Monday, May 11, 2009

Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman was a poet who existed in a very conservative period of time. In his poems we can see the transition from Romanticism to Realism. His views, thoughts, and beliefs were so ahead of his time that he's almost considered revolutionary for writing such poem as, "Song of Myself". In this particular poem we can see Whitman talk about social attitudes and convictions involving sex, religion, and slavery/racism. He touched subjects that people from his time period wouldn't dare touch, and more importantly, he took these subjects and broke all rules and taboos imposed by society.

The 1800 hundreds' was a period in which the word sex was not openly said or talked about, but Whitman was the exception. We can see that, in paragraph three line forty six as he says, "Out of the dimness opposite equals advance, always substance and increase, always sex" This particular line can be considered a homosexual reference, but it also implies that he accepts all forms of love. In paragraph five line ninety five, Whitman argues that sex is expressing love, and that we are all bound together by love regardless of sexual preference because "all the men ever born are [his brothers], and the women [his] sisters and lovers–§. Whitman not only released individuals from taboos by talking about sex, but he also celebrated the human body. For example, in paragraph eleven starting in line two hundred and ten he says, "The beards of the young men "listen'd with wet", Little streams pass'd all over their bodies. An unseen hand also pass'd. It descended tremblingly from their temples and ribs." Clearly, Whitman was not scared of presenting reality, nor of praising the present (the here and now) because he thought life was beautiful, despite the fact, there was as much bad in the world as good.

Sex wasn't the only theme in Whitman's "Song of Myself," he also discussed the importance of religious tolerance. Within the poem, paragraph forty-three contains most of the religious and humanitarian concerns that Whitman felt. He referred to different kinds of religions, for instance starting in line 1102 he said, "Helping the llama [a Tibetan priest] or brahmin [a Hindu priest] "Walking the teokallis [a Aztec temple]" Accepting the Gospels "him that was crucified [a Christian reference in line 1106]." He doesn't want to pass judgment on people for what they believe in, on the other hand, he accepts everything for what it is and everyone for whom they are. However, we can feel he is troubled by, "the young man who died and was buried "the little child that peep'd in at the door, and" was never seen again "the old man who has lived without purpose"[and] him in the poor house tubercled [lines 1124-1128]. "Yet, within the same paragraph Whitman manages to emphasizes his optimism on the world as he says, "I do not know what is untried and afterward, But I know it will in its turn prove sufficient, and cannot fail [line 1121]."

A more delicate subject in this poem is the theme of slavery and racism. Slavery still was very prominent throughout the 18 hundred's and society considered it part of their life. For Whitman it was more of an opportunity to emphasize on black slaves and identified with them. For instance, in paragraph thirteen line two hundred thirty four Whitman says, "what is that you express in your eyes? It seems to me more than all the print I have read in my life." He obviously wasn't disturbed by the thought of racial mixture, as we can see in paragraph ten, when "The runaway slave came to [his] house" [and through the kitchens' door he] saw [the black slave] limpsy and weak "and [Whitman] assured him, brought water and fill'd a tub for his sweated body and bruis'd feet, gave him a room [close to his room] and gave him some coarse clean clothes" [until] he was recuperated and pass'd north" [lines189-197]. "He treated the slave as an equal and helped him heel his wounds by putting plaster on his neck and ankles. One way or another, Whitman tried to put himself in the shoes of the slaves and somehow understood the rejection the slaves received, perhaps because society rejected him as well, for the person he was. He felt people did not have the right to "call the tortoise unworthy because she is not something else, [and even though] the jay in the woods never studied [music], it still was able to sing pretty well" [lines 242-243]."

Whitman's sincerity is present in many parts of the poem, making it easy to believe he was different from other people. He's optimism over war, famine, pain, and horror gave him a positive attitude towards life. To him, the bad things in life came with the good things and that was reality; sometimes hard to accept until you've gone through a process. He broke many boundaries and bent many rules as he mentions sex experiences, religious concerns, and racial tolerance in his poem.

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Understanding Quebec

The Clarity Act and Bill 99 exist for one reason. That reason is because Quebec did not sign the Constitution. And because they are not technically part of Canada, Quebec wants to separate and this is how this whole thing started. But this essay will discuss this topic in more depth.

On November15, 1976, the PQ government was brought into power. They promised to have a referendum and on May20, 1980, they did. So make Quebec vote no on this referendum, Trudeau promised, that if Quebec votes no and they do not separate, he will make Quebec feel more at home. So because in 1980 Quebec voted no on the referendum, Trudeau had to keep his promise.

