Monday, January 11, 2010

Blog #31 - Henry Poole

Pick one of the following topics and write about it based on your own personal experience (150 words minimum). Highly recommended that you get this done by tomorrow (because of the LOST questions - they're very close to being found), but not really due until Thursday 1.14.10.

1. You can’t go to the past to fix the present.” - Esperanza said when Henry visited his parents' house. Agree or disagree? Why?

2. Noam Chomsky said: "As soon as questions of will or decision or reason or choice of action arise, human science is at a loss" 1.

Patience quotes him in the movie, and then follows it up with these lines: "It means that not everything needs an explanation. Sometimes, things happen b/c we choose for them to happen. I chose to believe."

Is she saying that because she believed the miracle on Henry's wall to be true, then that made it true? Or is she saying something else? If you could choose for one thing to come true / exist, what would that be and why?

3. During the dinner date, Dawn said to Henry as he tried backing away from getting closer to her was: "I know you're gonna die. But all that either of us have is right now, and we should pay attention to that." We talked today about how Henry might be feeling selfish and keeping people out w/ the way he's acting. But when he said, "I am paying attention." And that's why he can't do this (meaning fall for Dawn, go where the date will eventually lead ). Did Henry stop being selfish there for a moment? Or did he revert back to himself again? Why?

4. I get the feeling that Henry senses that there are greater forces at work, somehow helping him, coming to heal him, yet he feels unworthy of this sense of grace. Why he feels unworthy, I don't know. Maybe it's not unworthy, maybe it's pride or stubbornness in his own beliefs that life has just dealt him an awful hand. Maybe he has accepted this fate, for lack of a better word, and decided to deal with it in his own way despite a higher power demanding an audience. What do you think of this idea?

5. During 5th hour, I had an insight into the characters: there's got to be a reason why Patience is named Patience. Then I had a hunch about the name Esperanza. It's Spanish for Hope. what made me think about Hope (besides the Obama-themed poster of Henry) was when he was about to destroy the wall and he yelled, "Hope can't save you!" And the last of the virtues would be Love symbolized by Dawn and Millie.

Henry, on the other hand, would symbolize the seven deadly sins - sloth, gluttony, lust, greed, anger, envy and pride. A stretch? Maybe. How would he symbolize the seven?

Thanks. I hope you enjoyed the movie. I was glad to have found it.

"Promises", by Badly Drawn Boy

I promise you will get old / I promised you everything

To protect you wherever you go / I'll give you this diamond ring

Just promise you will remember A promise should last forever

Right up to the dying embers / Of a fire that burns so slow

It's a different day everyday / Don't want you to walk alone

But how can we carry on When all of these things have gone

Just promise you will remember / That promises last forever

Still after the last dying embers / Of a fire that burns so slowly

It's a beautiful thing to do / Sometimes you just have to walk away

Remember I do love you / Have courage in what you say

And promise you will remember / That promises last forever

Still after the dying embers / The fire that burns so slowly

And sometimes you just have to walk away

Sometimes you just have to walk away

Wishing today was yesterday

Yeah, sometimes you just have to walk away


  1. I think Henry was being selfless when said that he was paying attention because he did not want Dawn to get too close to him because he knew he was going to die in six months. So he did not want people to get too close to him because he did not want her and Millie to mourn over his death. I think he you see a change in Henry after the dinner because now he finally realizes that there is somebody in the world that actually has feelings for him. I think he was trying to search for that throughout the whole movie but never realized that it was Dawn and Millie all along. I think Henry is a good example of how people should see their lives and what they can do to change it. We can only change the present not the future so we must make the most of what we have and grab hold to it.

  2. 1. I agree with Esperanza’s statement that you can’t go back to the past to fix the present because whatever you did before affects what will come next. No matter how hard you try you can never change what you did before. For instance, if you hurt someone’s feelings you will never be able to go back and take back what you said even if the person has forgiven you. What you said is said. An experience I had that can relate to this statement was when I went back to Germany to visit my friends again. Since I had not seen them for a year a lot of things had changed and there was no way for me to go back and catch up on all the things that I had missed. This is just like Henry’s situation he will never be able to go back to the time where he was happy as a child but he can move forward and be happy now.

    Irina Laczkovich 4th hourhii

  3. 3. Throughout the whole movie I don’t think that Henry is being selfish necessarily, rather he has just given up hope in everything. He becomes introverted and pessimistic because of the circumstances that he believes he’s in. This doesn’t really mean that he’s selfish. I think that it’d be hard for most people to not be depressed if they found out they were going to die in six months, even though we’d all like to think that’d we’d want to live our last months to the fullest. I think that when Henry calls it quits with Dawn during dinner he is being very selfless. He had just recently learned the reason for Millie not talking—her dad left her and her mom. Henry says “I am paying attention” because he knows that if he gets too close to Dawn and Millie then he will hurt them when he dies in six months. He doesn’t want them to suffer and be let down again in their lives when he’s gone.

  4. In the movie, Henry Poole Is Here, Esperanza tells Henry that he can’t go t the past to fix the present. Just like Heraclites said you cant step into the same river twice, people are always different and so are situations, so the past can really solve any problems. If I am ever at the end of some activity that I am doing you always sense a sort of loss that things will never be the same because you were on this team with these people, life changes so you will never be the same person again. For me, this is also true with important decisions, if I need to make a choice about something I have to weigh the factors of things that are happening right now and not base any decisions on my past or the person that I was then. Henry learns this lesson by the end of the movie and finally does see himself in the present and is not always trying to look back on an earlier time which gives him an unrealistic perspective.

  5. I think that Henry was being selfless when he said that he was paying attention. I believe that he was being selfless when he said that because he knew he was going to die in six months and he didn’t want to hurt them or want them to mourn his death. Henry knew that Millie stopped talking after her father left, and I think that he thought that would happen again when he died if he got close to her. I don’t think that Henry was necessarily selfish during the entire movie; I just think that he had stopped caring about his life and had given up hope. I don’t think that Henry was selfish at all in the movie because is he was being selfish it would seem like he would want a lot of people around him before his death, and it seems that he would also want to surround himself with people that have sympathy for him.
    Maia Knox

  6. During the dinner date with Dawn, Henry actually showed his selflessness by not wanting to continue on with her in the way things were going. He knew that both of them were growing into liking eachother and he felt that with him letting them become that close to one another he was acting selfish. He reasoned this out by saying that there was no point in them get like that when he had thatd little amount of time left to live. Dawn says that they should live in the now but all Henry can think about is death and how close it is from when they're falling for eachother. I also think that Henry was being selfless by not letting Millie become attached to him and then lose him like she did her real father not long before.

  7. 1.) I absolutely agree with Esperanza’s view that you cannot go back to the past in order to fix the present. It is the same idea that longing too much for the past can also harm your present and not allows you to see the good that is right in front of you. I have always found this to be true in my own life with issues about death or anything depressing we seem to try, as people, to go back to happier place in our own minds. I think that this maneuver is a defense mechanism that needs to be stopped for a person to proceed in their life. It’s impossible to understand why people think that the past will help them heal but it seems like the only option for some. Not that I haven’t done this before but I try to avoid the past because it cannot be changed.

  8. My interpretation of what Patience means is that as long as you have faith, anything can happen. In a way, because she believed the wall had healing powers, it became true. In our current civilization we always want to have a logical explanation for everything, but the truth is there are things that will always remain mysteries. Not everything can be explained. In medicine there are times when a patient as a terminal illness and wakes up the next day completely cured. These are considered misdiagnoses, but everyone knows that the disease was there in the first place. I think that the mind can also play a big role in these sorts of miracles. These are things psychological, maybe if you believe it enough then it can happen. I don’t think that the wall would have had as much power if Millie and Patience weren’t certain of its “powers”.
    Laetitia Crosnier

  9. While I can understand what Patience is saying about believing in something and having it come true, I don't agree with it at all. Just believing in something can't make it come true. For example, maybe I believe I can fly, but everyone knows because of the laws of physics that i cannot fly no matter how much I believe i can. I am a person who relies heavily on facts and scientific proof, so it is very hard for me to agree with any of what patience and Esperanza were saying throughout the whole movie. There were some parts in the movie where I felt Henry was too harsh and too standoffish, but at other times i thought to myself I wouldn't want all of those people coming to my house either because I really don't believe what they believe and they kept trying to shove it down his throat when all he wanted to do was be alone. In the movie, all of the people that touched the wall were supposedly cured because they believed in the power of god, but in reality I don't think that would ever happen. Even if some people do believe in God, I don't think that means he's going to cure you of your problems.
    Sara Dziubek 4th hour

