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.