An Unexpected Smile ... :)

So, another thing that I have totally been able to enjoy this winter came to me through a fluke and through the generosity (or laziness, I'm not sure which) of the previous tenant in my cabin. When he left, he didn't take quite a few pieces of furniture with him including a couch and a large barbeque grill – he also left a bobcat head skin too. :/ The couch was removed in pieces with the help of some good friends and placed in my front yard for future removal and I left the barbeque grill sitting outside right next to my porch. I have been concentrating more about getting moved in and settled than I have been worrying about my lawn or outdoor aesthetics.

One thing I have learned from living in the woods over the last decade is that nature doesn’t waste and many animals can adapt to our presence in their space and environment. And so a few weeks after I moved in, I opened the top lid of the barbeque grill to find not only what was left of the bobcat head, but what at first glance looked like the head itself had exploded outward. For the first few seconds, it looked like a brain that had curdled and in the taunt pressure of a sealed container that finally gives up under the insistence of the need for relief... white and cream and fluff and wet. After two quick blinks, I realized that what I was actually seeing was cotton stuffing from the couch I had so callously thrown into the front yard. That cotton batting along with the cat pelt had been shaped into an oval like ball... a warm and snug home. And as I watched, I discovered the occupants.

Within a few seconds, two mice peaked out of their nest (the eye holes in the pelt were their doors. :O ) and after a brief thought, I quickly walked away after shutting the lid. As it was getting cold, I didn’t want the mice to feel like they had to move and find a new place to live. I felt like I had been given an expected gift... one that I knew was there, but I couldn’t focus on too much... a quiet joy that I could hold close to my heart. Over the last month I have checked on them about once a week and have even made them a few small meals. It has been really fun! It's such a blessing to see: two small animals trying to survive in the world and being chased out of the house on the eve of winter. They quickly made plans and decide on a safe new place. And over a few days, they work- each one moving from the grill to the couch and ripping pieces of its stuffing into chunks and then hauling them back to the grill... having to climb up wood walls but also leap to the chimney to actually get back into the grill. Over time, they still seem comfortable and I know longer see the gruesome image that I originally saw when I opened the lid. Bug likes to look in on his visits and the mice look healthy and in good cheer. Sometimes its the small, unexpected things that not only give us a smile, but keep it on our face. And these two small creatures are doing that for me. I see their survival as a talisman against the cold and the darkness that comes this time of year. So, smile. For the Father even watches over the mice in his fields... so he watches over us!


“The Pianist”... and the Horror of Human Bigotry and Intolerance

I am so careful what I put in my mind- the images and words and the horror. I had heard of this film... and knowing the topic I have never watched it, I have never considered it at all. A small part of that was the director- what little I have heard about the private life of Roman Polanski hasn't been very good at all. I will see these images for months, for years and they hurt, because I do not feel like I can do anything. The past is over … and yet I feel like these same sentiments echo through our current world and even our hearts. So many of us say that we are better than the Nazi's and that Hitler was pure evil, but in all of these images I see shades of all of us, even me. These classes are so challenging because sometimes I feel like I learn too much, like I feel too much and I feel sometimes like I could die from the feeling of it. So I hope that you can understand what I can't really explain. On a less serious note, I left the subtitles on so I could have help with my spelling... and thank goodness I did or this paper would be a mess of guesses!


This film tells the story of a young Jewish man named Wladyslaw (Wladek) Szpilman who lived with his family in Warsaw, Poland during the very beginnings of World War two. He lived with his father, mother, one brother and two sisters and the film starts at the with the German bombing of Poland. Szpilman is playing piano in the local radio station on air when the street outside is bombed and he stops playing when he becomes injured and the building collapses around him. He returns home and for a few moments his family feels much joy over a BBC broadcast that informs them that Britain has declared war on Germany and that “Poland is no longer alone.” The joy soon turns to anger, terror and fear with the new governments decrees towards anyone of Jewish decent: they cannot go to school, go into many shops, use the public parks or benches, may not walk on the pavement and must wear visible emblems of the Star of David on their arms. Soon his family is forced to live in the Jewish Ghetto as also decreed in the new laws. They struggle to work and live there until the Germans divide them up sending most of his family on a train- he is able to not get on the train with the help of a Jewish police officer who knows him. Wladyslaw later learns that all of his family were most likely sent to Treblinka where they would most likely have died.

Szpilman soon finds himself in a work party/ slave labor group ruled over by some of the German military. He manages to escape with the help of a friend in the slave group who is working to start an uprising and some non Jewish friends outside the ghetto. He is living alone in a small apartment provided by these friends when the Jews in the slave camp commence to try and win their freedom in an act known as the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and Szpilman watches it fail and the few survivors executed by the German troops. Later, when his friends are captured and his apartment is no longer safe he escapes to the emergency address he was given by his last rescuers. There he finds another old friend and she and her husband hide him again. In this apartment, he is again safe for a while. The stress has come with some cost however and he ends up with a severe case of jaundice. While recovering and without the help of his friends who have now left for a safer area, he finds his apartment building in the middle of a battle between the Polish resistance and the Germans and once again is forced to flee, at one point hiding by lying down in the road near other bodies and pretending to be a corpse himself. With no more friends that he knows of or is aware of how to contact, he finds himself searching the bombed out and abandoned buildings for food. He does manage to find a can of food but at the very moment of his discovery of food and what appears to be a peaceful and safe opportunity to open the can, he is discovered by an German officer named Wilm Hosenfield.

The officer questions him, and upon learning that Wladyslaw is a pianist, he asks him to play on a nearby piano in the semi ruined building. In the cold- so cold that you can see his breath, he begins to play and as his hands and his heart warms he plays more quickly and with more feeling- his soul and so much feeling are released through the strokes of his fingers on the ivory keys. The officer doesn't actually appear to have much emotion at all after the recital and asks him more questions. He then leaves him in the place he is hiding and the stress and all of it have been too much and Szpilman begins to sob. Within a few days however, we realize that the officer did feel something powerful from his encounter and as he moves his troops and office personal into the building, he quietly sneaks food up to Wladyslaw in his attic hiding place. The officer also lets him know that the Russians are just across the river and that they will probably cross over within a few weeks. The Germans pack up to leave and Officer Hosenfield gives him more food and his coat. They part amicably with the officer saying he will try to listen to him on the radio. When the Russians come into the town after the Germans leave, they almost shoot Szpilman because he is wearing a German officers coat. When they discover he is Polish, he is set free.

As the war ends, Wladyslaw is able to go back to playing the piano on the radio and to live and try to begin life anew. He also discovers that the German officer that helped him needs help but not knowing his name or where the Russians have taken him, Szpilman can do nothing to help -he continues to earn money playing the piano and we learn he died at eighty-eight years of age. The officer whose name he couldn't remember died in a Soviet prisoner of war camp a few years after the end of the war.

Historical Matrix - The order runs as follows: each number has two sections. The first section shows the part of the film picked for analysis and a brief description of the scene. The second contains the analysis. :)

1. German invasion of Poland / invasion of Warsaw (Oct 1939) - Wladyslaw Szpilman is working at his job at a radio station in Warsaw when the street in front and the nearby buildings are bombed. Slightly injured, he returned to the family home to listen to the radio announcement that both Britain and France had declared war on Germany who had just invaded Poland.

The German invasion of Poland finally began on September 1, 1939 after negotiations and talks between the United Kingdom, France, the Soviet Union and Poland. It is estimated that ten percent of the population at the beginning of the war was Jewish- the city of Warsaw was estimated at being 30% Jewish. This resulted in Poland being divided between both the Third Reich and the Soviet Union with the slightly larger share occupied by Germany.

