Monday, March 15, 2010

3rd Quarter ORB Review

Abraham Lincoln, A Man Of Faith and Courage by Joe Wheeler. Howard Books, 2008

Abraham Lincoln, A Man Of Faith and Courage is a biography of our sixteenth president, Abraham Lincoln. The main focus of the author is to show how Lincoln's faith in God and unwillingness to give up influenced his career. Having a somewhat tough childhood with his mother dying young, Lincoln never had a great connection with his father. He was much more close to his adopted mother who encouraged him to continue his education while his father always thought he should just settle down and be a farmer. Lincoln seemed to be unsure of what career he would pursue, choosing many different careers before finally becoming a lawyer. His great speechmaking in the courtroom lead to a career in politics. He was elected president in 1869, becoming the first Republican president, a party which he helped create. During his presidency the Civil War occurred, as well as personal tragedies such as his son Willie dying. After the turbulent war, many were upset about the victory in the North. Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth at Ford's Theater on April 14th, 1865.

"Personable and moved quickly." -Rebecca Reid

This biography was not quite as detailed as I would have liked it to be. Wheeler is very good at telling stories of Lincoln, but he is very uneven in providing details. For some stories of Lincoln's life he only provides a short paragraph of information. For stories of Lincoln that many people have already heard, he will sometimes devote pages. However, there is some very inspirational material in the book and I would mildly recommend it to someone who is interested in reading about Lincoln.

"The once robust Treasury was looted and left on shambles. The nation's reputation abroad was trashed by operatives of the South so that the Confederacy would be quickly recognized by the great powers." (140)

Looking at the book objectively- if I had not known anything about Lincoln before reading this biography, I would have thought he was a great man after reading this book. However, having a decent background of knowledge about Lincoln, the book felt like a rehash to me with intriguing peaks of information that were extremely interesting. Personally, the book is extremely inspirational. It really motivates the reader to never give up. Lincoln faced many obstacles in his life but never gave up. Once again I would mildly recommend this book, but it is not overly in-depth.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Old Man and The Sea Essay Rough Draft

Determination can lead a person to doing great things. Being determined can make you decide to do something great that you would have never done before in order to reach your goals. However, being overly determined can make you fail to achieve your goal. A person has to recognize the limits on what they can do before they attempt to do something. Santiago's extreme determination to reach his objective of catching the fish leads to his downfall. He did not know the limits to which he could reach. He pushed those limits too far. If he had done a few things differently, he might have been more successful.

Santiago refuses to take a rest during the whole time he is pursuing this huge fish. He becomes sloppy in his ways of trying to catch the fish. "I could just drift, he thought, and sleep and put a bight of line around my toe to wake me. But today is eighty-five days and I should fish the day well" (41). I think the fact that he has not caught a fish for so long has made the old man very determined. He feels that this is his moment to become a legend and save his career. However, while striving for these goals, he forgets that he needs rest and other things to keep himself sharp and well-aware of what he needs to do.

The fisherman's refusal to get help on this fishing trip also contributes to his downfall. He tells the boy, "You ought to go to bed now so that you will be fresh in the morning. I will take the things back to the Terrace" (23). Manolin is sypathetic to the fisherman's plight and is doing all he can to help Santiago be successful on his fishing trip, but Santiago does not want to take him with him. Manolin is not acting childish and there is no reason why Santiago should not be welcoming him to help. However later on during the trip, he wishes he had the boy there to help him. He did not plan out his trip well enough.

Santiago would have been more successful if he had realized that he has grown old and is more limited in his abilities then he was at a younger age. "It was too good to last, he thought. I wish it had been a dream now and that I had never hooked this fish and was alone in bed on the newspaper" (103). He has realized that he has reached his limits. He is now melancholy because he realizes that there is no way he will be able to get this entire fish back to shore completely intact and that his future might be bleak.

"You work now fish. I'll take you at your turn" (89). The fisherman is completely exhausted at this time. He has not slept since he went to sea and he has no one with him to watch the fish while he rests. The pursuit of this enormous fish has been long and has taken its toll on the old man. Santiago is no longer overly urgent in pursuing the fish anymore and is just waiting for it, sitting on the serene sea waiting for the moment.

Santiago mainly fails in bringing the fish because he refuses to recognize that he has limits. He does not seem to realize that he is an older man and cannot do all of the things that he used to be able to do. He refuses Manolin's help and with all of his determination, becomes blind to the fact that he needs to rest to be at his full potential. If he had been more thoughtful and less self-involved he might have achieved success.