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.

Maths and Me

My name is Luca Salvatori, and my previous mathematics course was Additional Mathematics in IGCSE. Usually, the feeling I associate most with math is probably difficulty; even though I would consider myself somewhat “good” at it, I tend to get “stuck” on problems, and sometimes I miss out on a solution that’s right in front of me as a result of being somewhat frustrated. I’m starting this course optimistically, seeing as it’s also the course my brother took, but I’m also a bit apprehensive; there are times where I feel like I’m behind, mathematically speaking, of my peers. I enjoy working things out for myself in math, but I’m also not afraid to ask for help; if it’s a concept I have a hard time grasping, I’d rather have someone who understands explain it to me than continue butting heads with it until I finally get it. When I get “stuck” in math, I try to think of the process; retracing the steps I took in solving the question and seeing if I made an error along the way or if my method needs to be changed. I find that this helps me to approach a question more clearly. I’d say that I’m quite inquiring in maths, as I enjoy understanding things clearly, and I also hope that I can work on being more diligent this year.

Adam Grant’s Talk

Dear Me,

If you only remember one thing from Adam Grant’s talk, it should be that it’s, on average, matchers are most successful. This is because, whilst Takers tend to rise quickly in their areas of work, they also are susceptible to falling just as quickly. Givers, on the other hand, tend to be so absorbed into other’s problems that they often tend to suffer on a personal level because of this, unable to complete the work that was assigned to them, due to them being so wrapped up in other problems.

This is because people are, fundamentally, opportunists, and when a giver only gives and refuses to take once in a while, people can, and will, attempt to take advantage of them. However, to truly prosper, a giver must be willing to continue giving, as well as being able to take once in a while.

Yours,

Me

Drama Practice with Artist in Residence (Shane)

The main themes of the workshop were time and space. To reflect these themes in our activities and work, we had to be very physical and evident in our choices, as it was difficult to be subtle in physical movement. To express Time, we had to focus attention on storytelling devices, such as Tempo (pace of the piece), repetition (expressing an idea through constant repeating of a single scene), and Duration (how long scenes and actions last to express an idea). For space, instead, we worked on Spatial Relationships (how the distance between actors and objects affects a play), Shape (how things are represented to signify a theme), etc. In an exercise, we had to display all these techniques, even though it was technically walking the space. We had to have control over ourselves and awareness of our surroundings (my peers) to generate the subtle suggestion of the theme that Shane told us to describe. We had to be suited to committing rapid changes in pace (e.g walking to running), listening to be more aware, and being able to react to changes in our activity. There are two spaces we can work in; Online (Flow, In the Zone, Present, Connected to the group, Generative, Right Brain) and Offline (Reflective, Analytical, Out of the Zone, Left Brain, and revision).

Is gender moulded by your environment? How so?

For a long while, I have been rather neutral in the heated debate between empiricists and nativists. However, after being exposed to the documentary on the curious case of David Reimer, as well as doing some additional research by my own accord, I have arrived to a conclusion on the debate. After a long period of thought, I have concluded that I agree more with the nativists on the topic, and stand by my own claim that gender, while able to be modified by the environment you grow up in, is still inevitable determined by genetics. This stems from two major points: the first being David Reimer himself, the second being the study conducted by Dr. Milton Diamond. To begin with, let’s talk about David Raimer; a man who was born female but, due to a circumcision gone wrong, became a female through extensive hormonal therapy and gender reassignment surgery. The first quirk from the traditional man-chooses-to-become-female formula we’ve become accustomed to is the fact that David didn’t choose to become female, rather was assigned that gender. Later in his life, he confessed to being bullied due to a choice his mother made for him in his childhood, and eventually decided to return to the male sex. Tragically his life ended in suicide, aged just 38. From this, we can detract two points to support my claim. The first is that he still identified as a male, despite the hormonal therapy and surgery he underwent as a youth. This means that, despite what can be done after birth (aka nurture), genetics win out in the long run (aka nature). The second point is a more complex one, and is a more of a moral dilemma than a scientific one. It being: what are the psychological consequences of gender changing surgery? David suffered from depression and gender dysphoria (though from the gender he had been assigned, rather than the one he had been born with). Could these be a consequence of his difficult childhood, or perhaps a byproduct of his extensive gender-change process. The second point of article I mentioned was the study conducted by Dr. Milton Diamond on how hormones affect gender. While I won’t bore you with the tedium of the entire study, the basis of it was injecting female rat embryos with testosterone (a male hormone), then seeing how the rats developed. Strangely enough, the female rats behave markedly by males, at one point even attempting to mate, despite their lack of organs to do so. To conclude, it is my firm belief that nature wins over nurture in the determination of gender.

Smartphones: Are they making us smarter?

To find my audio recording, click here.

Quotes:

From the second lesson:

“People are becoming precisely networked beings.”

From the TED talk:

“The only people who refer to customers as “users” are drug dealers and technologists.”

From the SLATE article:

“We ingest so much material that it’s impossible not to learn something.”

I used to think that smartphones were distracting, trivial things, but now I think that they are simply just that: tools. The fault of dependency is not on the phone, but in the user; in the children we haven’t taught to wonder, to create, and to aspire. Blaming phones for “killing a generation” is the equivalent of cutting yourself on a knife, then blaming the knife. It has no logical sense, and to make a significant change, we must get to the root of the problem; kids who don’t feel interested in creativity

Sources:

•Photo Credit: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/46646401@N06/36238945240/”>amira_a</a> Flickr via <a href=”http://compfight.com”>Compfight</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>cc</a>

“User Manual”- A DPERS task

What I value when working with others:

Honesty and transparency. I know I’m not perfect; nowhere near to it, in fact. If I’m doing something wrong or you don’t like the way I do something, I want you to tell me and I’ll attempt to change, as a form of self-improvement.

What I lose patience with when working with a partner:

Indecisiveness. Making decisions is a large portion of working, so making choices quickly and efficiently is, when working with me, a very important trait. While I do tend to closely analyse my choices, indecisiveness is quite infuriating, at times.

If my last collaborative learning experience had a soundtrack it would be:

This is one I’m really struggling with. My last real “collaborative” learning experience was the science fair, and it went pretty smoothly. I’ll see if I can find something else. If I do, I’ll update this for sure.

The #1 you can do to support me best when we work together is:

Be patient. I try to be as quick of a learner as possible, but sometimes I just don’t get something, and getting mad won’t help either.

When it comes to tech, I’m good at computer hardware, but I need to get better at working with software:

While I may be a slight bit tech-savvy, I’m at my best when working with hardware (In fact, I’m even saving up to build my own desktop PC). Software frustrates me, as it can crash and freeze without any warning. Hardware only damages when it’s your fault.

What people sometimes misunderstand about me when we are teamed up together:


People think I’m a smartass. When I do know things, I tend to get overconfident on my facts, and this can be irritating at times. Just remind me when I am becoming it.