Author: sungwooblogblog

Carbon Nanotubes: The Material of the Future

Fellow bloggers, it’s good to finally be back posting again on Sungwoo’s Blog for all of you to enjoy! For the past few days, I’ve been researching deep into the subject of carbon nanotubes for my chemistry class, pulling information on just about everything the topic has to offer. Today, I’m sharing with you the wonder of this nanotube- ranging anywhere from what it is, to what its applications are in society.

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3-D model of a carbon nanotube

First things first: what exactly are carbon nanotubes (CNTs)? Well, they are odourless tube-shaped materials composed of an array of carbon atoms, and they are so small in diameter that it’s measured in nanometres! This means that a single strand of CNT is 10,000 times smaller than a human hair. There are many different types  of carbon nanotubes, such as single-walled (SWNT) and multi-walled (MWNT), but the main similarity is the graphite layer, which is the main material behind CNTs. Pure graphite is a natural form of carbon, and can be mined around the world. To make CNTs, huge numbers of graphite particles must be mined to synthesize nanotubes (Litherland, n.d.). The graphite is spread out in a hexagonal mesh of carbon chains, and rolled up in a tube as seen above. They are quickly increasing in popularity due to its strength, while staying light in weight; this makes CNTs an exceptional building material (CNT Technology Overview, 2017)

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Laser ablation for creating CNTs

Despite just being composed of carbon atoms, creating a CNT is a lot more complicated than I expected. I learned that there were several methods in synthesis, but the most common ones were laser ablation and chemical vapor deposition (CVD). Laser ablation is exactly what it sounds like- using a higher-power laser, a solid block of pure graphite is heated inside a furnace to about 1200 degrees Celsius, vaporizing the graphite into particles. The residue is then collected by a cooled collector, eventually

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CNT shown as a “mat of ropes”

gathering enough to form a mat of “ropes”, each rope representing a CNT. The great thing about laser ablation is that it can produce a decently large quantity of high-quality CNTs; however, the process is very expensive due to the pure graphite used, and other methods are capable of producing larger quantities of carbon nanotubes at a cheaper price (Nanowerk, n.d.).

Another method of producing CNTs is chemical vapor deposition, which is also used to

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Ice hockey sticks are common objects composed of carbon fibre

form various carbon-based materials, such as carbon fibre and filaments. In CVD, a hydrocarbon is decomposed through tubes drilled into silicon, where there are iron nanoparticles at the bottom of the tube. As the hydrocarbon makes contact with the particles, it initiates to create nanotubes through the drilled holes, giving it a long and aligned shape (NCBI, 2014). To expand these tubes, the carbon nanotubes that were created link up to form large quantities of polymers on the surface of the silicon, with the help of catalysts such as nickel, cobalt, and iron (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2015). CVD is currently the standard method of creating CNTs, as mass amounts can be created at a lower price than other techniques (NCBI, 2014). To learn more about chemical vapor deposition, watch this video here.

You might be wondering: what forces could possibly be holding such a thin material together that keeps it even stronger than steel? Well, each carbon nanotube is made up of repeating carbon atoms held together by a strong, interlocking covalent bond, a

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Diagram showing the covalent bonds between carbon atoms in CNT

type of intramolecular force occurring between non-metals. This bond holds hexagons of carbon atoms together into one big molecule, without any weak points in its lattice. This gives CNTs very high tensile strength, which is the force an object can withstand before tearing apart. Even steel has weak points around its structure; now I can clearly see how each nanotube has a tensile strength of 100 times greater than steel (Booker & Boysen, n.d.)!

The covalent bonds also play a role in the very high thermal conductivity of CNTs, which is one of the main properties that make them so useful in society. Unlike metals, which rely on the movement of electrons to conduct heat, the covalent bonds between carbons vibrate to conduct heat. This results in the carbon atoms themselves actually moving to create more thermal energy, making carbon nanotubes extremely good conductors (Booker & Boysen, n.d.).

As there are no charged ends at any areas around the molecule, I discovered that

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This diagram shows the covalent bonds (intramolecular) and LDF (intermolecular) between the carbon and the molecules

CNTs are non-polar molecules. This means that there is only one intermolecular force present: London Dispersion. The constant electron clouds on the surface of the CNTs create a mild electrical attraction, which we can feel as “sticky”. Additionally, since the molecule is non-polar, it is insoluble in water, a polar molecule (AZoNano, 2017). In my opinion, all these properties seem to point out one fact: carbon nanotubes seem to carry many more advantages than traditional materials today!

