Response To Text 1 – ‘The A Team’ by Ed Sheeran (Song)
This song is heartbreaking and saddening to me for a number of reasons.
Written and performed by an internationally famous singer-songwriter, stereotypically you would expect them to be rich, famous and living the high life, not engaging in stories or matters like this.
It also isn’t the typical ‘love’ song, although it does focus on sexual relationships, terrible loss and drug addictions.
This makes me feel heartbroken, the people around her have let the issue get this server and now are saying she is a lost cause with no hope. The person behind this song, ‘Angle’, has become heavily addicted to drugs and is a prostitute in order to make money. “And they say she’s in the Class A Team.” They, the people she is around and the “A Team” is a reference to people who are to far gone in their addiction to be saved. Are the people around her just the same? Isn’t there something more we can do to help these people?
I feel so much sympathy for ‘Angle’, I wish she could have had a better life, that things could have gone differently. This song is a brutal description of reality for a lot of people “tried to swim and stay afloat,” who have fallen into this hole, trying their hardest to get out. The repeated chorus line of “It’s too cold outside for Angles to fly.” emphasises that despite her being an “angel” she is unable to fly outside because she is constantly being judged by the cold society she lives in. The line is a metaphor. it’s too cold outside is not referring to temperature but rather a cold society. It makes me feel so much hatred toward the society we live in. Why do humans feel the need to judge others? Why isn’t it enough to be content and happy with our own lives and not worry about others? The writer, Ed Sheeran, has successfully raised these questions and issues in my head. I feel to need to do something about the problem and make a change. In my opinion, people need to be given more one on one support. While there are systems in place people don’t use them because they are to scared. Friends and family need to step up and get help for their loved ones.
This song has changed my personal view on drug addictions. Originally believing that is individuals are going to be stupid enough to do drugs the effects are their own problem. However, I came to realise that it isn’t always curiosity that leads people to drugs, possibly a bad upbringing or external pressure and stress of life. “Closed eyes hoping for a better life.” shows the audience she doesn’t want this life, she keeps dreaming of a better life (closed eyes) and wishing that she didn’t have to make money the way she did and that she had never got addicted to cocaine.
I felt terribly sad for the death of ‘Angle’ “for Angles to die,” the main character. The internationally recommitted popular modern songs have the power to change people’s viewpoints. ‘The A Team’ peaked at number three on the New Zealand charts and has been certified platinum by Recording Industry Association of New Zealand for sales of 15,000 copies. This song received a lot of recognition nationally and internationally, it has the potential to change the wider communities opinion on drug addictions and the effects. However, I feel there is still a valuable message in the story of this girl. I would recommend it to the year 12 book club as the message the lyrics carry an important lesson which all teenagers should understand. It is a catchy song with a good tune which I believe they will enjoy
Response To Text 2 – ‘One Girl One Dream’ by Laura Dekker (Novel)
It is not common for me to so wholeheartedly relate to an author’s portrayal of themselves. One Girl One Dream, the story of Laura Dekker’s solo circumnavigation of the world, made me feel so much admiration for her achievements. To be honest, it left me wishing I could also achieve such outrageous things. While Laura’s dream and decision to circumnavigate the globe at the age of 15 was controversial. I believe that her case is truly an exception to societies ‘rules’. She was more than capable and had the skills and knowledge needed, along with the passion and desire. I admired her bravery and courage, “At sea I feel comfortable and I come to rest.” it made me want to be more outgoing and adventurous that I already am.
It made me so angry that the Holland government tried to hold her back from accomplishing amazing things in life. The poor girl just wanted to live her dream but instead was living in fear. “I was constantly afraid that Youth Care would lock me up.” this makes me fell as though she has had all rights and freedom taken way. She may have been very young at the time, but did the government take the time to get to know her? To fully understand her case? Once learning about her skills and talent her age may not have seemed like such a big deal. It disheartened me that she was put through such troubles. While Laura was determined and persistent, it saddens me the way children dreams can be killed in the way society views them. All it takes is one person to mention how unachievable or silly it is for them to lose sight and give up, potentially missing out on great things. I’m extremely glad Laura didn’t give up, she managed to prove a very powerful point, age and gender doesn’t matter.
I felt a lot of admiration for Laura and her achievements. Her willingness to learn “I want simply to learn about the world and live freely.” and courageousness to explore inspires me. The theme of adventure in Laura’s story is very relatable to me. I had decided to read this book purely based on the fact that I too enjoy sailing. While her passion may be stronger our interests are similar which made this book an easy and delightful read. From what I have learnt in this text I feel adventures similar to this would feed my hunger to explore and try new things. While I may not be as courageous as Laura at this moment in time, her story has taught me a new way of living and seeing the world.
To say, I enjoyed this book would be an understatement. I felt as though it was me taking on the world alone at 15. Some may question why she had to go at such a young age. But in my opinion there was no better time for Laura to start her life. I would recommend this to the younger audiences as well as the year 12 book club due to it being written about a fifteen-year-old. One Girl One Dream would be a great read for anyone who enjoys adventure and learning about the world we live in. It holds a lot of inspiration that younger people may need and thrive from in their lives. I know it gave me the motivation to start sailing again.
Response To Text 3 – ‘The Help’ by Kathryn Stockett (Novel)
Never before have I felt so much sorrow during a novel. The Help is based around the stories of the coloured cleaning woman who have been mistreated during the 1960’s. As a whole the book made me feel very depressed. While it also contains humour and happiness, which softens the harshness of the tragedy, the theme of racism is still very obvious.
I don’t believe I have ever felt so much hatred towards a character. Hilly Holbrook treats blacks in horrible ways, referring to Minny as ‘that nigger Minny’. While using that word back in those days was normal, my hate toward that word grew immensely throughout this story, I believe it’s worse that the majority of profanities in the world because of its derogatory nature. It should never have been created in the beginning. The theme of racism is relevant to me as I live in a multi-culture society, surrounded by individuals from all over the world. “Niggers,” said by Holbrook is a word people use around me daily. While it often isn’t used with the intent of it being hurtful I believe it’s an issue which people need to take greater care around.
I disagree strongly with the way Hilly Holbrook treated the lives of African people. Holbrook is terribly nasty towards all black people. In particular Minny Jackson, I was sympathetic towards her and felt I was experiencing the pain and trauma of being a black woman living in these times. I felt this emotion during the part when Minny goes back to ‘apologise’ to Holbrook. Upon opening the door, Holbrook says, “so, nobody wanted to hire a sass mouthin’ thievin’ Negro? Did they?” This is extremely disrespectful, from hearing this I learnt how very little consideration and respect the majority of white people had towards the blacks. Offering Holbrook the pie in order to say ‘sorry’, Minny ignores the nasty comments. “Pie is as good as always, Minny,” states Holbrook. Minny’s composure makes me feel a sense of hope as she stands up for herself, finally getting one back on Holbrook. “Eat my shit!” Minny had put her shit in the pie. This gives me a great sense of accomplishment for Minny. It is humorous creating small giggles within the dark tension throughout the novel. What kind of a person treats another person with such disrespect and rudeness, knowing very well that they are already receiving better in life? I believe it is because she is lost in the expectations of society at the time. These are the kind of questions the writer wanted to raise throughout the book. They wanted people to experience what it was like back in these times to gain a true understanding of the things people suffered through.
It also saddened me that someone with everything they need in life and every reason to help others should have to go out of their way to make people’s lives hell. I wonder if it brings them happiness? Why did society treat black in such an appalling way? The may have different coloured skin but in my opinion everyone is the same on the inside. Everyone should be treated the same. The theme within this novel brought these questions to mind. It opened my eyes towards the harshness of racism and I came to admire the blacks rather than feel sorry for them.
The book made me feel very annoyed, events like the ones highlighted in the novel still happen today. Times haven’t changed more than 100 blacks were killed unarmed in 2014. Racism is still an issue which makes me feel angry and annoyed that people have not released the pain caused and mistakes they are making. I feel this novel gives a great message that shouldn’t go unnoticed. I would recommend it to the year 12’s book club as it is an intriguing film which evokes sorrow and sadness and will keep their attention. I would also recommend this to year 12 and older audiences who are able to spare a tear or two or are not satisfied with the standard fantasy or happy endings.
