Part A: My Friend Leonard
a. My Friend Leonard, a book based upon the authors real life, has a collaboration of words that make the readers rethink our lives and our happiness. It is Frey’s attempt at putting all the millions of pieces back together from his first book, A Million Little Pieces. He gives himself a shot at having a normal, addiction free life that he cannot remember ever having in the past. He writes about the emotions we take for granted and the physical and mental pain that is inflicted with letting something with negative effects consume you.
b. Unlike his first book where he focuses on the destructive and conflicted life of an addict, he writes more about his feelings. Although the pain is still just as raw and stomach wrenching as in the first book, Frey writes in a way that makes us feel the way he feels throughout his highs and lows and you cannot help but cheer for every victory and weep at every heart breaking event that occurs. A heart breaking event that makes sorrow overcome your body is when James has to put his pit bull to sleep. The bond between him and his dog is so loving and strong that when you read the process your heart breaks a little.
“The vet tells me it will be painless, that I can be with him. We walk into an operating room Cassius jumps up on a steel table. The vet prepares the needle. I hold Cassius and I tell him over and over that I love him and that I’m sorry and I’ll miss him and he kisses me, kisses me, kisses me, he tries to make me feel better he has no idea. The vet inserts the needle, depresses the plunger. Cassius yelps like a little puppy, my big tough pitbull feels the sting, I hold him as his blood courses through his veins I hold him as he stumbles, as he falls, I hold him as he dies. I look into his eyes and I tell him I love him and I’ll miss him and I’m so so so sorry. He dies in my arms and I hold him and I cry, I cry, I cry.” (p. 315)
Frey writes quickly in his consciousness. He speaks fast and leaves no room for proper punctuation, quotation marks or any sign of true grammar. He gives us the story and doesn’t waste his time giving us the fluff we don’t need. It is the core of his life, with little descriptions of what he has viewed. His words and voice sound robotic, overplayed.
c. Frey has decided to use relatively simple language in this book which makes me wonder who is true audience is. He is still young, only 23, and I’d like to assume that not many kids have had addiction to alcohol or cocaine. It is unusual that he has used simple language when telling such a complex story. Frey has formed his words into a story that tells his life not a chronology of his life. He makes it a story by quickly expediting the events without hesitation. It is evident in his passage when he is given a job to complete.
“I take a car to St. Louis. I don’t know what’s in the car, if there’s anything in the car. Nobody tells me and I don’t ask. I drive three miles over the speed limit. I leave the car in a shopping mall parking lot.
I move briefcases from the north side of Chicago to the south side of Chicago. I move briefcases from the south side to the north side. I ride the El train back and forth. I buy a set of nice clothing khakis black leather shoes a white oxford a blue sport coat, so that I look like a young ambitious commuter, so that people think I’m a law student or an apprentice all of which, in a certain ridiculous way, I am.”
The construction of his sentence structures and the fast pace story line helps the time fly by and pushes the story forward.
d. James Frey wrote this book to exploit his life story to an audience. Although there is much controversy over which parts of this book are real verses made up, he wanted to tell an audience his life story in coping to his tattered past. In his book, it allowed him to create and develop a tough-guy image of himself as a “coping mechanism” to help him address alcohol and drug addiction in his past.
Being one who loves and admires books and looks to books for inspiration and knowledge, it is absurd to think about my foot touching nonetheless stepping on one. Ever since childhood I have adored books and the magic it holds for me. It does not only allow me to go into another world that I could never live in but it gives me a sense of imagination, passion, creativity; a feeling that only a book can provide. It allows me to connect with characters and create a bond with them so that I feel I can share my secrets with. Someone who has gone through the same thing as they give me advice and insight as to how to solve the problems I have in real life. Gutenberg Parenthesis makes many insightful points that relate to the sanctity of books, his points were not strong enough to change my views and perspectives.
I believe books can hold some sort of knowledge or truth but never knowledge or learning. Knowledge is defined as a noun with the definition of: “facts, information, and skills acquired by a person through experience oreducation; the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject.” Reading is a skill, but can you gain experience from reading that? No. It is our own responsibility to learn skills or whatever we aspire to learn and you cannot just learn through reading. You can discuss the process and whatnot but you will not have truly “learned” the skill.
When discussing how I get my knowledge it all comes down to one thing. Personal experience. In academics and athletics, I am kinesthetic which means that I cannot master a skill or even attempt to learn it without trying it out first. It is difficult for someone who is kinesthetic to learn something by just seeing the skill being performed. I get my knowledge from my peers, strangers, family, friends, media, anything I can admire or get my hands on (if a skill is being performed).
Part D: 5 Stages of Knowledge/Wisdom – Mohamed Youssef
Stage 1: [Just an Introduction; Just Starting to Notice]
In 4th grade I had an interest in playing volleyball, I was inspired by the Varsity girls at my school and started to watch their games. Although they weren’t as developed as we are now, I was very interested and took time to watch the games at school and at the collegiate level.
Stage2: [Find out More, Learning]
I tried out for the team and worked hard everyday to improve and integrate what I learned at practice on the court at the next practice, continuously giving myself opportunities to grow.
Stage 3: [Reaching Knowledge : Foot One]
I had been working very hard and our team was successful at the CSAL level. It was very exciting to see how my hard work and dedication payed off!
Stage 4: [Reaching Knowledge : Foot Two]
I became a leader on the team and an important role to the teams success and I was starting to grasp the ideas, the plays, the ups and downs of the game. Not only was I learning, I was truly understanding the concept of everything I had learned prior and started to use it when it was playing time.
Stage 5: [Fully planted, Absorbed]
This year I played for Le Jardin’s Varsity team and I am very proud of how far I have come. I may not be an all high school varsity team member but I have improved greatly. I help with my club’s clinics and teach others the techniques I have learned and try to promote the game and pass on my meaning of the game to others. I have grown to have a love and passion for the game and I feel as if not only have I learned but I have knowledge on the game, how it’s played, and ultimately the reasons for people’s playing.
Part E: Types of Knowledge
Experiential Knowledge: Knowing through direct experience how to make a phone call.
Procedural Knowledge: Knowing how to drive from my house to school every morning.
Knowledge Claim: Knowing that love is not only an emotion but also a feeling.
From experience, I have learned that the easiest type of knowledge to retain is based on the person. I, personally learn best through a knowledge claim. It is easier to retain this because we are constantly being exposed to knew experiences each day and we can remember the feeling and the concept of what was exposed instead of needing to know how to do a skill.
F. Theories of Learning: Constructivism /Pragmatism
The theory that best applies to our IB program is Constructivism, which is a style of learning that involves developing a unique world view based on all experiences acquired. It also emphasises independent and self-directed learning, which is also emphasised in the IB program because of our world views and our interconnecting classes. I find pragmatism the best way to learn because I learn by doing which is exactly what this theory exploits (the idea that doing will benefit the later act of learning).
H: Types of Memory: