Blog Prompt Due Mon 2/11

HW for Wed: 1. Edit your “Media Analysis” posts: make sure they are tagged/categorized as “Media Analysis.”  Revise/add to your questions so that they focus on the way the image is constructed: i.e., the relationships between objects in it, the framing (what is in the image, what is not), foreground vs. background, etc.
2. Read Gladman, Calamities (excerpts) and Serpell, “Triptych: Texas Pool Party.”

OK, so by Monday at 1pm, please do/respond to the following.

  1. MEDIA ANALYSIS: In a separate post (i.e., don’t reply to this post for #1; create your own post): post a piece of media and 2 discussion questions about a conflict, contradiction, or enigma in this media.  The instructions for this post (which we reviewed in class) are here.
  2. Choose between the following prompts on the assigned reading by Denis Johnson and respond in 75-100 words.  (Only do 2a or 2b.)
    2a. Developing Conflict/Enigma with key details & events. After reading the narrative titled “Silences” (pp 41-44), what do you think the main conflict or enigma of this narrative is?  Explain why you think this.  Then, describe how Johnson leads us into this conflict/enigma on the first two pages.  What are 2 key details or events that you notice in the first 2 pages that are important for building up to this conflict/enigma?  Explain.2b. Transitions. After reading “Silences” and “Accomplices,” what do you notice about the way many of the paragraphs begin?  How do many of the paragraph-opening sentences work to connect the ideas in the paragraphs together?  Lastly, I want you to think about the content of the two stories (“Silences” and “Accomplices”): briefly, what is each story about?  Do they seem similar or related?  How does the sentence which begins “Accomplices” help build a connection between the two narratives (even if you don’t think there is much of a connection)?
  3. Write 150-200 words on a conflict, contradiction, or enigma based in your own life.  This could be something you began brainstorming about on Wednesday or something different.  The conflict, contradiction, or enigma might have to do with technology in some way, or it might not.

26 thoughts on “Blog Prompt Due Mon 2/11”

  1. I think the main conflict or enigma in “silences”  is when Young Chris talks about the land mine taking off his right leg outside Kabul Afghanistan. I believe it’s an enigma because of the questions it raises about his leg, for instance some people didn’t know he had lost his leg.  Johnson leads us into this enigma on the first two pages by having a conversation on a dinner table describing different experience about loudest sounds. And Young chris  change the topic into “silences”.  The two key details or events that I notice in the first two pages to build my enigma is:

    1) When Deirdre asked the question to see Chris  lost leg.

    2) Some people didn’t know Chris fought in Afghanistan.

    1. Mariam,

      I totally agree with everything you say regarding the enigma in Johnson’s “Silences” and the way he leads us into the question of Chris’ leg (and whether Deirdre will go through with kissing it).  This post seems unfinished, though, without #3.  Can you add that?  Thanks.

      M

  2. 2a) The main enigma in the narrative titled ” Silences” is the fact that Deidre wanted to see Chris’s amputated leg, but didn’t want to kiss it until the dude who didn’t speak all night, Morton Sands, said something. Then Deirdre ended up marrying Chris six months later when they barely knew each other. Johnson leads us into this enigma by stating that they all barely knew each other from Elaine’s volunteer work. Then as everyone sat in the living room discussing the loudest sounds they’ve heard, everyone was sharing personal details about their lives. They all barely knew each other but felt close enough to open up about their personal experiences. Two key details that  are important for building this enigma are “No, I don’t want to kiss your leg!” said by Deirdre & “Oh, well. okay” also said by Deidre after Morton sands says ” Jesus Christ, Deidre”. Why would Deirdre exaggerate not wanting to kiss Chris’s leg just to agree to doing it after one small comment from a dude who didn’t speak all night? She even cried when Chris brought his leg closer because she didn’t want to do it, but she marries him six months later?

     

    3) A conflict in my own life would be  my dads interest in my academics.  My mom has always been the one to attend my parent teacher conferences, she’s always coming up to my school whenever I get in trouble, she asks questions about what I learn in school. My dad on the other-hand is constantly working, then when he comes home from work, I’m either sleeping  or doing homework. It feels like my dad doesn’t care about whether I’m developing normally or abnormally. I recently expressed my thoughts to him and he took it into a whole different ball game. He exaggerated how much he pays for rent just so I can have a roof over my head, how much he pays for food so that I don’t starve, and the clothes he buys me so I can have clothes to wear.  I totally understand where he’s coming from. I understand that as a parent, he provides his child with the basic necessities needed for survival. I believe every parent should provide their child with basic life necessities, but when it comes to academics parents have a choice to be interested or nonchalant. My dad chose to be nonchalant. Yet he wants me to graduate college and get a good job.  The contradiction is the support that I am not receiving from someone who wants me to do well. Am I being an ungrateful child by asking for academic support? If my dad really cared about my academic progress he’d know what my strengths and weaknesses are in each subject, he’d know how much years I have left of school instead of asking me ” how much years you have left until you graduate” I do have a rocky relationship with my dad, and at the ed of the day I love both of my parents equally, and I know I can count on them for anything.

    1. Strong post, Justin.  I think you’re on to something that you might write about for Essay 1 in these lines:

      “It feels like my dad doesn’t care about whether I’m developing normally or abnormally. I recently expressed my thoughts to him and he took it into a whole different ball game. He exaggerated how much he pays for rent just so I can have a roof over my head, how much he pays for food so that I don’t starve, and the clothes he buys me so I can have clothes to wear.”

      The next step is deciding how you want to lead your reader into the story of this conflict with your dad.  Can you tell the story of the day you first came to think that your father “doesn’t care about whether [you’re] developing normally or abnormally”?  What are the events that happened that day that led up to your realization?  You could make a list and then choose to write about the ones that seem most relevant to this conflict.

  3. 2a) In the narrative passage “Silence” the main enigma/conflict that is shown is when Young Chris Case tells everyone his right leg was taken off and Deidre wanted to see it. The way the enigma was shown according to the passage Young Chris Case changed the topic from describing the loudest sound one has heard to the most silence. The way the conflict is shown in the passage is by Young Chris Case explaining the conflict between him and the land mine at Kabul, Afghanistan which took of his right leg. The way Johnson leads us into the enigma/ conflict from the 2 pages of the passage was by first starting off the conversation with his friends of the loudest sounds they have witnessed and all of a sudden the topic changes and becomes the most silent sound they have heard. Two key events that are important in building up the enigma/ conflict is “Young Chris Case reversed the direction and introduced the topic of silence” and “He said the most silent thing he’d ever heard was the land mine taking off his right leg outside Kabul, Afghanistan.  The reason these two key details are important are because the first quote builds suspicion and the second one builds and shows the conflict that the character went through.
     
    4) A conflict that is had witnessed and went through was by seeing death in front of me. I had seen my grandma die in front of my eyes and faced a conflict with my emotions. I would hide my emotions and feel as if the world had come to an end for me. Life for me had no meaning due to the fact a loved one a person who meant the world for me was not a part of my life anymore. I was fighting my emotions not to cry not to grieve and believe as nothing has happened not letting it wreck me emotionally. It is something everyone fears and can’t stop from happening but the conflict that I had with my emotions it won and I lost. I thought I could hold the tears back forever but went only a few days till they came out.

    1. Very good post, Wahid.  I agree with the paragraph you’ve written about Johnson’s handling of enigmas in “Silences.”  As I read #3, I found myself moved by what you’ve shared about your grandmother’s passing.  I’d like to invite you to write more about the conflict(s) surrounding this loss—both conflicts you’ve felt emotionally and also conflicts that perhaps other people in your family have experienced in connection with this horrible event.  Often times there can be so many conflicting feelings surrounding the loss of a loved one—I know from my own experience, for instance, that it’s possible to feel sorrow and anger at the same time.  I’d invite you to write about this.  It would also be interesting/helpful to know a bit more about how your grandma passed away, how you found out, how your family responded, etc.

