Posts Tagged ‘writing’

Humorous Summary of Paradise Lost

Monday, January 11th, 2016

fun-summary-of-paradise-lost

My son Bryan wrote a fun summary of Paradise Lost by John Milton:

It all started when the #1 angel, Lucifer, made the most monumental miscalculation in the history of the universe. Somehow the most intelligent finite being ever actually thought he was more powerful than God! Next to infinity, all finite numbers look identical, so it blows my mind that he thought this. Not only that, but he got one third of all the other angels to believe him and tried to get a rebellion going.

This part of the poem is kind of silly. The good angels and the evil ones fought fiercely, until they realized their wounds healed almost instantly. They decided to call a truce to go back to their… tents? They slept through the night, because there’s nighttime in Heaven? I guess? Except team evil decided to spend the night inventing gunpowder. In the morning, they all got ready for battle. Team good drew their swords and team evil shot them with guns. But this turned out to be just as pointless, so they threw mountains at each other. Wait, there were mountains in Heaven? Jesus eventually grew disinterested in the aimless conflict, so He went to the middle of the battlefield and opened a trapdoor in Heaven under team evil, and they fell down into Hell.

In Hell, the demons built a large capital city called Pandemonium. From there, they decided to send Satan out of Hell on a reconnaissance mission. Meanwhile, God was creating the earth, the sun, the moon, and the stars. On the sixth day He made Adam, who wondered why he existed. God had him name all the animals, and he realized that there was more than one of each kind of creature, but he was the only human being in existence. Then God put Adam to sleep and took one of his ribs and formed it into Eve. Adam and Eve fell in love and lived in the garden of Eden. They could eat of any fruit in the garden except from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Satan had disguised himself as a regular angel, but he acted rather strangely and was spotted from a distance by another angel. A warning was sent out that a spy was in their midst, and a division of angels was sent to find the impostor. God knew perfectly well what Satan was up to, and (spoiler alert) that Satan would manage to bring sin into the world by deceiving Eve; however, God decided (but isn’t He omniscient?) to let free will exist so people would have to chose Him over other things. Adam and Eve went to sleep, and Satan put dreams of eating the forbidden fruit in Eve’s mind while disguised as a toad. That’s when the angels found Satan and brought him to a high-ranking angel, and they argued for a while. Then Satan was forced to retreat.

Meanwhile, Adam and Eve woke up. Later in the day, an angel named Raphael came for a visit and told Adam almost everything that had happened in the universe up to that point. No kidding. It took all evening. Some of it was like this: “If you disobey God and eat from the forbidden tree, you’ll bring sin into the world, and lose Paradise, and one day you’ll die!” “I’ll never do that! I don’t want to lose Paradise!” Adam replied. (How does he know Paradise is a good thing? It’s all he’s ever experienced up to this point.) “Be sure to warn Eve about this,” advised Raphael.

After that, Adam and Eve went gardening, and Eve suggested they split up. “But Eve, if we split up, you might be tempted by the enemy to sin against God by eating the forbidden fruit!” (How do they know what sin is? They haven’t eaten the forbidden fruit yet.) “I would never listen to the enemy and eat the fruit! I would withstand the temptation!” argued Eve. “Good for you! But let’s not split up anyway,” counseled Adam. Eventually Eve convinced Adam they should split up.

Satan possessed a serpent which came up to Eve and said, “Why don’t you go disobey God and do what you specifically told Adam you wouldn’t do? (By the way, I’m totally not the enemy Adam specifically told you not to listen to.)” Eve thought to herself, “No innocent-looking 60-foot python’s advice could possibly be bad.” So she ate the forbidden fruit. Then she went to Adam and offered him a bite. Adam decided to die with her, and he ate it as well.

God came to the garden and asked, “Why are you hiding from me?” and Adam said, “We were afraid because we were naked.” “Who told you you were naked? Have you eaten the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil?” demanded God. “Eve did, then gave me a piece,” blamed Adam. “Well, this rather innocent-looking 60-foot python told me I should!” So God cursed the serpent on its belly, gave Eve pain in childbirth, and made the ground grow thorns. Also, they were to leave paradise.

But before that, Michael (another high-ranking angel) was sent to tell Adam about loads of stuff about the future like Noah and the flood. This conversation, once again, must have taken ages. After this, Adam and Eve were thrown out of Paradise.

