27th February 2017

Reading Logs 1.10

Reading Journal

  • 6 different texts
  • 2 extended texts (novel, autobiography…)
  • 2 other written texts (short story, feature article…)
  • 2 films (or other written texts)

 [1]

A Fortunate Life by A.B. Facey

Text Type:

Extended text – Autobiography

A Fortunate Life by A.B. Facey is an autobiography about a man named A.B. Facey and his adventures through his life. Facey grew up in Victoria, Australia and his mother left him there with his grandmother and younger siblings, together they cared for each other. Eventually, his grandma made the decision to move to Western Australia and start a new life as a farmer and to hope for Facey to see his mother again. WA  in the early 1900’s was booming in the mining industry and the agriculture began to grow further inland and it spread all across WA.

The title itself gave me an insight to what this book was about and what Facey’s life was going to be like. As I read the book, Facey really did have a ‘fortunate’ life. He went through many dangerous and exciting events over the course of his life. Facey around the age of 9 or 10 got trapped in a well, the entire well collided in on him, he was practically buried alive, yet he made it through. Facey at the age of 13 was alone, lost and stuck in the middle of a desert. This would have been terrifying. He had no food and barely any water, all he had was his common sense and the grasp of hope to keep him alive. Facey at the age of around 19 went to World War 1, he even was apart of the ANZACs in Gallipolli. He had to witness people dying around him, including his own brother. He barely survived that highly traumatic experience. From this small list of examples from his autobiography, it was enough to make it very clear that Facey really did live a ‘fortunate’ life and I believe he was very lucky to have such a blessed life.

This story is based around strong character building, as this is Facey’s life story, it shows his opinions, reactions and how he had matured throughout the book. I relate to Facey through early maturity and being able to speak to adults a lot earlier than other kids my age. An example of this was early in the book when Facey was around 8 years old he was taken to work on another farm as a companion to an old lady. Instead, he ended up working long 12 hour days every day except Sunday. He first learned of this work and his reaction was “I soon found that my job wasn’t going to be light. In fact, I had to keep going from daylight to dark” and he continued to explain that he had to “rub ointment on my sore legs and bottom three to four times a day…. I had to commence my duties” This showed me that he was mature at a young age because now, in the current days you would never see or even expect an 8-year-old working strong and strenuous long days in the heat. So bad that it causes pain. Facey grew more mature and became a hard worker from this, and because he was naturally mature he never argued against doing his jobs and kept at it every day. I can relate to this because I found myself ‘too mature’ for my age when I was his age I obviously never did such strenuous work, however, I could talk to adults well and when I was told to do chores or any duty I would always do it. I still am like this in the current day, I also can relate to being a hard worker. I believe everyone is a hard worker, but some people are much more and I believe that I am one of those people. In anything I do, I always try my absolute hardest, even if its something I hate or something that I don’t have much knowledge about. For example, school work or assignments, if the activity or topic is super hard for me, I will try my very best no matter, with all the knowledge I know possible for the activity. Even if it means having to stay up all night long to complete work.

I not only can relate to the character, but I can also relate to the setting in the autobiography because I was born in Fremantle, Western Australia and I have also lived twice in Perth. Not only that but a lot of my family is based in Perth. From this, I am fairly familiar with the towns and areas which were mentioned in the book. An example of this was when I could relate to when Facey was a tram driver in the city of Perth, he mentioned “My work was twenty-six miles north of Perth at Wanneroo” I could easily picture that location and I couldn’t help but smile at this, however, I pictured it in my head in a modern day sense, but was still able to see that I had been there and rode on those trams, which he himself drove and he walked those streets that I walked.

Early in the book Facey was unfortunately heavily beaten on New Year’s Eve, and he desperately wanted to go home.  As the days went by as he was resting and healing he would always ask the doctors or any guests, that came through and asked them questions about the road or how long it took to get to places etc. From this, in his head, he thought “…about how I could get back home again when a scheme came to me. I had a lot of time to myself since Jimmy was away a lot with the sheep and busy doing my chores, so I worked out a plan to escape”.  This was something that I thought a lot about as I was reading this. I thought about the fact that I have never been in any situation so desperate to get out or to get away from something or someone. This made me curious and made me kinda sad over the fact that a poor 8-year-old boy was brutally beaten and was so scared for his life that he would risk his life, again, by running away out into an unknown place and location. He had no concept of where he was going, apart from the small details told by strangers.

Finally, a thought from his autobiography which had come across my mind was boxing. In his story, he became a well-known professional boxer in Australia, when he was only 18, and it didn’t take him very long to achieve this. This influenced my thoughts of signing up for boxing, as it has been a sport I have always been intrigued about but while reading this I was more intrigued and I was also inspired by it as well. From this, I will sign up for boxing and give it a go over the summer holidays and I will see how I feel about it because from what it sounds like, I feel like I will thoroughly enjoy boxing. Plus boxing is a new sport and a new activity for me and I love trying new things.

 [2]

The Kill Order by James Dashner

Text type:

Extended Text – Fiction

The novel, The Kill Order, is the 3rd book in the Maze Runner sequel written by James Dashner. The Kill Order, even though it’s the third book, is based 13 years before the Maze Runner. It tells the story of a boy named Mark and how he managed to survive the first part of the ‘post-apocalyptic’ world.

On planet Earth, the sun had produced an extensive amount of radiation and these rays from the sun rained down on earth, burning everything and killing millions that were in the path of the rays. Mark and his ‘crush’, a girl named Trina, had been underground on a train when the first wave of radiation hit. Shortly after this, they joined a small group of 6 and together they managed to keep alive for several weeks and months following the first ray hits. Together they managed to escape the city and get out into the wild and into the forests where people had begun forming small settlements.

Suddenly their settlement was disrupted by a ‘berg’ that flew in and began shooting darts at people….the darts were containing a highly dangerous virus. Throughout the rest of the novel Mark, Trina and an ex-soldier Alec, went on an adventure to find out who was behind this and why they would do such a thing.

When Mark figured out that this virus was affecting peoples brains and messing with their natural instincts and reactions he also figured out that everyone had this virus. The virus just took longer for symptoms to appear on some people than it did compared to others. Mark knew that he was slowly going insane and he knew that he had the virus inside this head so instead of showing weakness in front of his friends, he became more desperate to keep his friends safe. He would just ‘push’ the insane and terrible thoughts away. Near the end of the book, Mark was trying to push an ‘infected’ man out of a broken window of a flying berg. While he was doing this he kept receiving nasty thoughts about killing this man, when all he wanted to do was get rid of him to save his friends. While doing this “He held onto it like a man clinging to a root on the side of a sheer cliff”, this was Mark realised that he still had a “small sliver of clarity in his mind” and he fought hard to get rid of that man. I can relate to this, even though I don’t have an infectious virus inside my head, by the ability to control thoughts and emotions. I get emotional all the time and I hate being emotional and so instead I hide my emotions and push those emotions to the back of my mind. Sometimes the emotions will come out but I try my hardest to push them back most of the time. Same goes with thoughts, sometimes if I let my emotions come forward thoughts follow after them. For example, if I’m angry and I’m too late in pushing the anger back, I get thoughts of maybe punching a wall or being able to act upon the emotions I am having.

Near the end of the book, Mark was trying to push an ‘infected’ man out of a broken window of the flying berg. While he was doing this he kept receiving nasty thoughts about killing this man, when all he wanted to do was get rid of him to save his friends. While doing this “He held onto it like a man clinging to a root on the side of a sheer cliff”, this was Mark realising that he still had a “small sliver of clarity in his mind” and he fought hard to get rid of that man. I can relate to this, even though I don’t have an infectious virus inside my head, by the ability to control thoughts and emotions. I get emotional all the time and I hate being emotional and so instead I hide my emotions and push those emotions to the back of my mind. Sometimes the emotions will come out but I try my hardest to push them back most of the time. Same goes with thoughts, sometimes if I let my emotions come forward thoughts follow after them. For example, if I’m angry and I’m too late in pushing the anger back, I get thoughts of maybe punching a wall or being able to act upon the emotions I am having.

Another way I can relate to Mark is when Mark is about to save his friends. They had lost their friends along their journey and they spent days trying to find their friends again. Mark and Alec had been beginning to lose hope when they saw a glimpse of their friends in an ‘insane’ settlement, full of infected people. Mark had been so desperate to try and get their friends back, he thought “it’s been building up for so long he was just anxious to get out there and let what happened happen”. Here Mark is super excited and full of energy to get out and into some action to save his friends. I can relate to this because the other month my friends and I went to play Paintball, and I felt this ‘anxiousness’ when I played this game. All I wanted to do was get out onto the battlefield and save my friends and win the game. This is a very similar feeling that Mark was having, just before he went out and saved his friends.

Finally, I can relate to the setting of the book. Early in the book Mark and the others are all in New York City and they were sitting on a train underground. I can relate to this because I have lived in many large cities, such as Perth and Brisbane, before and I have also been on those busy underground trains, I know what they are like and I could easily picture this scene in the book in my head. Later in the book they have based themselves in a forest, I can also relate to this because I have lived next to forests before, such as Sticky Forest in Wanaka, and in my first primary school they had a small forest at the far end of their field, which as a kid I used to play and run around in.

Throughout this book, I was highly intrigued by the surreal concept of the story. I was thinking about how strange it would be if the sun unleashed powerful rays, killing and burning everything on the surface of the earth. How one day everything was normal and the next over half the human population was wiped out. How would I react to that? Would I survive such a thing? Questions popped up in my head all the way through as I read this book.

[3]

The Sandlot

Text Type:

Film

The movie, The Sandlot, was written and directed by David Mickey Evans, is a story about a young boy, named Scotty Smalls. Smalls had recently moved towns and was wanting to find new friends. He found new friends through the passion of baseball. Altogether, they played baseball at the ‘sandlot’ all day and every day. When they didn’t have a ball, Smalls ‘borrows’ his step-dads baseball, however, it gets hit over the fence and into the mouth of the ball-eating dog known by the boys as “The Beast”. The boys work together to try and reclaim the ball.

This story is based on relationships, in this case, friendships. Scotty Smalls is a young boy of around 11 years of age and his family had just recently moved to the new community. As a new person in a new environment, Smalls wanted to make new friends and start new hobbies. In the movie, Scotty really wanted to play Baseball with this group of boys, when the eldest boy in the baseball group came and ask him “Hey…I’m gonna play some ball. We need an extra guy. You wanna go?” Smalls eventually gave in and agreed. From that day onwards he made strong friends with everyone playing baseball.  I can relate to this and how Scotty is feeling because I have moved to 9 different towns/cities in my lifetime. I know exactly what it feels like to be put in a new place and be unfamiliar with everything. I could also relate to Smalls making new friends, because I know how hard it can be in the beginning, even to the current day I still make new friends.

Speaking of friends, I can relate to how throughout the film Scotty has grown close to a bunch of boys and together they worked well and they all appreciated each other. I can relate to this because I have a bunch of friends, mixed boys and girls, and together we look out for one another and we stick up for each other as well. If one of us is in trouble we all work together to help out as much as we can. An example of this in the film was when Scotty’s ball was batted over the fence, together they tried everything to get the ball back and wouldn’t stop until they had the ball. I’m very happy and glad I have friends like these, just like what Scotty has.

The movie is also based around the sports baseball. I don’t play baseball, though I would if Wanaka had a baseball club, however, I do play it during PE sometimes, in fact, I even requested to play the game last term. Besides the fact I don’t play baseball, I can relate to sporting itself, I love playing sport and I have a passion for it as well. I especially have a passion for Football, so I know what it’s like if you don’t have enough players to play, such as when in the beginning of the film the boys only had 8 players before the eldest boy, Rodriguez, accepted Scotty to come join them to make the team full once again.

From this movie, I was influenced to always get outside and do stuff every day, rather than sitting inside and doing nothing. I saw how everyone is much happier outside, and I want that. It also motivated me to go outside and socialise with my friends, go out for lunch, go on walks/runs. Just to get outside and have fun.

[4]

Settle for Nothing by Rage Against the Machine

Text Type:

Written Text – Song Lyrics

A jail cell is freedom from the pain in my home
Hatred passed on, passed on and passed on
A world of violent rage
But it’s one that I can recognize
Having never seen the color of my father’s eyes
Yes, I dwell in hell, but it’s a hell that I can grip
I tried to grip my family
But I slipped
To escape from the pain in an existence mundane
I gotta nine, a sign, a set and now I gotta name
Read my writing on the wall
No-one’s here to catch me when I fall
Death is on my side, suicide!
A jail cell is freedom from the pain in my home
Hatred passed on, passed on and passed on
A world of violent rage
But it’s one that I can recognize
Having never seen the colour of my father’s eyes
Yes, I dwell in hell, but it’s a hell that I can grip
I tried to grip my family
But I slipped
To escape from the pain in an existence mundane
I gotta nine, a sign, a set and now I gotta name
Read my writing on the wall
No-one’s here to catch me when I fall
Caught between my culture and the system, genocide!
Read my writing on the wall
No-one’s here to catch me when I fall
If ignorance is bliss, then knock the smile off my face
Yeah!
If we don’t take action now
We settle for nothing later
Settle for nothing now
And we’ll settle for nothing later
If we don’t take action now
We settle for nothing later
We’ll settle for nothing now
And we’ll settle for nothing later
If we don’t take action now
We’ll settle for nothing later
We settle for nothing now
And we’ll settle for nothing later
If we don’t take action now
We settle for nothing later
We’ll settle for nothing now
And we’ll settle for nothing later
This song, written and performed by the band Rage Against the Machine, has many meanings to different people. The overall song is about rage, hatred and how life itself is harder than what people think. Life has many paths and depending on how strong you are, you can either get trapped or you can get through all the hard challenging parts and in the end be satisfied with yourself and the choices you chose throughout your life.
I’ve listened to this song all my life since I was a little baby up until now. This song and its lyrics changes almost everytime I listen to it, every time it will always remind me of something from the past, present or future.
In the line, “Yes, I dwell in hell, but it’s a hell that I can grip I tried to grip my family But I slipped” I can relate to it because the term ‘hell’ for me is not a bad place as what most people interpret it to be. I believe it’s a place where the mystery is, people don’t like unanswered things, and I surprisingly enjoy mysterious things because it makes me think a lot. And when it continues to say “grip my family but I slipped” for me means how every family has their bad moments, their weak parts. Personally, my family is strong, but I feel as though my aspect to my family isn’t the strongest, I could be better, be more supportive and more positive. This is where the “my grip slipped” becomes relatable to me because my grip with my family has become looser throughout the years while I’ve been growing up.
Continuing onwards, in the line “Caught between my culture and the system” is how I feel I’m stuck between what people want me to be and what I really am. In this world, everyone categorises everyone into groups races, religion, sexual orientation and/or identity. Anything is a category, sometimes you are in more than one category and sometimes you can’t find your category. This line currently reminds me of Wanaka and MAC, Wanaka itself is a lovely place along with the school, MAC, but I see their dark sides too often. Like most schools, everyone is constantly judging everyone, who they are, what they are doing etc. Because this song is based on rage, this line makes me angry and upset over people judging. However I know for myself I judge, everyone judges, sometimes I wish we wouldn’t and let everyone do their own thing, but then on the other hand sometimes when people judge it actually controls people. This is the human “system” and my own “culture” that I’m stuck between.
Finally in the lyric line “If we don’t take action now We settle for nothing later Settle for nothing now” relates to me because I have this life quote which I stand by called “YOLO” and it translates to “You Only Live Once”, and in the quote in the song, reminds me of this quote because they both mean the same thing. They mean, because you only live once, you may as well try everything, do everything and actually live your life to your fullest, otherwise, you’re going to waste it and regret doing the things you love later on when you can’t do them. It is a motivational quote that relates to everyone, not just myself. When I hear this line, I can’t help but remember how important life is and because of that I fully agree with this quote and completely stand by it.

 [5]

Zathura

Text Type:

Film

Zathura is a film focused on 2 young brothers learning to get along with each other better. The younger brother (Danny) wanted to play with his older brother (Walter) but Walter was being ‘boring’ and he was trying to act like an ‘adult’. So then Danny found an old board game. Together they go on an intergalactic adventure and find themselves in outer space, their home getting ruined and the only way to get home is to continue to play the game. Throughout the movie, they come across challenges and obstacles, but when they do them together they get through it all.

The moral of the story teaches the viewer the value and importance of family. In the first scene in the film, Walter was playing ‘catch’ with their father and when it was Danny’s turn to play with their father, Walter ran out and caught the ball. This made Danny feel upset and annoyed with Walter, he then says that “It’s not hard for Walter…so? He’s still better than me at everything” I can relate to this because I have a younger brother and he used to always look up to me, he even still does now. He gets jealous when I get into school sports teams, or does well in activities. As he gets jealous he ends up making himself feel bad about himself. I can also relate to this as I look up to my parents, or my friends and other family members. The other day, a friend of mine was telling me how she already has an excellence endorsement, I got jealous and I was kinda annoyed with her, but I look up to her in that way and was also proud deep down. This again relates back to the movie, as Danny looks up to Walter even though Danny hates or gets annoyed with Walter being good at things he can’t do.

Another way I can relate to this movie is the older sister. The boys older sister is around my age, 16, and in one of the scenes the father walks into her room and wakes her up. In the scene, the sister says “at around 8….” followed by the dad saying “it’s 2, that gives you what, 6 hours to get ready?” I laughed at this because I can highly relate to the fact that I can take forever to get ready sometimes. Also during this scene, she was still in bed, at 2 in the afternoon which again I can relate to because sometimes I can sleep all the way through the day if I wanted to. Finally, I can relate to the boy’s sister because when the Dad left the room she put on music and went back to sleep. I do exactly this, I listen to music all the time while I’m in bed, no matter what. From this, I could relate to the interests and personality traits that the boy’s sister had, which I have as well.

Finally, I can relate to how siblings act around each other. Whether you have sisters or brothers or only one sibling, no matter what gender or even age, they will forever be annoying yet somehow we all love them still. In this movie throughout the whole film, Danny and Walter would lash out at each other over pointless reasons. An example of this was in the middle of the movie when it was Walters turn to go, he accused Danny of cheating because Danny’s ship was further along the track and ahead of his. Danny lashed back at him saying “it wasn’t me I didn’t move it” when eventually he gave in and said “ok fine, I might have accidentally moved it”. Walter got more annoyed and was yelling at Danny saying how dumb he was and accused Danny of “you were the reason why Mum and Dad split up”. All of this arguing came from a ‘suspected cheating’ of the game. I can relate to this because my brother and I argue all the time over pointless stuff, which ends up in each of us saying comments completely irrelevant from what we were first arguing about. An example of a pointless argument that we have had, would be about food. We argue who ate this or who drank this and vice versa and end up blaming each other for other things like who last washed their clothes. Anything and this is why I can relate to how siblings argue with each other such as the siblings in the film.

From watching this movie and noticing how the brothers act around each other and seeing how close they became from hanging with each other. This has made me think of my relationship with my brother, I’m 16 and he’s 13, and from this movie, I realised that age doesn’t matter. From this, I have been influenced to try and hang or play with my brother and bond more. I believe doing this will help strengthen my brother and I and our relationship and be able to trust each other, maybe even lower a number of arguments between us.

[6]

Premium Harmony by Stephen King

Text Type:

Short Story

This short story written by Stephen King was published in the 2007 Novembers The New Yorker Magazine. It’s about a married couple who were always arguing and then out of the blue one day the wife, Mary, collapses in a store and is confirmed dead.

In the beginning, it tells the reader about these two people, Mary and Ray, and how they are always arguing, every day. Their arguing is described as “like a dog track. When they argue, they’re like greyhounds chasing the mechanical rabbit. You go past the same scenery time after time, but you don’t see it. You see the rabbit.” I can relate to this because when I argue with people, especially my parents or my brother, it is always continuous and just goes around in circles. Never does the arguments actually achieve anything.

One of their arguments was over the house and how they are losing money and need to sell the house. However, in order to sell the house, they need to grow better grass and fix the plumbing in the building. “They’ve decided to sell the house—they can’t afford to keep it—but Mary says they won’t get far until they do something about the plumbing and get the lawn fixed.” I can relate to this because over my life, my family have moved to many different locations and I have learnt that to sell a house and get the best value out of it, you need to make the house look nice and presentable. Currently, my family and I have moved into a new house, which we have built, but we have decided we want to build again. But before we can build again we have to sell the house, so for us to get the most amount of money from our house, we are building a deck, going to do gardening and extend our driveway etc. Just like what Ray and Mary need to do in the story to get the best value out of their house.

Mary wants to buy a purple bouncy ball for her niece, so she wants to go into a store called ‘Quik-Pik’, however, Ray says that Walmart is cheaper, but Mary is stubborn and insists that it’s better to go to Quik-Pik. No matter what Ray says Mary will no change her mind so “He feels a great weight pressing down on his head. She’ll get her way. She always does on things like this.” I can also relate to Mary because, I have to admit, that I can be very stubborn for certain things. For example, the other day of one my friends was trying to get me to go into town, but I kept making up excuses and things to make it sound like its such a hassle to go into town.

Finally, from this short story I have learned that death is always unpredictable, so therefore always spend every moment you have with your friends and family and to always try and keep it positive and happy. Otherwise, you end up leaving on a bad note, and always regretting in the future about your last conversation with that person, who is now gone. Also, I learnt to never leave your dog in the back of a car with no windows down in hot weather.

Join the conversation! 2 Comments

  1. Hi Mr Waugh, could you please have a wee read of my first log and see if I’m on the right track. Also could I please have some input for things I may need to add etc. Thanks

    Reply
  2. Hi Sara,

    You are on the right track, but I have some advice too. For example, in relation to the Autobiography “A Fortunate Life” you make the right kind of personal observations, but these lack the necessary sophistication. One way to develop this is to find a quotation from the text that illustrates the point you’re trying to make and then explore how well this quote expresses the ideas/experiences you have about that topic. In this instance, how his hardships made him ‘mature for his age’ would be important to develop in detail. Then it would be important for you to reflect on your own life and where you feel you’ve grown or matured – ultimately reaching a conclusion about what we all need in order to grow as people. Also, the title of the autobiography appears as if it might be somewhat ironic. If this is the case, that would be worth exploring. What is the author saying makes a person fortunate in life?

    Does this make sense?

    CW

    Reply

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