A Twenty One Minute Mystery

After I listened to the podcast I noticed like many other crime mysteries “Serial” by Sarah Koenig was a murder case that lacked an alibi and evidence. I enjoyed listening to this podcast because it was an interesting case that had lots of suspense. Mystery cases intrigue my interest because they engage me in a circumstance that needs to be solved. I liked this podcast so much because my curiosity is what made me wanting to keep listening to find out what was going to happen next. After I listened to this podcast I was able to compare the thriller theme to the show “Pretty Little Liars.”  I spent many hours watching this show because each episode left me on a cliffhanger. The idea of five best friends being stocked by a unknown “A” sparked my interest and demanded me to continue watching. Similarly to “Serial” the episode finished with a cliff hanger of an unsolved case and caught my interest to continue.

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Serial By Sarah Koenig.
A Suspenseful and Mysterious Show. 

I can infer with this case being ongoing for so long and then a popular podcast coming out of it the family of the victim would feel terrorized. To me I believe the family would want this case to be closed and no longer talked about. I can image how damaged and hurt the family would feel after the death of their beloved daughter however, having the case constantly talked about after everything is over would hurt them even more. I can relate that losing someone close to you really sucks. After I lost both my grandma and grandpa in the same year it was devastating. Although what really hurt me the most was after the fact when I had to talk about it or someone brought it up in conversation.

Losing a Loved One Can Really Hurt. 

Before I listened to “Serial” I was adamant that the only way to view a text was by reading. I thought it was so dumb to listen to writing. This podcast changed my outlook completely and gave me a better appreciation for listening to a text. I enjoyed listening to this and I think a podcast was the best method for this information. The podcast method was able to incorporate music and sound effects that engaged me. Right from the start I was able to sense an eerie and suspenseful theme because of the music.

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Suspenseful and Eerie Piano Music. 

I also enjoyed the podcast because Koenig was able to use dialogue clips of other characters. I was able to hear their voice and make a better judgement on their character. After I hear Jay describe “he was going to leave me with his cellphone and car and I was going to go get him after he killed Hayley” I lost all respect for him. I contemplated how anyone could ever agree to help someone with such a crime. The video clip provided was very beneficial to hear Jay’s nervous tone while speaking with the cops. When I listened to this podcast I found another benefit was that the author was able to use a casual informal tone that the audience can relate to. When I heard Koenig explain “for the last year I’ve spent every working day trying to figure out where a teenager girl was for an hour after school” I was able to get a better understanding of her emotion and passion towards this case. Audio also allowed me to catch onto humorous parts that a text would not. With Koenig’s tone I am able to catch onto her humour when she describes old photos of Adnan with “struggling facial hair and sagging jeans”. To me the only drawback of audio compared to text was it was difficult to pause and analyze what happened. Audio was a continuous method that required my full attention.

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The Difference Between Joking and Your Friend Actually Killing Someone. 

While Koenig opens the podcast discussing the difficulties with memory I can relate by barely being able to remember what I had for breakfast this morning. To me I believe our memories are constantly being edited, the more time that goes by the less I seem to remember about a particular event. This concerns me on how much evidence Koenig will be to come up with on this case. For someone that is guilty it is clear to me they will selectively only remember some things however, the more time that goes by the less evidence Adnan, Jay, or Asia will be able to provide. When Koenig accounts that “it is really hard to account for your time in a detailed way” this makes me consider my own memory on events. I can look back on a day several months ago and explain in every detail what happened because it was very significant; I had received a new job and gotten into my desired university all in the same day. However, comparing to a casual school day the events I can recall are much slimmer. I can say with very little confidence that I probably worked that night because I genuinely work a lot. This is very surprising to me and allows me to connect to the characters who are struggling to recall the events of that day.

I am already attached to “Serial” and can not wait to find out if Adnan is guilty or not.

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As Time Goes on Memories Fade.
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Only Adnan Knows the Truth. 

Works Cited

Khazan, Olga. “Is Listening To Audio Books Really the Same Thing As Reading?” Forbes, 2011. Web. 2018.

Koenig, Sarah. “Serial.” Audible, N.D. Web. 2018.

“Losing Someone Essay.” Bartleby, 2018. Web. 2018.

