RCL #6 – It’s What I do

Addario’s unique career as a female war photojournalist greatly influences not only the way that others view her, but the way she views herself. Of course, most people have experienced the feeling of misplacement whether it be attending a new school or deciding to attend a gathering where everybody knows each other for the first time, but few can imagine the chronic lack of belonging for someone whose career automatically defines them as “different.” The conflict for Addario arises in the fact that her unique background makes it nearly impossible for her to find somewhere in which her interests and stories can be truly appreciated instead of being found eccentric.

An instance of Addario’s conflict with having to be around people so different from her is displayed in chapter 8, where she is attending Paul’s friend’s birthday party. During the celebration, she writes that she feels extremely out of place because of how much her background and experiences differ from those of the other people at the party. She even mentions that her clothes aided in making her stick out like because she says that a party in New York requires, “fitted jeans, a stylish top,” and, “a pair of high heels.” This creates conflict for Addario because despite her strong feelings for Paul, she begins to feel that being with him may not work because they lead such different lives.

From the reader’s perspective, Addario becomes much more relatable because of her inner conflict with feeling out of place. Since this is a problem that most people experience at least once in their lives, readers can start to see Addario as more of an actual person than a character. I myself am able to relate to her experiences better because I have recently been put in a position where I feel slightly out of place: coming from Tennessee to Penn State for college.

My passion blog, as its central theme is to raise awareness about nature’s beauty in order to increase efforts towards keeping it that way, could benefit from a display of conflict with taking the first step toward cleaning up the environment. Everyone says that they want the environment to be healthy, but they don’t know where to start. I could introduce some ideas in my blog that detail effective first steps for improving the environment.

Artifact Speech Outline

Conner Linkowski


English 137


Introduction: Throughout the vast majority of most of our lives, the victory sign, created by extending the middle and forefinger of either hand, has been a prominent gesture within our society. To us, or at least to me, the gesture is merely a setting to which our bodies default when not given the opportunity to prepare for an unexpected photograph, but this civic artifact’s true meaning and influence has changed quite significantly over time and throughout different cultures. Victory and peace serve as two of the most common meanings, as it was used to signify these ideals in many European countries and the United States after World War II as well as being used in peace demonstrations in Iran. Conversely, flipping the sign so that the back of your hand is facing outwards communicates a very different message of contempt in many European countries as well. Since World War II, the acknowledgement of the victory sign’s true meaning of peace seems to have decreased, but, if it is revitalized through activism, this artifact still has overwhelming potential to influence violence in our world.


  • History: Although it was truly popularized by Winston Churchill during WWII, the victory sign was originally used as a two-finger salute by British longbowmen (Mirror). History of the victory sign will be limited in the speech to focus more upon its influence and meaning.
  • Meaning: I will talk about the misconception that this artifact holds a different meaning when it is called a “peace sign” which is what it is commonly referred to as in this era. An examination of the names “victory sign” and “peace sign” will hopefully show that the connotations are the only things that differ.
  • Influence: Examples of its use to bring about or advocate for change during WWII and the years leading up to now will be enumerated. An analysis of its use and effects today will be offered.
  • Future Potential: This artifact’s potential for bringing about change in the future will be extrapolated. I will talk about my hope that the victory sign could one day become a component in bringing about world peace.


While its place in society seems to be unimportant and arbitrary at this point in time, perhaps it is time to revitalize this simple yet powerful gesture. We are bombarded by instances of violence and conflict nearly every single day as we idly sit by as spectators, complacent and content with the way our lives exist now. It should be common knowledge for most of us that complacency plays quite the adversary of progress, and today’s contentious society would benefit from the revival of a gesture that everyone can make in an effort to show support for the overall goal of world peace.


Mirror.co.uk. “The History of the V Sign: How Flicking the Vs Came About.” Mirror, Mirror, 28 Jan. 2012, www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/the-history-of-the-v-sign-how-flicking-430012.

Missed Opportunities

While Addario exhibits extreme courage throughout her book in taking the initiative to follow her passion for photojournalism to the unstable environment of the Middle East, she leaves little room for “what ifs?” in her life. This is undoubtedly her intention, seeing as she recounts a story of her Nana’s missed opportunity at love on page 62 of her memoir. Including this anecdote serves as a way to aid in the reader’s understanding of how Addario feels about her own passion and the necessary risks that must be taken in pursuit of it. With the previous knowledge of her Nana missing her chance at love as a result of avoiding the risk, Addario keeps herself fully aware that if she does not take the opportunities presented in her line of work, regret will surely follow.

As Addario makes it a point to capture the important events and differing cultures of the Middle East in an effort to broaden the world’s knowledge about the region, she gains the power to influence the way the world sees and thinks about different components of Middle Eastern people and their practices. This is the type of influence I hope to achieve with my passion blog regarding national parks. Through sharing an examination of the biodiversity and valuable resources found in these feats of nature, I gain the power to potentially change the way some people view these parks, which could lead to an increase in conservative efforts being directed towards them.

The scene created by a federal government that does not believe in climate change and that does not allocate sufficient resources to keeping the environment healthy is a grim one indeed. Take the most beautiful forest in Yellowstone and degrade it to a barren wasteland. Take the most essential river in any ecosystem and watch its once bountiful waters become a depressing graveyard of wildlife. If a motivation to keep not only these national parks but the rest of the world’s environment clean and healthy is established, these horrid scenarios can be avoided.

Passion Blog Ideas: National Parks

Upon reading Lynsey Addario’s It’s What I do, I came to realize the importance of pursuing goals in which one can find their very own version of happiness. Addario’s drive to become a prominent female photojournalist through capturing the essence of Middle Eastern countries during wartime effectively communicated her point that no matter how difficult your passion may be to follow, you should go for it if it makes you happy. Her book offers true insight and inspiration for any reader that is struggling with deciding whether to pursue something that could potentially make them happy.

Just as Addario used her passion to show off another part of the world, I intend to take a similar approach and construct a blog that displays and informs readers on many of the world’s most breathtaking and life-filled national parks. In light of our current federal government that does not believe in climate change, I feel that it is essential to our planet’s health that we become aware of the extreme amounts of biodiversity and beautiful natural landmarks found in national parks in order to provide a motivation to be more environmentally conscious.

From Olympic National Park in Washington to Acadia National Park in Maine, the sights in these expanses of land are endless. The natural elegance of these places offer people the opportunity to experience instances of what more there is to see outside of suburban neighborhoods or the concrete chaos of urban life. This blog, while enumerating the various lifeforms and striking natural landmarks that these areas are teeming with, will also touch base on any damage inflicted upon these locations by human actions. I find that it is of paramount importance that the world we live in be taken care of, and if we fail to do so the consequences of these actions could be incredibly detrimental to the future of our planet. Therefore, I hope that this blog gives readers a few reasons to be a little more environmentally conscious, effectively creating a brighter environmental future for our children.