JASON IS READING LORD GRIZZLY BY FREDERICK MANFRED. This novel, written in 1954, is the authoritative creative nonfiction masterpiece by Manfred, far far superior to the more recent The Revenant, which was made into a Leonardo DiCaprio vehicle of the same name. In Manfred’s work, buffeted by many long hours exploring the countryside where Hugh made his 247-mile crawl, and by reading over 100 books written by and about mountain men of the 1820s, the reader is launched into a veritable time capsule, hurtling back exactly 200 years ago to experience, along with ole Hugh Glass, the rough-and-tumble nature of frontiersman life.


When Major Henry states that the “Fact is, one could almost claim we’ve slipped a little, fallen behind the red devils. The red devils sacrificed animals to live; we sacrificed humans”. He is stating that the “red devils” are more morally advanced than the whites because instead of sacrificing humans, they sacrifice animals, the humans being people like Jesus Christ, and the animals being the grizzlies that the Indians worship as their “giver of life” (73). Not only that, but the Indians feel genuinely sorry about sacrificing the bear, as they “bring him the best food they have left” when they have a shortage of food (73). However, Jesus Christ was not really sacrificed, he was executed as an enemy of the state because he promoted a religion that did not include the Roman emperors as gods; however, the Roman leader Pontius Pilate had initially shown resistance to punishing him, and had reluctantly taken him into the garrison to flog him as a token. When presenting his victim to the Jews, who for religious reasons wouldn’t enter the garrison, they screamed at the top of their lungs, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” As a point worth noting too, Jesus was claiming that he was the Son of God, which had been prophesied in the Old Testament, and the Jews were not happy with this fulfillment of prophecy.

Hugh despises this pro-Indian stance from Henry, as he states that all of these deaths are because of “his love-the-redskins sermons,” and that if he did not let “the Rees off easy last June,” none of this would be happening (79-80). This statement proposes a Machiavellian idea that if one must choose, one would rather be feared than loved. Who says that the Rees would care if the whites loved them? It does not change the fact that they are encroaching on their land and threatening their way of life by cutting them out of trade. People will always fight for their own interests, for example, the Romans executed Jesus Christ because a monotheistic religion would have and did threaten the fabric of their society, and the Indians who sacrificed bears, simply wanted food. Since simply respecting their traditions and their people does not give the Rees what they want, the Rees will continue to fight. Therefore, from the perspective of the Rocky Mountain Fur Company, it would have been best if Major Henry had been absolutely brutal with the Rees. Would that have been good for the Rees? Of course, it would have not.


Chaim Potok’s The Chosen throws the reader into a bildungsroman, a coming of age story, of two Jews, Danny Saunders and Reuven Malter, during the tail-end of World War Two and its aftermath as the horrors of the Holocaust are unveiled to the public, and movements like Zionism rise to debate the idea of the Jewish nation-state… all of which comes to a head in Chapter 13.

Chapter 13 starts Book 3, which begins Danny and Reuven’s education at the Samson Raphael Hirsch Seminary and College, where Danny is studying psychology and Reuven is studying mathematical logic, and Danny is miserable. He is solely interested in Freudian psychoanalysis, while the psychology taught in the College only consists of experimental psychology, taught by a Professor Appleman. He rejects it, as he sees zero connection between rats and mazes, mathematics, and the mind. However, after some heated venting, Danny decides to consider Reuven’s suggestion to talk to his professor about it after class. When Reuven comes home, he narrates to us his father’s passion for Zionism and how his passion for it is affecting his health, as he will do anything for the Jewish nation-state in Palestine.

Reuven and Reb Saunders

One must understand the significance of Reuven’s father being an avid Zionist. Danny is Hasidic, son of a tzaddik (leader of a group of Hasids), and that tzaddik, Reb Saunders, despises Zionism. He believes that the Jewish nation-state should be built by the Messiah, and not by “Jewish goyim,” or as he puts it, “contaminated men” (198).

When the second semester rolls around, Danny finally decides to meet with Professor Appleman, and he finds out that because Freud is not the only source of truth in terms of psychology, Reuven begins coaching Danny in math. Back at home, the reader learns about a Zionist rally at Madison Square Garden, where Reuven’s father is going to give a speech, on possibly the largest stage in New York, which may or may not be a huge success and be published in many newspapers that Reb Saunders may read. In school (Reuven switches between home and school a lot), Reuven can feel the tensions rising, and Zionist and anti-Zionist groups form, everyone but the Hasids on one side. It seems as though Chaim Potok is building to a climax, letting the tensions simmer until they finally break, with the Madison Square Garden rally.

Mr. Malter’s speech is a massive success, and Danny is banned from speaking to Reuven. At this point in the novel, it seems as though this is Reuven’s low, as while the Zionist movement is making headway, it is causing many personal problems. While others are cheering, Reuven is “alternating between violent rage at Reb Saunders’ blindness and anguished frustration at Danny’s helplessness” (232). While the world is moving around him, he is stuck in a quagmire that his shattered friendship left behind.

This novel is not just about two boys growing up, for Chaim Potok makes sure that every world event is timed perfectly with his story, and in reality, this time period allows for the most tumultuous character development for these two Jewish boys. Rooted in external issues out of their control, such as the Hasidic tradition that is forced on Danny, The Chosen brings the gut-wrenching feeling of injustice to the reader, and all of it culminates in Chapter 13.

Reuven may very well be caught in the worst possible time in history, as who knows, perhaps this situation is playing out somewhere else in the world. Not only that, Mr. Malter explains Reb Saunders’ reaction by saying that “he has no answer anymore to [his] Zionism,” that he needs to uphold an example as the tzaddik (232). Perhaps Reb Saunders is not targeting Reuven with his rage, but the movement of Zionism as a whole. However, that does not explain his explosions he had “yesterday at breakfast, last night at supper, and this morning again at breakfast,” nor does it negate how Reuven is being personally affected (231). Although Reb Saunders’ anger is not directed at Reuven individually, Reuven clearly feels the effects. He hates Reb Saunders with a “venomous passion,” so much so that “it began to affect [his] schoolwork” (234). Reuven clearly feels the effect of the passions of an unjust man, so who is to say that personal injustice is not being inflicted onto him?

AARON HUR responds:

I appreciated the fact that you talked a lot about Zionism, and the contrast between Reb Saunders and Mr. Malter’s beliefs. I think that the whole basis of that chapter was centered around Zionism, and eventually Mr. Malter’s speech, leading to perhaps the end of Reuven and Danny’s friendship. Something that you said that stuck out to me especially was when you were talking about Chaim’s strategy for writing the book: “This novel is not just about two boys growing up, for Chaim Potok makes sure that every world event is timed perfectly with his story, and in reality, this time period allows for the most tumultuous character development for these two Jewish boys.” I agree that all of these events, the start of WWII, Roosevelt’s death, the Holocaust, all world events that take place in this book, are timed to sort of throw a wrench in Danny and Reuven’s life. I additionally agree that it all culminates in chapter 13. This is the high point in the controversy between Danny and Reuven’s family, and although it has been stirring up throughout the book, Reb Saunders has had enough of it, as it gets unleashed in Chapter 13.


Seneca the Younger and The Art of the Personal Essay, ed. Phillip Lopate

“On Noise” is an essay that reveals the musings of a man, known as a classic Stoicist, statesman, dramatist and satirist. Twelve of his essays survive, and in The Art of the Personal Essay editor, Phillip Lopate, four are collected. In this essay he tills the soil of his present circumstances, and turns over some delightful paradoxes.