“Literary Terms.”Literary Terms. 1 June 2015. Web. 2018.

Velez, Angela. “Goodbye to Pretty Little Liars, a Show That Strengthened My Friendships.” Brit + Co, 2017. Web. 2018.

Wen, Tiffanie. “Inside the Podcast Brain: Why Do Audio Stories Captivate?” The Atlantic, 2015. Web. 2018.

Zimmerman, Kim. “Memory Definition & Types of Memory.” Live Science, 2014. Web. 2018.

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An Event of Inspiration

While reading the remainder of the novel “Wild” by Cheryl Strayed I have been able to compare Cheryl’s character to the interpretation of other women. Feminist literary theory is a way I am able to understand the text by focusing on the equality of women. Although, I can not analyze her character as a typical beautiful princess, evil queen, or the virgin, Cheryl’s character opposes common women characteristics in many ways (Shmoop Editorial Team).

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Gender equality.

I envy Cheryl’s braveness as she continues her enduring hike and constantly takes the risk of hitchhiking. To me it is clear Cheryl is a impressive long distance hiker but, to Jimmy Carter, a passing journalist, he is shocked because “I hardly ever meet hobo women” (180). Although, becoming homeless is a devastating event that can happen to anyone I can imagine Jimmy is taken by surprise that Cheryl is hiking all by herself. I believe it is a common misconception that females are always dependent on males. Cheryl proves to me that she is completely capable of surviving on her own and does not require a male to look after her. After Cheryl finally gets a ride I am appalled when the driver mentions “that’s quite a pack you got there, kiddo” (183). By applying the feminist theory it stands out to me that Cheryl is always deemed as weak because of her sex. Males are commonly known as the more strong and dominant gender, while I can interpret Cheryl’s displeasure to comment regarding her ability to carry her heavy backpack. I can interpret that women are also referred to as younger. Not because of their age but, I think Cheryl is portrayed this way to show her vulnerability.

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Cheryl hitchhiking alone.

Throughout Cheryl’s hike I grasp that she continues to reflect on her past life and marriage with Paul. While viewing this content with a feminist point of view Cheryl takes on roles of the opposite gender (Purdue Online Writing Lab). I can sense Cheryl’s confidence and strength throughout the divorce with Paul. Although, it is common for the male to be controlling in the relationships I value Cheryl being the one who asks for the divorce and now feels that “in spite of all the things I’d done wrong, in getting myself here, I’d done right” (189). It becomes clear to me that even though she has regrets from giving up on herself, sleeping around, and using drugs she begins to see hope in herself from completing this hike. Cheryl continues to show me her strength as a women when she fearlessly sleeps at a camp ground by herself and encounters a snake. As feminism is the belief in equality between sexes Cheryl portrays herself capable as any men would be (Dastagir). I evaluate Cheryl as she encounters a snake and is “not afraid” (192). Even though it is believed that only males do not ever feel scared I think this is a milestone for Cheryl beginning to have faith in herself. I began to feel pity for Cheryl while she runs out of water and has very little funds. She keeps hiking and I am relieved when she makes it to a general store. While Cheryl hands over “everything I had” I can sense a connection to the feminist literary theory (198). Although, women can receive many high paying jobs and be just as wealthy as men, I can conclude the store owner only gives her the lemonade because she is a single female and does not have a male to pay for her. In relation to wealth I also believe men are perceived as more wise. It is an eye opener to me that “it was a woman who first thought of the Pacific Crest Trail” (206). This shows to me the achievement of a women coming up with it all and the success of Cheryl hiking it. Keeping in mind the equivalence of genders this ensures to me that both sexes have a comparable education.

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Cheryl’s strength is revealed during her journey.

Furthermore, I notice Cheryl’s eager tom boy attitude. I believe this goes against a common misconception that females are required to always be dressed up and proper or sexy and seductive (Groeneveld). While Cheryl on the other hand continues to struggle with her blistered body I am not taken with surprise when she gets drunk and “sweeps the vomit away with a branch of a fir tree” (219). I can infer many would be appalled with her unmannerly behaviour however, many comparable actions would not be considered this way if performed by a male. While Cheryl meets up with Stacey and Rex I infer they are planning to attend the rainbow gathering just for something to do. Cheryl on the other hand surprises me and represents a male figure with her ruthless comments that she “might get herself laid by a hot hippy” (224). This relates to the equality on gender because I understand that careless comments on sex can be said by either gender but, it is common to be heard from an entitled and controlling male.

