In Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, the limitations presented by the reservation’s confines is the most significant external conflict Junior faces because Junior’s potential is held back by the lack of opportunities and options at the reservation. Junior lives on an impoverished reservation with a shortage of jobs and business that can provide stable incomes. At the casino, one of the only places in the reservation to get a job, they struggle to pay their employees as “a money-losing business” (119). For Junior, his family is financially insecure due to the lack of work around the reservation,“constantly scraping together enough money to pay for gas, to get [him] lunch money, to buy [him] a new pair of jeans and a few new shirts” (119). Without a proper source of income, Junior and his family are stuck in an endless cycle of poverty that affects them both economically and mentally. On the reservation,Junior also suffers from a lack of community for support. No one on the reservation has any hope left for Junior and the future of indigenous peoples. Junior’s teacher, Mr. P, tells him “all [the] kids [here] have given up. […] And their mothers and fathers have given up, too” (42). Junior has virtually no support network to rely on within the reservation, meaning he struggles through life in solitude. Growing up in this environment, Junior doesn’t have enough people he can confide in and trust, breaking him apart socially and emotionally. As well,because of the reservation’s difficulties with money, Junior goes to a school where he cannot receive the quality of education he deserves. The deficit of funding for the reservation’s school is indicated by the fact that the students“have to study from the same books [their] parents studied from” (31). While Junior wants to pursue education to gain the knowledge and skills he will require to become successful, he is forced to do so using lacklustre resources and within a broken education system. Overall, Junior cannot reach his dreams and aspirations unless he escapes the borders of the reservation that imprison him.
I strongly agree that losing friends to make a positive change for yourself is absolutely worth it. Being happy and feeling positive is tremendously more valuable than forcing yourself to stick with lifelong mates and please others. Your emotions and mental health come first; while you are permanent, friends are usually only temporary. Building from my previous point, the ability to make new friends in the future is always available. Oftentimes, making that positive change will ultimately set you off on a journey to find new buddies. When I left behind some of my closest, dearest friends from middle school to endeavour a new adventure in TALONS, I ended up meeting a lot of great new people that I wouldn’t have otherwise. I have no regrets joining TALONS: while I’ve slowly lost touch with friends I used to know, the new people I’ve met over my journey so far have replaced that social gap in my life. In the grand scheme of things, although losing friends may feel like a tragic loss, making that positive change for yourself will prove itself the right decision in the long run.
How can we apply John Maxwell’s ideas and concepts to our leadership projects, cultural events, trip planning, and group assignments in TALONS?
The Law of Significance
Understanding that one person is too small a number to achieve greatness is fundamental to being successful in leading leadership events and projects. Although we sometimes underestimate the abilities of others and only trust ourselves to complete the task, in order to be a successful leader we need to find the potential in others and equip them. When everyone is focused on a task, the group is more productive as a whole, and thus can reach greater heights than before.
For example, when leading a cultural event, we assign tasks and jobs to each individual member of the team to make sure that everyone is constantly involved in the group. As the needs of the project change, people who understand how to do the task can teach others.
Exhibit a Positive Attitude
A positive attitude defines how others perceive you. When people see that you’re happy, they become happy too; no one wants to work with a negative pessimist. In our Grade 9 Retreat planning, I personally thought that one of the members of our group had a really bad attitude towards the trip. They forced me to not be excited for the trip, reducing everyone’s morale. Without the motivation and positive attitude for the trip, we found it difficult to work and be productive.
In planning leadership projects, oftentimes your team will be met with excessive demands on time and energy; for example, when I was working on the Layout Committee for the Night of the Notables, we needed to map out the bottom level of the school and organize learning centre locations under a tight deadline. I tried to maintain a positive attitude and was enthusiastic about the task at hand, but I could definitely get better at outright showing that positivity to others instead of hiding those thoughts in my mind.
Love and Accept Yourself
Before trying to understand others and build relationships with the members of your group, you need to be able to be able understand who you are yourself. Accepting your abilities is important to understanding what role you play as a member in a team and how you personally can be successful. For example, in my Night of the Notables committee, I understood my abilities to work with computers and graphics and was able to apply them by creating a map of the school in Photoshop. Although currently I’m good at applying skills I’ve accepted I have, I could work on knowing my limits and letting others do tasks I know they could do better.
Being able to get along with yourself is vital to staying motivated in projects. If you constantly keep doubting yourself and don’t love who you are, you’ll never complete anything as you feel others are superior or better than you. I know that while planning the Grade 9 Retreat, I felt really useless in my committee (Forms and Finance) as I wasn’t as good with numbers and tracking data. I couldn’t accept my abilities in my group and therefore didn’t reach any success in my eyes.
A Different Kind Of Circus
Gloom cast over the long factory hall. Mountains of ragged costume scraps and broken clown heads were scattered about, yet there wasn’t a single soul present to clean up the uncanny clutter. A path winded down the workshop to an apparatus of sorts, piecing together the intricate workings of an animatronic skeleton. The monotonous hum of it’s conveyors echo down the hall, a mechanical whirr whistling in the background. Passing by on the belts lay endless rows of clowns with their lifeless eyes, their hollow stare seeping through your soul; after an eternity, only then do they slowly descend back into the shadows of darkness. The room plays hide and seek, flickering the lamps that dangle from the lofty ceiling; the glimpses of light illuminate the expanse of machines and contraptions that hastily dismantle the clowns, their wires and parts spewing out like guts and intestines. Rusty parts rain down from the sprawl of piping that stretches above. In full autonomy, the room comes alive, powered by the maniacal laughs of clowns that ring throughout. The tangle of machine and metal is a house of mirrors; there is no escape from this nightmare.
We can only see a short distance ahead, but we can see plenty there that needs to be done.
—Alan Turing, Computing Machinery and Intelligence, 1950
One of the greatest and most celebrated computer scientists of our time, Alan Turing was certainly a thinker for the future. To fully fathom the extent of Turing’s intellect is beyond our human capacity. He is a man plentiful of twists and turns, a man difficult to decode, and a man whose mind was greater than what he could accomplish. How do we begin to comprehend the eminence of Turing’s genius?
An exceptional influence on the advancement of theoretical computer science, his designs for a general purpose computer—the Turing machine—are monumental in providing a systematic approach to algorithmic computation. Throughout the Second World War, Turing played a crucial role in cryptology; he contrived techniques to crack German ciphers and posed the central force in breaking the Enigma code, thereby helping the Allies win the war. It’s been estimated that Turing’s work in WWII singlehandedly saved over 14 million lives and shortened the war by two years. Considered by many the father of artificial intelligence, one of his most well-known works, the Turing test, has caused a significant and lasting impact. The test, designed to examine a machine’s ability to exhibit intelligent behaviour comparable to that of a human, has remained a fundamental concept in the philosophy and ethics of AI. Furthermore, Turing’s seminal work on morphogenesis and mathematical biology has explained the natural phenomena of spirals, stripes, and patterns in nature.
However, obstacles arose when Turing was charged with gross indecency after admitting to having a homosexual affair with another man. At the time an illegal offense, he was barred from working for the Government Communications Headquarters and underwent hormonal treatment via injections for libido reduction. The challenge of society preventing Turing from progressing further in his work and study led to a halt in his productivity. It is suspected that his later death only two years later was suicide, a result of the backlash he received for being gay.
Although he may not have been remembered nor accepted due to his homosexuality before, it’s vital we honour him now for his work and numerous contributions to his discipline. The epitome of a true computer scientist, his scope of genius not only was limited to computing, but spread to all areas of sciences, biology, the arts, and engineering. His insight into the future and vision of a world powered by artificial intelligence was much ahead of his time. The technological marvels we’ve become accustomed to today are the brainchild of Turing’s brilliance.
