Reflecting on Stories

Jalem reflects on a story about homeless teens.

Paintings from the Cave

 Paulsen, Gary. Paintings From The Cave. New York: Wendy Lamb Books, 2011.

 “In these three novellas, Gary Paulsen explores how children can survive the most difficult circumstances through art and the love of dogs.” – FVRL. [Art; Dogs; Homeless persons; Violence]

“Before the dogs, she didn’t have any friends” (68).

Have you ever met somebody without any friends besides their pets, or maybe none at all?

 “She didn’t look in the windows as she walked by or even glance at the yards because maybe everything in those homes were perfect, like on T.V, and she tried not to look at things that made her feel even more ugly and broken” (76).

Have you ever felt like other people are worth so much more then you are and that you are just worthless next to them?

 “Rose Rose Rose, no no no, she felt like hitting something, like breaking something.”

Have you ever felt so sad that you wanted to completely obliterate something?

“All they want to do is help us and not be alone” (103).

Have you ever had someone in your life that just wanted to be around you and help you with every single thing? Or maybe you are the one wanting to be around them?


The novel Paintings from The Cave by Gary Paulsen changed my view of life by sharing with me the knowledge that there are people here in North America – Canada and the United States of America – that need help just like the people in the third world countries in Africa, South America or Asia. Another thing that this book did to change my view of life is show me how you do not have to be related to anybody in your family for them to be your family. There are no papers or blood relationship needed to make someone a part of your family and that what really matters is whether you think of them that way or not. Family does not even need to be human. For example, it shows in this book that dogs and cats or any other pet are just as good of a family as humans.  It might still be good to have someone who speaks your own language to talk to, but it is not necessary. For example, when a pet owner returns home from a hard day’s work, their pet is always excited to greet them and spend time with them. The book also reminded me that everybody has feelings. I used to think that people that do not have anything only think about alcohol, drugs, and cheap food but I realize that they actually have dreams to be people that are normal and have real jobs to make real money instead of pan-handling for the rest of their lives. After reading this book I have a better understanding of how other people in the world live, people who are not as fortunate as I am. I also now have a better understanding of how people with little still have the same feelings, hopes, and dreams as I do.


Reflecting on Stories

Jalem reflects on a story about World War II.

Code Talker

Bruchac, Joseph. Code Talker. New York: Penguin Group Publishers, 2005.

 “After being taught in a boarding school run by whites that Navajo is a useless language, Ned Begay and other Navajo men are recruited by the Marines to become Code Talkers, sending messages during World War II in their native tongue.” – FVRL. [Cryptography; Navaho Indians; World War, 1939-1945)

  1. “Looking back at that day, I wonder what he actually thought about all those Navajos gathered there in front of him” (41).

Have you ever had a friend who you thought you were pretty close with but that’s actually the opposite of what they thought?


  1. “Our hearts felt full while we studied the code” (82).

 Have you ever had one thing in school or at home that was so interesting and just made you so happy to learn about?


  1. “Deep water! It scared the pants off me” (88).

Do you have anything that you fear a lot like water or heights? Does it scare the pants off you?


  1. “I had grown up hearing only criticism and harsh words… we were stupid, we were lazy, we couldn’t be taught anything. To hear what was now being said truly made the sun shine in my heart.”

Have you ever been told by somebody that you suck at something over and over until you actually believe it only to learn that the opposite is true?


  1. “I was with other Navajos and we were speaking our sacred language together. I should have been happy, but instead it made me feel ill at ease. I found myself wondering what was happening to Georgia Boy and Smitty” (220).

Have you ever gone somewhere like camp and felt such an urge to go back home and when you finally get home, all you want to do is go back?


This novel is about how a Native American boy goes through the troubles to enlist in the military during World War II despite being only fifteen years old. Once he is in the military, he becomes a code talker. I used to think Native American and aboriginal people did not want to cooperate with European Americans in any way and just wanted them to get off their land or just die. I thought that way because all the stories, books, and movies that I have watched and read have them being that way. An example would be Pocahontas where the British and the Indians are always in a conflict and the movie even refers to the Indians as savages, red necks, and devils. Another example would be a movie called The Revenant where the British men are going hunting to get meat and fur when out of nowhere a group of Indians just pop out and for no reason start to attack and murder the British men and leave them stranded in the middle of the forest. This novel [by Bruchac] showed me that that is not always how it was. The native Americans actually contributed quite a lot in World War II. They served well as soldiers as well as code talkers that spoke code to help the Americans as double agents. This novel taught me just how much the native Indian people actually contributed to both Canada and America.