These past few weeks, my english class embarked on a head-to-head, every-team-for-themselves battle called, “B.R.A.W.L.” where we debated on diverse topics that related to the classic novel, All Quiet on the Western Front. It was filled with loads of disagreements and difficult perspectives and situations and definitely opened my eyes in all types of areas such as vengeance, war, and fear.
I was extremely excited for round one! My mind was set and ready. My amazing group, J.A.C.K and the Box (Jasmine, Amanda, Cathy, Kelsee…and a box) studied all the questions with precision. I can confidently say that we loved and were passionate about all the questions in the first round. When we competed against the Sock Rockers, we were excited to hear our question,“If one “snaps at” authority like a dog snaps at a bone, how do we determine when power is deserved (page 43)?”
We discussed how power is something everyone admires and wants and so it’s difficult to distinguish whether power lies in the right hands. A process that’s able to acknowledge who deserves power is elections and campaigns. Presidential elections and campaigns last for so long (as they should). They give those who wish to “snap at authority” a chance to demonstrate their capabilities to an extent where third parties can contrasts and fully comprehend all candidates’ offerings for our country and who truly deserves to have that authority.
It was fascinating to get the Sock Rockers’ point of views and how they used examples of Napoleon, Hitler, and Animal Farm. Great match, guys! Keep rocking those socks.
For the second round, we wanted to shake it up by answering our question through something entertaining rather than something that was too serious. We answered, “In chapter 9 on page 210, Paul is paralyzed with fear after hearing a bomb land beside him and describes it as being ‘alone and almost helpless in the dark’. Why is it that fear has such an overpowering existence on everything we do? What can we do, or what are some ways to conquer or move past our fears?” We thought it was comparable to situations where we fear adult figures, such as a tough teacher. We found that in order to achieve your goals, in this case your education, you must conquer your fear and stand up for yourself.
I felt as though criticism really knocked me off my game through the third and final round. Certain people came up to me and commented on our recent B.R.A.W.L. where we answered our question through the scene. They stated that it was, let’s say, “bull..poop.” Like every person, I do my best to proudly accept criticism and comments, using it to better my future experiences, but hearing those words made me question everything I had planned for our final B.R.A.W.L. Am I doing this and that wrong? I became insecure and very serious that for the first time, I had no clue on what to say and how to respond (luckily my partner was able to help me push through).
Paul “see[s] how peoples are set against one another, and in silence, unknowingly, foolishly, obediently, innocently slay one another.” Will humanity always find war necessary? Will there ever be a non-violent way to achieve the same results? How or why not?
I was not confident in the final round. War is not a topic that, with all honestly, I am fully-knowledgeable about. To our rival team, fantastic job. You guys did great and even as a competing team, I found a new perspective on the topic.
My concluded experience with the B.R.A.W.L. was bittersweet and could go both ways. I know I could’ve done better. I know I had some flaws and that was on my part. But it’s through this that I’m able to see what I can put some work into in the future. Other than that, I enjoyed seeing our shining debaters buzz in here and there. Everyone had something valuable to add and I gained new perspectives on all the questions we answered. Also, I really enjoyed working with my group (Team J.A.C.K. and the Box all the way). Each of us were truly hard-working and it was interesting to hear all our viewpoints on such deep and difficult concepts. With answering each question, working on powerpoints, and brainstorming how to uniquely execute our answers in class, we all had great parts in doing so. What was also helpful was that each of us had amazing talents and ideas to offer and I can’t imagine doing the B.R.A.W.L. with any other group!
Some of our favorite questions we would have loved to answer!
- There is no doubt about the fact that, for the most part, our lives are run by higher-ups in the government. Furthermore, many choose to let themselves be controlled by not educating themselves and voting for someone for superficial reasons (race, religion, because they are winning, etc.) rather than for the actual policies of the candidates. What can we do to encourage people to voice their opinions and act upon them, rather than simply doing whatever the “persons whom none of us knows” say when they “sign some document”?
- “A few carry miserable looking dolls.” Why is it that we can attach ourselves to material objects more easily than we can to actual people and how can we get people to care more for each other than for their worldly possessions?
..What were our answers? Why so many mustaches?…We’ll never know….