Monday, February 23, 2009

B Block: Short Essays

Post your strongest short essay here.


Anonymous said...


In the book What is the What by: Dave Eggers there are several strong examples of irony in the opening chapter of the book. So far it is a very good book. One example is when the mother says “Come back! She continued. Come to your mother!” also she says “Come to me children! I am your mother! Come to me!” Another example of irony is when the narrator says “I have no reason to answer the door so I answer the door.
In the book the mother said “Come to me children! I am your mother! Come to me! When she said that the children came to her and said there is my mother standing in the road. She is ambidextrous when she is holding the gun. She shoots the children and she kills them all. She is just trying to either trick them all or she is just trying to be an imposter to be there mother. One, it is the mothers fault and two it is the children’s fault to go to her. Manly it is the mothers fault. She reminds me of Poe of killing his cat. Another, example is when the narrator says “I have no reason to answer the door so I answer the door.” If you have no reason not to answer the door why would you answer it anyway? Say like your mom said do not answer the door and you answer anyways that is just lying to her that you did not answer it. That is not acute. Maybe when you answer the door that person could kill you or they could take you and run off with you.
What is the What by: Dave Eggers is a very good and excellent book so far. There are several string examples of irony in the opening chapter. I have one good one in my body paragraph. This is one of the greatest books we are going to read all year. It is way better then Romeo and Juliet. That book was not so great. It was fun to read but it was really hard to read

Anonymous said...

C. White

Personal stories have a great impact on humans. In particular, stories of personal tragedy affect us deeply. War creates a tremendous amount of tragic stories. One such war, the Sudanese genocide, has affected the lives of many people. What is the What by Dave eggers, partially takes place in the Sudanese war and is a perfect example of tragedy and loss.
Tragedy in the life of Valentino, the main character, is evident throughout the whole book. “Come to me children, I am your mother, come to me.” After this lady said this, Valentino’s friends went running towards her. As soon as they did she shot them right in the chest and killed them. After that it is easy to tell that Valentino and tragedy are linked.
Loss is a strong emotion that is vibrant through out What is the What. “Did you hear Joseph was shot?” Joseph was Moses’s was older brother; Moses was Valentino’s best friend. He was shot for apparently no reason. As Valentino talked to Moses, it became apparent that he was so used to death that he didn’t even seem that sad or surprised. This showed that Valentino and loss were one in the same.
Tragedy and loss are two of the strongest emotions a human being can feel. Valentino has the misfortune of experiencing this emotion numerous times in his life. What is the What by Eggers does a wonderful job of explaining and showing what these two emotions can do to a human being. It shows how strong Valentino truly is.

H. Calderone said...

Personal stories have a great impact on humans. In particular, stories of personal tragedy affect us deeply. War creates a tremendous amount of tragic stories. One such war, the Sudanese genocide, has affected the lives of many people. What is the What, a story about Valentino’s life written by Dave Eggers, has affected the lives of many people.
In Eggers story, an example of tragedy is when Valentino and several other young children were trying to escape Ethiopia being chased by hundreds of soldiers. A woman appeared and said, “Come to me, children! I am your mother! Come to me!” Valentino refused, as he was worried he shouldn’t. As the other young boys got closer, the woman pulled out a rifle and shot them through their chests and stomachs and they were instantly killed. Valentino ran away as fast as he could.
Another part of a personal story that affects people is feeling anger. In the story, What is the What, Valentino was robbed. He answered the door to a woman who claimed to have a car that had broken down and needed to call the police. Not knowing the real story, Valentino let her in. She then asked him where his cell phone was and he replied saying it was in his bedroom. She instantly went into the bedroom and locked herself in there. Valentino then, right at that very moment, knew something was suspicious. A few moments later a man appeared in the doorway. He was being robbed. There was a woman that had locked herself in his bedroom, and a strange man standing at the doorway guarding him with a gun. He felt a strong feeling of anger because he wanted to be back in Kakuma. A place, where even though there was no rain, the winds blew nine months a year and mostly everyone only lived on one meal a day, where he would rather live. He would rather be in Kakuma than be here in this very situation.
In Dave Eggers story, What is the What, he wrote about Valentino’s life, and all of the struggles he has been through, being robbed, and even escaping Ethiopia as a child. As he explains all of these struggles, he shows emotion such as anger, which has affected the lives of many people throughout the world.

c. smith said...

The novel What is the What by Dave Eggers tell a story of a man, Valentino Achek Deng, and his move from Sudan to America. He was born a Dinka, a tribe in Sudan. When he was about 7 years old, due to genocide, his family was killed. Valentino and a few other children, whose family had also been killed, went to Ethiopia for safety. Then he moves to America. When he moves, what he thought America was took a turn.
There are many examples of irony in the first chapter. A woman knocks on Valentino’s door to use his phone. A man follows a few minutes later with a gun. He keeps calling Valentino “Africa”. He says it a few different times, “Stay here, Africa…Just sit down, Africa.” Then the man, ironically, says “You’re from Africa, right?” then “All right then that means we’re brothers.” This is ironic because he was making a racial comment toward Valentino calling him Africa, then telling him they’re brothers. Another point of irony is that while the man is robbing him at gun point he’s calling Valentino his brother.
Another example of irony is when the man is robbing Valentino then says, “And because we’re brothers and all, I’ll teach you a lesson. Don’t you know you shouldn’t open your door for strangers?” That’s ironic because he is robbing him with at gun point, and he is telling him not to let strangers into his house. Valentino should have been skeptical of the woman at first, being new to the country. But in Sudan everyone’s friendly and you don’t have to worry about people robbing you or being mean or anything like that. That is why Valentino lets the women in because he is used to not having to worry about people robbing or hurting him.
Irony is a big part of the first chapter. There are many examples in the first chapter. The man that robs Valentino says things that make the story ironic. The man says many racial things toward Valentino then calls him his brother. Valentino quickly learns that not many people can be trusted in America. He should be more skeptical toward letting people he doesn’t know into his house.

Anonymous said...

The book What is the What, was written by Dave Eggers. It is almost like an autobiography, but it is not written by Valentino Acheck Deng; who is the main character. This is about his life and hardships that he went through while living in Sudan as a child. One’s opinion on learning about this subject may be outraged. Powder and Valentino have some ironic lines throughout the first few pages of the book. Which lead into a good story about a mans life, and his suffering.

Powder is a man, attempting to rob Valentino. He got his name from Valentino because he was wearing a powder blue sweatshirt. As a robber, you shouldn’t give advice. Let alone this advice: “Don’t you know you shouldn’t open your door to strangers?” This is ironic, because he was the one who came in with his partner and tricked him into letting them in the house. Powder also said, “You’re from Africa right? All right then. That means we’re brothers.” That line is ironic, because he is stealing from his own “brother”. It seems like he is trying to make him feel better about the situation he’s in. But you can’t just make someone feel better saying “oh you’re my brother, so I’m taking from you”. The last example of irony is Valentino himself. When he say’s “It is a strange thing, I realize, but what I think at this moment is that I want to be back in Kakuma.” His faith having left him, Valentino gave up looking for faith that they would stop robbing him. This line is ironic because Kakuma is such a bad and dangerous place to be. It wasn’t safe for anyone to be there, and now that he’s in the United States he would rather be in a more dangerous place then have his things taken from him. Valentino would rather be less well-nourished then being robbed. And have that deprived and useless feeling.

Valentino Achek Deng had a hard life as a child. He has decided to share his life story with the rest of us. So that way, we the readers can learn about and feel the pain and suffering that he went through. Because sharing your story is a hard thing to do. He lived through so much, now we get to see through his eyes, how ironic and devastating it really was.

Emily C.

Amanda A. said...

