Inaccurate?

The Grapes of Wrath is a well known book that talks of the hardships of the Joad family and their experiences migrating to California and looking for jobs. According to Keith Windschuttle, Steinbeck is historically inaccurate in many of the topics he wrote in the book. But, while this book is about the Great Depression and the Okies, the novel is still fictional.

Steinbeck for the most part portrays an overall general idea of some of the history behind the book, but the facts he uses are wrong. This isn’t surprising because the novel is fictional so not every event and fact is bound to be true in the novel, and by writing the novel like he did, he makes an impact on readers and tries to inspire change. Stretching the truth draws in more readers and makes them feel more strongly about the cause he’s trying to help. Steinbeck had visit migrant camps before writing the novel so he does, to some extent, see what life is like for the Okies and he probably does use that experience in the novel. The book isn’t a history book, it’s not a perfect representation of the life of the Okies but to some extent, it does show one of the perspectives of the journey to the “promise land”. While Windschuttle claims many Okies weren’t farmers, some of them still were and while The Grapes of Wrath might not portray the life of the majority, some of the farmers might have faced similar problems as the Joads did. Steinbeck didn’t stretched the truth to tell history incorrectly but rather to get his point across, and since the book is fiction, people should realize that the not everything is the book will the completely accurate.

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Windshuttle also comments that Steinbeck portrays a proletariat revolution over the Great Depression even though the book supposively portrays the Great Depression. Even if the events and facts are exaggerate or made up, a proletariat revolution occurring during this time isn’t shocking and could’ve actually happened during the time period. He is just taking the knowledge that he knows of the things around him and molding them into a story that could possibly happen. While not everything is right, they have a possibility of being right. It’s known that when countries are in economic struggles, they are more susceptible to communism and a proletariat revolt could happen considering the working conditions of the farmers in the story, even if it is an exaggeration.

To me, it seems expected that not everything is historically correct as he changed conditions to support his argument that migrants are suffering due to owners and something has to be done about it. Like Windshuttle said, Steinbeck is a New Deal supporter so while he wrote the book to gain attention to the struggles of the migrant Okies, he could’ve also wanted to gain support for the New Deal as it shows change, that something could be done to help the people. Weedpatch was a government camp that the New Deal formed, and from the contrasts with the Okievilles, Steinbeck shows approval towards the government camps. So in order to push is stance forward to the reader, he had to exaggerate but that’s expected as readers should know that The Grapes of Wrath isn’t a true story and if the Joads are made up, other things probably would be too.

 

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Conformity

At some point in our lives, we’ve all had to choose between conforming to the accepted ideas of society or to your own belief. Well, there’s a simple but complex answer to that question: for the most part, it’s good to stick to your own beliefs but there are times that it’s better to conform to popular belief. Being different from others is okay, that difference is what makes you weird and that’s good because the weirdest people are the most fun. Like who wants a “normal” friend?

Sticking to your own belief means you’re being different from the rest of society in some way and that’s good. Like in Scarlet Letter, Hester was given the letter which in a sense made her different from everyone else from the community, but it helped her, it made her a stronger person. From a young age, we’ve learned that being different is a bad thing, that if we’re different then people will think of us differently and judge us. When we were kids, being different meant sitting by ourselves, being isolated from everyone else. Like Pearl, she was strange, unlike any other child from the community which led people to think of her as the Spawn of Satan. Yet as we grow it, being different becomes more acceptable, like Hester was first judged as a sinner but as time went on, she was view as strong. “Such helpfulness was found in her,— that many people refused to interpret the scarlet A by its original signification. They said that it meant Able; so strong was Hester Prynne, with a woman’s strength.” Conformity makes us all the same but when we don’t conform to certain ideas then we realize that it takes strength to put yourself out there, to show the world what you believe without caring for what society has made people believe.

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Everyone wants to feel a sense of belonging, that’s one of the reasons we conform to ideas, but that doesn’t always make us happy. In Facebook Friendonomics by Scott Brown, he gives some insight on Facebook friends or just social media followers, that it’s okay to lose some of our “friends on Facebook. How it works is we try to get as many “friends” as possible by friending our childhood classmates, people we barely know, basically anyone we possibly can. Society makes you believe that having so many “friends” would make you happy, but it doesn’t. Having these friends just give as a false sense of popularity, but when was the last time you’ve talked to these people, do you even remember these people? The idea that having the most friends/followers will make you happy is a lie, why have a bunch of “friends” what you barely know, when you can go out and make real, good friends what will stick by you in your times of need?

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Going back to what I said earlier, from a young age, we learn that being different is a bad thing. But, the literature we read, the movies we watch try to teach us differently. According to Charlotte Ashlock, “…the quality that isolates you from the group and makes you a subject of mockery, is not a deformity but a blessing in disguise.” In the books and movies, the people who start out as being alone, judged for being different, end up being the ones that have the happy ending. For example, in Lilo and Stitch, Lilo was different from all the other little girls, she stood out with that imagination of hers, but she ended up happy with Stitch and Nani by her side. If it weren’t for her difference then Lilo would’ve never adopted Stitch at the pet shop and both her and Stitch’s life we be different, probably worse because Stitch brought adventure into her life and helped her realize things like the importance of family. What about Elsa from Frozen? She isolated herself because of her powers because she saw it as a dangerous, but that’s what made her special. And, in the end, though her powers were harmful, she still managed to have a happy ending with Anna. Also if it weren’t for her powers then there wouldn’t be Olaf, and Olaf is just so cute, that would have deprived the world from cuteness.

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But there are times when conforming to ideas is better. Like, faqs.org says, laws are essentially ideals that we’ve conform to, well most of us. Even when people aren’t there to watch our every move, we still obey them, not only because it’s illegal not too but because it’s the ideals we were taught since we were young. Well there are people who don’t, like those who do illegal substances, those who run red lights, those who don’t stop at stop signs, and more, but these ideas that most people have conformed to, do keep us safe. In her essay, Life, Bertrand Russell argues that  happy man is one that feels like they’re part of society. Well, how does one feel that way? Conforming to society’s belief gives us a sense of belonging. That’s why we do the things we do, like giving into peer pressure or trying to be like the standards that society has set. Everyone wants to be happy, and sometimes conforming, being part of society, is the easiest way to do this, though maybe they’d be more happy if they would just be themselves.

In the end, whether it’s conforming or not, whether it’s being different or not, it’s what makes you happy that matters. And, we’re never a hundred percent one way or the other, we conform to some ideas and we don’t for other, we’re unique in some ways but we’re not in others.

Ten Steps to Being Me

I’m weird and strange and probably a little crazy, maybe a lot. But, if you want to be like me, here are the ten steps to being me, the best person in the world… not really.

1.You have to love Disney, you absolutely have to. Disney is life. Disney has made a big impact on my life because I’ve grown up watching Disney movies and Disney Channel and to be honest I still watch Disney Channel though the shows aren’t as great as they used to be. It’s strange, I can be pessimistic sometimes, yet I still believe in happy endings, though they may or may not be real.
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Little things

Sometimes it’s the small things that make the biggest impact. It’s the small details that make bigger problems, it’s the little things that we fall in love with, it’s the shortest sentences that make the biggest impact. Yet, we always underestimate these little things, we think that the a whole is better than a part, which is true sometimes but each part has its own importance.

Six words can tell a story. Six words can make someone’s day. Six words can ruin it.

Sometimes we don’t even need that many to do those things. The point is, little things matter. When someone is having a bad day, a small compliment, a hello, small things can make them feel better. When someone feels unappreciated, a thank you can goes a long way. When someone is sad, a hug might not change the situation but it helps. So maybe these things aren’t the most extravagant but they’re not useless.

The little things do matter. Breakups happen because of little things that were ignored. If they were address then maybe things would’ve been different but it seemed too small to be important. Small problems, pet peeves add up to equal a bigger problem but to solve that big problem you have to work out all the little ones first. It’s like a long, complicated math problem, there are multiple steps that are tedious and some seem to be useless, but you still can’t solve it if you don’t work through every step because every step is important.
But why do we often forget about these little things? Why do we look at the bigger picture when every single aspect is important? Well maybe it’s because people tend to forget to do these little things, like when you see someone you just walk by without greeting them, or when you see someone crying, you just walk away since you don’t know what to do. If we were to dwell on these small things it would hurt us even more, but these are opportunities to make people feel better yet we still don’t do anything about it. So next time, say hi when you see someone, tell them things will be okay, let them feel important, even if it’s only for that moment because you don’t know how they’re feeling. It’s these little things that don’t seem like they make a big impact that do.

Facade

Little kids are smarter than we think they are. Because they are so much younger, we tended to talk down to them, but in reality they understand more than it see. They see and hear everything and they might not know what you’re saying, but they do know what’s going on. Babies, though they cry and scream, are quiet, they can’t talk yet, and they’re curious about the world since everything is just so new to them. It’s like Pearl from the Scarlet Letter, she’s young but she knows so much. She knows she is the scarlet letter, she knows she is different from the other kids, she knows there is something between Hester and Mr. Dimmesdale. You think they’re not listen, but they’re always listening, absorbing everything around them. Sometimes they’re even smarter than the adults. While adults have their knowledge clouded with judgement and biases, little kids see things as they are because they don’t have much bias since it’s new to them.

The worst kind of pain is when you’re smiling just to stop the tears from falling.

-Hiro Mashima

We make assumptions about people based on how they act, their age, their personality, but that persona could be something completely different from who they actually are. Everyone wears a mask at some point in life to hide, shelter themselves from the world. The world can’t hurt you, if it doesn’t even actually know you.  A smile isn’t always real, sometimes it’s hiding the hurt, the pain, the tears. It’s easy to just show the world it hurts, but it seems nobody cares if you’re hurt so you just put on a smile. You put on a smile to show everyone around that you’re okay, because that’s what they want. A real smile and a forced smile are different but nobody cares enough to tell them apart, if you’re going to hide behind a smile people normally won’t help. Take away the mask and you’re left with someone vulnerable. Maybe it’s the idea of faking it till you make it because if you pretend you’re happy for long enough, you start believing you’re truly happy.

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We’re all a little kid, that will always be apart of us, so we see everything around us. But, we don’t act on it anymore, why? Sometimes we hide that childish part of use because it makes us seem weak, others might look down on us, but does it matter. There are those who embrace their inner child, like me, but that exterior is sometimes still just a defence, another wall to keep out. They assume that if we act like a five year old then we’re always so joyful like a five year old, but that is probably the opposite. Under this persona, I not always smiling, not alway happy, but why bother others with my problems if they don’t care. I’m not saying you should hide behind a facade and pretend everything’s okay, you  should definitely talk about it, but this a defense mechanism. Little kids seem to always see right past these disguises, though maybe that’s why they have such good judgement of character. Or maybe, we’re just too blinded by our only facade to be able to see others.

Top Disney Quote Part 2

So it’s been awhile since my last Disney list so here is my top Disney quotes part 2. If you haven’t read the first post, read that after to see the full list.

Quote number ten: “Some people are worth melting for” from Frozen. In one’s life there will always be at least one person that’s worth melting for, and they may not know it now but they will. That person is going to be someone very special to them, someone worth loving, even dying for. We’ll hopefully nobody dies because dying is bad, but you would die for them if the situation occurred.

Quote number nine: “A hero isn’t measured by the size of his strength but by the strength of his heart” from Hercules. There’s so much truth behind this because people shouldn’t judge based on physical attributes by their character. A hero doesn’t have to be the strongest or the fastest, but he has to be there when he’s needed no matter what. A hero is someone who saves you not only from harm but from your own demons.

Quote number eight: “Tell me princess, when did you last let your heart decide,” from Aladdin. Honest sometimes I don’t even remember when I last let my heart decide. Sometimes you’re heart and your brain tell you different things, and you just don’t know which one to listen too because it’s like a game of tug-a-war where no side is really winning. There’s the thing you want, but that’s not always the right thing to do. Listen to your heart can lead to getting hurt, but sometimes is worth it.

Quote number seven: “You’re mad, bonkers, off your head! But I’ll tell you secret; all the best people are.” from Alice in Wonderland. Everyone is crazy in their own little way and that’s good. If everyone was the same, then things would just be so boring. The best people are bonkers because they keep you on your feet and keep you interested. It’s with these crazy, weird people that you make the best memories with.

Quote number six: “Just because I cannot see it, doesn’t mean I can’t believe it.” from The Nightmare Before Christmas. This is hope, faith. It may not even be true but at least have hope it is. It’s like when things are bad, you have to have hope things will get better even when you can’t see things improving because hope is what keeps you going. Just can’t see doesn’t mean it’s not out there, it just means you have to go and find it, make it so you can see it.

Does the Individual Matter?

In society, in the world, one person seems like such a small thing. With seven billion people in the world, does one person make that big of a difference. One vote probably won’t change the winner, one person probably won’t change the course of society. But one person does make a difference.

It’s the butterfly effect. Something so small as a butterfly flapping its wings in China can cause a storm in New England. Well, something so small as a person sharing his/her idea can cause a change in history. An idea has to come from someone and that idea will spark other ideas in the minds of others that lead to something beyond that idea, but if that one person never shared their idea then all these new possibilities and outcomes could never occur. For example, in the movie Mulan, she had the idea of going to war to protect her dad, which led to her saving China but also brought the idea that women are not inferior to men. She wasn’t thinking about this at the time, all she wanted to keep her dad safe, but that lead to something else, something beyond what was expected.

All ideas grow out of other ideas. -Anish Kapoor

So is the community greater than the individual? In a sense, yes. If something benefits the community as a whole then it would benefit the common good at the cost of self interest, basically the ideals of republicanism. But in a community doesn’t each person have a role and for the community to flourish, every person within the community also has to flourish? So the individual does matter because it’s those individuals together that make up a community and without them then there is no community. The individual does matter in a community because the ideals we value as a society, whether good or bad, all originated from ideas from an individual that had popularized among the people.

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But does an individual REALLY matter? The stuff in the past paragraphs are true, but those are just outliers in a way, not everyone is going to make a difference in the world, but you’ll never know if something will. People only know what these “outliers” have to say because they went ahead and said it. So even if the individual doesn’t matter, let’s just believe that every individual does because everyone can make a difference, only if they have the courage to say their ideas and speak their mind. It doesn’t even have to be verbally said, it could be expressed in anyway whether it’s through art, or words, or any other means of communicating an idea. A community isn’t just the people around you, it’s people who share similar ideas and common interests with you. If nobody express their ideas, then what would hold communities together, would there even be a community at that point?

So when you think that you don’t matter because nothing you do will ever affect the world and anyone, just remember you’re a small butterfly flapping its wings unknowingly making a difference in lives. So don’t think you don’t matter because you do, and if you don’t affect the world, just know you’ll always affect your family and friends and anyone who cares about you. So that’s my answer, yes the individual does matter.