Aside from his opening, where he lists the various and sundry noises assaulting him from his apartment in the middle of Rome, each paragraph in the essay turns over a subject carefully. From identifying two main sources of sound, first the general which is not distracting, and then the human voice, itself always arresting, he then goes into this verse: “The peaceful stillness of the night lulled the world to rest”.

Seneca argues that our reason for retirement is because our ambition has been piqued. This retirement is an unsuccessful one because ambition occasionally “rears its head again.” If we are to be truly retired, our thinking would be unbroken by the noise, and we would never face that type of distraction again. 

We would assume after such a racket that this stillness would soothe. But what about the anxieties that surface in the night? Seneca argues that when the mind is most at rest, not only when lying down, but when it is hard at work and keeping idleness at bay, rest is achieved.

Seneca also states that being distracted or having an unstable temperament means that you have yet to attain a strong level of detachment. Without detachment, we are uneasy and become “prey to anxiety.” The example he gives us is an excerpt from the Aeneid in which the main character, Aeneas, who used to not fear anything, fears everything because of the burden he carries. This burden is his father and his son. Because of his attachment to keeping his load safe, every noise keeps him up and every breeze brings with it anxiety. 

So, the day you are finally at rest is the day you have detached yourself and all the noises do not reach you. Seneca describes it as “a meaningless hubbub of empty sound”. 

And then finally the ending plot twist. He’s outta here! Why should he have to endure the noise? What if Aeneas found a safe haven for his family and never had to deal with such fretful noises? Well sometimes, the answer is just to step away from the noise. Cause why suffer? Ulysses certainly didn’t. 

Discuss Seneca’s “On Noise” with the “Expansions and Contractions of Self” from Lopate’s introduction.

When introducing a quote, usually the author would build off of it, as if the quote were a foundation for a house. However, Seneca does the opposite. After putting down a quote from the translations of Varro Atacinus, he immediately refutes it with the words, “This is incorrect.” In his introduction, Lopate says, “Personal essayists are adept at interrogating their ignorance.” If this was true, then why is it that Seneca’s “On Noise”, the first essay of the entire book, counters that? He gives out advice and shares his knowledge about noise, retirement, the strength of men, and detachment. However, in his salutation, he admits he’s had enough of the noise, a human reaction after all.

Seneca has achieved his goal: he is imperturbable, above the fray until the end, when he leaves. He states at the end of his essay that he was only subjecting himself to the maelstrom of noises in Rome “to give myself a test and some practice. Why should I need to suffer the torture…”? His character is set, built on rock solid Stoicism, and there seems to be nary a chink in the armor. However, his analysis can be too basic: “The temperament that starts at the sound of a voice or chance noises in general is an unstable one and one that has yet to attain inward detachment. It has an element of uneasiness in it…”.

“I cannot for the life of me see that quiet is as necessary to a person who has shut himself away to do some studying as it is usually thought to be,” and “But I swear that I no more notice all this roar of noise than I do the waves or the falling water…”.

To his credit, Lopate does attribute the exploration of the expansions and contractions of self to “personal essayists from Montaigne (1533–92) on”, and Seneca the Younger lived (c. 4 BC. to AD 65).      

Lopate: “The personal essayist must above all be a reliable narrator; we must trust his or her core of sincerity. We must also feel secure that the essayist has done a fair amount of introspective homework already, is grounded in reality, and is trying to give us the maximum understanding and intelligence of which he or she is capable.”

Seneca’s confidence does not come off as arrogance, but rather, he has an educational tone. He is informing us of all he’s learned about the noise around us. We can see from his writings that he is sincere and reliable. Seneca’s goal is to give us the most knowledge possible of all that he has learned. We can trust that each word written by Seneca has a strong sense of confidence and wisdom behind it.

June Qin responds:

Lopate characterizes a personal essayist as “a Houdini who, having confessed his sins and peccadilloes and submitted voluntarily to the reader’s censuring handcuffs, suddenly slips them off with malicious ease.” Initially, Seneca seems to do exactly the opposite of what Lopate describes; he showcases his incredible ability to live above a public bathhouse that emits “a babel of noise” without going crazy. Yet, going back to the essay’s first sentence, he confesses that “I cannot for the life of me” understand why people need quiet to study; this inability later explained in the essay as he explains the paradox that peace isn’t attained through rest. Rather than continuing to expel his own limits, he uses the credible and stoic character that he built up in the beginning to explore humankind’s susceptibility to be “prey to anxiety.” I especially enjoyed Seneca’s example of a man urging everyone in his household to be quiet as he sleeps, but the noises he complains about, “he never heard them at all,” because they were imaginary which illustrates Seneca’s point of inner restlessness being more disruptive than external distractions. After this discussion, the ending in which he admits that he will move away from the public bathhouse, conceding that “it [is] a lot simpler just to keep away from the din,” seems unexpected, yet it is here where he echoes what Lopate implies: “I am more than the perpetrator of that shameful act; I am the knower and commentator as well.” His confession adds to his character’s complexity; he is more than just stoic.

Isaac weighs in:

When reading Seneca’s “On Noise” while also keeping in mind the make up of the personal essay, I find that Seneca’s essay slightly wanders off the well beaten path. His essay is less intimate than described. Though he does seem to speak directly to the reader, I didn’t find the companionship that Lopate mentioned. However, Seneca did follow the “Honesty, Confession, and Privacy” aspect of the essay. His writing is frank which also portrays him as a reliable author. After reading Jonathan’s response to the essay, I found his point on the tone to be interesting: “Seneca’s confidence does not come off as arrogance, but rather, he has an educational tone.” Seneca’s essay at times does seem too confident, but as Jonathan described, it is more educational which makes it a personal essay. 


The Hobbit is a very entertaining book. It is filled with adventures and songs and lots of different characters. Even though it is quite a slow book I am willing to put my dedication into it. Once I have started a book and especially if it is in a series, then I go all the way through. I will continue to read all three Hobbit books as well as The Lord Of The Rings books. I am excited and can’t wait.

Bilbo has begun his adventure in quite a hurry. He left everything behind including his beloved handkerchief. “I am awfully sorry but I have come without my hat, and I have left my pocket handkerchief behind, and I haven’t got any money.” Bilbo was not willing to go on with the adventure if he didn’t have what he needed. Bilbo also forgot his hat. Bilbo found himself wearing the dark green hood and cloak that Dwalin lent him. “They were too large for him and looked rather comical.” As a hobbit he was much smaller than the dwarves, but looked like an adolescent dwarf. “His only comfort was that he couldn’t be mistaken for a dwarf, as he had no beard.”

Gandalf meets up with the Company on their way out of Hobbiton. To Bilbo’s relief, “he had brought a lot of pocket-handkerchiefs, and Bilbo’s pipe and tobacco.” But as quickly as Gandalf rejoins the Company, he leaves without any of the dwarves or Bilbo noticing. It took them a while to notice that he had indeed left them by themselves. Later they discover the reason for his instant takeoff. Gandalf tell them that “I went on to spy out our road. It will soon become dangerous and difficult. I had not gone far, however, when I met a couple of friends of mine from Rivendale.”

Even though Gandalf might say that to the dwarves and Bilbo, I have a suspicion that he isn’t being the most truthful. He went ahead, and I wonder what he discovered and why he went. Why did he go ahead in the first place without telling his Company? If he really did discover something, why is he hiding it and not telling everyone else? I feel like he is telling half of the truth.

Bilbo was sent to steal anything from whatever was by the fire (what fire you ask? Read the book!) that illuminated the rest of the forest. He was sent because “at any rate hobbits can move quietly in woods, absolutely quietly.” Compared to the dwarfs Bilbo was invisible when he went through the woods. In fact the dwarves make so much noise that “Bilbo had sniffed more than once at what he called “all this dwarvish racket”.”


Many said that Caesar was a general but that was not all, as in the War Correspondent doc it states… He was one of the best reporters as well. The document then zips along with the first war correspondents William Howard Russell, hired by Edwin Lawrence Godkin of the London Times. Russell’s actions were so heroic and brave that a mere human could not do so without shivering in fear. Then there’s the Bayeux Tapestry’s stitchings depicting a battle that took place, The Battle of Hastings in 1066, where the Anglo-Saxons and the Normans went to war. Now most correspondents might coward away but not that of Thutmose lll commander of the Egyptians, and his trusty scribe Tjaneni, who kept a journal detailing the engagement as he stuck with him everywhere the Pharoah went (1400 BC). Tjaneni was also the boss proto war correspondent as he was as original as a Trojan horse. But my favorite correspondent by far was Robert Capa: “Perhaps the best known of all World War II combat photographers, the Hungarian-born Capa had made a name for himself well before climbing into a landing craft with men of Company E in the early morning hours of D-Day” (the War Correspondent doc). He took seven stellar photos of D-Day and… many other battles, leaving me awestruck at how he survived for so long (he met his Maker on the battlefield in East Asia, sadly a few years later). In my opinion he is a true hero, not one of the fake heroes like let’s say, Justin ‘the Biebs’ Bieber.

Robert Capa, one of the 7 images from D-Day

Mark Kellogg, a Western free-lance newspaper reporter, set out to tell us what happened on the morning of June 26, 1876, on a hill at Little Bighorn in Montana. “By the time this reaches you we will have met and fought the red devils with what result remains to be seen.’” He seems to me like a very dastardly man of some sort as he is very against the Red Devils which is messed up that he even calls them that. I know I am jumping around a lot so I will just focus back on one of my favorite depictions in this story: D-DAY! Well, I should put an exclamation point as it is an amazing topic. It was 1944, WWll, and Allies are going to invade Normandy, France to rid the land of the Nazis, and I thought that we would never get to see this amazing historical moment of grit and passion. Then all of a sudden BANG! in comes Capa to take some pics of this amazing historical moment and the pictures are absolutely stunning. 

The war correspondent had rules and standards to achieve, of course: “The birth and maturation of the unarmed professional war correspondent had four midwives: Democracy, Time, Scale, and Speed”. Without these fundamentals, and most importantly, “… democracy, nurtured by nearly universal suffrage and popular education, meant governments had more and more to justify the blood, tears, toil and sweat of going to war”. The war correspondent has to be able to communicate to someone with not only authority but with a citizen’s obligation to the truth. Time (not thyme) is everything for war correspondents. Personally, I am terrible with time management. But not these people – they can do things like showing up right on the dot and not have a single worry for being late. Scale is pretty explanatory. The bigger the battle, the more correspondents. Again, the first legit war correspondent (paid to write in war theatre) was Billy Russell, the first to be hired exclusively for this position (by Lawrence Godkin of the London Times). Can you remember that? And finally, Speed. A correspondent must be quick to get information and to relay it back, and because of the modern era, we had telegraph, then telephone, then TV etc.

The reason for all of this jumping around and talking about these things are because these things highlight the attributes and the unique qualities that war correspondents have brought to us. If not for them, then the information and our even lives might not have been here today. For isn’t the non-fighting population largely responsible for ending wars? Forget about only the military general’s saying haughtily, I was on the very front lines. As the war correspondent, in my opinion is the most dangerous and the most nerve-wracking job even known as they are very literally in the front lines. They have faced more dangers in a day than we could do in our lifetime so I really think that they are the true heroes of wartime not someone who boasts about being on the front lines. They can do anything from reporting like William Howard Russell to attacking as well like Julius Caesar. Capa could have died on that battlefield while taking those pictures of D-Day. Do you have what it takes to be a war correspondent? Btw, he did die at age 40, while reporting from the French Indo-China War. Rest in Peace.

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