Newfoundlandese, if You Please" by Diane Mooney brings into attention the existence of diversity in Newfoundland, in the form of linguistic differences and variation. This unique variation of linguistic diversity in Newfoundland is reflected on the fact that it carries with it its history of Irish, English, British, and French influence in its speech. Inevitably, of course, Mooney points out how these foreign European influences through language have helped create distinct cultures and societies within the province. To prove this point, she goes on to enumerate and describe the different languages extant, which include languages originating from East Coast Newfoundland, which is primarily Irish-influenced. Central Newfoundland, meanwhile, have traces of Irish character though it evolved its own language, which sometimes display Irishness or a deviation from its original Irish character. The third comparison, which is that of West Coast Newfoundland, reflects the influence of the French, though Mooney also mentions that there is an effort from the people to 'try to sound like mainlanders.' Lastly, the Northern Peninsula of the province has a combination of both Irish and French influences. And even though people from the Northern Peninsula are predominantly characterized by their Irish and British heritage, its nearness to Quebec inevitably makes its people more susceptible to code-switch from Irish to French. These comparisons of different cultures in Newfoundland highlights Mooney's point in the essay, which shows how it is possible for cultures to exist independently in one distinct space. Newfoundland's unique and diverse nature makes it a separate culture and society unto itself, one that Mooney distinctly calls as "Newfoundlandese."
"Equal Share of Miseries" by Milena Tomol provides a comparison of the radical differences in the everyday lives of people from Russia and Canada. Tomol's experience as a Russian immigrant allowed her to take into account both advantages and disadvantages in living in a Socialist and Capitalist societies. As a native Russian, her life in Socialist Russia is one that is devoid of any material wealth, living off on the ideals of communal living and principle of equality. Interestingly, she considered her experience of socialism in Russia not as a fulfilling life, but one that was full of miseries. And most interesting of all was Tomol's parallel comparison of her life in Russia and Canada. In her essay, she showed how both countries experienced different kinds of miseries -- but suffered misery nonetheless.
This comparison between Russia and Canada showed how quality of life was non-existent for both extreme kinds of culture and societies. Socialist Russia, aspiring to create an egalitarian society, has instead promoted a socio-economic system motivated by corruption and injustice. People felt miserable simply because they were sacrificing, living the ideals that their Socialist leaders cannot even live on. Thus, inequality was the misery Tomol had experienced while living in Socialist Russia. Capitalist Canada, meanwhile, served as the anti-thesis of her Russian life. While in Russia, people can barely have the daily commodities that they need, Canada is a society of the "have more," people who are given many choices in life. However, Tomol pointed out that Canada's misery lies in the people's development of a 'generic identity' -- the death of individuality in pursuit of seeking harmony with other people.
Gail Deagle, in her essay "Euthanasia Reconsidered," contemplated people's predilection to subsist to euthanasia nowadays. In her analysis, she expressed her fear that society would eventually become indifferent to euthanasia, ultimately 'reducing' the importance of human life. To prove this point, she especially centered her discussion on describing countries (and states) that have legalized euthanasia, one of which is Netherlands. Her thesis was anchored on two important arguments. Firstly, legalization of euthanasia would result to the decreased support and budget for palliative care. Secondly, euthanasia would inevitably put the decision power based not on the patient's choice, but primarily on the doctors and patients' family and relatives. For Deagle, prevalence of both could possibly result to a society that is intolerant not only of people who are incapable of caring for themselves or sick, but also for those who are handicapped. These eventualities are sufficient causes for alarm. Ultimately, a society desensitized from the effects of euthanasia inevitably desensitizes itself from giving meaning and importance to human life.
Bob's response on David Suzuki's essay, "The Right Stuff," reflected my thoughts upon reading Suzuki's discussion of sex education on high school students. In his response, Bob clarified how, despite its being informative, Suzuki was not able to strongly argue for his main thesis. His thesis, wherein early sex education results to greater understanding of puberty among high school students (teenagers in general), was not parallel with his earlier discussion about puberty being the most "vivid and indelible" point of people's lives. Moreover, as Bob argued in his response, the interest shown by students in Suzuki's anecdote may have been caused by factors other than the topic he discussed, which was on sex education. Suzuki evidently failed to take into consideration other ways or methods in which he can make a better exemplification to pique readers' interest about his topic. In effect, because of his incoherent narrative and generalized assumption about high school students on sex education, he failed to convince readers like Bob to agree with his thesis/main argument. Hence, I agree with Bob's analysis of Suzuki's essay.
Lise's response was a two-fold analysis of John Gray's essay, "You're Thinking of Getting a What?" In her response, Lise provided her own and her daughter Malinda's opinion about Gray's discussion on the practice of tattooing in contemporary society. In her response, Lise had expressed understanding of Gray's point in the essay. Malinda, on the other hand, considered his analysis "out of date," since tattooing has successfully immersed into the mainstream of the contemporary society's culture. However, despite Malinda's response on Gray's essay, I agree with Lise's reflection, which took into account the implied meanings behind his analysis. This implied meaning illustrated the fact that tattooing being part of the mainstream culture has not ultimately resulted to its full acceptance by society. This meant that even though tattooing became mainstream, specific members of the society still held levels of disapproval or skepticism about its practice.
Alejandra's analysis of people's responses about straying cats highlighted the two contrasting opinions prevalent in society nowadays. The first perspective reflected people's belief that straying cats should be tolerated simply because it is a "cat's independent nature" to do so. Meanwhile, those who are against straying cats argued that this problem occurs not because of 'undisciplined' cats but because of undisciplined owners. These opposing views were presented because it gave thorough understanding of the issue. By offering two arguments of one issue, Alejandra provided readers with sufficient information for readers to work on and judge the issue by themselves. However, the latter part of her response was not coherent with her essay's thought, since it focused on the mystical and supernatural aspects of cat ownership. This, for me, was an altogether different issue that was evidently out of place in the essay's line of thought.
Roger's response on the issue of women in combat demonstrated the age-old debate of equality between men and women. Roger presented two sides of this debate. The first perspective centers on the inequality of male and female abilities, particularly in combat. The second perspective showed how accepting women in combat duty was a "progressive step" of postmodern society towards an egalitarian society. Roger's response clearly showed his opinion about this issue. He expressed his belief that women in combat symbolized the gradual social development of humanity in postmodern times. For him, women engaging in combat duty meant that society is now accepting their potential to fully participate and become involved in the society they live in.
"Euthanasia Reconsidered" by Gail Deagle brought into fore an argument that was not thoroughly studied, especially when arguing against the practice of euthanasia. Deagle argued against euthanasia by asserting that it lowers the value and regard of society to human life. This argument may at first seem too simplistic, ideal, and impossible to gauge, but the author was able to present her argument in a convincing and logical manner.
To support her thesis in the essay, Deagle showed how legalization of euthanasia was anchored on two occurrences that ultimately results to the degradation of the value of human life. The first occurrence is the reduced support for palliative care, which is an essential requirement to prevent the patient and his/her relatives to resorting to euthanasia. The second occurrence is the independence that legalization of euthanasia gives not to the patient, but to his/her family, relatives, as well as doctor/s. Both of these occurrences result to the eventual lowered value on human life because legalized practice of euthanasia gives the patient's family, relatives, and/or doctors to resort to a cheaper and less bothersome alternative: euthanasia.
These supporting arguments for Deagle's assertion that legalized practice of euthanasia leads to lowered human life value show…