Welcome to the Slant, where you'll find reviews and original writings by the members of Martin Library's Teen Advisory Board.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Call of Duty: World at War Review By Austin C.

This game is a first-person shooter and deals a lot the Pacific and Europe. I think that the game is pretty good. I wish they would move forward instead of going back to WWII but overall it’s alright. They also have an online setup so players of their system can play with or against other living players. I have to say that the game is very short though.

After you beat the campaign they have an extra campaign called Nazi zombie mode, where you can play online and offline with players or by yourself. In this campaign you go through unless rounds of killing zombies and you can pick up special weapons and you have to repair windows as zombies will try to enter. You can also unlock more areas so you can have more room to defend yourself in.

I would recommend this game to anyone who loves shooter-up games, especially if it's first person. It’s a good game. It doesn’t top Call of Duty: Modern Warfare but it’s new and has a lot of unlockables and great online play.

Confused: A Poem by Ashlee W.

She’s unsure of herself,
Unsure of the power she holds.
She doesn’t understand her self-worth,
So she constantly sells herself short.
She doesn’t understand why they can’t love her for her
But the truth is she can’t even love her for her.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Poem: Captive

by Jesse B.

The prison within which
I am trapped is such that
the outside world would not
recognize it for the
that it is. The clever
fa├žade of joy and mirth
imposed on would-be in-
mates lures all to their fi-
nal resting place -- my soul.

The tenets of my dark
religion require all
worshipers to abide
within the all-encom-
passing darkness. No es-
cape may be found from such
black torment -- hell of hells.

I bathe in the blood of
my ancestors while those
who came before me call
me back to their fold. A
horrible, violent
reckoning is coming --
crimson shall the streams flow.

Comparison of The Books "Thief" and "All Quiet on the Western Front"

by Yatzi G.

Ok, so I decided on writing about two of my two favorite books. To start off, my favorite genre of books are war novels. They show you reality, and show you that you should appreciate what you have, which is a good life. The first book is called, The Book Thief By Markus Zusak, and the second book is called, All Quiet on the Western Front By Erich Maria Remarque. These two books have a lot in common and yet a lot in difference. For example, one writer is American while the other is by a German. This will show that we can all speak different languages, or have a different culture, but we all have feeling believe it or not.

The Book Thief vs. All Quiet on the Western Front

“One morning two butterflies play in front of our trench. They are brimstone-butterflies, with red spots on their yellow wings. What can they be looking for here? There is not a plant nor a flower for miles. They settle on the teeth of a skull. The birds too are just as carefree, they have long since accustomed themselves to the war” (Remarque 127).
This quotation from All Quiet on the Western Front reminds us that war has always been around, whether it was the Civil war, the Vietnam War, or in this case World War I and World War II.

In All Quiet on the Western Front a perspective coming from a young man of the age of nineteen is provided. He has volunteered to fight for his country, thinking war was going to be different, he finds out that war is a lie and meaningless. In The Book Thief a young girl from the age of nine through almost fourteen, named Liesel is forced to stay with some foster parents, because her sick mother can’t afford to keep her, and her little brother has died. During this time Hitler was in control of Germany. Liesel, thinking that she has enough agony in her life, learns that a Jew must be hidden in her house, and this was a big offense to German Nazi. In each of these books, they show that war has always two or more sides to the story. In this case the stories come from a young male adult in the war, and a common female child during war times. Comparing these books, shows that many people do not live to tell about their side and beliefs and truths about war; this is why there is still a lot to uncover. There are many different perspectives, such as in All Quiet on the Western Front, and Book Thief to look at war through. The ones that usually provide the best descriptions are those from the person themselves that were in the war, or through the eyes of an innocent young child who has not lived long enough to know all the evil of the world.

In All Quiet on the Western Front, Paul Baumer is a young man with a dream, a dream of becoming a hero. When his teacher Kantorek tricks his students into thinking that War is the perfect opportunity of becoming a hero they take it, proud, excited, and a bit frightened (but it doesn’t matter because their dream will come true), they go off and sign up. Finally in the War, there are nine friends, all nine of them are playing in the game of war, trying to be surviors, and regretting that they ever listened to Kantorek.
Most importantly the characters know how it feels to be alone and have nobody there.

