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State of Union Address – Obama 2015 : A Reflection

In his State of the Union address, Obama starts by giving a brief summary of the historical progresses that the nation made. He then moves to the present problems and solutions, and finally, expands to several issues that concern both the nation and the world. Throughout his speech, the president continuously reminds his audiences, the Americans and the governors, that everyone is united in this nation. Obama’s frequent use of “we” includes both the citizens and himself, strengthening the bond between civilians and the government, which leads to trust between the two groups. He brings out a specific example of a middle class family that is working hard to make a living, and connects this case to the nation as a whole, asserting that the United States is a family that cares about each of its members. This sense of unity will encourage the citizens to face the hardships together with confidence, a result of sparking their patriotism. On the other hand, while Obama promised that the government shall do its best to raise low wages, create jobs, and cancel tuitions, etc., he also warns everyone to also do his or her own part by working hard. He subtly hints that sometimes when the nation sinks into crisis, it is not only because of the government’s inability to govern, but also because some people are not doing their parts to help the country. On a more obvious level, Obama is declaring that everyone matters in this nation and that together, they will prevail.

In addition, Obama addresses to all kinds of people, no matter their age group, background, race, or preference. Obama keeps reminding the people throughout the duration of his speech that children are the future of America and it is essential that they receive the best education possible. This statement utilizes mankind’s natural love for youngsters. The logic is also hard to argue against, since universally, it is considered morally right to care for the future generations and innocent children. The president also acknowledged adults and senior citizens’ hardship with insurance, retirement, and wage. This wide range of acknowledgement shows Obama as a caring and alert leader.

When asking for support on his policies from the Congress, Obama applies the word “need” instead of “want”. The fundamental difference between two words plays a dramatic role in his persuasion. “Need” has almost a seducing effect: It gives the audiences an impression that his ideas are necessary for the development of the country. “Want” only makes his tone more demanding and even selfish, which is unfavorable. As the president, Obama brings up the “American Dream”, a notion so deeply rooted and symbolic in America that it has been inscribed in American literature since the birth of the nation. It connects the audiences sentimentally to their own country and reminds the people of their identity as Americans.

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The Great Gatsby – A View of Its Past and Present

Just like Maureen Corrigan, many others certainly did not enjoy the experience of reading The Great Gatsby in high school. One reason is that all the characters are more or less unlikable — Corrigan described her first impression of Daisy as acting “too much like the mean girls in the cafeteria”. Also, the book is a disappointment for many young readers who love intense action scenes or surprising turn of events. The elegant language flows through the entire novel smoothly, creating little to no ripples even during the death of Gatsby and Myrtle. If I did not watch the movie before I read the book, I probably would never catch Wilson murdering Gatsby. The magic often shows after rereading the novel, when many people start to see the significance it holds.

Fitzgerald waved his life into the plot of Gatsby. According to the article “How Gatsby Went From A Moldering Flop To A Great American Novel”, Fitzgerald was always “hoping to be good enough” for Princeton and his friends. His “hope” and desire is reflected in Gatsby, who constantly reach out to the green light, hoping to be good enough for Daisy. Even after his death, the writer was still denied his value by the Catholic Church. This parallels with Gatsby’s death: he died and was denied by Daisy and many others.

Apparently the novel was so unpopular at 1925 that Fitzgerald could not even find a copy at the bookstore for his mistress (Beckwith). However, the army has, surprisingly, helped with the promotion of the novel by distributing millions of copy to the soldiers. After knowing that the soldiers were reading The Great Gatsby on the eve of D-Day, I now look at the novel under a different light. Who would have thought that the thin and short novel about broken relationships can make such a grand impact in American Literature? After reading the history, I now sees the novel as going through a journey in the world of literature with some similarity to a protagonist chasing the American Dream.

Links:

http://www.denverpost.com/ci_23210783/from-good-sales-great-wartime-boosted-gatsby?source=infinite

http://www.npr.org/books/titles/346237886/so-we-read-on-how-the-great-gatsby-came-to-be-and-why-it-endures#excerpt

http://www.npr.org/2014/09/08/346346588/how-gatsby-went-from-a-moldering-flop-to-a-great-american-novel

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Ada Lovelace: A Mother of Three and of Computer Programming

Since ancient history, men have been treated as the masters of mathematics, technology, and science. However, the table was turned when Ada Lovelace, a beautiful lady with a soft and endearing name, took a step forward before any other men in the field of computer science to write the first program for computers in the 1800s.

Born in London on 10th of December, 1815, Ada Lovelace was the only legitimate child of the famous poet Lord George Gordon Byron.  At her mother’s insistence, Ada studied mathematics and science at a young age, which was uncommon for women at that time. The young girl’s talented nature and her challenging teachers helped her to become one of the first women to join the Royal Astronomical Society. When she was 17, Ada met Charles Babbage, a mathematician and inventor who later became Ada’s mentor. The young lady was asked to translate an article on Babbage’s analytical engine from French to English. Ada not only translated the work, she also added her own thoughts on the machine as notes at the end of the article. In her notes that were three times as long as the original article, Ada expressed her idea of using codes to let the computer generate letters and numbers. She also added the “looping” program, which was used to let the machine repeat an instruction numerous times. For her work, Ada was honored with the title of first computer programmer. On the other hand, the intelligent woman’s idea about creating a mathematical scheme to win at gambling was not nearly as successful and she fell into debt. She was married to William King in 1835 and had three children. Ada struggled with chronic health problems such as asthma and mental instability. She died in London on 27th of November, 1852, at the age of thirty six from uterine cancer. In honor to her work, the U.S. Department of Defense named a new computer language “Ada”.

When looking at Ada Lovelace’s portrait, a posh lady with an elegant stance, it is hard to connect her with the challenging and rational work of computer coding that is usually considered specialty of men. The Victorian’s early childhood development and her helpful colleagues led her to become the “Mother of Computer Programming”.

Links:

http://www.biography.com/people/ada-lovelace-20825323#personal-life

https://www.sdsc.edu/ScienceWomen/lovelace.html

http://www.computerhistory.org/babbage/adalovelace/