Jim Holt is successful in providing an unbiased depiction of Alan Turing's life in "Code-Breaker". Holt portrays the trials and tribulations of Turing's complex life, and emotionally engages the reader to think of what life was like for a gay man in the 1940's.

Turing's life story entails a fascinating recount, which Holt deems, "part mystery, part parable of sexual politics, part fairy tale" (339). Turing, "was found dead by his housekeeper"(337), the morning after "he had taken a few bites out of an apple that was, apparently, laced with cyanide"(337), though, "[n]o one tested the apple"(337). The audience doesn't know whether he was killed by "clandestine assassination"(33), gay martyrdom, or suicide. Holt gives the facts for the possibilities of Turing's death, provides examples of what kind of man he was, the obstacles he faced, and lets the audience draw their own conclusions.

Holt begins his essay by stating, broadly, the main facts of Turing's life, and the various perspectives on it. Holt then breaks into great detail on Turing's inventions and his before-his-time way of thinking. Turing's personal life is examined; the type of man he was is suggested by Holt when he explains how Turing felt in America: "he found the straightforward manners on Americans congenial" (341). This brings the reader closer to Turing, providing an exclusive view from the man.

Holt uses pathos in his essay to engage the reader into Turing's personal life. Turing suffered the loss of his close friend at a young age, "Turing seems to have been left with an ideal of romantic love that he spent [his] life trying to duplicate" (339). By Holt mentioning this detail, the reader is able to feel sympathy towards a boy who must have been heartbroken. Turing faced difficulties from the start, and forever continued to search for answers.

The reader is left to be impressed with Turing's remarkable life in the remainder of the essay. He was a genius, determined to solve problems and answer questions that no one before him even considered. Holt summed it up best: "he solved the most important logic problem of his time, saved countless lives by defeating a Nazi code, conceived the computer, and rethought how mind arises from matter"(346). Such feats in one mans life deem him a hero of sorts; a protagonist that readers can side with.

When Turing is convicted of "gross indecency"(345), the reader feels sympathetic, and is enlightened to the treatment which homosexuals endured in the 1940's. Turing's "treatment of choice was hormonal"(345), which caused him great embarrassment when "his lean [body] took on fat"(345). The fact that "American researchers"(345), believed they could "convert gay men to heterosexuality"(345), is an example of how far society and science have advanced in beliefs today. Turing was only allowed this option, as opposed to "two years imprisonment"(345), because of his "intellectual distinction"(345). This means that he somewhat "broke the code" in society itself.

Without Alan Turing, the world would be a different place. Holt is able to capture Turing's life by recounting, in third person, the trials and tribulations that he had to endure. Turing laid the foundation for the computer, and battled the obstacles of being gay in a time when it was exceptionally difficult. Holt defines that Turing's death will remain a mystery, but his legacy will remain in history.


Jun. 8th, 2013 07:17 pm
"Borders" by Thomas King considers physical and metaphorical borders in a story about a mother and son trying to travel from Canada to the United States. The main border is not only the physical dividing line between the two countries but also the metaphorical divide between their native heritage and citizenship. Pride is a main idea in the story which is also used in a message to readers.

The story takes place at a time when letters were written to obtain information: "[Laetitia] wrote to someone in Salt Lake City, [about] a month later, she got a big envelope of stuff." (139). It is about a Blackfoot boy and his mother trying to visit his sister in Salt Lake City, Utah. In order for them to get there, they must face some borders. The boys' mother is proud of her Blackfoot heritage and does not recognize the physical border between Canada and the United States. When asked by the border guard about her citizenship, she simply replies: "Blackfoot."(135). They are not pleased with her answer: "But you have to be American or Canadian."(139). The mothers' stubbornness in her pride leads them to remain stranded between the borders for two nights.

The metaphorical border the boy and his mother face is put up by the authorities at the countries dividing lines. Their demands for citizenship prove to be a challenge for a woman who sees no border in her heritage, in fact, it is the American border guard who states, "...we got Blackfeet on the American side and the Canadians got Blackfeet on their side. "(135). She clearly sees no line dividing her people and refuses to let anyone tell her so; she is from the "Blackfoot side."(136). While the boy and his mother are stranded between both countries, a metaphor is sensed as they are stuck between their pride and heritage and the demand for citizenship. The governments of both countries are unable to recognize their identity outside of Canadian or American, until the media get involved.

Each character has pride in the story. The author provides evidence of how strong the mothers' pride is when she speaks to her daughter in Blackfoot on page 133. The daughter, Laetitia, establishes pride when she persists in following her dream to move to Salt Lake City, despite what her mother says. The young boy tells his mother of his sisters wish and Laetitia is unhappy, but she states, "Well, I'm going for sure, now." (141). The young boy adds a lightness to the story, he sees adventure in their situation, and his objective point of view sees that, " Laetitia had a lot of pride, and so did my mother. I figured that someday, I'd have it, too." (140).

The audience for the story is sensed to be Canadian. A slightly negative tone towards Americans is suggested with sentences like: "...my mother did not want us crossing the border looking like Americans."(133), and, "...Coutts, which sounded abrupt and rude, would be on the American side." (134). Despite her refusal to identify herself as anything but Blackfoot, the boys mother still recognizes that she is not on the American side.

"Borders" is meant to make you think about aboriginal peoples identity and the borders they face. The mother in the story is courageous enough to take a stand against authority to preserve her native pride, and she perseveres. She is a strong fictional character created by the author to portray the message that courage is needed to maintain heritage and identity. The characters' tactics in the story would doubtfully work in todays world, but her message remains.
Jennifer Turpin's essay "Women Confronting War" provides an informative view on the effects of war on women. Logos is used to administer fact based information, giving the reader an undeniable understanding into her topic.

Turpin explains that women are direct casualties, war refugees, sexual violence victims, and domestic violence victims of war. She breaks these down into easy to read categories and backs up her information with references to credible sources. "Women and [children] [are] the vast majority of [civilian] casualties (Hauchler and Kennedy 1994; Vickers 1993)" (325), an example of a sentence using a credible source. She would not be able to provide such an informative and believable essay without the use of credible sources.

Turpin wants her audience to understand that their assumptions are untrue: "Many people assume [women] are unlikely to die in wars, since [few] [serve] in the armed forces worldwide" (325). Though death is only one form of the confrontations women face, Turpin speaks to a general audience most likely to be women or those directly affected by war around the world. The essay gives a formal approach to debunking this assumption.

Turpin leads the reader to believe that women are the ultimate victims of war. She mentions that conventional views on war see that "women make peace"(324), which is the opposite of what they experience in such times. "More than four-fifths of war refugees are women and young girls..."(325), peace is not found without a home. Rape and prostitution are discussed, "Even the United Nations peacekeepers [have] committed rape and sexual abuse against women and young girls"(327). Prostitution is a way for women to support their families during war but causes permanent damage to their lives: "In societies where women are valued for their virginity, these girls may be permanent outcasts, trapped in [prostitution], and if they live to old age, [poverty]"(358). Being a female reader, sexual violence is unacceptable. Turpin relies on the morals of her audience to see that these situations are wrong.

Turpin's tone is slightly feminist but compassion remains a strong feeling throughout the essay, she is concerned for the plight of women around the world. Put in front of the right audience, Turpin's research may aid in evolving women's rights worldwide.
Parenting is a highly debatable topic in our society today. The effects of parenting have substantial influences on child development. We must first go inside the minds of babies to try to understand what is truly perceived by a child. Alison Gopnik is a professor of psychology and philosophy at the University of California at Berkeley; she proposes theories in her TED talk: "What do babies think?" that suggest babies play a crucial role in the understanding of the adults we become. Alison theorizes that because of humans long term dependency from infancy to early twenties, in which we are protected and provided for, that we are able to learn more and become more knowledgeable. Gopnik believes that children are meant for learning and actually have the minds of brilliant scientists; therefore, babies are the research and development team while adults are the production and marketing team who take the ideas from childhood and put them to use. Gopnik states that instead of thinking of babies as "defective grown ups" that we should actually see that they are "at a different developmental stage of the same species". Gopnik uses a metaphor to present this idea in which children are butterflies and adults are caterpillars. Gopnik says that babies are more conscious than adults; their brains work more like a lantern of ideas rather than a spotlight, as it would in adulthood. Gopnik states that to be a child is "like being in love in Paris for the first time after you’ve had three double espressos.” Gopnik closes with the idea that if we want to be like the butterflies, in which we have an open mind, open learning, creativity, and imagination that we at least some of the time should start thinking like children.

In Ken Dryden's "The Game", published 1983, we get the feeling he is playing two games for the price of one. He not only elaborates on the exclusive and fascinating world of being an NHL star, but also on playing the game of the media. Most of the general public, including myself, can not attest to this way of life; keeping the reader intrigued in the battles they face.



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