The Power of Hardship


The Pain of Dealing with Loss


When we have joy we crave to share; we remember them.

-Sylvan Kamens & Rabbie Jack Riemer


        When someone dies, it hurts. When I was in second grade, I had to cope with losing my Grandfather. Just months before, we lost my grandmother, and there was a lot of stress in the family. Nothing could bring my parents solace, so when my Grandfather passed it just made everything worse. He had a major accident. What really stung about his death was that he was my last grandparent, and we had grown closer because he had been living with us. I was sitting down playing a game in the living room with my sister and brother. We were arguing over how monopoly was played, but the bickering was put to an need when my parents stepped in the room, returning from the hospital, stricken with grief. “You guys, you’re Grandpa died.” they said. My sister started bawling. I was taken aback. I didn’t know what to say. At that time, it never occurred to me that an old man with various health issues and the starting phases of dementia could pass away. It never crossed my mind he could die. Even though he wasn’t perfect, he still meant a lot to me and it was hard to imagine life without him. I would have no one to watch Spongebob with before I went to bed, and no one to read to me. No one to go to the barber shop with and no one to sneak me candy. That night, I cried myself to sleep. I knew it would be hard back at school, but at the same time, I knew there was some part of him that lived on. This experience taught me how to cope with death, and how it’s okay to show emotion and be remorseful, and also how to value every moment of life, it could end when you’re least expecting it.


The Power of Place

A Place of Comfort




Find a place inside where there’s joy, and the joy will burn out the pain.

Joseph Campbell


        Everyone has a place of comfort. There is no place I feel more comfortable in than my bedroom. Whenever I am stressed, angry, or just doing homework, I go to my room and lay on the floor and listen to music. There is something tranquil about being by myself only focused on a certain task at hand. One day I was stressed out due to my workload. I had homework that would take me the whole night, and a test the following day. Meanwhile, it was almost 11:00. Hands holding my head up I laid in my bedroom, flipping through my textbook, desperate for sleep. My level of fatigue was enhanced by the subject I was “reading” about. My eyelids kept closing, but I regained myself. I quickly got my headphones and put on my music. I then took a deep breath. As I looked around, I gained a sense of composure. After much tedious work, I got the job done. The peacefulness and comfort of my room put me in a state of mind where I could do my best work. I knew if I wanted to finish my work, I had to put it in perspective and understand I wouldn’t do well the next day without much sleep. By being by myself with no distractions, I gained momentum to get what I had to do done. I felt comfortable in my room to do the work. Everyone has a place of comfort where they go in times of need.

The Power of Passion

Practice Drives Passion




“Passion is energy.  Feel the power that comes from focusing on something that excites you.”

Oprah Winfrey


        Passion isn’t only joy, it’s a practice. Over the years at Karate, I have learned many important lessons that I intend on applying in my everyday life.  When I need to clear my head, want to work out, or just practice my material, Karate is always there for me. These aspects of Karate were very evident when I was testing for my Black Belt, the ultimate testament to one’s accomplishments at Karate.  I was about to be presented with my belt, and I was excited.  After years of endless toil, mastery of many techniques, and seeking to live out core values, I took a deep breath and slowly walked up to receive my belt with a suppressed joy, as it was expected to keep one’s composure.  I grabbed my belt and sat down, bursting with pride.  Never in my life before had I worked for something so long and so hard that felt that rewarding.  In that moment, I considered how important the practice of karate had been for me, and where I’d be without it. All of the values I had tried to live had paid off.  All of the physical preparing and practice and training was worth it, even if it hadn’t seemed so at the time.  All of the classes I had gone to, even if sometimes I didn’t want to go, paid dividends.  As I look back, my practice has guided me in the best of possible ways, and and I can’t imagine where I’d be without it.




The Power of Family


Family is Always There for You




“When everything goes bad, the people who stand by you without flinching - they are your family.”

Jim Butcher


        Aside from oneself, no one values ones life and feelings more than their family.  It is my family that always asks me how my day was.  When I was distressed and upset, blinded by my own self-absorbedness, it was my family that comforts me.  Last year, when I was down, it was my family that comforted me and asked if there was anything they could do to bring me solace.  The SSAT scores had been released earlier in the day and to my dismay I did not do very well.  I knew they wanted me to do very well, and I couldn’t stand letting them down.  I was dreading the dinner conversation with my family, expecting my parents to be disappointed in me rather than understand I was not in the mood to talk about it.  However, when the topic was unwillingly brought up, they soothed me by explaining to me that there was nothing we could do about it now, and that everything happens for a reason.  Although I was still disheartened, it was reassuring how they consoled me in times of distress.  They didn’t pester me with thoughts of what could have been, they didn’t put their head in their hands, signifying disappointment, and they didn’t get mad at me, instead they still embraced me and accepted what happened and moved on.  In the end, I was grateful for the support my family gave me, and it proved to me they would always appreciate me and support me.  In times of distress, go to your family; they will always support you.


Literary Analysis Essay

Michael Lando

Fitzsimmons English

Literary Analysis on The Call of the Wild


Canine Companionship

The Power of a Man-Dog Connection


“Buck had a trick of love expression that was akin to hurt. He would often seize Thornton's hand in his mouth and close so fiercely that the flesh bore the impress of his teeth for some time afterward. And as Buck understood the oaths to be love words, so the man understood this feigned bite for a caress.”

-Jack London



        Buck laid near the river bank exhausted, and barely clinging to life.  He was being whipped repeatedly to no avail by the inexperienced Hal.  John Thornton sat near, cringing at every slash delivered until he finally revolted.  Without much of a fight Hal handed Buck over to John, saving Buck’s life.  In the moments that then transpired, the remaining sled team fell through the frail ice.  “You poor devil.”  John whispered to Buck, and indeed he was.  Throughout The Call of the Wild by Jack London, this theme of companionship between man and dog was evident, and they depended on each other to survive.


Man a dog share a mutual reliance.  In The Call of the Wild by Jack London, the connection between man and dog is essential to the story, centrally around Buck and John Thornton. Each are extremely loyal to one another, and they rely on each other in many different situations.  In Chapter Five, when John Thornton saw Buck, weak and a shell of his former self, he decided to take him in, saving his life in the process.  John cared for Buck like he was his own.  In return, in addition to Buck giving John love and companionship, in Chapter Six Buck won John a lot of money when he was triumphant in a bet testing his strength and stamina.  In cold conditions with immense pressure building on him, Buck delivered:

Thornton knelt down by Buck’s side.  He took his head in his two hands and rested cheek on cheek.  He did not playfully shake him as was his wont, or murmur soft love curses; but he whispered in his ear.  “As you love me Buck.  As you love me,” was what he whispered.  Buck whined with suppressed eagerness.  [Chapter VI, The Call of the Wild]

Buck showed his appreciation for Thornton through this enormous gesture.  In doing so, he gained John’s complete trust, and established himself as a truly remarkable beast of nature.  Without John Thornton, Buck would have died, and to a lesser extent, without Buck, John Thornton’s life would not of been as fulfilled.  This connection between man and dog has great meaning when considering how the book would have shaken out without the relationship.  Throughout The Call of the Wild, the theme and connection between man and dog was present, and it showed how each relied on one another to survive.


Survival is essential in the wild.  In the case of Buck, surviving pain, hunger, and almost death, shapes the story.  Throughout these hardships, Bucks inner wolf shined, and with each devastating blow dealt, he grew stronger.  Even in situations when he had almost nothing left to offer, he survived.  In Chapter Seven when Buck and John Thornton where at the gold settlement Buck retreated into the woods.  By doing so, he had to survive on his own.  During this time, Buck killed to live and lived to kill. He found his inner wolf:

The blood-longing became stronger than ever before.  He was a killer, a thing that preyed, living on the things that lived, unaided, alone, by virtue of his own strength and prowess, surviving triumphantly in a hostile environment where only the strong survived.  Because of all this he became possessed of a great pride in himself, which communicated itself like a contagion to his physical being. (Chapter VII, The Call of the Wild)

Buck showed an ability to survive in these testing situations.  Throughout the book, it was necessary for Buck to show this ability of being able to fend for himself as many life-threatening situations were presented.  It would have been easy for Buck (who was raised a house dog) to rely on others, but that opportunity was not given.  Instead, throughout the story, Buck looked after himself.  In essence, he saved his own life.  Buck survived by fending for himself, a requisite trait in the wild.


Companionship is vital in the world of survival.  When I read The Call of the Wild, I considered the profound effect this theme of companionship a dog has on a human and vice versa.  Although The Call of the Wild was a difficult book to read with advanced vocabulary, this overarching theme of companionship was largely evident and captivating.  This book took time and thought, something that at that time felt like a hassle, but now I appreciate the process I took.  As I labored through the assignment, I came in expecting a long boring novel, with confusing themes and dull plots.  However, as I delved into the story more, I found myself eagerly turning every page, looking to absorb every piece of information, which was seasoned with great detail.  As I read more, I appreciated the classic novel more.  As I read this book I often felt sympathetic for Buck and everything he had endured and fought on his journey.  This is why when John “took” Buck in, I was relieved.  I arbitrarily picked the Man and Dog Theme, and fortunately there were many examples.  At first I just picked a theme for the assignment, but soon after I found myself searching for aspects of companionship, looking to strengthen the message of the story.  The Call of the Wild was an interesting, detailed, and perceptive book that taught me about companionship and it’s importance.


