RCL #6: Conflicts

Similarly to most other people, Addario experiences many different conflicts within her life regarding her work and personal life, but considering her career, one wrong decision can be the difference between life and death. One specific conflict arises when she returns to Istanbul after the soldier’s mission in Afghanistan. The blindness that many people possess to the conflicts occurring around them simply because they have never experienced it themselves evokes quite a bit of introspection on Addario’s part, as seen when Peter asks about her latest mission. Although she witnessed the events, Addario had no idea how to relay them to someone who watered the whole situation down to only her near death experiences, which is emphasized when Addario thinks, “And suddenly I felt as if words were completely inadequate to describe what we had endured” (Addario 188). She has so many rich memories, yet due to the limited experiences the audience have, they cannot comprehend the dire situation in the strife-striken countries that Addario photographs. To help communicate the feeling of having a loss of words to the audience, Addario continues the paragraph by asking several rhetorical questions with heavy imagery about how she would articulate the intense emotions she felt on the combat zone. While most readers have not experienced war like she has, they can relate to the inability to convey a certain message or topic to someone who does not listen and cannot understand, which is ubiquitous.

In my own life, I sometimes have trouble communicating with other people because I have such different experiences from most people whom I meet, which aligns to Addario’s challenge with talking to those who didn’t experience the war zone with her. I’ve already mentioned the slight cultural conflict in Japan due to their tendency to shun outsiders a little bit in my passion blog, but I hope to inform my audience of what they’re getting into when they travel to certain countries in terms of national conflict so they have a better idea of the history and a more collective view of the nation rather than just the pleasing scenery.

RCL #3: How to Write Vividly

Although many scenes within Part II are compelling due to the action they describe, the one scene that stuck out to me occurs after Addario and Matthew are released by the commander of the village (pages 122-129). Gareib informs them that they cannot leave until the next morning and Matthew begins to panic, demanding to leave at that very moment.

Addario makes use of repetition in this scene, telling the readers that Matthew was getting angry several times as well as making him restate that he wanted leave over and over. She also juxtaposes Matthew’s breakdown to the scene before, when Addario was the one who kept rubbing her forehead in worry while Matthew was relaxed. The steady progression of anger Addario illustrates in blunt terms depicts how genuinely frightened Matthew feels after he’s captured, which conveys to the readers how close death may be to the reports in these conflict-ridden regions. In the next scene, nonetheless, Addario juxtaposes Matthew’s unease with the domestic scene with the wife in the second captor’s kitchen.

Repetition aids writers when they try to convey a point of great importance, but in terms of my own passion, regurgitating the same fact about a country or a culture will bore readers rather than entice them to read more of the blog. On the other hand, Addario’s action of juxtaposing between moments of conflict and tranquil ones keeps the readers on their toes and encourages them to ponder how such contrasting events could take place at the same time and place. Likewise, I could utilize juxtapositions when discussing countries that have strong traditional and modern cultures, such as Japan’s traditions of honoring elders which contrasts to their technological advanced society. Juxtapositions could also be used to to transition between ideas within a post, similar to what I did with the Romania post where I separated the post into sections about general travel facts about Romania, fascinating places to visit, and ended with a little cultural excerpt from the country. Like Addario’s writing, this keeps the readers interested in the topic, so I will continue with it in my new posts.

RCL #2: What to Do with Passion

If you ask someone why they do the job they do, they’ll give you one of three answers: money, some strange or uncommon reason, or passion. Parents and college recruiters tell students to find a passion and follow it through high school. Clearly, passion is something valued by Western societies, yet at the same time, those who follow their passion may be labeled as reckless or selfish.

Addario’s nana faces a dilemma in which she must make the decision between a spontaneous man with no money or a man who promises her a secure future. The predicament is almost cliché, but emphasizes just how much Addario wants to stay off the secure route. Nana chooses Addario’s grandfather, a logical choice that considers the future, yet still wonders about her decision many years in the future. In this context, Addario may have included the story to warn the audience against selections that may haunt you several years later.

She also includes the story to how important her passion is. While her grandmother chooses the safe path in consideration of her future, Addario knows how crucial her line of work is and for that reason, follows her passion rather than the safe route of staying out of conflict regions.

Unlike Addario, I wouldn’t say I have many stories of my travels abroad or that much advice, but simply standing outside sparks a sense of passion within me. Especially on this campus, if you stand anywhere, really, you’ll see tens or hundreds of students milling around, sprinting to class, or studying. Just looking at complete strangers makes me realize that just like me, these people have been through a multitude of experiences that I cannot fathom, have made many mundane decisions like me, and will make the choice between safety and passion.

As a naturally curious person, I wondered how these daily tasks differ between the people of the world. How does the trip to the grocery store vary between a Slovak and a Japanese person? What do students in Seychelles learn? Thus, my desire to learn about the world and its culture was born.