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journey of a ten through talons


Novel Response #1

When Franz leaves, demanding his payment by the next day, Emil sinks into a deep depression, showing little bravery or conviction, and even considering suicide: “I thought of running away and never coming back, or of drowning myself.” (11) The complexity of his thoughts is of a remarkable depth, considering his young age and relatively uneventful upbringing. He simply desires to return to the “good, happy, [and] carefree” childhood he led before this shattering experience (14). However, he realizes with dismay that even if all returns to normal, his path will “lead farther and farther downhill into darkness” (13), the repercussions of his actions are irreversible, and the life he wants so badly will be lost forever. Although it seems as though Franz and his orders represent the main source of conflict for the protagonist, the amount of self-reflection that Emil undergoes allows us to understand that the struggles he is dealing with are internal. This leads him to not seek advice from his beloved parents. The author’s thoughtful writing allows us to explore Emil’s frightened mind as we see him believe that he “stands at the parting of the ways” between good and evil (13). Because his reflections are so thorough and detailed, we can clearly depict Emil as a lost pre-teen, desperate for help but unable to even come to terms with his own actions. Our understanding of him is particularly enhanced when he describes the objects in his living room, and realizes that they are “breaking away” from him (14), along with the world he knew. A focal part of the Social Responsibility Competency Overview is the ability to solve problems and to “identify when to ask for help”, but Emil’s refusal to seek advice from his parents does not make him a character to emulate in this situation. Having been in similar predicaments as Emil, I have always chosen to confess to a person of greater wisdom, and would try make the same decision again if I were him.


My Worst Nightmare

We all heard it first. The noise, of hard plastic smashing into the hallway floor, had a certain finality to it, as if a judge was banging a gavel and sentencing us all to cold-blooded death. It closed in from the walls of our now-freezing classroom, emanating a widespread feeling of uneasiness throughout our class, yet no one dared move even an single inch in their seat. Instead, we all stared nervously at the doorway, as he walked into the room. No, not walked – for no human walked like that. Each movement and twitch of his suit-clad body was in perfect synchronization, a robot whose every movement was intricately programmed. We all stared, transfixed, as he strode straight to the board, and with perfect penmanship, etched his name. Mr. Gray. Perfectly suited for him, of course, as we eyed his immaculately combed hair, sharp rectangular glasses, pristine suit, and, of course, the pair of black Louboutin’s that had inflicted so much fear in our souls. And even though there were an infinite amount of judgments, and jokes to be said about this inhuman creature, it became immediately clear through our panicked facial expressions that we were all thinking of the exact same sentence: