Why do I Think Plunkitt Was so Open About How He Made His Money

George W. Plunkitt(1842-1924), was a Tammany Hall politician during the 19th/20th century. During the past few weeks I have been reading Plunkitt’s autobiography, which is not really a personal autobiography(there is absolutely no information on his personal life in the book), but more of a political autobiography. Plunkitt’s autobiography contains many details on his political beliefs, but also how he made his money from politics. Plunkitt himself had accumulated a great deal of wealth from politics. Plunkitt called his way of making money “honest graft.” But why was Plunkitt so open about how he made his money in his autobiography? Why do I think he was so open about this matter?

Like I mentioned above Plunkitt mentioned how he made money from politics many times in his autobiography. He didn’t seem that he was ashamed or felt guilty whatsoever about the way he had accumulated his wealth, which is probably the reason why he put those details in the book. From reading his book I have a pretty good idea on why he was open about his money making. Here are the reasons why he was so open about this, in my opinion. He called the way he made money “honest graft,” which meant that he made an honest living. At the time there was a bit of a stereotype that politicians made money from cheating and dishonest means, which was probably true in some scenarios. So he probably wanted to disprove that fact when it came to himself, in other words clearing his name, and putting himself in a better light. 

The second reason why I believe he was so open about how he made his money was to show his followers how to make money the way he did himself, which is with “honest graft.” He even explained the methods in the autobiography. But this is something I believe is less of a reason than the first one I mentioned. On that note who knows what Plunkitt’s actual intentions were with this, I am not Plunkitt after all, but I believe it does have something to do with putting himself in a better light like I mentioned above, but also maybe he did it to brag a little about his wealth and how he accumulated it from politics which was a great deal of it, so really who knows.

In conclusion, the main reason why I believe Plunkitt was so open about how he made his money was to put himself in a better light and to prove that he wasn’t a cheat. If the way he was making money was not illegal why not be open about if you have nothing to hide. I am not Plunkitt himself and he may have had other reasons for being so open, but what I have gathered and read I believe that the reason I stated above was probably one of the reasons why he was so open about the matter.

How Serious was Plunkitt about Patriotism’s Connection to Obtaining a Job after Tammany Won an Election

Over this past week I have been reading the autobiography of George W. Plunkitt(1842-1924), who was a politician. Not much is known of Plunkitt other than his political life and involvement in Tammany Hall, a political society, which was a democratic party. His autobiography does not contain any detail on his personal life but instead is about his political life, which is one of the reasons why not much is known of him. But how serious was Plunkitt about patriotism’s connection to obtaining a job after Tammany won an election?

To begin with Plunkitt as a politician believed in helping others to gain votes. For example he would help a poor and needy family, or help people get jobs, and those families and individuals would vote for him. So whenever Tammany won an election they would give out jobs to their voters and supporters. Which goes to show how serious he was about the connection of patriotism to obtaining a job after Tammany or himself had won an election. Plunkitt also believed in something he called “honest graft,” a system of gaining money legally from a political position, he thought it was fine to help himself and gain money legally. He personally despised any politician who took up “dishonest graft,” which was the opposite of what he did, and was illegal.

Something that Plunkitt despised more than a politician who took up “dishonest graft,” was the civil service examination or law. He despised it so much that he mentioned it constantly in his autobiography. He stated that the civil service examination or law restricted the number of people who could get into political office because they had to answer a number of exam questions. This most importantly killed the patriotism of anyone who tried to get into office and failed. He believed that this was the government’s betrayal of the people, and would lead to people becoming less patriotic. He was a large believer in patriotism, a large part of his career depended on it as you might have noticed, which comes to show how much he hated the civil service examination.

In summary Plunkitt’s political standpoint in short was pretty straight forward, he believed in using his position to help people, to gain votes. He also believed in “honest graft, a system of gaining money legally from a political system to benefit himself. He was highly against “dishonest graft,” and the civil service examination or law, I explained this above. Whenever he won in an election he would give out jobs to his voters, which shows how serious he was about patriotism’s connection to obtaining a job after Tammany won. 

Was Washington’s View of the Future also My View of the Future

Up From Slavery, the autobiography of Booker T. Washington(a very influential African American educator, and a founder of the Tuskegee institute), has been a very insightful and interesting autobiography to read. Washington’s life itself is rather remarkable, being freed as a slave as a young child, and working his way up to success, it’s a very interesting life story. Also most importantly his biggest legacy was helping younger African Americans to gain success and social acceptance as African Americans, through the Tuskegee institute. But now, was Washington’s view of the future also my view of the future?

 Washington’s view of the future was largely influenced by his helping of other African Americans. His school, the Tuskegee institute was largely influenced by this also. He believed in short that if a person works hard non stop, masters a trade which he/she wants to pursue, and serves others without complaint, that person will become successful economically. So over a period of time this person because of them being successful, will gain respect and acceptance by others regardless of their race. Hence this in his opinion was the way that African Americans will gain social acceptance in society, and also his view of the future. Even though it will take a while for African Americans to achieve this, he even stated that it would, saying that would take approximately fifty years for this to happen, this was his view.

My view of the future is rather similar in the sense that I believe that gaining success and respect comes from hard work, mastering a trade, and working for others(this is also true if you start a business because when owning a business you are technically serving others by selling them things or providing services). Success in my opinion is definitely not easy to achieve, and is far from being free of difficulty but if you work hard and have faith in God and yourself, you have a higher chance of achieving it. But also I believe my view of the future is also different because the time I live in is far different than the time that Washington lived in, and the circumstances are different.

In summary Washington’s and my view of the future share in common the fact that we both believe that working hard, mastering a trade, and working for others overtime is a way to gain respect and success. But also our views of the future are different thanks to the fact that we both live in very different times and our life circumstances are/were different. But overall our views are rather similar.

A Memorable Image from the Book “Up From Slavery”

Up From Slavery, by Booker T. Washington(an influential African-American educator), is an autobiography that depicts Washington’s life including him being freed from slavery as a young child to his starting of a school in Alabama that becomes the Tuskegee Institute. From the parts of the book I have read so far there have been a few memorable images that have stuck out to me. But there have been two literary images in particular that have stood out to me the most. These two images were: Washington’s acceptance exam into the Hampton Institute, and the elderly poor woman’s gift to the Tuskegee Institute.

Washington’s Acceptance Exam into the Hampton Institute

Washington had heard of the Hampton Institute(a College like institution for African Americans), when he was working at a mine. From hearing about it Washington concluded that he would go to the Hampton Institute, and from then on he worked towards it. Finally when he decided he had enough money he boarded a train and headed for Virginia. Unfortunately he had not calculated exactly how much money he would spend during the trip to the school, and he soon realized he was running out of money.

 When he finally reached the Hampton Institute, he looked like a mess in short, his clothes were in rags and he was not clean in appearance(he had slept outside when he had run out of money). But he did his best to try to look as presentable as possible, but sadly he was rejected from the school at first. So he decided to follow the head teacher around, and eventually one day the head teacher asked him to clean one of the room’s of the institute. Washington jumped onto this and cleaned the room as best as he could which meant immaculate(he had worked for a woman who was a cleaning fanatic). The head teacher was so impressed that she accepted him into the school, hence the cleaning of the room was his acceptance exam into Hampton.

The Gift from the Poor Elderly Woman

During the establishment and building of the Tuskegee Institute, Washington received many gifts or donations from many of the colored people in the area. Some of these gifts included small sums of money or crop items(keep in mind the majority of the African Americans in the Tuskegee area were very poor). But one gift or donation in particular stood out to Washington. This gift was given by a poor elderly African American woman, and it was six eggs. Not that the exact gift or material value of the gift stood out to him; it was the fact that those six eggs were the only thing that the woman had, and that she had given him basically the only thing she had. The reason why he knew this was because the woman was clothed in rags. But yet even though she was so poor and had almost nothing but those eggs she still felt it was important to give those eggs as a gift. Interesting and very touching.

Conclusion

Up From Slavery, by Booker T. Washington contains many literary images; like a lot of books some of these images really stand out and some not so much. The two images in this autobiography that were the most memorable for me were: Washington’s acceptance exam into the Hampton Institute(which was pretty unique because of the fact that Washington had to clean a room to be accepted), and the gift from the poor and elderly woman(because she gave basically the only thing she had).

Washington’s Arguments Against the Slave System

Booker T. Washington(born around 1858 or 1859), was a pretty influential African American man, and educator. Washington never knew his biological father, who was a white man; and his mother was the plantation’s cook until slavery was abolished. Even though slavery was abolished when Washington was still a young child, he remembered some of his early life as a slave. When slavery was abolished he, his mother, and siblings moved in to live with his step father. Much later in life, after Washington finished his education, he wrote an autobiography about his life. This autobiography of course is about his life but it also includes an insight on what he thought about the slave system, even showing his arguments against it. So what were his arguments against the slave system?

In his autobiography he often blames the system of the Nation and refers the wrongdoings of slavery and slavery in general as something that was caused by a system of the Nation. For example when he mentions his biological father, he simply says that he does not blame his father(who was never in his life and who had done something terrible in regards to his mother), and just states that his father was another victim of this system of the Nation. He also states that he doesn’t feel any anger or bitterness towards the White people of the South, or the ex-slave owners in general. He even shows examples of how the African American’s worked along side and cared for their “masters,” and also how many of the older African American’s when slavery ended began working for the their ex-slave “masters.” This further illustrates that he doesn’t hate or resent the ex-slave owners or the white American’s of the South; this also illustrates that quite a few other African American’s felt similar ways about the white American’s of the South.

Even though he shows that some slaves cared for their masters and stayed with them even when they were free, he also stated pretty strongly that slavery was wrong, and that the slaves wanted to be free. They wanted to have their own free will, to be free from the bondage of being a slave. He also believed that though slavery was an abomination and absolutly horrible in every sense imaginable, that it did benefit the African American’s for the better. The reason for belief was because the descendants of slaves and the individuals who were slaves and went through it were now stronger in many ways, compared to Africans in other places. He doesn’t justify slavery, people may become confused with that, he just states the reality in his opinion.

Washington wasn’t bitter or angry towards the ex-slave owners, he believed and argued that slavery and the wrongdoings of slavery was caused the system of Nation, which he blames for slavery, not the slave-owners. He also argued and believed slavery made African American’s stronger individuals(it is said that individuals become stronger after hardship), but he never justified slavery and believed it was a terrible and wrong thing, hence these were his arguments against slavery.

Has any Piece of Literature Affected Me in a Major Way?

I have read many literature pieces throughout my life; some of these pieces of literature have affected me and have left an impact upon me since reading the piece. Then others not so much. Because there is more than one piece of literature that has affected me I will be writing about more than one. The two literature pieces that have affected me in a major way are: the Bible, and Rilla of Ingleside, by Lucy Maud Montgomery.

The Bible

The Bible affecting me in a major way wasn’t one single reading incident. Before I could read I would listen to Biblical stories in audiobook form. I liked some of the stories especially Noah and the Ark, and David and Goliath; I didn’t really understand them, but I did like them. Over time when I began reading I began understanding the Bible more; at first I thought it was boring, and complex. But when I became older I grew to like it more; to understand it, and to realize the important meanings behind the passages and stories. The reason why the Bible affected me is because it explained so much to me; for example the Bible explained why I felt terrible after doing something wrong, or why I was sorry for doing things that were wrong. Also the Bible helped me realize how important God and Jesus are, before, I knew that they existed and were real, but I didn’t really understand it, again. 

The most important way the Bible affected me is because it helped me realize that having faith in God, even when things are going terribly, will help you go on, in other words that with God’s guidance, and my faith in him, I will be able to go through the anything thing in life my matter how difficult. That no human challenge is impossible with His guidance. I could probably go on forever about how the Bible affected me, but this is the main and most important way(s), it affected me, and my life.

Rilla of Ingleside

I first read Rilla of Ingleside, by Lucy Maud Montgomery, when I was around eleven years. The novel captivated me(even more so than the other Anne of Green Gables books); and I finished it, in a few days. I have read it many more times since. The first reason why the book affected me is with the main character Rilla. Rilla was a silly and airheaded teenage girl who did not take life seriously; but when World War 1 began, she and her life changed forever. By the end of the book(I am trying my best not to spoil the story), Rilla is a mature young woman, who is responsible, strong, and caring. Today I rather relate to the character Rilla; in the sense that we both are living through a very unknown and confusing time. Also the character Rilla is a great example of someone who is able to move on, and become stronger from the difficult things that happen in life.

As you may notice I adore the novel, and the main character. But this novel has affected me greatly; especially thanks to the character Rilla, who still inspires me today to stay strong through challenges, and to learn to accept what happens in life. This novel is something that I encourage anyone to read, and it will forever be one my favorite fictional pieces of literature.

Conclusion

In my opinion the most impactful pieces of literature are the ones that change your perspective on life, or have helped you grow as a person in one way. The two pieces of literature that did those things for me, and have affected me in a major way are: the Bible, and Rilla of Ingleside, by Lucy Maud Montgomery. The reasons these pieces of literature have impacted me the most is the way they have helped me go through life, while teaching me important lessons along the way. Though the Bible is definitely a superior piece of literature(I believe this is obvious), and is a book of wisdom and God’s word after all, Rilla of Ingleside still has impacted me greatly, which is why I had to include it here.

Which Were the Key Incidents that Led Helen Keller out of Her “Prison”

During this past week I have been reading the autobiography of Helen Keller(1880-1968), who was an author, political activist, and lecturer; who was also deaf and blind. She became deaf and blind at the very young age of nineteen months, after becoming ill with an unknown illness that took her sight and hearing. Before this illness Keller had picked up communication earlier and more quickly than other babies, which of course made her parents very amazed and happy, but this was cut short, when she became sick. After her illness Helen’s early childhood life was dark and silent, and in a metaphorical term like a “prison” because of her disability. But if you read about her now you would see that she became pretty successful in life, and that her disability hadn’t really prevented her from gaining success; so what were the key incidents that led Keller out of her “prison”? 

Anne Sullivan Coming into Her Life

Though this isn’t really an incident I felt that it was important to add this, because Anne Sullivan coming into Keller’s life as a young child is the starting point which led to the incidents that led Keller out of her “prison.” Anne Sullivan was Keller’s first teacher, and was the one that helped Keller learn to communicate. Before Sullivan was in Keller’s life, Keller was a very frustrated little girl, who threw many fits. She was also a bit of a prankster, and even locked her mother up in a pantry; she did something similar to Sullivan when she first came. So as you can tell Keller was not an easy child at all, but when Sullivan entered Keller’s life, Keller found a way out of her frustrations, to find ways to grow. Which is why I believe this was one of the key things that helped Keller out of her “prison.”

The Water Incident

One of the first things that Sullivan did when it came to Keller’s education was trying to show Keller that each object had a name; Keller did not get this at first and soon became frustrated. So Sullivan took Keller for a walk, and took her to a water spout. Before Keller became ill the first word she learned was water. So Sullivan began pumping water onto Keller’s hand, and began spelling into Keller’s hand the word “water.” Sullivan spells out the word more rapidly; and something in Keller’s mind clicked, she realizes that “water,” meant that wonderful cool thing that was pouring onto her hand. This incident was a breakthrough for Keller’s learning of communication.

Learning to Understand Abstract Words

After the water incident things took off for Keller, she wanted to know every word for every object! Because of this Sullivan began teaching Keller about abstract words(words for example like, love, care, etc), Keller had a hard time understanding abstract words; before this point she had thought that every word was for an object. But she eventually breaks through. This incident occurred when Keller was beading, and messed up the sequence; Keller of course began trying to figure out where she went wrong, so Sullivan tapped onto Keller’s forehead and spelled out the word “think.” Immediately Keller realizes that “think” is the word for what is going inside her head. After that she begins to pick up on abstract words, just like she had with words for objects.

Learning to Speak

At a certain point in Keller’s childhood, she began wanting to speak verbally. She eventually learned how to do so by putting her hand on a person’s face to feel their facial movements as they uttered words; then her teacher would write down what the person was saying on Keller’s hand. By this method she was able to learn how to speak, which is highly impressive for someone who had never heard a word, or had seen the way a mouth moves when forming words. Keller’s speech was never fully clear, and was not perfect but it was a great step for her, which is why I added this as a key incident.

Conclusion

As you may tell Keller was a very impressive woman, who did not let her disability prevent her from success. Thanks to her teacher’s guidance she was able to learn to communicate, to understand words, and even eventually learned to speak, which in turn freed her from her “prison” and set her free to grow and learn, into the woman she became.

What is the Most Important Thing in Writing a Dialogue from Memory

What is the most important thing in writing a dialogue from memory? Is it accuracy, succinctness, or liveliness? In this discussion of the most important thing in writing a dialogue from memory, I must note that there are different opinions on this subject from different individuals. Also that one single answer is not the only right one, everyone likes different writing styles, so there are a variety of “right” answers, on the topic. So moving; I believe that a combination of accuracy and liveliness is the most important thing in writing a dialogue from memory and here is why.

Accuracy is essential in writing a dialogue from memory especially when this dialogue is going into your autobiography because it is about your life. Even though it is nearly impossible to remember every single detail from your life, especially in your childhood it is still important to be accurate on what happened in your life because it is about your life, not a fictional character’s. Even though you may not remember everything fully, it is still important. Also if you don’t accurately write a dialogue from memory it would most likely not make sense, be jumbled, or be  fictionional, which is something you do not want especially when writing an autobiography.

Liveliness is important in many written works, and in my opinion it is also essential in writing a dialogue from memory. When you are writing a dialogue from memory, you do not want it to be just plain facts, dull, and straightforward, but you do want it to be entertaining, lively, and factual at the same time, or else you would bore the people who will be reading it. Because I have been reading autobiographies(which contain dialogues from the memory of the author), for this school year I have seen how liveliness is used by each author, and I have noticed that it really does help in making the autobiography or the specific dialogue in the autobiography more enjoyable and entertaining to read, while again being factual. So with that being said, the combination of accuracy and liveliness while writing a dialogue from memory, makes for a perfect balance of being factual and accurate while being entertaining and enjoyable at the same time. 

In short the reason why I believe that the combination of accuracy and liveliness is the most important thing in writing a dialogue from memory is because: accuracy is necessary in ensuring that the dialogue is as accurate as possible. While at the same time liveliness ensures that the dialogue is entertaining and enjoyable to read. Which in turn makes for the most important thing in writing a dialogue from memory.

Does Kourdakov’s use of Contrasts Strengthen his Narrative

During the past few weeks I have been reading the autobiography: The Persecutor, by Sergei Kourdakov. Which is about the author Kourdakov’s life in Soviet Russia. Early on in Kourdakov’s life he learns about the concept of communism, thanks to his upbringing in the State run Children’s home. He was also highly ambitious early on and rose the ladder quickly, in the terms of communism, thanks to his belief that the strongest rose on top. Even at one point in his life Kourdakov was hired to persecute Christians, which plays an important role in his life. Throughout the book Kourdakov uses many contrasts to describe the stories in his life, which give very detailed descriptions. I will be writing about two of the contrasts, and I will also determine if his use of contrasts strengthen his narrative.

