Hamilton: Dear Theodosia DOL

A) Character Development

In “Dear Theodosia”, Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton serenade their children. Burr sings to his daughter, Theodosia, and Hamilton sings to his son, Philip. They sing lyrics of wanting their children to stay safe, live healthy lives, and grow up in a better world. Throughout this song, we experience irony, foreshadowing, and plenty of character development.

To start off, let’s look at Aaron Burr’s character development. Burr is portrayed as the antagonist throughout the musical, mainly because he is Hamilton’s enemy and ends up killing Hamilton. However, in “Dear Theodosia”, we see his softer side and begin to humanize him. Burr plans and prepares all of his actions with caution. As a very calculated man, Burr rarely takes risks or allows room for mistakes. Due to this, we see how Theodosia causes a major shift in Burr’s mindset when he tells her, “I’ll make a million mistakes” (Hamilton). Theodosia opens up a softer side of her dad.
Burr also sings, “when you smile, you knock me out, I fall apart” (Hamilton). This line ties into one of Burr’s lines from the song ‘Aaron Burr, Sir’ where he says, “talk less, smile more, don’t let them know what your against or fighting for” (Hamilton). In ‘Aaron Burr, Sir”,  Burr associates smiles with calculation, strategy, and manipulation. Theodosia’s pure smile is stark in contrast to this, which is most likely why it throws Burr so heavily. 

In the song ‘Dear Theodosia’, we also see a few key personality traits of Hamilton. When Hamilton sings, “I’ll do whatever it takes” to his son about creating a better world for him, it reveals his forwardness in his actions (Hamilton). Through this line, Hamilton evidently believes that he can and will succeed, which, in comparison to Burr’s line about making mistakes, reveals Hamilton’s arrogance and confidence.

Despite all the personal character developments, the main element of this song is its ability to showcase the similarities between Hamilton and Burr. As they serenade their children, we see their softer sides and their motivation behind their fights for the American Revolution. They just want to create a better world for their children. We also see their difficult pasts with absent fathers, which further fueled their want to be present in their kids’ lives. This common ground and similarities between Burr and Hamilton are very important due to their dislike for each other.

This song also contains some foreshadowing irony (spoilers ahead). Burr and Hamilton sing of protecting their children from no harm, but their children both die before their fathers. Burr’s daughter, Theodosia, dies at sea when she is 29 on a trip to see her father. Hamilton’s son, Philip, dies in combat with a man that makes fun of Hamilton, thus, aggravating Philip to fight him. As you can see, it is quite ironic how Burr and Hamilton sing of protecting their children, yet, Theodosia and Philip die to causes surrounding their fathers. Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr sing to their children, “you’ll blow us all away,” which foreshadows to their children literally being blown away and killed later on (Hamilton).

B) Connections to Historical Elements

While “Dear Theodosia” contributes more to character development of the musical than the actual American Revolution, but we do gain insight on why many people fought so hard. People poured blood, sweat, and tears into this revolution so that their children and the next generation could live better lives. Another perspective to take on is female rights. Burr sings to Theodosia about creating a world where she can shine (he follows through and educates her on many men dominated topics such as arithmetics). At the time that this took place, women had very few rights and were seen as inferior to men.

“Dear Theodosia” connects mainly to the Big Idea that says “disparities in power alter the balance of relationships between individuals and between societies.” Injustices and disparities in power drove the American Revolution to occur, but if looking at “Dear Theodosia” specifically, we can take on the female angle. Aaron Burr serenades his daughter saying he wants her to have a better life where she can thrive. In the late 1700s, women had little to no rights. They were seen as possessions of men, and had many educational, economical, and social regulations. Burr sings “we’ll give the world to you/ and you’ll blow us all away” showing his beliefs and wants for Theodosia to be given the world (Hamilton). She drove him to fight which altered Burr’s relationship with her and with society.

