes!) was a young man, and at the beginning of the story, was 15 years of age.

Hurbert Hardy at the beginning of the story was a teenager of the age of 14.

Maud Hardy was a girl and at the beginning of the story was about 12 years old. She seemed to be a little bit of a Tom-boy and liked to ride horses and had a pretty good aim with a firearm.

Ethel Hardy the youngest of the Hardy’s and was a young girl about a year younger than her sister. Though Ethel could also shoot a firearm, she seemed to be a bit of the quieter type.

When the Hardy children were presented with the news that they were to move to South America, the boys were happy at the idea that they might be able to fight Indians, and the girls were a bit surprised! Nonetheless, they all seemed excited for the relocation of what we call home (AKA: the move).

Mr. Hardy wanted the boys to have experience with some trades. He therefore had the boys be a sort of apprentice; they learned gardening and carpentering. Mr. Hardy also said something to the effect that he would talk to some farmers so that the boys could learn a little bit about plowing.

Just because the girls were younger they didn’t get off scot-free; they had to learn cooking. After a while they actually got rather decent at it.

In order, however, for the Hardy’s to be able to communicate with some of the native people of South America, the needed to speak the native language. Therefore, they had a person who spoke Spanish fluently come and live with them. Because the boys were out at their jobs and were older (and maybe other reasons) the girls surpassed their brothers in the knowledge of the language and probably had some enjoyment listening to their brothers’ blunders!

You may remember how I mentioned that the boys were rather excited to fight the Indians. Well, even though their Father said, “I do not know that we shall have fights with Indians…” he still acquired a fairly large stock of firearms and taught the boys how to shoot the firearms while still living in England (they did this without their Mother and sisters knowing too much about it).

The Hardy’s also had a housemaid. She had been an orphan and the Hardys had taken her in as a nursemaid. As time went on, they no longer required the services of a nurse maid; she then stayed on as a housemaid. She also was planning to come along on the journey. Mr. Hardy had her sign to stay with them one year after which she could marry. This was wise because Mr. Hardy knew that they would need help in their first year on the pampas. This was also wise because he knew that there were not many young English women and he also knew that there were some well-to-do Englishmen in the country that they were moving to.

The boys by now had become more muscular, the girls better cooks, and the family better at speaking Spanish!

They boarded a ship that took them to South America. Upon arrival, they were welcomed by an old friend of Mr. Hardy named Mr. Thompson who was fairly well off financially.

Frank Hardy bought some land for a fairly reasonable price. However, this land was in the sort of area that the Indians might attack, but Mr. Hardy would become well prepared if it was to come to that.

They eventually had a house, a place for their dairy operation, farm land well maintained, places for their servants, an irrigation system, livestock, and more! They were well prepared if Indians were attack. They had a tower in the house that could serve as a lookout, firearms, rockets (to light up the space and also to scare the Indians), and a fence.

Of course, this all took time, and children will be children, and these children grew. Also, Sarah their maid got married to one of their men and so stayed with them.

The Hardy family eventually was attacked by the Indians – twice. Both were won by the Hardy family, and the last of the two made Frank a respected man among the Indians.  

While I don’t believe that the Indians ever attacked the Hardy’s property again, their friend’s property was attacked and unfortunately, Ethel had stayed the night!

The Hardy’s were delivered the message via messenger and of course were distressed. However, they began to hope that terrible as it would be, Ethel had been carried off alive.

They recruited men to help them recapture Ethel from the Indians. After some hardships, the men found a signal left by one of the Indians who was on good terms with the Hardy family as they had saved his life. The signal found, they located the Indian village where Ethel was located; and with the help of the kind Indian, recaptured Ethel.

Now, when it was found out that Ethel was the daughter of the “white Chief,” anger ensued towards her. This was probably because of the loss of lives which the Hardys had in protection for themselves, reaped upon the Indians.

However, before they could kill her or even really torture her, she was saved by the Indian and two others whose lives had been spared by her family.