So what exactly can these seemingly perfect nanotubes do? As of today, CNTs can be

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A bone cell (tooth) adhering itself to carbon nanotubes

applied to good use in several different fields, but the one that intrigued me most was in the medical field, where carbon nanotubes are used to really help people function properly. For example, studies have shown how lacing CNTs to the top of dental implants improve the overall quality, as the teeth adhere much better to carbon nanotubes than just the traditional titanium implants (UnderstandingNano, n.d.).

Just when I thought carbon nanotubes couldn’t get any cooler and useful… I came across something spectacular!

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Carbon nanotube muscle tissues

It appears that when CNTs are woven together with a form of yarn, and filled with wax, artificial muscles are the result! This can be life-changing for many people suffering from severe muscle damage, as it is fully functioning and can adjust itself to the body without issue. Not only this, it can lift up to 200 times more than the normal human muscle (UnderstandingNano, n.d.)! I think that’s the closest we could come to having superhuman strength… Watch a cool video demonstration on what carbon nanotube muscle looks like here.

Imagine having a laptop or TV… that can bend and fold without damage! Look no further, as the improvement of CNT technology might lead to flexible electronics in the

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A flexible CNT display screen

near future. At the University of Tokyo, researchers were able to create fully-functioning organic light-emitting diode (OLED) displays, bound with a rubbery nanotube-based conductor. Flexible, low-cost, and undoubtedly cool, these displays may find their way into all electronics in the future (Strickland, 2009)!

As if the improvement in the electronic industry wasn’t enough, carbon nanotubes have the potential to be used as cancer treatment. As studies have shown, when mice with kidney tumours had CNTs injected into the area of tumours, and had near-infrared lasers blasted at the tube, 80% of mice saw a complete disappearance of the tumours! I realized this was due to the covalent bonds within the CNTs; with heat being added on, each carbon atom ends up moving around to create even more heat, killing the surrounding cancer cells. However, it’s still not proven if it’s toxic for humans, so further development is necessary (Strickland, 2009). See the diagram below.

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Diagram showing how a laser hitting CNTs inside of a cancer cell can increase damage on tumours to defeat the cell

After all these advantages of having carbon nanotubes all around us, then why hasn’t it been developed fully yet? Well, there is one big problem with the CNTs: its production has a dangerous impact to the environment, and even humans.

Research suggests that when chemical vapor deposition is used for synthesis, several hundred tons of chemicals, including greenhouse gases and air pollutants, are released into the air every year (Bettex, 2010). Additionally, many of these particles may end up in aquatic wildlife, where it can build up to stop algae growth. Without algae, many ecosystems won’t survive as it is used as a food source and as a filter to keep water clean (Heimbuch, 2011). However, according to the ACS Nano website, by reducing certain steps in synthesis of CNTs, the emissions of harmful byproducts could reduce by up to 100 times.

Unfortunately, it might get worse from there. As I was researching for social impacts that CNTs might have, I found out how the leftover particles that float in the air can

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A diagram of a diseased lung

make their way deep into our lungs. This can cause severe sickness and even mesothelioma, a cancer that “previously has been associated with only asbestos” (Lulea University of Technology, 2011). Thankfully, it is highly unlikely that tiny particles of CNT could cause such damage, but if the buildup reaches high numbers in the lung, consequences will certainly arise.

Thankfully, there are some positive impacts of using carbon nanotubes. Using high-strength CNTs in terrestrial and air transport vehicles could result in a 25% decrease in overall weight, and reduce oil consumption by nearly 6 million barrels per day within the next 10 years. Worldwide, the use of petroleum and other fuels will also drop by 25%. This boosts the economy greatly in Canada specifically, as the government can save billions of dollars a year due to less oil imports from foreign countries. Furthermore, carbon nanotubes may even find its way into power distribution lines, which is predicted to reduce transmission losses by 41 billion kilowatt hours annually! This leads to huge savings in coal and gas usage, allowing the economy to thrive financially. No wonder the demand has raised from 46,000 metric tons/year to 153,000 metric tons/year (National Nanotechnology Initiative, 2014); with all these economic benefits, CNTs are materials that are definitely worth the development.

In conclusion, I believe that the application of carbon nanotubes can be beneficial to everybody. Despite the scares of health issues, and negative environmental impacts, there’s nothing that can’t be fixed or improved! Within the near future, I hope to see this form of nanotechnology fully developed and waiting to be used in the everyday lives of all people. I mean, with those CNT muscles, I could be 200 times stronger!

What are your thoughts on CNTs? Do you believe carbon nanotubes are worth all the attention it’s been getting? Let me know down in the comments!

Sungwoo Chang

Works Cited

AZoNano. (2017, July 31). Carbon Nanotubes – General Properties and Safety Data of Carbon Nanotubes ( Buckytubes ). Retrieved October 07, 2017, from https://www.azonano.com/article.aspx?ArticleID=981

Bettex, M. (2010, November 10). A greener way to grow carbon nanotubes. Retrieved October 07, 2017, from http://news.mit.edu/2010/green-carbon-nanotubes-1110

Booker, R., & Boysen, E. (n.d.). Scanning the properties of nanotubes. Retrieved October 07, 2017, from http://www.understandingnano.com/nanotubes-carbon-properties.html

CNT Technology Overview. (n.d.). Retrieved October 07, 2017, from http://www.nanoscience.com/applications/education/overview/cnt-technology-overview/

Heimbuch, J. (2011, November 04). Carbon Nanotubes in Environment Affect The Growth of Algae. Retrieved October 07, 2017, from https://www.treehugger.com/clean-technology/carbon-nanotubes-in-environment-affect-the-growth-of-algae.html

Litherland, N. (n.d.). Where Does Graphite Come From? Retrieved October 07, 2017, from http://classroom.synonym.com/where-does-graphite-come-from-12078767.html

Lulea University of Technology. (2011, January 19). Researcher warns of health risks with carbon nanotubes. Retrieved October 07, 2017, from https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110118092134.htm

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). (2015, June 18). Retrieved October 07, 2017, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j80jsWFm8Lc

Nanowerk. (n.d.). Carbon Nanotubes 101- Production Methods. Retrieved October 07, 2017, from https://www.nanowerk.com/nanotechnology/introduction/introduction_to_nanotechnology_22.php

National Nanotechnology Initiative. (2014, September 15). Realizing the Promise of Carbon Nanotubes. Retrieved October 07, 2017, from https://www.nano.gov/sites/default/files/pub_resource/2014_nni_cnt_tech_meeting_report.pdf

NCBI. (2014, August 13). Carbon nanotubes: properties, synthesis, purification, and medical applications. Retrieved October 07, 2017, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4141964/

Strickland, E. (2009, August 6). 9 Ways Carbon Nanotubes Just Might Rock the World. Retrieved October 07, 2017, from http://discovermagazine.com/2009/jul-aug/09-ways-carbon-nanotubes-just-might-rock-world

UnderstandingNano. (n.d.). Carbon Nanotube Applications and Uses. Retrieved October 07, 2017, from http://www.understandingnano.com/nanotubes-carbon.html

WIRED. (2009, March 19). Retrieved October 07, 2017, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WmS0Q7jTPsk

Images

Carbon Fibre Hockey Stick. N.p. Kintech.ca. Web. Retrieved October 07, 2017.

Carbon Nanotube. N.p. Amazon. Web. Retrieved October 07, 2017.

CNT Display Screen. N.p. CleanTechnica. Web. Retrieved October 07, 2017.

CNT Implants. N.p. Google Images. Web. Retrieved October 07, 2017.

CNT in Cancer Cells. N.p. Images.com. Web. Retrieved October 07, 2017.

CNT Muscles. N.p. WIRED. Web. Retrieved October 07, 2017.

CNT Structures. N.p. IntechOpen. Web. Retrieved October 07, 2017.

Covalent Bonds. N.p. CloudFront. Web. Retrieved October 07, 2017.

Laser Ablation. N.p. Google Sites. Web. Retrieved October 07, 2017.

Mesothelioma. N.p. Mesotheliomabook. Web. Retrieved October 07, 2017.

Spiral of CNT. N.p. PopSci. Web. Retrieved October 07, 2017

 

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Adnan Syed’s Undeserved Punishment

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Serial podcast

Welcome, fellow bloggers, to my final post on Sungwoo’s Blog (for now)! Several days ago, I posted about the first episode of the Serial podcast, created and narrated by Sarah Koenig. To follow up on this topic, I just finished the final episode last night- it seriously got me hooked on murder mysteries! However, the more I listened, the more it got me thinking about Adnan Syed- and I fully believe that he is an innocent man, being wrongly convicted for Hae Min Lee’s death.

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Adnan Syed behind bars

I’m very aware that it’s a bold statement- after all, Adnan is still in jail to this day (New York Post). The officials must have made the correct decision, right?

Wrong.

I firmly believe Adnan’s innocence and there are several reasons supporting my opinion. First of all,  Adnan had an obvious alibi at the time of Hae Min Lee’s death, around 3 pm on January 13th, 1999. Her name was Asia McClain- she was certain to have seen him at the Woodlawn Public Library with her, making it impossible for Adnan to be Hae’s killer. Asia had even written letters and an affidavit regarding this case; however,

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Asia McClain’s letter to Adnan

Adnan’s late attorney Cristina Gutierrez failed to pursue the alibi, resulting in an inability to testify at trial. According to C. Justin Brown, “there is no more powerful defense than an alibi”- had Adnan’s trial attorney brought Asia in to testify, he would have been in position to be declared innocent by the court (New York Post). She was a very reliable alibi as well, as she was not “really close friends”with Adnan, as mentioned in the letter. I believe this suggests that Adnan did not plan with her beforehand just to create a false witness. She was just another classmate at the library, who is, to this day, certain about Adnan being elsewhere at the time of Hae’s death.

 

Furthermore, the only hard evidence the Baltimore police have of Adnan being guilty is Jay Wilds’ story. Jay was Adnan’s former best friend and classmate, whom he would “sometimes smoke weed with” (Rolling Stone). His testimony to the police regarded the afternoon when Hae went missing; he told them about how Adnan was planning to kill Hae, and that he would need Jay to pick him up after in his car. In my opinion, I don’t see Jay as a reliable source for this case; he was an older man who had already graduated from high school, and as mentioned, has a clear history with drug use. To

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Jay Wilds, former friend of Adnan

make matters worse for Jay, his testimony was constantly changing throughout his multiple police interviews and trials; he would do anything to make sure none of his actions would hint of him being guilty. Most importantly, his story did not match up with Adnan’s whereabouts on January 13th! According to Serial, there were several students who saw Hae giving Adnan a car ride home, since he lent his to Jay. This would mean that his entire story about the burial of the body at Leakin Park does not correspond to the whereabouts of Adnan at the same time. If this corrupt story is truly the only hard evidence, I strongly believe Adnan should not be considered guilty.

Above all, I just find it very hard to believe that a young, handsome, football player and “Homecoming King” would commit such a crime against an innocent ex-girlfriend. Throughout the finale of Serial, Sarah Koenig, the narrator, would often include audio clips of her and Adnan talking. From what I could hear, Adnan genuinely seemed to still care for Hae and was deeply in love with her, and it gives me a sense of doubt that he would be the one to strangle her. Conversely, there is a man, also from Baltimore, who might be capable of such brutal actions: Ronald Lee Moore.

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Ronald Lee Moore’s mugshot

Ronald was a man who was convicted numerous times for burglary, which often included sexual assault, and murder. I was surprised to hear in the podcast that this man was held responsible for strangling a Korean girl- 27-year-old Annelise Hyang Suk Lee- right in Baltimore County. He was released from jail just two weeks before

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Annelise Lee

January 13th, Hae’s disappearance (Heavy). I can’t imagine this being a coincidence; he had a small window of being out, and according to Serial, he was a very active criminal. Deirdre Enright from the podcast even says, “What makes more sense? That little seventeen-year-old, never been in trouble with the law Adnan killed someone or that Ronald Moore, rapist and murderer who got out of prison thirteen days before Hae disappeared, that he killed someone”? I agree with this statement entirely from Deirdre, as it would just be so unlikely that an innocent high school student would be the one to commit a similar type of murder to a real criminal, who was active during Hae’s disappearance.

Overall, there just isn’t enough evidence to prove that Adnan is guilty. With Asia McClain as his alibi, the inconsistencies from Jay’s testimony, and the case of a real murderer during the same time all point to the fact that Adnan is innocent. I must admit: I’m not a researcher, criminologist, or detective. On the other hand, if Sarah Koenig, after spending months on the case, says “the guy I knew, there’s no way he could have done this”, I’ll trust her instincts.

Works Cited

Adnan Syed behind bars. N.p. Rolling Stone. Web. 28 July 2017.

Annelise Hyang Suk Lee. N.p. Heavy. Web. 28 July 2017.Serial podcast cover. N.p. Serial Podcast. Web. 28 July 2017.

Asia McClain’s letter. N.p. Serial Podcast. Web. 28 July 2017.

Associated Press. “‘Serial’ Podcast Subject Adnan Syed Seeks New Trial in Murder Case.”New York Post. New York Post, 08 June 2017. Web. 28 July 2017.Jay Wilds. N.p. The Intercept. Web. 28 July 2017.

Koenig, Sarah. “Season one: episode 12 What We Know”. Audio blog post. Serial.

McDonell-Parry, Amelia. “‘Serial’ Subject Adnan Syed: 4 Key Pieces of Evidence.” Rolling Stone. Rolling Stone, 01 July 2016. Web. 28 July 2017.

Prince, S.J. “Ronald Lee Moore: 5 Fast Facts You Need To Know.” Heavy.com. N.p., 18 Dec. 2014. Web. 28 July 2017.

Ronald Lee Moore. N.p. Heavy. Web. 28 July 2017.

