Theme Study – Seth Smith

A recurring idea that is prevalent throughout all four texts is unusual relationships. The authors have highlighted the idea of complex relationships in each text as it is a common occurrence throughout society that shapes individuals. All four texts express the idea of dysfunctional relationships, however the way each author uses it can be compared and contrasted. The idea of unusual relationships is first expressed in the play Othello, written by William Shakespeare. This is shown in the relationship that Othello and Iago share. Their relationship is dysfunctional because it is built on lies and deceit. Ned Stark and Petyr Baelish are characters who, in the text A Game of Thrones written by George R.R Martin express the idea of dysfunctional relationships. Their relationship is unusual as Ned and Petyr are two contrasting individuals who share a relationship for their own profit. In the film Billy Elliot directed by Stephen Daldry, the idea of unusual relationships is displayed differently by the relationship between Billy and Jackie. This relationship is built around a father-son bond which is affected by the 1984 miners’ strike. However it lacks the communication that is necessary for a functional relationship. Another text that expresses the idea of unusual relationships is the text Job, written by Dan Preston. The idea unusual relationships is represented by the relationship that Job shares with his mother. This relationship is unusual as Job’s mother is very cold and abusive towards Job, resulting with a loveless relationship.

In the play Othello the key idea of unusual relationships is expressed by the extremely dysfunctional relationship between Othello and his ensign, Iago. Their friendship is built on Iago’s lies and treachery which Shakespeare has utilised to create an unusual relationship. Othello is an outsider who has grown up in a military environment and has grown to trust his comrades and those he has known for long periods of time. Because of this he trusts Iago, a manipulative man who is deceitful rather than trusting Desdemona his wife. An example of Iago’s deceit is in Act one where he says “But for my sport and profit, I do hate the Moor.” This shows us that the only reason Iago shares a relationship with Othello is for his own personal gain and fun, aside from this Iago hates Othello. Iago even calls Othello a moor, which is a derogatory term based purely on race and highlights the difference between Othello and his peers. By using this dialogue we can see that the author’s intention is to show the reality of relationships and how many, both then and now are established for one’s personal gain. Iago’s deceit is once again shown when he says “I must show out a flag of sign and love.” In this, Iago is stating how he will deceive Othello by pretending to be a loyal friend. Shakespeare uses the word ‘flag’ because it is a military term that is often associated with a white flag of war. This highlights the fact that Othello and Iago share a military relationship. The author has used Iago and Othello’s unusual relationship to highlight how common treachery was amongst soldiers in Venetian times and how easy it was for someone to be manipulated by one that calls you friend. The idea of unusual relationships is expressed in the text A Game of Thrones. The idea is used similarly in both texts as the authors create characters who use deceit and false trust to manipulate their friends. In both of these texts the end result for the trusting characters is death.

In A Game of Thrones, the intriguing idea of unusual relationships is developed further. Many relationships among lords and nobles are dysfunctional because many are treacherous and deceitful. However a relationship which is the most relevant to this theme is the relationships between Ned Stark and Petyr Baelish. Ned is a highborn, honest warrior who has been brought to a large city to become the right hand man to the throne. Petyr however, is a lowborn nobody who has tricked and cheated his way into a position of relative power, the master of coin. Being two very contrasting individuals Ned and Petyr share an unusual relationship in which Ned is a trusting character however Petyr is a manipulative character. Petyr is similar to Iago in Othello because he betrays Ned, although he is honest about his deviousness which is contrasting to Iago who disguises his dishonesty. An example of the dysfunction between Ned and Petyr is first seen when Petyr says to Ned “Distrusting me was the smartest thing you have done.” This shows the honesty Petyr has towards Ned but warns both the reader and Ned of his deceitfulness. The author has used this line as it foreshadows Petyr’s betrayal and the complex nature of how he gains Ned’s trust. Petyr shows his treachery when he says to Ned “The City’s Watch is yours.” However when saying this, Petyr had no intention of giving Ned Stark the backup he needed, even though Petyr could have afforded it. He then references his previous dialogue when he says “I did warn you not to trust me,” as he puts a blade to Ned’s throat. These quotes blatantly show the audience that Petyr is a distrustful person who lies and manipulates Ned. In betraying Ned, Petyr becomes the lord of a large hold which makes clear the fact that Petyr is a power hungry man who uses his friendship with Ned for his own personal gain. The author has used this relationship as power was a major advantage to a person’s wealth and reputation in medieval times so it was not uncommon for someone to betray a friend in order to earn power and respect. The dysfunctional relationship between Ned and Petyr expresses this when Ned, an honest man was betrayed by Petyr who valued the rise to power more than his friendship with Ned. The film Billy Elliot also expresses the idea of unusual relationships through a relationship based on family dysfunction, pressured by the circumstances in society. This is different to the relationship in A Game of Thrones which focuses the idea around treachery incurred by power.

Unusual relationships are often influenced by societal pressures which it shapes individuals. Billy Elliot clearly expresses this. A relationship which represents the idea of unusual relationships in the film, is the relationship between Jacky and Billy. Both characters, father and son, live in a poverty stricken area which has been affected by the 1984 miners’ strike. The character Petyr from A Game of Thrones is similar to Billy as they both grow up without wealth or power yet they overcome society’s stereotypes. However they are different as they live in different times with different aspirations. Influenced by the hardship of the miners’ strike Jacky is very distant and hostile towards Billy and sometimes reacts to Billy’s curiosity with violence as seen when Jackie says “What the f**k are you looking at.” This represents Jacky’s lack of understanding towards Billy and the wild look on his face highlights the struggle Jacky is going through and how hard it is to raise two boys in poverty. The director has used this to show the pressure the mining strike had on individuals and their relationships with others. A key difference between Billy and Jacky that leads to their dysfunction is the fact that Billy loves ballet. However Jacky, being a male stereotype thinks ballet is meant for girls and Billy should be boxing. An example of this is shown in the dialogue “Men play rugby, football, boxing or even wrestling, not friggen ballet.” This is a clear example of the stereotyping of Billy’s decision to dance rather than to box, a decision in which initially his father does not accept. The director has used this dialogue as it shows the audience the difference between Billy and Jackie and also the male stereotypes that Billy had to overcome to dance, all without the support of a feminine figure. This is contrasting in today’s society were children grow up in a caring environment where they are encouraged to pursue all their dreams. Because of this contrast, the reader can gather an understanding of the multitude of Billy’s decision to oppose society’s views and follow his dreams. Billy and Jacky share an unusual relationship but in the end, because Jacky loves Billy, he ends up accepting Billy’s love for dancing and becomes a proud father. Job is a text that shows dysfunctional relationships. Similarly with Billy Elliot the relationships are unusual because they are based on family problems, however the relationship in Job is different as it lacks the love shown in Billy Elliot and is even abusive.

Job portrays an example of dysfunctional violent relationships which shapes individuals. Job is a young boy who is abused by his mother which makes their relationship unusual and dysfunctional. Job is unloved and abused to a point where he must take action to prevent further distress. Billy from Billy Elliot shares a similar relationship with his father, as Jacky often reacts with violence towards Billy. However Jacky still loved Billy which is different to the loveless relationship between Job and Job’s mother. The author portrays Job’s mother as a cruel women which many reader begin to dislike. This can be seen in the dialogue where Job’s mother says to Job and his friend “P*** off you faggots, go play on the road,” This is blatant verbal abuse, a sentence no loving mother would say to their child which shows us that Job’s mother does not love or care for Job. The author used colloquial language to invoke a dislike from the readers towards Job’s mother and therefore make us sympathise with Job rather than view him as a naughty child. This is important as many people judge children on their behaviour, however many do not understand the challenging upbringing some children face at home. Along with verbal abuse, we are made aware of physical abuse towards Job who is seen “inspecting his skinny belly. It was a mass of bruises, interspersed with red craters the diameter of burning cigarettes.” This shows the clear dysfunction between Job and his mother. The author has used this to once again make reader sympathise with Job as a child who doesn’t have any support from his family and does not know what it is to be loved. It is then made clear Job does not want to be around his mother so when he escapes he says “Job done” which is a pun but also tells us Job is free from an abusive relationship. Unfortunately abusive relationships are a part of our society which is why authors include them in their work.

All four texts express the idea of unusual relationships. The authors have all highlighted this idea as it is a common occurrence throughout society which shapes individuals. In Othello the idea is expressed through the manipulative relationship Iago has with Othello. This is similar to the deceitful relationship Petyr Baelish shares with Ned Stark in A Game of Thrones. Characters from A Game of Thrones can be compared with those in the film Billy Elliot to show the different influences of society on relationships. The idea is explored in Job through the abusive relationship between Job and his mother. This is similar to Billy Elliot because both Billy and Job are faced with difficult circumstances and violence. Together all four texts further the readers understanding of dysfunctional relationships.

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Formal Writing – Euthanasia

Euthanasia is a subject that many people prefer to avoid. It is a subject that has two distinct sides to it. Discussions usually include issues of morality, abuse of power and quality of life. Many people tend to forget about the benefits euthanasia offers the patient and family. If you were diagnosed with a terminal illness, you may be suffering towards the end of our life, reduced to a state that would distress your loved ones and make you miserable. Why is it that the pain must continue? Why is life something to be prolonged, something that must go on even if it brings pain to those closest to you?

Euthanasia should not be compared with death. When someone is terminally ill and in pain, death is not a choice but rather it is inevitable. However euthanasia is a choice that some may opt to take. Those that ask for euthanasia are in pain and suffering to a point where they would rather die peacefully rather than endure for another few days until their heart gives in. Does it not seem rather selfish of us to deny them peace while we watch them in agony? Why do we extend the lives of those that will not get better, who will not get relief from pain?

Many arguments that are opposed to euthanasia claim that mankind do not have the right to end a life. They argue that euthanasia shortens life and eliminates the chance for a patient to recover. However everyday thousands of animals die from the acts of man. Acts that range from casual slaughter to forceful euthanasia. Since when did the terminally ill recover from a fatal state? It is not as if a terminally ill patient can simply recover from a situation which all evidence points towards irrefutable death. In the countries that practise euthanasia, there are rules and strict requirements regarding the patients’ state of mind and physical wellbeing when a patient requests euthanasia. It is not as if someone with the flu can request to be euthanized, only those with no chance of recovery can even apply. Those who say that patients being euthanized may live for another year have obviously not done their research. A Dutch report into euthanasia in 1991 found that in 86 percent of euthanasia cases, euthanasia only shortened life by a maximum of a week and often only a few hours. This shows that euthanasia is more of an escape route for patients who would rather die now and end their agony instead of enduring for another two days.

Why should people be forced to stay alive? The decision of dying is very personal. The government should not be the ones who determine when you are allowed to die. This strips away your freedom of choice and your quality of life, just to extend your life by a few days. What I think is that your life is your own, from the day you were born to the day you die. You are the one who could be terminally ill, just waiting while the pain gets worse. Why prolong the life of one in pain who acknowledges their mortality and agrees to be euthanized? Not only does this suffering affect the patient but also family and friends who know that they can do nothing but wait. Many people all over the world suffer from pain towards the end of their life. Many of us in that position would wish for an end to the pain, but we are incapable of doing so ourselves. Instead we must endure past the point of weak minds and feeble limbs until the day we stop breathing.

Watching a loved one sick beyond help is distressing. When people talk about euthanasia they only consider the pain and wellbeing of the patient. However the families and friends of those in pain are affected as well. From personal experience, euthanasia can ease the suffering of families with their loved one’s dying. My 94 year old Dutch grandaunt had a series of medical conditions including organ failure. Every day she required pain medication which affected her ability to live at home and reduced her quality of life. Rather than be heavily medicated and continue to decline in health she elected to be euthanized in her own home with her family around her. This meant her family saw her as a brave, strong woman even at the end and they did not have to suffer with her through her pain, nor witness her decline. According to a recent study the average percent of terminally ill patients who die in pain is 55%. Would you like those odds if someone you loved was in a position where they had a terminal illness?

Euthanasia is a very opinionated topic, one that does not have a right or wrong answer but rather a topic that needs to be discussed fully. Euthanasia is not legal suicide but rather a symbol of choice, the last choice someone who is terminally ill can make. We should honour their right to end their pain and suffering. After all, we already claim the right to end an animal’s life without a second thought. Why do we refrain from the idea of giving terminally ill people an easier death surrounded by loved ones? We all know that dying in pain is very real for many people, why are we extending this pain?

