Thursday, February 17, 2011

Poem Analysis/ Strange Are The Ways Of Men

Bismarckian Alliance System/Congress of Berlin:

The Bismarckian System was a system of alliances created and put into action by Otto von Bismarck. It was created to befriend all of the major powers of Europe while betraying the alliances for German interest. The first incidence of the Berlin Congress, which was created in order for Europe to recognize Germany as a nation, was in 1878. In order to assure themselves across the Mediterranean, they tried to create a pro-Russian Bulgaria. Britain and Austria were afraid of the growth of Europe, and found it as a declaration of war. Bismarck didn’t want his new Empire to crumble, so he took a chance to become the peace mediator between the Russians, Austrians, and British at the Berlin Congress. Germany had three goals: to pacify Austria and Britain and appear as a national peacemaker, to stop Russia from gaining too much power, for they could threaten the new German Empire, and create closer ties between Germany and Austria. Bismarck’s goals were successful; the peace between world powers were maintained. The German Empire gained respect and legitimacy, and the peace terms that were agreed on hindered the Russians, and pleased the Austrians. Germany started to gain power through peaceful means. The new, pro-Austrian peace terms that were agreed upon caused the rift between Germany and Austria to become significantly smaller, and isolated the Russians, which lead to a military alliance.

This poem was relevant to the topic, because the Russo-Turkish War, which this poem was written about, was one of the main things that sparked tension between Austria and Russia, who were both present during the Congress of Berlin’s peace trial.

Strange Are The Ways Of Men:

Strange are the ways of men,
And strange the ways of God!
We tread the mazy paths
That all our fathers trod.

We tread them undismayed,
And undismayed behold
The portents of the sky
The things that were of old.

The fiery stars pursue
Their course in heav’n on high;
And round the ‘leaguered* town
Crest-tossing heroes cry.

Crest-tossing heroes cry;
And martial fifes declare
How small, to mortal minds,
Is merely mortal care.

And to the clang of steel
And cry of piercing flute,
Upon the azure peaks
A God shall plant his foot:

A God in arms shall stand,
And seeing wide and far
The green and golden earth,
The killing tide of war,

He, with uplifted arm,
Shall to the skies proclaim
The gleeful fate of man
The noble road to fame.

*’Leaguered means a siege.


The first thing that struck me about this poem was when he said, “Strange are the ways of men, And strange the ways of God! We tread the mazy paths That all our fathers trod.” It made me think that all of life is predetermined, and that God controls our fate. Although I do believe that god controls fate, I don’t think that it is predetermined. This poem seems very sacred. It references toward god, and seems to talk about a spiritual journey of realization. This poem also talks about war multiple times, by saying, “ And to the clang of steel....A God in arms shall stand, And seeing wide and far/ The green and golden earth, The killing tide of war,” I think that this poem means that war is a big journey and not for the faint hearted, but if victorious, it brings fame and glory, hence the line “The noble road to fame.”. This poem seems to bring to light how strange men actually are, because it seems that the only way men think you can solve an issue is through fighting, and war.

White Man's Burden Blog Response

1. Determine what Kipling means by "the White Man's Burden."
2. Does Kipling justify imperialism? How so?
3. Why might such a justification might be so appealing?

1) Kipling means the White Man’s Burden because at the time period, white people were respected over any other race, or gender. So they were mainly in politics, and they had the burden of imperialism, war, and their own countries. They had to take care of everyone, and people expected them to do so. If something went wrong, they were usually to blame, because they were the ones in charge.

2) He seems to start to justify it toward the end. Especially when he says, “Take up the White Man's burden! Have done with childish days-” To me, it seems as though he is saying that not becoming a man, part of the nation, and not imperializing is childish. So you need to get involved. He also hints at imperialism many times, when he says, “Take up the White Man's burden- The savage wars of peace- Fill full the mouth of Famine, And bid the sickness cease;”, and “Take up the White Man's burden- No iron rule of kings...The ports ye shall not enter, The roads ye shall not tread, Go, make them with your living, And mark them with your dead.” He also justifies it by saying this, “To seek another's profit, And work another's gain.” To me, he is saying how you can gain, and profit from imperialism, and he hints at war, so it is beneficial to imperialize from a military standpoint as well.

3) The justifications are so appealing because everyone wants their nation that they worked so hard to build to stay up to date, and not get destroyed. A way they can make sure this happens is through imperialism because it makes their nation stronger, and bigger. You can use the raw material that you recover from the new land, and the land’s army (if they have any) can help your military and defense.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Self-Reflection Questions Reconstruction Debate

  1. How did I feel during planning this presentation? Why did I feel this way?
    1. I felt as though planning went well, for the most part. The first day brought on a bit of a panic. Two of my group members were absent, and it was difficult to plan. I took leadership, and assigned questions to everyone, but some of my group members were off task and playing games, while another was lagging behind. The next day, everyone was here, and everything was sorted out. We all finished our questions, assigned a due date for our slides, and come that day, we had all finished our slides. I thought everything was going great, until we started rehearsing the day of the debate. It became apparent to me that not all of us were the best of public speaking, or didn’t know our stuff.
  2. How did I feel prior to presenting? Why did I feel this way?
    1. At first I felt ready to go, because we all had our work done when needed, and it looked good. When we rehearsed, however, I could clearly see that we weren’t going to do as well as I had expected.
  3. How did I feel while I was presenting?
    1. Why did I feel this way? I felt really confident, because I knew my information, and my slides were good, and easy to follow. I got the information across as well as possible, and I think I did well.
  4. What did I personally do well?
    1. I personally thought that I presented well. I spoke loudly, and tried not to mumble. I also tried not to use as many hand gestures, and be or look so spazzy. I thought that I presented much stronger than I had in the past
  5. What did not go as desired in this presentation?
    1. I wished that everybody knew their information. It was obvious that some people didn’t know their information, and some people just weren’t confident enough to present to their full potential. I thought that personally, although I knew my information, I wished I knew it better. I felt as though I kept looking back to the board, constantly, and that was quite obvious.
  6. On a scale from 1-10, how well do I think I understood the content? Explain.
    1. I would say a 9. I think that the reason I understood the content so well was because I handled the “Errors in Radical Plans” section, so I had to analyze both documents over and over again, reading them multiple times, to find things that I could argue about. It really helped me seeing both of the document and working with them, and I think I understood the content really well because of that.
  7. How do I think my group members perceived me? Why do I think this?
    1. I think my group members perceived me quite high, and maybe a little too high. Although I thought I did well, I definitely had some flaws. They seemed to think really highly of me because I got my work done and I presented well, although that, to me, was expected of everyone. And some people did accomplish that, but some didn’t do as well as I thought.
  8. How do I think the 8th graders perceived me? Why do I think this?
    1. I think the 8th graders also perceived me highly, because I received some very flattering comments about my presentation. I think that they did do a better job noticing my flaws, though.
  9. Knowing that I can only control how I act and react, if I could do this presentation again, what would I change about my actions to make it a more ideal experience?
    1. I would want to work on my time management, and learn the information better. If I did that, I think I would have had a stellar performance
  10. What are my strengths in groups?
    1. My strengths are that I am probably one of the strongest speakers in the class, so I can use that to my advantages. I also get my work done as soon as possible, and I have some good ideas
  11. What areas do I need improvement?
    1. I need to work on my work ethic and time management a lot. I procrastinate, and I wish I don’t I really need to work on getting a schedule set up and getting my work done accordingly. I also need to learn to trust myself and not ask so many questions. I ask questions, but they aren’t because I don’t know, but because I want to make sure that my project is good, and that I have achieved my overly high expectations
  12. What is the most important thing I learned about myself? Why is this so important?
    1. I learned that I should really trust myself more. I already knew that, but now I have proof. I was told that I was a very strong speaker and debater by multiple people, and that made me feel good. I doubted myself, but I shouldn't, because in the end, it usually turns out well.
  13. Are there any other things that I need to express?
    1. I think I have covered it all in this reflection.

Friday, December 17, 2010


In these last couple of weeks, I have really worked on my time management. I have a hectic schedule, and projects for this class, as well as other classes. For these past projects, I had specific times for when I wanted to do and finish specific things. It was quite helpful, and lowered my stress level. I got my things done, and it felt great, having that load off of my shoulder. I have also realized that I have somewhat unrealistic, high expectations for myself. I have been trying to work on lowering those expectations. Despite popular belief, I have also realized that I am sensitive. I use my sense of humor, and my ability to be outgoing as a defence. I keep people away from me, so that they can’t get to my sensitivity and hurt my feelings.

The project that I am most proud for is my Thematic Causes of the Civil War Digitally Narrated Product. There were some technical difficulties earlier on in the project, and I had some trouble. I got an extension, and worked on it persistently. I wanted to get this done. I kept working, and finally got it done. It felt really good to have that done. It turned out well, and I am proud of how it turned out, despite the technical difficulties, and stress that came with it.

The most challenging project that I have had to do would probably be the Thematic Causes of the Civil War Digitally Narrated Product. As mentioned before, there were some technical difficulties early on. I started stressing out. The project was supposed to be 5 minutes, and I really had to work to get a lot of good information, as well as interesting, impressive movements and actions. It felt good to finish, but it probably had the most stress going along with that.

My favorite project was definitely the Lincoln and Douglas debate. That was really fun. I am interested in law, especially debates and court cases, so when Ms. Bailin announced the project, I was elated. A funny story went along with it. Originally, I was an evaluator. An evaluator is basically a student judge, who looks and the information, as well as the presentation, and grades it. So, I started out as that. Then, Ms. Bailin let the students choose their sides. It became unequal, with 7 on Douglas’s side, and 10 on Lincoln’s. Ms. Bailin asked the evaluators if anybody wanted to switch, and I knew that the evaluators didn’t get to debate. I really wanted to debate, so my hand shot up, and I switched to Douglas. I switched to Douglas not because it was unequal, but because in the public’s eyes (present day), his beliefs weren’t accepted. It would be challenging to get the public (our class) on our side, and I wanted to challenge myself. Then, my friend switched from Lincoln to Douglas. It was now equal. The next event was angering, but also very funny. I guess Ms. Bailin did it because she saw how enthusiastic I was about being on Douglas’s side. She let us go to work, and then said, “Oh, wait, one more thing!” And she switched the groups! So the people on Douglas’s side were now on Lincoln, and vice versa. After our groups were made, and we were paired up, all of the evaluators took a poll as to which out of the two groups would win. We were voted against. After the debate, we looked to the crowd. The crowd voted for us, saying that we won. I was ecstatic.

For second semester, I hope to keep working on my time management and work ethic, and keep them strong. I also hope to work on not being so dependent on other people. I like to get peoples’ approval, so that I know that I am right (I guess that goes with my high expectations). I hope to increase my level of independence.