      Thanks,

      M

  4. 2a)  The main conflict of the passage “silence” is focused on Chris’s amputated leg and how Deidre wanted to see it but wouldn’t want to kiss it.  Others attempts to switch the topic by talking about the weirdest things they have kiss in the past but eventually circle back to Deidre kissing Chris’s leg. One of the major build up to this conflict would be the conversation they had prior to this when Chris described the land mine taking off his leg silently. This part played a major role to explaining to his friends what have happened to Chris the past years when he fought in Afghanistan.

     

    1. Nice work, Jenny.  I agree with all of what you said about Johnson’s use of enigma in “Silences.”  But can you add a second significant moment that he uses to build up to the enigma of Chris’ leg?  Also, please include #3 in your post; thanks! M

  5. 2A) The main enigma found in the narrative titled “Silences” is the fact that Young Chris Case told everyone that his right leg was taken off and Deidre wanted to see his amputated leg. In the passage it was also stated that Deidre and Chris who barely knew each other from Elaine’s volunteer work, ended up marrying each other well after 6 months. It was a mystery about Chris’s leg, but he changed the topic describing the loudest sounds they ever heard. The two key elements/details that builds up this enigma is Deidre not wanting to kiss Chris’s leg and Chris’s response to her “Oh, well okay.” It is a mystery that towards the end, that she began to cry when Chris brought his leg close to her and then 6 months later decided to marry Chris.

    4) A conflict that happened in my life was a dealing with a problem with my older sister. It was more like a conflict with my emotions, because a couple of years ago my older sister joined the navy. I was behind her all the way, but apart of me didn’t want her to go because it felt as though I was going to lose my best friend as well, we had a really close bond. I was at school one day and we were listening to the radio in the classroom and they were talking about the Navy Seals in the Navy and I automatically thought about my sister, 2 years had went by without no communication. I ran out the classroom with tears running down my face because I thought something happened to her. After a while, I was able to keep my emotions in hiding and I thought I was okay, but deep down I wasn’t because I was hurting but in the inside. Not only was I hurting in the inside, but I would lash out at my friends because my sister wasn’t here with me and I would always think the worst when I heard people talk about the Navy or the Army. Finally, fighting with emotions caught up with me when I saw an unknown number calling me, when I answered it was my sister alive and well on the other line. I couldn’t help myself but break down on the phone, happy that she was okay and returning home soon where she belonged.

    1. Shanice,

      Well done in noticing that Johnson’s story (“Silences”) ends on an enigma of sorts: the question of how and why Chris and Deirdre end up marrying.  The narrative doesn’t answer to this and leaves us wondering.

      In part 3, I think you have a conflict that you could develop for Essay 1 if you’d like: your sister’s going away to be in the Navy and your own wish that she would remain close to you.  As I read what you’ve written, I find myself wanting to know more about the backstory involved with your sister: what was it like growing up with her?  how and why did you become so close? etc.  I’d also like for you to expand the details on the following three scenes: the moment you found out she’d be going, the moment with the radio in class, and the moment of the phone call.  Each of these could receive a page or so of writing in your essay.

  6. 3. A conflict that I went through was my first break up my boyfriend this happened in 2012 he cheated on me with my best friend, and after all that I forgave my best friend and I continued on with my relationship with my boyfriend.A month or two went by where my boyfriend was really showing me he cared and loved me when again he starts flirting with my best friend in front of me. I have the type of personality where im nice and I won’t show that I care in person ill hold all my emotions inside. So when I would ask him he would tell me that it was nothing he was just being friendly with her but he didn’t know that he was hurting me. I ended up doing revenge cheated on him with his best friend 2 years after. Was it the right thing to do? He ended up breaking up with me though didn’t forgive me and went out with my best friend again. 2014 comes and he’s not with my best friend anymore I take him back and now ive been talking to him ever since.