Bibliography
http://listverse.com/2013/09/12/10-arguments-for-legalising-euthanasia/
http://www.statisticbrain.com/euthanasia-statistics/

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By Seth Smith

Short Story Final Copy

As dawn blossomed, I heard the morning prayer drone from the speakers. While I stood, I sought nearness to God. I raised my hands,

“Allah is great.”

I bent over and placed my hands on my knees.

“I praise Allah the Cherisher, the Sustainer, Developer and Perfecter of the worlds, the most Compassionate, the Merciful. Glory to Allah, Free from All Defects is my Lord, and with His praise I bow.”

I stood up tall,

“God listens to one who praises him. Allah is great.”

I knelt with my forehead pressed against my rug, the rough wool scratching into my skin.

“Glory to God. I ask Allah, my Lord, to cover up my sins and unto him I turn repentant.” I whispered.

As I turned towards the door my father appeared in the hallway, scratching his long grey beard.

“Come Abdul it’s time for school,” he grumbled, obviously making an effort not to remember our last conversation. He looked me in the eyes, sighed, and walked downstairs.

The shriek spilled out throughout the schools halls. I always hated that bell. Slowly I picked my way off my seat as my class members raced to the doors. I trudged away, the school gates slowly disappearing into the distance as buildings grew taller, the noise rose louder and dust thickened until I could taste the desert and its heat. Nobody gave a second glance as I walked along the pavement, shacks and buildings alike on either side of me. No one even noticed when I was tossed into an alleyway by three westerners. I cried out as they swung their fists into me, pain lashing throughout my gut. They shouted out curses, abusive words to my religion and race.

“Hey!”

Oh no, I thought to myself, another westerner to pick on the skinny Arab boy. I let out another whimper, but I was too hurt to be ashamed of my weakness.

“Leave him alone!”

I looked up to see the new arrival put himself between my attackers and I. Never would I have thought a westerner would do such a kindness to me. As my bullies grumbled off I looked up at the white face peering at me.

“Hi, are you alright?” asked the westerner, concern etched onto his face. He must’ve been a boy of 15 years with sandy hair and deep blue eyes.

“Yes,” I mumbled.

I quickly stumbled to my feet ripping away from his grasp and fled, I had been taught not to affiliate myself with westerners and their deviousness, I knew this was a trick. My first thoughts of gratitude turned to disgust and shame as my helper was swallowed up by the bustling metropolis of Riyadh.
As I burst through the door to my house I dumped my bag on the entrance rug and slumped onto the couch. When I opened my eyes I saw my father sitting across from me looking down at his Quran muttering phrases and lines from our holy book.

“Are all westerners evil?” I asked.

My father frowned at me, his dark eyes hard.

“You know the answer to that Abdul, I should not have to repeat myself. They are the ones who killed your brother. It was their carelessness! They’ve destroyed our beautiful kingdom, invading our land all in the name of oil and money. They are the curse of our people! What do they care for our lives when they say one westerner is worth a thousand Arabs!”

His anger shocked me but it dawned on me the truth of his words, the white westerners who are treated like princes are evil. Yet still I could not shake the concern the American had for me, the selflessness he showed. But what good would it be to fret over such petty matters. After all, tomorrow was the day of my death. A glorious death. A death in the name of Allah my god, to protect my people from the grasp of westerners. The thought gave me strength.

We’d gone over the plan so many times that it seemed so surreal.The compound we were targeting was in the city centre, 20 buildings wide and 30 buildings long, sparkling pools were surrounding by luxurious white buildings and that stood out amongst the ram shackled building of the city. As a poor city boy this was all just a dream to me, an Elysium. An Elysium for those who didn’t deserve it.

As night fell I looked down at the explosives strapped to my chest. It was so terrifying seeing the cause of my death, strapped to my chest. The constant flash of numbers reminding me of my impending death. It’s for the greater good I reminded myself. it’s for the glory of this sacred kingdom.

I hauled myself over the two metre plaster fence, flailing as I tripped over the barbed wire coiled at the top. I fell off, tasting dust as I landed, feet tangled and arms spread eagled. I picked myself off the ground and ran across a tiled courtyard, past rows of bushes until I stumbled onto the street, houses were all around me. I turned wondering where to go. And there he stood. Right in front of me. His eyes were lifeless and dull. It broke me. I hadn’t felt like this in all my life, what was I to do? I had c4 strapped to my chest and I had the weight of my father’s hopes and expectation pressing down on me. I didn’t have a choice. But there my saviour stood, looking down at a small body cradled in his arms, a once happy face now etched with grief.

“I’m so sorry,” I whispered.

“Why, I just don’t know why you had to do this.”

“I don’t have a choice,”

“My name is Jake,” he said, his eyes watering. “I want to grow up.”

It was then that I realised that this was a human being standing in front of me. A living breathing person with hopes and dreams. I shouldn’t be the one to determine whether he lives or dies.

I’m not ready. He’s not ready. We have so much to live for.

Internal Assessment – Task 1 and 2

Task 1 (individual task)

The Orewa College Board of Trustees has decided to allow the Commerce Department to spend $12,000 to improve its services to students. They have said that the $12,000 can be taken from either the operations budget or the IT budget.
The operations budget allows the department to improve its physical facilities and the IT budget allows the department to improve its IT resources. The Commerce Department’s final decision must be approved and signed off by the Board of Trustees.

The Commerce Department is thinking about how to spend the money. Three ideas have been put forward, but they and the Board are open to other ideas.
The ideas provided so far are:
20 mini laptops in a portable trolley
20 Ipads in a portable trolley
Refurbishment of classroom H11 and H12 with new furniture to allow students to work more freely eg bean bags, new desks (same as H2), new blinds and a sound system in each room.

(A) Define Scarcity

The economic problem where people have limited means but unlimited wants.

(B) Describe the economic decision the Commerce Department must make:
How to use the limited mean of income to choose between unlimited wants. Because they have limited means but unlimited wants they cannot have everything so have to make a choice because of scarcity which results with an opportunity cost

(C) Identify the MAIN scarce resource/limited means in this situation:
Income, the business department only have $12,000 to spend so have restricted ideas.

(D) Explain in detail how this economic decision is affected by limited means and/or scarce resources:

The department has the limited mean of income and cannot buy everything so must make a choice between all their wants. This choice is an example of the economic problem of scarcity, not enough resources to get all the unlimited wants that people have. Because of this choice the department must rank the options. If they were to rank the option of refurbishment 1st, 20 mini laptops 2nd and 20 iPads 3rd. The option the would choose is the refurbishment of H11 and H12. The 20 laptop option would be the opportunity cost. The opportunity cost is the next best alternative forgone when making a decision.

Task 2 (group task):

Question 2:
(A) Identify three groups of people affected by this decision that may have differing view points.
Group 1: Students
Group 2: Teachers
Group 3: IT staff
Group 4: Senior Managment

(B) Identify at least three methods you can use to collect information on the view points of the three groups above and design the appropriate collection tools.
Method 1: survey students
Method 2:student focus group
Method 3:teacher survey
Method 4:it department questionare
Method 5: interview with senior Managment

(C) Collect and process the data and attach this as an appendix to your assessment paperwork.
Your teacher will also need to sign below to confirm that you actively participated in the collection of the data.
Teachers Signature: _____________________________ Date: ________

Task 3 (individual task):
Question 3:
(A) Based on the data your group collected, what are the options and compromise options that the groups suggest the Commerce Department should consider.

You must identify the three options already provided and a minimum of one realistic additional compromise option, as identified during the data collection.

Option 1: 20 iPads in a portable trolley
Option 2: 20 mini Laptops in a portable trolley
Option 3: Refurbishment of H11 and H12
Option 4: 20 Windows tablets in a portable trolley

(B) Identify the costs and benefits of each of the options suggested above. Use the cost benefit analysis template provided to record these.

(C) Next to each of the costs and benefits rank the cost or benefit following the guidelines on the cost benefit analysis template. Calculate the total weighted score for each option and record it on the cost benefit analysis template.

(D) Based on the results of the cost benefit analysis which is the option you would recommend the Commerce Department choose and the Board approve.

I recommend that the Commerce Department/Board choose option 3, option of refurbishing H11 and H12.