His enthralling yet tragic life sets him apart from among the many great computer scientists of his time; his drastic ups and downs, feats, failures, and obstacles draw me into his elaborate story. Turing’s perseverance through the devastation of wartime and his philosophy to keep dreaming of a better tomorrow is a lesson for us all.
Turing and I share an intense passion for computers and technology. He and I could also be viewed as farouche; both of us are reserved, shy, and introverted. Turing was particularly known to be unsociable around the company of others. However, most qualities I share in common with my chosen notable are not my envisionment of an ideal individual. Instead, I aspire to emulate the many other traits Turing possessed that allowed him to endeavour great feats. His resourcefulness, determination, perseverance, and ambition are all qualities I strive to follow.
One of my goals in TALONS is to become a better, more confident leader and individual. My eminent person definitely exemplifies this throughout his career and work. Without his leadership within Hut 8 and the Ultra intelligence during WWII, the Allies may never have cracked the Enigma code.
I’ve never lived in a time of homophobia and have never experienced war firsthand, unlike Turing. To combat this barrier in my speech, I’ll make an effort to focus more on his unique character and personality, rather than the impacts society has brought upon him.
My next steps for studying my eminent person will be to contact those connected to Alan Turing and seek potential experts to interview. For my eminent project this year, I hope to be able to find an expert on my notable and be able to interview them in person.
Book: We Are All Made Of Molecules
Stewart’s comment of Ashley’s gay biological father sparks a heated conversation between the newly settled family. Immediately, Ashley is able to voice an opinion, which is both unprecedented and impressive to me. However, her indignant speech reveals her weakness with thinking before speaking and staying appropriate with her tone and language around others; she herself admits “words, like a lot of other things, are not my strong point” (62). Ashley’s desire for the rest of the family to understand her dismay and chagrin is clear. She wants to revert to a normal life with her mother and father in the same household. Not only does she dread her life falling apart, but she also fears most the secret of her dad’s homosexuality spreading throughout her school, claiming to Stewart “If you so much as breathe a word to anyone at school about my dad, I will have you killed!” (62). The external conflict between Ashley and her mother derives from their polar opposites of wants; while her mom evidently loves Leonard and his son Stewart, Ashley wishes they’d disappear, profusely proclaiming “I didn’t ask for these two strangers to move into our house” (61). Similarly, I relate to the conflicts Ashley faces in my own personal life; my aunt has recently found a partner who makes her happy, however, I subjectively despise him. While Ashley’s response to her consternation is reasonable, personally I’d handle the issue in a more formal manner, speaking about my concerns directly to the recipient.
Despite the chaos and confusion produced by the predicament of Sam’s lie, ultimately, the benefits outweigh the harm it caused. A bustling family amidst unremitting disarray, the lie has helped Sam’s parents turn their lives around for the better. For Dave, the misunderstanding helped reinvigorate his sense of self-esteem and personal image. Initially “engulfed in a full-blown hypochondriacal funk,” Dave’s anxiety of his ageing self and increasing wrinkles took over his life (139). Out of the blue, once Dave began to find that “everyone he met had something nice to say,” which unbeknownst to him was simply out of sympathy for his awaiting death, he figured that he was looking fine after all and was healthier than he surmised (153). The confidence he obtained from his complimented appearance revealed newfound positivity in his life. Morley also felt her life in shambles; through the spring, she suffered “feeling a loss of connection with everything that mattered to her” due to a hectic life (139). By easing her workload, the lie lifted some weight off her shoulders and provided her with free time to spend with herself and family. As neighbours and close friends came to comfort Morley in the difficult time of Dave’s supposed moribund condition, offering lasagna dinners and favours, her stress and daily burden disappeared; even Sam claims “he hadn’t seen her so relaxed in months” (156). The generosity and compassion of the community have allowed Morley to step back from life’s continuous flurry of toil, allowing her more time to savour with family. Overall, the fortuitous positive impacts on Sam’s family offset the consequences, leading me to believe that his lie truly ended up rescuing his mother and father.