A Sunrise on the Veld: Word Craft

The first word that stands out to me in the short story A Sunrise on the Veld, by Doris Lessing, is “eternity” because of how the boy is able to say that children wouldn’t understand the meaning of it, then goes on to not show any recognition of the actual meaning of the word when the animal died before him. Eternity means infinite; unending, and the boy can see no further purpose in living than to die at the end of it, rather than to look forward to eternal spiritual living afterwards.

Another term used by the author with symbolic meaning is triumph. In context, every morning the boy would wake before the alarm clock and press the knob down triumphantly. Triumph is to be successful in a great achievement, and so it seems strange for the boy to give waking up before the alarm clock, which would inevitably wake him up anyway, as a great success. It also raises the question of why he has the alarm clock if he just turns it off every morning without it ever fulfilling its purpose. Early in the story Lessing is able to cause thoughts about existentialism, even if it is just about an alarm clock.

Another word worth mentioning is “superfluity”. Lessing describes how the boy when he was in an open area suddenly lost control, when he had earlier made a point of being able to control himself, and later claims to be able to control anything he wants, when suddenly he was hit by this impulse of madness over being to late to hunt in his usual manner. He ran about carelessly, without seeing the risk to himself in the tangled grass he ran on. Superfluity means to have an excessive or unneccessarily large amount of something. In having a superfluity of youth, it means he was acting childish, or as context describes, “clean crazy”.

A fourth word that seemed unique in this story was the use of the word marbles. It was used as a figurative term for all the years of the boys life, which he could remember. They were described as shining and beautiful, this serves as foreshadowing for the harshness of reality he would later face. Marbles is a game in which you literally lose your marbles, and its interesting that he had gone mad earlier, which some people call losing one’s marbles. These “marbles” were compared to the slow moving water, the rich soil, and most importantly the air that “smelt like a challenge.” People challenge each other when playing marbles to get better, larger, or stronger marbles so that they can become the best and watch other people hopelessly attempt to beat their greatest marble. This connects with the boy’s drive for control over himself and all the world around in that he thinks he already has the best marble, but is soon to be shown the harsh reality that he is a pushover in comparison to the real world.

The final word of recognition is the word “eddying”. The boy was alone by a river and had been singing to himself and had just stayed still waiting for his echo, which pleased him, even though the sound was eddying, that is, a circular, unending motion, much like eternity, which he also didn’t understand. He couldn’t get enough of hearing his voice bounce back at him off of rocks all throughout the gorge, which dragged on until he suddenly was confused to hear a different voice. He was put on edge, as if not used to hearing the words of others, only his own. This is much like the Greek story of Narcissus, who would stand by still water all the time and just stare at his reflection, which he loved. Narcissus could only bask in his own beauty, which was his trap, as he stood and looked until he died. Narcissus had a view of himself which was only cut short by death, and the boy in the story has a trap he could fall into within listening to his echo forever.

A Sunrise on the Veld: Figures of Speech

In the short story A Sunrise on the Veld, author Doris Lessing uses several figures of speech, often as a way to convey morals to the reader. Upon reading the story, I found that the most in depth figures were the use of irony, paradox, and symbolism. As the story progresses, the boy shows hubris in believing he can control everything, both his own mind and body as well as the world around him, especially in saying “I contain the world.” This becomes ironic later on in the story when he is standing indecisive before the dying buck, he had earlier boasted that he could change or control everything, and now he didn’t do anything. Only after the buck had been killed had he been bothered by it, this was also after realizing that the animal’s broken leg was his fault. This creates a unique moment of reflection for him, he faintly remembered taking the blind shot, and now was disturbed by what he had failed to do, which is not something we don’t often acknowledge. The author uses these sequences as a way for people to know that they must not be full of themselves, as people will always have faults. With these errors comes an aftermath of either greater dissatisfaction with oneself and a longer period of regret or refusing to admit anything wrong at all. When you live with humility, failures can be corrected through repentance and a new course of action rather than just meditating on what was done wrong and not changing. Being truly sorry means righting your wrongs.

Doris Lessing creates a paradox in which it is left to interpret what is good and what is evil in terms of warmth and cold. In the beginning, the boy boasts about always being able to defeat without effort the weakness of staying in bed, which is to remain in luxury and warmth. He escapes this as soon as he can every morning. Later on however, he passes through the dark tunnel of foliage, which is both literally and figuratively a tunnel with light at the end. The “light” he is greeted by, is the faint silvery rain, which he hardly acknowledges at all other than seeing it as uncomfortable for him. This rain symbolizes when a priest uses an aspergillum to sprinkle holy water on the congregation of a church. How often do we see the deeper meaning rather than just seeing cold water being sprinkled on us? Clearly the boy just disregards the water and is unchanged, he only begins to shiver, which is to tense up and be less open, acting only with hostility towards the water and cold.

The author also uses a synecdoche when the boy “crept past the dangerous window” the window itself is not the danger, but this sequence shows that every day when he’s up early it is in secrecy. Near the end of the story, there is one more paradox, and it is constructed when the boy says, “Yes, yes. That is what living is.” as the buck is swarmed by ants. The boy says that living is a means to an end, but fails to acknowledge what the end is other than death. He had earlier said that a child would not understand what eternity meant, but now he doesn’t either. He can’t see that living is to achieve spiritual life after the body dies, but in his hubris, he claims to control everything and thus is blinded.

MyBlueprint Interests Survey

Upon finishing the Interests Survey, I was informed that my interest type is The Consultant (IE), IE stands for Investigative and Enterprising. The text says that “Always deep in thought, the Consultant also looks for ways to capitalize on their knowledge. They are natural problem solvers with very good interpersonal and communication skills.” I find that I fit this description as I work relatively well in areas of problem solving, I also try to expand my knowledge in the areas I may be lacking and I work to capitalize on my existing knowledge and comprehension. The two primary interest traits are Investigative and Enterprising. Investigative interest mostly involves working using one´s mind, such as through curiosity, reasoning, ideas, logic, or science. I prefer to use thought, reading, or writing when working rather than using “hands on” methods. Enterprising occupations usually require leadership and the willingness to take risks. While I don’t often take risks, I do take leadership roles when I can, though mostly on sports teams.

MyBlueprint Personality Survey

I took the Personality Survey on MyBlueprint and I found out that my personality type is INFP (The Healer). INFP is an acronym for introverted, intuiting , feeling, and perceiving. According to the overview, “INFPs are creative, artistic, idealistic, and spiritual. They believe everybody is uniquely individual. Always optimistic, they focus their energy on remaining positive and follow their hearts when making a decision. They are spontaneous, quirky, and independent and use their personal beliefs and values as a guide for their actions.” I find that I partially fit this personality type, I am not very artistic, whereas I do try to be optimistic and re-assuring, especially towards myself. I often find myself using my personal experiences, feelings, or religious background influencing my actions or the decisions I make, and I usually try to make decisions on my own. The summary also states that people of this personality type form strong attachments to the people, things, or places that they care about, and that they often lend support to other people. This applies to me quite well, the friends I do have are usually close friends, and I support them as well as other people when they need it. From what I’ve seen, INFPs are people who have supportive or leadership roles.

 

MyBlueprint Learning Styles Survey

After taking the Learning Styles survey, the result was that I am a Visual -Kinesthetics Learner. All three learning styles are very close, according to the survey, 34% of my responses were that of a visual learner, 34% that of a Kinesthetics learner, and 33% were that of an auditory learner, so very close to being equal in all areas. When working I mostly use methods that involve vision or speaking. For example when preparing for tests I mostly reread my notes, and say them to my self. When working I sometimes quietly narrate what I’m doing. I do pace sometimes when trying to remember things, I also play volleyball, basketball, badminton, and soccer, which I enjoy, so I can assume this is where I gain some Kinesthetics learning properties. When under stress, I often fidget, walk around, and sometimes talk to myself as well.

MyBlueprint Sidebar Menu

The top of the sidebar is labeled Home, when clicked it displays four options, Dashboard, Activities, Goals, and Portfolios. The Dashboard is the home page, where you start after logging in. It display activities (goals, course-planning, extracurricular activities, etc), suggested programs (Ex. different colleges and courses), suggested occupations (likely based on the courses you take), and recent articles (mainly about the website). Under the Activities section, there is a summary of completed activities, showing how much you have done, and how much can be done. The Goals section is very self explanatory, it’s for setting goals (financial, school related, work related, etc). The Portfolios section is for keeping track of your existing portfolios.

The next section down is labeled Who Am I, it includes surveys about learning styles, interests, personalities, knowledge, and motivations, they help you see yourself in the eyes of both yourself and others with the questions they ask.

The next two sections are High School and Post Secondary. High School is specifically for planning high school courses, while Post Secondary includes Apprenticeship, College & University, and Workplace. Apprenticeship is a page for planning occupations you wish to join, an how long you want to be enrolled for. College & University is a course planning page, which also includes location information (province, city, university information/requirements). Workplace displays different occupations and their estimated salaries.

After Post Secondary comes Work, where you can view careers and their estimated salaries or search for a job to view details on it. It also has pages where you can document your resumes or cover letters. Money is the next topic, where you are able to create and view your budgets, in order to save money for something. The final section, Guides and Articles, is a page that provides information about the programs on the website.
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On The Sidewalk Bleeding, by Ed McBain. Short Story Questions

1. Who is the Protagonist?

The name of the protagonist in this story is Andy. Andy is sixteen years old and is part of one of the largest gangs in the area, the Royals. He wears a purple jacket that has his name on the front, and The Royals written on the back to show his allegiance. His early pride of being a Royal is entirely hubris, as he is dying because he is a Royal. The events of the story revolve around him lying in the street, bleeding out because of a stab wound he took, not because he as Andy, but because he was a Royal. Nobody who finds him knows who he is, and when he is thinking to himself, he wants the whole world to know who he is, that he is alive, and that he exists. At this time he doesn’t yet realize that he is dying, that’s why he wants people to know he is alive. It wasn’t until his girlfriend, Laura, came that someone knew him as Andy, and could look beyond the purple jacket. When Andy did know that he was dying, he knew it was because of his affiliation with the royals, and so in and effort to be known as who he was instead of what he was, he took off his jacket with the last strength and determination he could muster; in his death it show Andy was a tragic hero, with no happy ending. Andy focussing on his love for Laura helped him greatly as it gave him hope and a reason for his perseverance.

2. What are the conflicts?

Man vs Man:

The Voice (the man who stabbed Andy)
Guardians and the history of the rivalry between Royals and Guardians
The drunk man who thought Andy was also drunk left him alone, thinking he was doing Andy a favour, as Andy would be underage.
Freddie and Angela wouldn’t help Andy because he was a Royal and they were afraid the Guardians would find out if they did. The people who found, but would not help Andy were bystanders, as they could have easily helped him but chose not to. Andy was bleeding through his ribs, symbolizing his Jesus-like sacrifice.

Man vs Nature:

The poor old woman was unable to hear Andy’s moans from the other end of the alley because of the sound of the rain, especially against the garbage cans.
Andy was the one person who needed help against the rain the most, and even the old woman who lived in poverty had an umbrella.
“The March rain drilling his jacket and drilling his body” shows the perceived hostility of the rain, and Andy’s further discomfort in the rain, when the rain before was washing him, symbolizing baptism and

Man vs Self:

Andy is in a constant struggle in trying to know who he is and to be Andy rather than being generalized as a Royal, this search for meaning presents Andy’s existential crisis. His crisis is his wonder, his not knowing, and his unfruitful search for meaning and of self.
Andy was unable to let the world know who he was and that he existed.
Andy did not want to die a royal, he wanted to be himself and to be known as Andy.

3.The conflict is developed through the use of names that apply to the boy: Andy and a Royal. How do the names appear in critical places. What do these names represent?

Andy’s name was written on the front of his jacket, near the heart, the author shows the importance of who someone is with this small detail. The person who stabbed Andy had said “That’s for you, Royal!” he didn’t stab him in hatred of Andy, but in hatred of The Royals. The title of a Royal is meaningless in Andy’s view near the end, and the pride he previously had about being a Royal was hubris. Andy’s struggle between being a Royal or being Andy represents our own search of self, we also look to find our own meaning and want to know who we are, and not just what we’re called. The police officer recorded Andy in his notepad as a Royal, showing that, despite Andy’s efforts, he was still only a nameless Royal in the eyes of others.

4. What effect does Andy’s Jacket have on the people who find him in the alley?

The drunk was unable to clearly see that Andy was bleeding, because the Jacket was covering his wound, the rain was washing the blood away, and because of the darkness. Freddie and Angela didn’t help Andy because he was a Royal, and they were afraid of The Guardians, who were a rival gang to The Royals. The police officer wrote that it was a Royal who had died, because of the jacket that was near Andy, if the jacket were not there, and Laura was there, the police officer would likely have written Andy’s name instead. Andy’s efforts to no longer be associated with The Royals were futile.

5. What are the reasons why these people do not help Andy?

The drunk man thought Andy was also drunk, so he left him alone, believing that he had just done him a favour as Andy was underage and he thought that no further help was required. Freddie and Angela didn’t help Andy, because of his alignment with The Royals. The old woman didn’t hear Andy from the other end of the alley over the sound of the rain. It’s ironic that the drunk threatened Andy with calling a cop, then would not even though one of the things Andy would have needed the most was a cop.

6. At what point does Andy realize he is dying?

After not receiving help from the young couple he began to wonder what it would mean if he died, and after the old woman left, he acknowledged the fact that he was dying. Before, he had refused to think about the idea that he might die, but after not receiving any help, he gradually lost hope.

7. What does Andy do with the last of his strength? how is this important to the theme and to the outcome of the conflict?

The theme of this short story is the importance of the meaning of self and who you are. Andy takes off his jacket with the last of his strength, he does this because all he could think about was that he wanted to be Andy, and not to be a Royal, which was now a meaningless title and was the reason he was dying. If Andy had successfully separated himself from his title as a Royal, the police officer would have listened to Laura, who knew him.

8. What is the climax or turning point? Create a plot diagram.

The turning point was Andy’s realization that he was dying, followed by him taking off his jacket.

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9. What is the police officer’s reaction to Andy? How does this contribute to the author’s message?

The police officer saw the purple jacket beside Andy’s body, and said “A Royal, huh?” Laura then quietly told him Andy’s name, but the police officer again said that Andy was a Royal and wrote in his notepad that a Royal had died, not that Andy had died. The message the Author conveys in this story is the importance of knowing one’s self, not being attached to meaningless things or titles, and seeing all dimensions of a person.

The Cornell Note Taking Method

I find that the Cornell method for note taking is a good way to keep better and more organized notes than the way I have taken notes in the past.

This is how my notes used to look before I used the Cornell method

Before
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My notes are much neater now that I use the Cornell method.
After