  10. Eric Singer
    I’m not sure that Henry symbolizes the seven deadly sins so much as he symbolizes skepticism of the Christian faith. Which is consistent with the message of the move: faith versus free will. Henry seems to rely on the idea that random things happen, maybe this hypothesis is something that makes him hopeful about his rocky future. Perhaps he relys on a belief that just as randomly that his disease came to be deadly, it could randomly become a minor thing like a cold, or a cough. Furthermore, maybe the sense of spontaneity allows him to take a position of irresponsibility; he can be the victim, which for most is usually the easier character to assume. It is interesting that when Henry meets Dawn he seems to take more responsibility for himself, he even tells her about his disease. He’s becoming whole; he’s learning to accept where his random life has taken him. A new day, dawn? Makes sense to me.
    On an even deeper level though, Dawn seems to instill in Henry not only the will to live, but also the desire to live. Which is key; it becomes the reason that Henry wants to strike down the wall out of anguish, and even the reason he lives depending on how you see the film; whether or not you could see the face of Jesus in the wall.
    How does the idea of Henry accepting responsibility for the situation he’s in relate to Henry symbolizing skepticism? Simply. His original rejection of the curve ball life threw at him symbolizes he strong willed belief in free will. He thought life was composed of random events, each has their own explanation, but they are mutually exclusive in their sense of random. But, when Henry was diagnosed with his deadly disease he threw his will to live out the window and embraced a very negative view of the world, a questioning, skeptical view of reality. He couldn’t explain, though he wanted to, this random event of life. His inability to explain what happened to him threw him into a cycle of depression and despair, until dawn was able to make him anew with hope.
    More succinctly stated: Henry’s depression came of his longing to explain what had happened to him. He couldn’t. But the random union of him and dawn perhaps provided some explanation of why he came to that house with the face of Jesus. So, Henry=the seven deadly sins? No. Henry=skepticism, the very opposite of the essence of faith and Christianity, and therefore the Jesus on his wall.

  11. I think the reason Patience was named Patience was literally because she actually was patient. She truly believed in what Noam Chomsky had to say regarding things that cannot be explained. Patience didn’t feel the need to run around looking for answers immediately after a phenomenon occurred, she just accepted things for what they were. I also think that she was the most patient with Henry. Esperanza tried to convince Henry every day that what happened on the wall was real. Right when Henry moved in, she immediately went over to his house and tried to figure out everything about him. When Patience showed an interest in Henry, he really didn’t show that the interest was mutual. Patience got the hint and just kind of backed off and was patient with Henry. Patience would ask Henry simple questions and wait for him to open up to her as opposed to being like Esperanza and just trying to dig to the bottom of things.

    Jules Ashe 4th hour
    PS- In addition to the Badly Drawn Boy song, I think that “Those to Come” by The Shins goes well with this movie. You should listen to it!

  12. I agree with Esperanza when she said to Henry “you can’t go to the past to fix the present” because once you do something there is no way you can take it back and change what you did. In some instances you may be able to go back and change something that you did before but you still have the memory of messing up the first time. A time in my life where this happened to me was during a soccer game and I made an illegal throw and the other team got the throw in and threw the ball in and they scored the winning goal with only two minutes left in the game. There wasn’t a way for me to go back to change my action and correct the illegal throw that cost my team the win. Henry wishes he could go back to his old house where he lived as a child and be happy again he has to live his life as it is now.

    Stefanos Thomopoulos
    5th Hour

  13. #2 I think that saying that she was trying to say that because she believed in the miracle on Henry’s wall, it made it true is mostly accurate, but I would say that it made it true for her, and because she believed so completely and so strongly that it would work, that some sort of placebo effect on steroids made her able to see without her glasses. But that’s just the way I interpret the situation. To answer the second part of this question, if I could choose one thing to exist/come true without any explanation, I think it would have to be the existence of superpowers. I don’t know about anybody else, but I have always wished I had superpowers. I want to be able to move stuff with my mind, lift up a car with a finger, or turn invisible. Or just about any other superpower for that matter. But I wouldn’t necessarily want to be the only one with superpowers. Imagine how much more interesting life would be if there were people able to fly through the hallways at school, or walk through walls, or if a teacher could just touch you on the head and instantly place everything in your head that you needed to know. I just feel it would add a little much needed excitement to our ordinarily mundane reality.

    Drew Fisher

  14. Jake Ozar
    Blog #31

    “You can’t go back to the past to fix the present” I can relate to this exactly because for a vey long time I have wished I could go back in the past and change so many things. One thing in particular that I wanted to change was the first day of kindergarten. For so long I hated talking about my years at West Maple Elementary school because everyday I got made fun of because I was different. I’ll admit I used to pick my nose (ewwww I know) and kids made fun of me for that. I was kind of a loner didn’t really have any friends. Then one day I turned it around and I made friends, yet I still got made fun of. I never did anything to anyone and I got made fun of really bad I would come home crying. Yes sad story but you know I’ve wanted to go back in the past and change that first day of kindergarten but I can’t so I have to live with it.

  15. 3) Henry at this time was under a massive confusion, he was in love, but he still could not think long term, since the only thing he thought long term is he was going to die. He wasn’t being selfish when he thought this, he was worried about breaking Dawns heart, by falling in love, and she would lose another man. Deep down he wanted to be left alone, but Dawn was too much to ignore, she was the one who slowly made him break free of his depression and he knew he couldn’t just stay away from her. He had shown, even though he didn’t want to, that he couldn’t get too close to Dawn only so he wouldn’t hurt Dawn. Showing that there was no selfishness, this was one of the first moments of the movie, where Henry wasn’t thinking about just himself, and thought about someone else and placed that person in front of him.

    Mostafa Bendali-Amor

  16. I don't think Henry was being selfish at all. The reason he called the dinner off was because he didn't want Dawn to fall in love with him and then have to deal with his death. The same with Millie; Millie had already dealt with her father leaving. Because of that Millie didn't talk for a very long time. Then when she started talking, she heard her mother tell Henry that she understands that he's going to die soon, and Millie stops talking. And Henry felt bad about that. It seemed like Henry was being selfless by not dating Dawn, because knowing that you are going to die and choosing to fall in love with someone will make you selfish because all your doing is making yourself happy, and then hurting the other person in the end. A selfish person would tell everybody he was dying so they would all feel bad and do stuff for him. He only told Dawn.

  17. Esperanza is correct in saying that you can’t go to the past to fix the present. Henry couldn’t go back and fix all his problems, he had to accept them and carry on living his life. Instead of living his life however, he tried to isolated himself, which only made things worse. The past is something that cannot be changed and cannot affect the future anymore, only the present can. In my life, I try not to let the past affect my thoughts and actions. We all wish we could go back and fix something we did wrong but I believe that everything we did in the past that we regret will help us in the long run. Learning from our mistakes is important and being able to go back and fix things wouldn’t teach us anything. Whatever you do now, is what will affect your present and your future. You are only harming yourself when mourning on the past.
    Richard Widdett
    4th Hour

  18. 1. I agree in some ways that being fixed on the past will not help anything in the present. But mostly, I disagree with esperanza's statement. Sometimes revisiting things from the past that you never really understood or got over can help make closure, ultimately help you in the present and future. Ignoring the past, or not fully getting over something can eat someone away in life. Accepting things from the past is necessary before moving on in life. On the other hand, one shouldn't become so consumed in the past that the present becomes unimportant. Sometimes reminiscing on the past doesn't help at all. But in Henry's case, maybe he needed that last bit of happiness or feeling he had at his parents house to remember his childhood and why he would want to value life now that he is knows (or thinks) that he is dying. We don't know much about Henry's past, but something in his childhood could have possibly triggered the strange reaction he had to finding out he was dying. He was distant and emotionless, and in his case it's possible that the past might be able to fix his present problem.

    Sammy Voutyras

  19. 4. Henry definitely has forces working for him in his life, from the nice realtor in the beginning to Esperanza, Patience, and the other influential women in his life. They are all breaking custom and are concerned with Henry even though he only responds with anger. The characters represent love, and how it is steadfast and conquers all, including Henry’s depression, and they are ultimately the reason why he can hope again. I get the feeling Henry has hoped and hoped for so long to no avail (for his illness, depression, bad childhood) that he can’t even imagine hoping anymore, especially in a stucco wall. No people have reached out and affected him to hope and love his entire life, and now it seems like a slap in the face from God to have gossipy strangers caring now. Yet the strangers find salvation in Henry, which he is reluctant to also. He ultimately is redeemed and his neighbors are saved as well, but I think it was his impatience in getting a miracle and the hand he was dealt that made him resistant to hope.
    Claire Holton
    H. Philosophy 5th hour

  20. I believe Esperanza when she tells Henry you can’t go to the past to fix the present because if we were to all go back in time and fix the past, the present would no longer same, changing everything. Plus, I think Esperanza was trying to get across to Henry that you don’t want to want change the past because that’s what got you were you are today and you should be thankful for it. Even though Henry had cancer and an expiration date marked for 6 months, Esperanza still wanted Henry to be grateful for his blessing and be hopeful for the future. Whenever things are falling apart in my life or when I’m feeling down I try to find hope just like Esperanza does. I’m also sure to remind myself that whether I caused that something to make me feel down or not I can’t change it and I just have to keep moving forward. My father always told me, what’s done is done, now what are you going to do about it now?

    Bianca Kea
    5th hour

  21. 3. Throughout the movie, I definitely have to say that I believed Henry to be acting completely selfish. Although, thank goodness, I have never been put in the situation that Henry was in (being told he was only going to live for 6 more months) therefore I would not know exactly how I would act, I’d like to think I wouldn’t act the way he did. I would hope that after I got over the devastating news, I would live my life to the fullest. Henry was selfish in the sense that he avoided almost all human contact. When he was being spoken to, he was extremely short in his responses and rude to the other person. Even though I understand that he was freaking out about how short amount of time he had left to live, I believe he would be happier if he spent it with the people he loved. When Henry tried to call it quits with Dawn, I think that was one of the only parts in the movie that he acted unselfishly. For once, he was trying to spare another person’s feelings, a person that he cared about. Since Dawn knew he was going to die, I think that Henry didn’t want her to fall in love with him and then watch him die right before her eyes. Henry had also just found out that the reason Millie stopped talking was because her father abandoned her and her mother. It seemed that Henry and Dawn started falling for each other around the same time that Millie touched the wall, which was when she began speaking again. Since Henry was beginning to take the roll as another adult male figure in her life growing up, I think he realized that he would be gone soon as well, and didn’t want to ruin all hope in Dawn and Millie’s life.

    Amanda Schmerin
    4th hour

  22. 3. I honestly don’t believe Henry to be a selfish person; I think he found out some terrible news and that’s how he handled it. Obviously isolating yourself, drinking heavily, and eating unhealthily aren’t the best coping methods, but he did just find out he had six months to live, I think it’s pretty normal to fall into some sort of a depression. For much of the movie Henry was living as if he was already dead instead of enjoying life while he had the chance, and part of enjoying life is forming relationships with others, which is something he was trying to avoid. I think Henry calling it quits during the dinner date with Dawn is a good example of him trying to avoid relationships because he knows it’s harder to lose someone close to you. I think Henry also realized not only would Dawn loose him, but Millie, who was making improvements, would lose him like she lost her father when he left. I think instead of being selfish this was Henry attempting to be selfless, he of course wants to get close to Millie and Dawn but he’s willing to sacrifice his feelings and happiness to make it easier for them in the end.

    Jessica Keyes
    4th hour

  23. During the dinner date with Dawn, Henry showed his selflessness and how he cared for others and not just himself. Henry became close with Dawn during the movie and it started to grow the night where he said, “I am paying attention’, and that’s when he showed how he wasn’t acting selfish. He didn’t want to become extremely close with Dawn for the reason he was going to die in six months; he didn’t want to put this onto Dawn and especially Millie again. After Millies father had left her, she never talked again and it was extremely hard for dawn to deal with this. Henry was showing his selflessness throughout this movie because he didn’t want that to happen to Millie again; for a father figure to leave her again. Throughout this movie I believe Henry wasn’t acting selfish, he was acting in a way most people would if they found out they were going to die in six months. He has a reason to be depressed and if you weren’t that’s just not normal. If I were in his situation I would be, but I would also try to live life to the fullest for the next six months.

    Armen Topouzian 5th Hour

  24. 2. Noam Chomsky said: "As soon as questions of will or decision or reason or choice of action arise, human science is at a loss"
    This quote explains that when action is requisite to be taken or a decision is to be made then people always almost will go with what they feel is a good choice, and when asked why they made that decision they will usually answer that it was what they felt was the best decision. Most often they will not have the time to sit there and think about what is a good idea and what a good idea isn’t. I have experienced something similar to this. When I was a kid my family took a trip to Mexico, and we rented out some ATVs to take riding on the sand dunes. This was already looking like a shady idea. Everything was going smoothly for the most part. We were following my dad around a bend when suddenly he made a quick right. It was completely out of the blue and I immediately knew that there was something dangerous in front of him so I replicated his actions, without even thinking really because I knew it was the best thing to do. I would not have had time to sit there and think about what I should do or else I would have driven right off the cliff.

    ian perfitt
    honors philosophy 4th hour

  25. I think Patience doesn’t necessarily mean that the miracle on Henry’s wall is in fact true; I think she is making the statement as a general saying. In the movie I think she was referring more to what was on Henry’s wall because there was no explanation to it, but at the same time a lot of things happen in life with no explanation. One thing I’ve always wanted to come true was for Jesus or Virgin Mary to both appear in spirit. Virgin Mary has appeared in spirit before, but not here and I’ve only been able to see it in video. I feel like there presences will help people believe and help themselves pull away from temptations. My faith in God and all the saints is very strong, because God said “thank those who don’t see yet believe”. But the thought of seeing them would probably make my faith a lot stronger. Also, I’ve always wished that no one ages and that would mean no one would die. It would be amazing if there was a certain age where you don’t age anymore and everything continued on and more generations of people would be put on this earth. I feel like the world would progress more in every aspect, like in medical or technology. But then when I think about it, it would probably push God to end the world because no one dies and goes to heaven. I feel like death and a reborn of a new generation is his way of starting a new world without ending the one we actually do have.
    If you were interested in seeing the link of Virgin Mary appearing here it is, is you can tell she is the blue glowing thing that is moving around, when she stands on one building she is standing next to the cross:

  26. I agree with what Esperanza said when Henry visited his parents’ house. She means that he can’t go back to the happy times he had when living there. He can only make new happy moments and memories to come in the future. Everyone has wished at least some time in their life that they could go back in time. There is always something that you want to change or think you should have done differently. But in reality, there is no way to go back and change our mistakes to make the present better. Like the saying, “Everything happens for a reason”, everything that happens in someone’s life determines what our present and future life have for us. In my own personal experience, I can think of many situations were I would have loved to go back and change what I did or said. For instance, when I left Cranbrook Brookside, where I went for elementary school, I lost a lot of the friends I had throughout my whole elementary experience. I only stayed in touch with certain ones that I was really close with. I feel like if I stayed in touch with more of these people, then I would have more choices of people to room with in college. Although the consequences of not staying in touch with these people isn’t that bad, it still affected my present and future social life.

    Hilary Sircus
    4th hour

  27. “You can’t go to the past to fix the present” is a very wise quote by Esperanza. I agree with this because when I was 12 and moved to my new house two miles from where I used to live, I thought it would help me deal with my new house if I frequently went back to visit my old house. I told my family and friends that when I grew up I would go back to the old house, make it look exactly like it did when I lived there, and move back in. It was a very unrealistic dream, and going back to the house didn’t change my current situation. It made me feel worse and it made my life seem like it was going slower and slower- I just wanted to grow up and buy the house! In Henry Poole’s circumstances, I think going back to his house made him more depressed and was only a quick fix to recollect some memories of his childhood and what it used to be like to be happy. Going back wasn’t what gave him love, hope, faith, or what fixed his disease.

  28. Noah Saperstein, 5th Hour
    Henry was not being selfish when he wanted to end their date so briefly. He didn’t want her to get hurt when he died. He was trying to prevent them getting attached to each other or loving each other, because he will die soon and will leave her alone, depressed, and sad. If they continued to date and form a complex relationship both physically and mentally what is Dawn to do when Henry dies? Cry for weeks? Kill herself? Who knows what she will do, but all Henry knows is that he going to die soon and she will be sad when that happens. He cares about her to much to put her through that even though it would be worth it for him. If I were Henry I would not have wanted someone to love and care about for his last days alive, I would find someone that I can have a physical relationship only. There is no need to leave someone depressed and alone when then inevitable happens.

  29. I would not say Henry is being selfish at all. I believe he is doing the opposite and being selfless. He realizes that they are making a connection and he also knows that soon he will be gone. He doesn’t want to put her in the position where she will be even more hurt when he dies. He is trying to distance himself from her as far as possible sacrificing his own feeling and emotions but at the same time keeping friends in his life. When she says "I know you're gonna die. But all that either of us have is right now, and we should pay attention to that." I think she means that even if he does die, the fact that they will have each other for that time period is more than enough to have at all. It’s better than nothing basically. I think what he is doing is noble.
    -nick slish

  30. 2. Noam Chomsky’s quote is a major factor in Henry Poole is here. We as a people have explained many of the unexplainable phenomena of years past. Gravity, thunder and lightning, fire, all of these were explained by religion but are now scientifically explained. Even so, every once in a while there are things that no one can explain. A miracle if you will. I think that when Patience explained the quote to Henry she meant that we shouldn’t strive to find an explanation for the unexplainable; sometimes we should just give into faith and accept things. I disagree. I think we should strive to find answers to everything. If I could choose for one thing to come true or exist it would be a worldwide logic. Too often do people think illogically and this leads to many problems. I have no issue with a difference of opinions I just don’t want people spewing out illogical plans and taking away from logical good plans.

  31. 1. I disagree with what Esperanza said. You can look towards the past for answers of future questions. Many historians today review our past decisions and actions and evaluate whether it was good or bad. For example, many historians today look back at the civil war and see it as a wrong decision of each seceding nation. They also dove more into the situation of the time period, and learned why we went to war. Slavery was the prominent evil that was apparent around the nations. From those past experiences, we were able to learn and grow from them to make better decisions, so that other countries look down upon us because we went to war with each other. I learned from my own personal experiences that the past helped me answer how I should act in the future. For instance, in school, I learned how to become a better student, which I compared myself from my freshman year until now and observed apparent flaws to fix. Organization was one of my biggest flaws, and now I have set a goal to fix that because I looked to the past to fix the present.

  32. 4. Henry is obviously seen as a very stubborn and prideful character that is very unwavering in his beliefs and actions. It’s possible that he is simply detaching himself from people and religion because of his independence. Henry’s feeling of independence peeked once he discovered that he would die within six months from a sudden disease. He came to the realization that he is alone in the world, and so he wishes to die alone. Henry has no interest in believing in a higher power because he questions why such horrible random things happen to people, particularly his nearing death. Henry seems to accept his death well, almost too well. He lies around the drinking and eating, and it’s almost as if he’s already gone from society. Instead of doing exciting and dangerous things before he dies, he decides that anything he does won’t matter anyways, so he chooses inaction. Henry accepts his fate well, but his frustration with the question of “why me?” causes him to distance himself from the world.

    David Mohan

  33. The quote from Noam Chomsky makes me laugh in a sense: Here is a Psychologist who dedicated his life to the study of language acquisition and developed the idea that there is a critical window for humans to learn language or else it becomes too hard of a concept for them to understand and yet, at the same time, he is saying that humans often choose not to have a scientific explanation for things that seem miraculous. Essentially that is what his quote (and the paraphrase by Patience) is saying. "It means that not everything needs an explanation. Sometimes, things happen because we choose for them to happen. I chose to believe." In all likelihood there was a scientific reason that her eyesight became better. But she chose to believe that it was a miracle and didn’t even let the eye doctors have a look to see if they could find out what had really happened. Humans have a peculiar trait to believe the extraordinary over the practical just because the wild tale gives them a sense of hope. It again falls back to the tale of Pandora’s Box: Hope remained. so even in the face of death, disease and scientific proof that there isn’t any higher power, the majority of humans choose to believe a fallacy. This is the explanation behind the quote from Chomsky: He is remarking about the oddity that is human religion and hope.

  34. 4. My thought on the whole idea of Henry and his faith with God is simple.I think that Henry was upset with how things were going in his life and in a way was upset at God and shut him out. Then he moved to his old hood to find peace but he wasn't at peace because he was dying soon and had no afterlife plan which is nerve wrecking!..He sees all of these people in his neighbor hood having miracles happen to them and maybe in a way he was jealous..But he didn't like it because it was tempting him to take a risk and have faith in God again, which is tough because no one really knows, you just have to believe in God;Like patience said if you choose to believe, it will happen.But he didn't want to have doubts anymore so he didn't touch the wall. Also he didn't touch the wall in my opinion because he was ashamed of how he was reacting to it and miracles were really happening and he was being proven wrong by God himself.

  35. I disagree with Esperanza when she says “you can’t go to the past to fix your present.” What’s behind you defines who you are and what you been through. When my grandfather died I was distraught and depressed. After months of being distressed and living in my misery I sat down and wrote a letter in my diary to my grandfather. Although he isn’t here and cant physically take it and read it; me going back and re-living the day he was took off life support in front me helped me move forward and accept what had happen. Without me going back to my past and re-living what was one of the worst days of my life I wouldn’t have been able to move forward. A lot of times when you are in a bad situation you block it out you do everything you can not to think about that moment, or that person it involves; then when you are mentally capable to face what happened in your past your able to move on with your future. The same thing that Henry did, I think it was a fine idea to go to his parent’s home and re-live the times he was happy. There have been many times in my life where I felt it took so much for me to be happy and so little for me to be unhappy, Henry could have been in the same predicament and wanted to bring closure to his life but also re-live his happy memories before he left this life for good. I am a firm believer that you have to go to the past to fix the present. It’s about closure and being able to move on.

    Alyssa T.

  36. When Esperanza said “you can’t go to the past to fix the present” I really agreed with this because I feel that after something is done, it can’t be changed and you need to deal with the new situation and make the best of it. In the past, when I haven’t done well on tests, I know that I can’t make it up but I realize that I now have to do well on the homework to bring my grade back up. Looking at those tests would help me do better in the future, because learning from your past is possible, but changing your past isn’t. if you don’t learn from your past then you will keep making the same mistakes but if you could change your past you wouldn’t learn anything new about yourself. You would keep making the same mistakes and life would be a vicious, terrible circle.

    Rachel Fine 5th

  37. Esparanza’s statement was incorrect: Henry’s visit to his parents’ house was a necessary part of confronting his demons. The past is often a great way to search for solutions to problems. Engineers look for inspiration in their predecessors, politicians gather rhetorical skills from previous leaders; we would be rather lost if we never looked to the past to combat our afflictions. If we approached problems using only our observational skills, our mistakes would be many, and we would have trouble surviving long enough to learn from those mistakes. I learn how to deal with people by watching other people deal with people. If I had never watched human interaction, I would have a hard time communicating and relating to another person. Such is the case with many issues. Humans learn much faster in numbers, when the lessons learned by one can be learned by all: the problem will hopefully occur less often.

  38. Henry Poole symbolizes the seven deadly sins in this movie as follows:
    Sloth – He lounged around his house every day and only left for the grocery store or to get people off of his lawn
    Gluttony – He would indulge himself on alcohol constantly throughout most of the movie
    Lust – I would say he is lustful of Dawn even though the movie doesn’t explicitly show any lust
    Greed – He is greedy because he breaks the wall so that people will leave him and his house alone
    Anger – He shows anger because he lashes out at patience when she tries to ask him why he is sad in life
    Envy – He is envious in my opinion of the people who believe in the wall and things go well for them
    Pride – I think he is prideful because he won’t touch the wall because he doesn’t want his strong opinion to go to waste if he is wrong

  39. Throughout the movie, I did not get the feeling that Henry was being selfish. If I was given the news that I only had six months to live, I believe that I would most definitely go through a state of depression before seeing the light. Henry has given up all hope when he receives the news and he separates himself from the society because he no longer cares. When Henry decides that he cannot be with Dawn, he is being very selfless. He just found out the reason that Millie has stopped talking again and knows that Dawn and Millie will be devastated when Henry passes. Henry does not want to leave Millie like her real father did once before. There is a change in Henry after the dinner because now he finally realizes that there is somebody in the world that somewhat cares about his wellbeing. Henry finally sees the light in his situation.

  40. Jake Timmis
    1) I agree with Esperanza's statement. Once something has happened, pretty much all of the effects of it are set in stone. Henry going to a place that once made him happy wont change his happiness now that he believes he will die soon. There have been several times where i had made a questionable decision and then dwelled on the negative affects, while not doing anything about it. The most notable experience of this would be with my freshman year grades. After the first trimester of my freshman year, I was really disappointed with my sub-par grades. I knew i should have done better. Rather than being more determined to do well, I just felt defeated by school, and almost gave up. By my sophomore year though, i had realized that rather than sulking about my grades and feeling bad about them, I could try harder and study more. When I came to that realization, my grades had gone way up, and I was also feeling much more confident about my schoolwork.

  41. Tyler Friedman
    5th Hour

    5. The seven deadly sins as related to Henry Poole. Though obviously some of these are a stretch, there are some clear connections.

    Gluttony: throughout the movie, we see Henry over-indulging in food and alcohol, specifically when he finishes off an entire plate of cookies in one night.

    Sloth: this one is pretty obvious: since the point the movie starts Henry, completely neglects both his physical health and his nutritional needs.

    Anger: Henry is constantly expressing his anger to the people around him, specifically towards Esperanza and her church friends in the beginning of the movie and at the end when he destroys the wall.

    Lust: This trait definitely becomes evident in Henry as he slowly begins to warm up towards Dawn.

    Envy: Though we don’t actually see any clear cut evidence of this in the film, it would not be unusual for a man with only a short time left to live to be extremely envious of the people around him who still have long lives ahead of them.

    Pride: I think we can see Henry’s excess pride in the fact that for the majority of the movie he refuses to let anyone into his life, not even allowing someone to cheer him up. I think a less prideful man would’ve acted much less hostile than Henry did throughout the movie.

    Greed: This would have to be the biggest stretch of them all: in a way, Henry’s mission to slowly die alone with no family or friends around him is greedy in that he is not allowing the people around him to form relationships with him, in essence making it a social greediness.

  42. Marcus Johnson 5th Hour

    4. I feel that this is the turning point for Henry in the essence of being selfish. I think that it was once he started having feelings for Dawn that he started not being selfish and began considering others. If he were his old self he would have pushed her away from the get go but because he started having feelings for her he was able to put his guilt aside and embraced her care. But at that very moment at dinner, it was pretty clear that he was no longer being selfish and by him saying “I am paying attention”. This is actually him trying to say that he doesn’t want to hurt her by creating a relationship and then abruptly stopping it because of his death. He doesn’t want his death to effect anyone, especially someone he cares for.

  43. I agree with Esperanza when she said, “you can’t go to the past to fix the present.” I agree with her because you need to learn form your mistakes. If you were able to go back in time to fix something that you did –or didn’t do- then you wouldn’t learn anything. My mother always says, “learn from your mistakes” when I don’t do well on a test or when I do something wrong that gets me in trouble. In Henry Poole’s situation with revisiting his old house, he believes that if he goes back to the last place that he was happy, that it would change him and make him a happier person. I don’t think that this would ever work for many reasons. First, because he might feel the happiness for a little bit –not that he did in the movie- but once he left he would become sad again, maybe even sadder than he was to begin with. Also, I think that this would never work because he could just be at his home and think about all of the happy memories from the home. That could have made him a happier person. So, I think that trying to go back in time to change things isn’t going to help at all. You should just learn from your mistakes and try to do better in your next life.

    Carleigh -

  44. Clare Andrew: hour #5April 6, 2010 at 3:18 PM

    #3. During the dinner scene something strange seems to be happening to Henry. He begins to open up towards Dawn and tell her that he doesn't care about what happens to him because he won't be around for very much longer. Suddenly Dawn makes the comment about how he should cherish the time he has now and a whole new side of Henry is revealed. He shows his pain and this is the first point in the movie that you can finally understand why he acts the way he does. I know how hard it is to hold in pain for so long thanks to my illness. I tried to hide my suffering for many months, but all that it lead to was me feeling even worse in the end. One of the best things that I ever did was let it out through conversation. When I finally did, I could feel the weight fall off my shoulders. I think that Henry had the same reaction towards his diagnosis because from the first part in the movie when he told the real-estate lady that the damages to the house didn't matter I could see the same pain and fear as I felt. I think that just as I was afraid to hurt the people around me, so was Henry. It's hard to lay some of the burden on the others who surround you without feeling guilty.


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