Paul, Apostle of Christ – Love Is The Only Way


The discipleship and love we see between Paul and Luke is fostered and developed through visitations in prison, risking death and worse to get some visiting time with Paul.   Comparably, we also see how similar gradual progress is made with Mauritius’ eventual turn towards The Way, and how this change came in light of the suffering of one he loves.  In today’s world, it is also necessary for us to have this patience and honest truth-seeking that is shown by Paul, Luke, and Mauritius throughout the film.  Paul, Apostle of Christ shows us what it means for love to be the only way, and our lives in turn must see this become our action as well.  

Paul of course must know that these risks are of course not in the best interest of Paul’s safety, but both parties know that getting Paul’s knowledge of The Way recorded would in the end be best for Christianity as we know it today.  It’s a certain type of altruistic love that Paul practices for both The Way and Paul; going out of your way to help others, regardless of risk towards yourself. This altruistic love and trust of The Way, of course, is admirable even thousands of years later.   

The words of wisdom by Paul throughout the film all make a commentary on his life in Christ and his certainty for his own faith.  Paul makes it clear that no matter what he does, be it live, die, go left, or go right, he does it for or is guided by Christ.  Therefore, the definition of living for Christ is defined by Paul quite well; living in Christ means, as he says, being certain of the place you go after you are done with this life.  Additionally, Paul remains certain in whom he has faith in the full knowledge that his past is riddled with the persecution of Christians.  Throughout the film, we see evidence of Paul’s contrition for those followers of Christ whom he has sent to heaven in front of him.  We also see that fittingly for his character, Paul has a sense of contentment with being imprisoned and persecuted, as he knows per his past life, that he undoubtedly has earned much worse. 

Luke had the thought to risk his life not only for spreading The Way but to visit his friend.    Luke going through the trouble of sneaking in and out of Mamertine prison in the middle of Rome displays the unapologetic and altruistic relationship between Luke and Paul, especially considering how vastly anti-Christian all of the Roman Empire would have been at the time.  Luke, as an avid follower of The Way, values the truth and honesty in Christ.  Furthermore, he doesn’t lie to his fellow Christians on their way into Nero’s circus.  We all should know that our life on Earth ends often with pain and suffering, but it is with certainty in your faith such as Paul has, that we can be reassured that beyond this life is something greater waiting for us.  Luckily for Luke, though, he is saved in the nick of time by the man one expected to start making a turnaround into The Way.  This, of course, was Mauritius who called to have his daughter healed by someone he knew was qualified to do so.

Before this aforementioned point in the film, Mauritius is a Prefect of Mamertine prison, where Paul is imprisoned. During the film, however, we see the seeds of doubt sown in Mauritius’ mind; we see that he gradually begins to doubt more and more the alleged power of the Roman gods.   First, with the discovery of Luke and Paul’s deeds to scribe the stories of Paul and his discipleship under Christ Himself.  Of course, Mauritius began this investigation into Paul and Luke with hopes to find plots of terrorist conspiracy, but instead found only aforementioned writings about Paul and his journeys with his faith. 

Similar to how we have previously had discussion upon reasons to believe, so too are a few more good reasons for faith revealed upon some analysis of the film.  For example, a reason to believe in Christ & the afterlife is that being able to take certainty in something beyond ourselves can be a source of self-security and reassurance, even in the most troubling times.  In the film, we see how Paul takes certainty in his faith in Christ and has ultimate faith that at the end of his life, no matter how bitter it may be, what comes next will be better.  Luke also spreads this message of faith in an afterlife to his peers in their time of imminent, certain death and the hands of Nero’s circus.  Furthermore,  the choice to turn to Christ and have trust in The Way is one made by Mauritius when he becomes fed up with inaction from the Roman gods he believes in

This is comparable to Mauritius’ newfound faith to call in Luke, a man of The Way, and physician, to heal his gravely ill daughter.  Mauritius, out of love for his daughter, begins to show how his trust in The Way and Luke begins to out-way his trust in the Roman gods and his wife’s ideology.  This further affirms that the unconditional love that Christianity centrally revolves around is superior to the wishy-washy temperments of Roman faith figures.  

 Christianity today should not be taught as an ideologically static, ‘do this do that, or else you’ll go to hell’  topic, but as one that invites its

bible itself, its messages, motives and themes change noticeably from the old testament to new, and so too should contemporary attitudes around religion shift with the passing of time and developing minds of the general public.  Christian altruistic love such as Paul has is not something we can be told or taught, but it just what is discovered to be the truth, and discerned by our own honest seeking that the central logic and basic law of Christianity

is love and love alone love is Altruism Luke is a good teacher he honestly tells his peers the truth and allows them to way.  It is the choice of the student to follow along or just be like Nah bruh. 