Remarque says, "What has Kantorek written to you? muller asks him...
Iron Youth! Youth! We are none of us more than twenty years old. But young? Youth? That is long ago. We are old folk" (Remarque 18).

This quotation illustrates that the soldiers have just recieved letters from their relatives, friends, teachers, etc. When they get a letter from their teacher Kantorek, they just laugh, for they are not the Iron Youth! They may be young, but they have seen too much and their mentality is not the same. They think more wisely, they know how much life is worth, and they know there is a big chance that they will not be going home as heros.
Eventually, each friend dies one by one. One does become a deserter and the only one surviving is Paul, who eventually dies a couple months before the war is actually over.

As Remarque writes, "While they continue to write and talk, we saw the wounded and dying. While they taught that duty to one’s country is the greatest thing, we already knew that death-throes are stronger. But for all that we were no mutineers, and no deserters, no cowards..."(Remarque 13). In this passage Paul talks about how people talk and say, but have really no idea what it is like to see your own friend die in your arms, to know that you can not sleep as you wish with the fright that someone may kill you, or maybe the nightmares of the things back home that they miss, such as their families. To illustrate this Remarque shows the feelings of Paul, "They were very free with all these expressions. We loved our country as much as they; we went courageously into every action; but also we distinguished the false from true, we had sudenly learned to see. And we saw that there was nothing of their world left. We were all at once terribly alone; and alone we must see it through" (Remarque 13).

This passage talks about how the soldiers including Paul Baummer show love to their country and want to help, but they also give to know that "why them?" Why do people talk and say how much they love their country and yet aren not out there in the war helping out. "He had fallen forward and lay on the earth as though sleeping. Turning him over one saw that he could not have suffered long; his face had an expression of calm, as though almost glad the end had come" (Remarque 296). This suffering shows that war is an experience, a difficult thing and that one cannot talk about, unless they themselves have experienced it. Paul Baummer lost many people, all of his friends, and his mother is sick with cancer and maybe dying soon. His life was good to begin with, but war destroyed it all. He may not be a real person, but we all know that this is the realism of war, and there is nothing we can do. We may think that this pain we speak of is a lot, but there is much more that has not been uncovered with the reason that it’s just too painful.

In The Book Thief, Liesel Meminger is young girl who loses her mother, her brother, and her self confidence. She soon finds out that the reason she never got to know her father is because he was a communist and nobody had heard from him ever since. Liesel, already in the begining of the book has had many tradgedies, and she is only nine. She is sent to a foster parents whose names are Hans Humbermann and Rosa Humbermann. Both of them loved her very much, and she loves them both very much also. Liesel sooner or later gives up on finding her mama, who apparently everyone had lost track of, but she never forgets her just as she will never forget her brother.

Soon, she becomes accustomed to her new home finds a new friend who’s name is Rudy Steiner, who with a little help from their friend Tommy Muller, they go on adventures stealing, and doing other mischievous things. In school she is not the best reader, but thanks to papa she learns and improves, and that’s how her love of books developed. Things were going well for Lisel; her mama and her tough love, but she knew that she loved her; her papa was the most amazing person in the world she had ever known; and her new friends were always loyal and there for her. But little did she know that more was awaiting her, and that her toubles were not over.

Soon the war beings, and it is World War II. Things are getting harder for people, her mama loses her clients (she worked ironing and washing people clothing), her papa (who to begin with didn’t have much of a job), soon loses his painting job. She soon knows that her friend Rudy Steiner has been invited to a school, where they prepare young German boys to be part of the military. Also, she finds out that there is a Jewish person to be hidden in her house whose name is Max and he too has gone through a lot of hard things just like she has in the past, and she know she must keep it a secret. But through all of this, Liesel finds comfort in reading books, and getting lost in the magical world of words.

Things get worse and worse, soon there are raids occuring in Molching (which is were Liesel home is), the Jewish man, Max, whom she had devolped a strong friendship with, leaves unexpectedly without an explaination. The only thing he had left was a note written that he appreciated their help, but did want to put the Humbermann family in more danger. "Jew parades", which is when Jewish people were taken out on walks in a nearby city, were occuring in Molching, and at this point it is hard for Liesel to watch, for she has made friendship with Max, and misses him a lot, so during this parade she looks and watches out to see if Max is in there. One side of her wants to see him, but there are only three possibilites that may happen. Max is free and is happy-- or Max has been captured and is suffering, or the third option that Liesel does not want to think about... death. It is also hard for Hans Humbermann to watch, for he feels guilty that Max has left his safe house, and is out in the cruel world of German Nazi where he is hated.

Zusak explains in detail how the Jew parades were hard for the Humbermann family. For Hans Humbermann does an amazing thing that not anyone would ever ever do, at least if you were a German. The tension and sadness of a Jewish person who is close to death is describe by Zusak . "The Jew stood before him, expecting another handful of derision, but he watched with everyone else as Hans Hubermann held his hand out and presented a piece of bread, like magic." (Zusak 304) In this scene Hans has helped out a Jew who was starving and had fallen on the ground, and the poor man has been calling out for someone to help him, but no one does, not even the rest of the Jews, they just stomp and trample over him. But then Hans could not handle or resist and goes out to help the Jew.

At this point Liesel is crying and then notices a soilder coming to the scene; now she feels Rudy holding her hand and giving a sympathy look. While Rudy is dong this Leisel is just waiting to see Hans suffer likes Zusak decribes. "The Jew was whipped six times. On his back, his head, and his legs. 'You filth! You swine!' Blood dripped now from his ear. Then it was Papa’s turn... The sound sickened her and she expected cracks to appear on her papa’s body. He was struck four times before he,too hit the ground." (Zusak 304) This scene shows that the Geman Nazi was serious about helping Jewish people, and it shows that none of it would be taken. That’s when Liesel, realized the dangerous it was for them in the past to keep Max.

Soon everything keeps falling down, her papa has been drafted to war, as well as Rudy’s father. She still hasn’t found Max, Rudy is not the same anymore, he dosen’t talk or smile much. Her mama is not he same tough loving mama, she’s quiet and every night grabs her husband’s accordian and cries. Everything is going awful and not according to the life plan Liesel intended to have in the begining.

Soon Rudy and Liesel start to hate the Fuhrer, which at this point is Hitler, and they turn and rebel against their German society:
"Where are you going?"
"Isn’t obvious?"
She stuggled to keep up. "Well, to tell you the truth -- not really."
"I’m going to find him."
"Your papa?"
"Yes." He thought about it. "Actually no. I think I’m going to find the Fuhrer instead."
Faster footsteps. "Why?"
Rudy stopped. "Because I want to kill him" (Zusak 425).

In this quotation, Rudy is upset because his father has been drafted and wants to kill the Fuhuer. He believes that it’s unfair that his father has to pay the price for not letting Rudy go to a school to be trained to be in the army. This shows the stong feeling a child has had in the war, and how they soon realized that life is not always just fun or rainbows.
Soon, Max is found, Liesel was watching a Jew parade, and as always she was looking for Max, in this scene Max and her break out in tears not knowing what to do, and Liesel does get punish the same way her father did and so does Max. And that is the last she saw of him for a long while.

Things apparently do get better for Liesel. Hans has broken his leg and is allowed to go back home. Rosa and Liesel are happy, but the Steiner family try as hard as they can, but they can’t help thinking why Hans, why not Alex (husband and father of the Steiner family). Soon, after all this happens, Liesel is upset about the whole Max incident and can not stand the guilt and suffering any longer, and decides to tell Rudy about it.

Soon, months have passed and things get from good to bad to worse, there are more raids occuring, and life is just sad. One good thing does happen, the mayor’s wife, one that Liesel considers a friend gives her a book, an empty one. She had told her that since Liesel had so much passion for reading, then maybe she should try writing herself. Liesel cherishes the book, and begins to write. She actually decides to write in the basement, where Max use to write himself. She was dedicated to it, and would sometimes fall asleep in the basement itself. Then, one day, it was late in the night, and Liesel decided to write. She was almost finished with the book, she called it the Book Thief, and she was extremely proud of herself. ``*Book Thief—last line* I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right.’’ So, she difted off to sleep.

The sirens were loud, but it was too late by then, the raid had begun, bombs falling on Himmel street, people not screaming, because they were asleep. It was too late by then, carefully death picked them up and took them to another place, this inclueded the Steiner family, which was Rudy, also Tommy Muller, and sadly Rosa and Hans Hubermann. The only hope was Liesel, for when the bombs drop, she was in the basement writing, and had saved herself.

The men tried picking her up and taking her to saftey after they found her in the ruins of Himmel St. All of a sudden she stumbles and tries to get out of their arms, they let her go. She starts screaming and yelling for her papa, then she notices, a boy with hair the color of Lemons. She runs to him and realizes that it’s Rudy, her best friend, her crush she had for many years. He is dead, and she is distraught, she tries kissing him knowing that he is not feeling it. Next, she discovers the bodies of her Papa and Mama.

First she goes up to her Mama and holds her hand, ``Remember when I came here, Mama? I clung to the gate and cried. Do you remember what you said to everyone in the street that day?... Did you know I saw you with Papa’s accordian? She tighten her grip on the hardening hand. ``I came and watched and you were beautiful, you were so beautiful Mama.’’ Next her Papa, she would not, she just could not look at Papa, not at that moment.

Papa was everything to Liesel he was the one that sat in the washroom with her, the one who taught her how to roll a cigarette. He was the one who gave bread to that poor dying Jewish man. He was the one who encouraged Liesel to keep reading and to follow her dream, and to read in the bomb shelter. If it weren’t for him, she might not have not been writing in the basement, and would have died herself. Papa was the person who Liesel loved the most, he was her home. "that as she knelt next to Hans Hubermann, she watched him stand and play the accordion. He stood and strapped it on in the alps of broken houses and played the accordion with kindness silver eyes and even a cigarette slouched on his lips. He even made a mistake and laughed in lovely hindsight. The bellows breathed and the tall man played for Liesel Meminger one last time as the sky was slowly taken from the stove. Keep playing, Papa. Papa stopped. He dropped the accordion and his silver eyes continued to rust. There was only a body now, on the ground’’ (Zusak 538).

In this quote Zusak describes that Liesel is having flashbacks of the past. Flashbacks, that remind her of good times she had with her family. This is a sad moment, for she is imagining her Papa playing for her, and all of a sudden he stops, for he is dead.

War is a hard thing, and it is not a person’s choice to have it. The leaders of our world sometimes don’t think about others, such as the individual soldiers and individual families. For example, in this case the family of a small girl named Liesel who not only suffered her own problems, but others. Paul Baummer was just as brave as Liesel still both of them young people trying to survive the war.

Liesel was a girl whose self confidence was terrible, and later on it grew thanks to her amazing faster family and even though they had left her; she knew what they would have wanted her to do, and it was to keep going for her dreams and keep her self confidence. In the case of Paul Baummer, he was the opposite, his confidence was high, a little too high, and he trusted himself with many things, including the war. He had everything he could ever want, but he wanted more, he wanted to be famous and become a hero. And when this happens the war affects him. His confidence decreases until he can’t handle it any longer.

Another similarity is that Paul Baummer had everything he wanted; he went to school, had a great education, and had a family. And he longed for more and more. Liesel on the other hand, did not. She did not go to school and in fact she was an awful reader, her birth family had left her, and she longed for more, but she longed for love. That’s when Liesel starts to steal books and learns how to read. And above all of that her foster family is amazing. Liesel does become greedy. And wants more and more. Until, they both realize that they will both lose one of their most valuable possessions, their family.

Mentally, I think that Liesel and Paul were quite equal, they were not young, and physically they were. They both had seen someone die in front of them. They both knew what it felt like to lose more than just one beloved one. They knew what as reality and what was make believe. They cannot be tricked, not even by death. Sooner or later death does meet them, Paul dies in the war, while Liesel survives and dies of old age. Their souls were ready, and sitting up for death to come. And they both finally found relief and calmness.

Remarque, Erich Maria . All Quiet on the Western Front . Berlin: A. G. Ullstein in Germany; Little, Brown in the United States, 1928.