10th Grade Humanities
The following pieces of work are artifacts we created in my humanities class about multiple different topics. There are three artifacts that I believe were beautiful work I created.
Artifact #1: For this artifact we were supposed to write either a narrative or a poem about betrayal, and so I created this poem.
I lay here with shallow breathing as you sit thinking dead inside
We are just kids sitting silently on the bus
In class I see your face I recognize from the ride
We make eye contact and you smile from across the room
We are now the best of friends
Our friendship growing with each smile, each laugh, and each tear
You know my secrets and I know yours
Never telling anyone we carry on
High school comes around and nothing has changed
We are inseparable after all
We are closer than ever and continue getting closer if that’s possible
Life goes on and on more smiling, laughing, and tears come around
We cross these bridges together never leaving each other's side
Then one day you start getting sick
We can’t help but worry of what’s to come
To the hospital we go almost every day
I’m there every step of the way I couldn’t leave you
We are inseparable after all
You aren’t getting better
I’m going down hill
We should be in the prime of life
Yet here we are
You in the hospital and I’m getting addicted
You tell me stop because you’re worried
I laugh a humorless laugh with tears in my eyes
I tell you I’m supposed to worry not you
But I know you won’t listen
I tell you to fight, fight harder
As you cry you promise you’ll try
Only if I will
And so I give you my word
And then it happens
You get your color back
Like the flowers blooming in the spring
The sparkle in your eyes appears
And they shine like a million stars on a clear night
You start to care that your hair is gone
But I remind you that it’s just your battle scar
It tells your story
It tells of your bravery and strength
And you’ve never looked better in my eyes
You leave the hospital to live with me
We are inseparable after all
We go through life me helping you and you helping me
We both get better and better
But one day I slip and fall
I fall down farther into the hole I’ve dug for myself
It all comes crumbling down on top of me so I can’t crawl out
It crushes and slowly suffocates me
I look up to the little, bright, light left
I look to you and wait to see your hand reaching down to pull me back up
But all I see is the end of a gun
It’s pointing at me
With you on the other end
I would have been ready to take a bullet for you
Yet there you stand finger on the trigger
I don’t know what to say nor what to do
So I just stare at you
I see tears form in your eyes
As they form in mine I’m screaming
I scream to get you to hear
But you don’t respond as you speak to the doctor
I want to fight I can do it
I know I’ll make it through it with you by my side
We are inseparable after all
But you won’t listen for you can’t hear
You can’t see the pain and the struggle to communicate
It’s hard for you to look at me this way
Pull the plug you say
I break into a million pieces at those words but no one can tell
How could you do this when you must know I want to fight
I would fight through anything to stay by your side
The doctor does as told and the world around me slowly fades
I lay here with shallow breathing as you sit thinking dead inside
The last thing I see is you; sitting unmoving and unresponsive as if you’re the one suffocating
As your face blurs and I can see no more I have one last thought
Maybe... we aren’t inseparable after all
Artifact #3: In this artifact we had to write a literary analysis. My literary analysis is about a book called "Flight" that we read in class. We picked a theme to write about that showed throughout the book and my theme is fatherhood.
Sherman Alexie uses indirect characterization and antihero literary devices in order to portray the differences between a father and a dad, and what a true dad should be, in the book “Flight”. This book is about a teenager named Zits who lost his parents at a young age and started traveling down a violent path. Then when he was about to commit a serious crime he started to time travel through different people’s bodies which taught him how to be more compassionate towards others. Alexie encourages the readers to be caring towards others and know that all life is sacred no matter who they are or what they’ve done. This is shown towards the end of the book when Zits thinks about what he has learned after his journey.
One of the main themes of this book is fatherhood. You see his biological father as someone who, even though is Zits father, doesn’t act like a dad. You learn that his father left him and his mother when he was being born, “He vanished like a cruel magician about two minutes after I was born.” (5). Later on in the book you find out that Zits’s father is a drunk homeless man on the streets. Zits finds a dad towards the end of the book who loves him and wants to help him as a real dad should instead of leaving him like so many other people had including his father. He is adopted by a man named Robert, which is Officer Dave’s brother, “I realize that Dave isn’t leaving me to his brother. Dave is going to take care of me, too. That makes sense, I suppose. I need as many fathers as possible." (176). Zits is now understanding how dads should act and he is getting two good dads at his new foster home with Officer Dave and Robert.
Sherman Alexie uses indirect characterization in“Flight” which is when the author reveals what the character is like and how they affect another character indirectly. This means it’s not said straight out but you understand it by their actions. This is used when Zits meets his new foster dad, Robert. You realize, by how Robert is described, that he is going to be a good dad for Zits and is going to make be a good influence for him as well. We also know that Robert is a firefighter, which would lead us to believe he is selfless and generous. Those being good qualities for a dad to have. It is good for Zits to have a dad who is so selfless and loving towards him and others. When kids see their parents being compassionate towards other people, strangers even, I believe it helps that kid to become more compassionate and caring as well as when a parent is caring and loving towards their kid they will learn to be the same to their family. While discussing taking Zits to a baseball game Robert says, “We’re going to way up in the sky. Behind home plate. But they’re fun anyway. We’ll watch the game and eat hot dogs and drink lemonade. How does that sound?”(176). This would be something a dad would take his son to and Zits is happy he will get to go and he doesn’t say “whatever” to them as he did to his other foster families. In this family he is respectful.
A second literary device used by Sherman Alexie in order to show different types of fatherhood is antihero. Antihero is when a character described doesn’t have the qualities a hero normally has, such as, courage, compassion, or intelligence. Zits’s biological father could be considered an antihero in this story because of his lack of courage, lack of love, and compassion for his son. Zits is thinking about his parents and what his father was like, “My father was a drunk, too, more in love with beer and vodka than with my mother and me.” (4). This is showing his father’s lack of love and compassion towards his family. There is a section of the book when Zits is in his father’s body and is thinking back to the day he, Zits’s father, left his wife and son in the hospital while his wife is giving birth. This tells of his father’s lack of courage to try to be a dad. It says, “He cannot be a father. And so he runs.” (156). You also realize that the characters in this book are mostly all antiheroes because they all have at least one moment of weakness in the story. Having no heroes shows the truth of real life, that everyone, no matter how much good they do will always have some imperfections in their life or some weakness. There are no heroes coming to save everyone without ever having done anything wrong. There are only people who have done bad, but who can also accomplish good. Dave did this when he helped Zits find a home, but had a moment of weakness and you saw the brokenness within him when you read on page 171 about what happened to two little babies with some careless parents. “Dave cries. He wants to go back in time. He only needs to travel back an hour - just one hour - and he’ll be able to save these kids.” (171). Although this was a moment of weakness for Dave it also led him to want to help Zits. Therefore, without his brokenness Dave wouldn’t have found Zits a home. Another example of this was when Zits was in Gus’s body. According to Gus’s general it was a bad thing to save Bow Boy and Small Saint. In his mind it was weakness. In Zits mind it was the right thing to do because he didn’t want to see two young boys get killed. Once again what is considered to be out of line to one person ends as an admirable thing to do. “Small Saint and I saved an Indian kid. That makes us traitors. And traitors are never, ever forgiven or forgotten.” (100).
Sherman Alexie did a great job of showing fatherhood and whether someone could be considered a father or a dad in the book “Flight”. Indirect characterization was used to show Robert as a dad towards Zits and help Zits get back on the right track in his life and love him. Antihero was used in the book in order to show Zits’s biological father and how he had a lack of courage and love for his family. All of this came together to give us an idea of how Zits was in the past and who he will become after being adopted.
Artifact #6: This artifact we got the choice of what type of writing we wanted to and what it was about. However it did need to connect to the American West, so mine is a nonfiction on a robber in the West and what happened to him after he died. We also had to include tensions which is explained in my author's note.
Author’s Note: In this piece I have explored some interesting tensions involving the corpse of Elmer McCurdy. The tensions I found were of morals and respect for the dead versus money and getting a profit. Many people in the American West were and still are very interested in receiving money.
When the crew of Six Million Dollar Man, a famous TV show, was getting ready to shoot an episode with a hanging mannequin they soon realized this wasn’t a mannequin. This was a real corpse. So who was it?
Elmer McCurdy was his name. Elmer McCurdy was a bank and train robber in the 1900s. McCurdy was not a very good robber. He would attempt to take money from trains and banks by using explosives to get safes open. However, he never knew how much to use, and would usually destroy most of the money. Western historian Drew Gomber famously said that, "As an outlaw, Elmer McCurdy was truly God's own idiot. He had no business being a bandit." His final robbery occurred on October 4, 1911, and he was planning to rob a train with $400,000 on it. He robbed the wrong train. He only got $43 and two bottles of whiskey. On his way to a ranch he drank the whiskey, and fell asleep in a hayshed. The next morning, three police were surrounding the hayshed he was in, and then he was shot in the chest.
McCurdy’s body was taken to the Johnson Funeral Home in Oklahoma. No one claimed his body, and so Joseph L. Johnson embalmed it to preserve it. When he embalmed the body he had the intention of saving it to wait for someone to claim his body. Then he got an idea. Maybe instead of doing what would be morally right, he could display him to get some money. So he did, and he put him in street clothes with a rifle in his hand. Johnson had people pay him a nickel to see it. He called the exhibit “The Bandit Who Wouldn’t Give Up”.
On October 6, 1916 a man calling himself “Aver” called and claimed to be McCurdy’s long lost brother. When he came to claim him he brought his other “brother”, “Wayne”. They were actually James and Charles Patterson who took his body, and put it in their traveling carnival, in order to get money, calling him “The Outlaw Who Would Never Be Captured Alive”. His body continued to be used for other’s benefit and to get these people what they wanted, money.
They sold his corpse to Louis Sonney in 1922 who used his body in a wax museum. For a while he was put in a side attraction that accompanied the Trans-American Footrace. In 1933 he was in custody of Dwain Esper. He put him in theaters as the “Dead Dope Fiend”, and told people he killed himself after robbing a drug store. People were told the shriveling skin on him was evidence of the drug abuse. His body was used to promote a movie coming out, Narcotic! In 1949, he was put in a Los Angeles warehouse. After that, in 1964, the corpse was lent to David F. Friedman. It made a brief appearance in She Freak. In 1968, he was sold along with other wax mannequins, and was put in a show at Mount Rushmore. While there, a windstorm blew the tips of his ears, fingers, and toes off. They decided it didn’t look life like enough, so they got rid of him. His body went through all of these different people, being used for many different purposes, but no one ever thought twice about their morals or putting the body to rest.
In 1976, McCurdy’s body ended up hanging in a funhouse called Laff in the Dark. On December 8, 1976 the crew of the Six Million Dollar Man was filming for “Carnival of Spies”. During the scene, they moved what they thought was a wax prop of a hanging man. When they moved him, McCurdy’s arm fell off. They saw the human bone in his arm, and called the police. The corpse was taken to the Los Angeles coroner’s office. He was given a second autopsy. They found out this person died from a gunshot wound to the chest, and some ticket stubs and a penny were found in his mouth from the wax museum where he was once displayed. They knew this man was Elmer McCurdy.
Fred Olds was given rights to bury the body in Oklahoma. This man was one to finally forget money and help out McCurdy’s body in finding a resting place. On April 22, 1977 a funeral procession was conducted in order to transport the body to where he was being buried. To ensure his body was not stolen they poured two feet of concrete over the casket. "They didn't want anyone to dig him and take him on tour again," Becky Luker said. Now he is finally at rest after his corpse went on a very long journey. He was owned by many people who used his body to receive money, instead of burying him as he should have been in the beginning. Many people have been corrupted by the need for money. People will, a lot of the time, do just about anything to get some cash in their pocket. These people who are considered good people do these immoral things for their own selfish benefit.
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