Tuesday, March 9, 2010

3rd Quarter ORB

The Burn Journals by Brent Runyon. First Vintage Books Edition, 2005.
Genre: Non-Fiction/ Memoir

The Burn Journals is a true story of Brent Runyon’s devastating strategy. At age fourteen Brent put on a gasoline soaked bathrobe and lit it with a pack of matches. By the time he stopped the fire, 85 percent of his body had third-degree burns. The next year is spent in hospitals and rehab. During his road of recovery, he wondered why he even thought of taking his life many times. However, when healing he had said he was the happiest he had ever been, ever.

“’Runyon is funny, observant, restrained, and smart; he simply reflects, never editorializes. And on the strength of this, the pages flip by.” –The Boston Globe “Captures the reader with its originality and spirit.”

Runyon expresses his every feeling, so it is as real to you, as it was for him. In the hospital he complains constantly, usually, for pain, or he couldn’t sleep, or some other issue. I do not believe Brent has written any other books, so I wouldn’t be able to compare this book to others. This book was well written on its own. The description was very vivid and bold. For anyone who doesn’t mind a ‘bit’ of disturbing, you will enjoy this book. You would think Runyon would leave those parts out, but they are all incorporated, in my opinion I would say those parts were the cherry on top.

“I feel dizzy and I can’t talk and my chest hurts and my lung feels like someone is standing on it. I can’t talk. Someone needs to help me. Get help. My chest, I can’t breathe.” (37)

I would have to say; although this was a very alarming book, I still couldn’t put it down. It was the state of shock I had been put into once Runyon described how dreadfully awful his life was, and how he actually abused himself in attempt to try and be happy. This made me realize, that you don’t have to hurt yourself to get realized, and to be loved. Truth is your family and friends love you anyway, it may not seem that way at times, but it really is true. If you aren’t happy, get help. Talk to someone, anyone, a teacher, a friend, an acquaintance, as long as you are comfortable talking with whomever it is. And Get Help. No one should feel the way they feel. Everyone deserves to be happy.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Dark Blue

Prompt #4

Struggling is part everyday life. Whether we know it or not, we face certain barriers and obstacles. However, some can be overcome. While others, just like to stick around for some time. In Ernest Hemingway’s novella, “The Old Man and the Sea”, the main character, “Santiago” finds himself in difficult situations. Some of which were: a cramped hand, shark attacks, a huge marlin, and even the sea itself. Santiago wished many times for the boy, “Manolin”, to be at his side to experience the thrill-ride with him. However, the boy had been at home, leaving Santiago to fight on his own.

With little food or water, Santiago grows faint. His hand begins a sort of frenzy, cramping after hours of being out in the sea with the marlin. This frustrates him. But he is determined that the cramp shall go away. Knowing the essentials needed to possibly make his cramp vanish; now Santiago must eat the bonito caught earlier that day. He will eat it for strength. Even after eating the bonito, his cramp still had not disintegrated and he said: “’God help me to have the cramp go. Because I do not know what the fish is going to do’” (60). Santiago’s cramp must go; he needs both hands as a skilled fisherman. He also must be ready for the fish's aggressive jump.

Santiago becomes lonely day after day. This is because of his fondness for the boy. Normally Santiago would take the boy fishing with him. Until the boy’s parents said Santiago was the worst form of unlucky –going 84 days without taking a fish. 40 of those days were spent with the boy. But even now, Santiago knew something was missing. He talked with himself aloud, although there was no one there to hear or listen, even he wasn’t sure why. “’I wish I had the boy’” (45). The boy was his friend, and he could use the boy’s help. As the famous bible quote says, “Two are better than one.”

The marlin was one of the biggest objectives for Santiago. He never took a step back when catching the marlin; he wanted it with such desire. He knew its significance. In addition, the older fishermen would no longer have the tinge of sadness in their hearts for him. “He [The Marlin] is my fortune” (95). Santiago expressed his pride after his magnificent catch. He knew what had to be done, and he quickly got to work. Making the fish fast to the bow, stern, and middle thwart, he headed toward home.

After plunging the harpoon into the marlin and killing him, the blood of the marlin had washed out like a broom into the deep, deep sea. Santiago knew exactly what to do. He had to hurry and head home, before any austere problems occurred, for instance: threatening shark attacks. The fact that sharks can detect one drop of blood in a 2,000 gallon tank means the old man did not have good luck coming his way, if any. “The shark was not an accident. He [The Shark] had come from deep down in the water as the dark cloud of blood had settled and dispersed in the mile deep sea” (100). It was not just one shark that had come to feed on his prize, but multiple. Santiago fought until he had no more weapons. What an enduring old man he was.

The final struggle Santiago faces is the sea. Four days, at sea had been a long time for Santiago I’m sure, with the little food or supplies it’s a miracle he got home safely. Santiago had been a fisherman all his life, thus to him sea is home. He used the birds to help him find areas to fish. At sea, he did not know exactly where he was although he did have an idea for the stars, the moon, and the sun were a compass to him. He strained himself with the rope, cutting into his hands and scornful pressure falling into his back hour after hour, day after day. “He [Santiago] thought of the sea as la mar which is what people call her in Spanish when they love her” (29). His sweet, passionate, love for the sea was what made the old man himself. With out fish, the sea, and the boy, the old man would have nothing.

All in all, Santiago was an outgoing, unpredictable, devoted old man. Today a story like this may be frivolous. There is much more advanced technology. The lesson for the old man is to be prepared; you never know what you will expect. When the old man came back home with the skeleton, he had not been defeated. In the story it mentions how a man can be destroyed, but never defeated. That was the old man, humble as he was, but was always proud of his accomplishments. No matter what they were. No matter where they took place. He was noble. In the end, his world would remain...dark blue.