In fact, in the context of Christianity, this ability to discern the truth for ourselves is considered virtuous, as it grows from wisdom, knowledge, and reverence of and for that which is holy.



Paul’s, Luke’s, Mauritius,’ choices were to have love and trust in The Way, and so too must our own.       Through the previously wretched life of Paul, and his eventual turn to the way, it becomes plain that love truly is the only way, especially when it comes to developing one’s self to become better and more certain in faith.  Christianity today would know nothing about Saint Paul if not for the love and courage of Luke.

Social 20-1 Position Paper – To What extent?

Source: No country should seek to extend its interest over any other country or people; rather, every country should be left free to pursue its own goals.  Every country should be unrestricted, secure, and confident in pursuing these interests, regardless of the country’s size or strength.  

National interest, a force that drives a nation to interact with, or otherwise influence others, is known throughout the world somewhat as a double edged sword in the context of international relations.  This of course, meaning a nation’s pursuit of its own national interest can cause harm or foul to it or any sovereign bodies it may interact with.   The source literally states, however, that countries, even those with the power to do so, should not have any influence whatsoever on other nations.  The source however would stand overwhelmingly against this concept of internationally influential pursuit of national interest in contemporary society.  This source should be embraced to the extent that not intervening in a nation’s actions would result in conflict or harm to another.   With certainty, one can infer that this source would likely be that of an activist or similar organization in disfavour of countries that take advantage of others for their own gain.  This loyalty may be evidence of a bias based on past experience of perhaps suffering the consequences of another nation’s overarching national interest or interests.  Such parasitic practices, however, especially in the context of international relations, are objectively unacceptable.  This source should be rejected to the extent that intervening in a nation’s actions would do well to protect the lives of the innocent, is necessary intervention, or has otherwise been implied or requested.


The pursuit of goals and interests outside of a nation’s physical borders is a very common practice today.  The source would be better suited specifically opposing a more extreme form of corruption and relentless pursuit of national interest, instead of a seemingly vague argument against national interests as a whole whenever they influence another nation in one way or another.  In the early to mid 20th century through the events of WWI and WWII, national interest had attempted to be a force for the objective good, but ended up being infamous for great malfeasance when national interests were fulfilled by ideological extremists.   The source’s negative outlook on national interest would logically stem from arguments against the ideology of fascism as was seen during this time period.  Additionally, it thus is logical to argue that the immense damages to human life and society as a whole were caused by cases, albethem extreme, but cases nonetheless of the relentless pursuit of national interests.  For example, the national interest of a government founded on rather overkill soviet idealism, such as the USSR, saw the fruits of pursuing its national interest as mass death caused by a government-instituted famine in the Ukraine in the early 1900s, preceding the start of WWII.  In this way and through this methodology, the pursuit of national interest is understandably viewed with harsh and negative connotations.  


National interest has been the motivating force behind serious harm in the past, don’t get it twisted, but, on a smaller scale, it is practical and applicable today as a force for benefit.  As the source states, no single country should, under any circumstances, interfere or impede the progress of other nations to pursue their own national interests, bethem detrimental or charitable.  While it is fair to say that, from the examples stated previously, national interest certainly has the potential to be catastrophic, so too does it have the potential to do some good for the world.  The source may as well be calling for every nation of the world to adopt extreme isolationist policy, as seen by early-to-mid imperial Japan in the 18th-19th century.  Isolationist policies aforementioned would include virtually the complete and utter abandonment of pursuing global issues, involvement in global organizations, aiding countries in need, or even so much as foreign trade.  While, sure, it is completely fair to argue that this isolationist policy did not result in any ethnic groups outside Japan nearly being extinguished by genocide, it is ridiculous for the source to practically insist such isolationism become widespread in contemporary society.    


See, the argument directly contrasting to the source would be that national interest is simply not malevolent in nature.  Since national interest in and of itself is so general, so too are its applications.  It is simple to understand where the source is coming from.  Nations extending their interests over one another can and has been a serious problem in history.  As a well known example in recent history, Canada has been involved in Afghanistan for the purpose of providing humanitarian aid, including supplying infrastructure, clean water, and defense for the citizens there that are unfortunate victims of terrorism.  Canada’s national interest here is protecting the innocent and relieving the suffering of citizens; the fulfillment of this national interest would undoubtedly be for good. This evidence of national interest being a force for good refutes the source’s opinion on the matter easily.  

Society should generally reject the source and its perspective that the pursuit of national interest internationally must be avoided at all costs.  Although 20th Century history has examples aplenty of this pursuit going pretty far overboard, society today knows better than to let the rise of fascists go unchecked.  The national interest of countries with good intentions for those it seeks to influence must be pursued because it is the responsibility of more developed nations to come to the aid of those in need, otherwise, the poor in the world will only get poorer, and the rich are only destined to get richer.  National interest has no choice left in the present age but to be a force that lets those less fortunate have the same opportunities to be part of a developed nation.  


The Reasons To Belive

If I asked you today what your reasons to have faith in religion are, what would You tell me?  I know that if you asked me, I certainly would elaborate about Pascal’s Wager, the choice I make to have faith, and the logic of, essentially, betting on the winning team in respect to life after death.  There’s also a fair, non-random chance that I could talk about the essential need for something along history’s timeline to have come from what previously could only be labelled as nothing.  From my own conscience, additionally, I could go on about the fact that our focus as believers should not be so heavily focused on how we are able to have faith, but rather, that we do, when arguing for reasons to believe.  While Peter Kreeft does make a myriad of arguments for everything from the immortality of the soul to other pressing matters of religion and philosophy, I’d like to expand on a few of them, as well as some of my own takes on these discussions and commentaries.  


Perhaps one of the strongest reasons for why we should believe is entrenched in the causes of how we are able to in the first place.  This is the argument from conscience, as exemplified by Kreeft in the reading.  A number of viable reasons to believe can be found, if one just looks for them.  To any human equipped with a soul and conscience, the experience of life will often reveal truths to us just because we’re there.  What’s better, though, is using our conscience to search in the universe for truths, known to be out there, which are revealed as the truth because of our honest choice to seek after it.  These truths are revealed to us because we want to find them.  In this, then, it is the responsibility of human beings to seek the truth for themselves in everyday life.  This sort of mindset is what would have been adopted by figures like Aristotle, Galileo, Kepler, and Newton (ironically going against the teachings of the church at the time; and here we are talking about them in a religion essay today).  This ability of honest truth-seeking is a product of our conscience.  And, with our conscience, comes the specifically human ability to shy away from our animal instincts, in favour of this newfound conscience.  It is within humans only that we favour a mystical consciousness over doing what our animalistic desires point at us to do.  Additionally, from a Christian perspective, this honest ability to seek truth away from our instincts is tied to our ability to seek God; to seek higher degrees of perfection.  An ability thus also granted to us by our conscience is to differentiate between varying degrees of aforementioned perfection, to know that we need to seek further, because our good degree is just starting to get better. This transitions then into making our degree we see as better, into the degree fit to be described as best; as St. Jerome or Tim Duncan would have it.  Aquinas’ argument from causation and his from degree are very similar, which both insist that if X or Y exist, then therefore there must be a Z in place to serve at the apex of these arguments forefront.  X and Y interchangeably being degrees of perfection or anything with a cause, and Y being perfect perfection, or the first cause*.  However, the argument from conscience can be best summed up drawing similarities from a popular quote from modern philosopher Ludwig Littgenstein; not how we believe that is mystical; but that we do.   


*Terms like perfect and first cause are creative and fun nicknames for God.  


When answering the primary question of if something is able to come from nothing, we often trace this sequential continuity of cause and effect back to the beginning of time.  What there, in the universal void of emptiness, triggered the beginning of all things?  As Christians, we associate this first movement with God.  Which, then, paradoxically, would make God an uncaused cause; the unoriginate origin of the universe, or, by Aquinas, the First Mover.  Additionally, the laws of the universe; the likes of gravity and thermodynamics;  are signs that would insist on the existence of a universal law-maker.  All of these patterns we find in natural existence that permit us to exist imply the existence of a pattern-maker.  Aquinas’ argument from causation is thus revealed to us; if anything exists, it has a cause.  Okay, so the universe exists, knock on wood.  Who’s the big designer?  Naturally occurring mathematical phenomena like perfect squares of numbers in relation to Pythagoras’ Theorem, and the laws of entropy, I infer do not occur by pure chance, due to how predictable they are for something so naturally occurring.  From this, any natural event that occurs predictably cannot occur by pure chance from a universe of randomness.  The universe’s existence is not by random chance.  The fact that we all sit here and interact with each other; in a universe sprung from what seems like random chaos sometimes; insists that more than random chance or dumb luck is afoot.  Believing in God and living a life that reflects this belief is not something that just happens.  We have to want it, and bad.  This idea of something coming from nothing is also supportive of the existence of the human soul; something within all of us that truly can’t be pinned to a source*.  So although the belief of something being able to come from nothing is, in the end, paradoxical, it is a necessity for it to be true when seeking the truth from a Christian perspective.  


*Look up, ‘stuff not made of stuff.’  The first sites that will come up in Google are ones that guide buyers towards products not manufactured in China.  I thought this was pretty humorous.  Souls didn’t make the list.   


A strong reason for our faith is grounded in logic, with Pascal’s Wager.  The logic really is simple; if there is any sort of primordial, perfect, eternal, and omnipotent figure we meet after death, it should be our intent in life to bet on the chance, no matter how small, of eternal life.  It should be our intent in life to do that which would at least give us a chance at having a good life after death.  After all, as discussed earlier, it is absurd to insist that existence comes about by random chance.  Knowing this, how bad do we want an eternal life to live in God at the end of our physical existence?  How significantly do we want to revamp our life to one that reflects our faith in eternity?  Pascal’s wager also can be tied into practical life; why play the game if you won’t bother to win? Something I get asked a lot by skeptics about my faith is why I believe in God.  My answer is always because I choose to; I want to.  My response to the challenge of proving God’s existence usually ends with the skeptic in ignorant frustration upon being challenged to prove He does not exist.  Not to say I’ve done a perfect job at converting the world to Christianity, but I’ve yet to admit defeat against a skeptic.  My reason, of course, for answering the way I do to the demands of the skeptics is simply because I take Pascal’s Wager.  I bet on winning.  I may be wrong, but I have not met anyone yet that can prove it.  


A compelling idea for the validity of these arguments is in that Christ is in himself infallible.  Supportive evidence in overwhelming favour for the existence of something beyond our mortal lives is the existence of our conscience, and in thus our means by which we seek God.  Kreeft’s argument from design insists that so much as the existence of the universe as we know it is evidence that points towards the existence of God.  By my own choice in faith, I take Pascal’s Wager because I care to bet on what I believe is the most favourable possible outcome for my life post-morality wise.  When one really examines their faith, and the reasons for being faithful, these reasons are often observable truths that reveal, or at least insist the existence of God.  


Social 20 – Source Analysis Written Response

To What Extent Should Nation be the Foundation of Identity?

Source 1 –

Souce 2 –

Source 3 –

“We need to be loyal to one country as far as your citizenship.  Your heart can be where you were born, but the commitment to Canada has to be strong and I think dual citizenship weakens that.”

Source 1 – Split between the Canadian maple leaf and Quebecois fleurs-de-lis.

Instantly upon analysis of the source, one can see that it is a split symbol of a red Maple Leaf, as seen on the federal Canadian flag, and the blue fleurs-de-lis as would be seen on the Quebec provincial flag.  The source literally shows a division between not only Quebecois versus federal Canadian symbolism but also brings forth the notably conflicting identities of Quebec and the rest of Canada.  The source certainly speaks to the centuries of the somewhat existential crisis among those in the Quebecois demographic.  The source speaks to the divisive history of Canada; the struggle between the contending nationalist loyalties of Canadian federalists and Quebec sovereigntists.  The source relates back to nationalism significantly; namely ethnic, linguistic, cultural nationalism, and these corresponding loyalties.  The source directly references the stark contrast in ideology and nationalistic practice between the Quebecois and mother country.  While Canadian citizens would certainly like to see themselves as a perfectly united federation that gets along all fine and dandy despite our differences, this notion really is not what it chuckles itself up to be.  As such, however, people will often realize that, yes, we are a civilized populace, but we do have conflicting loyalties, identities, languages, and ideas that have led to divisive policy and violence in our past.  

Source 2 – Trudeau v Lougheed for oil pricing.  

Again, this source jumps out as one that obviously uses not only the stereotypical game of hockey to represent competition, but also the clever use of labeling to convey that there’s more to this illustration than a mean-eyed faceoff.  The source is speaking to the fiasco surrounding the NEP, production & pricing of Alberta oil, and the adverse loyalties between former PM Pierre Trudeau and former Alberta Premier Peter Lougheed.  The big conflict of interests began with the founding of the National Energy Policy by Pierre Trudeau’s federal government; a policy designed to protect Canadians from rising international oil & gas prices by making a push towards making Canada a country self-sufficient in regards to its energy needs.  However, this ended up doing more harm for Alberta than good for much elsewhere.  The policy was made with little consultation from the Albertan government, and as such, angered the general public.  With the founding of this policy, one can understand where Trudeau was coming from with his loyalty to Canada as a whole and wanting his country to be better off.  One can equally sympathize with Lougheed feeling backstabbed, as the government one would promise unwavering loyalty to rewarding this with essentially exploiting you.  Feels pretty bad.  This stark contrast in practices would stem from their contending loyalties of that from a specific geographical region to the loyalties of one meant to serve the whole country.  To put it another way, it was a contrast between serving Canada and serving Alberta.  Competing loyalties between regional and national, as well as economic and internationally related matters, are eventually what made this policy flop.  

