Wednesday, June 2, 2010


Elie Wiesel's Night astonished me with its amazing story and insight that it truly gave into the Holocaust.

One theme of this book is that even in the most adverse situations if a person has enough courage to stand up to their oppressor they can be a hero. Also I learned that even out of the worst situations amazing people still come forward and change the world, much like Elie Wiesel. The author's style is great for me because he is not too long winded, I mean the author told almost his whole life story in under 200 pages. While reading this book I can feel the setting beginning to form around me and the deep, dark, and depression filled state of mind that takes over me.

The main character Elie Wiesel is very believable because I see young men just like himself everyday. He is normal kind of like all of the people where he is from , except throughout this book I got to go deep inside of his mind and see the darkness and courage that lied there. Dr. Mengele is also another character that comes to mind because of his iron fist rule and no nonsense authority. He reminds of a few coaches I have had throughout my football career and he definitely is essential to the overall plot of the story.

The setting is very different of that from the world that I live in today because I live in the United States of America. The land of the free and home of the brave is all I have known my whole life and what little authority I do have in life only comes from my parents. There is really nothing that I am forced to do unlike the circumstances that Elie Wiesel went through in the concentration camp.

The plot of the book begins with Elie Wiesel living in the town of Sighet with his family and enjoying a very simple life. This is until Moshe the Beadle, a Jew from Sighet, deported in 1942, with whom Elie had once studied the cabbala, comes back and warns the town of the impending dangers of the German army. No one listens and time goes by and after a while the Germans have set of ghettos for the Jews and start deporting them. When Elie and his family arrive at the concentration camp he is separated from his mother and sisters. In order to even stay together Elie and his father must lie about their ages and as they walk into the camp they notice something horrible about a ditch. The camp is so harsh that it has Elie questioning his religion and he becomes more self absorbed the longer he stays.

This book reminds me of the times of slavery in the Americas because African Americans under went some of the same harsh conditions that Jews did during the time of Nazi Germany, and deeply admire both of these races of people for being able to put these times behind them and still succeed.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Semester Test

Musicals have influenced the very vitality and culture of the United States from very early times in our history until the present. Not many things stay around for about a hundred years like theater has and the concept of musicals so they are a true testament to how powerful they are. Before having a class like Oral Communication I never really deeply analyzed modern musicals and actually saw that they are apart of my everyday viewing pleasure, and they relate to my everyday life. High school Musical is a modern day musical that is fairly interesting because of its high school setting and problems that even I face daily.

In the beginning of the movie a random boy and a girl (Troy Bolton and Gabriella Montez) meet a ski lodge and end up singing a duet together. They are obviously from two different cities, but somehow when the school year begins they end up at the same school and really get to meet each other for who they are. Troy is the golden boy, savior, and hero of the basketball and school, while Gabriella is an academic know for her scholastic merit. They decide to audition for a talent show together and there chemistry is undeniable, but there two clique's do not like this at all because they are losing focus on two important events that both have coming up. For Troy and the basketball team it is a chance at a state title and for Gabriella a chance to win there version of quiz bowl. So there friends devise a plan to get the two to break up and focus on what is important to their interests. The plan works and the two end not even singing together in the talent show anymore, but Troy out of desperation tries to gain Gabriella back because she is really what he cares about. Then the friends finally come clean and tell them both what has been going on and they decide to make it right by giving them a way to perform in the talent show. So all goes well and the movie is ended with a stellar performance by the whole student body.

High School Musical reminds me of Grease in the fact that two lovers meet over the summer or some season when school is not in, fall in love, and end up going to the same school and seeing how different they really are. Both tell the old age tale of popular kids versus rebels or athletes versus nerds and it is interesting to see this comparison played out over and over again throughout history.

I liked the modern theme of the musical because it is somewhat relevant to my generation and not back in the day of the T Birds and the Pink Ladies that I know nothing about, but one dislike that I do have is that the athletes were not portrayed as masculine figures but as rather soft individuals.

Musicals, I believe, will continue to effect change in the world because they are more than just entertainment, but they teach us life lessons about the world that we live in. If we could only look past the few small little obstacles that hinder us from watching musicals and look at them as true pieces of work then we would be a more enlightened people.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


The Term Holocaust

Holocaust as we all know is word that carries with it lots of negative energy and is only used in the derogatory since, that is unless you are talking of how strong it made the Jewish people that survived it. Originally the word holocaust was a Bible word meaning burnt offerings to God, and in a sense the term is very correctly coined in a smart alecky kind of way but it is accompanied by vile images of massacre and a very dark period of time on this Earth. My heart goes out to the many Jewish people that were exterminated off of the Earth and some of their families that still strive on today and endure many harsh criticisms. Even the television shows that we watch for entertainment still degrade the Jewish people actions like these are very poor for a nation as great as ours and shows just how far we have to go as a people and a country.

The term holocaust needs to be italicized because it is technically a title for an event that happened in history, kind of like the theory behind books and their italicizing. Also this word is equipped with so much history and power behind it that is must be crowned with a special feature as to let those who do not the importance of this word will be given a clue and want to research. As most knowledgeable humans know the holocaust was a horrible thing and should still be replaced frequently in the minds of all so that this mistake will never happen again.
My holocaust picture is here.

The Author
Elie Wiesel should be regarded as a hero for his actions and will to survive, then live to tell about his journey. Not many people have the courage that this man has accompanied by genius literary talent to make a book last for generations. This book is one of those that you are thankful for getting the opportunity to read because it truly changes your whole thought process and view of subjects like World War II, the holocaust, the Jewish people, and Nazi Germany.

Darkness is symbolized in the book by bad, horrible situations that happen to the author at random times in the book. It represents a point in his life where he can not see the light at the end of the tunnel for all of the dark, or the mass depression filled state of mind he is in at all times because of his fear that the God he has believed in all of his life may not intervene. As in most parallel situations many can tell that a character is in a tough situation when it starts shaking a persons faith. Darkness could also be the very strong hand of the Nazis that is oppressing the author throughout this novel. In the book whenever a situation is presumed as dark something bad always happens. So in the end darkness is a symbol that describes the depression, hopelessness, and helplessness of the Jewish people in this novel.


Thank you! Thank you! You are far to kind! It has been a life long dream of mine to win this award and accept it in front of a beautiful audience such as you all. I mean many dream but very few achieve all of the things that they want in life and to even be nominated for this award I am blown away. I will not say that I am not deserving of this award because i have spent most of my academic life here at Harvard mentally exhausted just to be number one. So I proudly accept this award for being the first African-American valedictorian of Harvard.

When I was seventeen years old just starting my search for colleges I was immediately drawn to it for its prestige, history of excellence, and overall who would turn down Harvard. So there I was the next four years of my life was set in stone and arrived on campus for my first day. As I settled in I realized that I was surrounded by geniuses and that I do not think my head can take any more of knowledge, but I continually strived for greatness.

Through various sports and many other things that I have done throughout life I have learned a few things one is that not everything will always go your way, two when you fall down you must get up, and three the goal of education is not for you to make straight A's I obviously learned that here at Harvard but to grow intellectually and really understand the concepts being taught to you.

This award means so much also because a little boy from Batesville, Arkansas with less than five people in his family who have ever stepped foot on a college campus is now valedictorian at the best program in the nation. I do not only accept this award for myself but I accept it for all of the other people with dreams out there and all the people stuck doing something else because they just could not make it. This is to all of you, Thank you.

Now that I have proved that I can accomplish almost impossible tasks I will not stop here I will continue to reach for the higher plateau and never forget where I have come from and I thank you all for being here tonight my gratitude will never be able to be expressed and thank you for all of your support, goodnight!