    1. Melannie,

      I really like what you have begun to write about the conflict with your (ex-?)boyfriend and think it could be expanded for inclusion in your Essay 1.  Correct me if I’m wrong, but as I read I think I can see several conflicts here: the conflict between the desire to be with your boyfriend and the desire to leave him; his desire to be with you and his desire for your best friend; your desire for him and your desire for revenge.  The list could go on.  I think what would help transform this into an essay would be for you to develop some detailed scenes that show any of these conflicts developing: the moment/day you found out he cheated, the days/months leading up to it, your interactions with your best friend before/after, the moment you realized you felt attracted to his best friend, etc.

      Also: please post a response to 2a or 2b; this post is incomplete without it.  Thanks!

      M

      1. I apologize I didn’t read correctly on the instruction but this is my post to 2a.

        2a)

        The conflict in the narrative passage “silences” is that Ralph Jones ruined the moment when Deirdre was supposed to kiss Chris injury. One Enigma that I found in the passage is that the passage leaves us with a mystery on how Chris and Deirdre ended up getting married. Also why Chris would even want Deirdre to kiss his injury. One key detail that leads us to the conflict is when Johnson starts explaining one of the silent noises he had heard instead of the loudest noises which was Chris injury. Another key detail that led to the conflict was Chris asking Deirdre to kiss his injury.

         

  7. 2a. After reading the narrative “Silences” there was a clear enigma and foreshadowing of it. The main enigma in this narrative was how the  deep conversation escalated into one of the characters talking about an occurrance  in which he referred to be the most silent in his life. This is in a way a contradiction because before hand he talks about this, everyone else was discussing the loudest things in their life, which happened to be unfortunate events. However Chris had referred to him losing a leg to a land mine as “silencing’. The irony builds even more because no one in the room was aware this had happened. Its as if this character referred to this as silencing is because it took a life changing toll on him where no one had noticed. Ways the narrator builds this enigma is by talking about the opposite of what a silence is which was the loudest noise, in a way contradicting what had silenced Chris. This foreshadowed what the narrators main focus was in this text, making it stand out. Also being that everyones loudest moments were these unfortunate events, while Chris’s was silent.

     

    3. A conflict or enigma I have faced for quite a while now is lack of motivation and procrastination. I want to do a lot and be something great one day, however Ive lost my purpose and motivation to do any of it for a while now. I use to be the kind of student who would always be one step ahead, but in high school I got too caught up in my social life. This made me very apathetic toward my education, I would see it as something to prioritize last. Along with all the social norms like the belief where you need school to be something successful in this world just discourages me even more. In a way social media has to be one of the causes to this. Today there are so many famous people who made it without college or a full education, youtubers make so much money now a days and their viewers see it all through social media. There are so many opportunities given at times through social media to pursue what you love, but I feel as if you need to be lucky. These are things in which make me think why am I working so hard when I don’t even have a guaranteed chance. This makes me believe things I need to get done aren’t directly benefiting me which makes me prioritize things like school last.  These things have been such a barrier on me, I feel as if I could have done so much more if I put in the effort. However this is something I want to change, which is why I am trying harder to better myself.

    1. Nice post, Samira.  I’m following most of what you say in part 2a about Johnson’s use of enigma in “Silences,” and so I will focus my comment on #3.

      It seems like you’re beginning to outline a conflict between social media and education.  Often the two are at odds, but how exactly?  As you begin to develop your Essay 1 you could think about answering this question–either as a list or in paragraph form.  I think you are right to point out how people making money off of their social media “game” rather than their education can make school seem like a waste of time.  I wonder how many people are actually making a lot of money off of YouTube or social media posts alone.  Do you think perhaps it just seems that way even though internet celebrities aren’t actually all that common?  If so, why do you think it seems that way?  In other words, how is the version of other people’s lives that we see on social media different than the “IRL” version?  See if you can think of some specific scenes/examples from your own experience to help flesh this out.

      Thanks,
      M

  8. Response to 2a
     After reading the narrative “Silences” , the main enigma discovered is Young Chris Case switching the conservation from loud noises to the most silent thing he’s ever heard. And that was when he revealed that his right leg was taken in Afghanistan. Discovering that Chris had lost his leg raised a lot of questions. Johnson walks us through this enigma by Deirdre wanting to see his amputated leg, others didn’t know he had fought in Afghanistan, or that he limped. Some key details that Johnson included to lead this enigma was how the people from the volunteer work were talking about loud noises and all of a sudden Chris changes the topic into something obscure and stating his relationship to silent noises. As well as Deirdre wanting to see his leg and crying after Chris showed it.
    3.For some people it’s easy to get their things done and organize themselves.Or at least they try to for their own sanity.  But I feel like I’m one of those people that tend to leave things they need to do last minute. This has been a conflict within myself. It has been a problem not just in school but also when I have to work and the things that have to be done at home.I wasn’t the best student back in high school. I still had my work done and I graduated but didn’t have the motivation to do better. At home , I have to help my mom out with chores and because I have a younger brother. It can be overwhelming sometimes and I find myself stressing for the same fact that things have not changed . I have the mentality that even if I try to change my habits , with the lifestyle I’m living now , I’m still getting my things done. But it sure would be better to not rush on things last minute.
     

    1. Lizbeth,

      Good post.  I’m following most of your comments on Johnson’s “Silences” and so will comment on #3.

      It seems like the main conflict you’re focusing on is a tension between your own responsibilities and interests (school, other stuff in your life you want to prioritize) and your family responsibilities.  There may also be a conflict within your family involving your brother (but correct me if I’m wrong).  Can you develop your presentation of this conflict by thinking of several specific scenes (ie events from your experience) that you can write about to lead your reader into this conflict and show them how it plays out in your interactions with your family?

      Thanks

      M

  9. I believe that the main enigma in this narrative story” Silences” was when everyone was going around describing the silent thing they’ve ever heard and one of the characters who goes by the name Young Chris stated that the silent thing that has ever heard was the landmine taking off his right leg outside of Kabul Afghanistan.

    This is and  enigma because it makes the other characters and the reader’s ask questions like  what happened to his leg since no one at the dinner even knew he was missing a leg they thought he had a slit limp. The way Johnson let us into the enigma and the first two pages is by one having the characters attached memory or a feeling to a particular sound which in this case was silence and loud. The second way Johnson let us to the enigma is by when Young Chris said the quietest thing he’s ever heard was when his land mine while he was serving in the army.

    Two key details that I noticed in the first two pages was 1 the other characters had no idea that Young Chris served in the army let alone was injured while serving. The second key is that Young Chris said that was the most silent thing he’s ever heard in reality a land mine gives off a very loud an explosive sound therefore it’s impossible for it to be somewhat silent.

     

    A personal conflict that I have gone through and you can say I’m still going through and struggling with is the fact of not trusting people and letting my guard down as one may say. Do take the experiences and the situations that I have gone through in my lifetime it has put me in a place I’m not trusting a single soul around me and I learned not everyone who smiles at you has good intentions. At a very young age I leaned how to control and to internalized my emotions very well only displaying the emotions that I want others to see. That’s why I find it funny when people tells me they know everything about me when in reality you only know what I want you to know.

     

    1. Mindy

      I really like how you explain what the enigma in Johnson’s story does when you write:

      “This is and  enigma because it makes the other characters and the reader’s ask questions like  what happened to his leg since no one at the dinner even knew he was missing a leg they thought he had a slit limp.”

      This is a great description of the effects this enigma has on the reader.

