Death (a poem)

Van Geffen 1

Lauren Van Geffen

Mrs. Kemmerling

ENG 4U               

November 6th 2013



Yes, I see you coming

Shall I die by animal or water?

I pick animal

I will not die engulfed by the mouth of water but rather by Richard Parker

But wait, today is not my day!

The storm has ceased and the animal tamed

All is calm

But no

The storms keep coming, each as bad as the first

The thunder and lightening

Loud and bright

But I will not die out here

I will not die

I will survive with Richard Parker

I love him

He is my best friend, I mustn’t fail him

I have failed him

I cannot see

I cannot fish

I cannot gather

I cannot live

I am going to die


Life of Pi- 5 Images

Van Geffen 1

Lauren Van Geffen

Mrs. Kemmerling


October 28th 2013

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so I thought there was no better way to represent this section of the novel than with pictures. The first image I used is one of a Bengal Tiger. This tiger is a representation of Richard Parker, and the struggle Pi faces when he saves the tiger’s life “Wait a second. Together? We’ll be together? Have I gone mad?” (Page 109), will the decision to throw the lifebuoy be a good one?

Bengal Tiger

The second image I chose was a life vest. I used the life vest to represent the boat sinking, and Pi’s life hanging in the balance, “One of the men interrupted me by thrusting a life jacket into my arms” (page 115), that life jacket could’ve very well of saved Pi’s life.

Sportsman Guide

Next I chose a lifeboat to represent the journey Pi is about to embark on. His trip to the boat was well… unexpected “only when they threw me overboard did I begin to have doubts” (page 116), but he did land on the boat, which made his life a lot more exciting.


I chose to use a picture of a zebra to not only represent the zebra on the boat, but also to represent the hard journey ahead. The zebra’s struggles “it landed with a loud crash on the last bench, smashing it and shaking the whole lifeboat. The animal called out” (page 116), set the tone for the rest of the struggles everyone else aboard the ship will face.


The last image I chose to use was a banana. The banana is symbolic of Orange Juice (the orang-utan), I chose to represent this because when she joins her other passengers, Pi seems to find serenity. The tone of the novel changes from rushed and urgent to calm and accepting.


Works Cited:

Banana. Digital image. 18 Things a Banana Can Do for You. N.p., 2013. Web. 28 Oct. 2013.

Bengal Tiger. Digital image. MoMo’s Animals. N.p., 2011. Web. 28 Oct. 2013. <        tiger-wallpapers.html>.

Digital image. The Sportsman Guide. N.p., 2013. Web. 28 Oct. 2013. <          orange-river-rafting-life-jacket.aspx?a=275545&gt;.

LifeBoat. Digital image. Insing. N.p., 2013. Web. 28 Oct. 2013. <         of-pi-lifeboat/id-b0653f00>.

Martel, Yann. Life of Pi: A Novel. Toronto: Vintage Canada, 2001. Print.

Zebra. Digital image. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Oct. 2013. <;.

Conflict in Relationships

              Relationships… well enough said, they’re confusing. Each relationship has its own parameters, its own ‘rules’ (if you call them that), and its own roles (no persons are the same).  In All my Sons we see many different types of relationships, romantic, friendships and parent-child. Two pairing that mirror each other in terms of values are, Jim & Sue Bayliss and Chris & Joe Keller. The theme of money and greed is prevalent in the entire play, and that doesn’t exclude these relationships.

                Dr. Jim and Mrs. Sue Bayliss are married neighbors of the Kellers. Dr. Keller is a family physician but he wants to pursue a different dream. He wants to be a researcher and lab worker, and if not for his nagging wife he probably would be. Now I don’t want to make Sue seem like a crazy, controlling wife, she’s just concerned about the over-all well being of her family. Dr. Jim is the bread-winner for the family and if he changed careers, he’s take a major pay-cut. He would end up making only about $25 a week, which even back then isn’t a lot. Jim doesn’t see it like that though, he sees the good this job could do, and how it could help the whole. His loving wife though, is really apprehensive about how there will be food on the table. She is in, my opinion, being realistic, even if it comes across as money hungry.

                It is no secret that Joe has a hunger in his eyes for money. He sees money and it doesn’t matter to him how he gets it, just that it lands in his bank account. He’ll slit he’s good friend’s throat if that’s what it takes. But Chris, like Jim, doesn’t see it like that, he doesn’t see dollar signs he sees people and feelings.  Joe, much like Sue, is obsessed with providing for his family. He is fixated on creating a net-worth for his son, even though Chris has no interest in his father’s dirty money.

                These two relationships have such similar conflicts within them. Both have a person with money on the brain, and a person who could care less about it. This conflict though holds one person in the relationship back from their dream. Dr. Bayliss never (to our knowledge) becomes a researcher. On the opposite Joe is never able to hand his factory down to his son. No matter what we swing this, when the people in relationships don’t have the same basic beliefs, the relationship can’t be successful on the deepest level.



The American Dream

Oh, the allusive American Dream. Everyone, American or not, wants to achieve it. Though the real question is: what is the American Dream? Well it’s really a historical thing, goes way back to when America was trying to gain immigrants. They assumed that creating this glamorous idea of life, people would be eager to migrate to USA. The original American Dream was that a richer, fuller life was available to all. That pretty much means that status is achieved not ascribed. Whether you’re born into the poorest of the poor, or the richest of the rich, everyone has equal opportunity. But don’t be confused, American Dream is not really about money at all, but rather about social class/standing.

                Like everything, the American Dream evolved into something new. The modern Dream is to have a nice home (yes, with a white picket fence), a family (preferably one son and one daughter), while having a good stable job, so you can provide finically for your family (the man should really be the one bringing home the bacon). 





Miller’s All my Sons is a great example the American Dream gone wrong. Two constant themes throughout the short (and in my opinion, boring) play were: greed ending in death, and nothing is more important than family. Both these themes go right back to the American Dream, the need for money and the need to have a perfect family. The play takes place in a time when the American Dream was both, the original definition and the modern one (a transition stage if you will).  So in short, Joe Keller (or if your not good with names, the dad) truly did live out the dream.  He went from a 10 year old boy living on the streets, to a comfortably- wealthy man, living in a nice home with his two sons. Joe’s problem was he always wanted more. Joe threw all his morals out the window just so he could achieve the dream.

                Joe Keller, to the outside world is just an average Joe, but he has some dark secrets that tear his world apart. He has made his life all about achieving the American Dream, but at what cost? In the play we see him lose sight of what’s really important, like family and values, just to reach some silly dream. To him is doesn’t matter how it’s achieved, just that it is.

                He had a happy family, nice home, financial stability, but that wasn’t good enough. By the end of the play, he risks it all, and loses both his sons (one to war and one because of his poor choices), loses his money (when the town heard the news he surely would be put in jail and his factory closed) and eventually his life. The way one achieves the American Dream is just as important as the dream itself. It’s the journey not the destination.



Summary of Sullivan’s “Why I Blog”

Lauren Van Geffen

September 9th 2013

Summary “Why I Blog”

Mrs. Kemmerling


                The piece Why I Blog by Andrew Sullivan is an article about why the author decided to start blogging. Throughout the article he compares blogging to more formal styles of writing, describing blogging as a “conversational style” (pg. 7), because the connection with the readers and making them feel involved in crucial to the blogger. He also explains that it is more of an expression of personal opinions, explained when he says, “the blogger can get away with and afford fewer pretensions of authority” (pg.5), given this the author more freedom the write what they want, not what they’re told they can write.

                Sullivan explains that he was originally started blogging as a necessity. He was originally a free-lance journalist and having a presence online in the year 2000, was pivotal to his career. He started just posting his pieces to his website, and it eventually turned into blogging.  The experience of blogging is addicting to him “the simple experience of being able to directly board words to readers was an exhilarating literary liberation” (pg.3) , self-publishing is a dream to most writers, and blogging is the perfect outlet.

                Sullivan concludes by saying that reading a blog does not replace other mediums of writing, like newspaper for example, but rather is its own thing altogether. The blogosphere was created for the distracted- reader. Blogs aren’t meant to be read with the same intensity as a novel, but rather read while on the computer (or other mediums) with the distracted attitude that comes along with that.


Works Cited:

Sullivan, Andrew. Why I Blog. (November 2008) The Atlantic . February 22 2010