2. New Anti-Jewish laws / decrees (Dec 1939) - The family discusses the new laws and how they affect them and their community. One of his sisters says that the occupiers “are trying to be more Nazi than the Nazi's”

These laws included provisions such as wearing a 'Star of David' on the arm if you were Jewish, carrying special papers with your race on them and even signs in shops stating the race of the owner. Jews were no longer allowed to own real estate or valuable items- they must all be handed over to the Germans. Jews were only allowed to have 2000 zloty in cash and the rest had to be deposited into a closed account. There were also curfews and decrees against driving and also limited times that Jews could enter and leave the Ghetto for work. Jewish schools were closed and all organizations that were Jewish were disbanded by law. Some businesses did not serve Jews as well.

3. Warsaw Ghetto Development- start 1940 (1942) - The whole Szpilman family is forced to 'move' to the ghetto - their home was already in the land set aside for the ghetto so they were lucky.

The Jewish council or 'quarter' was established in October 1940 and was run by Adam Czerniakow, a Jewish engineer who was put in charge of moving people in and following the German commands for the place. It was completely walled in from the rest of the town (the walls were ten feet high with barbed wire on the top ) and was very cramped with the large population moved into an area slightly larger than three miles.

4. Trains to Treblinka (Aug 1942) - The Szpilman family is forced onto the train to 'somewhere' thought to be a labor camp, Wladyslaw is helped to escape... he discovers later that the train took his family to the concentration camp Treblinka

Treblinka was one of the larger camps built by the Germans during World War II as both a forced labor camp and extermination facility – mostly the latter. Some numbers suggest that 800,000 + individuals died in the camp during its operation between July 1942-July 1944. It was located 50 miles northeast of Warsaw. Most individuals massacred in this camp were killed by a mixture of suffocation and carbon monoxide poisoning. None of his family survived the war and he never saw them again.

5. Warsaw Ghetto Uprising - Wladyslaw Szpilman is looking out of his window in his secret apartment when the end of the uprising is suppressed by the Germans and the last of the resisters that were caught are executed.

The first armed uprising in the Ghetto happened in January 1943. As the Jews that remained in the ghetto realized that the people being forcibly put onto trains to go to labor camps were not actually going to camps but were being exterminated, those left determined to fight as they were going to die anyway. The German Army, unable to quickly quell the revolt, began to burn the buildings in the ghetto in sections to give the rebels fewer safe places to fight from and eventually forcing the insurgents into the sewers and underground. By June 1943, the Germans had successfully put down the uprising with very few survivors. It is thought that 13,000 died either fighting, dying in the fires, or by being sent after capture to concentration camps.

6. Russian Occupation of Warsaw (January 17, 1945) - Szpilman is told by his 'friend' Wilm Hosenfield that the Germans are retreating and the Soviet Army will probably succeed in taking Warsaw in a few weeks- this did happen and after almost being shot by the Russian army, he is finally safe!

The Soviet Army was able to take control over Warsaw in January 1945 and pushed the German occupation out. However, the Russian army waited for over two months to help allowing the Germans to overcome the Polish resistance and giving Poland and its control pretty much to the Soviet Union. It is suggested by many historians that this delay was purposeful so that Russia and Stalin could have control over more of Eastern Europe after the war.

7. Starvation - You can see the bodies of the Jews that died of starvation in the film and the slenderness of the actor himself through the film as he gets thinner and thinner over time.

This is a typical tactic that occupiers and governments have taken in the past to crush and decrease an unwanted or hostile population. Inside the Warsaw ghetto, food allotted for going in was not nearly enough for the population and so people of all ages became weak and died from lack of calories and nutrients. Another example of starvation in history around this time was the Holodomor in the Ukraine caused by Joseph Stalin and his collectivization policies.

8. Genocide – the 'Final Solution'

Originally determined by German government officials and Nazi party officials to deal with the 'Jewish' problem, this plan was nicknamed Operation Reinhard and how it would be implemented. This decision was not made at the conference as the 'Final Solution' had already been made higher up in government- only the implementation and details were ironed out during this conference. No one at this meeting objected to this operation and it was discussed that around 11,000,000 Jewish people would need to be 'affected' by this policy. There was even discussion on when to enforce the policy on 'secondary' participants such as non- Jews who had married Jews and how to convince other states to turn over their Jewish populations to the Nazis.

9. Eugenics - While the film concentrated mostly on anti-semitism, eugenics was the background to removal of the Jews and also led to ward the sterilization and extermination of other undesirables that affected the pure 'Aryan' race- Jehovah's Witnesses, gypsies, people of Slavic decent, and dissidents...

The first eugenics society started in Germany was called the 'German Society of Racial Hygiene' by Alfred Ploetz in 1905. It didn't gain popularity until after WWI. Laws were passed that prevented non-Jews from marrying Jews and to also prevent those individuals considered 'defective' from reproducing by compulsory sterilization... and laws and other services that promoted the reproduction of the 'right' people. These societies or ideas can be found in other nations around this time, including the United States.

10. Socialism - Some of the people who were killed in the film and also who protected Szpilman were Socialist.

Socialism is a movement which was attempting to make society more just towards workers and all people in general. Many Jewish individuals and groups were attracted to the tenets of socialism to help themselves leave poverty behind and even get rid of the baggage that their heritage might give them. Both democratic and communist governments saw the socialist movement as a threat to their forms of government. Some of the people executed as enemies of the state in Germany were members of the Social Democratic party.

11. Racism / Anti-Semitism - Several examples in the film

Some examples can be seen simply by the behavior of the Germans themselves. The Warsaw Ghetto was rationalized by the Germans as a solution to the 'diseases' such as typhoid that all Jews carried. In fact, the term 'ghetto' was not allowed because that would have suggested bias- the area was to be called the Jewish quarter where they (the Jews) could have total freedom and safety while not infecting the general 'Aryan' population. The Nuremberg Laws are also examples as well as the behavior of the Germans towards Jewish individuals.

So after all that, what are your thoughts?


2014 Poetry Corner # 3 - "Changing of the Judges"

So much to feel, so much to say
yet my lips are closed and still
a heart is full with hope and need
my soul engaged... alert

His words pour out, rigid and course
but the air accepts them thirstily
And within moments they soar
we are swallowed whole, engulfed
in love and faith and community
The spirit speaks to us and confirms the call

The faces have changed, but the seats have not
nor has the love and spirit
I sustain them all; pray for all three
A new presidency has been born


I Don't Believe in Reincarnation, but....

I have found myself, eyebrows raised, several times over the last few weeks as I have observed Bear and his behavior around my home. In my past, I have only known one cat who was almost frightening in his intensity, his emotions and his behavior. Jeeves was in my life for over twenty years and is the cat that I miss the very most in my dreams and in odd moments in my life and thoughts. I got him with his brother, Achilles, when they were older kittens. Jeeves was a strong and almost arrogant cat... one filled with purpose and fiercely protective of his brother as well as me. He was an amazing hunter and active personality... not very restful at all. And he was very much bizarre in his desire to try anything- he would jump into the fridge and steal food, climb onto the counters and steal vegetables, and even drag his brother around cleaning him. As he grew older, he could read my emotions and would respond accordingly. He would allow strong cuddling when I was feeling sad and devastated, and would sit next to me and purr when I couldn't sleep to help lull me into the deep. He would nudge me awake when I was having bad dreams and would sit with me while I would force myself to calm and relax again. He also had a bizarre habit of knowing when I was watching something or reading a book that was bad for me and he would do what he could to end it- by sitting on the computer or in front of the screen, laying down on or biting the book, meowing and pressing himself in front of my eyes. Sometimes it would frustrate me, but always I felt his love. He loved life and me so much that he was unwilling to go...especially as my husband began to take everything. He would follow me everywhere and watch me, cuddling, talking, listening... like a loyal security angel. Old and with failing kidneys, he fought and found joy in every day and only allowed death to take him when he had no choice. I held him in my arms as he left and I have never had a companion like him, before or since... until now.

Bear is different in some physical characteristics. Both are black and white, but different- Jeeves with his mostly black medium haired tuxedo and Bear with a mostly white coat and a streak of black across his head, back, and tail with a few misc spots here and there. Jeeves was only slightly larger than an average cat while Bear is already huge and still hasn't finished growing into his feet yet. Both are male with a strength and confidence in themselves and the world. But the differences seem to end there... Bear has begun to steal vegetables and just this morning I caught him stealing some of my cabbage salad. He not only steals vegetables, but he also steals frosting, cake, chocolate chips, cereal and mild fruit. He comes and sits by my head at night and purrs me to sleep and wakes me when my body shudders with dreams. He sometimes forces me to rest by sitting on me and pushing me down into a prone position and as I pet and prod him I tend to smile and sleep... his weight solid and soothing. When I feel sad he has started to run over to me and appears to be trying to figure things out... he is definitely starting to understand the ways I feel and think. And as I have been putting in movies to watch for class that make me feel uncomfortable, Bear has become annoyingly active in his desire to sit on the computer and walk all over the keys until the screen goes blank. If I pick up a book on the same subjects, he sits on them too... pick up a comic book or science fiction... and he just purrs and leaves me alone. It's a bit overwhelming and beautiful and astonishing.

Two years apart between death and birth, but it feels like that noble one is back in my life. Others who have noticed have pointed out the strong parallels between the two cats including my ex-husband. I do not believe in reincarnation nor do I really believe that cats have nine lives... it couldn't be reincarnation anyway because of the long gap in time. But what it clearly seems to be is a small miracle just for me. A gift that many other people might not appreciate, but one that means the world to me. Heavenly Father knows my needs and my struggles and helps fulfill them. I have a reason to rush home now and feel genuine excitement to do so... I haven't felt that way since well, Rob and Bug. I watch Bear stir up the others into long periods of stampeding and I smile... I am looking forward to the next few years. :)


Balanced Living in the New Year

So its a new year! As is traditional with many people at this time of year, I have made a few resolutions. One of them is to do my very best to improve my health and try to get my immune system to be less explosive and destructive towards my physique – I don't mind it attacking and slaughtering cold germs. :) I will admit that this goal will be a little challenging because there is much I can't really change. Celiac disease has really demolished a great deal of my body organizations. So much of my digestive processes are unable to work well anymore and as my immune system has caused so much periphery injury to other organs as well. Those are things that I can't change, but I can hope to try and make it possible for my body to attempt to heal faster... to try and help my immune system to be less reactive and over responsive... to take more time and give more focus towards the physical frame that keeps me able to live in this complicated world and my confusing and necessary probation toward eternity. Add to all of that the stumbling of my heart and the struggles it faces to hold its rhythm steady and constant... to not race and fall into the trap of super ventricular tachycardia and the palpitations it causes.

However, there are a few things that I can try and my doctor is agreeable. One thing that I can do is to focus more on pure food and to really spend more time paying attention to what I do eat. I tend to look at all food with a skeptical eye... I watch for gluten in not only food, but everything else in my life- laundry detergent, hair care products, cat litter, hand lotion... I could go on forever, because it seems like gluten is in everything. I have spent so much time with a fierce focus on whether something has gluten in it and whether I can eat it that I have tended in the last few years to not really ask the next important question; “Should I eat it?” And as my finances have become a little shakier, cheaper food that might not be as healthy has been much more attractive. But over the last few months, I have found some ways to get fresh vegetables that are cheaper than most and as I have been sick and busy, I haven't felt like eating which has also helped keep less healthy food out. But I am going back to a process I was required to do by my physician earlier last year and I have been documenting everything I eat from the portion of fish to the tiniest measurement of vinegar. I can then break it down into calories, daily requirements and vitamins and make sure that I am getting most of the necessary elements that I need and can hopefully over time need fewer supplements and maybe my body can start to heal a little faster. It would be nice to only take two of three medications daily by the end of the year instead of almost ten tablets daily. :) (If you would like to have a basic checklist for your daily physical intakes in both elements and major needs such as fat and protein, you can go here and see the one that I am using. Its been quite useful to me!)

Along with more awareness and a renewed concentration on my diet and food, I also want to try to create more balance in my life... maybe become more mindful on my thoughts, activities and take more time to visualize he future and what I would like to accomplish. I think I have allowed myself to fall into a little bit of a rut in both attitude and behavior... letting life buffet me along in its wake and not struggling constantly to stay focused on the most important things: service, friends, family, the gospel. Meeting basic needs and trying to come to terms with my ex's choices as well as school, work and all else has kept me more centered on temporal things and not necessarily things that are the most important over time. I would like to work over the next few months to bring my mind back to a more settled state and to bring my energy back to my priorities... what is really important and what really matters to me. Funnily enough, I think this part of the goal will be the most challenging. Balance and mindfulness has never been a strong suit in my case. But I want to try!

What kind of resolutions have you decided to attempt this year... and what safeguards have you set up to keep you focused on continuing your goal? Please share!


Hunkering Down

This winter has already been a bit of a challenge to everyone in this area- more snow in three weeks than usual for December with some days reaching -15 degrees of chill... not counting the wind. The ice storm a few weeks back was stunningly pretty, but horrendously destructive as the weight of its icy beauty pulled trees into trees into deep waist-ed bows until they collapsed under their weight , acknowledging their submission to the elements and powers around them. I watched bushes literally collapse in upon themselves- imploding into their cores like a black hole had developed at their roots and was pulling them quickly and inexorably into the nothingness. I lay awake one night gazing blankly at the ceiling and just listening to the creaks, groans, whistling and popping of the many pieces of topiary and the woods in general as they fought and struggled not only for their limbs, but for their very lives. It felt a little bit like the end of the world... the sensation of the earth and all life starting to collapse and die into extinction. It was hard not to feel sad at the death and destruction that I can see from every window of my house and on my walks into the woods. It looked like a war had been fought... and that mother nature had lost, brought figuratively to her knees in surrender. Only one thing spoke of positive things: the small inlet in the woods under some trees with the clear prints and indents of at least five deer who have rested out the storm and then left, alive and ready to look for food.

The one drawback to moving into my awesome cabin at the very beginning of winter is that I had no time to locate and fix any areas or fissures in the walls, windows or doors that might need to be repaired. Most of the time I haven't really noticed – the stove keeps the place warm and cozy and I find myself quite comfortable. I have found that while the insulation is good, the windows are very thin and two of them have broken frames and so in small places, a steady stream of air flows in from the exterior. The wind and snow come in on three sides and I can't feel the cool draft in through the plugs in the wall as well. So when the weather is in negative numbers, it has actually been more of a struggle to keep the place well heated. I will say that even with this difficulty I smile – I just love living here and I feel like I have finally found my refuge... a place to regain my health and to allow the wounds of the last few years to heal. I have slowly been filling in some of the cracks and covering the openings in the windows with tape and down blankets to hold it all tightly together until better weather. That has helped a lot and has even provided more evening entertainment as some of the cats find it less challenging to run up the walls now. :)

So, we are all hunkered down and ready for three more months of snow and ice and wind. And as I drive slowly to work three days a week I look at the houses and neighborhoods as I slide past. The buildings seemed closed off too... covered with snow and ice... hunched or and oppressed, waiting for the warmth to return. How are things in your neck of the woods? Are you and your neighbors warm and comfortable? How is the winter affecting you and your plans? If you survived the ice storm, who did it affect the trees and wildlife around your home? I am very curious!


Blast From the Past.... 3/21/96 : 'The Bell Jar'

So, I was going through some old scrapbooks that I have and I found a few neat treasures. When I was younger I used to write a lot and English was one of my better subjects. Today I found a few old school reports that I wrote years ago. So I think I might share a few of them. :)

This paper is a book report of the publication “The Bell Jar” which was originally published by Harper and Row in 1971. It is the most well known book authored by Sylvia Plath, but originally published under the name of the pseudonym Victoria Lucas. I wrote this report and turned it in on March 21, 1996 for a Psychology class in my first few semesters of college. Part one is the book report summary that I wrote, part two is my analysis and thoughts on why the book is important to the field of psychology, and part three is my full analysis and conclusions I formed on the book. I haven't changed any of the wording – I entered it exactly as written – so its interesting to see how my writing has changed over time. This report earned me 100% / A . At the time, I was so proud and pleased and while I am not sure I deserved the grade after reading it again now, I hope you enjoy it. :)

Part I - Summary
Ester Greenwood, now 19, grew up in a small town with her brother and her mother. She is now in college, which she is able to afford because of a scholarship. As a hobby, she writes essays and small stories and sends them in to win contests, which she does win quite often. After winning one contest, she was sent to New York for one month, all expenses paid, to work as a junior editor of a fashion magazine. While there, she stayed in an all-women hotel called The Amazon. Her friend, Doreen, comes from a society girls school and carried an air of sophistication. She took Ester out to go to a party and on the way they stop and allow themselves to be picked up by some guys. One of them, Lenny Shepard, took Doreen and Ester to his house and when he Doreen became notably drunk and began to make out, Ester walked home. Later, when Doreen shows up drunk at her door, Ester resolves to become better friends with another girl (Betsy) who shares more of her values. Ester does have what could be loosely termed as a 'boyfriend'. Buddy Wilkins is currently studying to be a doctor, but doesn't see her much because he caught TB and is no residing in a recovery camp. Ester doesn't think of him as her boyfriend; she simply uses him as an excuse to others and to discourage the blind dates that were often heaped upon her.

Ester goes to one of the free luncheons with Betsy and shows her love for food, especially caviar. She eats until she is stuffed and, as bad luck would have it, when it is discovered that some food at the luncheon was poisoned, Ester was the sickest girl among them. In fact, all of the twelve participants in this contest were sick, except for Doreen who had skipped the luncheon to spend time with Lenny. It is at this time that her temporary boss questions her about her plans for the future and she realizes that she doesn't know what she wants to do after college. Right now, she is having a hard time with physics and is worried sick about chemistry next semester. Through a little trickery and persuasion, however, she manages to talk the dean of the college into allowing her to take chemistry, but because she had received an 'A' the semester before in physics (and she would easily get one again in chemistry), she would not have to test for her grade. She would simply be given an 'A' at the end of the semester. It was during this semester that Buddy's mother set her up with a visitor for another country so she would show him the city. She, still being a virgin and taking a liking to the fellow, decided to seduce him. Being a gentleman, he declined her advances.

At Christmas, Mrs. Wilkins picks her up and takes her to see Buddy at TB camp. There, he asks her to marry him, but refuses him saying that she doesn't want to marry anyone. She does stay for an extra day to spend time with him and allows him to attempt to teach her to ski. She has an accident, unfortunately, and breaks her leg. She then returns to New York and packs to go home, allowing Doreen to take her out for one last party. There she meets Marco, her first 'woman hater.' He is bitter because he is in love with his first cousin who is going to become a nun. He later tries to force himself on her and when she struggles and begins to cry, leaves very disgusted with her. She then goes and gets on a train for home.

After returning home, her mother informs her that she was not accepted into the writing class that she has depended on. She becomes depressed and when Buddy pushes her to come see him again, she terminates the relationship. She then goes through a period of indecisiveness where she starts and quits a novel, her thesis and other ideas. When she goes to see the family doctor about a stronger dose of sleeping medication, she is referred to Dr. Gordon, a psychiatrist.

After displaying no thought about personal hygiene or safety, Dr. Gordon starts her on Daily therapy sessions. Later, he tries shock therapy. After one dose, she tells her mother that she will not go again, which makes her mother very happy. During this time, an old friend sets her up with a young man named Cal with whom she discreetly brings up the subject of suicide and discusses with him the best ways to carry it out. After experimenting a few times and realizing that her body's defense mechanisms would always try and stop her, she stole her sleeping pills from her mothers lockbox and hid herself in the basement. She then took as many as she could before passing out. She is later found alive and taken to the hospital.

P. Ginea, a famous novelist, discovers what happened to her young fan and has her moved to a private psychiatric hospital. Here, she is given medication and ends up gaining a lot of weight. She also gets a new doctor named Dr. Nolan. In this place, she finds Joan, an old acquaintance that she had met in school and finds some common ground and insight into herself. She received a few more sessions of shock therapy and is then moved to Belside, the house for those who were almost 'cured' and would b sent back out into the outside world. Here, she is allowed to go to town where she meets Irwin. They date a few times and she decides to seduce him, which she later does. A complication from this painful act sends her to the emergency room. Later on, she is given the news that Joan has killed herself. A few weeks later she is taken to her interview that will release that will release her again to the outside world.

Part II – Importance to the Field of Psychology

I chose this book for many reasons. Most of the books on the provided list I had already read in my high school classes. I wanted a book that I hadn't read before, but also a book that might give me some insight into myself. I had no idea what topics this book discussed when I picked it up. I figured that if I didn't like it or it was too boring I could always get a different book.

Even though I really didn't enjoy the book, this book did appeal to me because of the wide range of topics it touched on. From motivation, behavior, social skills, to its main theme of depression, this book made me stop and wonder how I would deal with the same situations. The thing I liked best about the book was that it was written as if we were sitting in Ester's head and just listening to her thoughts and looking through her eyes. This made it almost impossible to tell when she first became depressed and how her disease progressed until you realize that she is extremely depressed and is thinking of killing herself.

The chapter that I thought best represents the whole book was chapter thirteen: Psychopathology. This chapter discusses many different kinds of mental illness or disorders and includes depression in this category. On page 512 of the required text, the entire page is dedicated to showing research that has been done on depression and what causes suicide. The book states that “while most depressed people do not commit suicide, most suicides are attempted by depressed people.” This suggests that if depression is found early enough in individuals and alleviated, we will have found a solution to our problem of the rise of suicide. Depression is most commonly brought about by failures, trauma or stress. The chapter also discusses signs and symptoms so you can recognize what depression is and what o do if you or anyone you know needs help. Reading this book also helped give me a perspective I have never had (and hopefully never will) and I hope it will make me more understanding to others in my environment when they just need a little boost.

Part III - Analysis and Conclusions

In all fairness, I would not have chosen this book as one of the books I have read for fun. Most books I chose to read allow me to escape from my life and find some comfort in a 'fantasy world' for a short period of time. I can't honestly say I enjoyed this book, but I can say that this book gave me some insight into a topic that I really hadn't thought of. I was able to follow Ester into her 'world' and feel with her, but I was detached enough so that I can see where rational thought ended and she gave herself up to depression.

The subject of depression will be pondered and studied for many years to come. Even in our advanced society, depression is hard to diagnose and very high percentages are never treated. Even though Ester was a fictional character, she was easy to identify with. To me, she represented the average person; just an individual trying to stay afloat in all the stress and worry of everyday life. I feel that this is a very important subject for many reasons. As technology becomes more advanced and human beings are competing for jobs with computers, problems with self esteem and uniqueness will occur. People will not feel able to compete with a machine that will never be sick, always be smarter, never too tired to work, and whose only weakness is that it must be attached an energy source. Problems at home will never cause it to low down and it will take little notice of small aggravations that you will find in the average workplace (mis-communication, personality conflicts, etc...) I believe that this will cause a rise in depression and other mental disorders.

In conclusion, I have to wonder about the author. After reading a little on her life from an autobiography, I admire her for trying to create a work like this. Any attempt to share feelings to try and enrich other generations is a noble cause. But one thought came to my mind and is nagging me for an answer which I can supply; was this book a cry for help from the author? Did she feel trapped and felt no hope? The autobiography says that she ended her own life. I just wonder why no one close to her, when reading her book, didn't notice similarities or suspect anything. Maybe she too, like so many others would still be alive today if someone had heard her cry for help.