The book that I chose for my independent novel study is The Clocks by, Agatha Christie. I chose the book to portray a manual in and for my life. A manual, in this sense, can be described as viewing a novel or story and notice that it is directing your life. An analogy that can be used is that of an instruction manual for a product that has just been bought. To assemble all of the parts together, one needs to refer to the manual to know the correct order in which the pieces go in. Take all the pieces of the product as areas in one’s life, they are constructed together with the aid of the manual to become a fully-finished product that appears to be spectacular. This is exceptional because it paints a picture of what I want my future to fall along the lines of, a directory, form of a compass to navigate me through literary works. In my ISU, I will be talking about three major topics that depict this novel as a manual for my life. These topics that strengthened my belief in making this novel a manual for me include 1.) Encouraging me to be a more positive person and to have a new positive outlook on life, 2.) To always ask for help, support and assistance when I need it; even if I believe I do not need the aid, and 3.) It opened my eyes to understand that the importance of helping others is extremely crucial in this life. Not only do I have to change myself and view life in a whole different light, but I also need to change those around me by accepting their opinions and their assistance as well as helping those I see around who could use some help.Author of the novel The novel was written by the renowned author, Agatha Christie and falls under the genres: crime novel and spy novel which ultimately makes it a detective fiction book. Agatha Christie would refer to the people around her in her everyday life for her creative inspiration on characters she would use in novels. Well with her most comfortable genre being, murder mystery, it was quite difficult to implement reality into fictional environments. To overcome this obstacle that would lead to writer’s block, she would create her characters from scratch. She would take note of the physical appearance of strangers she met in public and she would use their likeness and mannerism to develop relatable characters for her novels. Her most memorable characters, Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple are great examples of her skill to develop high society characters with a mainstream appeal. Agatha Christie’s novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, was the first time that Hercule Poirot was brought to the fictional life. The Belgian, private investigator appeared in over 50 short stories and thirty-three novels, including the novel that I read. Summary of the novel First of all, the main reason why this novel is such an intriguing story is due to the fact that private investigator, Hercule Poirot never visited any crime scene or carried out a conversation with any of the witnesses or suspects. He is challenged to prove his claim that a crime can be solved by the exercise of only the intellect. Another addition to the story that made it very interesting is the fact that the author managed to incorporate two different intertwining plots: the mystery that Poirot is working on from his armchair at home while the police are working at the scene and the first-person narrative of a spy who tells their story of the Cold War. Sheila Webb, a typist at Miss Martindale’s agency, arrives at her afternoon appointment at Wilbraham Crescent, Sussex. She finds a well-dressed older man, stabbed to death, surrounded by six clocks, four of which are stopped at 4:13, while the cuckoo clock announces it is 3 o’clock. When a blind woman enters the house about to step on the corpse, Sheila runs screaming out of the house and into the arms of a young man named, Colin Lamb, who was passing down the street. One of the most mysterious and peculiar novels I think Agatha Christie wrote. The case was not even solved until the near ending of the novel. One of the main characters was given all of his information about the case from detectives that were working at the scene. Being able to trust your instinct and the details that were given to you from others is not any easy task to complete, especially when the subject matter has to deal with death. I really marvel at the fact that Agatha was able to hold all of the suspense throughout the entire book. Manual Topic No. 1 The first topic I would like to talk about on how this book is a manual for my life is that it encouraged to look at every aspect of life in a new light and develop a positive disposition. There is no place in this novel that displays anything positive, and that is exactly why it motivates me to want to become a better person and to improve my lifestyle. Obviously being a mystery and detective novel, it would have elements of murder, suspicion, and deception. If you put all of those traits and characteristics in one’s life, that person will not appear pleasing to the society, to neighbours and to that person’s self. Being someone of joy and enthusiasm not only empowers that person but eventually, changes the world drastically for the good. There is a quote in the book that says “to every problem, there is a most simple solution.” That can be used in many areas of life, let me use the health of a cat for instance. If a cat is acting differently or losing weight, or you notice that its litter box is…well, different in appearance, that can prove to be a problem.  