In 1982, Trudeau kept his word and he held a meeting with all the Premiers to make Canada a better place to live, including Quebec. But Quebec’s Premier, Rene Levesque, was not interested in making Canada better. The only thing he was interested in was to make Quebec better. During that meeting, Trudeau changed Bill 101 a bit, regarding the section on the education and the signs. Now if someone wanted to go to English school on Quebec, they were allowed only if their parents went to English in Canada, from kindergarten to grade 7. And English signs were allowed to appear but they had to be smaller and less frequent. All the provinces were happy and sign the Constitution except for Quebec. So because Canada forced Quebec to modify Bill 101, Rene Levesque was not happy at all. In fact, he was very angry and upset. Because he was upset, then, he did not sign the Constitution and the Constitutional Act failed. These two changes, in a way, prevented Quebec from signing the Constitution.

In 1987, there was another attempt to make Quebec sign the Constitution. Mulroney was the Prime Minister and his only concern was to make Quebec sign the Constitution so he can go down in history as one of the greatest PM of all of Canada’s history. So this meeting was in Meech Lake. Bourassa, the new Premier of Quebec, said Quebec will sign the Constitution if you meet these five demands. All the provinces agreed to them but they also agreed to go back home and ask their province what they think about it. Three years later, on the day of St. Jean Baptist, they met again. All the Premiers agree to sign the Constitution except for Manitoba and New Brunswick. Later Newfoundland pulls out of it too. These provinces did not trust Quebec because Quebec previously overturned the Supreme Court for the Freedom of Expression case. But then they all changed their minds and decided that they were going to sign it but because of Elijah Harper it wasn’t able to be discussed in their parliament. He did this because he didn’t think it was right that Quebec was going to be distinct before the natives do. So because of this, the Meech Lake Accord failed because not all the provinces signed it.

Bourassa was shocked that it failed so he claims that Quebec was Rejected, Humiliated and Victimized. So after, the Belanger-Campeau Commission was set up to ask Quebecers what do to. One year later, they come back and say this. Either we have a referendum and separate from Canada or Canada has to give us better offers.

To prevent Quebec from separating, Mulroney calls a meeting with all the Premiers. This was in 1992 and in this year separation was at its peak. So if Quebec had a referendum, Quebec would have separated. It was called the Charlottetown Accord. And the main purpose was to prevent Quebec from separating. Mulroney offers Quebec several things. Mulroney says to Quebec that these were excellent offers while he says to the rest of Canada that they are just okay. Anyways, there is a referendum across Canada, to see whether these offers were good or not. But in the end, the offers were too much for the rest of Canada and they were too little for Quebec. So the Charlottetown Accord failed.

Because of the failures of the Meech Lake Accord and the Charlottetown Accord, the Liberals were thrown out of power and the PQ went in power. They promise that there will be a referendum in exactly one year and that would be in October 1995. In that referendum, the PQ government cheated immensely. They lied on the Question persuading people to believe that Quebec established an Economic and a Political Partnership with Canada. This was not true. The agreement they signed was that Bourchard, Parizeau and Dumont would work together. Also, they did not register all the immigrants for the voting because they knew they would vote no. And when they counted the ballets, they many NO votes for several stupid reasons like that the x went passed the boundaries. They all told the NO voters to put their initials so it can be disqualified. But even after all the cheating, the NO side just won the referendum.

As a result of all the cheating and Quebec setting all the rules for the referendum, Canada was forced to come up with a plan. It was plan B. They would go to the Supreme Court of Canada to make them answer some questions referring to a referendum. The questions were 1) Who makes the Question on the referendum? 2) State he rules about winning the referendum. Or in other words, state the majority. 3) If the YES side wins, does Canada have to negotiate with Quebec? And 4) How big will Quebec be after the referendum, if they separate? The Supreme Court answered these questions and as a result Canada made a law out of this.

Canada passed the Clarity Act. It said that the House of Commons must first approve the Question. It also stated that the majority had to be clear and that Canada has to negotiate with Quebec if they vote YES on the referendum. And it adds that if Quebec separates, yes, they would be smaller in territory.

Quebec responded to the Clarity Act by passing Bill 99. It basically says that Quebec alone shall determine the Question. The majority is 50%+1 and the territory can not and will not be altered in any way.

In my opinion, the Clarity Act is more efficient than Bill 99. First of all, the Clarity Act comes from a higher source than Bill 99. So if this issue ever goes to court, the Clarity Act will always defeat Bill 99. This is because the Clarity Act comes from the federal government whereas Bill 99 comes from a provincial government. And the federal government is always superior to the provincial government. But besides that fact, the Clarity Act makes more sense than Bill 99 overall on all four issues. Canada should have a say on the Question in the referendum. They should be able to approve the question or not because the referendum not only affects Quebec but also Canada too. So if Canada is involved, they should have a say on the Question. Regarding the issue with the majority, the majority does not necessarily mean over 50% because it might not portray what exactly the population wants. For example, what if only 5% of the population voted on the referendum. Even if they voted Yes on the referendum, this is just a small percentage of the population and it definitely does not represent what the population as a whole would want. So regarding the majority, the turnout of the referendum must be analyzed along with the percentage of how many voted Yes and how many voted No. On the matter of negotiation, they both agreed to discuss the issue so there is no argument there. It is only fair that Canada discusses with Quebec separation. Negotiation does not necessarily mean that Quebec will separate. So negotiation is a must but only if Quebec votes Yes. But on the matter of the size of the territory, they differ. If Quebec does separate from Canada, Canada should make Quebec a lot smaller by taking land away from them. It is only fair. It was Canada, in the first place that gave that land to Quebec as a gift so it is only fair that they have the right to take it away from them. Also, a lot of natives live up north and they clearly say that they do not want to go and separate with Quebec. They want to stay in Quebec. So if that is their wishes then that is what they should get.

But even if the Clarity Act is superior to Bill 99, that won’t stop Quebec from doing anything because what if Quebec wants a referendum. So they write a question. If Canada rejects it, Quebec will still go ahead with that same Question because in their Bill it says that Quebec alone shall determine the Question. They believe that Canada should have no role in it. So if they go ahead with that Question and the public votes Yes, then Canada would have to negotiate. But they won’t because Quebec broken the Clarity Act by using the rejected Question. So Quebec would just separate. It would be called Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI). So if this happens then there might be a civil war within Canada. But for sure Canada will bring in the army. If Canada brought in the army for the FLQ crisis and the Oka crisis, which were relatively small compared to this, then we must conclude that Canada would call in the army. And maybe if things get heated up, there might be a civil war. So this could cause a lot of problems. This would happen if you chose the Clarity Act, though.

In conclusion, even though the Clarity Act may cause severe damage to Canada and its reputation, this is still a better and more effective law than Bill 99.

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UAE and India

History has stood evidence of the evolution, ancient civilizations, conquests and victories leading to the present modern world. Each land mass is unique and distinguished with varying cultures and traditions making it a topic of interest for study and research. U.A.E. and India are two such Asian countries, which have left a mark on the world map. Both have an amazing amalgamation of traditional values of the East and the modern technologies of the West, being a melting pot of various cultures living to together and working in harmony. On the other hand they also have humongous differences on geographical, economical, political and religious backgrounds.

Firstly, the phenomenal difference would be geographically. India is a sub-continent with a total area of 3,287,590 sq. km. whereas that of U.A.E. is 83,600 sq. km. Further; U.A.E. has a population of 3 million while that of India is about a billion! The natural features of India include the mighty Himalayan mountain range, the great many fertile river plains, valleys, plateaus and desert whereas the U.A.E. is largely a desert region. Therefore, in India one enjoys different climatic conditions at the same time in different parts but bin the U.A.E. there is a uniform climate pattern in all the seven emirates through the year. Secondly, India with 28 states has been independent from foreign rule for 50 years now and is the world’s largest democracy with a constitution that makes India a secular state, tolerant of religions and faith. The U.A.E. formation took place 25 years ago making it a federation of seven Emirates and is ruled by Sheiks almost making it a Monarchy.

Furthermore, the standard of living in India is comparatively low with a per capita income of USD 2000.However, the U.A.E. enjoys a standard of living that is comparable to the world’s most advanced nations with a per capita income of USD 16,500!!The population below poverty line in India is 35% while that in U.A.E. is 0%!!!In addition, India’s economy encompasses traditional village farming; modern agriculture, handicrafts and a wild range of modern industries including a boom in export software services. While the UAE economy is largely dependent on the oil resources and of late a boom in trade.

Inspite of these huge differences there are a few factors that strike a common note. India a secular country has different ethnic and religious groups living in coexistence and enjoy the same rights and although the UAE is an Arab Islamic country you find people from all over the world converging here. Both countries have one of the most liberal societies and have always paid host to numerous cultures. More over, India and UAE have deep cultural roots and traditions. Family values and keeping up with age-old customs and traditions, something every Indian and Arab takes pride in. They strictly abide by their National dress and retain their identity. Our palates have similarities too. Rice, bread, meat are staple diet forms communal gatherings and festivities are part of their rich heritage.

To crystallize India and the UAE are two distinguished Asian Countries each having achieved world recognition in the fields of technology and commerce. They are both friendly nations and promote universal brotherhood with family values being the focal point of their existence. The common chord is the rich cultural heritage that is the pride and honour of the countries.

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Edgar Allan Poe

How has Edgar Allan Poe's writing influenced detective stories? There have been many influential writers in the past but the one that stands out the most is Edgar Allan Poe. He has written many different pieces of literature ranging from love to murder. But in his murder stories there are many similar factors that emerge. It seems that for all of his murder and mystery type stories the killer always seems to find a way to give himself up. In a lot of his pieces, the police seem to perform very poor investigations but always seem to find out the truth through the killer being to cocky and pretty much giving himself up. For example in The Black Cat the main character was home free with his murder and became a little to confident and he told the police to come down stairs right by where he had the cat and his wife buried, he knocked on the wall, the cat made a noise and he got caught. A similar act happened in A Tell Tale Heart. This adds a little more suspense in the story and helps to serve for a more enjoying plot. Since Poe is such an influential writer, other writers look at his work and use his tactics of suspense in their stories, which occurs a lot in detective stories. Poe has really set the standard for the expectations on how detective stories are written. When writing a detective story it has become customary to refer to Poe's work.

In the story Murders of the Rue Morgue by Edgar Allan Poe, two women were killed while occupying a fourth room of a house on Rue Morgue. It is hard to understand where the killer had exited the room because it appears to be completely locked from the inside and the police are having a hard time finding a motive on why someone would try to kill these two ladies. But Mr. Dupin, an investigator steps in and solves the case. To solve the mystery Mr. Dupin used a process of deduction, which is different to other Poe stories because his characters usually do very poor investigations of the murders. Mr. Dupin uncovered the killer to be an orangutan that had escaped its owner. This also showed how hard of an investigation the police and Mr. Dupin had to perform in order to have justice.

In the story The Adventures of the Speckled Band by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the inspector, Sherlock Holmes, had to find out who killed a young women in her home. It was hard for him to find out who the killer was because there was no hard evidence that there was force involved. His first theory was that a gypsy or a band of gypsy's killed her but it did not make sense because this motive was missing some parts like she had no violent scars, or no sine of any kind of restraint so how would a person have killed her? He then was about to come to the conclusion that she died of a frightening disaster, but he decided to go se the victim's sister who found her right before she died. She said that her sister's last words were speckled band, which led him back to believe that the gypsies killed her. Then she told him that she heard a clanking noise, which she did not know where it came from, so this put him in a state of serious confusement. A little later he found Dr. Grimesby Roylott (the victims step father) dead in the corner of the same house. He then remembered that the doctor had brought some animals from India over to study from. After that he discovered that the woman had a rope hanging from her ceiling in her room from her ventilator, which led him to the conclusion that the doctor was using a snake to climb down the rope to kill his stepdaughter. This snake was the most deadly in all of India, so when it bit people it left no marks on them but it killed them within seconds, which explains why his gypsy theory did not make sense with no marks. This also made sense because the victim's last words were speckled band, which identifies the snake, and the clanking noise was identified as the snake in a safe after the doctor placed him in it. In this story Sherlock Holmes came up with many theories but narrowed it down by a process of elimination, which was also elevent in the story, the Murder of the Rue Morgue by Edgar Allan Poe. This alone shows that Edgar Allan Poe influenced other writers. When writing this story Doyle had to have had Poe in mind because he had a very similar investigation as in the Murder of the Rue Morgue.

The influence of these Poe stories on A. Conan Doyle was cardinal. Doyle himself publicly credits Poe; he modeled the Sherlock Holmes stories after Poe's highly successfully formula for detective fiction in these three stories: a detective of razor-sharp intellect, a bumbling narrator & a short-sighted police inspector. In 'The Murders in the Rue Morgue,' 'The Mystery of Marie Roget,' & ' The Purloined Letter,' Poe stretches the possibilities of literature. Essential reading in the detective fiction genre.

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Should Cigarettes Be Banned?

I strongly support illegalizing cigarettes due to their devastating effects on our society. One in every five deaths in America is due to tobacco. More than 400,000 Americans are killed by tobacco use every year and this trend continues as millions are still using tobacco products especially cigarettes. Every year, health cost and lost productivity costs the United States almost $150 billion. “For each pack of cigarettes sold in 1999, $3.45 was spent on medical care due to smoking, plus $3.73 in lost productivity, for a total cost of $7.18 per pack.” However, beside so many problems it “is the single most preventable cause of death in our society.”(American Cancer Society)

Tobacco originally grew in the Americas. Native Americans were the first one to use tobacco products and Christopher Columbus introduced tobacco to the Europeans, as he got tobacco leaves as gift from Native Americans. In earlier times it was considered as a mere cure to many diseases from toothache to cancer! And this is the main reason as to why it became so popular in Europe. However, in the 17th century there came a major reversal in the popularity of tobacco in Europe after it was found to cause addiction by Sir Francis Bacon. Since then the laws against tobacco had started to accumulate and in the same century Massachusetts banned smoking in public places. As time elapsed, more health risks about smoking were uncovered and eventually after the 1960's drastic health complications and hazards due to smoking became clearly evident to public through researches and reports such as “the Surgeon General’s report.”(University of Dayton)

Nicotine is “colorless liquid that turns brown when burned and acquires the odor of tobacco when exposed to air.” Nicotine was discovered in the early 1800’s and since then many researchers have tried to figure out how it acts on the human brain—affecting our desires. Most of the cigarettes available today contain at least 10 mg of nicotine. Nicotine is absorbed in the body from any tobacco product, from cigarettes it is absorbed by inhalation, from cigars, pipes and smokeless tobacco it is absorbed through the mucosal membranes. “Addiction is characterized by compulsive drug-seeking and use, even in the face of negative [dangerous] health consequences” and nicotine makes tobacco fit into this category. Addiction to cigarettes is what makes smokers not to quit smoking; nicotine is responsible for addiction in cigarettes and other tobacco products. Nicotine is addictive because of its unmatched ability in controlling the feelings of pleasure. The chief chemical involved in controlling the desire to use drugs is the “neurotransmitter dopamine.” And research shows that nicotine increases the level of dopamine in our nervous system. Almost every smoker admits that tobacco is harmful and some also try to quit smoking it but most of the time they fail in doing so as statistics show that only 7% of those who quit smoking “on their own” can live without smoking for more than a year. (National institute on drug abuse research report series)
As the smoker continues to smoke due to addiction he continues to take in other harmful chemicals contained in tobacco smoke. Cigarette smoke if found to contain at least 4000 ingredients of which 50 are carcinogens. Some of the commonly dangerous chemicals found in cigarettes smoke are “arsenic, acetone (used in paint stripper [ . . . ]), ammonia, carbon monoxide, cyanide, mercury [ . . .] lead.” Many dangerous diseases have been linked to occur due to these lethal substances. (Canadian Cancer Society)

Long lasting diseases like cancer, heart disease, and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) are all thanks to cigarettes. We saw drugs creating a disastrous impact on our children's future. We banned it. We saw health enhancers creating future problems with athletes. We banned it too. Now we have cigarettes in front of us which are still legal and are highly capable of causing severe tissue damage—causing lethal diseases-- and often leading to death.

Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of cancer mortality in the United States. It leads to the development of cancer of the lungs, kidneys, liver, larynx (voice box), larynx (throat), stomach and other body organs. Among all these cancers, lung cancer is the most easy to occur due to cigarette smoking as more than 80% of all lung cancer deaths are due to smoking; however, it is the most preventable form of cancer.

Cigarette smoking also effects the normal functioning of the lungs. At least 7 million people suffer from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) –chronic-bronchitis and emphysema. Chronic bronchitis occurs when there is excess production of mucus by the lungs to protect it from harmful chemicals found in cigarette smoke, and this forces the smoker to severely cough. Emphysema occurs when tiny sacs of tissue that make up the lungs are distorted. The smoke inhaled from a burning cigarette makes it extremely difficult for the lung sacs to function effectively and therefore restricting oxygen supply to the blood and this endangers the smoker’s life.