The first contrast I will be writing about was in Chapter 13 of the book. This particular life story is about Kourdakov and his men who were assigned to break up a group of believers(Christians), who were going to have a baptism for the new converts. Because Kourdakov and his men had plenty of time when they arrived at the location(a beautiful forestry area with a river), they had a picnic. The atmosphere was peaceful and pleasant. But this peacefulness did not last for long though. When the believers arrived at the location, Kourdakov and his men sprung into action and attacked and broke up those believers, changing the scene from peaceful to chaotic; with the woods being filled with screaming and shouting.

The second contrast and the last I will be writing about isn’t in an exact chapter but I believe it is a pretty important example. The leaders of the Soviet Union, at least in Kourdakov’s description of them, did not have faith in communism or what they pushed for whatsoever. For example when Kourdakov’s youth league(which he was the leader of), was singled out as the best in the area, he had to give a speech on it. During this he was able to speak with a communist leader named Orlov, who was very drunk. Orlov was rambling on how bad and terrible communism was, even saying that it was a curse! But the leaders of the believers or Christians on the other hand had full faith in what they were leading for, even when they were being persecuted severely for what they were doing and believing, they had full faith. The contrast in this is the fact that the leaders of the Soviet Union did not believe or fully believe in what they were pushing for or leading for, but the leaders of the believers believed fully in what they were leading towards, hence a contrast

But the most important question is; does Kourdakov’s use of contrasts strengthen his narrative? A complete yes! Kourdakov is a great writer, and so far his autobiography has been very interesting and entertaining to read(never a dull moment), and his use of contrasts helps him keep the autobiography entertaining while keeping the narrative strong, which is rare in other autobiographies. 

The Choices that led Kourdakov to Fail the Assignment

During the past two weeks I have been reading the autobiography: The Persecutor, by Sergei Kourdakov. Because this book is an autobiography it is about the author, Kourdakov’s life. Kourdakov grew up in Soviet Russia, he lost his parents early on in life and grew up in the State run, Children’s Home. He was able to become part of the communist youth league, which he eventually became the leader of. Thanks to him the youth league became the best at the time in Russia. Kourdakov at a really young age was ambitious and highly focused; at a certain point in his teens he made a choice to focus on communism or working for communism, instead of turning to crime. He also decides to join the navy, and gets accepted to the naval academy. At the naval academy he chooses radio because he has an interest in it. Again like at the Children’s Home Kourdakov rises up and becomes in charge of the other cadets in matters such as: punishment, promotion, depromotion, teaching communism, etc. But though he succeeded in this leadership position in the communist standpoint, I would consider that he failed this assignment, and here is why.

Kourdakov when he had this leadership role was highly effective and made sure that things were done, and that the other cadets were in order. But he was terribly harsh, and punished the cadets severely if they did something wrong, he also pressured them severely. A lot of these cadets could not handle the pressure and the punishments, and many quit or committed suicide. The academy and Kourdakov covered up these suicides by saying that these deaths were caused by other reasons such as falling while drunk(alcoholism was a problem in the navy at the time, and in Russia), to protect the academy’s reputation.

The reasons why I think Kourdakov failed this assignment? The first reason why I think he failed this assignment is the fact that he was not a good leader. He did get things done, and was able to “control” and severely “punish” the cadets, but he did not care or lead them about those cadets, whatsoever; which was not good leadership because to be a leader you have to consider the people you are leading, to listen to them, support them, help them, etc. But he just wanted to rise up. The second and final reason why I think that Kourdakov failed this assignment relates to the first reason. He wanted to rise up himself, no matter the cost. He also seeked power, and dominance. Which is one of the main reasons why he did not care for those cadets whatsoever and had no problem inflicting severe punishment, because as long as he rose up it was fine. Also him lying about the suicides further proves that he did not care for those cadets and just wanted to rise higher in rank, by saving his and the academy’s reputation.

In summary Kourdakov failed his leadership role or assignment because he was a poor leader, who used his leadership position for his personal gains, and he harshly punished the other cadets to the point that many quit or committed suicide. Also he used the position to rise up himself, not to lead and help the other cadets to rise up also.