The novel, What is the What, written by Dave Eggers, is focused on the life of Valentino Achak Deng. Within the opening chapter, there are multiple examples of irony. Irony is used in the dialog by Powder, in Valentino’s brief story of his childhood, and in the situation that the characters are currently in.
The novel begins when Valentino was gullible and let a stranger into his home, believing that she only wanted to use his phone. He was deceived when he discovered that she was there with Powder, her partner in crime, to rob him. The first example of irony in that situation was that Powder used the nickname “Africa” for Valentino, meaning for it to be offensive to his ethnicity, although Powder was also African-American. As another example, although Powder was acting tyrannical and was in the process of robbing Valentino, he tried to relate them to each other by calling them brothers, because they were both African. Powder even says, “because we’re brothers and all, I’ll teach you a lesson. Don’t you know you shouldn’t open your door to strangers?” The fact that he says that he’s teaching Valentino a lesson, trying to make it seem like he’s doing something good, even though he’s really not helping Valentino at all, is ironic. Powder’s role in this first chapter, because of his behavior and demeanor, was a perfect example of irony.
Other than Powder and the things he would say, other examples of irony can be found as Valentino describes the events that took place while he was in Africa. As Valentino stood in his home, in the process of getting robbed, he more than anything felt remorse about letting the woman into his home. His rancor towards the situation caused him to miss Africa, which was ironic because normally American would seem like a much better place to live at the time. Moments after he discovers that Powder and the woman are there to rob him, Valentino tells the reader that “what I think at this moment is that I want to be back in Kakuma.” In Africa, Valentino was starved, watched other young boys die, and lived under the harshest condition. Yet, at the moment he missed it, and preferred his harsh life there over America, where he lived under much better conditions. Another example of irony is when Valentino told the story about how when he was in Africa as a child, he watched two boys die while a woman calling herself their mother murdered them. The woman tricked the children into believing that she was there to help them, when she ended up killing them once they got near her. The fact that Valentino prefers Africa, as well as the stories that he tells, are both perfect examples of irony.
The irony in the novel, What is the What, is very clear to see. Within just the first chapter there were plenty of examples of irony in the situations. From Powder’s behavior, to Valentino’s emotions towards America at the time, irony is shown throughout the entire chapter.

Anonymous said...

Period B

Personal stories have a great impact on humans. In particular, stories of personal tragedy affect us deeply. War stories hit even closer to home for most of us. War creates a tremendous amount of tragic stories. One such war, the Sudanese genocide, has affected the lives of many people. Dave Eggers What is the What is a story that depicts the life of Valentino Achak Deng, a lost boy during the genocide in Sudan. In the story, Valentino is attempting to stay alive, during the time that he is moving to different locations, and having friends and family killed left and right. Valentino Achak Deng’s story of the Sudanese genocide is more valuable to a person than a pure historical account because the specific stories Deng tells he readers affects the emotions of a reader due to personal connections, allowing the reader to grasp the concept better. Tragedy and true loss are two major emotions that readers feel when reading this story.
During the story, tragedy is a major emotion going through the reader’s mind. As one reads this book, a good portion of it is back when Valentino was still in the Sudan and many flashbacks include the deaths of family, friends, and other village people. During the raid of Valentino’s village, he states a horrific situation, “a horseman, taller than the others and wearing a white tunic, was carrying a sword as long as I was tall. I watched him run down a woman running for the forest and raise his sword high. I looked away, I buried my head in the earth and counted to ten and when I looked again I saw only her dress, a pale blue, splayed in the dirt.” His shows how heartless these men were, and how traumatic they made there witnesses. These events were tragic, as they wouldn’t even let one single person survive without being taken away, and even had young boys and girls watch gruesome murders of friends, and even family.
The other emotion (and probably the more obvious emotion when reading this book) is true loss. In 2005, government officials estimated that 7,000 people died each month from the genocide. The Sudanese people were being tricked and brutally murdered, and these people had no disregard for human life. The quote “come to me, children! Come to your mother!” As you continue to read on this page, it turns out to be a soldier killing off the innocent people of Sudan near the Gilo River. The fact that a woman pretended to be there mother, have them come to her, and then kill them with a machine gun is truly demented. The true loss emotion comes into this story all the time, as every chapter Valentino brings up another story of a horrific murder of a friend, or family member.
Many emotions are used throughout this book, but two main emotions that were brought out in the story is tragedy and true loss. Personal, detailed accounts are more valuable to readers than a pure fact base account because the accounts hit closer to home, as people can relate to the story.

Jamie T said...

Dave Egger’s extraordinary novel What is the What is an autobiography about the life of a Dinka, Valentino Achak Deng, who moved to the US from Africa where he had a very difficult life during the war. In Egger’s novel, there are a significant amount of examples of irony in just the first few pages.

Powder, a man who came to Valentino’s house to rob him showed a lot of irony. When he first comes in the house, he says “Stay here Africa” but then later on says “You’re from Africa, right? …Alright then. That means we’re brothers.” This is an example of irony because he is calling Valentino “Africa” as an insult but ends up being from Africa, also. Also, once he tells him that they are “brothers” he says, “I’ll teach you a lesson. Don’t you know you shouldn’t open your door to strangers?” This quote is also ironic because he came into Valentino’s house, robbing him, but then tells him that he should not have opened the door for him in the first place. Powder uses a lot of irony throughout only the first few pages of the book.

Valentino also uses some irony in the book. At the beginning, Valentino is very happy that he is in America, because he has freedom, until he got robbed and said, “I find myself missing all of Africa.” This is an ironic statement because at first, he said how happy he was to be in America and away from Africa, but now he wants to be back there. Also, a lady that Valentino once saw in Africa a long time ago was ironic. Many children were around her during the war and she yelled, “Come to me children! I am your mother! Come to me!” Many of the children ran to her for comfort but when they were all close enough, she shot them. This is ironic because when one thinks of a mother, they would think of love and comfort but she was the exact opposite of that and killed all of the children, instead.

What is the What by Dave Eggers uses many examples of irony. Almost all of the characters in the first few pages use it. For example, Powder, Valentino, the woman who lived in Africa and a few other characters all used irony in the beginning of the book. The English language and literature shows that irony is a necessity because it helps people better understand how a comparison can sometimes become an unexpected similarity.

Anonymous said...

Allyson. S

Personal stories have a great impact on humans. In particular stories of personal tragedy affect us deeply. Was creates a tremendous amount of tragic stories. One, such as war the Sudanese genocide, has affected the lives of many people.
This personal story about Valentino Achak Deng the main character in “what is the what “ written by Dave Eggers is about Valentinos personal experiences of being a Sudanese, lost boy in Sudan. This book describes major personal and moving experiences that Valentino has had to go through to get where he is today.
Throughout reading this story Valentino and the readers have many different emotions. Such as indignation towards some people throughout this story. Reading some of the experiences like when an Ethiopian women say to little boys “come to me children! I am your mother, come to me! “Then as the boys approach her, thinking she is going to actually help them. She then takes out an automatic riffle and shoots through the chests and stomachs of the boys. This is where I felt a lot of mixed emotions like indignation, anger and it just plan sad to know that a woman out there really did that to two little, instant boys.
Another big example that I think about while reading this story would be just in general a calamity. Knowing that still to this day there are lost boys out there and that people aren’t doing anything about it. By reading about what is happening in other parts of the world is very disturbing. To know what other people are going through.
Throughout this story it wouldn’t be normal for someone to not feel many different types of emotions. To read this personal story and not have any affection towards Valentino would not be normal. I know that by reading this personal story made me have many different thoughts and emotions about the personal experiences that Valentino went through.

B. Blye said...

Throughout the novel, What is the What, written by Dave Eggers, a lot of irony is shared. The irony throughout the novel tells the story of a boy named Valentino Achack Deng, from Kakuma, Sudan that had to flee his home with many other boys because of the war. Three states of irony that is shared in the novel involves, fear, trust and emotion.
The first example of irony is fear. When the war started in Kakuma, Valentino was about 10 or 11 and he was fleeting from his home. As he ran along with a million other boys trying to get away, many of them were being shot and killed as the escape went on. As the boys run, a woman appears from the grass and tells them to come to her, that she will save them and that she is their mother, “Come to me my children, I am your mother, I will protect you.” This is ironic because instead of helping the boys, she takes out a gun and starts to shoot them. This shows she is not their mother, just an enemy.
The second example of irony is trust. During the beginning to middle of the book, Valentino is finally in the United States, living in Atlanta. During the first few months of being there, he is robbed. A lady comes knocking to his door, and she tells him she needs to use his phone because her car broke down. Valentino let’s her in and tells her to use his cell phone in his room. But as he doesn’t know, she is a robber. When the woman is in his room, a man enters the house and ties Valentino up. This is when he notices he is being robbed. The man is dark skinned like Valentino and the man tells him that they are brothers and not to open the door to strangers. But he also says that he will teach him a lesson. “And because we are brothers and all, I’ll teach you a lesson. Don’t you know you shouldn’t open the door to strangers?” Irony is shown when he opened the door for the women, without asking her any questions.
Lastly, the third example is when the robbers are in his house and he suddenly wants to go back to Sudan, even though the people back home are being killed in the war. He said he would rather be back in Sudan rather than have freedom in the United States. “I want to be back in Kakuma, where I live in a hut of plastic and sandbags and owned one pair of pants.” He thinks it is unfair that he is being robbed in the U.S. when he was supposed to have freedom, and he feels like he is being punished.
The novel, What is the What, is full of irony, fear, trust and emotion.

Anonymous said...

Personal stories have a greater impact on humans. In particular, stories of personal tragedy affect us deeply. War creates a tremendous amount of tragic stories. One such war, the Sudanese genocide, has affected the lives of many people. Valentino’s story of violence and oppression in Sudan is more valuable then any purely historical account. The book in which this is displayed is called What Is The What by Dave Eggers. The emotions that are set in this book are anger and indignation.
Anger is suppressed when reading the book What Is The What. This book is about the Sudanese genocide. Anger would be felt when reading this book because of the ways some of the children were killed. For example, there was a woman that had walked up to a group of innocent, little children and she had said “come to me I am your mother”. So since they were so little of course there going to go to her because they think she will save them when she does the exact opposite and shoots them all. One should feel angry at this because little innocent children should not be treated like this at all it’s a really bad thing. Anger should be felt toward the woman for tricking the little kids into thinking that she was there mother so she could get them all together to kill them.
Another emotion felt when reading the book What Is The What is indignation. Indignation is when one is compelled to action through anger. If one hears about something bad happening for example, the Sudanese genocide, if one hears about little children and millions of other people dying and little kids dying to go to school but cant, shouldn’t you want to do something about it? Well that is exactly what indignation is about. One hears about the genocide in Sudan and they want to do something about it. To help the kids get to school or even build new schools, they should do that because it’s the rite thing to do. If one feels ager toward the fact that millions of innocent people are dying for no reason and wants to help them get out of that situation should find some way to do it so they can stop feeling angry at the whole situation and live a better life. Well all one has to do is raise some money or start an organization to give the people of Sudan a better place to live and feel safe.
Personal stories have a greater impact than some thing that has come out of a text book. The emotions that are felt by reading this book would not be felt if u read the same story out of a text book because when it comes from one person you see it through there eyes and not the whole thing through the point of view of every one.
-Kyle M.

Anonymous said...

What is the What by Dave eggers, is a fascinating book about the genocide going on in Sudan. The book is written from his perspective. This story is filled with many examples of irony. The best examples are presented to us from the dialog of Powder and Valentino.
Powder is an irony filled character whose dialog is occasionally contradictory to what he does or says. First, one of the examples of Powder’s irony is that even though he racistly refers to Valentino as “Africa,” he tries to relate to him as brothers since they are both seemingly both from Africa. Even though powder sees them as brothers, he still chooses to rob him as he states when he says; “That means we’re brothers.”pg.5 Second, powder in his eyes, is teaching Valentino a lesion;” And because we’re brothers and all, I’ll teach you a lesson. Don’t you know you shouldn’t open your door to strangers?”pg.5 This is extremely ironic since he is the one robbing Valentino. Powder, through robbing him thinks he is actually doing good for eggers by teaching him the lesson not to open his door to strangers.
Valentine in addition to Powder has some very ironic lines. First, he says that he is getting the message to “leave this place” referring to America. This is ironic since he has been through complete hell in Sudan and survived and was able to make it to the United States of America, a land most see filled with opportunity, but Valentino feels that he probably doesn’t belong here. Second, while being robbed Valentino starts dreaming about being back in Sudan. It is ironic that just being robbed makes him wish he was back in Sudan where this horrible genocide is going on.
The story What is the What by Dave Eggers is a very interesting story. This book is filled with many gruesome visuals similar to those of the Holocaust. The irony of Powder and Valentino dialog really defines a unique feel and sound for this interesting book.
K. Rogers

Anonymous said...

Personal stories have a great impact on human comprehension. Specifically, stories of personal tragedy and suffering have the greatest impact. War creates an excessive amount of these stories of tragedy that create a far more vivid image of the horrors of a war than listening to a statistical analysis. Genocide specifically will make many more war stories more personal, more horrible and far more graphic. One such was the Sudanese genocide has affected many lives in irreparable and negative ways. One affected person is Valentino Achak Deng, who tells his story through Dave Eggers in the book What is the What, that creates deep feelings of loss, and anger.
Valentino’s story is filled with loss, specifically the losses of his family, his village, and his childhood through the attack on his village by the Murahaleen. When his village is attacked by the Arabs, Deng hides in the church and perhaps most painfully of all, watches his village friends rounded up and either killed in the case of the men, or captured and enslaved in the case of the women and children. Valentine manages to escape but the loss of his family and the hope that they too escaped fuels his hope, and feeds his anger. When valentino begins the walk to Ethiopia with Dut Majok, his childhood is over as he is now responsible for himself. All of this feeds Valentino’s hope and anger.
Valentino’s feelings of loss shock and indignation make him angry at nearly everything in his world. He expresses this when he says “damn the faceless man, damn the Murahaleen, damn the government and damn the Dinka.” In this quote valentino expresses that he is mad at the Murahaleen for destroying his village of Marial bai, he is mad at the government for allowing the murahaleen to do this and he is mad at his people, the dinka who were unable to defend themselves against the Arabs.
Valentino’s story evokes emotions in the reader through Valentino’s emotions by showing the reader examples of outrageous injustices that affect Valentino and the Dinka affected by the Sudanese genocide even after they leave Sudan.

Anonymous said...

Michelle D.
In this book What is the What by Dave Egger is about a man who lives in Sudan. There are quite a few examples of irony, involving Valentino and powder, and another woman.
In the beginning of the book Valentino opens the door to a strange woman asking him to use his phone. While she’s using the telephone, a man named Powder enters into his house. Powder orders Valentino to sit down, as he’s holding a gun. Powder mentions to him that their”brothers.” While his intentions are to rob him. Powder teaches him a lesson, to never open the door to strangers. This is an example of irony because he says he’s his “brother,” but robs him. If he was his brother then he would never have robed him, he would have just greeted him.
Valentino also expresses to us about his fleeting from Ethiopia. He was being chased by Ethiopian soldiers shooting at him. Two of the boys he was running with spotted a woman in high grasses. The women shouted “come to me children! I am your mother! Come to me!” The two boys ran to her and she pulled out a rifle and shot the two boys. Valentino ran as she shouted “come back...come to your mother!” he didn’t look back. This is irony because if she was their “mother” then she wouldn’t have shot them. A mother wouldn’t never shoot there children unless she was demented or something. Those were two examples of irony in this book. Powder referring to Valentino as a “brother,” yet he robs him. Just like as the women saying to the boys that she’s their “mother,” as she intends to shoot them.