Heart disease is the number one killer in America. Cigarette is the fuel to heart diseases. Smoking weakens the heart and increases the risk of a smoker or a non-smoker getting a heart stroke. Not only that, smoking also diminishes the sensory abilities of smell, taste and touch. (American Cancer Society)

Whenever it had come to banning cigarettes in public places, the tobacco industry claimed that cigarette ban would be bad for businesses like restaurants and bars. The impartial Zagat survey of the impact of New York City’s smoking ban confirmed what every other credible survey has shown: Smoking bans are popular with the public and pose no economic threat to restaurants, bars or other businesses (American Heart Association). California banned public cigarette smoking in 1998 and saw economic growth. Non-smokers freely dined at their favorite restaurant without the worries of secondhand smoke.

At this time when national security is on the nation’s priority list, wouldn’t a clean environment for children be on our priority list? Doesn’t this give a clear hint why cigarettes should be banned? Many smokers have the feeling "it’s my life; I will do whatever I want to". In a democratic society as ours, that statement is true; however, if the actions by one person leads to harm to the other, then such actions are not tolerated. This is the case with smoking. When a smoker smokes, his/her smoke severely affects all those who are in his/her vicinity. Second hand smoke is more dangerous than “directly inhaled smoke” by smoker as it contains the same obnoxious ingredients but in greater quantity. Second hand smoke consists of mainstream smoke—smoke from the smoker’s lungs and side stream smoke—smoke from the burning of tobacco. Mainstream smoke is the same as “directly inhaled smoke.” Every year, second hand smoke kills more than 1000 people in Canada. Canada is sparsely populated when compared to the US. This should give us an idea how severely second hand smoke could affect people in the US, especially in populated cities. The risk of being attacked by second hand smoke is in almost every place. A person exposed to second hand smoke is at the same risk, or perhaps more, of acquiring the mentioned dreadful diseases as would be a smoker.
“In addition to the suffering and loss caused by second-hand smoke-related deaths and the direct medical costs associated with long-term illnesses, there are significant indirect costs related to second-hand smoke. These costs include: increased absenteeism, decreased productivity, higher insurance premiums, higher cleaning costs, increased property damage resulting from tobacco use by smoking employees.”

One can be a victim of second hand smoke “at home, at work, at school, in public places such as restaurants and bars, in vehicles such as the family car.” The risk of exposure to second hand smoke could be anywhere, and the only feasible solution to this problem is through illegalizing cigarettes. (Canadian Cancer Society)

When the nation is focusing on statements like: Our children are our future shouldn’t we be worried about our children’s health? Cigarette manufacturers have secretly manipulated doses of nicotine and subjected the “slow poison” to minors. Exciting commercials, misleading information dissemination and wide promotion has lead to an increase in teenage smoking. Nearly all-first use of tobacco occurs before high school graduation. Smoking hurts young people's physical fitness in terms of both performance and endurance—even among young people trained in competitive running.

“Teens who smoke are three times more likely than nonsmokers to use alcohol, eight times more likely to use marijuana, and 22 times more likely to use cocaine. Smoking is associated with a host of other risky behaviors, such as fighting and engaging in unprotected sex.”

Low nicotine cigarettes make children good bait. Subjecting children to flavored cigarettes with low nicotine content, a platform is made focusing on making children completely addictive so that they grow up and become a potential customer. A simple thought – would you like your children to start with a flavored poison only to see a loved one go in a direction you never wanted him/her to go? (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

If we all know that cigarette is a slow poison, why should we ever allow this menace to exist? A portion of people would argue that banning cigarette would cause cigarettes to enter the black market. This question was also raised when drugs were made illegal. Does this argument hold true in anybody’s mind now? Let us also demolish the black market of cigarettes if one arises! Drawings by artists that show a cigarette dangling in the mouth of a skeleton explain it all.

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Response to Literature

Writing a story can be as free and structureless as a free verse poem. Take "The Story of an Hour" by Kate Chopin and "The Black Cat by Edgar Allen Poe for example. Kate Chopin uses very little characterization and introduction at all. This can develop two different kinds of stories. One that slowly builds up plot and suspense and gives you a feeling of the character's personality, and one that jumps right into climax of story and keeps you excited to find out where story is going.

