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Jennifer N.
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Writing
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Question:

Look at the characters in Gamma Rays. Each of the main characters is introduced with certain dreams, plans, and expectations. Remember, dreams can be either literal (dreams while one is sleeping) or figurative dreams (plans for the future). Over the course of the play, the main characters must come to terms with the difference between their dreams and the reality of the world around them. Discuss how the main characters navigate the journey from dreams to reality—what road do they follow, and how are they changed at the end of their journey? Are they successful? If not, will they ever be?

Jennifer N.
Answer:

Each main character in The Effect of Gamma Rays in Man-In-The-Moon Marigolds all have dreams which are possible to achieve; all that is necessary to do so is motivation. Having a strong desire to have something is not enough; one must work to achieve it. Whether Beatrice, Ruth, and Tillie ever actually see their goals depends not only on their desire, but on their will to make it happen. Beatrice, mother of Ruth and Tillie, has many dreams. Her main dream is of being accepted by everyone, especially her old high school classmates, who are now Tillie’s teachers (66). She will not go to the Science Fair because she has no clothes, and she’ll look like “ugly little” Tillie (66). Clearly, it is important other people see her as normal. However, Beatrice will never realize this dream. Her behavior when speaking with her old classmates is downright bizarre. In fact, she even calls the principal and tells him thanks for making her “wish she was dead” (94). Certainly, no one will think she is normal after a telephone call like that. Ruth, on the other hand, shows more motivation than Beatrice when it comes to achieving her dreams. Her dreams of having a pet are achieved when she blackmails Tillie into giving her Peter the Rabbit (79). She also dreams of avoiding the boarders, something which is harder to achieve. This cannot be accomplished until her mother stops making her care for them, which she does until the end of the play, when Beatrice forces Ruth to stay home from the Science Fair to care for Nanny (85). Although she has the motivation to make her dreams come true, she allows her mother’s negativity to hurt her progress. Like Ruth, Tillie also has the motivation to make some of her dreams come true, unlike her mother. Tillie dreams of winning science fair and of getting mother’s love. Her motivation and drive to succeed will allow her to win the Science Fair (101). Tillie has beaten Janice Vickery and brought home the prize. However, it is doubtful that she will ever be able to achieve her mother’s love, as the end of the play suggests. The last thing Beatrice says is, “I hate the world,” (107). Tillie’s final lines, instead of dwelling on her mother’s hatred, instead show hope for her future (109). Tillie has the motivation to make almost all of her dreams come true. Clearly, one may use the strength of a character's motivation to see if her dreams will come true. If one has strong motivation, nothing can stand in the way of a dream. Beatrice is a perfect example of how having a dream without actually acting to achieve it will cause only unhappiness. Ruth and Tillie, however, have the motivation to make at least some of their dreams come true.

Literature
TutorMe
Question:

What, in your opinion, is the most important message (or lesson) of Of Mice and Men? Why? Explain your answer fully.

Jennifer N.
Answer:

John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men offers the reader many lessons. However, the most important of the novel’s lessons is the necessity of caring for the weak, a lesson that is illustrated by Lennie, Candy, and George. Lennie illustrates the importance of caring for the weak by the love and tenderness he shows little animals. Other characters in the novel such as Carlson and Slim show disregard for small animals. After one dog has puppies, Slim “drowned four of ‘em right off” (Steinbeck 42), because he knew she would be unable to feed them all. Slim could have found another home for the puppies, but instead chose to end their lives. Similarly, Carlson shows little regard for Candy’s dog when he kills him. Even though one could say Carlson was showing mercy to an old dog, killing an animal simply for being old is not compassionate care, it is taking the easy way out. Lennie, on the other hand, cares for all animals. True, his inability to control his strength ends up killing the animals, but his intentions are good. He does not look down on creatures that are smaller or weaker than he is. For this reason, Lennie is a clear illustration of the importance of caring for the weak. Next, Candy illustrates the importance of caring for the weak by the love he shows his dog. Candy’s dog is old, and everyone complains that it stinks. However, Candy shows love and compassion for this animal by continuing to care for it long after others would have gotten rid of it. While it is true that Carlson puts the dog down “painlessly,” he was not doing what was best for the dog. Just because a person or an animal has reached old age does not mean they do not deserve kindness. Candy’s kind and tender treatment of a “useless” animal shows that he has a loving, compassionate heart. Like Lennie, Candy illustrates how important it is to care for the weak. Finally, George illustrates the importance of caring for the weak by continually looking after Lennie. Lennie is mentally handicapped and gets himself (and also George) into a lot of trouble. Because of Lennie, George had to leave a steady job in Weed. Lennie continually puts George in danger, but George refuses to leave him and instead looks after him. It is true that George does kill Lennie at the end of the novel, but he does so in order to care for him. If Curley had gotten to Lennie first, Lennie would not have received the compassionate care that George gave to him. George allowed Lennie to die happily, thinking of the farm and the rabbits he loved. George is the best example of Steinbeck’s insistence on caring for the weak. Through the characters of Lennie, Candy, and George, Steinbeck shows the reader how important it is to care for the weak. While caring for the weak may not be the easiest path to take, it is the right one.

English
TutorMe
Question:

One theme of William Golding's novel _The Lord of the Flies_ is the individual’s effect on society. In a well-developed essay, show how you understand that theme in light of your reading of the novel.

Jennifer N.
Answer:

In William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, a major theme is the individual’s effect on society. This theme is illustrated by several characters, especially Piggy, Ralph, and Jack. Piggy is one character whose actions affect the group as a whole. Piggy positively affects the others because he is very smart. He knew to use the conch to call a meeting, and the boys were able to build a fire using Piggy’s glasses. However, he negatively affects the boys because Piggy is a bit pessimistic, so the boys do not remain hopeful when Piggy is around, and their loss of hope leads to fighting and conflict. Ralph is another character whose actions affect the group. He positively affects the group because Ralph wants order and causes the shelters to be built. He negatively affects the group when the hunters allow the fire to go out. Because he allowed Jack and his hunters to have responsibility of keeping the fire going, Ralph is also to blame. Jack is the last character whose actions greatly affect the group. He has positively affected the group by killing a pig and providing food for the boys. Unfortunately, his obsession with hunting distracts him from the fire, allowing it to go out. This action has a negative effect because by allowing the fire to go out, the boys lose a chance at being rescued. In conclusion, each of the main characters both positively and negatively affects the group as a whole. Thus one may see the theme of the individual affecting society in Lord of the Flies.

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