      As for #3, can you begin to think of specific experiences you’ve had that you could write about in order to show your reader the conflict between not trusting people and wanting to trust them?  It would also be interesting for you to write about specific interactions you’ve had with people who think they know you but who only seem to know the parts you make available to them   These are interesting ideas in need of further elaboration   .

      thanks

      M

       

  10. 2b question:

    After reading “Silences” and “Accomplices”, I notice that every paragraph begins with somebody going through with problems. In this article called “Silences” a wife wants to divorce her husband because she doesn’t love him anymore. Many people did not know that Chris had lost his leg in Afghanistan from a land mine. Another, an article called “Accomplices” it talks about how these people who didn’t know each other very well, but after they drank alcohol and wine they got friendly toward each other. Both articles were kind of similar because they all ended up talking to one another. In “Accomplices” it helps connects between the two narratives by both articles had a problem and they fix it afterward.

    A conflict that I had in my life was when my wifi box didn’t work and I had to call someone to fix it. This took the wifi people two days to come to my house to fix it. During this time period, I went to my aunt’s house to use their wifi so I could could do my work and watch Netflix. Another thing that happens in my life was about how two of my friends were contradicting between politics. This situation caused a fist fight and a couple of our friends had to break them apart. This friendship was never the same after. My sister friend has depression and many people thinks that this sickness will go away, but it won’t go away and it’s hard to deal with this enigma. When people who have depression they usually need to go to see a therapist and a psychiatrist. People with depression should always take medicine.

    1. Andy

      Thanks for this interesting post.  I was wondering about what you mean when you write that “Silences” and “Accomplices” “talk to each other”.   Can you explain?  Also, Do you notice the repeating word in many of the first sentences of the paragraphs?

      As for the conflicts you mention, I’d suggest you pick one of them to focus on for your narrative.  It’s up to you which one, but you will want to choose a conflict you can develop through narrating several specific scenes/events that led up to it.

      Thanks again

       

      m

  11. 2a.

    The conflict-
      The author and his wife Elaine, had dinner guest over —but didn’t know their guest enough to know that one of them, Chris Case, fought in Kabul, Afghanistan, and had lost one of his legs due to a land mine explosion.
     I believe this is the main conflict in this passage because it possessed so many details leading up to finding out Chris is a amputee, and the events that took place after finding out shows how anxious the group was to see what was left of his leg. The introduction of the narrative opens up by the author, Denis Johnson, describing the scene and what is going on, on page 41 by stating; “After dinner, nobody went home right away….” intriguing the reader, Johnson going on to explain who “nobody” is, “ These were people we’ve gotten to know a little from Elaine’s volunteer work—nobody from my work, nobody from the ad agency.” Johnson giving details of the group sitting around in the living room sharing what they thought was the loudest sound they had ever heard, when Chris changes the tone of the room by describing “the most silent thing he’d ever heard was the land mine taking off his right leg outside of Kabul, Afghanistan.” Johnson quoted Chris (pages 41-42). Even though the group of friends may have had an awkward pause in their moment, this was their bonding time, time used to get to know one another a little more. Describing the conversation before Chris joined was a key event leading up to finding out Chris was an amputee because it lets the reader know the tone of the room and how the tone changed once Chris gave his opinion. Also informing the reader of how well they knew or didn’t know their dinner guest in the beginning was a key detail, later understanding why no one knew Chris had been to Afghanistan or involved in a land mine explosion.

    3.
    April 26th, 2011, I woke up with blurred vision, my left arm sitting as if it was in a sling. My left foot was dragging instead of stepping, I couldn’t put my flip flop on properly which caused me to trip multiple times on my way to the bathroom. After a few hours of being up and active and my condition didn’t get better, I was sent to Jacobi Hospital ER in the Bronx. I was immediately called to the back. One nurse stopped what she was doing and said “Sweety, your having a stroke, we need you to call your parent and tell them bring you a change of clothes, we’re admitting you!”, I could only reply “I’m 20”. I was taken to a room where I was put into a machine, at the time I didn’t know it was a MRI machine. About 30 minutes later I was back in my emergency room bed and my mother was there waiting to speak to a doctor. This little Asian lady appeared from behind the curtain and said “You have MS, do u know what MS is?” I responded “Multiple Sclerosis?”, unsure but somewhat aware only because I had watched an episode of Royal Pains and a guy was misdiagnosed with MS due to having all of the symptoms. The Asian doctor confirmed that I was right and walked away. I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) a month and 4 days before my 21st birthday. While in the hospital, I had lost the sensitivity in my left leg/foot, my left hand had completely closed only being seen as a fist, and my vision would be blurry one minute and clear up the next. I was put back into the MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) machine a few more times, giving the doctors more than one image of my brain in color and black and white, I’ve also had three spinal taps. I was now in a wheelchair not able to hold my own weight or control my limbs, being told at 20 years old that I would never walk again. The doctors couldn’t explain how I came in contact with this disease, only that no one gave it to me and I couldn’t infect anyone, even went on to say “Your immune system is attacking itself”. As you can see, I can walk on my own without any supportive devices and both my hands work just fine—it’s been tested. The MS has taken away my 20/20 vision, and left me with some things I wish it didn’t. I’m a walking contradiction, conflict, and enigma within myself.

    1. Bravo, Syeeda.  Thank you for this generous post.  I really like the work you’ve done in #2 with close reading and quoting passages from Johnson’s short story.  Regarding #3, your material you are working with is quite engaging and powerful.  I was wondering about a couple things:

      –what about writing parts (or all) of this in present tense?  Try it and see what you think the effect is…

      –could you add a bit about the back story—the events that lead up to this traumatic day?  You could either talk about symptoms you were having (if you had symptoms prior to the stroke) or (if you didn’t have symptoms) you could talk about the details of your everyday life as it was before this happened–in order to dramatize the surprise of this sudden attack and diagnosis

      –try breaking what you have up into multiple paragraphs, each with its own focus and/or intended effect.

      Thanks!
      M

      1. #3 Edited…
         
        I woke up early on a Tuesday with blurred vision, my left arm sitting as if it was in a sling. When I try to walk, my left foot is dragging instead of stepping. I can’t put my flip flop on properly which is causing me to trip multiple times on my way to the bathroom.

        After a few hours of trying to be up and active and my condition worsens, I finally go to Jacobi Hospital ER in the Bronx. I was immediately called to the back. One nurse stopped what she was doing and said “Sweety, your having a stroke, we need you to call your parent and tell them bring you a change of clothes. We’re admitting you”! I could only reply “I’m 20”.

        I was taken to a room where I was put into a MRI machine. The sounds of it was unlike anything I heard before. It was a loud clicking and beeping with all sorts of other noises that big machines make. After about 30 minutes later I am back in my emergency room bed and my mother is there waiting to speak to the doctor. I have never seen her look this anxious before. This little Asian lady appeared from behind the curtain and said “You have MS, do u know what MS is?” I responded “Multiple Sclerosis?”, unsure but somewhat aware only because I had watched an episode of Royal Pains and a guy was misdiagnosed with MS due to having all of the symptoms. The Asian doctor confirmed that I was right and walked away.

        I am diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) a month and 4 days before my 21st birthday. While at the hospital, I lost the sensitivity in my left leg/foot, my left hand has completely closed only being seen as a fist, and my vision is blurry one minute and clear the next. I was put back into the MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) machine, not once, but several times, giving the doctors more than one image of my brain in color and black and white. I also had three spinal taps. I am now in a wheelchair not able to hold my own weight or control my limbs, being told at 20 years old that I would never walk again. The doctors couldn’t explain how I came in contact with this disease, only that no one gave it to me and I couldn’t infect anyone. They even went on to say “Your immune system is attacking itself”.  

        I wasn’t aware that I started stuttering when I spoke. My mom had mentioned it to the doctor, thinking it was only because I spoke so fast, saying “It’s like she’s rushing through whatever she wants to say, so she stutters sometimes”. “Yes, stuttering is a common symptom of Multiple Sclerosis, because of the lesions on her brain, some of the messages the brain is sending is taking longer to be received…sometimes not received at all”. The doctor replied with a drastic pause as if I didn’t already feel as if This Was The End! I also had been sleeping a lot lately. I got fired from my first job in February after resigning from my overnight job after the holiday season, so I had the time. The time to sleep all day or plan my 21st birthday barbecue I saved up for.

        Fast forward 9 years. I can walk on my own without any supportive devices and both my hands work just fine—it’s been tested. The MS has taken away my 20/20 vision, and left me with some things I wish it didn’t. I’m a walking contradiction, conflict, and enigma within myself. And I wouldn’t change a thing. I have learned to appreciate the month I spent in the hospital. I like to think the universe was slowing me down.

        I’ve also learned the ins and outs of having MS, for example sleep, sleep is vital, but it is also dangerous. I’m more likely to catch a common cold more frequently, that will last longer than in the average person, and not getting enough sleep will increase my chances of getting sick and/or relapsing along with stress. But if I sleep too much that can be a sign of my disease progressing. Stress is another factor that will present MS symptoms and/or increase them. Avoid stressful situations and stressful people!
         
        Do I miss being able to flip, play sports or be active in any kind of way without tripping myself or being overly exhausted? Hell yeah! Do I like going to the doctor once a month for infusion therapy to prevent my disease getting worse? No, but I am grateful to still be able to do everything on my own and live a semi normal life. I may not be able to run up steps, but I can run down! My motor skills in my left hand may be slower than the right and “stutters”, but I’m the best driver out my whole crew, might drive better than most men.

        (Copied and pasted from my google docs sorry about the spacing)

  12. 2A. I believe that the main enigma of “Silences” is how no one knew Chris’ tour of Afghanistan. I feel that this is the main enigma because all the characters, including the narrator, sound like they are good friends, and are just having a get-together. For being so close, however, they weren’t aware of this very major detail of his life. The buildup to this moment are the discussions about the loudest sounds and the most silent things they’ve all heard. The examples by each person show that the “loudness” wasn’t necessarily literal, as two people talking, a heartbeat, and a baby crying aren’t the loudest things in the world. Similarly, the most “silent” thing that Chris had ever heard happens to be much louder than any of the other “loud” sounds the others have heard. Interestingly enough, the revelation of the most silent silence leads to actual silence.

    3. I am a big user of many Google services. Mail, text, calendar, maps, Android, you name it. The services are stellar, which is why the alternatives tend to be subpar in comparison. From the efficiency to the user interface, these services clearly have had a lot of work done on them to appeal to the user. But as with all of the big-name tech companies, one issue that always prevails, regardless of how much they try to reassure us, is the privacy of our information. Once we enter information into one of these services, they have to go through Google’s servers and return back to us. One of my hobbies is to comb through all of my Google Settings and make sure that I deny them every single chance to collect and store information that they want to use to “make my life better.” But I don’t really know if doing this prevents them from keeping my information. Am I doing this because I actually believe that they won’t collect my information? Or am I doing this because it just makes me feel better in my head?

    1. Interesting and well-written post, Zean.  I like how you’ve described the central enigma of Johnson’s “Silences” although I wonder too whether the part of the plot involving Deirdre might factor in centrally as well.  (It seems like a lot of the conflict revolves around her: her and others wanting to see the amputation, her hesitation to kiss it, the question of whether she will agree to kiss it, and so on.)

      As for the second part of your post, I was wondering if you could approach this pre-essay material so that you emphasize the conflict a bit more.  Correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems like the conflict you’re attuned to here is the desire to use web-based services for nearly everything in life and also the desire for privacy.  I was wondering if you could think of specific scenes/events from your experience that connect to either side of this conflict—and which you could write about in order to lead your reader into thinking about it through storytelling (ie., ‘narrative’).

      Thanks

      M

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *