Thursday, January 17, 2008

Top Ten List

1) Andrew Lee: Andrew was Platoon 3086's top graduate. Even though this list isn't in sequential order, he is my number one. His characteristics throughout the book are exemplirary. He demonstrates courage, leadership, and commitment. I admire his leadership the most because he inspires the less apt recruits to do better. So focus on how Lee develops and how important he is to this book.
2) Sgt. Carey: Sergerant Carey is one of those people that you fear, but look up to all at the same time. He does better that all the recruits in the final phyitness test, at the age of 35, and was in Force Recon (the equivalent of Special Forces for the Marines). He is an idol to the recruits and many even after they graduate strive to be like him.
3) Parris Island: Parris Island is the perfect setting for this book. The atomsphere of it is what makes the training experience such a fun part to read. The dense forests that cover the north eastern shore to the dismal swamps that spread out across the open field in the middle. It has a huge effect on the recruits as they enter their first week of training. It really forces them into the new attitude of a Marine right away.
4) The First Transformation: This meant a lot to me. The first 'awakening' is the biggest change for the recruits. The Marines actually design it to be that way. They want it to be a realization for the recruits so they can drop their civilian lives and develop new views on everything. Including the way they address themselves. Instead of saying 'I' they had to say, 'this recruit.'
5) Buijis: He is the definition of an 'underdog.' When he started training, he was falling below the standards and was having trouble, but that changed when he had a self-realization. During week eight or 'warrior week', he stepped up and knocked out three straight opponents in the pugil stick fight. When you read, focus on him and how the Marine view on things made him into a new person.
6) Night Training: This event also occured during warrior week. It was the first 'true test' according to the drills instructors. The recruits were divided into squads and sent out on patrols in the pitch black of night with no rules of engagement except to eliminate anyone you see. Armed with 'paintballs on steroids', each squad was left on their own, really testing their wit and combat sense.
7) Graduation: This was a great sense of accomplishment for all who graduated. The now Marines are allowed to see their family and friends for the first time in eleven weeks and realized what they had just gone through and what they had done. It is a moment that they will always remember, and I use it as motivation for other things too.
8) Epilogue: The epoilogue is also very powerful. It describes what each member does in the Marines and what they continue to do afterward. Some don't make it in the Marines, some do, and some are deployed to Iraq and Iran (like Andrew Lee). It makes you realize why each person voluteers, not for the self improvement, but the commitment to country.
9) Commitment: It is a reoccuring motif throughout the book. Each and every member demonstrates commitment every second they are on Parris Island. The meaning strikes home to me at least and pushes me farther, similar to how it motivates the actual recruits in boot camp.
10) Quote: "Marines you are, and Marines you always will be" (216). I think this quote should be on the cover of the book for sure. I talked about it in one of my previoius blogs, how it has that movie-motivation quality to it. Catchy and true, it inspires the recruits and others who read it, including me. That's why I'm telling others to think about its significance as they come across it.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Outside Reading Q2 Week 7

Part A:
-Even though boot camp transformed many citizens into Marines, not all graduates succeeded in the military.
"They know they have changed, but they don't realize how much" (228). This quote was said by Staff Sergeant Rowland. He is basically saying that, like the past has shown, many new Marines won't know what to do now that they have graduated. This does become true, as many do fall back to civilian habits such as drinking, smoking, and so on.

Part B:

I'd like to relate this portion of my book to the real world.

I have seen this happen in the real world too, where soldiers get home from duty or get out of training, and fall right back into the pit of society. I just want to ask why? After spending eleven weeks on a deserted island with drill instructors yelling in your face and excercising every moment, how can you go back to old habits?! I don't understand that. There are many storys that have floated about all with the relativly the same topic. A soldier gets back from Iraq and goes to a party and gets drunk. But he doesn't act like a quiet drunk, he starts causing trouble and ends up killing someone, or gets killed. It happened here in Minnesota earlier in the fall I believe. Maybe those trainees are just weak, because that is only a small amount, but still. There has to be some way that it can be stopped. In the book, about 8 recruits who had graduated quit the Marines due to similar incodences or other issues which isn't a staggering number, but many others did return to previous habits. Yet, many stories have been successes in reality and in the book. I have witnessed it first person too. Every year we go down to Arizona and we know a family down there who has a 20 year old named Josh. He used to be very unruley, wild, and was struggling in school. That is, until he joined the Army and became a Ranger. I had a chance to meet him again last year and he was a totally differnet person! He was respectful, disciplined, polite, and very calm it seemed. Everyone around him could tell that it had made him mature and grow stronger mentally and physically. So... I guess the training isn't the reason behind those mishaps, just the stupid soldiers.

Outside Reading Q2 Week 6

Part A:
-meritorious (216): gained by merit or accomplished through hard work.
-lectern (215): a stand with a slanted top, used to hold a book, speech, manuscript, etc., at the proper height for a reader or speaker.
"'I am privileged to be the first to fornally address you asUnited States Marines,' the colonel says. 'Marines you are, and Marines you will always be'" (215-216). I like this quote because it symbolizes something you would hear in a movie. It really stimulates my insides because it brings the feeling of accomplishment to the forfront of my mind. That honor and achievment are more important on this day than ever before.

Part B:

For this part, I'm choosing to relate the book to every other Hollywood soldiery movie.

I believe that this book could be made into a great movie. It has all the charcateristics of one: like a strong protagonist (Andrew Lee), a great motivator who relates to the troops (Sgt. Carey) and the atomsphere of Parris Island itself is enough to make the movie great. It would be similar to The Guardian starring Kevin Costner and Ashton Kutcher in the sense that it would mainly focus on the training of Platoon 3086 in its entirety. And it would also move beyond that and show how the recruits handled the battlefield as well, also like The Guardian. It would also replicate other war movies such as We Were Soldiers and Full Metal Jacket, where the focus is on the cohesiveness of the group, and that in turn, determines their success. It would also have the power to "give young men chills" and fill the viewers' hearts with the desire to be more than the ordinary, to strive to be honored and decorated, for the chance to make something more of their lives and fight for our country. Personally, I love movies that make you do that to. It seems like it connects me to the plot, and I really become engulfed in the story because I want to be in it.

In conclusion, if a movie were made about my book, it should incorporate the realness of boot camp, the bonding between soldiers, and inspire America to become something better. If this could be achieved, I believe this movie could succeed and become a classic like the others.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Outside Reading Q2 Week 5

Part A:
Figurative Language:
-"...greets the platoon with applause as it steams into view" (210). Example of personification because it makes the platoon take on qualities that it doesn't accomplish in reality.
-"...drops his emblem on the red-painted cement of the barracks floor" (209). Example of imagery because the author uses good description to paint a picture in your head.
-" a suburban mall parking lot" (208). An example of a simile because the parade ground is compared to a shopping parking lot, by using the word like.

Part B:
In this portion of the book, the recruits are one week away from graduating as Marines. They can sense their achievement, and can also sense a change in themselves. I'm relating this to the movie the Lion King.

In the Lion King, Simba is cast out of the Pride Lands and wanders into a far away oasis. There he meets Timon and Pumbaa, who will change Simba's attitude on life. Simba was exiled because he was falsely accused of his father's death. His Uncle Scar was the real criminal who planned to kill Mufasa just to become King. In the oasis, Simba adopts a new life style of "Hakuna Matata" aka no worries. But once his childhood friend Nala finds him, his outlook on his life changes completely. Now he knows that he has changed and grown up, and knows that he must return to Pride Rock and reclaim his rule over the Pride Lands. I don't want to ruin the plot (even though everyone has seen it...) so I'll stop there.

I found this to be a clever connection between the two forms of media. Recognition of success and change is an important tool, as seen in the Lion King and my book.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Outside Reading Q2 Week 4

Part A:
-"blanket party": when a recruit who has been falling behind in training is wrapped in a blanket and beaten with soap bars that have been stuffed inside socks by his fellow comrades. (168)
-"A Line" firing: advanced rifle training which includes shooting at moving targets, firing with a gas mask on, firing in low light conditions, and fire M60 machine guns.
-"During those days I realized what it felt like to not be part of the platoon. So I thought about being like everybody else. I wasn't fighting it anymore. I wasn't scared anymore. I all of a sudden got the drive I needed, that some guys had the whole time" (170). This quote stood out to me because of its character. Here is a recruit that hasn't really been fitting in or doing well in any of the exercises, but he doesn't lack spirit. He has an encounter with himself and decides to bust his ass for the rest of boot camp and actually ends up graduating in the top 10 of his class.

Part B:
For this part, I am choosing to relate this to my life. I want to actually relate to the quote and its meaning that I listed above. The amount of commitment that Recruit Buijis has and that is exemplified through that quote is incredible and that's why I want to relate it to my life.

