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Commonplace Book- Sam Straw

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BC: The End

FC: Commonplace Book By: Sam Straw

1: On American Dream On Taking Risks On Vengeance On Fear On the "Rags to Riches" idea On Cycles of Nature On Sorrow On the Cycle of Life On History On Thought On Arrogance On Volunteering On Self-Reliance | 2-3 4-5 6-7 8-9 10-11 12-13 14-15 16-17 18-19 20-21 22-23 24-25 26-27 | Table of Contents

2: On the American Dream We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. ~ Thomas Jefferson, Declaration of Independence

3: The American Dream is different for everybody which leaves it open for many interpretations. Personally, I believe the idea is centered around equal opportunity and certain rights all humans have. Thomas Jefferson wrote this famous statement in the American Declaration of Independence. His idea of what became associated with the American Dream was unique for its time when monarchy's ruled the known world. Jefferson brought about these idea's that our nation still uses and celebrates today.

4: On Taking Risks It was granted the dangers were great, but not desperate; the difficulties were many, but not invincible. ~ William Bradford, Of Plymouth Plantation

5: Humans constantly take risks every day that impact their life in some sort. Some may have large scale changes like buying a new home while other times it can be as simple as jumping into a pool. William Bradford and his following Pilgrims took a major risk in leaving everything they ever knew in England by traveling to the America's. Thinking in perspective, the Pilgrim's significant risk impacted millions of people and the founding of the United States of America. No matter what purpose they used in contemplating their decision, I respect the "leap of faith" in colonizing Northern America, relinquishing the "old world" as they knew it.

6: On Vengeance the little crazy children are jangling the keys of the kingdom, and common vengeance writes the law! ~ Arthur Miller, The Crucible

7: The dark character trait, vengeance, has been seen throughout the history of human existence for one reason or the other. During the famous Salem Witchcraft trials, as depicted by Arthur Miller's, The Crucible, the hysteria paved way for wrongful accusations on innocent towns people. Whoever dared to question the the girls antics immediately became a suspect in the public eye. The court's basic laws on witchcraft allowed wiggle room for influence of vengeance by such character's as Abigail, one of the girls. All she had to do is cry witch and no one would question her word but the man or woman accused.

8: On Fear Fear doesn't travel well; just as it can warp judgment, its absence can diminish memory's truth ~ Arthur Miller, "Why I Wrote The Crucible"

9: Included into the majority of pathos arguments, fear is used to emotionally pursuade the individual. The technique means to create a feeling of uncertainty about a situation whether or not there is an existing issue. However, when a false statement of distress is believed, the truth is altered and can lead to distorted opinions. This is commonly used in America's media when a major event takes place such as the "Red Scare" during the Cold War that Arthur Miller tries to explain. It is always important to second guess statements using these fear tactics because history shows that blindly obeying without questioning leads to the dumbing down of a population.

10: On the "Rags to Riches" Idea I was very hungry; and my whole stock of cash consisted of a Dutch dollar, and about a shilling in copper ~ Benjamin Franklin, The Autobiography

11: America prides itself with the idea that any citizen can achieve economic greatness in our capitalistic society. Ben Franklin was one of this countries first "rags to riches" story. He transformed into a Founding Father from a poor traveler arriving at a Philadelphia port in the The Autobiography. Franklin however, won't be the last, as America produced many similar stories through the years. With the right attitude and determination, sure it's possible in the "land of opportunity."

12: On Cycles of Nature | The day returns, but nevermore Returns the traveler to the shore, And the tide rises, the tide falls. ~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, "The Tide Rises, the Tide Falls"

13: In reaction to the Age of Reason, the era of American Romanticism began influencing writing pieces. The period deals with the relationship between the cycles of nature and the human cycle. Longfellow's "The Tide Rises, the Tide Falls" points out that people come and go while the tides, or nature, remain constant flow as time progresses. When the traveler dies out, the tides continue, gradually eroding the footprints left by the person and the evidence of his presence on the shore. Longfellow is showing the insignificance of human life when compared to nature's infinite cycles.

14: On Sorrow That, sun-defying, in its deep ravines Displays a cross of snow upon its side. Such is the cross I wear upon my breast ~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, "The Cross of Snow"

15: When the poem was written, Longfellow's wife had just past away in an unfortunate accident. His sorrow influenced his writing when he wrote "The Cross of Snow" in memory of his deceased loved one. Longfellow personifies the purity and innocence of his wife like many people do when a loved one dies. His sorrow for her shows the frustration of not seeing her ever again like he was stuck in a deep ravine with no way out. Situations that inflict sorrow on an individual involve a difficult struggle to regain a healthy, focused mental state of mind.

16: On the Cycle of Life When thoughts Of the last bitter hour come like a blight Over thy spirit ~ William Cullen Bryant, "Thanatopsis"

17: The Cycle of Life, the main them in Bryant's "Thanatopsis," shows how humans deal with the knowledge that their days will eventually come to an end. The quote relates to this idea as the mood changes to a grim atmosphere and dark thoughts. As people progress to their later years they begin thinking of death more heavily. In contrast to their earlier years when their main thoughts are of happiness and enjoying one's life. The human Cycle of Life is complicated and filled with many questions of when their life will end.

18: On History the one who does not remember history is bound to live through it again ~ George Santayana, inscribed on a plaque at the Auschwitz concentration camp

19: The Spanish-American philosopher, Santayana, is most remembered for this aphorism who wrote in honor of the victims at the Auschwitz concentration camp. History is used to educate humans past mistakes and achievements to learn rather than forget. In my opinion, ignorance is the key ingredient for the exploitation of innocent people. This is why history is taught because in our democratic system, well-informed citizens are what drives this nation. America's freedom is in direct correlation with our great knowledge of history.

20: On Thought All that we are is the result of what we have thought. If a man speaks or acts with an evil thought, pain follows him. If a man speaks or acts with a pure thought, happiness follows him, like a shadow that never leaves him. ~ Buddha

21: Buddha's many ideas that translated into Buddhism were centered around improving ones self. His quote shows how simply thinking positive can can change the outcome of a situation greatly. I find this to an extent to be true in my own life. When I carry my thoughts with a clear mind and good intentions, my day goes by with positive outcomes rather than a day when I have clouded, evil thoughts. When applied to troubled individuals, I believe Buddha's wisdom on the human mind can immensely change their life.

22: On Arrogance A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool. ~ William Shakespear

23: Humans have a long history of arrogance and foolishness. Many arrogant individuals are fools primarily because of their lack of knowledge and understanding. However, wise characters realize the truth in their actions and the foolish mistakes committed. This modesty allows wise men to constantly seek more knowledge rather than be contempt with the information already known. Arrogance can separate people's intellectual capability between the wise and the fools among the human race.

24: On Volunteering Ask not what your your country can do for you, ask what can you do for your country. ~ John F. Kennedy, Inaugural Address

25: In January, 1961, America's new president, John F. Kennedy, gives his Inaugural Address to a nation that has become somewhat disillusioned with the nations government. Kennedy stressed the responsibility of every citizen in America to serve his/her country. This idea lead to the founding of the Peace Corp later in his administration. The organization accepted youthful citizens who traveled to impoverished foreign countries to aid the mistreated people. Kennedy's speach inspired countless Americans to make the world a better place.

26: On Self-Reliance God helps those who help themselves. ~ Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard's Almanac

27: Ben Franklin is the focal point in the Age of Reason in American literature. This quote exemplifies his strong belief that self-reliance is the only way to achieve goals in life. Rather than rely on God, performing acts to better oneself is the key priority in life. This idea of self-reliance is in direct reaction to early Puritanical beliefs that everyone is selected by God to shape a man or woman's life. Ben Franklin and other writers of that time gave today's society the important lesson of self-reliance that many Americans practice today.

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  • Title: Commonplace Book- Sam Straw
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