Junior’s Largest Struggle

By Angelina Alexander

In Sherman Alexie’s, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Junior faces difficulties at every turn, but maintaining hope is his most constant and greatest struggle. From poverty to education to relentless discrimination, hurdles are continually attempting to dampen Junior’s spirit, he must push to keep his head held high. He fights for his rights, and an opportunity to lead a fulfilling life, all through the power of his hope- faith in the possibility of a better future fuels him. However, his hope is constantly fading away, much like a flimsy light bulb. The light fluctuates but it always returns, stubborn yet spirited. Junior’s hope drives him to transfer to Rearden, to withstand all hate, to try out for basketball, and most importantly, to stay alive. Junior’s hope motivates him, but with the horrible hand he’s been dealt, a hand filled with disadvantage and disability, maintaining his hope can be a struggle. Hope is sparse on his reservation; as a household fact, “white people” have the most hope, plain and simple (45). Everyone around him has “given up,” including his sister and her literary dream, his best friend and his temper, and his dad and his addictions (42). Junior has a difficult life, at points he feels “so weak,” but he continues to hope, which is his greatest strength yet his greatest struggle (41).



Opinion Paragraph

“It’s worth losing friends if you’re making a positive change for yourself.”

I strongly agree with this statement as everyone’s priority should be their personal happiness. Hectic and tumultuous, the world throws obstacles in everybody’s paths, forcing us to persevere. In an environment with such difficult qualities, we must put ourselves first. Loving fully and laughing earnestly is near impossible without properly prioritizing yourself. Making a life that feels full on the inside is essential before adding others to the equation. Ultimately, your life and your happiness should be your end concern. The word ‘selfish’ has an undeserving negative stigma. There is a fine line between being selfish and uncaring. The definition of selfish is, “concerned chiefly with one’s own personal profit or pleasure.” One should be caring, compassionate, and loving, without having to sacrifice their life fulfillment. If losing a friend will increase your personal mental health, then that is the path to take. Personal well being is not only necessary and good; it is a prerequisite for loving others. In the end, friends may come and go, but we stick with ourselves. As Michel De Montaigne once said, “lend yourself to others, but give yourself to yourself.”

Leadership: John Maxwell

Listening attentively to John Maxwell speak, my perspective on leadership changed.  He talked about starting the day with a positive attitude, believing in yourself, and pushing the boundaries. Before hearing him, I was oblivious to their association with leadership. These seemed tiny objectives I could put on the back burner in the chase of becoming a fantastic leader. With this newfound knowledge, I can focus on myself and set an example for my team. John Maxwell has forced me to see that my team is watching me as well, and attitude is essential to great leadership. Exposed to the power of smiling at my team, I can now grow as a leader in cultural events, eminent, adventure trips, and other TALONS events.  

The Law of the Lid spoke of setting the bar. A team can only succeed based on the leader’s ability. Essentially, if a leader is insufficient then the team will not succeed. The leader sets the possibilities for the team as they are the leading one. For example, if there is a pack of zebras and there is one leader at the front, directing the way. If the leader zebra decides to slowly and sluggishly walk, that sets the tone and pace for its pack. However, if the leader zebra is running at a persevering sprint, it allows his pack to excel and follow. The Law of the Lid was quite intimidating until I came across the next law. 

The Law of the Process puts the Law of the Lid into effect. The Law of the Process states that leaders are continually growing, and this process doesn’t happen all in one day. Developing in any educational, athletic, or artistic sense takes time and can’t be sped through. A toddler soccer player doesn’t become amazing in a day, an equestrian doesn’t learn to gallop immediately, and mathematicians don’t understand pre-calculus in an hour. The journey is part of the equation just as much as the destination. The Law of the Process tells you to focus on today and what you can achieve today. If one is always focused on the future, they don’t take the steps necessary to great leadership. Leaders must continue to improve everyday if they want to become the best version possible.

Organized Chaos: A Halloween Story

Twenty-seven. Twenty-seven pictures of different teenage girls line the confining concrete walls. Twenty-seven knives hang suspended from the ceiling, fourteen of which covered in a coat of crusting blood. For each bloody knife, there is large, red slash through one of the twenty-seven portraits. Florescent light ricochets off polished torture devices. Every item aligned perfectly, weapon symmetrical to weapon- all part of an orderly madhouse. Abnormal serenity radiates throughout the room like lulling air, eerie silence filling the space. The pungent scent of rubbing alcohol coats the floor, yet in an isolated corner lays a mauled ear, missed in the midst of the sanitation. Shackles and padlocked doors ensure no viable escape. A desk sits in the corner, covered in a sea of papers, maps, and plans. Every aspect of the chamber screams crazy, insane serial killer, yet on the papers are fresh, tear stains. 

Mary Wollstonecraft – Eminent #1 (Introduction)

Feminist, writer, visionary, Mary Wollstonecraft, “she was an enigma; stomping on eggshells that everyone tiptoed on.” -Kaitlin Foster

Image result for mary wollstonecraft

A revolutionary woman, one with charisma and resilience. Established as one of the first founding feminists, Mary channeled her fervent disbelief of gender norms into powerful literature. She wrote the established book, The Vindications of the Rights of Women (1792). Inside its pages, Mary argued that women were put on this earth with equal assets for success as men. In her time, women were merely household décor, so her book was quickly laughed upon. Centuries later, it became the handbook of feminism and herself, a mogul.

…………….Image result for mary wollstonecraftImage result for a vindication of the right of woman…………..

Born in 1759, Wollstonecraft grew up in a harmful household. Her father, the superior male, blew all their money on directionless projects and booze. He was an abuser and would drunkenly beat the women of the house. Instead of fuming and self-pitying in her room, Mary slept outside her mother’s door to protect her. As a child, she learnt a skill that others wouldn’t acquire until decades in the future; she learnt that men could and should be defied.

As she began to age, she endured more difficult experiences and oppression. Writing engrossed Mary, but all she saw were the endless closed doors and opportunities. On her path to seeking independency she came across fellow feminist, Frances Blood. Frances was the sole person who supported Mary, who shared the same rare perspective. Frances Blood died just a few years after they met, further fueling Mary’s fire.

Ahead of her time, Mary’s ideas and beliefs were diverse. Her first book, Mary: A Novel (1788) was about female sexuality; she was quickly labeled as an irrational radical as same-sex relationships were very taboo at the time, even more so than feminism. The name ‘Mary Wollstonecraft’ was associated with ridicule and contempt, which created a difficult platform for her revolutionary book, A Vindication of the Rights of Women (1792). This book was, once again, mocked by society. Mary’s opinions stayed firm, her stance summed up by this quote written by herself, “strengthen the female mind by enlarging it, and there will be an end to blind obedience.” The only issue was society didn’t want an end to blind obedience.

Mary provided a voice for those who were too scared to speak, but it took centuries for the world to accept that voice. Now, A Vindication of the Rights of Women is one of the most referenced books for feminism. Mary truly was a revolutionary and sparked a movement that desperately needed to be lit on fire. She had a backbone while remaining empathetic and insightful. Despite the oppression in her time, she kept hope through it all.

“The beginning is always today.” -Mary Wollstonecraft

Angelina Alexander Mary Wollstonecraft
Woman Woman
Half-Korean Caucasian
Writing Passion Writing Passion
Lower Class as Young Child Lower Class as Young Child
Middle Class as Teenager Middle Class as Young Adult
Activist Activist
Canadian British

The commonality between Mary and I is our passion. We both stand firm in our beliefs and want to fight for equality. Human rights and writing are very prominent interests in the both of us. Personally, writing is a mean of self-expression and healing, which is a quality I share with Mary. In Mary: A Novel she clearly says “[she writes] to relieve [her] wounded spirit.” Spiritually, Mary and I are very similar in that we are both creative and imaginative but tenacious in our beliefs. Mary and I are both motivated and driven learners, constantly wanting to test the waters and make a difference. I aspire to be as confidently strong headed as Mary was, standing up for my beliefs even when the world denies them. My goal for TALONs is to accept and embrace myself while standing up for what I believe in, unfazed by outside voices; Mary perfectly represents that. My goal is social-emotional based because I believe when you’re in a healthy mindset, you perform best academically. The largest barrier between Mary and I is our race. I am half-asian and she is caucasian, but compared to all the similarities that link us, race seems minor and irrelevant. Mary is an intriguing character and I hope to delve deeper into her relationships with her sisters and mother for my speech. Mary’s sisters, mother, and daughters seem to play a great role into Mary’s demeanor as they are often mentioned in Mary’s diaries. She is an inspiration and I am honored to have her as my eminent person.


“Mary Wollstonecraft in the Now.” Mary Wollstonecraft in the Now | Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies, http://www.wstudies.pitt.edu/blogs/gmp20/mary-wollstonecraft-now.

“Mary Wollstonecraft.” Biography.com, A&E Networks Television, 27 Feb. 2018, http://www.biography.com/people/mary-wollstonecraft-9535967.

“Mary Wollstonecraft: A Hyena in Petticoats, or Just Misunderstood?” HeadStuff, 29 Jan. 2015, http://www.headstuff.org/culture/literature/mary-wollstonecraft-hyena-petticoats-just-misunderstood/.

“Mary Wollstonecraft.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 28 Sept. 2018, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Wollstonecraft.


Independent Novel Study #1 (1/3)

The Glass Castle (by Jeannette Walls)

Jeannette is a strong, four-year-old girl. After she is injured and flung out of the vehicle, due to her dad’s reckless, under-the-influence driving, she calmly assumes she’s expendable enough for her parents to leave her behind. Her mind thinks, “they might not realize I’m gone or they might decide that it wasn’t worth the drive back to retrieve me; that, like Quixote the cat, I was a bother and a burden they could do without (30).”  She faces an intertwined external and internal conflict. Her dad recklessly immerses himself in substance abuse and defocuses on the dangers it presents his kids. Jeannette must externally handle an unstable upbringing while unconsciously, internally deal with low self-worth. Jeannette doesn’t want much, that’s the entrancing and impressive quality about her, she’s completely content with her life despite the twists and turns. She thinks every part of her life is wonderful and wants only for her family to stay together. Jeannette thinks her “dad [is] perfect, even though he [does] have what [her] Mom [calls] a bit of a drinking situation (23).”  She fears conflict as she sacrifices her own well-being for a calm household, for example, she starves silently for weeks so her siblings can eat and parents don’t argue about money.  She is not a materialistic character but she craves the approval of her father- he holds a certain power over her. I can connect to Jeannette in many, many senses but the most prominent is her altruism towards her family; the need to shield loved ones is an inherent quality in the both of us. However, Jeannette handles obstacles with an effortless appreciation that her loved ones are with her. She is quick to forgive, forget, and move on with an unfaltering smile on her face. Especially in Jeannette’s situation, I would find it difficult to remain as positive as she is. I hope to be as optimistic as little Jeannette one day.

Dad is Dying Response

“Do the benefits of Sam’s lie outweigh the issue of the lie itself?”

Sam takes a serious issue that taints lives and uses it to manipulate others. He glorifies this tragedy that destroys hundreds of thousands of hearts around the world. This practice wrongfully happens quite a bit in current day society, for example, with mental illness. Mental disability derails the lives of many, yet people still exploit it. Phrases such as, “that just gave me depression,” “you’re autistic and retarded,” and “that makes me triggered,” can be commonly heard in light-hearted conversations as punch lines. Possibly even worse than that, people are claiming mental illnesses while consciously knowing they have average mental well-being. It is familiar for one to comedically say, “I have crippling depression,” or “that gives me anxiety.” Our society is taking advantage of these detrimental situations for aid in social settings, for attention, for social relatability, and even most commonly, for comedy’s sake. That is what Sam is indirectly doing, whether he realizes it or not. He is taking advantage of a problem that legitimately taints the joy of other teenage lives. My personal belief is, “lying is completely acceptable, fun even, as long as it is not hurting anybody else.” Taking parental illness and turning it into a social advantage indirectly exploits the seriousness for everybody who genuinely suffers from that matter. Sam claims that his father is chronically ill simply because he doesn’t want to appear childish to his classmates. That day in his classroom, “all eyes were on him and he was crying plain as day. Sam thought, I am too old to be crying about a sick dog. So he began to edit (141).” Even though the benefits of this lie are unmistakable- for example, Sam’s father’s self esteem and social happiness improve significantly- this does not make Sam’s actions morally correct. Sam fabricates an entire story merely to the fear of teenage social criticism. Honesty is the foundation of a working society. We vote for prime ministers through trusting their word, we swipe right on tinder profiles with faith that they are genuine, and we pay Uber drivers on the hope that they will drive safely; as soon as we break this trust, by lies and schemes, our society falls apart. To conclude, no, it is not acceptable to exploit a life-shattering issue for personal benefit because that, that right there, is the reason our world has taken centuries to reach basic human rights for everyone. Lie about stealing your brother’s makeup from his room, but don’t take a topic that ruins lives and use it for your own benefit.

Rating Roommates (Sam is Superior)

Personally, I think Sam would make for the most intriguing, entertaining, and enjoyable roommate. The entire magnitivity of retreats revolve around rejuvenation and experimentation which Sam is the perfect fit for. Many might be concerned that Sam will cause trouble as he does not seem very vigilant, however, the weight of this con is very negligible compared to the multitude of pros in his personality. Sam rarely lacks authenticity and is unapologetically himself as he bravely states his disinterest in school, even though many adults would frown upon those words. He also has many dimensions yet to be discovered; Sam states that his favourite TV show is American Idol, from that we can infer that he enjoys music. We must remind ourselves to, as the famous quote says, “never judge a book by its cover.” Sam states that in his free time he likes to hang out with friends, that proves that he is sociable and has his fair amount of people skills. My life motto is, “the best buddy is someone you can uncontrollably laugh with.” In past experiences, I’ve found that when one is more extroverted, more laughs seem to be acquired. Sam shares this moral leaving me to believe that rooming with him will lead to a plethora of smiles. Ultimately, retreats are meant for a good time and Sam seems like the type of person who can give just that.

Digital Footprint Assignment


a) How might your digital footprint affect your future opportunities? Give at least two examples.
A digital footprint is there for eternity, unlike a letter or note, you cannot erase it. Social media is a platform for self-expression and at times we lack self control in our expression due to a high level of emotion. One might say something crude or brash in a heated moment. Employers may look at your digital footprint for any red flags. They may find things that go against their morals or criteria in your footprint, thus, costing you your opportunity. Another example is if two students are competing for a spot in a university. They may have nearly identical applications and the school cannot decide who to pick. In that scenario, they may check your digital footprint. If they find unprofessional and brash words in your footprint it can weigh their opinion negatively, costing you your university spot.

b) Describe at least three strategies that you can use to keep your digital footprint appropriate and safe.
1. Use the motto T.H.I.N.K. This motto stands for truthful, hurtful, illegal, necessary, and kind. If what you are posting does not follow these guidelines than chances are, you shouldn’t be posting it.
2. Make your accounts private and only add friends. On platforms like Instagram and Facebook you can control who can see your feed. Make sure to only add people you have met and had a conversation with. Don’t even add a friend of a friend, keep it to your tight circle.
3. Make sure you are mature enough to handle social media. Many young children get social media without fully understanding the negative side effects it can cause. Before one gets social media they should make sure they are old and mature enough to handle it. My recommendation is someone at least 13 years old.

c)If you could go back in time, is there anything you would do differently online? Think of what type of advice you would pass on to your younger self or other students. How could you go about explaining it to them?
I first got instagram during grade 4 and I posted some severely embarrassing photos. Since then I have lost the password to my grade 4 account, leaving those photos up for the world to see. If I could do something differently I would have waited until grade 6 or 7 to get Instagram. The advice I would pass on to younger students and past me would be don’t rush getting social media. Take your time and don’t let your peers pressure you, because ultimately you have to make sure you have a strong sense of self and are not easily influenced before taking a dive into the deep end. I would explain this to them by sharing experiences of those who were too young, got social media, and ended up getting cyber bullied, embarrassed, and hurt. Then I will say, “make sure you are old enough to handle these things in the event that they happen to you.” Hopefully this will scare them a bit into waiting until they are fully ready!

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