 

 

My Personal Reflection on Serial Podcast

Welcome, fellow bloggers, to yet another special on Sungwoo’s Blog! I’ve covered my fair share of books- like The Glass Castle- but this is my first ever analysis of a podcast! A couple days ago, I tuned in to the first episode of Serial, a podcast created and narrated by Sarah Koenig. I truly enjoyed listening to this, because it involved kids around my age, making it easier to relate to. The dialogue and script itself was intriguing and Koenig delivered each word with great enthusiasm and inflection. She also included audio clips from others that were involved in the case, such as Jay, the police, and Adnan himself, which I thought was a great touch. Even without any visuals, like TV or movies, the podcast was still able to attract listeners, including me!

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Serial podcast

 

Personally, I never found mysteries and investigations very interesting, since it’s usually presented in some sort of cheesy TV show or movie. However, through a podcast, I think investigative journalism gains a lot more appeal! This is all simply due to the fact that a podcast is much more simple, easy to follow, and only have the words

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Sarah Koenig, creator and narrator of Serial

and dialogue to focus on. For instance, when comparing a movie to the original book, just being exposed to all the graphics and sound effects can overwhelm the audience, and the actual dialogue seems irrelevant. Books, on the other hand, let you “feel everything, know everything and LIVE everything” (The Guardian). I believe this is the same with a podcast. Since the audience only have the words to listen to, they can be more locked in on the actual content, rather than being distracted by fancy cinematic images.

I had no idea how popular this Serial podcast really was. In fact, this murder mystery case of Hae Min Lee was the first podcast to reach 5 million downloads, with a total of approximately 40 million downloads as of November 2014 (CNN). However, I personally believe that Lee’s family would feel more pain and sorrow due to the international

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Hae Min’s brother, left, and mother, right

success of this podcast. Serial brings up the cruel actions and gruesome detail regarding Lee’s death, as mentioned in the police interrogation scene with Jay. He brings up how “Hae’s lips are all blue, and she’s pretzeled up in the back of the trunk. And she’s dead” (Serial). This was difficult for me to listen to; I couldn’t even begin to imagine how Lee’s family felt when they heard this on the podcast. I believe that more people should be informed about this murder case, yes, but I also have to wonder what’s best for Lee’s grieving family. Truthfully, I don’t think they would want millions of listeners knowing about their beloved daughter’s terrible death.

Throughout the first episode of the podcast, I noticed a reoccurring theme of the human memory and how easily people forget about the tiniest

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Asia McClain, the alibi in Serial

details. This occurs as our brain pushes away old, most likely useless information in order to make room for new information to store in the brain (Independent Co., UK). What is the result of this? Complete and utter frustration, as mentioned several times in the podcast. Personally, I believe I have great memory; this usually justifies on a test or exam that I tend to ace… However, small details that occur on a normal day, I admit I would also have trouble remembering. This issue of easily forgetting concerns me to a slight degree, since everyone in the podcast seems to be forgetful of the day of Lee’s murder, except for Asia McClain. She seemed to remember a normal day at the library six weeks ago, providing details that were very important in Serial, which I find a little suspicious. However, she could just have an excellent memory, and by writing a letter to Adnan, this could help strengthen her memory of this specific day.

All in all, I found myself in love with this podcast. It’s my first and only podcast I’ve ever listened to so far- and this may have just opened me to a new world of media! I look forward to hopefully coming across more podcasts like Serial in the future.

Works Cited

Asia McClain. N.d. AsiaMcClain.com. Web. 21 July 2017.

Family of Hae Min Lee. N.d. Dailymail.co.uk. Web. 21 July 2017.

Koenig, Sarah. “Season one: episode 01 The Alibi”. Audio blog post. Serial.

Kumfor, Fiona, and Sicong Tu. “How Our Brains Forget Information to Make Room for New Memories.” The Independent. Independent Digital News and Media, 07 June 2015. Web. 21 July 2017.

Roberts, Amy. “The ‘Serial’ Podcast: By the Numbers.” CNN. Cable News Network, 23 Dec. 2014. Web. 21 July 2017.

Sarah Koenig. N.d. Barclay Agency. Web. 21 July 2017.

Serial podcast. N.d. Independent.co.uk. Web. 21 July 2017.

TheBookAddictedGirl. “Are Books Better than Films?” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 06 Nov. 2013. Web. 21 July 2017.

 

 

The Feminine Portrayal of Walls Women

Hello and welcome back to Sungwoo’s Blog! There is a little twist today- instead of a normal, boring blog post, I’m here with a one-of-a-kind video!

This is the first multimedia presentation that I’ve attempted, and I must say… it’s a work of art! This video is based on my interpretation of The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls through the feminist literary theory.

I’d love to see some comments and feedback. Do you believe that all three women mentioned in this video fought the same degree of sexism? Let me know what you think!

Sungwoo Chang

Works Cited

Arguing man and woman. N.d. DailyMail. Web. 20 July 2017.

Babysitter and child. N.d. Belmont Public Library. Web. 20 July 2017.

Brewer, Holly. “List of Gender Stereotypes.” HealthGuidance.org. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 July 2017.

Diamond ring. N.d. Best Animations. Web. 20 July 2017.

Feminist Literary Theory. N.d. Insanet. Web. 20 July 2017.

Garden scythe. N.d. Pinterest. Web. 20 July 2017.

Jeannette and Rose Mary Walls. N.d. MySpace. Web. 20 July 2017.

Jeannette Walls. N.d. Simon and Schuster. Web. 20 July 2017.

Jeannette Walls and bicycle. N.d. WordPress. Web. 20 July 2017.

Jeannette Walls and The Glass Castle. N.d. WordPress. Web. 20 July 2017.

Man and woman handshake. N.d. Freepik. Web. 20 July 2017.

Maureen Walls. N.d. HarperApps. Web. 20 July 2017.

Napikoski, Linda. “What Is Feminist Literary Criticism?” ThoughtCo. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 July 2017.

Rose Mary Walls. N.d. Emaze. Web. 20 July 2017.

Shmoop Editorial Team. “Feminist Theory.” Shmoop. Shmoop University, 11 Nov. 2008. Web. 21 July 2017.

Teardrop. N.d. ShareGif. Web. 20 July 2017.

The Walls siblings. N.d. Blogpost. Web. 20 July 2017.

Walls, Jeannette. The Glass Castle. New York: Scribner, 2005. Print.

“Welcome to the Purdue OWL.” Purdue OWL: Literary Theory and Schools of Criticism. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 July 2017.

 

 

 

 

Jeannette Walls: An Innocent Child Amidst the Poverty and Struggles

For the last week or so, I have been reading a very intriguing memoir called The Glass Castle written by Jeannette Walls. The story is told from Jeannette’s perspective, as she undergoes many troubles with her struggling family, mostly due to her poor, incompetent parents that are constantly moving from place to place, making the kids never feel at home. To learn more about the story, click here. I did not expect the book to be so thrilling; there are unexpected surprises that pop up here and there! I look forward to watching the movie when it comes out in theatres.

Being halfway through the book, it is clear to see that several archetypes are present in the characters of The Glass Castle. In my opinion, the literary archetype that is best represented in a character is The Child, constantly being shown by young Jeannette.

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The cover of The Glass Castle (Photo from Amazon)

I think it’s important that we are all on the same page as I begin this blog. First things first: what exactly is “The Child” archetype?

The Child, from a literary perspective, refers to a character of innocence that maintains purity and is always hopeful and optimistic, even in times of great catastrophe. Despite any evil or malice that can occur in their surrounding

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Jeannette Walls, author of The Glass Castle (Photo from Simon & Schuster Canada)

environment, the Child still manages to be carefree and uses the harsh experiences to grow up (Campbell, Candess M.). I like to think that in all of us, there is a child within that keeps us playful, innocent, and most importantly… immature!

As I started to delve into the plot more and more, I quickly realized how clear it was that Jeannette is portraying the archetype of the Child. Coming from a very poor family that is always moving from one cheap home to another, she should have lots to complain about. Her parents are always fighting, and have never had the money to feed the family well, to send her to school, or even to settle down in a nice city. Despite all this, Jeannette remains innocent and keeps optimistic throughout the memoir.

For example, Jeannette’s family suffers from severe poverty and struggles to have food on a daily basis. The lack of food and money in the house causes a massive fight between Rex, Jeannette’s father, and Rose Mary, her mother. With several death threats, physical abuse, and curse words, the fight comes to an end: “‘He tried to kill me,’ Mom sobbed. ‘Your father wants to watch me die.’ ‘I didn’t push her,’ Dad protested. ‘I swear to God I didn’t. She jumped.’ He was standing over Mom, holding out his hands, palms up, pleading his innocence. Lori stroked Mom’s hair and dried her tears. Brian leaned against the wall and shook his head. ‘Everything’s okay now,’ I said over and over again.” (Walls 72). Jeannette, even at the age of seven, is having to deal with family troubles at a serious level. However, she still finds the courage and energy to stay positive and loves the family that she was born to. I think only a true archetype of the Child can cope with such stress, as she simply says how “everything’s okay now”, as if none of the fighting had happened and she’s just glad that the family is back to as normal they can be again.

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From left to right: Brian, Jeannette, Maureen and Lori Walls (Photo from Blogspot)

I think the author did an excellent job with the word choice. By making the rest of the family seem depressed, miserable, and ready to give up on their struggling life, Jeannette’s optimism shines like a diamond. This makes the idea of Jeannette being the Child archetype very effective and convincing to the readers.

I personally think a reason as to why Jeannette is always so optimistic and not worrying about money that much is because she has never really had any experience with the rich. Everywhere she has lived with her family, they were always surrounded by other families that were just as poor, if not worse. This would give Jeannette the false idea that the life they are living is normal, and she is able to live her life brightly and carefree, representing the Child perfectly.

A second strong piece of evidence for Jeannette being the Child that I found happens on yet another low point in the Walls’ lives. Rex, determined to put an end to his drinking, decides that a family road trip to the Grand Canyon would help everyone’s cause. Unfortunately, upon trying to impress Jeannette by driving extremely fast, the car breaks down. Frustration hangs upon the family like a cloud, but has no effect on the Child Jeannette: “Lori gave me a disgusted look, as if she thought it was my fault that the car had broken down. ‘Why do you always encourage him?’ she asked. ‘Don’t worry,’ I said. ‘Dad will fix it.'” (Walls 119-120). Lori, being the oldest daughter, knows deep down that they will be stranded in the middle of nowhere with that broken-down car of theirs. However, the Child archetype in Jeannette does not fail to keep positive, as she has complete confidence in her father’s abilities to fix the car and get them underway again to the Grand Canyon. Jeannette does not bother herself with the fact that her family is too poor to afford a properly functioning car, or the fact that her siblings and parents are all on verge of losing it.

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Rex Walls with his daughter Jeannette (Photo from Rimedia)

I think the author does a very good job once again portraying the Child archetype, as she makes young Jeannette seem playful, hopeful and purely optimistic. Despite the catastrophes that seem to follow the family around, Jeannette always manages to be bright and unnerving. I believe with this spirit, her mood will never be dampened with any issues that seem to trouble the rest of the Walls very greatly.

I couldn’t help but notice the use of symbolism in the memoir to show the archetypal Child in Jeannette. In the book, the Walls family moves out to the Mojave Desert after a brief stay at San Francisco. Rose Mary, being an artist, is fascinated by a weird-shaped tree called the Joshua Tree and paints several variations of it. This tree grows in all sorts of shapes and different directions, making it seem ugly and unnatural, and is only found in the Mojave Desert (Desert USA).

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The Joshua Tree (Photo from Desert USA)

Despite this bent-out-of-shape structure, Rose Mary still finds immense beauty in its crookedness, much to Jeannette’s confusion: “Mom frowned at me. ‘You’d be destroying what makes it special,’ she said. ‘It’s the Joshua tree’s struggle that gives it its beauty.'” (Walls 38). I believe the Joshua tree symbolizes how withstanding struggles and fighting through the pain will result in beauty for others to be in awe of. Jeannette has been going through many problems with her family since a young child; however, she still manages success in the end, as she now has more money than she could’ve imagined as child and lives in Park Avenue in New York City (Walls 4-5). This tree is a perfect symbol for the Child as it must withstand struggles and harsh climates for its whole childhood, and yet it manages to grow up to provide beauty and show strength to others. I believe the author explained the tree in such detail, hoping that readers will catch on and realize the importance of this symbol in the novel. It is a clear representation of the Child archetype that I could not miss.

Jeannette Walls depicts the archetype of the Child perfectly through the actions and feelings of her childhood self. By withstanding personal struggles coming from the Walls family and keeping a positive mood at all times, she was able to grow up and achieve success in the future. The same can be said for the Joshua tree, which in my opinion is a clear symbol for the same archetype; despite growing in different directions and being bent out of shape, it still manages to be beautiful in the end.

Thanks guys, I hoped you enjoyed my second ever blog post! I’m sure there’s more to come…

Sungwoo Chang

Works Cited

Walls, Jeannette. The Glass Castle. New York. Scribner, 2006. Print.

Campbell, Candess M. “The Child Archetype.” Energy Medicine DNA. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 July 2017.

“The Glass Castle Summary.” GradeSaver: Getting You the Grade. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 July 2017.

DesertUSA.com. “Joshua Tree.” Joshua Tree – Yucca Brevifolia – DesertUSA. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 July 2017.

The Importance of English: In School, University and Life

The Importance of English: In School, University and Life

Three years of my life have been spent at high school, from September 2014 to June 2017. Over the years, I have come across many high school students, parents, and even teachers that contemplate the importance of English class in school and post-secondary education. English is the only class that is mandatory throughout all four years of high school, and grade 12 University English is a prerequisite for all university programs. There are many mixed feelings about English, as many will argue that it’s the most important course since we interact with it every day through communication; others will say that being graded in school based on your English abilities can prove to be unfair for foreign students who use English as their second language.

