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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Tintin's 8th Grade Book Report

I don't know what got me, this morning, but I'm in a "rummaging" mood today. Now, while going through my files and other stuff in our bedroom, I came across a number of my kids' literary attempts. One of them are my son's poetry (which I just shared with you on FB hours ago). Well, I've found my daughter's early writing exercises, i.e. an 8th grade book review and a high school log/term paper in the making (about Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston). Why I kept a copy of them with my other stuff, I don't know. But, I believe, I just wanted to know what they're doing/writing about and learning in school. I thought it's worth-knowing and, hence, sharing with you, folks.

After perusing it, I've decided to choose this "All Quiet on the Western Front" (a book review she wrote when she was in 8th grade (2004) at a local Catholic school in Hampton Roads where her older brother and she graduated.) I found it to be interesting that I couldn't help but do a quick research about the book and its author. No, I didn't have any prior knowledge about the book and its author. That's why I got curious about the topic. See, I'm glad and thankful that we have Wikipedia. Alright, with her permission, I'm transcribing it and sharing it with you. Thanks a lot, Tintin. Keep up the good work. Here's what she wrote:

All Quiet on the Western Front
(A Book Review by Christine M.E. Quilpa, 8th Grade)
Living through Death
     All Quiet on the Western Front (1929) by Erich Maria Remarque is a "ragged" yet poignant story of World War I and war itself, as told by the 20-year-old German soldier Paul Baumer. As his tale unfolds, the reader discovers that those fighting, he experienced horrors such as unhealthy living conditions, high levels of superficiality, and, above all, Death.  It is from seeing many dead and suffering that makes his words so strong, so meaningful.
     In the beginning, Paul is nineteen and naive. By the way he views such simple things with much maturity (in a melancholy tone), he struggles to live through it all and see the brighter side of fighting (sometimes receiving more rations than while living at home). You can tell how young he is and still wants to be---innocent. By his thoughts and feelings, you can conclude that he views the war with scorn; after all, he, along with his comrades, decided that the wrong people---the "enemies" included---were fighting. Overall, it was the politicians themselves who started all the conflict. 
     Every second in the book Paul is facing Death---soldiers accidentally shooting their own men while practicing, discovering his mother battling against Death; even he was "dying" not only outside but inside as well. Through his youthful, moving words, you find the descriptive, serious yearnings of a full-grown man---how Death is his main enemy, leading him into his self-destruction, into destruction of others. Yet, in the end---Death is his own refuge...
     I highly recommend this novel to mature young adult readers, especially those interested in military history and soldier life. 

Thanks a lot, Tintin, for having given me the opportunity to learn something more about the book and its author...Wikipedia to the rescue. Thank you...Folks, I do encourage you to do your research, too, for more info about the author. Here's something I learned about Erich Maria Remarque.

Born Erich Paul Remark on 22 June 1898, German author/novelist Erich Maria Remarque wrote the novel Im Westen nichts Neues (English translation "All Quiet on the Western Front") in 1927. But the book came out only in 1929 when he was able to find a publisher. Dealing with experiences of German soldiers during World War I, the book made Remarque well-known in the literary world. He was mobilized into the army when he was 18 years old. He started writing essays, poems, and his first novel "Die Traumbude" (The Dream Room) completed and published in 1920) when he was 16. He also wrote screenplays and appeared in cameo roles.He died in Switzerland at the age of 72.

Well, friends, this is all for now and, before I post this, let me share with you another thing, sort of food for thought, that I've learned from reading columns of Rev. Fr. Ben San Luis Beltran, SVD (Latin for Societas Verbi Divini), in Manila Bulletin for years. FYI: Founded in 1875 in Netherlands by a diocesan priest, now Saint Arnold Jannsen, SVD (Society of the Divine Word) became popularly known as Divine Word Missionaries. It is the largest international missionary congregation of the Catholic Church. Since one of the of their areas of concern is education, SVD established schools worldwide, named Divine Word College/University. (Divine Word College of Vigan (DWCV) in Ilocos Sur, Philippines is one of the SVD-run and managed schools where yours truly graduated:)

Okay, from the pen of Fr. San Luis Beltran I'm quoting this for us all: "Aspire to Inspire before you Expire."

Thank you very much for being with me today. Until next time around. Ciao!-chris.a.quilpa,17Jan2012

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