Sunday, January 30, 2011

Comparative Commentary

Text A, an article from HIGH, Mountain Sports magazine, and the poem “Breathless” by Wilfred Noyce both deal with the same experience, mountain climbing. Their themes, general statements on human nature or experience, are similar with minor differences. They used literary techniques such as imagery (creating an image through words) and diction (word choice) for similar purposes, but in different ways. Also, they used similar techniques but for different purposes.

Both authors address the concept of determination in their themes. Text A says that in order to experience the captivating beauty of nature you must be able to endure the hardships that come along with it; thus you must have qualities that make you enduring such as determination, “Summits such as Cook have irresistible climbing appeal but are unnerving in reality.” Text B, on the other hand, talks about the importance of self motivation and determination when aiming for something. Both themes acknowledge that the goal is only part of the experience. Although the speaker in the first text is very passionate about the beauty of nature and the experience itself, he recognizes that reaching the summit was only part of the experience, “Rather than giving satisfaction, they reinforce the sense of urgency that is essential in mountaineering. There was still much to do. Celebrations would have to wait.” Acknowledging that the goal is only part of the experience is one of the enduring qualities that a mountain climber must have, thus in relation to the theme, if you want to experience the beauty of nature you must acknowledge the fact that reaching the summit is only part of the journey. The speaker in Text B also realizes that the reaching the top is only part of the journey. He is struggling throughout his climb to the top, “One step, one heart-beat, stone no nearer, dragging feet.” His emphasis on the struggle of the climb to the top makes it exceptionally clear to the reader that the experience of mountain climbing is composed of multiple journeys. In spite the struggle of the first journey, the speaker in text B managed to go on through determination and self motivation.

Quite an extensive amount of imagery is used throughout both writings. The use of imagery is used to strengthen the understanding of the theme to the readers. A significant amount of visual imagery is included in Text A. The visual imagery was created through the extensive use of adjectives of positive connotation and figurative language such as metaphors and personification. By creating beautiful images in the reader’s mind, the author strengthens his theme which talks about experiencing the beauty of nature. Text A does not have a focus on the drawbacks of mountain climbing as Text B does, thus the author has a more positive outlook on the subject itself. Words of positive connotation are used to describe the view the speaker sees and thus the reader is not discouraged from mountain climbing, and is able to identify with the theme because he/she can picture the captivating beauty of nature, “The Tasman Sea was hidden by a low blanket of white cloud”. Metaphors are also used to beautify nature and it helps the reader identify objects he is familiar with and nature, “The mountains were black silhouettes against the brightening sky”. Through personification the author makes nature seem larger than life, “Once over the summit rocks, the sun climbed higher and we daubed our faces with sunscreen”. Tactile imagery is used in Text B in order to create an emphasis on the struggle of the climb towards the top. The imagery used is so effective that the reader feels that he is going through what the climber is going through, and thus empathy is created. The repetition of the struggle to breathe makes you feel like you are also struggling to breathe, “Lungs pant, dry air, sorry scant.” The reader comes to a complete understanding of the struggle of the climb, and since words of negative connotation are used, the reader is discouraged into mountain climbing. There is also a degree of visual imagery used, in the sense that you can picture the speaker, an exhausted, lonely person who finds every step forward a struggle. The tactile imagery helps to formulate the visual image of the speaker. Through familiarizing the reader with the feelings the speaker is feeling, the reader was able to picture the speaker.

The purpose of the first text was to convey the theme, while the purpose of the second text was to share a personal experience. Text A was found in a Mountain Sports Magazine, thus it was inferred that the author wanted to directly tell people that mountain climbing is a beautiful experience, but a hard one, and the person has to be up to it. The fact that it was in a mountain sports magazine implies that the reader takes the sport seriously, thus the author wanted to say that it is a serious task that requires determination. The author successfully achieved his purpose through imagery and diction. Text B was written at a height of 6.5 Km, thus the reader infers that it is a personal experience. Although “I” and “me” are not used, it is obvious that it is a personal experience. The author wants to share his struggle and familiarize the readers with it, and did so by the use of tactile imagery.

The atmospheres in the two texts are completely different than one another. In simple terms, Text A could be describes as light, and Text B as dark. The first text seems to have a calm, peaceful atmosphere, while the other text seems to have a unnerving, depressing, and frustrating atmosphere. The visual imagery in the first text greatly helps establish the peaceful atmosphere, “The snow beneath broke and crunched like shards of glass.” Glass breaking is usually not associated with positive atmospheres, but the comparison of the glass breaking to the snow breaking creates a beautiful mental image that calms the reader. Also, the positive diction used greatly contributes to the positive atmosphere. Finally, you do not feel that the speaker himself is nervous or tired, he seems calm and is experiencing the beauty of nature to its fullest. The tactile imagery in Text B adds to the atmosphere. By feeling what the speaker is feeling, you can have a vivid sense of what the atmosphere is like, it is depressing, unnerving, and somewhat frightening, “Grind breath, once more then on.” The reader can imagine himself in the position of the author and thus can familiarize with the atmosphere. The words of negative connotation greatly contribute to the negative atmosphere, “dry air”. The atmospheres of both texts can be linked to the themes, the author of Text A created a positive atmosphere in order to emphasize on the beauty of nature, while the author of Text B created a negative atmosphere in order to emphasize on the struggle of the climb.

Samar Al Ansari
Grade 11.5

Monday, January 24, 2011

A Four Year Old

“Lady, you look old”,
This is what I was told
By a four year old.

I asked, “Why, my little dear?
Is it so evident and clear?
Speak, you’ve nothing to fear.”

She said, “Because you look so sad,
You don’t seem happy or glad
And with dark colors you’re clad.”

Tears fell from my eyes,
It took a minute for a child to realize
What can be missed by the old and wise

That my heart is broken,
My life shaken,
And my joy forever taken.

Bless her as she was able to see
What I tried to hide inside me.
From her eyes, I couldn’t flee.

Randah R. Hamadeh, 2011, Copyright©

Written in loving memory of my daughter
Samar Ahmed Al Ansari (4/4/1988-4/9/2006)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Love conquers all obstacles

Darius screamed and sat up running his fingers through his sweat-drenched hair. He had just woken up from a nightmare; he dreamt that he died without ever experiencing love. He then stayed up the remainder of the night thinking about love.” Will I ever love?” he thought. He looked around his average house wondering if he will ever have the privilege to love (Kramer 89).

The next morning he wore his leather sandals (Flaherty 27). He looked at his reflection in a bowl of water, and combed his fingers through his thick dark hair; he was picture perfect! Darius set off to work. It was 1760 B.C. and his tenth year at being a scribe. At thirty years’ old he managed to be more successful than ever. He walked out into the streets of Sumer’s Isin, the newly conquered city-sizete by King Kim- Sin of Larrsa (Encarta 2003 Encyclopedia). Although Kim-Sin was a conqueror, Darius adored because under Kim-Sin scribal annals prospered (Encarta 2003 Encyclopedia).He passed through the crowded bazaar and set up at his stand, seeing his fellow scribe friend, Ishtar.

-“Good morning”, Ishtar, said Darius

-“Yes, you are right, it is a good morning”, Ishtar replied.

-“Hah…!” sighed Darius sleepily.

-“Didn’t catch any sleep last night, did you? Were you thinking of love again?”

-“Am I that transparent, Ishtar? My friend, the only reason for me to live is hope of loving someone.”

-“ I will not lie to you Darius. Love feels great, you feel intoxicated all the time. Believe me, I have loved before.”

-“What? When was this?”

-“Many years ago, my friend. Many years ago…..”

-“Excuse me men, which one of you is Darius?” said a large man.

-“ I am . How can I assist you kind sir?” replied Darius.

-“I come to you from my master Hammurabi in Babylon. He has heard of you Darius, and is quite impressed with your work. He would like you to accompany me back to Babylon to be his personal scribe.”

-“I would be honored.”

-“Excellent. Be ready at sunrise tomorrow, I will pick you up here. Good day.”

Hammurabi’s messenger left and Darius jumped with excitement. He worked the rest of the day till sunset, and exchanged goodbyes with Ishtar. As Darius hugged Ishtar, he couldn’t control the tears from flowing down his face. Ishtar saw this and reassured Darius that they will see each other again, if not in this life, in the after life.

It was morning, and Darius was ready to travel. He had all his necessities, and made his way through the bazaar saying goodbye to the things he may never see again. He met Hammurabi’s man, and they rode a two –wheeled chariot that was pulled by horses (Kramer 104).Then they reached the Euphrates River and rode a small wooden boat (Kramer 104). For two days, Darius sat there thinking about his new life and remembering his past life. They finally arrived and went on a chariot ride to Hammurabi’s palace, in what seemed like a few minutes. Darius entered the palace and couldn’t believe his eyes. It was a beautiful place composed of 300 rooms (Jacobs 37). He walked into the throne room, and saw the beautiful floors and walls covered with reed mats, skin rugs, and woolen hangings (Kramer 89). He sat down on a beautiful high backed-chair which was decorated with gold. Hammurabi’s palace was so different from Darius’s simple one storey and brick house. A beautiful lady came up to Darius wearing something very revealing offering him a platter of pomegranates, apples, pears, plums, figs ,and pistachios (ghs.phila.k12). He wasn’t very hungry, but took some grapes just to be polite. The grapes tasted fresh and sweet, like they were just plucked off the tree. The sweetness of the grapes cut through his tongue like a blade. Music was playing and he could hear the voice of a beautiful lady praising Hammurabi. Then Hammurabi entered.

-“Ah, Darius, just the man I wanted to see.”

-“Your grace, I feel honored to be here”, said Darius as he bowed down.

-“Yes, yes, come to dinner, we will talk about business later.”

Darius walked into the dinning and saw the most beautiful feast. He saw the finest baked fish and a gorgeous grilled lamb garnished with vegetables. Darius then set his eyes on the most beautiful woman he ever saw. She was tall, slim, had olive colored skin, and long dark hair. Her green eyes met Darius’s dark brown eyes and together they made hazel. Although he never loved before, he was sure he was in love.

-“ Darius, this is my dear daughter, Inanna, said Hammurabi .”

-“ Pleased to meet you your grace,” said Darius as he bowed down to her .

-“ It is not necessary to bow down for me kind sir”, replied Inanna.

All three of them sat down and enjoyed their feast, as Darius talked about Isin. After dinner, they went to the courtyard to do some talking.

Darius tell me some more about KingRim-Sin.”

“Well he…”

“Your highness, we need you urgently,” said some servants.

“We’ll continue our talk later Darius, feel free to talk with Inanna,” said Hammurabi as he was leaving.

“Darius, what interests you most in life?” said Inanna.

“Love, your grace”.

“There is no need to call me ‘your grace’, it is so formal! Love, huh?

That is interesting. Personally, I have never loved, or ever love for that matter. I will probably marry some rich king. ”What about you?”

Then they both stared into each other’s eyes for what seemed like a lifetime for Darius. Then Darius finally returned from his day dream and said: “ I have never loved, Inna…..but I’m beginning to.”

That was when Innana gently placed her lips on his and kissed him tenderly caressing his tongue with hers. She ran his fingers through his thick dark hair and whispered in his ear:

“I’m beginning to love as well.”

She left the room, and Darius went on his way to his sleeping chambers. He slept peacefully, knowing that he began to love. He woke up at sunrise thinking that if Hammurabi ever found out about his love to Hammurabi’s daughter, he would be a dead man. Then he heard a knock on the door and someone asked him to join Hammurabi at the breakfast table.

“Darius, let’s get down to business. Your first scribal job is to write to all the leaders of city states which are Babylon’s allies, saying that I Hammurabi, king of Babylon will defeat Kim-Sin and invade Isin to unite Sumer (Kramer 72)”.

When Darius heard this he felt as if his heart fell to the floor. Hammurabi then left the table saying that he would like Darius to send them out as soon as possible. Darius just sat there for what felt like hours, until Innana appeared more beautiful than ever. She made sure no one was watching and planted a kiss on his moist lips. She sensed Darius was troubled but Darius couldn’t tell her about her “evil” father. After they exchanged romantic feelings and gestures, Inna left and told Darius how much she loved him. Darius was in such a dilemma! If he warned Isin about Hammurabi, Babylon would suffer thus Innana would suffer. Also Hammurabi could get hurt, and Innana would be in so much pain. But if he didn’t warn Isin, his people would die.

Darius got out his clay tablets from the Euphrates River and sharp fork to write with (Jacobs 43).He started writing to all Babylon’s allies informing them on the invasion. As he wrote, he could not stop tears from rolling down his sweaty cheeks. All he wanted was to become a man of love and now he was turning into a man of hate. He gave the clay tablets to the messenger, and was sitting in his chambers crying until he heard a knock on the door. He opened the door and it was his friend Ishtar. Ishtar noticed his friend’s unhappiness and Darius had no choice but to reveal everything to him.

“What’s in your heart, Darius?”


“Love for Isin, or for Innana?”


“Then save both.”

Darius then told Ishtar to leave to warn RIM-Sin, and that after the battle he and Innana would elope.

Two days later, Darius was back in Isin ready for battle. But then they heard a loud noise,it was a stampede of people from Isin ready for battle, with Kim-Sin as their leader.

“Who told them?!”Exclaimed Hammurabi.

Courage burst in Darius’s body and he exclaimed:” I told them! This is my home, I will not allow you to destroy it.”

Hammurabi took out his bow and arrow and said:” An eye for an eye ,you betrayed me, I will betray you.”

Then he shot Darius with his bow. Innana saw this and ran to Darius .She pledged:” I will love you forever Darius, forever!”

“As will I, Innana, as will I “, said Darius having his last breath.

Darius died a happy man because he died knowing that he was loved. He died with the love of his lady and the love of his home in his heart.

Samar Al Ansari
Class 9.2
March 19th 2003

Friday, January 14, 2011

سأعود أمي

لقد كنت قبل سويعات معها أتكلم

خرجت من المنزل دون أن تودع أو تسلم

سأعود أمي"، وعن موتها المحتوم لم تكن تعلم"

، وفجأة رن الهاتف المشئوم

قفز قلبي ورجوت القدير أن ابنتي تسلم
وأن لا تكن ابنتي حبيبتي جريحة تتألم

وفجعت عندما رأيتها صامتة لا تتكلم

أهذه ابنتي حبيبة قلبي، أم إنني أحلم؟

ذهبت بلحظة دون وداع، لماذا يا زمن أظلم؟

!"ارجعي إلى بيتك، لقد عادت للخالق الأعظم

©رنده ربحي حماده2009
 سمر شمس لن تغيب

جميع الحقوق محفوظة للمؤلفة

Monday, January 10, 2011

Death Illusion

We are all going to die. We all know we're going to die. Then why do we not embrace it? Classical Economists believe that there is no money illusion in an economy because everyone anticipates the rates of inflation. Why is there death illusion? Ok so money and death are completely differnet things, but the same concept should apply. If you anticipate something you shouldn't be shocked when it happens THEN . But sadly, we are. Humans are oh so complex, and no matter how hard I try, I can not think of answer to the question I set forth.

This is one of the many questions I ponder, and one day it occured to me. In order to answer these questions, I must reach a complete understanding of human behavior.
Samar Al Ansari

Tuesday, January 04, 2011


Is it only I who continues to grieve and cry,
While others choose not to remember as days go by?

Or is it because it’s painful to remember the dead?
An act many share, but as a bereaved mother, I dread.

When they fail to mention her, I feel sad and alone,
Become very distressed and withdrawn.

Perhaps they think they’re protecting me from sorrow,
And preparing me for a better tomorrow.

They’re petrified when I mention her name,
Their faces change color and I’m to blame.

They also don’t want to hear what I want to say,
Totally oblivious to the price, I then have to pay.

I know they have every right to move on -
To them, many years passed since she’d gone.

But if they care, they should understand
That all fingers aren’t alike in one’s hand.

Some bereaved choose to remember, others to forget.
As for me, I like to talk about her at every chance I get.

As a mother, I want to keep my daughter alive.
Her body is gone, but her memory should survive.

I will always shed tears for her and mourn,
And celebrate her life and the day she was born.

I wish that they would at least comprehend
That nothing can ever bring my grief to an end.

Randah R. Hamadeh, 2011, Copyright©
Written in loving memory of my daughter
Samar Ahmed Al Ansari (4/4/1988-4/9/2006)

Saturday, January 01, 2011