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Girls can enjoy sports and do no have to get dressed up.

 

In addition to Cheryl’s bravery I can sense her strength as a women when she makes it to Oregon and feels “fierce and humble, like I was safe in this world too” (232). I am able to compare this to the idea that females continue to be intimidated by males and often feel uncomfortable by themselves.  I consider the consistent emphasize on requiring females to look pretty is what makes Cheryl intrigued by the makeup store. I question Cheryl’s emotion while “I looked at myself in the little round mirror” (243). Although, Cheryl is deliberately asked on a date I am under the impression she is lacking of confidence when she is “second-guessing myself” (247). I can sense her lack of assurance in herself because all of the rude comments she has received on being a hobo, weak, and the judgement she constantly receives.

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Women can be successful too.

By the end of the novel I am able to feel a sense of gender equality when Cheryl sleeps in the same bed with three other men but, does not feel vulnerable. It is a common misconception that males and females can not be friends however, I am convinced by her it is possible. I can compare her relationship with men on the trail to the movie “Bridge to Terabithia” when Jesse and Leslie beat all odds and become best friends. Ultimately, Cheryl’s character proves to me she is as capable, strong, and independent as any man is. I am inspired by Cheryl’s journey when completes the rest of her hike and how incredible of person she turns out to be. I am heartened one year later when she marries a man on the Bride of the Gods, the final destination at the end of her hike. Cheryl Strayed, an inspiring women touches me by completing such a wild journey.

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Friendship involved in Bridge to Terabithia.
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Cheryl’s strength and independency.

 

Works Cited

Dastagir, Alia. “A Feminist Glossary Because We Didn’t All Major in Gender Studies”. USA Today, 2017. Web. 2018

Groeneveld, Elizabeth. “Be a Feminist or Dress Like One”. Taylor Francis Online, 2009. Web. 2018.

Strayed, Cheryl. Wild. From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail. New York Times, 2017. Print. 2018.

Shmoop Editorial Team. “Feminist Theory”. Shmoop University, Inc., 11 Nov. 2008. Web. 2018.

Purdue Online Writing Lab. “Feminist Criticism”. The Owl at Purdue, 2018. Web. 2018.

The Ongoing Trek

Throughout the next section of “Wild” by Cheryl Strayed I have found many archetypes imbedded in the novel. Cheryl’s hike continues on into hot and dry climate. “By noon the heat was so merciless and the trail so exposed to the sun I wondered honestly if I would survive” (83). I begin to understand the determination behind Cheryl. Not only physically, but emotionally she is overcoming so much. “I’d set out to hike the trail so that I could reflect upon my life, to think about everything that had broken me and make myself whole again” (84). I would consider Cheryl’s character comparable to a common archetype of the hero. She faces the most direct danger and conflict in the novel. Her character can be compared to the lumberjack in “Little Red Riding Hood”. He goes out of his way to save the little girl, while Cheryl is determined to save herself.

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The unbarring heat and dry climate would make it difficult to continue hiking.

After enduring many more miles of heat and exhaustion I did not question Cheryl’s plan to quit. “I was going to quit. Quit, quit, quit, I chanted to myself as I moaned and hiked and rested” (84).  I slowly gain faith as she continues on. Cheryl then meets another hiker on the trail named Greg. His character proves to be an archetype of a motivator. He believes in Cheryl and comforts her to carry on. Greg’s character is similar to the dwarves in “Little Red Riding Hood”. The dwarves help the little girl by providing her a safe place to stay. Even though the little girl is eaten up, in the end she survives. Equal to Cheryl who I believe will still have many more bumps and bruises to face, but will ultimately overcome them. “I hiked in the heat of that day with a new determination. Inspired by Greg’s faith in me, I didn’t give quitting another thought” (89).

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Hard work pays off.

As Cheryl pursues hiking she begins to encounter wildlife. After she spots a brown bear I recognize this reoccurring symbol as the power of your spirit and fearlessness. This archetype reveals Cheryl’s courage hiking the trail. Soon after, Cheryl is taken by surprise when she almost steps on a rattlesnake. The snake represents healing and life changes. I can interpret that it represents a wake-up call for Cheryl and that something from her past is bugging her. The use of a snake figure is relatable to “Jungle Book”. The human child Mowgli encounters a python after he runs away from his family. To me it now becomes clear Mowgli meets the snake to show that something needs to change in his life.

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Mowgli meeting the snake that represents the need for life changes. 
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“Only you can change your life. No one can do it for you.”

Although, Cheryl’s journey differs from a typical hero’s journey I believe it is just as significant. The typical archetypal hero journey may involve trying to save someone or fighting the antagonist. Cheryl’s journey differs because it involves overcoming fear, weather, and animals. While she hikes towards the high sierra Cheryl reaches a destination to restock on supplies. Here she stays with Albert, Tom, and Doug. As well as the other hikers, I would also be astonished by the size of Cheryl’s backpack. Like many reoccurring symbols, Cheryl’s backpack is her necessary possession. For hero’s I believe a common item is a sword, gun, or shield, but for Cheryl her backpack means everything to her.

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Even something simple like a backpack can mean the world to you.

I felt pity for Cheryl when her trek comes to a halt due to record snowfall in the next section of her hike. She attempts to push on but this results in her being lost in a huge amount of snow. She encounters a group of skiers who I consider a joker archetype. Being lost and vulnerable the skiers only laugh and inform her she is in California. Cheryl, slowly running out of food does not let this put a setback on her hike. While she rushes to find the nearest road, she notices a fox. The fox is a common archetype of psychological myths. Although, it is frequently referred to as the trickster in this case the fox represents providing guidance around finding your way around obstacles. I found this very relevant to Cheryl trying to find her way back to civilization.

After Cheryl finds her way to a diner and meets a lady named Christine who offers her a warm shower and food I recognize she begins to reflect back on her past. I can relate to Cheryl’s common feeling of regret. “The thought of my youthful lack of humility made me nauseous now. I had been an arrogant asshole and, in the midst of that, my mother died” (151). In comparison to another journey Cheryl’s mother dying is what sparks her to start the hike. This archetype is relatable to conflict and the beginning of all journeys. Cheryl’s mother owns two horses, one of which Cheryl is required to put down due to its health. I can sense Cheryl’s remorse killing something of her mothers. Horses are another common archetype. Representing personal drive, passion, and appetite for freedom. This relates directly to Cheryl’s mom trying to divorce her abusive husband and now Cheryl trying to continue on her life without her mom. To me the horse represents Cheryl’s motivation to continue on in life. This archetype is comparable to “Black Beauty”. After the tragic event of a barn fire the family has a huge set back. Their horses are what allows the family to continue their ambition for a certain lifestyle.  Overall, I believe that Cheryl will be able to finish her astonishing hike to continue the journey of a hero archetype.

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The gorgeous creature that symbolizes passion and freedom.

Works Cited

Strayed, Cheryl. Wild. From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail. New York      Times, 2017.

 

The Developing Solution

I have found the novel “Wild” by Cheryl Strayed to be very intriguing and action filled. The starting point of including Cheryl’s childhood and strong connection with her mother, Bobbi, gave me a much better understanding of why she is completing a hike across the pacific crest trail. I can sense a strong bond between the mother and daughter which I feel is very relatable to my mom and I. Even with Bobbi and Cheryl’s tough circumstances they continue to live a happy life. I found this very inspiring. Bobbi carried her first child when she was only nineteen, married an abusive husband, and continued to support Cheryl, Karen, and Leif, her three kids with her income from three jobs. She had a strong desire to attend college and get an education even though their family was poor. Bobbi did not see her family as poor though because they were “rich in love” (14). The author intended her character to come across as hard working, loving, and a good mother. While reading the discouraging events of how this family lived, it becomes evident that Bobbi is Cheryl’s greatest hero.

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The heartbreaking discovery and death of Bobbi due to lung cancer acts as a complete shock to Cheryl. This tragic event sets Cheryl’s life into a downward spiral. I can create a vivid mental image of how heartbreaking this event would be. I can relate to this situation with my own experience of my grandpas death. The mourning feeling can take over and put a great setback on your life.  For many readers the resulting events of Cheryl having affairs, using heroin, sleeping around, and getting pregnant would go against their own values. However, I have complete sympathy for Cheryl. Although, her marriage with Paul begins to fail after she has several affairs, her regret and acknowledgement of her mistakes allows the audience to have sympathy for her even if it is totally against their own beliefs. This is what sparks Cheryl’s motivation that she needs to change her life around.  It is clear Bobbi is included in the story to act as a role model, caregiver, and ultimately the reason behind why Cheryl decides to start her hike across the pacific crest trail.

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I believe the author intended the reader to make connections and feel sorrow for Cheryl. While the novel transitioned into the beginning of her journey I began to question what the point of the hike was. “I had to change back to the person I used to be” (57). This gave me a mental image of the beginning of her transformation. She had determination and a goal in mind. The use of hidden motivational messages from the author is used to give the audience a realization of accomplishment. I could relate these messages to myself by persevering to try my best in school, stay active, and accomplishing my goals in extra circular. Leading up to her hike Cheryl prepared for months buying supplies and packing her bag. On the first day she quickly realized she had gotten herself into a difficult task. “Every part of my body hurt. Except my heart.” (70). I can visualize the pain and suffering she is enduring. The scabs, wounds, and excessive weight of her pack only gave her more reason to push on. Cheryl had never hiked before. Averaging fourteen miles a day is not comparable to real hikers but the author gave good emphasis that everyone starts somewhere. She did not need to compare to others because she is hiking for herself. I questioned why might not have trained in preparation for this journey. I could predict there would be many events to come on the trail. I wondered what she might come across, if she would quit, or what other obstacles she might have to overcome.

Kennedy Meadows, her next destination to restock on food supplies was just out of reach. She opted to follow a road to find civilization because her “desire for a hot meal grew fierce” (70). After coming across a farmer who offered to help her out I believe the author included this character to add suspense to the novel. Cheryl waited in his truck, neglecting the fact he had a gun in his console. I questioned her next move. How could she trust someone she had just met that could be potentially dangerous? I put myself into Cheryl’s situation learning that I could never be as brave as her. The suspense of the farmer’s next move lead to a complete surprise for the audience when he offered a meal and fresh shower for Cheryl. As a reader, I have realized I excel at creating a mental image and reflecting by making connections. I think it will be beneficial to continue developing questions while reading for the remainder of the novel.

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Works Cited

Strayed, Cheryl. Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail. New York Times.                         2017. Print.

Images:

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English Opens Doors

I believe grade twelve University-level English is a reasonable requirement for entry into all University programs. University English provides students with the ability to read, write, and apply themselves in many ways that will be useful in the future. Overall, being literate is the key to success in any area of study in University.

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Because University English is a requirement for post-secondary, it serves as a great motivator to not only enrol in ENG 4U, but to put forth a great amount of effort to be successful in the course. Knowing that a mark is going affect my future makes me try to be successful in the course. Working hard in English class gives students a great outlook that persevering pays off. I know if I put in a great amount of effort I can be successful in not only grade twelve English, but in other University courses next year.

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Many people ask “What is the point of ENG 4U if I am not going into English?”. I believe the answer is that English will help you no matter what path you follow. It does not matter if you are going into math, science, or business, you will need to be able to articulate yourself and express your thoughts on your area of interest. I applied to study commerce next year, but how could one study business cases, interpret spread sheets of data, and make business decisions if they are not able to read or express their own ideas and thoughts?

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Even though my areas of interest in school are business, science, and math I believe it is necessary to be able to successfully complete other courses that can potentially help you. Many times in life you will be placed in situations that are not ideal, but it is important to be able to work through these difficult times, or in this case, doing a course that is not preferable. It is important to stay positive and be optimistic about each new thing you go into!

Overall, I think it is important that grade twelve students complete University English. It teaches many necessary skills such as reading, writing, and articulating yourself. Having a mandatory course also serves as preparation for next year by having to put hard work into something that will count. Lastly, I believe English will help you no matter what path you go and it is important to be able to work through things even if you do not want to.

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