C) Guided Question

You will come of age with our young nation

We’ll bleed and fight for you

We’ll make it right for you

These lines from Hamilton and Burr reveal their motivation to make the world right for their children. To break it down, let’s start with the first portion of the line “you will come of age with our young nation.” They strived to make a world where their children did not have to experience the British oppression or the negatives of living in a society with colonies. They wanted their children to grow up with a new nation of freedom, stripped from all the difficult conditions that currently existed. The next section says “we’ll bleed and fight for you.” The American Revolution was very difficult to say the least. Blood was shed and people threw their lives in disarray for the revolution. In order to fight relentlessly, many need external motivation such as, fighting for their children and loved ones. The last section, and most important in my opinion, says “we’ll make it right for you.” In that section, Hamilton and Burr show their want to create a better society for their children to grow up in. Since the American Revolution held many hardships, people needed to keep an end goal in mind to keep persevering. Hamilton and Burr portray that perfectly in fighting to make the world right for their children.

The American Revolution forced many to drastically change their views on life and the way they approached everyday. For example, Burr learns to make mistakes and fight relentlessly for Theodosia to live a proper life. While the American Revolution did not make much of an impact in female rights, parents fought for their children to grow up in a better society. The American Revolution was messy and it took away some privileges and easy luxuries in many people’s lives, but it was in hope for a brighter future. Overall, the American Revolution forced people to throw their lives into disarray for their loved ones.





Ecological Footprint

The Plan:

My ecological footprint is 5.54 hectares. Compared to some, like Kate who got 7.2, this is a decently good score. However, compared to Amanda who got 3.742, this is quite a high score. Depending on what perspective you look at my ecological footprint from, I think I have an average score.

There are many actions keeping my score high. For starters, transportation, play, and living space are both quite high due to the sports I play. With transportation, after school I have back-to-back extracurriculars, so I have to be driven to them. This spikes my transportation score, despite my dad driving a hybrid. My score for play was quite large because, again, of the sports I play. I play in a gym and field, which is quite a bit of land, and I use a moderate amount of equipment. Of course, the use of gyms, fields, and social outings at the mall, increase my living space score. Fields are quite large and the amount of people on our team does not compensate for the land. Some controllable aspects are my water usage and clothing. I took 10 + minute showers, did not wear the same clothes everyday, rarely wore second hand clothes, and wore matching socks. I bought my lunch for two of the three days and bought plastic/paper wrapped food.

I chose to aim on reducing my shower time, re wearing my clothes, wearing second hand clothes, wearing mismatched socks, and packing my lunch in advance. I chose these because they are achievable. For example, transportation, living space, and equipment would be difficult to reduce due to my extracurriculars. Reducing my shower time is an effective and realistic action to take. I will change from 10+ minute showers to 3-5 minute showers. I will do this by setting a timer on my phone or playing a song. Once the timer/song is over, I will end my shower. I plan to re wear my clothes on multiple days because this will create a more minimalistic routine, while remaining an achievable goal. I will do this by rotating between two different pairs of pants and two different tops most days. Correlating to re wearing my clothes, I will wear mainly second hand clothing. I find joy in thrift shopping so I own a few tops and bottoms from Value Village. I own one pair of jeans, one sweater, and two t-shirts. I will make a conscious effort to wear at least one of these items everyday- unless an external force prevents me, such as, an all-day sport tournament. Still on the clothing topic, I plan to wear mismatched socks. I chose to do this because individual socks often go missing, and instead of throwing them out or shoving them to the back of my dresser, I can still make use of them. I aim to wear mismatched socks in any occasion where I have them in my dresser, thus, utilizing all my clothing. Finally, I will pack my lunch in advance. I chose this action to prevent the unnecessary amount of buying outside food. By doing so, I save money and reduce my ecological footprint. I am vegetarian, so I don’t have to worry about meat consumption affecting my ecological footprint at all. On top of this, I will pack my lunch in reusable tupperware containers. In order to achieve this action, I must wake up around 20 minutes earlier to prepare my lunch. I will grocery shop to get food to pack for myself, then pack my lunch for the next few weeks (and potentially more).

The Reflection:

Wearing mismatched socks and reducing my shower time proved to be quite easy and effective tasks. Wearing mismatched socks was a simple, straightforward task that did not require much effort. Instead of neglecting the single socks at the back of my drawer, I wore them. Reducing my shower time required more work, but still easy overall. Despite my longing for a long shower, I motivated myself to follow through by remembering my end goal. It was more difficult to pack my lunch every morning. I have to go to school for block 1 every morning because my older sister has block 1. Between the 25 minute commute and arriving to school for 8 AM, I found it more difficult to find time to pack a nutritious lunch. However, I still followed through and packed my lunch every morning. Sometimes my lunch was quite sparse and lacked nutrition, but I got into a habit of waking up earlier and creating lunch. This became a natural part of my mornings. I also found it more difficult to wear the same clothing everyday. I succeeded in the pants, wearing one pair regularly and sometimes wearing a second. However, I am not the tidiest person and my top would get dirty, so I rotated to different items in my closet. The weather also changed irregularly, so I had to adjust my clothing. An obstacle I encountered was wearing second hand clothing. I found my sweater was too heavy for the weather, but I had outgrown my t-shirts. This threw a rut in my plan. I still wore my thrifted ripped jeans regularly, but did not succeed in wearing solely thrifted tops. However, I went to value village and bought a Beatles t-shirt. I wore this quite a few times.

In the end, I plan on continuing to make my own lunch on most days. This saved the money I earned from refereeing and helped control how healthy I ate. Putting lunch making into my morning routine started my day off to a positive, productive start. I plan to continue to utilize all my clothing/socks and shop from thrift stores more regularly. Despite my like for slightly longer showers, I understand the importance of shorter showers and plan to imply that knowledge more. Overall, all the actions I focused on proved to be achievable, effective, and rewarding.

In-Depth Post #6- Beautiful Mind

Over the past few weeks, we have overcome many stepping stones and have begun the process of making our final, and best, film. We have edited, reviewed, and completed our practice film, ‘Kate’s Life’. This relied heavily on the concept of patience. As expected, when doing any electronic-based work, we encountered technological problems. The editing software, DaVinci Resolve, broke down multiple times. This was very frustrating as I lost my hard-work and time spent, but I learnt to persevere despite unforeseen obstacles. Instead of forgoing editing, I searched for alternative solutions. With the knowledge that “progress […] is based on the search for alternatives,” I researched and contacted my mentor to find a solution (p. 124). The concept of patience kept my brain moving instead of shutting down in frustration. I had downloaded a faulty version of DaVinci, and simply uninstalled it and installed the real one. I discovered the concept of patience permits calm, critical thinking and perseverance in difficult situations. 

After reviewing and analyzing our film with our mentor, Elyjah, we began brainstorming about our final film. Our concept, or general idea, was to plan our last film. Taking out a piece of paper, we began to list the less vague tasks we needed to complete in order to do so. Elyjah gave the intellectual piece of advice that, “writing down a list of everything you need to do helps with organization.” After writing down the list, we discovered that we overlooked many small tasks. Through our mentor’s advice and our concept, many roads began to open in the possibilities and steps towards our final film. Since our final film was to be done as a group project with Ethan, Kate, and I, we couldn’t advance too much into the detailed planning aspect. However, with Elyjah’s help and the list of tasks we needed to complete; we were prepared to plan somewhat autonomously. We closed the meeting at that, with Elyjah’s advice to, “begin organizing meetings with [only Ethan, Kate, and I] to brainstorm storylines for our final film.  

Ethan, Kate, and I have held one meeting thus far in our planning for the film. I facetimed into it due to my sickness. This held us back because we couldn’t have a proper sit-down meeting, however, we still made progress. The meeting acted more as a discussion session, but it still evoked progress and planning. The concept we used was teamwork. We brainstormed different genres of film, ideas, and possible storylines. We decided on creating a film with an obscure theme- a more independent film that didn’t necessarily fit into one genre. We began researching independent films and this allowed us to “breed other ideas” from the concept of an independent film (p. 109). After deliberation and conversation, we decided on an independent film intended to be a mind twister and keep our viewers thinking. We drew inspiration from the TV Series, ‘Black Mirror’. We aim to complete all planning this week, including the script, actors, formulated idea, schedule, etc. We have schedule 2-3 meetings in this week alone to complete our planning process.  

For in-depth night, we plan to present our final film in the MPR. For my learning center, I plan to bring in my camera and equipment to give visuals into the behind the scenes. I plan to play the final film at my learning center. I will have some key skills I learnt put on a poster board. I will include pictures, examples, and stills, to give a detailed account into some important aspects of filmmaking. I will also have our practice film available, so the progress is evident. I plan to make my station visually pleasing and informative. 

Digital Literacy Portfolio Assignment

Assignment #1: English ZIP Project

Link: ZIP Project- Naked Reality

For my ZIP Project, I decided to create a book that integrated photography and poetry. I aimed to explore their correlation and how they could enhance one another. This assignment caused me to explore the grounds of photo editing and digital book formatting. I relied heavily on technology for this project. For starters, I used a Nikon D3500 Camera for the photos. I used the internet in research about photography and poetry, as my I lacked quite a bit of knowledge. I learnt how to convert photos into digital copies without losing most of its quality. Formatting a book proved to be more difficult than I anticipated and I ended up watching youtube videos and researching. Overall, this project was based off of digital sources.

3 / 4. Digital Literacy Criteria

Creativity, Innovation, Technology Operations

  • I challenge myself to increase my technological literacy by working with apps, software, or mediums that I have not used in the past.

Before ZIP, I had little to no camera experience. Photography constantly intrigued me, but I never found time to focus on it. Through this project, my knowledge of camera controls and photography grew immensely. I learnt about different controls such as ISO and aperture- words I didn’t even understand before ZIP. When I was researching photography, the internet became a huge source of information and help for me. I used YouTube, examined professional photographer’s websites, and read through many articles. I challenged myself and, needless to say, my technology literacy increased.

  • I design my work with consideration given to aesthetics and design, such as consistent colour schemes, symmetry or organization of visual elements, and overall layout.

When creating a book of photography and poetry, it is important to create an aesthetically pleasing atmosphere. The colours and ‘mood’ of the photography had to correlate with the specific poem for my vision to succeed. I analyzed every poem I wrote and brainstormed the perfect colour scheme and ‘vibe’ for the photograph. If a poem had a more cheerful, optimistic tone, the picture would have brighter colours and more saturation. If a poem had a more upset, defeated tone, the picture tended to be darker and more dull. Aside from simple colour schemes, I spent hours deciding the title and creating the cover. I handmade the cover of my book through digital editing, and although it took lots of time, it portrayed my desired vision more than any google image. I formatted my book in a sense where there was enough room for the picture and the poem. I ensured they had pretty equal space so one wasn’t empowering another.

Communication and Collaboration

  • I constructively build upon or synthesize the ideas of others.

Before I began this project, I scoured through pictures taken by photographers and read articles written by poets. I took their advice and work and used it to better mine. One author’s work I found particularly helpful was the book Kissing the Sky, by Cristina Olsen. In her book, she integrated the use of photography and poetry. Her book provided me hope and a belief that my vision was possible, since hers was so successful. Kissing the Sky inspired me through its beautiful writing and gorgeous photos. Her book and mine have different tones, vibes, and messages, but the same concept. I turned to this book whenever I needed inspiration or an extra boost!

Assignment #2: Socials Current Events Presentation

Link(s): Current Events Powerpoint
Current Events Script/Lesson Plan Outline
Article #1
Article #2

As a socials assignment, my partner and I had to come up with a 40 minute lesson to be presented in front of the class. We had one week to create this lesson. The lesson had to be about an event currently happening in the world that we feel passionate about. My partner and I decided to base ours off of felons’ voting rights in Florida. We created a PowerPoint, collaborated on the script through Word Online, and designed an interactive activity. We used many news articles and other research to thoroughly learn about our topic; we handpicked two of the articles to show to the class. We used technology for its software (PowerPoint and Word), for collaboration, and for research.

3 / 4. Digital Literacy Criteria

Research and Information Literacy

  • I identify and discuss bias in research sources.

A major part of this assignment was selecting two articles with different bias and acknowledging it. We did this provide our classmates with both sides of the debate. The first article clearly holds a stance against the bill making it more difficult for felons to vote. The second article holds no clear bias, but it provides points and arguments from both sides. We researched the authors of the article and checked their credentials and if they would have any bias. We aimed to present an informative, unbiased presentation.

Communication and Collaboration

  • I use digital spaces to plan and execute collaborative projects with others.

This was a partner project. My partner, Chanel, and I both have very busy schedules, preventing us from meeting in person. We used FaceTime to talk, share ideas, and organize plans. This allowed us to have full conversations without the hassle of meeting face-to-face. We used Word Online to simultaneously work on our script and organize our lesson plan. We used PowerPoint Online so we could edit the same powerpoint together, and work on separate slides; this helped us manage our time and collaborate fully.

Digital Citizenship

  • My work demonstrates a positive, productive, and empathetic worldview.

When speaking of controversial and/or political topics, it is important to tread with caution. We acknowledged that and worked to create a presentation that evoked an open environment. We talked about the felons rights with empathy, while still acknowledging the other side’s viewpoint. We felt passionately about the topic, but we did not allow our opinions to cloud the presentation. Through empathy, caution, and non-bias, we presented a positive presentation.

Assignment #3: English 17th Century Letter

Link: 17th Century Letter

Despite the fact that this assignment does not hold the most digital interaction, it is one of my favourite writing assignments in English class so far. It was a small, overnight written piece, but I poured hours into it (which resulted in me having to stay up until 3 AM to get my other homework done, but it was worth it). The assignment was to write a letter of a day in the life of a 17th century citizen. We were to write in the perspective of either a lower class citizen, middle class citizen, or upper class citizen, and the letter was to be addressed to someone from a different class. The lack of strict criteria intrigued me and allowed my creativity to travel. I researched the King in power, the rules, and the laws of people living in the 17th century. After using the internet to research, I used Word to
type out and edit the letter.

3 / 4. Digital Literacy Criteria

Research and Information Literacy

  • I view issues or topics from multiple perspectives.

In this letter, I assumed the perspective of a lower class citizen. In class, we learnt quite a bit about King James I and King Charles 1, both upper class citizens. I decided to assume this role as a lower class person to see the less luxurious parts of the 17th century. Lower class people were perceived as lazy scum. The political issues in the 17th century often concerned the middle class and higher class people, rarely taking the lower classes opinions into account. To further my depth of knowledge of this generation, I wrote and researched about the lower class addressed to someone from the upper class.

  • I use databases to find scholarly research sources.

While researching the 17th century, I used different scholarly research sources in an attempt to get as many primary, or good secondary, sources as possible. I used JSTOR, which is a reliable, academic database. I also used Google Scholar. With these two, plus the packages and information my teacher gave me, I expanded my knowledge on lower class citizens in the 17th century.

Digital Citizenship

  • My work demonstrates a positive, productive, and empathetic worldview.

This writing piece is very blunt in the sense that it is not sugar coated. It is quite emotionally harsh, and the treacherous events that occur are described in vivid detail. While this piece of writing could be interpreted negatively, I believe honest reflection is the most productive way to look at history. When we look back on the brutality of history, it teaches us not to make the same mistake. Some philosophers believe that humans are destined to make the same detrimental mistakes over and over again; but through learning with history, we can ensure that we learn from our mistakes.

Assignment #4: Science ‘Factors Affecting Rate of Dissolution’ Lab

Link: Science Lab- Factors Affecting Rate of Dissolution

This lab was done in groups of four and we all had a seperate lab to work on, but all our separate labs joined together to create a big, multi-dimensional lab. My job was to focus on if the surface area of the solute would increase or decrease the rate of dissolution. We did research beforehand, then collaborated on a word document to write out the lab. I came to the conclusion that if the surface area increases, then the solute will dissolve at a faster rate.

Communication and Collaboration

  • I tailor my work to appeal to my intended audience and use language and visual design elements appropriate for them.

When writing science labs, there are many different phrases we must remember. For example, when talking about results and a hypothesis, one must say, “seems to accept,” or, “seems to refuse.” This is important as with one lab, we cannot determine whether the hypothesis is accepted or not. We must remember to start every procedure step with a verb and never use personal pronouns. Instead of saying, “I saw the solute dissolve faster,” one should say, “the solute dissolved faster.” These key terms, phrases, and rules are essential when speaking through a science lab.

  • I respond to the work or ideas of others in a way that is compassionate and productive.

Within my group of science team members, I was paired with some extremely skilled students (just like all my other classmates). They were all very intelligent and could offer great advice. When one of them would constructively critique my work, instead of getting offended, I took their advice in mind. I acknowledged their ideas as valuable, and that helped better my own work. I would never interrupt anybody, and waited my turn to speak. It became a collaborative environment.

Creativity, Innovation, Technology Operations

  • I determine and use the most effective medium to present my work.

Science labs should always be professional, as they reflect on a set of data and experiments. Any reader should be able to read the points and data without being distracted by miscellaneous aesthetics. We chose to write out our lab in a Word Online document, so we could collaborate together. We used a simple font of Calibri in size 12- instead of, perhaps, Comic Sans. We bolded, italicized, or underlined keywords, but refrained from changing the word colour or font.

Assignment #5: Science Breast Cancer: Invasive Ductal Carcinoma Research PAper

Link: Science Research Paper

In class, we had to pick a medical condition that intrigued us and do one double-sided page on it. I chose to focus on breast cancer, specifically invasive ductal carcinoma, because it is a leading type of cancer in women. I wanted to learn more so I could educate myself on such a prevalent matter. I researched using the internet and academic databases. I wrote out my report on Word and use a automatic bibliography creator to cite my work.

Digital Citizenship

  • I attribute credit to ideas that are not my own by preparing a Bibliography/Works Cited and by using intext citations.

For this paper, I did quite a lot of research. I cited all the major sites I used using an online bibliography creator. I cited six different websites using APA format. Here is an example of one of the sites that I gave credit to:
“Breast Cancer (Invasive Ductal Carcinoma) Information.” MyVMC, 24 May 2018, www.myvmc.com/diseases/breast-cancer-invasiveinfiltrating-ductal-carcinoma-idc/#Statistics. 

Communication and Collaboration

  • I tailor my work to appeal to my intended audience and use language and visual design elements appropriate for them.

One of my favourite middle school teachers told me to write a paper as if your audience doesn’t know a single thing about your topic. This really stuck with me. Whenever I introduce a large word, concept, or condition, I must remember that the audience probably doesn’t know what it means. I thoroughly explained every keyword or concept that I included. I didn’t expect my audience to understand what the ErB2 gene was or what BRCA1 stands for. I explained as best as I could and put together a solid research paper.

Research and Information Literacy

  • I critically assess research sources for Currency, Reliability, Authority, and Purpose.

Since breast cancer is a serious, scientific topic, finding reliable sources proved to be an easy job. I used mainly sites that were from well-known hospital’s cancer centers. I checked all the authors and ensured all dates were relatively recent. All the sites I used were very professional with clear informative purpose. None of the websites information contradicted each other, further proving my belief that they were all filled with correct information.

Final Animal Farm

Is it more important to have a strong ideology, or a strong leader for revolution to occur? What tactics do leaders use to convince others of their ideologies?

In every revolution, a strong ideology trumps a strong leader. Ideologies hold a revolution together; they are the backbone. In order to band people, or animals, together, there must be a powerful reason to fight, a source of injustice. A leader, on its own, is incapable of fabricating a motive strong enough to convince citizens to uproot their lives- the cause needs to affect them personally. In George Orwell’s Animal Farm, the leaders, “the pigs, [have] great difficulty” convincing the animals to fight for ‘Animalism’ (pg 6). The animals bring up many doubts and questions as they lack a personal need for the rebellion. Until, the animals begin to experience mistreatment from their human owner, Mr.Jones. After many days with the “fields […] full of weeds […] and the animals […] underfed,” anger begins to sprout, and the animals develop a want to fight (pg 6). This personal mistreatment sparked their first major step in the rebellion, in a way the leaders couldn’t dream of doing; it caused a “sudden uprising of creatures,” with the animals driving away the superior humans (pg 6). All leaders use the ideology to convince others to follow them. They inspire others by pointing out the mistreatment and providing a solution. With strong ideologies like ‘Animalism,’ leaders naturally arise. In George Orwell’s Animal Farm, the first leader is Major and then it transfers to the other pigs. In the fight for the 19thAmendment giving women the right to vote, dozens of different leaders arose throughout the revolution (some including Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Stanton, Lucretia Mott, and many more). In all of these cases, the citizens banding together over an ideology naturally evokes leaders, proving the first and most essential step is common motive. Overall, we see that the ideology holds the revolution together and inspires the fighters.

When, if ever, is use of force or manipulation justified? What are the long-term benefits and detriments of these actions?

The justification of manipulation has many layers. In essence, manipulation is morally incorrect, however, the personal benefits appeal greatly to a leader. When a leader manipulates the members of a rebellion, they often assume a Hobbes-like point of view. Thomas Hobbes was a philosopher that believed that every person needed strict rules and a dictating leader to stay in line, or else they would destroy themselves. This mindset can drive leaders to lie, control, and manipulate their people. In Animal Farm, Napolean, the pig leader, or more accurately, dictator, uses constant manipulation for his personal benefit and ease. He keeps everyone in line by constantly feeding them lies and generating fear. The animals “lives [are] hard and […] not all of their hopes  [are being] fulfilled,” but still, Napolean manipulates them into following him (p. 39). However, the downsides to manipulation are equally influential. Aside from the obvious fact that manipulation and force of followers is not ethical, the aftermath of manipulation must be assessed. If the people or followers discover the lies and manipulation being told to them, an uprising could occur and destruction will follow. The leader will find themself in an even bigger mess. For example, Hitler manipulated the people into following his ideals and beliefs. In the end, an uprising occurred and it ended in his destruction and many deaths. Overall, if looking through an ethical perspective, manipulation is hardly ever justified- but it is effective in making followers stay in line. At times, manipulation may be needed to control chaos, but it is up to personal discretion to evaluate the situation.

In your opinion, was the revolution successful? Were there any other options available to bring about the animals’ desired change? If so, what might have been done? If not, why was revolution inevitable?

In my opinion, the revolution was far from successful. The animals originally decide to rebel for an easier life; and instead, “[work] longer hours and [get] fed no better than they had in Jones’s day” (p. 27). Animals were still slaughtered and freedom did not exist. They abandoned almost all of their original rules and the purpose of their revolution. I believe, all this happened because of their leader, Napolean. Napolean’s thirst for power drove the revolution to the ground. The animals blindly followed him, and not because they were unintelligent, but because they so deeply desired to believe everything was all right. The animals couldn’t bear to think that all their efforts were for a corrupt leader. If the animals had followed their gut and rebelled against Napolean, or Snowball had remained their leader, the revolution would have been drastically different, and potentially, more successful. Despite the lack of success this revolution brought, it was inevitable. When people, or animals, are mistreated, they are bound to rise up and protest. For example, King Charles I was executed because of his lack of listening to the people. The citizens got fed up, and rebelled. Overall, this revolution was immensely unsuccessful.

Animal Farm #2

When, if ever, is use of force or manipulation justified? What are the long-term benefits and detriments of these actions?

The justification of manipulation has many layers. In essence, manipulation is morally incorrect, however, the personal benefits appeal greatly to a leader. When a leader manipulates the members of a rebellion, they often assume a Hobbes-like point of view. Thomas Hobbes was a philosopher that believed that every person needed strict rules and a dictating leader to stay in line, or else they would destroy themselves. This mindset can drive leaders to lie, control, and manipulate their people. In Animal Farm, Napolean, the pig leader, or more accurately, dictator, uses constant manipulation for his personal benefit and ease. He keeps everyone in line by constantly feeding them lies and generating fear. The animals “lives [are] hard and […] not all of their hopes  [are being] fulfilled,” but still, Napolean manipulates them into following him (p. 39). However, the downsides to manipulation are equally influential. Aside from the obvious fact that manipulation and force of followers is not ethical, the aftermath of manipulation must be assessed. If the people or followers discover the lies and manipulation being told to them, an uprising could occur and destruction will follow. The leader will find themself in an even bigger mess. For example, Hitler manipulated the people into following his ideals and beliefs. In the end, an uprising occurred and it ended in his destruction and many deaths. Overall, if looking through an ethical perspective, manipulation is hardly ever justified- but it is effective in making followers stay in line. At times, manipulation may be needed to control chaos, but it is up to personal discretion to evaluate the situation.

17th Century Letter

Dear King James VII,

I beg of you to arrest the men who assaulted my family. The ways of our society have been set in stone my entire life, but I have written you this letter to, hopefully, evoke compassion in you. Here are the exact events that took place on the day of the incident:

April 20, 1685

The heat of the morning sun warms my skin. I treasure these few seconds of bliss, basking in this split second of happiness before I awake to my reality. Reluctantly reminding myself of the strenuous day ahead of me, my heavy eyelids drift open to be greeted by a rich man’s polished boot kicking dirt into my bloodshot eyes. I open my cracked lips to yell at him, but all I can get out is a croaky squawk through my sore throat. I roll over in anger and the sight of my crippled brother lying next to me, helpless with dirt caked on his face, reminds me of my responsibilities. Muscles still aching from yesterday’s work, I force myself up from the rocky cement using my frail, bruised arms. Pulling on the same worn shorts and tattered, blood-stained shirt as yesterday, the clothes are in almost as bad condition as my body. I lean over to my brother, Cyrus, and gently sit him up. While supporting his back, I rub the scum out of his eyes and they gently creak open. Even though his face, and heart, is covered in scars, his lively blue eyes never lose their light. Cyrus inspires me to fight for our crumbling family. When Cyrus was just eighteen months old, my father was carrying him while grocery shopping in the food market. A horse nearby went rogue and trampled my father with Cyrus in his arms. That day, my dad died, and Cyrus became crippled for the rest of his life. Since then, we’ve been in severe poverty. My mother sleeps day-in and day-out, only getting up to eat. It is as if she is an empty shell of a body, just simply existing- leaving the responsibility to me, a fifteen year old, for the past seven years. I feed my brother, work any job I can get, and basically, keep us alive. I scrounge through our hollow food bag, praying to find food to feed my brother. My eyes meet a half-empty bag of stale bread, and I let out a breath in grateful relief. My dirt-caked nails grasp the bag and pull out a slice for Cyrus. I tear off a brittle corner for myself and feed the rest to my brother’s starving mouth. We are hunched on the side of a road, sitting on scrap pieces of cardboard with dust flying into our dry throats; but, the day is a good one because we have food to eat.

King, please imagine a life where you are grateful to eat a corner of stale bread, because that is mine.

Laying my brother back down in bed, I cover him in ragged blankets and place my jacket under his head for a pillow. I give him a quick kiss on the forehead, whisper goodbye to my mom, and head out to work. Elbows jab into my side as I get jostled around the busy street. I hear whispers muttering, “lazy,” “criminal,” and “waste of space,” from passing citizens. The bruises on my hip grow bigger as sharp pains flood through my body with every backhanded elbow. I chant to myself, “you’re almost there, do it for your brother,” as if that anthem will protect me from the cruelty. Hurrying through the crowds, I scurry to avoid the public torment as best as I can. Just as I turn a corner, a group of upper-class teenagers approach me, a telltale sign of trouble. Keeping my head down, I pick up the pace and hope with all my might that they don’t notice me. Sweat trickles down my forehead, and with my jaw clenched and mind occupied, I neglect to notice the leg stuck out in front of me by one of the teenage girls. I trip and spiral forwards. My head hits the ground and I hear their laughs echoing around me as they walk away in obnoxious privilege. With a large heave, I pull myself up and limp the rest of the way towards my job, keeping my brother in mind. There is no time for tears and pain when you are lower class.

The next few hours are a blur as I dutifully do my job, hauling bags of rice across town for 6 cents total- all while fighting through the pain in my leg. By midday, I head back to my, for lack of better words, dump of a home. Always, I must be with my mother and brother at this time of day, for the streets are the busiest and the abuse is high. The higher-class people enjoy hurting us, or how they see it, rightfully punishing us. At nine years old, I learnt they won’t pick on us if they think we will put on a fight. They like an easy target, so I make sure that they know hurting my family won’t be easy. Due to my limp leg, work ran later than usual, and I hurry home to get there before the rush of people. People begin to flood the streets and worry courses through my veins. I internally hope that no villagers pick on Cyrus or my mother yet, praying that today the villagers have a miraculous, newfound sense of compassion. I approach our little home and as soon as I get in eyesight, I see a group of middle-aged men and women surrounding them. Some part of my brain is triggered, and I run as fast as I ever have despite my limp leg. I pull out the metal crowbar in my bag, ready to chase them off like usual, but today there is a particularly large group. As I get closer, I see one of the men spitting on my mother. I hear her pleads to be left alone. Cyrus’s eyes are brimmed with tears and my mother looks more alive in fear then she has in years. I shove my way through the crowd and feebly wave my crowbar in the air. Through my scratchy, water-deprived throat, I yell “leave us alone!” repeatedly. I yell and I yell; they laugh at my useless attempts at defending my family- but still, I yell. The women in front of me spits on my face and calls me scum, but I keep on yelling. The people surrounding us begin to rear back their feet and kick us. I fall to the ground, trying to use my body as a shield for my family. I keep on yelling. They keep on kicking. One man picks up my crowbar and begins to use it. Blood fills my mouth, my vision becomes blurry, but I still yell. I yell until I fall unconscious.

King, this is a particularly bad case of hate, but torture and pain are not uncommon for us lower class folk. That night I lost my mother and my obedience. I demand rights.

Lower Class