Category Archives: Books


I had to read this book in my English class, and I actually really liked it. It kind of reminded me of the book, Giver because they both seem like Utopian societies on the surface, but they’re actually Distopian societies.

After reading this book, we had to choose an essential question and answer it in an analytical way.

My essential question was, “what is the role of technology in daily life?” and I had to talk about its role in both the World State and the contemporary society.

First of all, the primary role of technology in the World State is to control the population, to stabilize their society. The government of the state has rigid control of reproduction. They use this scientific process to create thousands of identical humans. Basically, what they’re doing is exactly like mass production at factories, except with human products. They create just the right amount of humans they need with specified qualities. Because technology is used to tightly control the population and humans, the society never has to deal with any problems such as overpopulation or infant mortality. They don’t have to deal with conflicts, changes or risks. And not having those means stability in their society, which is the reason why they’re controlling the population. However, this tight control leaves no room for individualism or freedom.

Technology also controls people’s minds in the World State with the use of conditioning, or brainwashing, and the soma. Technology in the state condition people so that they think the way the government wants them to think. They believe what they’ve been told to believe, and nothing else, which helps avoid any uprisings and questioning. Also, the use of soma is a perfect symbol for influence of technology in daily life of the state. People are encouraged to take the soma whenever they feel unpleasant, as it provides temporary happiness, satisfaction, and pleasure, and helps people escape from the reality, therefore preventing them from having negative thoughts. This forced thought and forced happiness make them not unaware of their reality, but they help prevent conflicts or uprisings within society.

In today’s society, technology plays a role in basically every aspect of our daily lives. It saves so much time and energy by providing us information, communication, entertainment, and globalization. When we need to do research, all we have to do is open up our Macbooks and search, and we have access to every possible source related to the topic. And with social networking sites and messengers such as Facebook and Skype, we can now contact friends on the other side of the world. Technology’s speeding up globalization and making the world smaller.

On the other hand, technology is also making us forget our other values. We’re depending too much on it to do everything for us. Since it’s too broad to focus on all negative aspects of technology, I’ve decided to narrow it down to something that plays a big role in all of our daily lives today: social networking. While it helps us stay in contract with friends who don’t live close to us, it creates other problems. We’re getting addicted to it, often to the point of obsession. When opening up Firefox, or Safari, most of us probably open a new tab and check Facebook first. This can be a big distraction, and also take us away from family life. It’s impossible to quit because we feel as if we’re isolated from the society if we stop using it. We feel the need to be always connected to the world of Facebook.


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My high school runs an one-to-one laptop program. Each of us has our own Macbook, which we carry around everyday, all day to our classes (except for PE, of course). Most of our assignments have to be done on computer, and the teachers in my school try hard to get us to fully use the Macbook applications.

Macbook applications are extremely useful. By sophomore year, all of us are experts at making presentations,  audio podcasts and videos. This will be helpful when we’re in college, and when we’re working later on in life. We’re also experts at getting distracted while doing homework. Honestly, it’s very hard to stay focused when we’re doing an assignment on computer. First of all, things we can do to waste time on Firefox is endless: Naver (a Korean search engine that can waste hours of your time), Facebook, Youtube, Allkpop, etc, etc. The list goes on forever. We often find ourselves scrolling through the Facebook newsfeed when we’re supposed to be writing an essay. There’s also an application called iChat on Macbooks. It’s amazing. You can video chat or audio chat with 3 other people at the same time, you can send files and share photos easily, and you can even share each other’s screen! It can waste hours and hours of your time–literally. An assignment that’s supposed to take you one hour can take you three hours when you’re on iChat.

I’m not criticizing my school’s one-to-one laptop program. I love the fact that my school is following the technology trend. I love the fact that I get to learn how to use these Mac applications. It’s just that there is one, huge, problem with using these Macs: distraction. It can be a critical problem, especially since we do get a lot of work to do every night. A number of mothers in my school is trying to get rid of this program since it’s causing distraction. So what do you think? Should we really get rid of this Mac program?