I believe that this amount of dedication and perseverance can be helpful to me right now as I am going through ski tryouts. I am a great skier, but I have never raced in my life so this experience is something totally new to me. Originally going into tryouts I thought that it would be a piece of cake and it was until our first day skiing a race course. Number one, I don't have the proper equipment yet to ski the course efficiently, but I;m not going to use this as an excuse. Mainly, I am just not familiar with racing technique. The first run down the course was a disaster. I couldn't complete it without going out of the course and this occurred repeatedly for many more times. I became very frustrated with myself and was beginning to doubt my ability to make the team. I just thought that racing wasn't for me and I should give up. I came across this portion of my book the night I got home and had a realization. By Buijis's example, I decided to keep trying and improving, and it worked! I went to ski practice the next day and tried as hard as I could on every drill and that night he announced who had made the team and I did! I am going to continue hustling and working hard, but I credit my success to Recruit Buijis and his
perfect example of commitment and courage. Thanks Buijis.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Debate Paper

Affirmative Speech

For years, homosexuals have been trying to gain the legal right of marriage. But their efforts have been near useless because of the local, state, and federal authorities. The authorities on all levels simply ignore the complaints of gays, hoping they’ll be pushed aside and forgotten. But, in the past three decades, gays have been thrusting forward toward their right to marry. So therefore, I believe that Minnesota should establish laws that allow gays to marry and laws that ensure equality for all.

Contention I. Sheer Numbers
Gay marriage cannot be ignored. The numbers of gays and gay activists will continue to grow until Minnesota has no choice but to allow the legal marriage between same sexes. According to a recent survey done by the Washington Times, about 57.6 million U.S. citizens are affected by or related to a gay family member. Now those numbers are only going to grow. Just because the state doesn’t allow gay marriage, that doesn’t mean there are no gays. Gayness will continue to spread, just like it is inside many high schools. Time magazine stated in one of their articles that the average gay now comes out of the closet at around graduation year of high school! Now look, homophobia has spread down to the high school level! At this rate, there will be so many gays that no state will be able to ignore their cries for freedom.

Contention II. Betterment of Society
Back to our previous contention, think of those 57.6 million people affected by homophobia. Imagine that they were able to live their life without persecution or live together as a happy gay couple. Those 57.6 million people would benefit our state economy in such a way that we would have wished that we legalized gay marriage a long time ago. The Washington Times states, “It [the legalization of gay marriage] will reduce the number of divorces caused by fraudulent marriages, ensure that more orphaned children grow up in stable and loving homes, raise the standard of living for children with gay parents, make neighborhoods safer for families and boost the economies of struggling communities.”

Outside Reading Q2 Week 3

Part A:
-" It was good for Prish, because it helped him realize the team concept- that he may be a little weaker, but he has the Marines behind him." I liked this quote because it symbolizes the bond that the soldiers are beginning to make with each other. They are forgetting their differences, like above, and backing each other. It's a good step forward for Platoon 3086. They are only three weeks away from graduation too.
- Team work has been an emerging theme in this section, as seen through the quote above.

Part B:
Dear Andrew Lee (Platoon 3086's top graduate),

Over the years, I've heard of a lot of men like you. Strong, courageous, kind, smart; a perfect soldier. But why is it that I seem to relate to you more? I think it is because I relate to you personally in "Making the Corps."

I'll start from the beginning. Your strength of character is shown right in the start of boot camp, right in the midst of chaos. After about 2 weeks of intense physical exercising and drills, the platoon nominates you as their leader. This must have felt great because it has happened to me too. I love the feeling of representing someone else because you know that you have more responsibility now and you need to pull through for the others you represent. Anyway, over the next couple of weeks, everyone gets acclimated with Parris Island. But then, you come across an angry and most likely drunk drill instructor in the halls. He asked you an absurd order, something like "Give me your qualification papers for Platoon 3086 son." But you knew something was different, so you took a stand and said no. I probably would have done the same thing. So what does the drill instructor do... he takes down a flag from the wall and bashes you across the leg, drawing blood. Why did you never report the incident? That was an act of misconduct for sure! So, over Warrior Week is when I really fall in love with the whole idea of "Making the Corps." It seems like it would be a hard road, but at least that week I would have fun. Night drills and fake night missions would bring me back to my middle school days of ding-dong ditching or night games.

In conclusion, I'm very proud of what you did during boot camp Andrew Lee. You led your platoon faithfully so far and I hope you continue to do so for the rest of Parris Island and into the real world.


Tom Wooldridge