(E) Fully explain and justify why you think they should choose this option.
In your answer you should:
Explain why that option is the one you recommend.
Justify your choice by referring to the costs and benefits of the chosen option and justify why you weighted each cost and benefit in the way you did.
Identify the opportunity cost of your decision.
Compare the costs and benefits of the chosen option with the costs and benefits of the next best option, refer to their relative weightings.

The option of refurbishing H11 and H12 is the one I have chosen as compared to the other options it is the most beneficial for students and their learning. This is because it offers something different from the other options, which is the improved learning environment that comfortable seating and relaxed students creates. Refurbishments means that improved safety features could be installed so that the classroom is safer for the students. This option is more beneficial and this is shown in the cost benefit analysis where it ranked first out of four with the option of 20 windows tablets being the second best alternative. This means the opportunity cost is the 20 windows tablets as that option is the next best alternative forgone when making a decision.

The majority of Teachers, students, and Mrs Nelson from Senior Management think that devices are unecessary. This is shown on the cost benefit analysis with both IPads and Laptops getting -5/-5 for the reason that students already have devices. This means It would be unnecessary for the business department to buy 20 iPads or 20 mini laptops when every student with some exceptions in yrs 12 and 13 already have a device. These expensive newly bought devices would not be used as often as they should and therefore gather dust. Although getting 20 windows tablets is the same as getting more devices and therefore just as unnecessary as iPads or laptops they are more suitable for business as they offer flash player and graph making programs such as excel, this means they are not as restricted as iPads but not hard for the IT department to work with. This shows that windows tablets combine the benefits from both the iPad and laptops options. Because the iPad, laptop and tablet options are all device related is most likely why the refurbishment option is ranked as the best option _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
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Static Image Commentary

Commentary

The quote ‘so will I turn her virtue into pitch’ is used to convey the theme of appearance vs reality. This is because Iago manipulates Desdemona so that her virtue appears to be pitch. I made this static image to show the audience how Desdemona is depicted by Iago as an evil creature however in reality she is virtuous and honest. This static image displays an innocent Desdemona standing on top of lago’s hand. Iago’s hand is green and scaled. The scales represent a serpent, and a serpent symbolises cunning, and evil. The hand is larger than Desdemona as he is in control and she is helpless to his actions. The green portrays the jealousy and envy he feels. Desdemona’s innocence and virtue is represented by a white gown. This gown (virtue) is dripping from her self and gradually turning into pitch, this is shown by the drops turning darker and darker. Her arms are open and she is looking away to show her trust and obliviousness to Iago’s manipulation. In this static image Iago’s manipulation of Desdemona can be seen as he is holding her up which makes Desdemona trust Iago but he is collecting Desdemona virtue and turning it into pitch. This pitch drips from his hand and creates a false, evil Desdemona. This false Desdemona is an opposite to the true Desdemona as her gown is pitch, heavy and black where the true Desdemona’s gown is virtuous, flowing and white. The pitch version of Desdemona is shown to be desperate and eager by the reaching hand. She is backed by a pale dull yellow that symbolises sickness. The sickness represents Othello’s mistrust and ill thoughts about Desdemona that are created by Iago’s manipulation. Desdemona’s shoes are orange as orange is the opposite to green and represent the difference between Iago and Desdemona. The quote is black words on white to symbolise the difference and clashing of virtue and pitch.

Static Image Concepts

“So will I turn her virtue into pitch, and out of her own goodness make the net that shall enmesh them all.”

Quote is to long

Concept 1:
Desdemona is in a white gown to signify innocence. Her gown melts into a pitch version of herself which is below her.. This version is the ‘goodness gone wrong and the virtue that is pitch. The pitch Desdemona is grappling with the white clad Desdemona and therefore the goodness that ‘turned’ on them all. This will be on black to signify the net or trap that encloses them.

Concept 2:
Desdemona is in the middle of the page with her arms wide and a white dress flowing from her arms and body. On the left arm the white gown drips into pitch signifying the the virtue turning into pitch. On the right arm her gown turns into a net covering Othello, signifying the net that shall enmesh them all.

Concept 3:
Desdemona white gown, above a black slimy version of herself. Her white gown turns into ‘pitch’, drips onto the quote and runs onto the pitch Desdemona. This signifies the “so I will turn her virtue into pitch”