Grade 8 Reflection – Playlist

Flaws by Bastille, Bad Blood

This song is about the singer having flaws and weaknesses that he’s trying to hid (“You have always worn your flaws upon your sleeve, and I have always buried them deep beneath the ground”). The singer addressing someone who accepts their flaws and doesn’t care about them. He reaches out to the person and they help him, convincing him to accept himself and embrace failure (“Dig them up. Let’s finish what we’ve started. Dig them up, so nothing’s left untouched”). The central message of this song is to show how we all tear ourselves apart to try to be perfect when we should just accept ourselves (“Look at the wonderful mess that we made, we pick ourselves undone”)

I chose this song because in the second semester of 7th grade, I’d experienced some major failures that I couldn’t get over. I tried to “bury them deep beneath the ground” and hide them from others. I couldn’t accept that I could fail like this, but over the summer between 7th grade and 8th grade, my family helped me embrace failure. They helped me realise that life wasn’t perfect and that what was done cannot be undone. That helped me start strong in 8th grade, with renewed determination to not be beaten down by failure.


(clean version)

Focus by Ariana Grande, Dangerous Woman

Although Focus by Ariana Grande might seem like song about love, Grande herself announced that there is a deeper meaning to this song. In the first verse, “I know what I came to do and that ain’t gonna change. So go ahead and talk your talk cause I won’t take the bait”, Grande declares that she doesn’t care what the world thinks about her, she’s just going to be herself and keep working hard. When she says “focus on me”, she actually means focus on who she is. She wants people to focus on who she is, not what she looks like, what she’s wearing, the colour of her skin etc. She wants the world to know who she is a person. To quote her exact words, she said “The more we realise how much we have in common , the more we listen to each other, the more one we become”.

I was inspired by this song and how Grande wants people to know that she is not just the looks and the fashion, she’s more than that. So I was inspired by her message, and in the beginning of 8th grade, I chose not only to embrace my flaws and imperfections, but also to make new friends and focus on who they are, and not what they are.


Chasing the Sun by The Wanted, Word of Mouth

Chasing the Sun by the Wanted is not only a song about partying and enjoying life, but it’s also about pursuing your dreams. “They said this day wouldn’t come, we refused to run, we’ve only just begun, you’ll find us chasing the sun” talks about how people discouraged the singer(s) and told them this dream was impossible in the beginning, but the singer(s) refused to be brought down by words and continued to pursue their dreams. I also interpret this song as one where it tells you to aim for higher goals, even when others discourage you. If you think about it, chasing the sun is like trying to catch the moon. It’s impossible, yet this song is telling you to pursue the impossible, because nothing is impossible.

During the course of 8th grade, this song inspired me to set higher expectations and to keep on going even when others discourage you. This song told me that nothing is impossible, and with time and effort (We’ve only just begun, until forever comes, you’ll find us chasing the sun), anything can be achieved.


Am I Wrong by Nico & Vinz, Black Star Elephant

This song, by Nico & Vinz, is about following what you believe in and not doing what everybody else is doing. In this song, the person isn’t sure the road he’s travelling is the right one, but he follows his heart and believes that it will lead him somewhere (Am I wrong for thinking out the box from where I stay? Am I wrong for saying that I choose another way?). The person in this song wants to do something unique and follow a path that others have not travelled on yet, even when he can’t find where the road leads to (I ain’t tryna do what everybody else doing, just ’cause everybody doing what they all do. If one thing I know, I’ll fall but I’ll grow, I’m walking down this road of mine, this road that I call home). The song encourages others to not let people control their lives and not be effected by other people’s opinions (walk, walk, don’t look back, always do what you decide. Don’t let them control your life, that’s just how I feel). The person in the song is telling those who are different and seeking a different path in life that they are not alone and to fight for what they believe in (Fight for yours and don’t let go, don’t let them compare you, no. Don’t worry, you’re not alone, that’s just how we feel). 

Reflecting back on this year, I think this is the song that summarised 8th grade the most. Ever since I transitioned from Upper Primary to Middle School, I’d always been the ‘follower’, and not the ‘leader’. I’d always walk in other people’s shadows and footsteps, never hesitating to think about making my own path. It was until after 7th grade did I realise that for me, following people’s footsteps just wasn’t going to work. For me, the best path was my own. This song encouraged me that there is nothing wrong with following what I believe in and going against the flow, and assuring me that I wasn’t alone in this journey.


Drag Me Down by One Direction, Made in the A.M

In this song, One Direction sings of not letting others discourage and humiliate one. This song sings about how the singer will let nothing stop them (All these lights, they can’t blind me, with your love, nobody can drag me down). It gives an upbeat melody that emboldens others to not let anything drag them down. This song was produced after One Direction’s member Zayn Malik left, so it was sung with passion in a way that the band members were not going to let Zayn’s departure drag them down.

I chose this song because it inspired me to keep going and never give up even when life was tediously challenging. It renewed and rekindled the fire of determination that burned in the beginning of the year (I got a fire for a heart, I’m not scared of the dark). In many ways, it helped me through challenging obstacles in the course of 8th grade.


Who We Are by Imagine Dragons, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

This song is a song produced for the famous movie, Hunger Games: Catching Fire. It’s a song about accepting who you are as a person (It’s who we are, doesn’t matter if we’ve gone too far, doesn’t matter if it’s all okay, doesn’t matter if it’s not our day). This songs says that it doesn’t matter if you fail in life, if you succeed in life, because in the end, you’re still who you are. Other people might judge you for being who you are (they say we’re crazy), but like what the previous song said, don’t let them drag you down.

I chose this song because it represents how I’ve changed as a person from when I was in 7th grade to now in 8th grade. It shows how when I was in 7th grade, I would care too much about everything, but now, through 8th grade, I’ve learned to accept who we are and live with it. There’s also a verse that really fits into middle school to high school transitioning: What we are don’t look clear. ‘Cause it’s all uphill from here. In this verse, the person questions their identity, just as we as teenagers are searching for our identity. “‘Cause it’s all uphill from here” represents how it will only get more stressful and intensive in high school life.


See Me Now by Little Mix, Salute

See Me Now is an uplifting song also talking about overcoming obstacles after failing or being discouraged. It starts out with this verse: I feel the rain on my skin, wash away all the pain I was in. I see the sun in the sky, no longer know how it feels to cry. This verse means now the main character is free from all the pain and misery that they were once in, and the song continues to say how it’s their time to shine (Somebody turn out the light, ’cause right now must be my time to shine). This song also has a reminisce feel to it, when the verse says “They said I couldn’t, they told me that I wouldn’t but if they could see me now. They’d see I’m something, that I’m not scared of nothing and the world will hear me shout“. So this song inspired many to keep fighting, until you are no longer afraid. (Drop me in the ocean, I’ll swim. Put me in the lions, I’ll roar. There’s a survivor within, so much stronger than I was before).

I chose this song because it illustrates the change I’ve been through since 7th grade until now. Before, people told me I couldn’t do this, or I can’t do that, and I believed them. I agreed with them and let them drag me down, and that was my mistake. Learning from my flaws, I didn’t let that happen in 8th grade, and the change I’ve been through has been roughly illustrated by this song, See Me Now. 


See You Again by Wiz Khalifa (feat Charlie Puth), Furious 7: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Even when this popular hit was dedicated to Furious 7 actor Paul Walker, See You Again is also a nostalgic song about friendship. Described to have a sense of longing and sadness but also uplifting as well, this song not only talks about the mourning of a lost friend, but can also be about someone you’ll miss but have hopes in seeing again (We’ve come a long way, from where we began. Oh, I’ll tell you all about it when I see you again). It beautifully illustrates the power of friendships and how they are never truly lost when someone dies (Everything I went through you were standing there by my side, and now you gon’ be with me for the last ride). There is a hopeful and yearning tone that leaves the audience on a huge cliffhanger.

I chose this song as because in the end of 8th grade, many people are leaving and there are many farewells that we ought to bid. So when I was thinking about these departures, I thought of the wistful yet hopeful melodies of this song. I thought of all the friends that had come with us for so long, and how these friendships had to be worn thin over distance (A friendship turn to a bond, and that bond will never be broken, the love will never get lost). As our journey ends, this song can be the “bond that will never be broken” in our friendships.


Album Cover:

Grade 8 Reflection Album

Full Playlist: 

MINP March #2: Equity and Exploitation

Prompt: Choose a theme from Animal Farm and do an analysis on it.

Book: Animal Farm  by George Orwell

This is a theme analysis on the book Animal Farm. The two themes I focused on were whether people were treated equally in society, and how power corrupts one. The brainframe linked below can explain a bit about the themes, and the essay was a previous class assignment that also explains in words the analysis of the themes. Embedded below is a Visme slideshow explaining further in depth about the analysis of the themes.


MINP #2 – Animal Farm Theme Analysis – Brainframe

MINP #2 – Animal Farm Theme Analysis – Essay (optional)

So I hope you took away not only an analysis of the themes in Animal Farm, but also what this could mean to us. Learning from these animals mistakes could help our world eliminate some problems such as gender inequality. We should learn from Animal Farm that there is no flawless equality, yet we shouldn’t stop trying. We should also learn that power does not equal happiness, and it doesn’t benefit in any way, but rather corrupts and changes us. If we let books like Animal Farm teach us their morals, maybe mistakes like the Russian Revolution wouldn’t have happened.


Orwell, George. Animal Farm. New York: Knopf, 1993. Print.

Shmoop Editorial Team. “Animal Farm Theme of Power: Leadership and Corruption.”Shmoop. Shmoop University, Inc., 11 Nov. 2008. Web. 22 Mar. 2016.

Editors, SparkNotes. “Themes, Motifs & Symbols.” SparkNotes. SparkNotes, 13 Oct. 2013. Web. 22 Mar. 2016.

Hillegass, Clifton Keith. “Animal Farm.” Major Themes. Cliffnotes, 19 August 2009. Web. 22 Mar. 2016.


MINP March #1: Wasted Talent

Prompt: Choose a character from Animal Farm and do a character analysis on them.

Book: Animal Farm  by George Orwell

This is a character analysis of Squealer, a character in George Orwell’s Animal Farm. The category mind map below explains the different characteristics of Squealer and some supporting text evidence. Since Animal Farm is an allegory for the Russian Revolution, Squealer represents the propaganda that Joseph Stalin used against the public. Squealer can also represent Vyacheslav Molotov, a close associate and protege of Stalin in the Russian Revolution.


MINP March #1 – Brain Frame – Character Analysis – Squealer

MINP March #1 – Character Analysis – Squealer

I hope you took away not only a character analysis of Squealer, but also a chance to learn from others’ mistakes. Squealer is an example of a brilliant, talented individual who used their talent in the wrong way.  If we learn from Squealer’s mistakes, if we learn to think about the consequences before acting, if we learn to think deeper and more meaningful, then maybe a mistake like the Russian Revolution wouldn’t have happened. As an anonymous person said, “mistakes are meant for learning, not repeating.”


Orwell, George. Animal Farm. New York: Knopf, 1993. Print.

Hillegass, Clifton Keith. “Animal Farm.” Squealer. Cliffnotes, 5 June 2010. Web. 01 Mar. 2016.

Shmoop Editorial Team. “Squealer (a pig) in Animal Farm.” Shmoop. Shmoop University, Inc., 11 Nov. 2008. Web. 2 Mar. 2016.

Lorentzium. “Analysis of Squealer from “Animal Farm” by George Orwell.” Analysis of Squealer from “Animal Farm” by George Orwell. EssayForum, 21 Feb. 2008. Web. 01 Mar. 2016.

Scott, Ed. “How to Write a Character Analysis.”, 8 Aug. 2012. Web. 01 Mar. 2016.

MINP Jan #2: Secrets Hidden Within

Prompt: Mindmap – Explaining the themes

Book: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas, fantasy,

This mindmap is explaining the themes of the book, Throne of Glass. In this book, young female assassin Celaena Sardothien is recruited by the prince to compete in a competition where all the notorious criminals compete to see who can be the King’s ‘Champion’. The winner gets freedom, money, and service for the king. Juggling the duties of being a Champion, Celaena finds herself tangled in problems that not only with the Captain of the Guard (Chaol Westfall) and the prince (Dorian Havilliard), but also a darkness that lurks in the shadows of the glass castle.


I hope that you took away not only the central themes of Throne of Glass, but also valuable life lessons that could really teach humanity a lesson. We should realise that books are not just for entertainment, but also for awareness. Awareness that confidence is the key to overcoming obstacles. Awareness that we shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover. Awareness that freedom is granted to everyone on this planet. Awareness that females should be treated equally to men. Awareness that being first in the beginning doesn’t mean you’re first in the end. Awareness that we should not only read stories that will ignite our imagination, but read for the sake of humanity.


Sophie. “Throne of Glass – Sarah J Maas.” So Many Books, So Little Time: Throne of Glass – Sarah J Maas. Blogspot, 23 July 2012. Web. 27 Jan. 2016.

Staff, BookRags. “Throne of Glass Themes.” BookRags. BookRags, 28 Sept. 2013. Web. 27 Jan. 2016.

Staff, Goodreads. “Throne of Glass.” Goodreads. Goodreads, 5 Aug. 2012. Web. 27 Jan. 2016.

Smith, S. E. “Book Review: Throne of Glass, Sarah J. Maas.” This Ain’t Livin’Meloukia, 2 Mar. 2014. Web. 27 Jan. 2016.

MINP Jan #1: Evolution of Trust

Prompt: Diary entries – development of central theme throughout the story

Book: The Game of Lives by James Dashner, dystopian fiction, science fiction

This is a series of diaries written from Michael’s perspective, the main character of Dashner’s Mortality Doctrine series. It’s written to his diary and narrates how quickly Michael loses trust in everything throughout the Game of Lives.


MINP Jan #1 – Diary Entries

I hope you enjoyed reading these diary entries, and I hope that you’ve selected out the main message of the story: trust no one. This author’s message has often appeared in many books, but I think that it can’t necessarily be used in real life because it’s in our human nature that we trust one another. True, we can’t go around trusting random strangers that will ultimately lead us to chaos and trouble, but on the other hand we can’t distrust everybody to the point where you burden all your troubles yourself. Friends, family and community is built to help you share your burden of troubles. If we can’t trust one another, then our community might as well be lost. Trust is the foundation of relationships. As Isaac Newton correctly worded it, “we build too many walls and not enough bridges.”

MLA Citations: Staff, Goodreads. “The Game of Lives (The Mortality Doctrine, #3).” Goodreads. Goodreads, 17 Nov. 2015. Web. 19 Jan. 2016.

Staff, Wikia. “The Game of Lives.” The Mortality Doctrine Wiki., 20 Nov. 2015. Web. 19 Jan. 2016.

Dashner, James. The Game of Lives. New York: Delacorte, 2015. Print. The Mortality Doctrine.

MINP Dec #1: Is Violence Really the Answer to Suffering?

Prompt: Letter – Character’s development and central message.

Book: Then by Morris Gleitzman, historical and realistic fiction

This is a letter written from Felix’s perspective, the main character of Gleitzman’s Once, Then, Now, After and Soon series. It’s written to Zelda, whom Felix grew a bond with during the first two books, Once and Then. In this letter, Felix is eighty years old since he was eighty years old in Now.


Dear Zelda,

It’s been seventy years and I still haven’t forgotten the image of our kin, piled, bleeding, unmoving, dead.

You were crying at that time, and I couldn’t blame you. They were children, some younger than you and others older than me. They were like us, Jewish orphans trying to escape the wrath of the Nazis. But their fate ended in such a gruesome way, the picture of them has still not left my mind.

The Nazis. We used to think that they were after us only because they hated the Jewish books. Oh, how I wish I had that ignorance and oblivion now. I think we both began to realise the truth about the Nazis after seeing what we could’ve ended up as: lifeless bodies, shot and thrown in a bundle like they were nothing but rags.

A couple hundred dollars and a bottle of vodka. Remember that’s how much a Jewish person cost during the war? Imagine where we would have been if we had continued eating Mr. Krol’s turnips; somewhere in his bale of hay, unconscious and heading towards a fate similar to those in the piles of the dead. You were right in wondering why the Nazis didn’t understand that anyone, whether they were Jewish or Nazi, had a life that was worth infinite times more than a couple hundred dollars and a bottle of vodka.

Once, you made me promise that I would never leave you, and that we would find new parents together.

And then a ray of hope beamed through the dark clouds of despair. Finally, an adult who would take us in and not secretly trade us for a bounty. Remember when Genia said “I don’t like Jews. I never have. It’s how I was brought up.” (Gleitzman, pg. 45)? I never truly believed her, because of the gentleness she had when she bathed us, fed us, and provided us new hope for a new future. From thence, you and I became Wilhelm and Violetta, Polish kids who hated Jewish people. When we strode through town, proudly bearing our Polish identities, I know we both saw how much hatred the Polish community bore towards the Jewish. “Filthy vermins” (Gleitzman, pg. 132), they called the Jewish. “No dogs or Jews” (Gleitzman, pg. 67), people would nail at their doorway. I didn’t want to imagine what happened if I walked into town being Felix, not Wilhelm.

But being Wilhelm didn’t help us from suffering the consequences of being Felix. “Why are Nazi monsters so mean and horrible?” (Gleitzman, pg. 100), you once asked after Leopold was shot. Genia and I didn’t reply. What could we say, the Nazis were born like this? But I can’t, because that would be mean and horrible towards the Nazis.

Remember when I snuck out that night to hunt for rabbits and came home with a fish? I had originally grabbed hold of a rabbit, but looking into it’s big, dark eyes and feeling the “veins in its throat throbbing” (Gleitzman, pg. 111), I couldn’t bring down the knife without thinking about the rabbit’s own life, how it could live the peaceful life that we’ve always dreamed of if I didn’t kill it. I remember the kid, Dov, pointing a gun at the Nazi’s head, my breath caught in my throat. How could Dov kill a Nazi, when I couldn’t even kill a rabbit for food?

“I want Leopold’s friend [Dov] to teach me how to do it,” You had murmured, “How to shoot a Nazi.” (Gleitzman, pg. 121). Back then, I didn’t know how to fix this hatred between you and your parents. You kept throwing away your locket with the picture of your Nazi parents. Genia said that you were trying to forget about your parents, and that we had to help you do that. But she never understood, did she? “Kids like us don’t ever forget our real parents. Not ever.” (Gleitzman, pg. 83).

That was when I realised that we would never find new parents like this, with your hatred towards the Nazi interfering.

I realised that night that you would never be safe while I was around. Or so I thought. I thought asking Amon to protect you would keep the danger away while I was gone. I thought that preparing to leave you in the middle of the night after knowing that you acknowledged your Nazi parents would help. I thought that leaving you when you went to buy me a birthday present was going to relieve the danger off your shoulders. I was wrong. You never needed help. Even when you were just barely six, you understood loyalty and friendship better than any other adult could. You understood the pains of being Jewish more than I did. You understood the reality of war more than anyone did.

Then you broke your own promise.

I remember praying really hard that any second you would “come up behind me and give me a hug and you would tell me off for having smudgy glasses and not being able to see clearly” (Gleitzman, pg. 173). I remember seeing Mr. Krol first, the old man limp in the wind, slightly bumping the post. Then the breeze turned you and Genia around, and your faces stared at me, haunting me for the rest of my life. The faces that took care of me when I was sick. The faces that supported me through the war. The faces that kept me sane when all was failing. The faces that was my family. You were still dressed with the coat that you came back to get, Genia still in her usual clothes. The breeze had blown the hair out of your face, and I wished it hadn’t. Your eyes were closed, like you were sleeping peacefully. Your body was slack, lost of the energy that supplied me with hope. And the rope… the rope… the rope around your neck…

I’m sorry, Zelda. But after that, I lost the sanity that you had so carefully nourished. Dov and I strapped bombs on ourselves, murdering two Hitler Youth and disguised ourselves as part of the Hitler Youth. I remember striding in the Hitler Youth home, my eyes hard and empty. Dov and I didn’t say anything. There was nothing left to say.

I was so lost in pain and grief, Zelda, that I nearly forgot the times when you gave me hope. I nearly forgot that hope has the power to surpass all pain. I nearly forgot that leaving you wouldn’t help you; it would only hurt both of us. I nearly forgot about you.

But you didn’t forget about me, even when you were in heaven. You saved me from pulling the trigger to the grenade. You reminded me of the past Felix that couldn’t even bring a knife down on a rabbit. You saved me from drowning in the seas of pain and grief. You saved me from believing that the world was going to end because you were gone. You gave me the answer that violence was not the answer to suffering; violence would only worsen suffering. You let me realise that the suffering in war could only be cured through forgiveness, compassion, and the ability to let go. You reminded me that I was the only evidence of you, and that I shouldn’t be causing more suffering than there already was. You reminded me of what a wonderful future I could have if I didn’t pull the trigger. You reminded me that I had to keep your promise, that I would never leave you. You reminded me that you actually never broke your own promise, because you were always there, in my mind. You have taught me never to give up even when the sky is falling and the world is crumbling. You saved me from ending up like our kin, piled, bleeding, unmoving, dead. How? The golden locket with the drawing of me and you brought back my sanity, the one that you died getting for me.

Now I am all alone, living a perfect life that seems altogether empty without you.

Looking back, I don’t think I could’ve survived without you, Zelda. You were the beacon of hope in the mists of suffering. You helped me transform from an ignorant boy to what I am now, an old man learning to let go of your death. Ironic, isn’t it? Our story is so similar to the plot of World War Two, now that I research on it. The world was so oblivious of death and suffering, but after the war, it almost seems like it matured and learned it’s lesson after the war; that suffering can’t be solved with more violence. I hope the future generations don’t make the same mistake as we did.

But it’s not easy learning from your mistakes, isn’t it? The current generation is not listening to your teachings. Followers of Islam, namely a syndicate called Islamic State based on Syria, have been spreading terror around the world, much like the Nazis. Recently, they’ve murdered a hundred and thirty people in Paris, capital of France. The world was shellshocked from the news, for never had the Middle East terrorists reached to the heart of Europe. They’re followers of a religion, like me following Judaism. Their religion should be able to teach them about peace and harmony, yet why do they revolt against their religion and set the kindle to the fire of suffering? I’ve grown old, Zelda, but sometimes I wonder if it’s not their problem. Maybe the Muslims had harm done to them first. Maybe it started when the Jews took back Palestine and made it Israel, shunning and rejecting the Muslim Palestinians. Maybe they were also freedom fighters who just wanted to escape the suffering and unjust that was done to them by the Jews. Maybe they rose out of anger to revolt against the Jewish government, turning into a tumour known as the Islamic State. Maybe it was our fault that we caused the hundred and thirty deaths in Paris; maybe we Jews caused the birth of the notorious Islamic State.

Sadly, countries around the world are repeating their mistakes again. People are trying to bring down the Islamic State by causing more suffering and widespread pain. The United States, France, Russia, and now Britain have responded to Islamic State by bombing them, explosions decorating the sky above Syria. These countries don’t understand that by stopping the origin of suffering, you can’t do more suffering to them. They don’t realise that the cure to stop terrorism is to respond with something that they would never have expected: compassion.

Yet we haven’t lost hope. I’ve seen in the news of people doing compassionate, rightful acts against suffering. Bill Gates, a brilliant man who found Microsoft thirty years after your death and also the currently richest man alive, has devoted his life and money to solving the problems of the world, including many that we’ve faced in the Second World War: hunger, lack of education, environmental issues and so on. Little benevolent acts like defending a Muslim lady on a train counts too, on which I read about a British young man who protected a Muslim woman from being harmed because of her religion. I don’t resent the Muslims, Zelda, because I know how it is to be discriminated. To be teased, despised and snubbed by the entire world. To be thought of as a vermin or as filthy creatures bringing harm to the world. To be Jewish in the Second World War.

So thank you, Zelda. Thank you for supporting me throughout the war, bringing me hope and happiness. Thank you for being the candle of faith in the expanses of desolation. Thank you for teaching me that violence is not the answer to suffering. I will forever cherish your teachings and share them with the world.

Your friend who is still trying to let go of you,


P.S. After the war ended, I told everyone I met about you. I spread the story of your heroism. I expanded your library of evidence so that the world might someday learn from your wisdom. I told them, “She was only six, but she had the loving heart of a ten-year-old.” (Gleitzman, pg. 183). And I vowed that if people carried on hating each other, killing each other and spreading suffering, I would tell them this: “You can be like her. Don’t you know anything?” (Gleitzman, pg. 183)

Let’s see what they do then. (Gleitzman, pg. 183)


I hope you enjoyed reading this letter, and I also hope that when you leave, you have taken something out of this letter. Gleitzman wrote in his acknowledgement page that this series, Once, Then, Now, After and Soon, came from his imagination, but it was inspired by real history. This story of Felix and Zelda could have been real, looking at the state of suffering in the Holocaust. Nonetheless, no matter if this story is fiction, it portrays multiple strong messages that should be acknowledged by the world, including the fact that violence is not the answer of suffering. The Holocaust and many past historical events have been seen as merely fact, not lesson. I think that we should learn from the victims the same way as we learn from experience or from others’ teachings. The Jews who suffered in the Holocaust, especially the survivors, were extraordinary people who were scarred by war. As Morris Gleitzman said in his acknowledgement page, “This story is my imagination trying to grasp the unimaginable.”

MLA Citations: Baugh, Alex. “Then by Morris Gleitzman.” The Children’s War. Blogspot, 9 Jan. 2012. Web. 02 Dec. 2015.

Yates, Jean. Then by Morris Gleitzman – Teaching Notes. Australia: Puffin, 12 Apr. 2010. PDF.

Murphy, Jill. “Then by Morris Gleitzman.” TheBookBag. Puffin, 28 Jan. 2009. Web. 02 Dec. 2015.


NaNoWriMo – Reflection




Screen Shot 2015-11-30 at 1.29.11 PM


This is me and Weilyn. We just finished our NaNoWriMo story, which is 30,076 words.

Overall, how did NaNoWriMo go? What went well? What did not go well?

What went well for NaNoWriMo was that both of were really determined to get a lot of words. Over Thanksgiving holidays, we really crammed the writing into every spare minute, which resulted into over thirty thousand words. Also, we often reached to a general consensus during the planning and outline of the story, agreeing on what should happen next in the story plot.

I think what didn’t go well was that we didn’t spread the writing evenly. In the beginning of November, we wrote the outline, then occasionally someone would add a couple thousand words. At the second to last week we started to panic about having not written anything much, yet that week was a test week. So I think we should’ve planned ahead instead of doing it all in three days.

What did you learn about yourself? (Did you grow in writing or discipline or any other areas)?

I learned that I don’t like writing in limited time, because I believe that creative writing, that is, good quality creative writing, only comes naturally through the course of time. So when there’s pressure and other influences, the good writing and good ideas won’t come naturally as it would if you took your time. Plus, cramming it all into a month would make you eventually get sick and tired of writing about the same story. On the other hand, if you leave the story be, you’ll naturally want to go to it because either you miss writing about it or you simply like writing. I’ve realised that applies to me, because during the month I got sort of sick of writing, yet I knew that if I didn’t have a time limit I would actually like writing the story.

What is the end result? Are you cleaning up a short part to get published?

Currently we’re still at the middle of the rising action, not even close to the climax. We’re thinking of completing it if we have free time, clean it up and find a publisher or self publish it.

MINP Oct #2: Friendship within War

War Horse Book Cover


This book cover shows the main themes of the book, War Horse by Michael Morpurgo. One of the themes is friendship, shown by the boy hugging the horse. The fact that the boy hugging the horse is within the rearing horse is because War Horse is about Joey, the main protagonist (horse), finds friendship, kindness, compassion and care within the devastation of war. Another theme is violence and destruction, shown by the smoke behind the boy and the horse. Also, the white and blackness of this poster symbolises that this story was set in the early 1900s, when colour film was not made yet. The white also symbolises the peace surrounded by the black, which symbolises the destruction enveloping the peace.

MLA: Old Film Look Paper Texture – HD Overlay. Digital image. YouTube. CuteStockFootage, 10 Jan. 2013. Web. 21 Oct. 2015.

Cooper, Andrew. Talking Horses in Fiction – Quiz. Digital image. Theguardian, 27 Dec. 2011. Web. 21 Oct. 2015.

Ww2 Battlefield. Digital image. Blogeuz, 20 Feb. 2011. Web. 21 Oct. 2015.

MINP Oct #1: Augustus Waters: Simply Ineffable

Prompt: Fake obituary

Book: The Fault in Our Stars – Augustus Waters


Augustus Waters


Augustus Waters once said that “the world is not a wish granting factory” (Green, pg. 182).

Augustus was born on March 14, 1994 in Indianapolis. I first saw him at the Support Group, a tall, extremely handsome young man, with intelligent blue eyes and mahogany hair. At the age of 15, Augustus was diagnosed with a touch of osteosarcoma, yet he wasn’t afflicted by it until two years later. But that’s just the basic facts about him.

Augustus wasn’t only a cancer kid who was in special need. First, let me make this clear; he was my boyfriend. I won’t talk about our love story because I can’t talk about it and not break down. But let me tell you this: not many people knew who he really was. Basketball teammates had wrote on his wall page, extolling his natural talent in basketball. Someone I’d never heard of wrote “I love you, bro. See you on the other side” (Green, pg. 264). I even saw one anonymous person’s comment on how they “just heard that Gus Waters died after a lengthy battle with cancer. Rest in peace, buddy” (Green, pg. 266). At that point, I was certain that these people never truly knew who Gus was. Sure, he was a exceedingly talented basketball player; but he told me he disliked basketball. He didn’t die after a lengthy battle with cancer; “he died after a lengthy battle with human consciousness” (Green, pg. 266). Augustus was a boy with purpose, with intent, with knowledge of what he was saying. He understood human nature, he understood me, and he understood the world. I couldn’t find many people like him in this world.

I then asked myself, what would I write on his wall page?

To be honest with you, I couldn’t think of anything.

Augustus Waters is just… ineffable. His philosophical thinking, his peculiar yet cogent metaphors, his obsession with gaming, his… they just couldn’t be summarised into “I love you, bro. See you on the other side” (Green, pg. 264). From the moment we had the small debate on oblivion, the cigarette metaphor, our trade of favourite books, the email he sent to Van Houten, our “okay”, his passion for symbolism… the list goes on into infinity. I cannot think of one moment when I could describe my feelings toward him, for they were beyond words. It was just… a infinity. “Our little infinity. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. You gave me a forever within the numbered days, and I’m grateful” (Green, pg. 260), as I spoke to Augustus on the day of his pre-funeral.

In the eulogy Gus wrote for me, Gus mentions that “almost everyone is obsessed with leaving a mark upon the world. We all want to be remembered. I do, too. That’s what bothers me most, is being another unremembered casualty in the ancient and inglorious war against disease” (Green, pg 310-311). In a way, I think he’s wrong. Gus was never known for “being another unremembered casualty”; he was a hero in the eternal war against human consciousness. As Gus mentioned, “the real heroes anyway aren’t the people doing things; the real heroes are the people NOTICING things, paying attention” (Green, pg. 312). The very fact that he managed to notice the definition of a real hero makes him a hero. He noticed that “grief does not change you. It reveals you” (Green, pg. 286). He noticed that “without pain, how could we know joy?” (Green, pg. 35). He recognised that “the thing about pain, is that it demands to be felt” (Green, pg. 63). I mean, how often do you run into a guy like that?

But in the end, “Augustus Waters died eight days after his pre-funeral, at Memorial, in the ICU, when the cancer, which was made of him, finally stopped his heart, which was also made of him” (Green, pg. 261).

I can’t say how grateful I am to meet Augustus Waters. I can’t say I want him to be the hero who outlasts death, because as Gus said, “the world is not a wish granting factory” (Green, pg. 182).

~ Hazel Grace

MLA: Wikia, The Fault in Our Stars. “Augustus Waters.” The Fault In Our Stars Wiki. Wikia, n.d. Web. 15 Oct. 2015.

Green, John. “The Fault in Our Stars Quotes.” The Fault in Our Stars Quotes. Goodreads, n.d. Web. 15 Oct. 2015.