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The Kite Runner

I’ve recently read The Kite Runner because I had to read it for my English class. The story takes place in Kabul, Afghanistan. The main character Amir lives in a rich house with Baba, his servant Ali, and Ali’s son Hassan. Even though Hassan is a Hazara and considered inferior, Amir and Hassan are very close friends and they’re always together, except when Amir goes to school.

One day, Amir and Hassan face Assef and his side-kicks. Assef is infamous for beating up people with his brass knuckles. Assef threatens to beat up Amir for hanging around a Hazara when Hassan saves him with his slingshot.

Winter, the kite season has come. After Amir wins the annual kite fighting competition, Hassan decides to run the last fallen kite for him. When Hassan doesn’t come back, Amir looks for him and finds him in an alley, surrounded by Assef’s crew. He watches Hassan get raped by them, but he just runs away.

After the winter, Amir and Hassan fall apart. Amir decides to get rid of Hassan by making him look like a thief. Baba decides to forgive Hassan for his sins. However, Ali declares that he and his son are leaving and it is obvious that Hassan has told him everything: about the rape, and Amir’s betrayal.

A few years later, Baba and Amir are fleeing to Pakistan with other Afghans. Baba has to leave everything he has earned in his life behind in Afganistan.

Years pass again, and Amir and Baba now live in California. Baba works at a gas station while Amir graduates from high school and decides to take a writing career. Amir gets married to Soraya and a month later, Baba dies of cancer. Life goes on and Amir and Soraya are unable to have a baby. One day, Karim calls Amir from Pakistan and tells him to come.

Karim is now old and sick when Amir visits him. Karim tells him that Hassan and his wife have died trying to save Amir’s house and that Amir should save Hassan’s son, Sohram, who is now in an orphanage. He also tells Amir that Hassan was Amir’s half-brother; Hassan had been Baba’s son too. When Amir goes to the orphanage, he finds out that Sohram is in the hands of a Taliban official. He sets up a meeting with the official.

He meets the official and realizes that it’s Assef. Assef starts beating him up with his brass knuckle, but Sohram saves Amir with his slingshot. Amir decides to take Sohram with him to America, but the adoption officials say adopting Sohram is impossible. That night, Amir tells Sohram that he might have to go back to the orphanage, greatly disappointing him.

Things all work out and Amir finally takes Sohram to America. However, Sohram still hasn’t got over the disappointment and never talks. In the end, Amir and Sohram have a bonding moment through talking about kite running at a park.

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The Reader

I’ve recently read this book, The Reader, by Bernard Schlink. It’s about a boy, named Michael, who has a sexual relationship with a woman named Hanna at the age of 15 when she’s over 35 years old. They fall in love and they begin this ritual that he reads books to her. Many routinely The Readermonths pass and one day, Hanna just leaves. Michael never sees Hanna again in his high school years and wonders if she left because he betrayed her by hanging around other girls. All through high school to the beginning of university, he has no trouble in living his life; everything is just so easy for him, and he has a hard time connecting with people. The next time he sees Hanna again is in a court room when Michael is there to observe and record everything for a class. She is on trial for murder, but she refuses to defend for herself. As Michael watches the trial everyday, he realizes she’s been guarding a secret she considers shameful more than anything else: that she is illiterate. She ends up being convicted as guilty and is sentenced to death. While she’s in prison, Michael records himself reading a book and sends the cassette to her, so that she can learn how to read. They communicate through that for years, but Michael never visits her or sends her notes because he feels that he can’t face her. In the end, Hanna’s plea for innocence succeeds and she is scheduled to get out of prison. The day before her release, Michael finally visits her and tells her he’ll pick her up. He notices that she now looks like an old woman, instead of a strong, firm woman she used to be. The next morning, she hangs herself and she dies. She just sees no point in living. Michael takes her money, like she told him to, and puts it to a good cause: to a Jewish foundation for illiterates.

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