Source 3 – Quotation about dual citizenship 

The third source is a quotation that speaks in regards to dual citizenship, and how this relates to regional or national loyalties.  The source does seem, however, to border on favouring the loyalty to Canada as superior to the loyalty to any other.  While this seems rooted in logic, the source really tries to make a statement against having any loyalty to contend with Canada; makes a statement, indirectly, that being Canadian is automatically superior to the nationality of any other country.  There is a slight problem with this of course, in that it borders on extremism, and discourages diverse national identity.  This discouragement of multinational identity is what one would see popularized among figures like Stalin or Hitler, or in the infamous residential school system of Canadian history.  The source would also appear to be misguided, as one could infer that from multiple national identities among being Canadian, would not this only affirm Canada’s reputation for being pluralistic; affirm our own national identity by accepting those of others?  Furthermore, the phrase “commitment to Canada” is rather vague, and further makes it obvious the ignorant nature and misguidance of this source.  Based on the topic, though, this demanding ideal of committing all of your loyalties to just Canada borders on assimilation.  So, yes, while the source has the intention of wanting one’s nationalist loyalties ground in Canada, it really would serve only to falter our own national identity if adapted on a large scale.  

To what extent should nation be the foundation of identity?

All three of the above sources speak to the concept of nationalism, especially different types of it, and how this broad blanket term applies to our ways of life and identities as Canadians.  Sources 1 and 2 most distinctly speak to nationalist loyalties competing with other loyalties; namely those to a specific region or ethnic identity.  The first and third sources are similar in that source three would support the division and alienation of some identities as seen with the push for separatism in Quebec throughout history.  Similarly, the third source would also stand against the motives of Peter Lougheed, and stand in favour of loyalties towards Canada as a whole.  Sources 2 and 3 both seem to insist a resolution is needed to the apparent problem of loyalties that contend with Canadian nationalism; bethem regional or multinational.  

To answer the question though, nation should be the foundation of one’s identity proportional to the pride and loyalty one has to their nation.  Logically, people won’t choose to have their nation as a significant contributor to their individual identity if they have no passion or mindset geared to the set country.  From source 1, if one’s nation is that of the Francophone population of Quebec, then striving to keep Quebecois culture and language alive would likely take precedence; leaving a large part of one’s foundational identity as nation.  Similarly, if one such as Peter Lougheed identifies with a nation of sorts in the people of Alberta, then his identity and life choices will reflect as such.   

ELA 10 – Final PRT

Unique Perspectives


“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing you think you cannot do” – Eleanor Roosevelt.  Human beings, by nature, will gain strength, courage, resilience, and confidence with every passing experience that triumphs over our fears.  We all, at some point, must inevitably face circumstances that daunt us.  With each passing triumph, our perspective and ideology will be shifted, even just slightly.  Our personal perspective and ideology are the sum of our experiences.  Proving to ourselves that we can overcome such challenges will reaffirm the uniqueness of our perspectives and ideas.  In literary works, stories, and other narratives, the human experience is represented by the protagonists in the story, such as the case with Homer as our protagonist in October Sky.  In October Sky, it is highly prevalent how Homer gained such strength, courage, and changes in himself by facing his fears head-on.  In the real world, I myself have faced challenges surrounding academics and studies, the likes of which are only amplified by challenges related to the current pandemic.  Be it in narrative stories or in the real world, human beings regularly face adversities that shape our perspectives and ideologies to be more unique in the end.  

A Unique Perspective In Story

Homer Hickam is an exemplary illustration of how facing such adversity can redefine and differentiate a perspective.  As we see in the film, Homer’s character development can be equally correlated with his power of choosing to persevere through adversity.  For example, although a myriad of rocket tests go awry throughout his journey, Homer makes bold choices to continue testing and innovating.  Homer makes bold choices to look fear in the eye and do things that he has doubts about.  Following this newfound innovation and success beyond doubt, Homer had forged in himself a more unique perspective; a perspective shaped by overcoming adversity.  This overcoming of adversity changed Homer’s identity and perspective from one that was more unfruitful and unoriginal, to one that allowed him to gain some celebrity status and recognition among his people.  Also at the beginning of his story arc, we see Homer as a young boy without much hope for his future, but, with a little inspiration from seeing Sputnik in the night sky, Homer begins his journey of looking fear in the face, and gaining on strength and courage along the way. He began his journey in which he regularly faced challenges which molded his perspective to be all the more special.  

My Unique Perspective

Alongside our protagonists facing fears in stories and literature, so must we also look our fears in the face and flourish in strength for ourselves in the real world.  In my own personal life, school has of course become stressful as a result of approaching final exams.  An honest challenge I myself had to face is that of staying on top of schoolwork and grades, especially at a time when in-person class attendance is dicey because of an ongoing pandemic.  A difficulty I had to face every day was that it took serious discipline showing up for class on time four times a day for two weeks, but I managed notwithstanding.  Getting all of my assignments in was also something I managed to do, most of which actually came in on time.  Moving forward, I learned from overcoming these tribulations that academics taking precedence in my life would ultimately be best in the end.  My perspective was made more unique by my experiences as a student, which reaffirmed that academics and studies would benefit me the most.  


