Essay: Inevitable Death

In “The Flowers,” by Alice Walker, there are multiple symbols and themes presented throughout the short story. “The Flowers” is a short story about the innocence of a child by the name of Myop. The story starts off with Myop skipping and relaxing under the “warm sun.” Myop starts to explore, the woods behind her house. While she is exploring the woods, Myop picks blue flowers. When Myop circles back to the house, she runs into a strange man. “Myop began to circle back to the house, back to the peacefulness of the morning. It was then she stepped smack into his eyes.” The man is described as “tall”. His head laid beside him. Myop is very curious about the man and she looks around.

After exploring even more, Myop views many limbs and a wild pink rose. The rose is described as wild and Myop adds it to her collection. Finally, Myop laid down her flowers that she picked previously. The short story ends with “the summer is over.” “The Flowers” starts off with a light and happy mood and ends with a dark one.

Throughout “The Flowers,” there are many symbols and themes that are present. The most prominent symbol, would be the flowers. Myop picks a handful amount of blue flowers, the flowers themselves, represent innocence and life. When you pick a flower, it will eventually wither, no matter what, because it has been separated from its roots. Just like life, we all are born one day and we will die one day. There is no exception to this rule.

Another major symbol is the dead man. The corpse relates to the meaning of the flower in a way, how the man was described as tall and big, yet he is dead. The importance of that is, no matter what a person accomplishes, or becomes, will have no bearing on whether or not that person would die. Death is inevitable. “Around an overhanging limb of a great spreading oak clung another piece. Frayed, rotted, bleached, and frazzled–barely there–but spinning restlessly in the breeze.” The limbs show how they were once part of a man, but are now dead, along with the man.

Finally, another major symbol is the summertime. The summertime in the short story shows the innocence of Myop. By the end of the story, the summer ends. The ending of the summertime represents Myop’s transformation into an adult. She lays down the flowers that she had picked up and following that, the end of summer occurs. Which shows that Myop’s days of skipping and picking flowers are done, because she has set down the flowers and faced the hard reality, that life isn’t always fun and games.

-Satej B.

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

5thwave_yanceyThe 5th Wave by Rick Yancey was a great book. It incorporated suspense, entertainment and was overall very compelling for young teen readers.

The book begins with sixteen year old Cassie, one of the few surviving humans of the four other waves that aliens, known as the Others, have created in order to kill all humans on Earth. The first wave is darkness, all electronics go out and as a result, darkness takes over the world. The second wave is a major tsunami which wipes out all coastal nations. The forth wave is disease, which is airborne, extremely contagious, and results in death. The forth wave are Others, taking the place of humans and are known as Silencers because their job is to kill humans left on Earth. Together, the four waves have killed around seven billion people. Cassie is currently living alone on the run and has a feeling that she is the last human on Earth.

The book then flashes back to a couple months prior to when Cassie was traveling with her dad and her five year old brother, Sammy, after her mom was killed by the third wave. They make it to a camp with the last of the humans, which is run by military officers. One day, a bus comes and is collecting only the kids in order to take them to Camp Heaven to save them. Cassie does not want their family to be separated, but Cassie’s dad insists that Sammy has to go to Camp Heaven to remain safe. Cassie argues, but eventually loses and Sammy is taken to Camp Heaven. Cassie then leaves the camp to collect Crisco, a boy at the camp who is also young enough to qualify for Camp Heaven with a military guard accompanying her to make sure she remains safe. She finds Crisco and is about to take him back to camp when the military guard accompanying her and who is also one of the heads of the camp shoots him. Cassie then realizes that they have been tricked and the military guards running the camp are in fact Others. She runs back to camp and sees her dad crawling out, but it is too late and another Other comes out and shoots her dad. She runs away and barley escapes them which brings the book back to the present.

What Cassie does not know is that a Silencer, whose job is to kill her is and has been watching her every move and is ready to finally kill her. He shoots her in the leg and she hides under a car. The Silencer decides to wait her out. He knows that if she tries to stay, she will bleed to death and if she tries to escape, he can just shoot her.

The book then travels over to Sammy’s perspective where he is being taken to Camp Heaven. He is scared to go but guards comfort him and tell him that he will be safe. He arrives to camp and is checked by various doctors to make sure that he is healthy and not an Other.

The book then takes place in a sixteen year old boy’s (Ben Parish’s) point of view. Ben was Cassie’s crush in high school before the Others arrived on Earth but he didn’t even know that Cassie existed in school. Currently, Ben is at camp Heaven, the same place that Sammy was sent to. It turns out that Camp Heaven is a camp where they train kids to go out and fight the Others when they are ready. Ben and his group have been training hard to become one of the four groups who are able to fight the Others. At Camp Heaven, the kids are vigorously worked in order to be able to have success on the battlefield. Sammy winds up in Ben’s group and Ben takes Sammy under his wing because of Sammy’s age.

The book the goes back to Cassie’s perspective. She was saved from under the car and wakes up newly dressed in a house. She meets the person who saved her, a boy in college named Evan Walker. With the help of Evan, Cassie becomes strong enough to walk again and she learns how to use her gun a lot better. She finds Evan to be likable and kind, the only thing that is off about him is that he always goes hunting at night but never returns with anything. Now, her priority is to save Sammy from Camp Heaven and evan insists on coming with her, but Evan is not who he seems to be.

Meanwhile, in Camp Heaven, Ben’s group has graduated and are ready to take on the Others, but Sammy cannot come with them because he is too young. They are given all the tools they need and are sent out to battle. However, during battle, they realize something startling that reveals the truth about Camp Heaven, the 5th Wave and the Others.

-Matthew R.

The 5th Wave is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded from Overdrive

Why Fiction Is As Beneficial As Nonfiction

The debate over fiction and nonfiction is a battle between escapism and reality. Fictional stories immerse readers in vast worlds with intriguing characters, while nonfiction books expand readers’ horizons in the real world.

There is an ongoing debate over which is more useful for readers to consume.

In our world of literature, nonfiction is often considered more educational and useful than fiction. While nonfiction deals with the more pressing matters of the real world, fiction distracts readers with entertainment. Just the word escapism carries a negative connotation. If it weren’t for some extra vocabulary, reading a story might be the same as watching a movie.

Right? Wrong.

Fiction is a reader’s lens to view the world through a different perspective. Experiencing a fictional character’s life produces empathy in a way that cold facts fail to achieve. A Canadian research group led by Keith Oatley found that reading literary fiction greatly increased readers’ abilities to assess emotions and social situations. In a world where EQ (emotional quotient) often trumps IQ, empathy is extremely important. It increases a reader’s sense of morality, often through the repeated use of poetic justice. By ending most stories with the villains defeated, fiction reinforces that justice should triumph. On the other hand, only reading about the real world can create a feeling that life is cruel, and nothing can change that fact. Fiction readers have a less rigid line of thinking, and are more adaptable and comfortable with uncertainty.

Especially in children, fiction stimulates imagination and creativity, which in my opinion are just as important as knowledge. Imagination inspires dreams, creates goals, and makes the world seem more beautiful. It transports readers away from the mundanity of life. Happiness and relaxation are good things.

Many people dismiss fiction because they think it provides no tangible benefit to the mind. They believe knowledge and facts are extracted from truth, not stories. But can’t we learn from stories too? Who would argue that 1984 didn’t teach us about the dangers of authoritarian governments? Or that To Kill A Mockingbird didn’t highlight racial tensions? My point is, fiction can educate the public as well as nonfiction, and sometimes in a more convincing manner.

To sum it all up, fiction should stay with readers throughout their entire lives. Don’t cast away the creativity of childhood as you transition into adulthood. Of course, nonfiction is equally important, and we all want a balance of dreams and reality. So read a little of both, however much longer one might take compared to the other. Collect information and insight, while cultivating creativity. Reap the best of both genres!

Pokemon VS Digimon

Many people can argue that Pokemon or Digimon is better. In reality, Pokemon had better ratings and Digimon ceased to exist. I love them both, and wish that Digimon could be back. Both of these games/tv shows had a similar idea about raising these animals into strong ones, and fight with them. They are both really fun to play/watch. Now I will compare these two.


Pokemon has had may movies and its own series. It started out in 1995 and is still active. The animated series came out in 1997 and is still currently running. It has over 900 episodes! The video games all start out as a new trainer who becomes a trainer, and has to become the best in order to will all his/her badges and beat the elite four. The game itself can now be on the 3 DS, and has been for Game Boy Advanced and the DS. Pokemon is such a fun game that my generation grew up watching and playing. After a while it can be addicting, but it’s extremely fun!


It’s a shame that Digimon didn’t last long. The series was from 1999- 2003. Sadly I wasn’t old enough to watch Cartoon Network at the time. Once I grew a little older, I watched the old episodes on YouTube, and it was amazing! I was sad to find out that Digimon couldn’t keep up with Pokemon, so the gave in. I honestly prefer Digimon, not because of its plot, but because that it’s a harder and more challenging game than Pokemon. I recommend everyone to play Digimon

Which game do you prefer?

-Kayla H.

Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

“But our love it was stronger by far than the love
Of those who were older than we-
Of many far wiser than we-
And neither the angels in heaven above,
Nor the demons down under the sea,
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee.”

Strangely enough, Cassandra Clare’s novel is based on the famous Edgar Allen Poe poem “Annabel Lee.” Two of the characters are Annabel Lee and her lover, and the chapter titles are lines from the poem. But that’s not all: after waiting for almost two years, readers are finally awarded with an eight hundred page book on the newest Shadowhunter world: The Dark Artifices.

Five years after the City of Heavenly Fire incidents, Emma Carstairs is living with the Blackthorns in Los Angeles, where every day for her is fighting demons and trying to be the next Jace. Now, Emma is in love, but she can’t tell him because its her parabatai, Julian aka “Jules”.  Supposedly there’s a rule about parabatai falling in love, and Shadowhunter universe lovers know how strict the Shadowhunters are with rules (for those of you who are new, it ends up with someone dying, or in Edmond Herondale’s case, being brutally tortured by having your tattoos torn off).

And now, both faeries and humans alike are being killed, and in return for solving the mystery, the faeries have decided to return a man named Mark Blackthorn for a bit, who hasn’t aged and doesn’t recognize anybody.

Anyway, this was a great book, although there were some things I was disappointed with. To start off with the bad news first, I felt that this book rushed things a little too much. In the Infernal Devices, we didn’t find out about Tessa’s warlock secret until near the end of the second book in the trilogy. On the other hand, Lady Midnight kept teasing us about the secret of the parabatai, and from the way it was going, it sounded like it won’t be revealed until the second book, but then it’s quickly revealed at the end, which makes it slightly disappointing. It also makes the rest of the series be hard to see the rest of the series. Additionally, I have mentioned earlier that the book is eight hundred pages long, making there be a lot of detail that is sometimes hard to keep track of.

However, there are many details that can’t be ignored, as they are great highlights and put this book as one of the best of the year. Clare does not fail with her psychological plot line, between her not-expected-easily villain, the parallelism of the Jules/Emma parabatai love relationship to Clace “incense” relationship, and the plot twists that will keep you on the edge of your seat, along with a tremendous cliffhanger, no matter how disappointing to me.

I have mentioned earlier that Poe fans will like the book, but those who are missing the Mortal Instruments series will love the book too. Magnus pops up at least twice throughout the book, and Clary, Alec, and Jace make cameo appearances. Also, at least in my copy from the Mission Viejo Library, Clare inserts a side story that takes place at the end of Lady Midnight, in which TMI fans can rejoice over Sizzy, Clace, and of course, Malec! 🙂

Overall, with some slight disappointments, the overall plot was good and the references to Annabel Lee made the book extremely worthwhile to check out, even if one hasn’t read the TMI series.

-Megan V.

Lady Midnight is available for checkout at the Mission Viejo Library

Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson

mistborn_brandonsandersonImagine a world without a sun. Where mysterious wraiths roam around in the constant mists. Where most of the population is controlled by a group of uptight nobles and a dark ruler. This is just part of everyday life for Vin, a girl abandoned to a thieving crew by her older brother at a young age. In this life, she must struggle to survive, occasionally calling on her strange, mythical Luck, an ability that allows her to soften the emotions of others. However, this all changes when a strange man wielding similar powers named Kelsier finds her with an insane plan to overthrow the oppressive Final Empire.

This is one of the best books I have ever had the pleasure of reading. It takes you on a wondrous adventure through the possibilities of a dark future, and the constant presence of the true strength that all humans wield. More than anything else, though, Mistborn really goes into detail about the different aspects of the human personality, including who you can trust and whether or not it’s a good thing. In fact, the author, Brandon Sanderson, also wrote The Reckoners series, which goes just as deeply into the human psyche. Mistborn was given to me by a good friend and actually helped me get through some hard stuff going on in my life because it truly illustrates the point: there’s always something you can do.

This book should mostly appeal to teens (high school or middle)  who need a little motivation in their lives. I would not, however, recommend this story for younger audiences as it is not appropriate and mentions some “iffy” topics not suited for children under 12-13. This is not a quick read but it is worth 33 AR points! A very worthwhile read, however.

-Evan G., 7th grade

Mistborn is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library