Lesson 175. “How important are the words ‘So What?’ in an autobiography?”


In this essay I will be discussing and answering the essay question above, which asks how important the words “So What?” are in an autobiography. This question is from the English 9th grade RPC course.
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When writing a specific part of your autobiography, one very important thing to do, ist to put yourself in the readers shoes and ask the question, So what? Making sure that you give good enough reasons for your story will also make the reader care more about what happens next.

When a reader asks the question “So what?”, it’s like them asking why they should care what happened. Another reason might be that they just don’t get why you had that specific story in your autobiography. These situations are not great to have, as you want your story to be believable and relatable to the reader.

This is why good, persuasive writing and a good choice of interesting stories will make your autobiography stand out more to the reader and also make the reader care more about what happens next.

Asking yourself the words “So what?” over a specific situation or story in your autobiography is also a way for you, as an author to analyse whether or not your story is deep enough to cause the reader to keep reading. It might be the case that your writing does not make the situation as exciting as it could be, which is something you should definitely look out for.


To summarise and conclude, this essay talked about how the question “So what?” is so important in your autobiography. I also said that, as an author, it is very important that you make sure the reader does not ask this question when reading your autobiography. This problem can be avoided with persuasive writing, good word choice and good story choice. All of those factors will make your autobiography stand out more to the reader.


Lesson 170. What was Equiano’s attitude regarding his life in the British Navy?


In this essay I will be answering the essay question regarding Equiano and what his attitude was towards his life in the British Navy. This information is taken from Olaudah Equiano’s autobiography in the 9th grade English RPC course.

Olaudah Equiano (also called Gustavus Vassa) was a black African who was kidnapped in Africa and sold into slavery. In his autobiography he recounts how he went from a frightened small boy of age twelve, to a confident sailor in the Royal Navy and then to a prominent spokesman against the enslavement of Africans.

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After Equiano was kidnapped from his village, he was a slave in a few various households before he was transported to America in a slave ship. From there he ended up in the British Royal Navy serving under his master. Equiano describes how, in the beginning, he was very scared and afraid of the white people. However, the excitements of being at sea gradually turned his fear into courage and contentment.

Here is an excerpt from the autobiography that captures Equiano’s transformation from a scared slave boy to a brave sailor.

“From the various scenes I had beheld on shipboard, I soon grew a stranger to terror of every kind, and was, in that respect at least, almost an Englishman.”

The autobiography does not directly state that Equiano loved being in the british navy yet it is quite clear that he did enjoy going to sea, as this is virtually the case throughout the entire autobiography for him. Equiano also expresses, at one point, that he wanted to go to war with the french in a naval engagement, which shows how he got more and more excited to become a sailor.

During a naval engagement that Equiano experienced, he described that he even was ‘hungry for a battle’ which also shows how Equiano was really excited to fight on the sea against the french.

I think that, in conclusion, Equiano was content with his life in the navy and definitely experienced more freedom than he might have had on a plantation in America.


To summarise and conclude, this essay was on Equiano and how he felt as a slave in the Royal British Navy. From his autobiography, we get a good picture of what it was like and how Equiano grew more and more confident as a sailor.

Lesson 165. What I must do in my note-taking to describe what is going on around me?


In this essay I will be discussing and answering the essay question to do with note taking and how I can prepare myself now for when I write an autobiography in the future.

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Note taking is a very important skill for students to learn, that goes beyond just preparing for your autobiography. Effective use of notes will help you to retain information more efficiently, whilst still utilising simplicity to save time.

For your autobiography, note taking is especially important. Making notes of your life progressively, will help you immensely later on when you are writing your autobiography.

  1. Here are a few tips for note taking that might help me to write a autobiography later on.Identify important events. In a few of the autobiographies I have read, there are not enough background events being discussed. Describing larger events happening around you, will link yourself to the reader, as they might remember that time, or be able to connect, saying “Aha, so it was that event he is writing about.” While this might seem like a little unimportant detail, it is the small things that make your autobiography more realistic

2. Remembering time and dates. As you get older you forget more. This is why it is important for me to write dates in my notes, if I can remember them. Remembering dates ten years from now will be a lot harder than doing it right now, so that is definitely a very important factor to take in.

3. Organising notes in chronological order. Ordering your notes in chronological order can be very helpful later on when you are writing your autobiography. This also takes a lot of work load off of your autobiography if you do it before starting to write.

Those are a few tips I might take if I were going to write an autobiography later on.


To summarise and conclude, today’s essay talked about note-taking and how effective usage of notes will help me write my autobiography in the future. I gave three tips to help with note-taking.
Identifying Important events

Remembering dates for your notes

Organising notes in chronological order to make writing easier

And that just about wraps everything up, hope you enjoyed!

Lesson 160. “Has any event in your life had the same impact that learning how to read had on Douglass’s life? If not, why not?”


In this essay, I will be talking about Frederick Douglass, and how his life changed when he learned to read. I will also discuss two events in my own life that have had an impact on myself.

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In Frederick Douglass’s autobiography, the Autobiography of Frederick Douglass he explains how he lived as a slave in 1800s in the slave state of Maryland, America. As well as describing the brutality of slavery, Douglass also writes a section on how he learned to read. This changed everything for Douglass. Learning to read opened Douglass’s eyes and led to his hypothesis that education is the key for slaves to get out of slavery.

So, the question remains, Have I ever had any event in my life that has had the same impact that reading had on Douglass? I’d say there have been a couple of events or time periods in my life, that have slightly changed my outlook.

The first of these is my upbringing. While not technically an “event” I would say that my upbringing has been central to my life so far. I was born into a Christian family, was baptised as a baby and have been brought up as a Christian in God’s Kingdom. The guidance and teaching I have received, over the years from my parents, and from the Ron Paul Curriculum have had large impacts on my Christian life.

My outlooks on the world and my worldviews are mostly directly influenced by what my parents believe, which is great, because I think their views are the right ones.

The Ron Paul Curriculum has also changed my views on time, which I think, so far, has had quite an impact on my life. Before doing the English 9 Autobiographies RPC course with Gary North, I had known that time is a very valuable asset, but I did not think a lot about it. After listening to the lectures done by Gary North in the 9th grade, have really changed how I view time itself.

I have noticed that I have become much more aware of the time and how quickly time passes. We only have one life on this earth, which means we must use our time wisely to enhance God’s Kingdom here on earth.


To summarise and conclude, this essay was on two things that have had an impact on my life so far. The first of these is my upbringing as a Christian and my faith in Jesus Christ. The second is my views on time and how valuable it is, which I really understood better after starting the RPC Grade 9 English course.

Lesson 150. As a writer of an autobiography about life in the woods, would you spend more pages describing an ant war or loons? Why?


In this essay I will be discussing and answering the essay question above which asks whether I would spend more pages describing Ant Wars or Loons in my autobiography. This question is based off of Henry David Thoreau’s autobiography, Walden.

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In Walden, Back-to-nature environmentalist Henry David Thoreau spends several pages describing an ant war. In this ‘ant war’ two different types of ants, in their hundreds, clash with each other outside Thoreau’s shack, where he was living. Thoreau’s description of the battling ants is very well done and painted a vivid picture in my head when I first read it.

A couple of chapters later, Thoreau also describes a loon, (a type of water-bird) that kept diving under the surface of the pond. Thoreau was in his boat at the time and he tried to chase the loon, which would dive and then resurface in another spot. In this way, Thoreau almost played a game with the loon, never being able to catch it in his boat.

Personally, I found the description of the ant war much more interesting than that of the loon, as it was more unique and informative. I had never known that two types of ants could fight each other and, if Thoreau was being truthful, this was a great discovery for me when I first read it.

The description of the loon on the other hand, is not as unique as that of the ant war. In the description, the loon keeps diving in the pond and Thoreau, being on a boat in the pond, tries to chase the bird around. When I was reading this section on the loon, I found it only half-interesting and I just skimmed through it.

I think that, as an author of an autobiography, you should (if possible) have at least one unique story or something to share that will interest the reader because they have not heard of anything like it. This was the case for me when I read Thoreau’s section on the ant war. It was unique, something I had never heard about. Loons on the other hand, are known to be natural divers to catch fish for their food.

Thoreau’s loon-catching experience was, in the end, not that interesting to me and, dare I say it, the passage just reminded me of a small child who has seen an animal for the first time and wants to catch it with childlike pleasure.


To summarise and conclude the essay, today I wrote about Henry David Thoreau’s description of a loon and an ant war in his autobiography. Reading about the ant war was a unique experience, one that I enjoyed very much, as I had never heard of ants fighting each other. On the other hand, the description of the loon was somewhat boring and not unique. I also stated that, if you have a unique story available, it could be used as a great literary tool in your autobiography, as it is those unique passages that really grabs the attention of the reader.

Lesson 145. “How important is it for a person to summarize his philosophy of life in an early chapter of an autobiography?”

In this essay I will be discussing and answering the essay question above, which asks how important is it to summarise your philosophy of life in an early chapter when writing an autobiography.

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When someone writes their autobiography, they write into the pages their entire life and character, which is one of the reasons autobiographies are very special books. However, writing an autobiography will also expose your philosophy of life, as it is almost impossible to keep that out of a book, in which you are writing about yourself.

As the reader goes through your story, he will probably be able to see patterns and then be able to discern the thought process and views of yourself, the author. Now, it is by no means bad if people start to understand your worldviews, but it is something you must be aware of when writing an autobiography for the public.

This “Philosophy of life” can be spread throughout the autobiography, or it can be revealed directly to the reader at any suitable time in your autobiography. This depends entirely on the author and what his or her plan is while writing the autobiography.

To answer the essay question, I do not actually think it matters much, where you summarise your philosophy of life but If I were to write an autobiography, I would probably spread it over the story.

My reasoning for doing that, would be that I would not like to throw the reader off by suddenly stating my philosophy of life in one random section. Rather, I would spread it out throughout the autobiography, so the reader can figure out what was behind my decisions. This also ensures that the reader keeps reading and is not interrupted by a sudden piece of information, that could spoil the book for them.


To summarise and conclude the essay, this paper discussed and answered the essay question regarding the philosophy of life that the author of an autobiography would have and whether putting it at the start of the autobiography is a good idea. My answer to that, is that it does not matter much, however I would integrate it throughout the story, so as to keep the reader on track and not throw them off the flow of the story.

Lesson 140. “Would Walden have been a better book if Thoreau had supplied more background information on his life?”


In this essay I will be talking about Henry David Thoreau, his style of writing, and how it relates to the essay question,”Would Walden have been a better book if Thoreau had supplied more background information on his life?”

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To begin let me explain how Thoreau wrote Walden and why it was the wrong style for him to chose.

As you start to read the book, you might probably notice that Thoreau writes with seemingly sophisticated language that includes many different complicated and interesting words. In other words, he uses good rhetoric in his book. The problem is, a lot of what he says would just make no sense to the common reader. The thing is, while his knowledge of complex words is impressive, his clarity of writing is not

Thoreau implements his sophisticated language into the autobiography and in doing so, sacrifices clarity of arguments.

This might not have been much of an issue if he had written a seperate book on his thoughts and views, but Walden was meant to be a autobiography. This is why his rhetorical arguments, which have nothing to do with his background or life, do not really fit well in the autobiography

This leads us to the essay question, which asks the question wether it would have been better, had Thoreau implemented more of his life story in the autobiography, for the readers’ sake. I think, that yes, Walden would have been a better book, had Thoreau maybe included more details about his life and his background, as you will find next to nothing of this in his autobiography.

While he did have the right to write whatever he wanted, his excessive use of rhetoric ended up being somewhat inconsiderate to the average reader, to whom a lot of what he said would have made no sense.

Another point I would like to make, is that Thoreau was not always entirely serious or consistent with his arguments and points that he made. This would further confuse a reader, as he or she may not even be sure if Thoreau was being serious or not.

As a final answer to the essay question, I do think Thoreau should have included more information on his life in his autobiography, as that is the entire point when you write down your life story. Furthermore, this would have helped to give a balance with all his rhetorical arguments that he made, making his book a little more appealing to readers.


In this essay I covered why Thoreau should have used more background information in his autobiography something which the story lacked. Instead, he used many rhetorical arguments to fill pages, making his book hard to follow and hard to understand for the

Lesson 135. Was Thoreau dependent on the division of labor while he was living on Walden Pond?


In this essay I will be discussing and answering the question, Was Thoreau dependent on the division of labor while he was living on Walden Pond?


Before we look at answering the essay question, I think it would be important if we established who Thoreau was and how he relates to the question.

Henry David Thoreau was a man that lived in the mid 1800s in North America. He is known for his book, Walden, in which he explains his views of economy and society. He was a “green” or a “back to nature” person, which is why he lived in the wild by Walden pond for two years. It was there that he first started to write and compile ideas into a book. Today, the book has been dubbed as one of the greatest American literary works, which, quite frankly, it is not.
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Now that we have some background, it is time to discuss and answer the essay question. To begin, let us define what the division of labour is. The division of labour is a production model that breaks the production of an item into several smaller jobs so that the overall process is more efficient. Thoreau did not like the division of labour and he hated factories, but he did build his own house, so did he have to use something that went against his own philosophy?

Firstly, let us examine the section on the house. In this section, Thoreau describes how he used several different tools and materials to construct his little shack. One of the items he used though, that stood out to me,was nails. Nails are difficult to manufacture by oneself and considering how easily and cheaply they were (and still are) manufactured in larger workplaces, it is a waste of time to make them by yourself.