While they had rescued Ethel, the rescue operation had caused a bit of a stir (a bit?). A fight followed in which many died – including the death of two of their comrades. There were also many wounded, and Charley had the side of his face completely laid open!

However, the group of rescuers were glad to have Ethel back. There were other changes that took place after the fight including the loss of the Indian leader and the election of the Raven (the Indian who had saved Ethel’s life) to the position of leader. This caused the Indians to become on good terms with the Hardys.

The Hardys, now much older than they were when they arrived (and a good bit wealthier) made plans. These plans included that the girls and their Mother would leave to go back to England. Two years later Frank followed them and made England his permanent home, although he may have come back from time-to-time to visit Charley and Hurbert (who were now running the estancia). As time went on, all four of the children, who had now become young adults, were married.  Eventually, Charley settled down into the life of a country gentlemen; Hurbert’s income was sufficient for his wants and he became a member of a number of scientific societies; Maud married a man by the name of Mr. Cooper; and Ethel married a rising barrister in London.

All in all, the decision to move to South America was a profitable one and one that changed their lives for the better!

I will end with a quote from the book:

“The girls are very happy with the men of their choice; and Mr. and Mrs. Hardy have always some of their children or grandchildren staying with them, and often amuse the young ones with tales of how their fathers or mothers fought the Indians on the pampas of South America.”


20,000 Leagues Under The Seas Book Report

Lesson 45

“Nature’s creative power is far beyond man’s instinct of destruction.”
― Jules Verne

Do you like the sea? If so, do you think you would still think it as amazing if you were forced to spend 43, 200 miles or 69523.6608 kilometers under the sea? Well, today I am doing a book report on 20,000 Leagues Under the Seas.

Now, some people may think that it is 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (No plural). Actually, according to my sources, it is plural: 20,000 Leagues Under the Seas. The book starts out with a Professor (his name being Pierre Aronnax) and his man-servant, Conseil. The Professor is invited to pursue a mysterious sea creature which had been threatening man-kind. During the pursuit they meet a Canadian called Ned Land (who at times can be rather tempered). Unfortunately, the Professor ends up overboard, and Conseil (being the good manservant he was) follows after his master. They later find out that Ned Land, too, had ended up overboard. They then found that the mysterious creature they had been searching for was underneath them. They found that it was not a creature at all. In fact, it was a submersible. The three men were then captured by men from inside the submersible; and so, the trio began their imprisonment. I won’t finish the summary as you should read it and find out for yourself how they executed their escape and how their lives were changed by their journey of 20, 000 leagues under the seas (approximately 43, 200 miles or 69523.6608 kilometers).

Today I will be comparing two of the characters in the story – Counseil and Captain Nemo.

As already mentioned, Conseil was Professor Aronnax’s very obedient manservant. The young man was about 30 years old and rarely, if ever, did he give advice to his master. He was a hard working man, was rarely tossed about by life’s sudden waves, and was very skillful with his hands. However, though he was usually efficient in everything he did, he comically, only addressed his master in the third person. He had extensive knowledge as to the classification of sea creatures, however, could not name the creatures themselves very well.

Captain Nemo was the leader of his band of under-water sea pirates. He had an extraordinary hatred for some of mankind, and so, he distanced himself from humanity except when wanting to enact revenge. In fact, he generally seemed misanthropic. He did not talk much about his past life with his prisoners and was addressed as Captain Nemo (Nemo means something to the effect of: No one). He could speak several languages and seemed to be a very educated man, but was rather secretive concerning his past.

Captain Nemo and Conseil are similar because they both liked the sea.

They are different, however, because although they both had masters, Captain Nemo’s master was the hatred for man-kind, whereas Conseil’s master was a good human.

In conclusion, Conseil and Captian Nemo are similar because they both like the sea. However, they had very different masters.




The book 20,000 Leagues Under The Seas

Photo Credits:

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.ca/pin/466404105159302518/