In Kate Chopin's "The Story of an Hour" we are only presented with the fact that Mrs. Mallard "was afflicted with heart trouble." We are given no more information of her personality nor are we given any information on her sister Josephine or her husband's friend Richard. The story then immediately begins with Josephine presenting the information to her sister that her husband has died, which is already the climax. The rest of the story is of extreme excitement and happiness so we stay rather peaked. This very quickly presents us with what the author is going to be talking about throughout the rest of the story. Mrs. Mallard takes no time to think, but explodes into tears of "wild abandonment." She then goes to her room where nearly the rest of the story takes place. We are presented with each and every emotion she goes through one after the other. "She could see in the open square before her house the tops of trees that were all aquiver with the new spring life." We see here her realization of freedom and the story goes on to give many more allusions to freedom for several paragraphs. There is brief explanation that Mrs.

Mallard's husband may have been a controlling man (Chopin 40). Then we experience a brief fall in emotion as Mrs. Mallard emerges from her room a new woman. We are then quickly launched back up as Brently Mallard arrives home and Mrs. Mallard shrieks in horror and passes away. Even the explanation as to how Brently shows up is extremely brief: "He had been far from the scene of accident, and did not even know there had been one" (Chopin 41).

In Edgar Allen Poe's "The Black Cat" we are given a very large introduction. It is basically an epilogue for a short story. The main character of the story presents himself as the author of the story. He then discusses his beliefs and that he himself does not believe in what he is about to write: "For the … narrative which I am about to pen, I neither expect nor solicit belief" (Poe 102). The narrator then describes how his own actions in this story have "terrified-have tortured-have destroyed" (102) him. Next he even goes all the way back to his infancy to present us with a characterization. He discusses his love for animals and his constantly being surrounded with pets by his parents. All this description of the narrator gives a feeling like we know him already. We are then introduced to his wife who is also very fond of pets. She tells him one story about how black cats are considered to be witches. This could very possibly be a foreshadowing for the rest of the story.

The story then introduces the next important character Pluto. Pluto, a cat, is given great attention and detail also. During this time we are also presented with the narrator taking on a drinking problem. This gives us a rise in action as the narrator's emotions are now slowly growing beyond his control. We then reach a climax where the narrator in a drunken stupor grabs his once faithful cat in an aggressive manner. The cat then bites his master who takes out a penknife and gouges out the cat's eye. The climax somewhat carries on with the narrator's next action being to hang the animal and get pleasure from it. Then we are presented with a fire, which takes the whole house of the narrator except for one wall. This wall has an image of a large cat with a rope around its neck, which leads us to believe this cat was quite truly a witch despite the explanation the narrator attempted to give. I am not sure if next the plot takes a fall in action or simply another rise in action to a second climax that could also be the conclusion.

The story basically seems to start anew with another cat (105). He once again grows very fond of the cat, then very disgusted with it. Finally, one night while going down some stairs with his wife, the cat trips him up and he is almost sent head first down the stairs. In extreme rage he lifts an axe to kill the animal, but his wife seized his hand. This further angering him he takes his hand back and kills his wife (106). This could be a second climax where the story can now have a third that is the conclusion. We do have a fall in action as the narrator buries the body in a wall and all is well for a while. There is rising action with visits from the police. One the final visit the police would have made the narrator ends up giving himself away and starts rapping on the wall with a cane. All of the sudden this caused a moaning sound to come from the wall and the police were tearing at it. This is our final climax and conclusion to the story as the police discover the body with a black cat resting upon its head (108).

It is now quite evident that a story can be satisfying and enjoyable to read without going to extensive introduction, body and conclusion. All authors have unique, individual styles which is what keeps us reading and interested. We want to experience all these styles so we can choose those we like and appeal most to our senses. Some of us like long, drawn out stories that give us the opportunity to get to know the characters and gives us intensified feelings or emotions. We want to experience a bond with the characters, and Poe helped us feel for the narrator. Then there's those of us who just want action and suspense right away and this is where Kate Chopin comes into play. All humans are different and all writers are different to quench our thirst for entertainment.

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Religion in Schools

Religion, faith, and belief are used interchangeably; yet are meant to express three very different ideas. Religion is the belief in a divine superhuman power or principle, such as the creator of all things. Faith, however, is belief without evidence and belief is the acceptance of something as true or actual. Acceptance is the key to the words faith and belief. To have faith in something you must first believe it and accept it. Everyone has faith and belief, but not everyone believes in a superhuman power.

The debate over the separation of church and state has been going on without end and has always been a hot topic of discussion. Many people have very strong opinions for or against the separation, and also there are those who have a circumstantial opinion. Part of the separation of church and state is the highly debatable subtopic of religion and prayer in public schools. While some believe that prayer in school is beneficial to the development of children and of their faith, others believe that it could completely denounce the faith. With so many religions and faiths in today’s world, how can it be determined which religion can be taught or practiced in school? Living in the “Bible Belt”, otherwise known as the south, I have heard many outrageous ideas on religion, faith, and beliefs as a whole. In the ninth grade I was told that I was going to hell because I did not go to church. This person believed that not going to church meant you had no faith and no beliefs. I was raised agnostic, without religion and church, but undeniably with beliefs and faith.

Public schools across the country have different clubs and organizations that support religion. The majority of these organizations are in support of one particular religion, whereas it should be for religion as a whole. In a school with many students, not every student will have the same religion. There is expected to be a wide variety of religions, which makes it impossible to please every student through organizations or even with courses at the school. Religion is something that should be very personal and private. Based on this, I do not believe that religion, more specifically “preaching” and prayer, should be integrated into public schools.

Everyone in the United States has the freedom to religion, the freedom to believe what he or she wants. In a poll conducted by USA Today, it was found that 71% of Americans believe the bible should be used in classes and 78% of Americans believe there should be prayer in schools. In another article in USA Today, the opinions of Al Gore and George Bush on this issue were reported. George Bush argued that religion and religious freedom should not be “stopped at the schoolhouse door”. Bush stated that “Religion is a personal, private matter and parents, not public school officials, should decide their children's religious training…I also believe that schools should not restrict students' religious liberties. The free exercise of faith is the fundamental right of every American, and that right doesn't stop at the schoolhouse door.”(USA Today)

Bush believes that religion is private for each person, and it is also their right to have their religion. While Bush’s opinion is very strong against prayer in public schools instituted by school officials, Al Gore had a very strong opinion as well. Al Gore states that “'Faith is not something that can be left at the schoolhouse door, and indeed the Constitution does not attempt to impose such an unreasonable standard. I support protecting religious freedom for all faiths. However, I oppose and I believe the Constitution prohibits mandated school prayer in public schools.”(USA Today)

Gore agrees with Bush in that religion and faith cannot be forgotten about when you step into school, but he also believes that the Constitution should be amended to “better” the rule on the separation of church and state to include the public school system. Religion is a private and personal matter and if it is brought in and instituted in the school system, there will be much conflict.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) believes that the Constitutional rights should be upheld in any governmental building or function. In a statement on the issue, the ADL said “history has demonstrated that the inevitable result of a union of government and religion is the destruction of freedom for those who believe differently from the majority.” (ADL) When religion is brought into schools, how is one to know which person belongs to which religious group without asking them? Without knowledge of this information, it would be discriminatory to institute religion into public schools. There would be no possible way to know which religious beliefs to allow in the school. There are certain approaches schools must take when teaching this subject matter. The schools position must remain neutral, objective, balanced and factual, according to the ADL. Also, the ADL explains “Teaching about religion is permissible when it is presented as part of a secular educational program. Such programs should teach the role of religion in the historical, cultural, economic and social development of the United States and other nations and should instill tolerance and respect for a pluralistic society.” (ADL)

It is impermissible to teach the teachings and beliefs of these religions in a manner of converting. It is all right to simply teach the foundations of world religions, thus they are the foundations of the world and society today. It is also unconstitutional for educators and school officials to teach religion and unconstitutional for school wide, student lead prayer.
Different people have different opinions. Whether it is about race, heritage, gender, people have many different thoughts and feelings towards these subjects. However, religion and prayer in public schools is an important issue. School officials, religious officials, and governmental officials need to realize that prayer in school is not feasible. It will not be practical to recite prayers over the intercom system or at school events. It is not fair to those who do not read from the Bible, Torah, Koran, or any other religious book. Imagine going to religious service, and having someone read out of a book you do not know the prayers of. Imagine that this belief, this religion, and the prayers being recited to you contradict what you were expecting and what you know. This would be unfair, and maybe somewhat of a disheartenment. Putting religion and prayer in schools, where it does not belong, causes the same feeling, a feeling of discomfort and unfairness. Religion is a right that everyone has, and to institute it into a public school, where there are bound to be children with different religions, is the same as denying someone of their rights and taking them away. It is discrimination against whichever religion is not taught. While prayer and religion may help aid in development, not every child or every person will develop the same. Different backgrounds, including religion and culture, produce different results. Religion should not be allowed in public schools, it would cause more harm than it will do good.

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