I think, then, that using nails is one example of where Thoreau contradicted himself over his beliefs regarding the division of labour. The nails he used where most likely created in some sort of factory, which means that he profited from the usage of the division of labour.

That is just one example of many where Thoreau contradicted himself. He tried to escape the modern world, but in doing so took with him items and ideas that were created by the industrial age in North America.


To summarise and conclude the paper, today’s essay was on Henry David Thoreau and wether he was dependent on the division of labour or not. Thoreau was actually dead set against the division of labour, yet he used items, such as nails, which were actually created by the division of labour. There are also many other instances in which Thoreau contradicts himself in his autobiography.

Lesson 130. “How could I adopt Northup’s technique of using contrasts?”

“How could I adopt Northup’s technique of using contrasts?”


In this essay, I will be discussing and answering the essay question above, which asks the question”How could I adopt Northup’s technique of using contrasts?”

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In Solomon Northup’s’ famous autobiography, Up from Slavery, he uses several contrasts to make various different points. As a kidnapped slave he witnessed slavery in its true form, which was a evil and corrupt system that destroyed the lives of thousands of black African-Americans.

Perhaps the largest contrast that Northup makes in his autobiography, the difference between a kind master and an evil one. When Northup was first introduced to slavery on a plantation, he was actually bought by a kind master who did not treat his slaves badly.

In contrast, Northup’s next few masters are inhumanly brutal, whipping their slaves for the tiniest infractions and generally misusing their slaves. Northup contrasts the ‘good’ master and the evil master very well, making it obvious to the reader how greatly these two types of master differed.

I have a feeling that Northup’s contrast technique is not that hard to adopt. I think his technique basically consists of using very good writing skills to describe two different situations and then contrast them. Using the earlier example of the masters, Northup describes the horror of serving under a bad master in such gruesome detail that the reader is shocked. Then Northup also describes the good master, who is still the master of the slaves, but treats them much better than the evil master does.

When those two are contrasted together, using Northup’s excellent literary abilities make a striking juxtaposition. I think probably the two key to contrasting like Northup, is to write your two contrasting situations in a way that grips the reader to the point where they can very clearly see a contrast. Being able to describe something well is a tricky literary skill but if you master it, you can convince your readers much easier.


To summarise the essay, this essay was about how I could adopt Northup’s technique of using contrasts and what that looked like in Northup’s autobiography. Northup uses strong contrasts in his autobiography to expose slavery as the evil system it is. His technique consists of using literary tools and two good scenarios to contrast them together in a way that grabs the attention of the reader.

Lesson 120. “Describe the differences between Northup’s response to separation from his children and Eliza’s response to separation from her children.”


In this essay I will be discussing and answeribng the essay question above, which states as follows, “Describe the differences between Northup’s response to separation from his children and Eliza’s response to separation from her children

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The essay question that I have to answer, is posed in the context of both parent-child seperations that happened


In the story, Northup describes how he, a freeman living in the north, was kidnapped and sold into slavery down south. At the point of his kidnapping, he had been married and had three children, from whom he was deceitfully separated. When Northup realises the situation he is in, the book describes his anguish and hurt from being separated from his family, yet he still had hope that, someday, he would escape.


In the story, Northup describes how Eliza, a slave mother to two children, was sold to the same slave trader who had acquired Northup. When she was sold to a plantation master, the trader would not allow her children to go with her and thus the family was tragically separated. In the book, it is only by force that she can be separated and her anguish is very clear in the text. Eliza never recovers from this separation and falls into a steady decline of health till she dies later in the book.

The difference between these two separations is not too large, yet there are a few distinctions between them. Firstly, as a mother, Eliza had extremely strong maternal bonds to her children, which Northup did not have, as he was a father. I’m not saying Northup did not love his children, he did, but studies have shown that mothers have a particularly special bond with their children, which renders separation a lot more painful.

Secondly, the setting. Northup knew, or was at least mostly hopeful, that his children and wife were safe from slavery and that it was just him being sold. Eliza on the other hand, knew her children would be sold into slavery as well and there was nothing she could do about it. Her helplessness in the future for her children made the situation darker and more hopeless.


To summarise and conclude, the essay discussed and answered the question regarding Northup and Eliza, two slaves who were separated from their children and how each individual reacted differently to the other. I concluded that, while both parents felt pain and anguish at separation, Eliza’s maternal instinct made her separation from her children especially hard to take. The setting of the situation also played a key role, as Northup’s children were safe from slavery, while Eliza’s children were being sold into slavery.