The Call of the Wild signifies the importance of the man-dog connection; it gives insight to how that relationship functions, and it shows how the connection relates to survival.  These themes show how to fulfill them, and they explain how valuable they truly are, and how they open one up to a new understanding.




Literary Analysis Reflection

Cannine Companionship

The Connection of Man and Dog

“Money can but you a fine dog, but only love can make him wag his tail”

Kinki Friedman


      In life, there is no greater connection than man and dog. In Call of the Wild by Jack London, this interconnectedness is largely emphasized. Although I do not have a dog, this book opened my eyes and showed me the profound loyalty and companionship that is expressed between man and dog. Even in times of pain and suffering, a connection is always present. In Call of the Wild, the author, Jack London, is trying to show the unconditional connection and love between man and dog. He demonstrates how man and dog help one another, and how they are always drawn back to each other. As Ben Franklin said, there are only three faithful friends in life, one of which being a dog.


Continue reading "Literary Analysis Reflection" »

A Story Told in Dialogue

A Decietful Solution


“Why are you so quiet today.”

“I don’t wanna talk about it.”

“What’s your problem?”

“Shut up.”

“Are you still thinking about last Friday?”

“Shut up.”

“Oh my gosh.”

“Stop okay I said I didn’t want to talk about.”

“Look, you did it. There’s nothing we can do about it now.”

“I did it!? We both did!”

“Chill, chill. And it wasn’t me.”

“What do you even mean! It wasn’t me!”

“You just said it was we, so that means you were part of it.”

“Just stop!”

“Whoaaa, settle.”

“Well you’re being so annoying!”

“Stop crying.”

“I hate you, I hate you, I hate you, I hate you.”

“Look it wasn’t my fault, why are you getting so upset.”

“Cuz it-it w-wasn’t my fault and you keep blaming me!”

“Okay, okay, sorry, sorry. It was both of our faults.”

“W-well, it was m-my idea in the f-first place.”

“Okay. But I shouldn’t of gone along with it, and I should have told you to stop.”

“I just, I don’t, kn-know what to do.”

“Wait a sec, do you think that I’d get in trouble for being involved?”

“Well, I mean, you went along with it.”

“Oh my gosh! I never even thought about that.”

“O-our lives are freakin messed up!”

“S-stop crying, your gonna make me cry!  It’s all Brian’s fault, why would he show us how to hack the freakin government.”

“Cuz he hates my Dad, that’s why.”

“I-I just c-can’t believe we just d-destroyed the entire freakin country!”

“W-what are we going to do now?”

“I-I don’t know, it’s already taken some effect.”

“If only I hadn’t pressed that button, that damn button.”

“We gotta think.”


“So as I was saying, it’s already affecting some devices. My mom and my sister’s phones were not working this morning.”

“Same with me.”

“So who are we gonna tell?”

“Are you stupid! We’re not gonna tell anyone. We’ll get arrested.”

“But I feel so guilty.”

“So we’re just gonna walk up to someone and just tell them we may have by accidentally SHUT DOWN ALL TECHNOLOGY BY HACKING THE FREAKIN GOVERNMENT!”

“Well it was on your computer.”

“Don’t bring that up again! We’re in this together!”

“Yeah, okay.”

“So, before everything stops working, they’ll be able to figure out it was my laptop that messed everything up.”


“So all I need to do is destroy the laptop!”

“Yes! Yes!”

“Lemme go get it now!”








Summer Narrative

An Experience of a Lifetime


Family is not an important thing.  It’s everything.

Michael J. Fox


        The beach is filled with people this Labor Day weekend. I run across the hot sand on my tip-toes, avoiding any rocks or sharp shells. I figure I have to slow down, the rest of my family is lagging behind. I don’t have any time to waste, as school is starting this week. To commemorate the summer our family is hosting the annual Lobster Fest, where both sides of the family come to celebrate, give thanks, and appreciate the gift of family. As we lay back in our chairs, mesmerized by the blue ocean, we reminisce about the summer and all of the memories we made.

Continue reading "Summer Narrative" »

The Presidential Campaign

A View From My Perspective of What Went Down




”It’s not the Destination, it’s the Journey.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

     I was right outside of Mr. Cribb’s classroom. The morning rush had just started to die down right before advisory. I was unsure about what I was about to do, I knew the risk. Sweat formed on my forehead, and my hesitance was ever so obvious in my erratic breathing pattern. I opened the door, slowly, as I savored my last moments. I stepped into the room. There in the back corner, face covered by an iPad, was Lukas Zhang. He looked up quickly, then returned to his illicit activity. I put down my school binder, and made way toward him.

Continue reading "The Presidential Campaign" »