Essential Questions English - Lauren Thomson

What are the different types of power?

  • physical
  • emotional
  • financial

How are they attained?

Power is something that has to be worked for. You have to endure struggles and hardships to get to a position in your life where people look up to the kind of person you are. To have power means you have people who respect you. Power is either something you gain because of the lifestyle you live or the life that you have lived. You can gain physical power by strengthening your body and getting stronger. Emotional power is something that is very personal. If you believe in yourself you have power. Your brain is a very important part of your body and the power it gives you can either control your body in a positive or negative way. Financial power is something you have to work for. Having financial power means you own physical property or shares in a business. This gives you power over the people who work below or for you. It can be very rewarding, but can also cause a lot of stress on your body and mind.

Is it human nature to want power?

Everyone is born with some type of power. Power is very appealing to the people in today's society. It allows you to have more control not only on yourself, but over others as well. Power can be a good thing, but can also be a bad thing. It is full of risk taking and most people like a challenge. Power can be had in different amounts. The harder you work for it, the more power you will attain.

How do people react to those in power?

All people react differently to power, some better than others. Having a lot of power means that you have control over something or someone. In most cases people don't like being controlled by others. They find safety in having full control over themselves. Sometimes people look up to certain leaders. They may follow trends or ideas and go along with the leaders plans so that they, themselves can gain more power and respect. Other people may disagree with those in power, and depending on the severity this can cause arguments and even on a larger scale, wars. There may be many things that influence how react to those in power. Depending on your beliefs, that may help you decide if you disagree or agree with the person who holds power. A person may have more respect to someone with power if the person in power is respectful and responsible. If they can form a good bond with others, it makes people feel more comfortable and trusting.

How do people react when they have power?

Having power over someone or something requires a lot of responsibility. All humans act differently when they have a task to complete or if they are under pressure. Having power can be stressful, but it can also be very rewarding. If you show respect to those who follow or look up to you than most likely they will respect you back. Having mutual respect is key to success in life. People will look up to you and will go along with your ideas and plans. Having people support you is important if you want to run a business or organization. If you don't respect the people you have power over they won't want anything to do with you, and therefore will make your life more difficult. It will be harder to get things done, and progress in life. Depending on how people react to having power can come from their background, and experiences growing up. If it is something they have always had an abundance of, they are more likely to take it for granted opposed to someone that has had to work hard to get any power they have.

How do the decisions we make influence how others see us?

Decision making is something that every person does on a daily basis. Some decisions can determine our next few seconds, while others can shape our future. Making good decisions isn't always as easy as it may seem. Depending on whether you think with your brain or your heart can play a huge factor on the outcome of your decision. A logical decision can be made if you take the time to think about all of the other possible options, but time isn't always of the essence. People are quick to judge you on the decisions you have made in the past, and easily remember the ones you may now wish you hadn't made. People have respect for people who take the time to make a good decision. Generally speaking, these people appear smart and well off. For some reason people in society look up to good decision makers. They aspire to be just like them, where in reality, yes good decisions are important, but it is also sometimes necessary to mess up and make a wrong choice once in a while. This teaches you how to pick up the pieces. It helps you learn from the wrong, to next time make the right choice. Everyone makes mistakes, and no one is perfect. This is reality, but making mistakes in society today will leave an ever-lasting impression. People find it easier to gossip over the negatives instead of praising the positives, and it is because of this that making the right decision can be so stressful.

How do the decisions we make influence how we see ourselves?

Making the right decision is hard, but it makes you feel good about yourself. Making the wrong decision is something that may eat you up for your entire life. In life we as humans strive to impress ourselves, and make ourselves feel happy. Making the right decision boosts self-esteem. It makes you proud of yourself. It may have been tricky to come up with the best choice, but in the end you know you did the right thing, and for that reason you feel joyed. Making the wrong decision can be detrimental. A wrong decision may upset you, and make you feel ashamed. It isn't always easy making decisions, and you can't always be right. It is necessary in life to make both good and bad decisions. You need to learn and grow in order to advance in life.

Is it possible to redeem one's self after a bad decision?

Making bad decisions may feel like the end of the world sometimes, but it is necessary if you want to grow. Sometimes the only way to learn things in life is the hard way. Everyone messes up, some greater than others but it gives you a chance to learn from your mistakes, and teaches you what to do differently next time. Making the wrong decision gives you a second chance to make a change, a change for the better. There are always new roads, and a different path that will take you to your desired destination. There may be some bumps along the road, but as long as you make it to where you intended on going, that means you have learned from your mistakes and have risen above them.

What are various ways people react to injustice?

In general, people don't react well to having injustice in their lives. As humans we like to have total control, and want things to always be fair for ourselves. When we are faced with injustice we often get frustrated and act out in different ways. When a little child is faced with a mild case of injustice they throw a fit and cry until they get what they want. In some ways adults act the same. They throw a fit until they get their way. People want justice, because justice means answers. As a human race we struggle with the unknowns in life. We are always coming up with new ways to learn more about the people and world we live in.

What influences our reactions to injustice?

Ever since childhood we have had to face different situations of what we felt was injustice. Depending on how you reacted and how your parents taught you to handle these situations is probably a good representation of how we react to injustice situations today. If when we were little our parents always gave in, now we will most likely never give up and throw a fit when we don't get our way. If our parents taught us to explain our concerns and talk out our problems we are likely now have a calmer approach at getting what we want.

How does empathy affect our views on people and our reaction to them?

Empathetic people are those who understand and share feelings for another person. Most empathetic people really care about the well-being of others. We want to surround ourselves in life with people who will be there for us, and understand the struggles and hardships we go through in life.

How is empathy connected to struggles and suffering?

Having empathy for someone who is enduring struggles in life or are suffering in some way is human nature. Everyone deep down feels some of the pain that they are going through. They see themselves in their position, and that gives them a better understanding of what that person must be going through.

How do story, poetry, media, and drama build our empathy and compassion towards others?

Everyday we will experience one if not all of the following in our day to day lives; story, poetry, media and drama. The goal for all of these devices is to catch our attention and play with our emotions. Compassion and empathy is something that everyone has somewhere in their bodies and minds. Being exposed to these devices and their messages that make you feel empathetic gives us exposure to different situations. It opens our minds and makes us feel empathy towards different people.

After Poetry Thoughts

What are the varying ways that people react to those in power?

After reading the poem "Not Just Another Math Problem" by Sarah Kay, my initial thoughts about how people react to power were confirmed. This poem is written from the point of view of a teenager. The teenage male is frustrated with how adults overlook and underestimate teenage capabilities. The adults feel like they hold power and importance over the teenagers, and this creates frustration. They are seen as having more power because of their age and experience with life. In the poem the speaker refers to many of the negative things that teenagers do. They do these negative things because they are frustrated with those in power and how they get treated so they act out for attention. For example in the poem the speaker says, "Where kids are losing all concentration/And trying to suppress their hard-earned education." (Kay 5-6). This shows that kids have the capability to do great things but are deciding against this because of the frustration with the power that the adults hold.

Is it human nature to want power?

The poem by Sarah Kay, mentioned above confirms that most people strive the have some form of power in their lives. The speaker of the poem feels that teenagers in general need more power and acknowledgement. The speaker says, "Take the youth of the world,/add education, knowledge, and opportunity." (46-47). These teenagers want to show that they are capable of doing great things, but they need power to do so.

How do people react when they have power?

"Not Just Another Math Problem" portrays the adults who have power as very judging people. The poem references many of the stereo-types of teenagers. These adults think that hip-hop, rap, clothes and advertisements affect how teenagers react and make decisions. In a way this is true, but it is not the only factor that decides their decisions. Because the adults hold more power over the teenagers they are quick to jump to conclusions and make assumptions. But as the speaker says, "We are not scared of dying for a cause;/We are scared of not finding a cause worth dying for." (25-26). This quotation shows that teenagers truly care about society and having a positive impact on the world. They are not all wrapped up in the stereo-types that adults think.

How is empathy connected to struggles and suffering?

In the poem "Mother to Son" by Langston Hughes, there is a strong message of struggle and suffering. The speaker of the poem is a mother who tells her son about the journey of life. She tells him about all of the hardships he will have to endure, and that "Life for me ain't been so crystal stair." (Hughes 1) The speaker refers to many of the difficult things in life and how you have to never give up. When the speaker says, "And sometimes goin' in the dark/Where there ain't been no light." (12-13) it really makes you think about how she felt. It makes you put yourself in her shoes and see things from her point of view. Because of all of the struggles and suffering she has had to endure you start to feel empathetic because you know that her journey has not been easy.

How does empathy affect our views of people and our reactions towards them?

After hearing the speakers story in the poem "Mother to Son" you really got a good idea of what kind of things she had to go through. The empathy you feel towards her really shows that she is tough. After reading this poem I gained a lot of respect for her. I know she went through a lot of struggles, but she overcame them and that was very inspiring.

Thoughts After Reading Kite Runner

How do the decisions we make influence how we see ourselves?

As mentioned in my initial thoughts, making the right decision isn't always easy. This is demonsrated throughout the novel Kite Runner. The main character, Amir is placed in a trumatic situation where he is forced to make a quick decision, and the decision he chose is one that haunts him for the rest of his life. Amir did not have the time to stop and think about all of the possibilities, fear and shock froze his body and his mind from thinking logically. He wanted to help, but the muscles in his body would not allow him to move. This bad decision wasn't the only one that Amir makes in the book, and these decisions are both ones that he wishes he never made. A bad decision can stick with you for a very long time, and in the book you really get to see how it makes Amir feel and act. Dealing with the guilt he carries is hard for him, and this guilt causes him to make more bad decisions. Amir is ashamed of what he has done, and doesn't want the people he loves most to find out, so it makes him act out in a way that he normally wouldn't. he doesn't like the person these bad decisions have made him into. As bad as these decisions were, later in life Amir learned his lesson and had to deal with the negative things and bad consequences that came. This book confirms my initial thoughts on how you see yourself after making a bad decision. You feel ashamed and are angry with yourself. In this case, the decision was bad enough that it stays with Amir for his whole life. The book showed very clearly that it isn't always easy to make the right decision and sometimes in life you have to make a bad decision in order to learn and grow as an individual.

How do the decisions we make influence how others see us?

In my initial thoughts I stated that people look up to individuals that make good decisions. They see them as positive role models and want to have them in their lives. Amir's father Baba, is portrayed as a very seccessful man who has made many good decisions in his life to get him to where he is. Everyone looks up to him, and respects him. He has built an orphanage, helped people out financially when they are in need, provided a good life for his son, and takes care of the people in his community. Near the end of the book, your thoughts on Baba are immediately changed when you find out he has been hiding a huge secret from the people he loved most. When you find out about this, as a reader you automatically judge Baba on what he has done, and lose all respect you had for him. You are almost angry, even though you don't know the full story as to why Baba made this decision. This same thing happens in life. When people find out about a bad decision they jump to conclusions and gossip. This bad decision that Baba made impaced the lives of the people who were most loyal to him his entire life, but there was some reason he chose to make this decision, and it is not up to us to judge him, because in most cases, you never hear all sides to the story.

Is it possible to redeem one's self after a bad decision? How? Or why not?

Making a bad decision as mentioned above is something that can stick with you for your entire life. In the book Amir is presented with a situation where he has a chance to make up for what he has done and redeem himself. Amir is hesitant at first due to the difficult situations he might face, but he knows that this is what he has to do to make up for the bad decision he made. As mentioned in my initial thoughts, making the wrong decision hopefully teaches you what to do better next time. I think that Amir's efforts to change what he has done, redeem the bad decisions he made earlier on in the book and show growth as an individual. As long as you are growing, and learning what the right thing to do is, I think it is possible to redeem a bad decison made.

What are the varying ways people react to those in power?

