Tag Archives: English

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.

“Missing Chapter” From ‘The War of The Worlds’

I was assigned by my English curriculum to write a chapter that the author could have written and that could have been in a science fiction novel called The War of the Worlds, but instead decided that he didn’t want to include it. The novel was written by H. G. Wells, one of the first early sci-fi novelists. As a bit of context, Wells had a rather despairing life, which could explain the rather depressing and despairing feel throughout much of the book.

I inserted a paragraph before and after my writing to introduce the story and also help you to find your spot in the book should you chose to read the entire book. These paragraphs are underlined.

Well, here is the missing chapter from The War of the Worlds (starting three paragraphs in to chapter thirteen of book one):

It would seem that these giants spent the earlier part of the afternoon in going to and fro, transferring everything from the second and third cylinders–the second in Addlestone Golf Links and the third at Pyrford–to their original pit on Horsell Common. Over that, above the blackened heather and ruined buildings that stretched far and wide, stood one as sentinel, while the rest abandoned their vast fighting-machines and descended into the pit. They were hard at work there far into the night, and the towering pillar of dense green smoke that rose therefrom could be seen from the hills about Merrow, and even, it is said, from Banstead and Epsom Downs.

That is when I decided that if anything was ever to be done, it must be done now. What with the Martians compiling their forces and more coming yet, I truly believed that we may never again get another chance. Annihilating the Martians was something that, aside from the chance shot that killed a Martian only hours before, seemed impossible.

I racked my brain for possibilities on how we could defeat them; by we I mean humanity at large. I wandered and paced the countryside and still came upon no ideas. I started toward the military base near where the Martian had fallen. I decided with whom else it would be best to exchange and discuss humanity’s plans about our military. As I approached the swarming militia the answer hit me as the great monster’s heat ray crashed into a house. I took off running and dodging and thrusting my way between the soldiers, and made my way to their headquarters. Perhaps it was the excitement in my eyes, or maybe the speed at which I rushed to and then past them, but for whatever reason no one – no one at all – attempted to hinder me. I burst through the tent flap and was instantly surrounded by military leaders.

“I have found it! The answer! I have figured it out!” I yelled.

“What is it? For goodness sake if you have, spit it out already!”

Unable to contain myself, I practically shook with excitement as I relayed my eutopia.

“There is one thing that our men can not stand, there is one thing that prevents our weapons from destroying their disgusting bodies, there is one thing that we need to put them back in their place –”

“Well, what it is?! Speak! Blast your eloquent speech and tell us straight what you have found!” They said impatiently.

“It is their tripod machines! Without their machines, they can not move, and it has never been recorded or observed that a Martian could fire the Heat Ray without the help of those machines!”

They exclaimed words of triumph and patted me on the back. “You have surely got something there!” They said.

“And that’s not all,” I continued, “I have reasoned that we can do better than merely dispose of the machines, we can use them too. You see, we must somehow sneak up upon the Martian tripod look-out un-aware, and then silently dispose of its operator and then quickly figure out how to use it. Then we can aim the Heat Ray at the Martians and destroy them with their own weapons!”

They again exclaimed; some yelled, one bawled. They took my ideas and turned them over through their wise minds and figured out what they believed the best course of action would be.

We wasted no time. The leaders rallied their troops and they chose which soldiers were to participate on this endeavor to save man-kind; only the very best soldiers were to come. I was also to join them.

By dusk, we had everything arranged. Fifty soldiers, four officers, the commander and myself were to go. We crept swiftly and stealthily across the scorched ground the Heat Ray had left. The trouble with it all was that there was little cover to do the destruction of the tread of their tri-pods and the deadly Heat Ray. Again, and again the Heat Ray would sweep the countryside, sometimes directly over our heads. We were extremely thankful that only three of our men were killed by that intense beam at that time.

As we approached the cylinder pit, we came to realize that there was only one look-out placed above the pit. We silently rejoiced at this wonderful discovery.

We continued to get closer and closer. Periodically, the strange green smoke would waft out of the pit.

We approached the Martian sentinel from behind. When we were within two-hundred yards, ten handpicked soldiers, the commander, and I went on while the other soldiers got into a position to fire if we should need the cover. Foolish we were to think that fifty puny guns would keep of a Martian.

We snuck up until we were only fifty yards away. We used no vocal communication for fear that the Martians might hear us (we did not know at the time the limit of their poor hearing capabilities). Now only one other soldier and I approached. We were to climb the Martian tripod’s legs and kill the Martian once we reached the top.

The soldier (I never learned his name) gripped onto the leg of the first tripod leg we came to. He immediately began climbing the sturdy, DNA-like shaped ladder. I cautiously went to the next closest leg.

My tri-pod leg was a great deal more dangerous than the soldiers leg considering that mine was partially in front of the Martian until about halfway up. Stealthily we climbed, he about ten yards higher than I, paused for a brief moment to let me catch up (and undoubtably also to catch his breath).

Higher and higher we climbed. These machines being a hundred or two feet tall gave us an amazing view of the Weybridge county area.

When we reached the top of the machine completely worn out. We came together on the platform just below where the Martian sat above on the next platform. We moved with excruciatingly slow movements which were completely necessary in order to keep from making even the slightest noise. He gestured to me to keep my gun trained on the Martian as he crept up behind it. The goal was to kill it with our cutlases to avoid even the slightest noise.

We crawled under the hood of the Martian machined so quietly the mere stretching out of our fingers sounded unexplainably loud and at every breath, every hand or knee placement, I fully expected the Martian to discover us.

Finally, we reached the desired area. Cautiously, I peeked over the edge of the platform and briefly gazed at the hideous creature which we were to exterminate. I carefully raised my rifle and gently laid it on the platform before me. It was completely loaded and if the Martian was to turn its head then I was to kill it right there and then.

The soldier lifted himself over the edge of the platform and, cutlass drawn, advanced to slay the creature. When he was only two feet away, the movement of his steps intercepted on a cord and it brought objects of some sort down beside the Martian. The alerted Martian quickly glanced at the fallen objects and just as the Martian was turning its head to see what had caused the fall, the soldier brought his sword down with incredible speed and struck the Martian a foot below the top of the Martian’s body. The Martian squealed and he brought the cutlass down a second time – then a third. Finally, satisfied, the soldier gestured for me to come. I squirmed over the edge and stretched my cramped body out to my full height. Then I walked over to where the soldier stood examining the Martian. He dragged it over to the corner of the little room and then joined me at the window which was where the Martian observed the life down below.

Now that the Martian was dealt with and the nearest living creatures were at least a hundred feet below us, we considered it okay to speak. We experimented with the controls and moved each lever forward or backward, and then returned it to its original position if it seemed to do nothing. The first movement we made jerked the tripod a step back, then we moved it back once more, then forward, and sideways. There were many levers and buttons, but it was a simple joy-stick that controlled the Martians main movements. We figured out how to raise the arms and tested firing the Heat Ray. We tried to gain as much understanding about the machine as we could before the other Martians returned. Our strange futile movements no doubt caused some curiosity among the Martians, and at the same time, alerted our fellow men below that we had taken the machine.

With each movement (which were many), the circularly shaped, dead Martian rolled hither and thither across the room. This worried us very much because if the Martian rolled out from underneath the hood, it would certainly alert the Martians below. The soldier, therefore crammed it between two square shaped, steel boxes. This touching of the creature, even though it was dead, disgusted me just as worms and insects and the like disgust young girls.

This was when the first group of Martians returned. The stress I was under at this point would have been enough to kill some faint-hearted men, no doubt the soldier felt the same. His sweat glistened on his skin as he turned the machine towards the other Martians. As I saw this, I became keenly aware of the fact that I too was perspiring greatly; it was as though a river flowed out of my skin.

I raised my heat ray towards the Martians and fired it a second too soon. The ray shot through the approaching Martian’s legs. The three Martians halted not sure what happened. I fired again at the center of the rooms where the Martian would be manning the controls. The shot exploded the left side of the Machine. The machine toppled over, but I am positive that I saw the Martian crawl away.

This time there was not mistake for the Martians they fired their Heat Ray at us and the machine shuddered upon impact as the shot shattered one of the legs. We remained vertical for a short amount, but it felt like a minute as everything moved incredibly slowly. Then we toppled over and sparks flew everywhere as the machine warped when it hit the ground. I landed on the soldier, but there is no conceivable way to explain how I survived. Surely, the fall should have killed me as it did the soldier, but for whatever reason, somehow, I survived. I crawled out from the wreckage and dashed into toward the group of soldiers that we had left earlier, but they had already run away. The Martian’s Heat Ray spoke out and patches of ground around me erupted into flames. I remember no more until I reached the shore.

The angary Martians pursued me to the shoreline and there they fired off at boats that were trying to get away from the wretched creatures. One of the rays hit a boat that was just within range. The boat erupted into flames and there is not doubt that its occupants died either from the immense heat surrounding them or the fact that they probably could not make it back to shore because it was a great distance.

I saw an abandoned boat, very small and remote, drifting down-stream; and throwing off the most of my sodden clothes, I went after it, gained it, and so escaped out of that destruction. There were no oars in the boat, but I contrived to paddle, as well as my parboiled hands would allow, down the river towards Halliford and Walton, going very tediously and continually looking behind me, as you may well understand. I followed the river, because I considered that the water gave me my best chance of escape should these giants return…continued on page 47 of The War of the Worlds.

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.

Should celebrities who break the law face stricter penalties?

Lesson 138

We all know the verse, “For all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God.” Some may argue from that verse that we will all be judged the same. But there is another theme throughout Scripture which is that the leaders will endure greater reward of punishment depending on what they instruct and do.

In this essay, I will present two reasons why celebrities (or leaders) should face stricter penalties: The Bible condones and supports this opinion, and they are supposed to be leaders for us – a good example.  

The first reason for why celebrities/leaders who break the law should face stricter penalties is because the Bible supports this ideology. Consider:

“Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”

~Mathew 5:19 (KJV)


“Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.”

~James 3:1

We can see from this verse (and those similar to it) that leaders bear the consequences not only from what they do, but also from what they instruct. It therefore begs the question, “Should celebrities (and/or leaders) who break the law face stricter penalties?”

There is a lack of clarification in the assignment essay topic concerning the word “law.” I am guessing that it is speaking of the laws of man (laws which God did not institute, command, or request), but the question can really be looked at multiple ways.

You see, the basis for all good and reasonable “man-made” laws are rooted in the Law of God. So really, they are not “made-made” laws, but rather, God’s Laws. Anyone who breaks the Law of God (and does not repent) should and will be punished. As I showed you in Mathew 5 and James 3, according to God’s system of Justice, those leaders who break the Law will endure stricter punishment. Thus, if a leader breaks the Law of God, then he should be strictly judged for he sets a precedent for the people – an example.

However, if the law was a creation of man, then the judgment would be different. I would argue that, if it were not for the fact that they themselves force others to comply and follow their own man-made laws, celebrities/leaders should be judged no more strictly, neither should they be judged less.

The second reason for why celebrities/leaders that break the law should be punished strictly is that they are supposed to be an example for us. Consider what Sundial has to say concerning this subject:

“…Nicole Richie was released from prison due to overcrowding, 82 minutes into her 4-day sentence. She never even saw the inside of a jail cell. Lindsay Lohan was sentenced to only one day in jail after driving under the influence of alcohol and cocaine. Better yet, Lohan didn’t even serve her own sentence.”

These such instances can cause more impressionable and weak-minded individuals to think, “If these celebrities did such-and-such a crime, got off so easy, and then went back to living life as if nothing had happened, then why can’t I do the same?” This is not right. This is hypocritical. This is the opposite of what justice demands.

It is imperative that they get the same treatment, punishment and privilege, that we would get. It shows reality, what should really happen.

In conclusion, celebrities/leaders should be punished more strictly when they commit a crime that breaks God’s Law because people look up to them (to some, they are role models) and the Bible supports such a decision. However, when celebrities/leaders commit a crime that breaks their own laws (exposing their hypocrisy), they should be punished equally to whatever punishment would be enforced upon the general public.

Should cities provide free public Wi-Fi?

Lesson 134

Internet has become an essential part of our lives in the 21st century. However, realizing how essential it really is, there are those who are considering offering public Wi-Fi free for cities. Is this wise?

In this short persuasive essay, we will consider the pros and cons of this decision hypothesizing what would happen if governments chose to introduce this major development into our society.

The first aspect to be considered is that introducing free public Wi-Fi would create an estimated 1.2 million jobs,1 thus it appears that free Wi-Fi would help benefit those poverty stricken and/or jobless. However, these jobs may only be adding to those that are degrading to the human being and detrimental to its mind, and as such, these jobs may at some time evolve to be performed by machines and robots.

The second aspect to be considered is the benefit to consumers. Students, lawyers, and professors and teachers will be able to continue their research and study on the go. I, being a student, can see a clear benefit; however, public Wi-Fi is not secure. There is increased potential to hackers and theft. Is it really worth it? I would hold to the opinion that it would not be.

On top of all this, the cost for preparation and maintenance of the system, the increased potential for slow internet, and the cost to ISP’s (Internet Search Providers) would be tremendously expensive and are worthy considerations.

In conclusion, cities should not provide free public Wi-Fi because there is an increased potential for a breach in security; there is a great cost associated with the maintenance of such a system; and, though it will create a large number of new jobs, many of those jobs may be degrading and, in the long run, not beneficial to society.


  1. https://www.michaelbaileyassociates.com/news/it-and-ict-technology/should-cities-provide-free-public-wifi-to-its-citizens

Does true loyalty require unconditional support?

English Lesson 119

“Many people believe that loyalty–whether to an individual, an organization, or a nation–means unconditional and unquestioning support no matter what. To these people, the withdrawal of support is by definition a betrayal of loyalty. But doesn’t true loyalty sometimes require us to be critical of those we are loyal to? If we see that they are doing something that we believe is wrong, doesn’t true loyalty require us to speak up, even if we must be critical?”

~Essay Prompt

It is of my opinion that true loyalty does not require unconditional support.  Sorry if this is redundant, but unconditional support literally would mean that you would support every decision no matter what it was. This would be absurd. This statement also implies something other than what is explicitly stated. This is that without unconditional support, it may not be true loyalty. This too is ridiculous.

You can be completely loyal; you will be with them through thick and thin, but you will not necessarily immediately support every idea brought to the table. For instance, I am truly loyal to my parents; however, that doesn’t mean that I immediately endorse every single idea or beliefs they present.

The definition of loyalty does not even state that it requires unconditional support. Summarized, it basically means to show faithfulness to something.

The idea that you must show unfaltering, unquestioning, and unconditional support in order to be loyal is simply a reincarnated “Blindly follow me.” It would be as the cliché story goes: “sheep following each other off the cliff.”  In fact, showing what people believe to be unconditional support has led some to be enablers to others’ wrong behaviour.

In fact, true loyalty requires us to speak up; even though it may be perceived (by some) as critical, unkind, or even un-loyal.

In conclusion, though a by-product of your loyalty might be to show unconditional support, it is not required.

Are there some heroes who will be remembered forever? Or are all heroes doomed to be forgotten one day?

“Time has a doomsday book; on whose pages he is continually recording illustrious names. But as often as a new name is written there, an old one disappears. Only a few stands in illuminated characters never to be effaced.”

— Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Are you a hero? Who is your hero? Has your life been a testimony to others about what greatness really is? Maybe you think that your hero is the person who developed your favorite video game, or who created the make-up you love so much, but what really sets a person apart as a hero?

First off, we must define the word “hero.” According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, a hero is basically a person who has done great and noble deeds, and things worthy of admiration (sometimes referring to the divine or used in a fictional sense).

This definition explains why some say, “X is my hero;” it’s because being considered a “hero” tends to be relative.

Let me explain using a fictional story to illustrate.  Let’s say that the antagonist captures the princess. The prince then goes and defeats the antagonist (of course) and retrieves the princess (of course!). The prince was the princess’ hero, but he was the antagonist’s enemy.

It doesn’t even need to be so drastic. My Grandfather believes that Dietrich Bonhoeffer will someday be considered the hero of World War 2 (for those who don’t know, Dietrich attempted the assassination of Hitler; unfortunately, he failed). He is my Grandfather’s hero. However, to those who love Hitler (and yes, they are still around) Dietrich was scum who was treasonous against their leader. Hopefully you see what I mean.

With both of those examples, we would say that the hero was doing what was right, unselfish, and courageous. Though the opinion of the side of evil was that the hero was their nemesis (which they were), they were in the wrong. They were blind to the truth.

But shall these heroes be forgotten? The Patriarchs such as Moses and Abraham, did what was right and Bible believers would say that they are heroes. These heroes’ legacy has been alive for thousands of years and their influence has not died. Personally, I think that there will always be a remnant who hides the word of God in their heart; thus, I do not think that they will be forgotten.

Historically, men have fought against each other. The one who triumphed was considered a hero (by his side/tribe/country). Many of these heroes are now forgotten; lost in the waves of time.

But there is one Man who I know will never be forgotten. This Man was before the beginning. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. His divinity came down and lived among us. He drank the cup of our suffering and paid the price for our sins.

He is my Hero, and He will never be forgotten.

In conclusion, though some heroes will cease to be remembered, there will always be at least one Hero never to be forgotten.

Is Having Too Many Options or Choices a Problem?

English Assignment Lesson 116

“In today’s complex society there are many activities and interests competing for our time and attention. We tend to think that the more choices we have in life, the happier we will be. But having too many options–choices about how to spend our time or what interests to pursue–can be overwhelming and can make us feel like we have less freedom and less time. (Adapted from Jeff Davidson, “Six Myths of Time Management”)”

~My Essay Prompt

Personally, I think that the more options there are, the greater the chance that we will make the best decision. Consider this example: if one was to wish to go to college, one would submit requests to those desired colleges to accept you. Now, if one was accepted into 2 colleges, and the first was the correct college to go to (for some unknown reason) and the other would be a poor choice for a college, one would have a fifty percent chance of choosing the right college. However, if you were to increase the number of colleges to which you sent your request (and a possible by-product of that being that you would be accepted into more colleges) you would have a greater number of colleges to choose from, and thus, the potential to chose the best college would increase.

Admittedly, for myself anyways, the more choices I have, the more pressure I feel. But this pressure is not necessarily bad. If the pressure will force you to think harder, then by all means, pour it on! Unfortunately, for a lot of people, pressure can sometimes cause people to snap. When the snap occurs, people lose their momentum and the end up worse off then they would have if there had been steady progress under a lower amount of pressure. Procrastinators may be able to relate.

How can we make sure that we are using our full potential without endangering ourselves of snapping?

Truthfully, one’s pressure quotient will change depending on one’s experience with pressure. The ability to withstand pressure is something that has to be built up over time and experience. You have to exercise yourself.

It is also a mentality. Consequently, if you think that you can’t do it, then that is what you will end up believing and as a result, will end up acting out. So, tell yourself that you can make the right choice no matter what that particular decision might be; you can do it!

In conclusion, I think that having too many choices is not a problem. Having too many choices simply means that you have more options than you will use; it is only a matter of deciding between them. There is pressure associated with having too many options, but the ability to withstand pressure can be built up until you truly believe that you can accomplish whatever the task at hand may be.

What do you think? Is it preferable to have more or less options?

English Semester Review

Hey guys!

As I have not posted a ton of essays lately, I may have misled you into thinking that I have not been doing my school (😮…XD). Actually, they have just been piling up in a folder; I just haven’t been posting them yet. So here is my Semester Review that I made many weeks ago:

As you can see from the title above, this is my semester review. The three main points of this review will be Books Read, Essays and Assignments, and Skills Leaned.

Books Read:

The books I have read so far are these:

1. 20,000 Leagues Under the Seas by Jules Verne
2. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
3. Out on the Pampas by G. A. Henty
4. The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy
5. With Clive in India by G. A. Henty
6. Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
7. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
8. Tale of the Western Plains by G. A. Henty

20, 000 Leagues Under the Seas was actually written just as science fiction novels were starting to become a “thing.” The story is of a Professor, his man-servant, and a Canadian harpooner who were captured and spent 20,000 leagues under water in their captors’ submarine. The men go through many perils (mostly of not eating land animals!); but fortunately, escape. It was a good book and I would recommend it to any of you book-lovers. If you would like to know more about this book, you can see these essays I have written on the book:

  1. My Favorite Three Parts of 20,000 Leagues Under The Seas
  2. 20,000 Leagues Under The Seas (Book Report)

Next was A Tale of Two Cities. This book, though not bad, was one which I did not exactly enjoy as much as the others. I found that it was a bit of a confusing book; but other than that, it was an okay book and had a good story-line. Its time frame was during the French Revolution.

Then there was the book Out on the Pampas. This book was about a young family of six (people) who moved from an established and civilized town to the plains of South America. They had adventures fighting and redeeming the youngest of the family from the Indians. They all eventually moved back to civilized territory and there raised their own respective families. If you would like to know more about this book you can see my essay Out On The Pampas Or The Young Settlers Book Report.

Then was The Scarlet Pimpernel. This story was about both a woman and her husband and a daring ‘Robin Hood’ like character. It was a very good book and I would definitely recommend it! I don’t want to say too much about it and ruin the book for anyone, but I will say this for anyone who thought, “Yuck! Romance!” It’s not that bad! That’s coming from a guy too (if that gives any merit). Just like A Tale of Two Cities, it was centered around the French Revolution in London and Paris.

Then there was With Clive In India. This main plot of this story was that a young man, for various reasons, left his family to go work. However, he does not do what his Uncle picked out for him to do and chooses another more exciting occupation: soldiering. He has a very successful career and ends up becoming a very rich and renowned man. This too was a good book.

Uncle Tom’s Cabin was next. This book was an anti-slavery novel and jumped from one slave to another of the several slaves in the book as they took on their quest and for freedom. It was a good book and showed a pretty historical picture of the slave trade the cruelties and unfairness of it. This book has an interesting history to it; it came out as a serial-novel in a newspaper; meaning that individual segments of the book were released through each newspaper. This book was one of the sparks that ignited the fire of the Civil War.

Then came Pride and Prejudice, a very famous romance novel. This book was actually pretty good but was at times one of those, “When are they going to get to what I know they are going to get at” kind of books. I guess that is explained by the fact that it’s a romance novel though. It was basically about this family who weren’t well off, nor were they poor; just middle-class citizens. They were a pretty average family but had five girls (oi!). Apparently to the men in the book, they were pretty good looking, but because of their lower status certain men did not want to be joined to the girls (through marriage), and in doing so, ruin their “good name.” Eventually, most of the girls in that family marry and the main character marries the “unexpected.”

Then was Tale of the Western Plains. At the time that I am writing this review I have finished this book (actually it was this morning!) ahead of schedule; I wasn’t even supposed to have started it yet! But because I have finished it already, I will include it in this review. The book starts out with a trio of miners. One got called away on a matter of family business. However, that “one,” Bill, gets murdered. Then the murderer impersonates the lately deceased Bill and, overall, succeeded pretty well – for a time. Eventually, the nephew of the real, deceased Bill flees from his “Uncle” and for many years does and learns several occupations in the lower United States. After a time, he meets up with two miners and together they remove the imposter from his position. This was a marvelous book and I thoroughly enjoyed it (just using some of their refined English).

Just FYI, three of the eight books previously mentioned above were written by G.A. Henty who is a very good author.

Essays and Assignments:

So far, I have posted approximately 35 essays in the English category here on my blog. Here is a list of the essays:

Lesson 1: What I Did This Summer

Lesson 2: My Favourite Free Time Activity

Lesson 3: My Favourite School Subject

Lesson 4: The Furthest I Have Been From Home

Lesson 5: My Favourite Free Time Activity (Extended Edition)

Lesson 6: My Best Friend And What We Enjoy Doing Together

Lesson 7: My House

Lesson 10: Me

Lesson 12: My Three Favourite Foods

Lesson 13: Three Of My Family Members

Lesson 14: Three Places I Like To Visit

Lesson 15: My Favourite Three Parts of 20,000 Leagues Under The Seas

Lesson 16: My Favourite Colour

Lesson 17: My Favourite Birthday Present

Lesson 18: A Time That I Helped Out A Friend

Lesson 19: My Homeschool

Lesson 20: A Bad Day And How I Handled It

Lesson 25: My Favourite Types of Music

Lesson 30: Apple Pie Has Long Been Considered The Most American Dessert. Is this true? What Would I Pick As The Most American Dessert?

Lesson 31: Are People Better At Making Observations, Discoveries, And Decisions If They Have A Neutral, Unbiased, And Impartial Mindset?

Lesson 32: Do We Only Value What We Struggle For?

Lesson 33: Does The Present System Of Education Encourage Us To Admit Our Lack Of Knowledge? Or Is There To Much Pressure To Demonstrate The Acquisition Knowledge?

Lesson 34: Is It Always Essential To Tell The Truth? Or Are There Circumstances in Which It is Better To Lie?

Lesson 35: What Gives Us More Pleasure And Satisfaction – The Pursuit Of Our Desires Or The Attainment Of Them?

Lesson 36: Do We Learn More From Finding Out That We Have Made Mistakes Or From Our Successful Actions?

Lesson 37: Should We Act On Instinct Or Are There Times When An Urgent Situation Requires A Slower Response?

Lesson 38: Is It True That When We Most Need Advice We Are Least Willing To Listen To It? Or Is Good Advice Always Welcome?

Lesson 39: Do We Put To Much Emphasis On Self-Reliance And Independence? And Are We Afraid Of Admitting That We Need Other People In Our Lives?

Lesson 40: Should We Complain To Get What We Want?

Lesson 41: Does Working With Others Lead To Better Results Than Working As An Individual?

Lesson 45: 20,000 Leagues Under The Seas (Book Report)

Lesson 46: Is It Better To Care Deeply About Things Or To Remain Emotionally Detached?

Lesson 48: Out On The Pampas Or The Young Settlers (Book Report)

Lesson 51: Are Snap Judgments Better Than Decisions To Which People Give A Lot Of The Thought?

Lesson 61: Is Most Of What People Buy Totally Unnecessary?

Lesson 70: Research Paper On Butterflies

Lesson 76: Role Models

Lesson 80: Research Paper on The Slave Trade

Lesson 81:  A Post On Vulnerability

Lesson 85: Semester Report

The first 20 lessons or so was rather rudimentary learning; covering already familiar topics and expanding on them. My lesson 30 essay was really a tipping point as far as the quality of my essays are concerned. Up until then, I hadn’t been giving the essays my best effort and so naturally, they weren’t as good. After that I still had some growing as to the quality of my essays, but not so dramatic. So basically, my writing has gotten better and as a result, so have my essays.

I did many smaller essays; some being only about 200 or 300 words. Something which many of you may not have known is that not only did I have length requirements, for some of these essays I was timed. For some I had to do them within about half an hour. I also did two book reports, wrote two research papers, covered many debatable topics.

I also had to learn how to write a bibliography for the research papers I did; and as a result, I had to learn how to write different kinds of citations. The two different ways were APA and MLA and I was taught how to do it for books, movies, and websites.

Skills Learned:

Though with other curriculums I had learned to write essays (and formal presentations), I was re-taught with RPC (Ron Paul Curriculum) how to make essays. Their method was to make a mind-map, then an outline, and then a first draft. Of course, after the first draft, you can continue perfecting the paper until satisfied. During the mind-map step, you start off with an otherwise blank piece of paper except for the title in the middle, and then as you think of related topics to what you are writing about you draw arrows away from the centre box and literally “map” your thoughts. This helps to keep the paper connected. Here is a picture of a mind map I made in Lesson 15

Then you would make an outline; which basically is the very first draft of your paper. And lastly, you just finalize and perfect your paper making it flow and easier to understand. My English teacher says something that good writing is easy to read and understand, follows conventional grammar standards, and is creative or entertaining to read; which is very true, and if I may, I’d add that it be informative, concise, and give people something useful and meaningful.  I have been trying to live up to these requirements and hope to eventually accomplish these instinctively.

I have also learned to write speed essays which is a very useful skill as you are not always given the time to think about the essay and you just have to dive in. And I was taught how to write citations (which can certainly be a bit of trouble!).