Beit in narrative stories or in the real world, human beings have to face challenges in order for our perspectives to become unique.  Seeing as how human beings are, in substance, defined by unique perspectives and ideas, doing the things we think we cannot do is a necessity.  Homer Hickam didn’t think that he could make a name for himself, but he did and made his perspective an exceptionally unique one in the process.  I myself had my perspective shifted and revised from persevering through studies and academics.  This overcoming of adversity to better one’s self is truly a staple of the human experience that we encounter throughout our lives.  And, when our life comes to an end, how will our experiences then have defined the uniquity of our own perspective?  




Are We Really Free? – A PRT to ‘Harrison Bergeron’


The short story, ‘Harrison Bergeron’ by Kurt Vonnegut Jr. is about the human need for freedom and individuality.  In real life, such as in literary works like Orwell’s 1984’ and ‘Harrison Bergeron’, people will always fight for their freedom and individuality.  Vonnegut’s take on this fight for freedom shows a long-lost son showing all that humans can overcome any oppression eventually.  George Orwell’s 1984 foretells a grim, dystopian society that may be closer to reality than we think.  Something I experienced in my lifetime was a significant resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement during this past summer in 2020.  Whether it’s through trying to overthrow a totalitarian state in social science fiction literature, or taking to the streets in the summer of 2020, human beings, by nature will fight to have freedom and individuality in one way or another.  All this regardless, however, so long as there is some force to rule over us, can humans really be free?

Harrison Bergeron

The short story itself gives us a glimpse of what Vonnegut, to some extent, knows to be a possible future of society.  The dystopian work describes a world where “everybody was finally equal,”(paragraph 1) through the use of handicaps on people who displayed too much of a certain trait.  The story develops this dystopian universe, and eventually brings to the forefront, long-lost Harrison Bergeron himself.  Serving as a round character in the story, Harrison ultimately represents mankind’s deep-seated desire to fight passionately for freedom and individuality.  The theme and climax of the story both are significantly composed of Harrison’s development as a character.  The said climax of the story kicks in with Harrison taking the public stage and ripping “off his handicaps like wet tissue paper,”(58) becoming a righteous symbol of mankind’s inevitable victory over oppression.  However, Harrison’s reign did not hold for long after when abruptly “Diana Moon Clampers, the Handicapper General came into the studio,”(79) and ended his show of freedom.  Yes, Harrison does symbolize humankind’s need for freedom, but his abrupt death begs the question, what does Vonnegut think about our fight for freedom in comparison to what ruling powers really want for us?  


In a similar work of social science fiction, George Orwell paints a picture through a slightly different lens about humankind’s need for freedom.  The basis of Orwell’s 1984 is that the fabric of society as we know it has been altered to the point where every thought and notion of all citizens is known by the state; allowing a totalitarian government to exist without opposition in a world of mass surveillance, thus silencing any possibility of free thought or expression.  The protagonist in the story, Winston Smith, is secretly in opposition to this fascism and owns a diary that he writes in at different points in the story.  When Winston chooses one day to write messages in the diary that would have him killed for thoughtcrime, as it is referred to, it becomes apparent that “whether he wrote DOWN WITH BIG BROTHER, or whether he refrained from writing it”(Orwell 21) he would be discovered and killed regardless by the Thought Police.  Winston Smith and Harrison Bergeron represent similar themes found commonly in life as in literature; that no matter how much oppression and suppression a society endures, there will always be figures that rise above to fight for freedom and individuality.  In 1984, to spoil the story, however, Winston Smith still ends up at the mercy of the system he so desired to tear down, and that the very creation of the sacred brotherhood he fought alongside was a fabrication of the fascist system.  All this, again, begs the question, does the author truly believe that the system can, no matter how oppressive, ever be completely overtaken?

Black Lives Matter.  

In the real world, humankind’s need, desire, and nature to fight for freedom and individuality is even more prevalent than in literary works.  A critical example of this prevalence was with the series of immensely popular Black Lives Matter protests, and the movement in general this past summer, that I witnessed on the news almost every day.  The movement arose from resparked outrage of people in the United States and around the world over the murder of George Floyd on May 25, an African American man.  Through my very own eyes, I watched on the news as thousands of people in the streets came together in the midst of a pandemic to cry out one message in the face of oppression; Black Lives Matter.  Tuning into the news almost every night on end last summer and seeing all the people around the world reverberating this message and fighting for their true freedom from prejudice was inspiring to me.  From my point of view in the universe, this movement needed to happen considering the circumstances, but we shouldn’t live in a world where millions of people need to take to the street to say that people with dark skin have lives that matter.  We shouldn’t live in a world like that of Vonnegut’s ‘Harrison Bergeron’ or Orwells ‘1984’; where freedom and individuality have to be fought, bled, and died for.  So long as evil reigns free through the minds of man, is it ever possible to live in a society free of such prejudice?

In  Conclusion,

Through studying these literary and real-life examples, we come up with a series of questions we can ask ourselves about our lives and society.  In Vonnegut’s works, we come up with the question of, what message is it that Vonnegut really wants to portray about our fight for freedom versus government control of our lives?  Similarly, in Orwell’s universe, we come up with the question of, can an all-controlling state ever be overthrown by its citizens fighting for freedom and individuality?  Lastly, the real-world example of the Black Lives Matter movement begs the question of, do we truly live in a society where millions need to take to the streets just to get the message across that black lives do indeed matter?  Reflecting on our own life and reality from these three questions brings up one summary question, are we really free?


The Last Stop


Gabriel Sader

March 12/2018

Grade 7

I was the last one on the bus.  The bus driver never spoke to me, nor did anyone who saw me.  I was invisible, a shadow in the corner of your eye, just an illusion you may dream of after a long day. Were my efforts in vain?  Was there a good chance this was going to be a waste of time? Probably, but I was taught to expect and prepare for the worst, but always hope for the best.  That was key in this situation. The bus started slowing down. I gathered my thoughts, and got ready to leave.  

There was a faint squealing in the air from the busses breaks.  I stood up, making my way out of my seat. Grabbing my backpack, I walked down the aisle, until I came to the doors.  Opened before me, I felt as if I was walking off the school bus into my old elementary school. I remembered the kids, younger and older, my friends waiting for me by our classroom window, people saying good morning to me, but all that was gone.  It was just me going off of this bus. Nobody there to greet me on my way out. Attempting to keep my thoughts busy, I hummed a familiar song as I stepped out into the cold, windy night.

  There was darkness all around me.  The bus drove off, leaving a slight cloud of dust in its wake, quickly dissipating with a gust of wind.  I looked straight ahead at the dark field, tall grass swishing in the wind. I remembered the instructions given to me by my superior, to walk Westward until you reach the lampost, and play the combination.  As vague as those instructions were, I could figure there was probably some kind of instrument there to play the combination. I removed my metal compass from the mesh pocket on the side of my backpack, flipped open the cover, oriented myself in the right direction, and set off west.  After scaling over a short barbed wire fence, I began to speed walk through the tall blades of grass, my compass guiding me in a straight line, heading west.

Anytime I took this path, I always thought I was going nowhere until I saw the light.  As I was drawing nearer to the lampost, a sudden and powerful gust of wind knocked me off balance, but I quickly recovered and continued on my way.  I got to the lampost, to find a circular clearing of flat grass about three meters in diameter, with the lampost in the center.  Behind the lampost was a piano.  With many indications of being very old, the piano was certainly playable, but too rough of treatment would surely break a few key components.  

There were no pedals, and no cover protecting the strings. Most other wood parts looked in good enough shape, despite being outdoors. I had been instructed to play a certain combination of notes.  As I struck the keys in the designated order, I could see the strings vibrating inside the piano. It was like kicking the foot of a model skeleton in a grade 8 science room, making all the fake bones shake and rattle together.  This brought back more short-lived memories of my past, quickly fading. I had finished the correct combination. Whatever was supposed to happen, was supposed to happen now. This was our last chance.

The sound of the sustained notes had completely faded into the night. I waited a few seconds.  Then maybe a minute or two. I looked up and around. Nothing was to be seen, just me, the lampost yellow light shining, the tall blades of grass rubbing against each other in the wind which had died down since a few minutes ago. Nothing was unordinary.  Was someone supposed to hear the notes I had played? I checked my surroundings again and turned around to find a pillar made of what looked like gold! Only about half a meter in front of my face, I looked up to see that the pillar got wider, and branched off to form slim triangle-like shapes attached to golden rods, connecting seamlessly to the main pillar, leading back into the ground. It was what appeared to be a tree made of gold, certainly something you do not see every day. I touched the tree, but my hand was nearly burnt how hot it was! I could feel it getting hotter and hotter until it started to run and begin to melt.  Deciding I wanted to keep my feet today, I backed away from the increasingly large puddle of glowing molten gold. Was this supposed to happen? This was certainly very strange. Was this the sign all along? Was this supposed to start a grass fire? The gold was boiling and turning to gas. Not knowing what happens if you inhale gold vapour, I covered my mouth with my coat sleeve.

 The gold tree was gone. All that was remaining was the smell of burnt grass.  I had no idea what just happened. I could tell all my colleagues, but with their history with me, they would never believe me.  I had so many questions. One of them was how I was going to get back home. Who knows, maybe I’ll catch a ride with a unicorn.