People don't like being controlled by others as mentioned in my initial thoughts. When the Taliban takes over in the book, people don't know what to do, and all react differently. Some are desperate to have power so they join, and others are too scared to do anything and hide or run. The Taliban are very intimidating, and in the book it says that the Taliban show their power mostly by intimidation. An example of this is when Amir is told not to look a Taliban member in the eye because they holf more power over him and couldn serously hurt him. Many people tried to escape Afghanistan to get away from the Taliban, because they didn't know what these people would do with all the power that they held. Even if the people disagreed with what the Taliban stood for they were too scared to stand up and defend their thoughts because their life could be put in danger.

How do people react when they have power?

I agree and disagree with my initial thoughts on how people react when they hold power. I agree with the fact that if you give respect as a leader holding power you will get it back, but if you don't show respect people won't like you, will go against you and will want nothing to do with you. After reading Kitte Runner you can see that many people are against everything that the Taliban stands for. They despise what they are doing to the people of their country but they can't do anything about it. And this is where I disagree with my initial thoughts. The people of Afghanistan couldn't do anything to push back against the Taliban. They were furious that they held power but knew if they spoke up they would be executed. They couldn't go against them, because they held too much power. They pretty much held your life at the tip of their fingers.The Taliban would do anything to show the people of Afghanistan that they are in charge. For example in the book, they stone people to death, hang people and abuse people. There is no need for this, but they do it to show that they have power.

Thoughts after Macbeth

What are various ways people react to injustice?

At the beginning of the play Macbeth is a very successful, loyal, happy, General for the Scottish army. When he finds out that King Duncan will be appointing his position to his son, Malcolm, Macbeth becomes upset. He thinks that this decision is unjustified. He feels like he has earned that spot as King more than Malcolm. After hearing his prophecies from the Three Witches, Macbeth is told that he will one day become King. Macbeth feels like his time should be now. Macbeth acts out negatively towards this injustice. Macbeth talks with his wife Lady Macbeth and she convinces him that he should kill Duncan so that he can become King. This injustice that Macbeth felt caused him to lash out and go to extremes. As mentioned in my initial thoughts, people don't react well when they have injustice in their lives. They feel like they need to solve the problem or situation to gain justice. Macbeth demonstrates this throughout the play when he can't settle for what he has. He always wants more and will do whatever he can to get it. When he feels what he thinks is injustice in his life he is determined to fix it.

What influences our reactions to injustice?

In my initial thoughts I said that your parents play a huge part with how you deal with injustice, but that wasn't really relevant to the play Macbeth. In the play you never get to hear about his parents so you can't really tell if they had anything to do with how he dealt with the injustice in his life. The Three Witches kind of played the part as the parents and had a big role in how Macbeth reacted to injustice. They are the ones that told him about all of the things that were going to happen in his life. When things didn't go according to plan, or how the witches told him, Macbeth would get upset and take matter into his own hands, even if it meant taking someones life. Lady Macbeth also influenced how Macbeth reacted to injustice because she convinced him to kill Duncan. She told him that he deserved to be King and that he shouldn't settle for anything other than that.

Is it human nature to want power?

After Macbeth is given the prophecies from the Three Witches he becomes obsessed with gaining more power. Once he is given a taste of power he just wants more. This confirms my previous thoughts that yes, it is human nature to want power. When Macbeth gains the position as King, he goes to extreme measures to ensure he keeps that position. He becomes fearless. This is shown when he says, "What's he That was not born of woman? Such a one Am I to fear, or none." (Shakespeare 5.7) This quote is saying that he is not afraid of anyone taking his position. He thinks this because the witches told him that the only person who could dethrone him would be someone born from a woman. Because of the power he has, he becomes too comfortable with the position he has.

How do people react when they have power?

There are various characters that are given positions of power in the play Macbeth. Each one of them uses their power differently. For example, when Duncan is king Scotland is peaceful. The country is run well, and he controls all the problems. He treats his people with respect, and they respect him back. When Macbeth is the king he neglects the people of his country. He kills people to keep his position as king and has no respect for anyone, not even his own wife. The country is pretty much falling apart, just because he is too obsessed with keeping his power. This play confirmed my initial thoughts that if you give respect you will get it. Duncan was a respected man because he offered it. Macbeth was the complete opposite and that eventually cost him his life.

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