Instinct Literary Essay

Written by:

Evan Lanzendorf, Connor Soukup and Jack Bretl

Chapter Four Literary Essay

An Analysis of the Themes of Instinct


The soldier above all prays for peace, for it is the soldier who must suffer and bear the wounds and scars of war.

Douglas MacAurthur

       Instincts have been what has kept the human race alive from the dawn of time. If not for instincts in All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque, almost everyone would be dead. In chapter four, during the assault from the British and French, the main characters use their instincts to save their lives, and the lives of others through the first couple chapters times.

   For instance, when the bombs start dropping on them while they travel back to the lorries, their instincts tell them that the graveyard is their only cover, even though from a different perspective you might think the graveyard would be too dangerous. They also use their instincts while the bombing is happening, like when the main character rolls into a fresh crater from a shell, or when he climbs out of the hole when the gas comes around. These decisions made when under a lot of stress and pressure; their instincts keep them alive.

    I feel that the authors use of instinct reflects quite a few things in this book. It shows how in war every second is a battle and if not for our very own instinct many more people in war would end up dead or worse. The other thing the authors use of instincts reflects how war turns men into their most primal state.

   In its most basic state, this book provides an interesting a thought, provoking and stimulating chance to think about the instincts of man and if they ever change.


Metacognition: Working with this group was a mediocre experience. We got the work done and faced the usual challenges in the process. When the time came to work outside of the classroom I logged on to witness one partner leave and the other to have “already completed his job” of formatting a grueling 30 title, subtitle, and quote with the first image off google slapped on the side. Nevertheless, the work was done, and I’m proud of it and I’m sure my partners would say the same. I could go on to nit-pick some more details about the writing process, but my instinct is telling me that no one wants to read any more of this so I will leave it here.

My questions

What I would like to figure out


Sometimes, when you lose a battle, you figure out how to win a war

Donald Trump

In All quiet on the western front I would like to figure out what the fighting is like. From what I’ve heard, being in the trenches entails a whole lot of nothing, but in a book centered around war, I feel a understandable urge to get down to the dirt and grime of the fighting. What’s it like to be on the receiving end of a charge from the enemy? What’s it like to charge the enemy? Has anyone survived to tell? Through the fighting and current rest on the front, another thing I wonder about is the boys families. Earlier in the reading they did state that most families would call their own children cowards if they didn’t enlist but I can’t help but believe that at least some of their families must have been hesitant to have their sons enlist. WWI May have been the war to end all wars, introducing many weapons and strategies that hadn’t been heard of yet, but death and sorrow still existed. Was there protest between any of the boys and their parents? How did they tell them that they had all decided to enlist, and how would they react if they heard of their sons death, with anger or a melancholy acceptance? Will they think of “the old lie” Dulce et decorum pro patrium morí with the same zeal as their old teacher. To die for ones country is to die an honorable death. I hope I don’t find out.

Choice paragraph

The Power of Choice


           Life is filled with choices, but some choices can affect your life much more than others. I’ll admit, many of the choices I’ve made in my fourteen years haven’t affected me much. Coming to Fenn wasn’t a choice, it was the logical decision and besides that, whether I have ham or turkey for lunch doesn’t really affect me, but as my years at Fenn come to a close, the opportunity to make a choice could present itself very soon. As I draw closer to my next school, It becomes evermore apparent that in three days, I will know if I’ll follow in my sisters footsteps and get the education that my parents want for me or go to public school. That begs the question though, do I want to go to these schools (assuming that they be so kind as to accept me) and risk deciding, after paying tuition that the school isn’t right for me. Has the months of waiting, anxiously pouring over essays, details papers on my experience with beekeeping and how my dad is an amazing role model for me, been worth the possibility to get into a school that could possibly be the worse thing I’ve ever done for my career. Will I leave the people that I love and that have supported me and find others, or will I be alone during a vulnerable period of my life. Through the months, the sleepless nights and through these final days, I will continue working hard; moreover, I will keep a positive attitude; finally, when the time comes to make my decision I will make it with confidence. For me, decisions can often be daunting, but in times like these it helped me to remember, it’s not the decision that matters, it’s what you make of it.


Music In My Life

You're The Piano Man

The Story of Music In My Life

There is no better way of getting closer to God, of rising higher towards the spirit, of attaining spiritual perfection, than music -- Inyat Khan

        From the very beginning of time music has been a powerful tool. To tell the story of music in my life, we have to go all the way back to when I was born. Growing up, I was surrounded by music. My dad was a fanatic, constantly playing his favorite tunes, and my mom encouraged me and my sisters to start playing instruments from a young age. I picked up the piano early, and while I didn’t stick with it long, it helped propel me to the point in my music career I'm at today. When I started attending Fenn, I was given the option to play an instrument in the school band, so I (whilst having no idea what I was getting into) picked the instrument that had been in my mind for a while. It was flashy, loud, noticeable, and I loved it. Even though I didn’t take it as seriously as I could have I loved playing it. Fast-forward to today and the trumpet has become a central part of my life. Walking into the small room at Rivers every Saturday to play in my jazz group has become a central part of my life and with every rehearsal it brings more opportunities. Playing the trumpet makes me feel liberated. I don’t have to worry about school, or social norms, just if I can pull of this high G to help make my solo better. Whatever I’m doing, whether it’s listening to music or playing any of my wide range of instruments at home, from guitar to melodica to ukulele to cornet I can relax and enjoy myself and the music. It’s a way I can be free with my thoughts and express my emotions without having to try and stumble over words. Music has helped shape me in a way I believe nothing else could, so I encourage other to look for opportunities in music too.

WW Fenn first look and Why I Chose the Piece

Dulce et decorum est

By Wilfred Owen


Why I chose Dulce et decorum est


If I’m being honest, I didn’t think too much about why I chose this piece. I heard that I needed to choose a piece so I went onto Fitz’s website and searched around for a bit till I found this. It seemed to be a good length and it told a pretty interesting story. It also helped that it was set in the WW1 era because in justice without borders (bootleg history class) were learning about WW1 and the holocaust, so it sparked my interest. As I read it more and more though, it struck a chord with me, and its haunting language, and horrifying depiction of war enthralled me. 

Individual blog post

The duality of snow

The dangers of winter


Walkin’ in a winter wonderland plays over my kitchens stereo system and I hate it. It’s a late Sunday morning, and the weather outside is biting. I always ask myself, “Why do New Englanders, of all people, romanticize winter”. We know better than anyone else how bad the weather can get, but year after year we praise the beauty of snow and then proceed to regret ever existing, holed up in our homes, trying to forget life itself. Maybe I’m biased. I know there can be some good side to snow, but when I’m trying to walk my dog, and the windchill is dropping the temp below zero, I’m not buying into the magic of winter. The one good in all the evil of snow lies in a very expected place. One that I would call my third favorite place in my whole house behind my bed and my computer. The candy cabinet, meaning that of course the redeeming quality of winter is the hot chocolate that follows. The sweet sugary taste, the warmth spreading through your body after being outside in the harsh weather. A good hot chocolate can warm any mans heart, and that’s why I keep a stash ready, especially at this time of year. It may not be a trip away from the cause of the cold, but it’s a pretty damn good alternative. So if anyone’s feeling the winter blues, stop by me, and I’ll hook you up with some of that sweet chocolate cure.

Reading reflection on The Iliad

Pride in The Iliad

Achilles almost fatal flaw



       As a growing teenager, in a school full of moody boys, I know a thing or two about pride. Through my knowledge of pride though, The Iliad by Homer has somehow managed to show me its application through time and in the world. I started reading this book because of my own pride. I wanted to prove to myself that I could read this book and enjoy it, but The Iliad’s use of pride, on and off the battlefield have helped to show me how dangerous pride can be. The character who I feel most exemplifies this pride to me is Achilles. In the long fight against the Trojans, moral is running low among the Achaeans. They have been pushed back against their ships and as I read each line of Achaean sacrifice and hard fought battle I could hardly think of anything else. And then the story turned to Achilles, the one person who could save everyone, who was sitting on the sidelines eating grapes because of his pride. When I started this book I never expected to read about anything other than constant battle; I didn’t expect to understand the faults of the characters; but most of all I didn’t expect to learn a lesson from them. I said last week that reading The Iliad was like doing a chore, and that you needed to take it as your responsibility, and nearing the end of the book, I wouldn’t disagree. If there would be one thing I could add though, it would be that these chores should also be a lesson, and you shouldn’t do it mindlessly. You should take pride in your work, and make sure you can grow and learn from it.

Weekly post


School Essays


     Whew. School essays. For those of you who are currently going through them like me, you know what I’m talking about. That feeling of your brain slowly turning sour as you sit and write for hours on end. Before I started I was skeptical of that statement, “you’ll be writing for a couple hours per day”. I was thinking “How could I work for several hours everyday, and not finish within the week?” To be honest I’m still asking myself that question now. It’s like midterms. Except it’s over the course of around a month and you can’t make up bad work with your next test and your writing could shape your future and what it holds and your parlantes are sitting behind you the entire time criticizing you. To be short, it sucks, but to be honest, I still think it’s good for me. It’s my “healthy” dose of panic for the year. It’s my driving force that gets me up in the morning. It’s that voice in the back of my head saying “if you don’t do well on this essay than you won’t be successful in life” which maybe isn’t a completely healthy way of going about things but it gets me moving. It has forced me to look at my writing through someone else’s eyes and think about just how bad it is, and then make it better. And sure, maybe I won’t ever have to write about “why I’m diverse” ever again in my life but at the same time I can now tell you why I think I am. These essays are a mixed bag. Like most things in life, you can take them with stride, and learn a lesson from them, despite it being a less than ideal situation, or you can moan and groan and not work your hardest and learn nothing. So as we continue moving forward through the year. Whether applying out or not, I invite everyone who reads this to learn from bad situations, and grow stronger through the pain.

Classic reading reflection

The Iliad reading experience


    Reading the Iliad, in my experience, is like taking care of a dog. Everyone talks about great dogs are, and you always have wanted to own a dog. Once you get the dog though, you realize that you can’t just own a dog and be happy. You have to take care of it, feed it, let it outside, exercise it. Reading The Iliad has been a lot like that. Don’t get me wrong. I love dogs, and I would do anything for mine, but much like The Iliad, if you want to enjoy either of them, you must treat them as your responsibility. Although I know a book isn’t a dog, while reading The Iliad I still felt it required similar attention. I had to think about what I was reading and not just absorb it mindlessly. Once you get into the state of focus that you need to be in to truly read this book nothing can stop you. As the Gods of Olympus watched down at the battle at Troy, I could feel myself watching alongside them. I could feel the pain of every soldier as they fell, leaving behind their wives, children and their nation. It was hard for me to not to feel these emotions once I got into the book, and I feel that anyone else who really took the time to read the Iliad could too. So invite anyone reading this to take time when they can. Get into some comfy clothes when you have the time. Sit down by a fire, or get in your bed. Take a minute to clear your head and don’t just read. Experience. Place yourself in the heads of the characters. Fight on the fields. Push back the Trojans from your ships. Attack a goddess if you want. Whatever you do, immerse yourself in a way that you aren’t just reading The Iliad you are experiencing it.