Hero’s Journey in Literature – The Lord of The Rings

 Another literary work of fiction that follows the Hero’s Journey is the Lord of the Rings trilogy.  As any work that follows the Hero’s Journey, this story begins in the Hero’s familiar home. We see the Hero’s ordinary life, and we observe how the call to action impacts their life.  The hero may initially refuse the call; not wanting to leave their normal life behind. But, after a little convincing, the hero accepts the call to adventure. The hero and company take off on an adventure, and encounter numerous difficulties along their journey.  The hero meets a mentor, who adventures alongside them in their journey. After overcoming a true, supreme challenge of wits and strength, the hero begins their journey back home. The Hero’s Journey is a long road with challenges, but the Hero eventually returns home as a different person from when they left.  

The yellow arrow is the beginning of the Hero’s Journey; the leaving of the comfort zone; the choice to be selfless; the embarkation of an adventure of a lifetime, into the region of supernatural wonder; be it Mordor, or a selfless life.  The X would be otherwise normal life just beyond comfort, Y would be the region beyond comfort, and Z would be the return to life before the choice of adventure.

The Hero of The Lord of The Rings would be Frodo.  This young man is the hero on this journey, and at the beginning of the trilogy, we see his ordinary life.  In the fictional land of Hobbiton, Frodo lives peacefully with his cousin and guardian, Bilbo, his friend, Sam, and other townspeople.  In its own way, this land reflects an aspect of what it means to be human. We can live our lives in mediocrity no problem, but at some point, we are called to adventure.  We are called to take on challenges, and to leave our comfortable lives. This is also related to religion. More specifically, what I know about Christianity is that we may be comfortable in our lives, but we need to challenge ourselves to be selfless and take actions that will change our lives for the better.  To develop an altruistic attitude is my belief for the abandonment of the comfortable; often sinful lifestyle before selflessness. Christian altruism is my point of view when it comes to leaving comfort for the sake of selflessness.  As any writing of what it means to be human, part of being human also incorporates the discomfort in choosing to accept the call to action, and the call to selflessness and holiness. The call to action that summons him to adventure would be Frodo’s receiving of the One Ring from his guardian.  Additionally, the same mentor, Gandalf, is the convincing imposition of Frodo. With other friends, Mary, Pippin, and Sam, Frodo begins his adventure. Of course, as is our lives, we can hardly overcome challenges and ordeals without the help of others like us.  Undoubtedly, experienced or more elderly mentors help with said ordeals and challenges, but it is also beneficial to mind and spirit to be alongside others like ourselves in our adventures throughout our lives. We can see, in The Lord of The Rings, how Frodo and company take charge of their lives, exit the comfort, and change their lives for the greater good.  

Giving to others, being kind, and selfless regardless of what others think is important.

When taking off on his adventure to change his life, Frodo is in the company of an experienced mentor through the encountered difficulties.  Soon after leaving the comfort of home, Frodo and company make it to the town of Bree, where they meet up with a new mentor. This new mentor leads them on their journey.  Helping them with difficulty, this mentor is a sizeable help to the hero’s cause. In our own lives, we meet our own mentors who help us with adventuring out into the unknown and away from our normal lives.  Parents, friends, religious leaders; all people who can help us on our extensive journeys that our lives are consistent with; all people who can be our mentors to overcome our supreme ordeals. We oftentimes feel lost in our seemingly dramatic or complex lives, but, in reality, it takes experienced mentorship to help us realise there is always hope.  And, with this mentor, Frodo becomes more prepared for the eventual supreme ordeal of his Hero’s Journey.

The peak of the story arc of this Hero’s Journey would be the eventual arrival at the site of Mount Doom in Mordor.  After so much hardship and adversity, Frodo faces a final challenge, which is to cast the One Ring into the fires of Mount Doom from which it was born.  Each new day brings challenges and ordeals, but perhaps the supreme ordeal of all of our lives are yet to come. I can say with relative certainty that my supreme challenge at the top of the mountain; my supreme ordeal is yet to come.  This ordeal of destroying the ring would represent the supreme ordeal as indicated by the Hero’s Journey formulated structure. Lastly, the hero returns home; changed.

The scene depicted at the heart of Mordor. Mount doom is visible in the foreground. Doomy.

Upon the return home, the hero reaches the end of his journey, and is back to where he began.  Each day, we start our journey, and at the end of the day, we return to where we began. The challenges we face out in the world are our own ordeals in life.  We are called to adventure, and make difficult choices that help ourselves and others. We meet experienced mentors, and others just like us who help us with our daily lives.  And, although perhaps not today, we come across our supreme ordeal; a challenge at the apex of our adventure. The Hero’s Journey is seen not only in a multitude of film and literary works, but in our own lives.