The significance of the ending of “Home Fire”; Eamonn

The tragic conclusion of Home Fire serves not only as a climax to the novel, and a culmination of all the various plot threads set into motion (Parvaiz’s radicalisation, exodus to join ISIS, and eventual murder in Istanbul, Aneeka’s relationship with Eamonn, and Eamonn’s turbulent relationship with his father), but as a statement on each character; an authorial comment on the course that each character has taken in the novel. Eamonn’s development and actions as a character are significantly commented upon especially; his death at the hands of a terrorist attack represents both his defiance of his father and the clash of cultures between his clearly westernised, British worldview and a heavily radical Islamic perspective, both of which are recurring themes throughout the novel.

Eamonn’s defiance of his father in his departure to Karachi cannot be understated as a pivotal turning point in his character; throughout the novel, Eamonn has been a staunch defender of his father’s controversial hardline policies on muslims, occasionally to the detriment of his human relationships, especially with muslims such as Isma and Aneeka. Indeed, Aneeka’s dispute with Eamonn (pg. 92) rises from this fundamental familial divide between the two; with Karamat Lone as his father, Eamonn cannot help but defend his father’s actions, despite perhaps understanding that they may veer towards a hardline stance. Eamonn turns to his father as both a source of comfort and as a role model, and struggles to gain his approval throughout the novel; much to his chagrin, Karamat has always viewed Eamonn’s sister as a more reliable, perhaps even “acceptable” child. To an extent, Eamonn’s defiance of his father’s order to cut off ties with Aneeka, and his subsequent departure to Paksitan, was a manifestation of this desire to prove himself to his father; to send a message. Terry, Eamonn’s mother, comments on this, stating Eamonn left England to “prove to his father he had a spine”.

Another fundamental aspect that lends significance to Eamonn in the conclusion of Home Fire is definitely the clash of cultures that occurs once Eamonn arrives in Pakistan. As a Pakistani-naturalised-British, Eamonn has inherited the characteristic of a stranger to what could be defined as his “birth culture” from his father, sardonically nicknamed the “Lone Wolf” due to his apparent rejection of his Pakistani-Muslim roots in favour of a political career steeped in conservatism. Eamonn’s departure to Karachi, more than just a gesture of his love for Aneeka, or a puerile bid for approval from his father, was an extension of the estrangement; Eamonn wishes to reconnect with the culture that he has never been familiar with, yet would seem to be “born with”. The very same culture that his father has taken a hard-line on, unwilling to compromise in his political tenure. This unfamiliarity manifests itself in the ending itself, with him not defending himself from the terrorists fastening the suicide vest to his chest because “he’s in a new place, he doesn’t want to offend, he allows himself to be embraced” (pg.273-4). He is, perhaps foolhardily, stepping into a world unfamiliar, and, by virtue of its Islamic culture, some would argue, diametrically opposed, to his own. Nonetheless, empowered by this newfound bravery in defiance of his father, his departure would result in his eventual, tragic, end.

Guiding Question: Antigone and Home Fire

•In what ways does the author offer insights and challenges into religious and cultural practices?

•To what extent does the impact of the text shape our implicit perception of a troubling world?

•How does understanding of context (social/political/historical/cultural) influence or shape our understanding of the text and its implications?

•How do elements of the contemporary novel shape our understanding of the concepts within the text?

IFP (CAS Reflection 2)

What new skills have I developed in this activity?

Initiative for Peace has, I find, been a great choice as an activity thus far in the year. Not only does it fit snugly into my week’s schedule, running from 4:30-6:00 on Tuesday (I do Boxing from 3:00-4:30), but it is also a great chance to learn a different set of skills and also meet, and interact with, many people I would not normally see. The best things about IFP are not only the wide community of people who attend the activity, allowing me to get to know many people I do not share classes with, but also the set of conflict-resolution skills that we learn as part of the activity. I have never given much thought to the specific skills required to facilitate the construction of a lasting sense of peace or the practical skills required to organise an event such as a conference, so it has been a very constructive learning experience for me to acquire these practical skills, despite the fact that it may have been, to begin with, somewhat strange to actually sit down and learn these skills. The ability to foster conversation and facilitate an understanding is one that I have never had to consciously learn, and, hence, has rendered this season of IFP a very eventful one.  I look forwards to continuing the year in IFP, this despite the fact that, due to the coronavirus, our Timor Leste and Mae Sot conferences have been cancelled, which was a significant obstacle to my CAS experience, as I was very much looking forwards to attending.

Boxing/Muay Thai (CAS Reflection 2)

How did I show perseverance, resilience, and commitment in this activity?

Boxing has proven itself to be an activity I both enjoy and occasionally find problematic. Despite very much liking the activity itself, and enjoying the exercise and skills I learn during it, there are also periods where I find it difficult to maintain my commitment to it; despite only being once a week, it is on a Tuesday, from 3:00 to 4:30, followed by Initiative For Peace, from 4:30 to 6:00. This renders the day quite a long and generally tiresome one; I often find myself wishing I could do something other than Boxing until IFP. That being said, I am happy I have continued to attend training sessions, as not only is it a good for of exercise and physical exertion, but I am also able to learn valuable skills and techniques, as well as have fun with friends also doing the activity. Therefore, I’d say so far my biggest challenge faced by Boxing has not been a physical-based, or technique-based one, but a commitment-based obstacle, in that I often find myself unmotivated to continue training. That being said, I do not regret Boxing thus far throughout the year, and look forwards to continuing to train and improve my skills.

Feedback and Reflection on English Practice Essay

The core of the feedback our class has discussed on improving our English practice essays is to find a sort of golden mean between various extremes; for instance, minding our word-count, we need to strike a balance between having enough points to provide a lengthy and varied essay, analysing a range of aspects of the question, and having few enough points to fully explore and deeply analyse, without including an excessive amount of bare-bones points. Additionally, whilst including external, well-researched sources supporting your argument or offering a different perspective on your essay question can be a great asset, it is also beneficial to improving the depth of your essay to question and deeper explore the sources; are there any parts of the work that they neglect to mention? Do you agree or disagree, and why? This running theme of finding a “golden mean” between the various extremes of essay-writing is one that I need to get to terms with, seeing as there are many aspects that need to be perfectly balanced to deliver an appropriately balanced essay (e.g giving adequate context for the work you are exploring whilst not drowning the reader in obsolete or excessive information that is irrelevant to the text).

Personally speaking, what I need to work most on is to focus on a greater degree of three-dimensionality within my essay; I did not include adequate foreground (background information) on Burgess, the author of the work, in my introduction, and, additionally, I did not continue to cite the author throughout the text, not “grounding” it by constantly looping it back to the author and the question. Additionally, I should have focused more on the “time and space” aspect of Nadsat as an argot; why did Burgess create it, but also how did he create it, and in what context did it exist. Doing so would show a greater degree of understanding and confidence in the text. Additionally, whilst I did cite a secondary source (an analysis), I should have explored it or questioned it further, instead of using it as a support for my preexisting argument.

Doc – Feb 14 2020 – 10-51 AM (1)

Memoirs of the Pioneer Generation (CAS Reflection 3)

How did my plans change as the activity progressed? Why?

Our second season of service has ended, and has brought with it large changes. Despite our best efforts in adapting our activities to better suit the clients of the elderly center, we have found our efforts less-than-fruitful in furthering our end-goal; that of interviewing both clients and those who care for them and cataloguing said interviews (hence, “Memoirs” of the pioneer generation). However, a significant setback in the path of our service has been how hesitant our clients have been to actually speak; we have been unable to create a close enough social bond to gather any information from them. Similarly, those who work at the center have been unwilling to provide us with any sort of interview. Hence, in view of this setback, our service has adopted a different strategy; that of splitting up and joining with other local services in school, and working with them to gain a different perspective on service as a whole, a perspective we will be able to bring back to the group and hopefully translate into a valuable insight into service. I, personally, have joined with YMCA Student Care Center, with which I hope that I will be able to gain a different perspective, and, hopefully, overcome this setback to our service.

Memoirs of the Pioneer Generation (CAS Reflection 2)

What was the outcome of my planning? How do I know?

With our first season of Service concluded, I find that Memoirs of the Pioneer generation has been a strong fit for me, despite some challenges and apprehension. Firstly, despite much planning and initiative for activities, with our service group entering the senior center with clear ideas on how we wanted to conduct our sessions, we rapidly found that our plans did not develop as we wanted them to. With many senior clients of the center having relatively short attention spans, many of our planned activities (board games, ball games, etc.) that did not provide immediate gratification and somewhat fast-paced fun soon fell apart. Though our first activities, as a simple get-to-know-you, were ball games where we learnt the names of the clients of the center, we somewhat rudimentary, as we were forced to improvise and abandon our initial plan, we soon overcame the challenge of planning and adapting our expectations of the activity to fit the clients. As we tailored our plans to better fit them, by prioritising activities more accessible to them and less likely to lose their interest, we found a greater degree of engagement with our clients (though, despite our best efforts, some of them remained quite distant and reluctant to socialise). Nonetheless, despite our difficulties with planning and the challenges that organising sessions presented, I feel that the first season of service has been a productive and personally enjoyable one.

Reading The Reader

“The Reader” has been, thus far, an interesting read for Literature. It follows the story of a certain Michael Berg, and his romance with the 36-year-old Hanna Schmit. The book touches on themes such as the corruptive nature of relationships, the impact of sexuality on youth, and, ultimately, acts as a coming-of-age story. Despite being taken aback by its initial forwardness and how unabashed it is in its own sexual descriptions, I find that, ultimately, there as some hidden meaning within the text. Unfortunately, I haven’t finished reading it, so that meaning is out of my grasp.