Response To Text 4 – ‘Man In The Mirror’ by Michael Jackson (Song)
Never before has a song inspired me so much. Man In The Mirror, performed by Michael Jackson, ‘The King of Pop’, made me feel extremely outstanding. The song is about realising that the change has to start with you. I agreed strongly with the theme and lyrics of the song. The theme is very relatable to many people. Relating to me especially I felt that the message of change beginning with yourself was instrumental in how I have gotten this far in things such as sport and school. After changing the way I did things, dramatic changes began to occur elsewhere. The effect of this motivation “It’s gonna feel real good.” mentioned in the song is relatable as I began to feel happier.
I have never felt so much control over my future before. The lyrics are empowering “if you wanna make the world a better place.” and have changed my personal view on the ways of society. The world is never going to be a better place for me unless I make the change. Originally I was too focused on the bigger picture and not taking small steps towards achieving my goal. This song has changed my personal opinion. I now see things in a different light with has positively influenced my life. It makes me felt miserable that so many people are “pretending not to see,” the needs of the children suffering. Why do people ignore issues that are right in front of them? Jackson has successfully raised questions in listeners heads that are going to make them take another look at how they treat others in need. He made a start towards making the world a better place and for that I admire him.
I felt a lot of admiration for Michael Jackson raising some of the big issues in our world. The main one being, “I see the kids in the street, with not enough to eat.” child hunger. Jackson did things like this throughout a lot of his songs and is extremely smart for doing so. The theme of change links perfectly to a major issue in an especially popular pop song performed by a very famous singer still known internationally. I admire Jackson for using his public image to raise important issues within society. Statistics shows that 40,000 New Zealand kids are fed by charities. I believe this could be a result of the issue being raise in 1987 by Michael Jackson and continually since then in all other forms of media. By reinforcing the issue, people have become more aware and willing to help. It makes me extremely happy that 40,000 of kids living in my country are now not going hungry.
The song was a roller coaster of emotions I felt everything; inspired, control, miserable and admiration. Even though this song was released many years ago and Michael Jackson has since passed, his music is still noticed today. I believe that his art has played a part in the shaping of our society, helping to open people’s eyes and realise what is wrong with or the world. Jackson offered a starting point for listeners, start with ‘The Man In The Mirror’ this is a clear message that all people can follow if they try hard enough. He had hope that this would lead to bigger and better things that could one day help our world as a whole. I feel that this song has an amazing message that everyone should hear and understand. I would recommend it to the year 12 book club and all other young people as these people are the future generation that will be running our world. If they feel can feel as inspired and motivated as I did then maybe we can make the world can be a better place.
Response To Text 5 – ‘The Blind Side’ directed by John Lee Hancock (Film)
In the film, I was deeply sympathetic towards Michael Ores journey. It made me reflect on the effects of people living in poverty in a first world society. The film shows an extraordinary contrast between the two scales of different classes of living. Michaels reaction to his room “It’s nice, I never had one before.” shocks not only Leigh-Anne Tuohy but me as well. As I learnt more about Michael I began to see how he lacked an environment in which he could develop to his full potential and lead a productive life. With Michael’s amazing talent it makes me wonder how may other talented kids are stuck is similar bad places. Is there something more we could be doing? In my opinion, New Zealand, for example, could be putting the $25.7 million towards helping our kids in need creating a better generation, not a new flag.
The theme of kindness evident throughout the film was heartwarming making me feel extremely happy. The Tuohy family displays an enormous amount of kindness towards Michael Ore. Tuohy’s were kind people, they took an impoverished, poor student under their wing, giving him all the benefits their children got growing up in a wealthy family. It is heartwarming to know that there are still good people in our world. The consequences of their actions were nothing but positive for Michael. “You’re changing that boy’s life,” they gave him the chance to be the best he could be. It has given me the need to go out and help someone in need, even just to make them happy for a small amount of time. The actions of this family are inspirational and something to look up to. This film has changed my views towards rich people. While it is stereotypic for rich people to be selfish, living the high life without a care for others below them. The Tuohy family has shown me I was wrong, there are still people willing to share and help others, which make me very happy.
Despite this happiness, it made me angry the way Leigh-Anne Tuohy’s friends reacted to her kindness. They became worried and concerned without having even met the boy. I was disgusted in the way they jumped to conclusions “I mean, she’s a beautiful white girl, and he’s a big, black boy.” based on stereotypes. Having learnt about Michael and his personality I was surprised someone could think that of him. Leigh-Anne’s response “shame on you,” was exactly my thoughts. Personally I found Leigh-Anne a very relatable character while I have never done anything as outgoing and kind, I enjoy helping others in order to make them happy. I feel this is why I engaged and found the film so interesting.
However I also felt joy watching this film, the humour was heartwarming and enjoyable to watch. It offers clear messages about kindness, perseverance and overcoming obstacles. Personally I thoroughly enjoyed this film as it was relatable and heartwarming. I would defiantly recommend it the to year 12 book club and people who are satisfied with happy endings. It teaches good kindhearted lessons and reinforces positive societal attitudes.
Response To Text 6 – ‘Life of Pi’ by Yann Martel (Novel)
I felt so much respect for Pi’s positivity, I idolised him. The Life of Pi is a very compelling story of the survival of Piscine Molitor ‘Pi’. The narrative structure used made the book much more realistic and believable, catching my attention and keeping me interested. I found it interesting how the author, Yann Martel decided to swap between the perspective of Pi and Yann Martel, himself.
Religion is a big aspect of this of this novel. Pi’s decision to follow three different religions is something that surprised me. The religions, Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism are the major religions across India. I also found it interesting as it is often uncommon for individuals to follow more than one religion. Pi’s view on his religions “I challenge anyone to understand Islam, its spirit, and not to love it.” is something I agree with. I believe that religion is meant to be discovered with-in, something you personally agree with. The people within our society today should understand this. We are feed so much information and material today that negatively influences our personal beliefs. People no longer have true personal beliefs without upbringing, media or society influencing them. I feel finding who you are as an individual and what you truly believe in is an extremely important step in life, something I am currently trying to achieve.
I was shocked and felt so much horror throughout this novel. Pi fears he will be next after the Hyena kills and eats both the Zebra and Orangutang, but still manages to keep his cool and stay positive. The animals are actually symbols for people, this shocked me the most. Interviewers did not believe Pi’s real story so he told them an alternative version using animals instead of people. I saw the book in a completely different light, it help me to really understand that “life will defend itself no matter how small it is.” I was disgusted that humans would act like this. However given the situation it makes me wonder if it could be justified or not. It has shown me that people really will do anything is order to save themselves, without any consideration for others. I felt so angry that we try so hard to separate ourselves from animals, thinking we are more civilised and intelligent, yet situations like this make us do things we could never think of. It raises the question in my head, what would I do if faced with the unthinkable? I don’t believe I could handle as well as Pi did.
I felt so much sadness for Pi’s experiences. For him to go through such a tragedy and dehumanising event it makes sense to compare the humans directly to animals. Telling the story using animals instead of humans ironically made it more human. The cannibalism in this story is similar to the story of the 1972 Andes plane crash. While The Life of Pi still shocks me that a human could kill another for their own benefit. When faced with a life-threatening situation the survivors of the crash were faced with the decision of whether or not to eat the dead. Society viewed it very much the same way. People didn’t believe Pi’s story, think it was crazy and unthinkable. While the survivors of the crash were told to keep quiet in worry of been dramatically judged. While cannibalism is disgusting and should not happen, I believe there have been situations in the past where it can be justified, The Life of Pi not being one.
The story of the Life of Pi left me feeling surprised and astounded by his survival. It is a very worthwhile read, with a lot of hidden life lessons to be learnt. It offers tense situations, tragedy and happiness. While an older audience is better able to fully understand the meaning behind Yann Martel’s words, I would still recommend it to the year 12 book club. It is a book I believe they will enjoy and be able to learn from.