Uncle Tom’s Cabin: A Humorous Summary

Thursday, July 16th, 2015

uncle-tom's-cabin-a-humorous-summaryMy 12-year-old son wanted to write a humorous summary of Uncle Tom’s Cabin as one of his writing assignments for his Civil War Binder. He really did a creative job, bringing in details from the story with irony and sarcasm:

Let’s say you were teleported to the time of slavery in America and turned black. Before you knew it, you would find yourself in a horse-drawn cart along with other black people meandering along a muddy road with hairy, stinky, muddy, rough white guys driving or stirring up a ruckus. You would go to a storehouse—the kind that one would keep furniture or animals in—where you would wait. Occasionally you would see other black people singing a tuneless song or just moaning and groaning on a pile of hay.

After a few days, the man in charge (who would be white) would take you out in the blazing sun and put you and the others on auction. People would bid for you as if you were a piece of furniture or art, and they would come up to you and look at your teeth to see how healthy you were and at your muscles to see how strong you were just like one would do with horses. Eventually you would be sold to a bullet-headed man named Simon Legree.

He would take you and others down a very rough road to a cotton plantation far south. The house looked vaguely like it was once a beautiful house, but it had been unimaginably mistreated. Then he would unload you all, and three or four ferocious dogs would come bounding up to you, barking and growling for all they’re worth. Legree would warn you that you were gonna be torn to pieces by the dogs if you tried to run away. You would immediately be set to work in the cotton fields along with the others that he bought, under the will of Legree’s two slave masters, Simbo and Quimbo, who were both so degraded they were like beasts.

At the end of the day, you would wait in line to grind your share of corn in the small hand mill. The stronger slaves would push the weaker ones out of the way so they would get to grind first. You would help some of the weaker women to grind their corn, so you would be last. After you ate (the meal only consisted of ground corn mixed with water baked over an open fire), you would go to your allotted shack, which was literally only one tiny room with a dirt floor and a blanket spread out.

The next day at dawn you would be forced up by either Simbo or Quimbo and set to work in the fields. You would occasionally take some cotton from your bag and put it in someone else’s bag to help them. If you were caught doing that, you would be whipped and set back to work. The days would turn into weeks and weeks into months and months into years, and you would work from dawn to dusk nonstop with only one meal a day. You would be so tired you could hardly work, but you managed to bring in a full load of cotton every time.

Then you would tell a slave girl named Cassy that she shouldn’t murder Legree to get away. Instead, she should dress up as a ghost and hide in the garret and scare him to death. She should pretend to run away, making sure she passed by the window, then go into the nearby swamp so they would have to assemble a search party. After doing that, you tell her to go into the stream and wade back to the house and stay in the “haunted” garret for months, then run away.

When she does that, it works. She and her friend successfully run away to Canada. Meanwhile, Legree beats you to death.

If you enjoyed this summary of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, you will love all the history activities inside the Unit Study Treasure Vault!

Ode to the Mona Lisa

Thursday, September 19th, 2013

Mona-Lisa

My son Stephen Evans, who is 11 years old, wrote this “Ode to the Mona Lisa” a few days ago during our poetry class. An ode is a lyric poem. Lyric poems often have a refrain, or words that are repeated. Songs are lyric poems (which used to be sung accompanied with a lyre), and so are odes, which magnify one specific subject. Stephen chose to describe the Mona Lisa, and his refrain captures the essence of how he feels about the portrait:

Lined with pictures left and right
A hallway stretches indefinitely
I’ll never forget that portrait
It’s creepy; she’s staring at me

Her eyeballs move from side to side
Her thin smile has no glee
Her skin is deathly pale
It’s creepy; she’s staring at me

The misty background of the picture
Could be a murky swamp or sea
Her chair could sink into the ground
It’s creepy; she’s staring at me

Her hair is like spaghetti
She looks so solemn; can’t you see?
I’ll never forget that portrait
It’s creepy; she’s staring at me

The Mona Lisa was painted by the famous Renaissance artist, Leonardo da Vinci. Nat King Cole wrote a song about the Mona Lisa:

Haiku: Memories of England

Wednesday, September 4th, 2013

haiku-memories-of-englandBack when I lived in England as a teacher before I was married, I wrote a set of haiku. If you are not familiar with this type of Japanese poetry, it is only three lines, with five, seven, and five syllables. Haiku are usually about nature, and sensory details are used to bring out a moment frozen in time. Here are the haiku I wrote about England:

Half-timbered houses
Thatched cottages with roses
Crawling up old walls

Lazy afternoons
Sip cream tea and savor scones
At an old tea shoppe

Cathedral bells chime
Beckoning men and women
To draw near to God

Castles by the sea
Breathtaking in their beauty
Capture sighing hearts

Here you are with me
Among the valley’s flowers
And I feel at home

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