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My home away from home for the past three years, AB Lucas SS. (Wikipedia)

This idea of English being a requirement for entry into all university programs has sparked a question that awaits an answer: Should grade 12 level University English be a requirement for entry into all university programs? 

I believe that grade 12 University English should indeed be a requirement for entry into all university programs. Before you get all worked up and start an argument against me, allow me to explain my reasoning for the importance of English.

First of all, English class provides a wide variety of assignments and workloads to students, ranging anywhere from essays to group seminar presentations. This expands our understanding of the language and skills that come with it. From my personal experiences in English class from grade 9 to 11, I was able to determine my strengths and weaknesses when it came to English learning styles. For example, I found out that when it came to writing skills, such as essays, I was achieving very high marks. Throughout all three years of high school, writing essays was very simple and straightforward for me and I faced very little troubles.

Unfortunately, English isn’t just composed of writing; there are several components that make up the course. I quickly realized that I was struggling with oral presentations and public speaking skills. I had to present a group seminar on themes of a novel for my ISP in grade 10, which was one of the most difficult assignments I’ve had all year. Even though I had confidence in my writing, I knew my speaking skills were in need of improvement. The course teaches students a wide variety of learning skills that prepares them for different learning situations and gives them an understanding of what their strengths and weaknesses are, which is why English should definitely be a requirement.

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A college presentation involving literary skills of speaking. Photo from Knox College

Secondly, the skills we learn from English is used throughout our post-secondary education and in our daily lives. In university, despite the program, everyone will definitely be asked to present seminars and lectures for the class. This means that throughout the minimal four years we spend at university, we will always be using the basic literacy skills we were taught in high school: speaking, listening, writing and reading. According to the article Importance of English Language Skills to Students by Medhat Mohsen, a principal based in Egypt, “To speak is to listen and to write is to read.” (Mohsen, Medhat). To achieve and accomplish in university, students will have to rely on communication much more, so strengthening these literacy skills will help us succeed in post-secondary education. Being able to communicate properly in university allows others to realize exactly what you are thinking, and having good vocabulary and confidence in speaking will assure others of your professionalism.

Photo from The Importance of English Language Skills to Students by Medhat Mohsen

Once we graduate from university, I used to think that everything we learned will be forgotten about, never to be used in our daily adult lives. However, as we find jobs and start to work, all these literacy skills will come back into play and we’ll then begin to understand why English class in high school was mandatory throughout all four years. In Importance of English Courses for Everyday Life, an article written by Van Thompson, it clearly shows how students shouldn’t take English courses for granted as they will be in our lives long after we graduate.

In the article, Thompson talks about how many skills that we adapt from English can be applied in real-life scenarios when we graduate. This includes the likes of research skills.  Research essays done in English might be painful to do as a student, but it improves your ability to be able to look up the right things to find necessary information, which can serve you well in almost every career, including engineers, doctors, etc. Writing skills are also very useful even when university is over. The ability to organize thoughts in our head and produce them on a page concisely with detail takes skill and practice, all of which can be perfected during our times as students at school.

Having good vocabulary, grammar and literacy skills all contribute to success in the future. English class in school may not seem very important as a student, but once you look at the different learning skills that can develop, all of which serve later on in a daily basis for our own benefit, it really does seem mandatory and should be required for university entries. Being able to speak confidently, write powerfully, and listen carefully are all skills we pick up at school; it’s just a matter of time before we have to apply them in our lives.

Works Cited

A.B. Lucas Secondary School. N.p., n.d. Web. 5 July 2017. Retrieved from <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A.B._Lucas_Secondary_School>

Charity Hudley, Anne H. “We Do Language: English Language Variation in the Secondary English Classroom.” N.p., n.d. Web. 5 July 2017. Retrieved from <https://annecharityhudley.com/book-we-do-language-english-language-variation-in-the-secondary-english-classroom/>

“Horizons 2012 Showcases Student Research and Creative Work.” N.p., 18 May 2012. Web. 5 July 2017. Retrieved from <https://www.knox.edu/news/horizons-2012-showcases-student-research-and-creative-work>

Mohsen, Medhat. “Importance of English Language Skills to Students.” N.p., 1 Aug. 2015. Web. 5 July 2017. <https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/importance-english-language-skills-students-medhat-mohsen>

Neilson, Delvene. “Why Is Literacy Important?” 3P Learning. N.p., 24 Mar. 2017. Web. 05 July 2017. Retrieved from <http://www.3plearning.com/literacy-important/>

Thompson, Van. “Importance of English Courses for Everyday Life.” Synonym. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 July 2017. Retrieved from <http://classroom.synonym.com/importance-english-courses-everyday-life-1876.html>