This week in AP Language we started our class unit. We read an essay in The Bedford Reader by Peter Singer called “The Singer Solution to World Poverty.” In this essay, Singer gives an example of a man close to retirement who has invested a lot of money in a Bugatti, which is not insured. One day, the man parks the car near a railroad track and goes for a walk up the track. He sees a little boy in the track with a train coming right towards him. The man can throw a switch to divert the train down another track towards his car, which will be destroyed, in order to save the boy’s life. The man doesn’t do this and he continues to enjoy his car that brings him financial security and the boy is killed. Singer writes that the man’s decision was wrong and makes him a bad person, but that most people are bad people. We have opportunities to save the lives of children every day by donating to charities. Most people don’t donate to these charities, and Singer argues that this is just as bad as the man not saving the boys life. I disagree with this statement. I think that people are not very generous with their money in the first place, and if they are going to donate they need to see exactly what their money is going to and which children it will be saving. People need to see it to believe it. I think that it is a completely different situation with the man and the boy about to be hit by the train. I think it is very unrealistic to think that most people would do what the man did. I think that most people would save the child’s life because once you see the child, you have a connection to them. Most people wouldn’t be able to deal with the guilt of seeing a child die and knowing you could have done something to stop it. You don’t see the child dying when you’re here and they’re in Africa, so people don’t have the same connection and they feel less generous. That sounds terrible, but it’s the truth amongst most people. I do think that people should be more generous with their money though because there are so many people out there who need the help of people more fortunate than them.
Also during class this week, we wrote a lot of poetry. We studied different writing styles and techniques as well, such as modernism and imagism. Poetry has never been a strength of mine. I’ve never been particularly good at analyzing or writing poetry, but I really enjoyed studying the poetry that we looked at this week. I enjoyed the William Carlos Williams poetry the most because it was so simple and I liked the images it created in my mind. Also, I enjoyed when we listened to that song and had to write a poem in the style of the song. The song reminded me of the city and the glamour that goes along with it, so I wrote my poem about New York City.