Monday, October 24, 2011

Declaration of Independence

There are times in life when those without authority or any means of assuming authority must stand up for what they believe in. When it impacts the life they will lead, and the path to success in achieving their dreams, they should be permitted to make their opinions heard. In those occasions when an entire group of people agree upon changes that must be made, it should be in the best interest of those with authority over the aforementioned group to put their best effort in to reaching the prospect of the changes deemed necessary. We, the student body of Grosse Pointe South, take it upon ourselves to express the faults within the classrooms, the school, and the school district. Year after year, the curriculum within Michigan schools stays generally the same, with very few changes. Adults are often afraid of change, even if those changes that could be made would benefit the students who go through that set of courses. But we have decided that something must be done to fix that, and we must move out of the rut that the Grosse Pointe School district seems to be stuck in. Without consequences put forth and voiced by the student body, there is no motivation for teachers, staff, and administers to make those changes that promote the higher quality of learning.
They have limited the amount of teams and clubs students want to run and participate in.  Students have many interests and to form a team or club we need staff sponsors. Some teachers are not willing to donate their time after school limiting the amount extracurricular activities. The students that would like to have new teams or clubs are not able because of the lack of teacher effort. We are unsatisfied by the lack of teacher effort, and the lack of activities that students would like to have.
They have limited the amount of snow days because Grosse Pointe is a walking District. We do not take buses but that does not mean that students do not drive themselves to school. It is dangerous for anyone to drive on the snow covered and icy roads and is especially dangerous for new drivers. For the students that walk to and from school it is hard, because the sidewalks are not cleared or salted that often. Students and teachers slip on the icy sidewalks walking into school and injure themselves. The community would be safer if we could stay home on excessively snowy days.
They have placed fees on our athletics. They have required these fees multiple times a year. They have refused to let us play without these fees, when we cannot pay. They have insisted we pay these fees, even if our sport requires more money to pay for other things. They make us pay these fees still, if we fundraise, or gain separate donations.
They have increased the amount of homework for students at Grosse Pointe South. We are at school for eight hours and then have to spend four or more hours on homework every night. That is way too much time. We all have many extracurricular activities and do not have the time for piles of homework. Teachers do not understand that we have six other classes everyday that give us excessive amounts of homework. The students at Grosse Pointe South have to stay up into the late hours of the night, to finish their homework and that is not healthy.
They have given students many different essay formats. We as students should have one essay format that is consistent in every class. The lack of a constant essay format creates confusion while writing essays for the student body. Essays are a large part of our grade and if we use the wrong essay format our grade could suffer. The absence of one essay format for the school makes it unclear which essay format the student body should follow.
They have placed tests from multiple classes on one day. They have placed stress upon us, when we know that studying for multiple tests is nearly impossible. They have deprived us of time to study when studying requires material from several classes that are very time consuming. They have deprived us of a good grade when we could not study. They have given us a disadvantage against other students with different teachers, who would be given more time to study their class’s material.
They have increased the amount of non-academic requirements. Unnecessary classes like gym, health, and a computer class should not be required for students at Grosse Pointe South. We took those classes all through elementary and middle school. For a student that is not interested in those classes, they limit the amount of classes they can take that are relevant to their future career. The student body is not saying that those classes should be eliminated from Grosse Pointe South; they should just not be required.
They have restricted schools we are allowed to attend. Students in Kindergarten through 8th grade should be allowed to choose the school they want to go to.  Families move and we are forced to switch from their former schools. We should not have to be separated from our prior friendships formed at designated schools by you.  Students also have unique learning complications, and they should be able to go to schools that they can benefit most from.  Without being able to choose our schools the students may have to switch schools, or attend school unfit to help with their unique learning abilities.
They have reserved days to be only eight hours. They have not added hours to our day specifically for work, so that we could go home homework free. They have not added hours to our day specifically for sports, so that they do not run late into the day after school. They have not added time after school, to get more done, and provide for an extra day off. They have not placed a few extra hours on a school day for work, or sports, which would provide for an extra day off and a stress free environment at home.
They have not provided for a more flexible schedule. They have not allowed students to take one class off each week to provide for more study time or to pursue other activities. They have not allowed individual time in school to pursue activities outside of school, like sports. They have not given time in school for individual study that may result in higher testing scores. They have not even allowed giving up a class per week for individual study when an elective cannot be given up for a tutorial.       
Therefore, we, the student body, following the precedent set by our nation’s founding fathers, with the will of justice and right, severe the bonds and secede from the tyrannical and archaic establishment, and assert our right to teams without high and individual fees; the access to a system of testing where the tests are set at different dates, not piled on one day; the ability to graduate with the necessity of acquiring credits from classes that are not academic; the sanctity to days off from school when there’ enough school that other local districts are closed; the creation of a uniform way to write essays for every class in school; the freedom for a balanced and reasonable load of nightly homework; the freedom to step classes; the easing of how difficult it is to form clubs in school; the much increased level of education that would be received in a day with two extra hours, ne for sports and one a homework period; and the power to chose which school we want to go to, as long as it is in the district and you live in the district, for grades K-8. It is not logical or right, that we the student body, should struggle on while burdened by these tyrannical policies of the establishment, and if it is possible for these rights to be gained by sedition from the establishment, then we have the right, we have no choice but to secede from the oppression we are currently faced with.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Crucible Epilogue

            On a cold street corner in Boston, sit a ragged, fragile woman.  She was so skinny, her cheek bones were exaggeratedly defined, and it looks as if her skin just lay over bones.  To every other Bostonian this woman looks like every other poor beggar on the streets, but to a certain onlooker it was a familiar face. This limp woman was Abigail Williams, and the pedestrian walking by was Elizabeth Proctor. After the death of Elizabeth’s husband in Salem during 1692 due to the conviction of him by Abigail, Elizabeth gave birth to a son John, married Jacob Smith, and moved to Boston to get far from the town that changed her life forever.  Abigail on the other hand left Salem to go start a new life in Boston, though when she got there she was unable to make money and became another homeless woman on the street. On a cold brisk day in late November, as Elizabeth is finishing her errands, she passes by the same street corner as always but today there was something different about it. Standing limp, frail, and dirty is Abigail Williams. Elizabeth, though wanting to confront her, just passes by, trying to conceal her identity.  A few days later, a Sunday, Elizabeth is returning from church when she again walks past that same street corner where again Abigail stands, looking even worse than before.
“Continue home, boys I forgot to pick up something for supper” Elizabeth says sweetly to her family.
After much contemplation Elizabeth gains the courage to finally confront Abigail after years of trying put the complications of Salem behind her. Her heart was pulsing so much that she thought Abigail would be see it. She did her best to steady her nerves and calm the shaking in her voice.
“Abigail Williams?” Elizabeth asked cautiously.
Abigail slowly turns towards the voice she remembers so vaguely. It had been 6 years since the two women had last seen each other. Abigail could barely breathe and her heart, along with Elizabeth’s, pulsed so fast it seemed to be continuous.
“How do you know-” Abigail stops herself and a blank look overtakes her face. “Elizabeth Proctor? Is that you?”
Stunned by Elizabeth’s unchanged appearance and physique, Abigail was speechless. Abigail’s skeletal figure, though very changed, was still recognizable.
“Yes, Abigail it is.” Elizabeth says in her normal sweet voice. “It has been a while since we last saw each other.”
“Yes... it has” Abigail says taken aback by Elizabeth’s friendly tone.
They both are surprised by the fact that they have met again, after all of the chaos in Salem a few years back. Unsure what to talk about they both wonder if it was meant to be that they meet again.
“Abigail, you caused many innocent people harm before you left Salem, and then you run away like a coward. Many people still morn over the terribleness of what you did.” Elizabeth says sternly.
“I know Elizabeth, and I regret it every day. I left and now look at where I am. I am just another person on the streets of Boston. I suffer every day and I don’t have a single doubt that it is because of my wretchedness in Salem.” Abigail says hoping for sympathy.
Abigail did horrible things in Salem, some of which most cannot forgive her for. Elizabeth on the other hand forgave John before he was hung in Salem a few years before, and she knew that she could not keep pretending she was alright without forgiving Abigail.
“Abigail, I can tell you really do regret it. I cannot go on pretending that you didn’t change my life forever, and that I live a normal life with a normal family. I forgive you Abigail. I know that my forgiveness is not going to change what happened in Salem, but I want us to be able to live without guilt, and detestation towards each other.” Elizabeth said with a nurturing tone.
“Elizabeth, I appreciate your forgiveness, and this guilt has been with me since the day I left Salem, even though I didn’t show it, I didn’t mean for John to be hung. I should really be the one apologizing.” Abigail says passionately.
Suddenly a feeling of relief over took them both. The sense of a release of guilt, and lack of forgiveness put both women more at ease.
“Abigail, I hope you make the rest of your life worth it, and I am glad that we can put the past behind us, and we can live with the problems of Salem behind us.” Elizabeth said.
“Thank you Elizabeth.” Abigail said then, just as if nothing had happened she walked away.
They both continued on their way and every once in a while Elizabeth and Abigail would cross paths around town. Though they had hard pasts with each other, those were behind them and they sustained a friendly attitude with each other.  Both women’s lives were changed not only for the better, but for the best. Abigail went on to live without the guilt, and Elizabeth forgave her for her wrong doings because that is who she is a person, and if she didn’t it would have not fit into her personality.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

"The Crucible" Essay

Elyse Beach
Mr. Provenzano
Honors American Literature 1st hour
10 October 2011
            In Salem during the witch trails it was a time to largely distrust and place blame on seemingly innocent acts. People with stellar reputations fell victim and their lives were never the same.Through out the play a series of unfortunate events, led to the conviction of innocent town members for witchcraft. Reverend Parris, John Proctor, and Abigail were the most prominent characters in the events that led to the Salem witch trials in the play, “The Crucible.”  
In the beginning of the play, Reverend Parris is the character with the power in the town of Salem.  Though he was the town reverend and was a man in authority, he was not a good leader. Parris though not the most dominant character in the book, was influential in the accusations leading to convictions of some innocent people of Salem.  Reverend Parris played a part in the escalating trials by allowing decent people with good reputations in the town of Salem and other close towns to be accused of outrageous wrongdoings.  He saw Abigail, Betty, and other girls in the woods dancing, and he alarmed others by sensationalizing this situation. When Parris called in Reverend Hale, it showed the people in Salem that he could not control the situation involving witchcraft. Abigail took advantage of Reverend Hale who came into the town as an outsider, without knowledge of the town and the towns people and therefore placed blame on her nemeses which Hale didn’t know as either respectable or immoral people.  Parris knew that these people were innocent, but because he was a weak leader did not argue against her, and left it for the court to decide.  “Abigail, I have fought here three long years to bend these stiff-necked people to me, and now, just now when some good respect is rising for me in the parish, you compromise my very character” (Miller 11). This quote shows how Reverend Parris is a pathetic authority figure and unable to successfully intervene to stop Abigail’s drama and risk losing any power and control he has in the town.
            The character John Proctor is also partially responsible for the witch trials in Salem. John is both directly and non-directly related to the witch trials. John was one of the innocent town members convicted of witch craft. Further compromising his position is that he had an affair with Abigail, which led to her initiation with witchcraft.   If John had not led Abigail on and had taken her virginity she would not have thought he loved her. Abigail was accused of witchcraft after she was spotted drinking blood to kill Elizabeth Proctor, John’s wife.   Abigail was in love with John, and told him that all of this had nothing to do with witchcraft. John had this information and didn’t tell anyone else about it. “I-I have no witness and cannot prove it, except my word be taken. But I know the children’s sickness had not to do with witchcraft “(Miller 68). John kept this crucial evidence from people with more authority than himself and Elizabeth his wife, by doing this it allowed Abigail to further falsely blame more individuals.  
            Abigail is the most significant character that led to the convictions of the Salem towns’ people. She blamed everyone that she believed to be outsiders, and lower class in Salem of witchcraft. Without her character, the story would not have enfolded in the manner it did. She instigated the situation and as a result many of the townspeople of Salem had to suffer horrible consequences. At this point in the play Abigail and her younger cousin Betty named people in the town and telling Reverend Hale that they are witches. “I saw Sarah Good with the Devil! I saw Goody Osborn with the Devil! I saw Bridget Bishop with the Devil (Miller 48)! Abigail was the leader of the girls that were convicting all of the Salem citizens.  She forced them all to act as if they were being possessed by the convicted persons’ witchcraft. Abigail formed this assemblage of girls, and without Abigail’s’ leader ship none of them would have thought to place blame on this innocent beings. All she wanted was to get rid of Elizabeth Proctor who was stopping her from getting Johns affection and by doing so she took the lives of many helpless people of Salem. 
            In the end of “The Crucible” many innocent people die, and lies are finally put to rest. The trials in Salem would not have occurred without the involvement of Reverend Parris, John Proctor, and Abigail. Despite the lies and mistruths during the trials, truths were eventually told and there reputations remained untarnished 

Works Cited
Miller, Arthur. The Crucible. New York: Penguin Group, 1982. Print.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Crucible Post 2

        People are told since they were young not to lie, but what do you do if to save your life you have to lie?  In “The Crucible” Abigail Warren is convicting people of witchcraft that are innocent. These people have to make the decision lying to save their life, or to tell the truth and be tortured to death. In the story the innocent people being convicted know the consequences. “And why not, if they must hang for denyin’ it? There are them that will swear to anything before they’ll hang; have you never thought of that (Miller 69)?” These people are not actually trafficking with the devil they are just trying to save their own lives.  At this time in the story Proctor is making a very good point.  Many people would lie to save their lives, because then they can keep their life. Though I would like to say that I would never lie, I would do whatever it takes to save my life. The hard part is why I would lie? I would love to always be truthful, but it is my life and being so young I still have more things to experience.  So if I  was charged for witchcraft in puritan times I would lie to save myself from being tortured to death.