You love your cat so dearly and care for it and so you don’t fuss much because you already know who to consult. There is a vet that understands animal behaviour and anything that happens to them. The simple resolution to the cats problem (which can also be your problem as well if you are a cat person) is to go and visit the veterinarian and follow the instructions they give you.This earth should be viewed as a happy place, a place that was created for human beings to live, and was not intended for anything else. If it was not originally created for anything other that to inhabit human beings, then why is it currently the host of war and distaste towards other nations. The same way that hatred and destruction uprooted, love and compassion could have taken place instead. Did you know that it is much easier to hug someone and display affection rather than to aggressively act out? Can you imagine what the world would look like if everyone went around saying words of encouragement and positivity? The only thing that we can do now is to live life now with a positive outlook on things, and not be brought down by anything.                Manual Topic No. 2The second topic that I received from this book that poses as a manual for my life is that I should ask for help or support when I need it. Not to wait until I desperately need it, but even beforehand, when an issue or problem should arise. In this life, everybody needs someone else, nothing can be achievable by oneself. Did anybody build the CN Tower by themselves?  Or I suppose that the Great Wall of China was constructed by only on person. Even for sports, on teams it is the collection of players and coaching staff that win at the end of the day; and for individual sporting events, the person that is recognized as the winner did not solely do it themselves. They have trainers and coaches to thank. In the novel, one of the characters, Colin Lamb, and his colleague, Inspector Hardcastle, are investigating the initial crime case. After asking several people that resided near the house in which the crime had occurred, the men realized that this case would be more difficult than they predicted. So Agent Lamb, took it upon himself to consult an old friend of his father, Hercule Poirot, for his insight and assistance on this case. He knows Detective Poirot is an extremely efficient detective and is well known for all of the cases he was able to solve. The first part in becoming a good neighbour is to acknowledge that no matter how hard I try, I cannot do anything super effectively by myself, I need to allow others to come into my life and assist me when I require help. In order to allow others to come and aid you in your hardships and trials, certain characteristics such as pride and jealousy need to be removed from one’s life. Personally I believe that pride makes one oblivious to the fact that they can be wrong. Nobody is perfect, but a prideful heart can easily deceive the host that everything that they do is perfectly correct.Manual Topic No. 3 The final topic that I was able to retrieve from this novel through a different perspective was that I should help others. It is not only receiving help from others, but being able to help others is also very important in life. Being able to assist or lend a helping hand to someone who is in need displays compassion and a thorough sense of what a healthy relationship should appear like. Being someone that gives as well and not only receives shows that you don’t only care about yourself, but you care for your neighbours and want the best for them.In the novel as Sheila was running out of the house and into the streets, Agent Colin Lamb arrived on the scene as she had just came out. He realized that she seemed distressed and troubled and so he was easily willing to help her with anything she needed. He first found out what was wrong and once he knew the intensity of the circumstances, he immediately offered to take care of her for the time being.While he was taking care of her, their relationship grew and Agent Lamb even started developing a liking for Sheila.The quote where he expresses his love for her states, “I looked at her. Sheila was my girl–the girl I wanted–and wanted for keeps. But it wasn’t any use having illusions about her. Sheila was a liar and probably always would be a liar. It was her way of fighting for survival–the quick easy glib denial. It was a child’s weapon–and she’d probably never got out of using it. If I wanted Sheila, I must accept her as she was–be at hand to prop up the weak places. We’ve all got our weak places. Mine were different from Sheila’s, but they were there.”That is almost the same with God in my opinion. God loves us so very much and He does not want to see anything bad happen to us. In fact he loved all of us so much that He sent His only son, Jesus, to die for us so that He can help us depart from sin. He knows that we continue to frequently sin, but He is willing to overlook those things and forgive us because he will always continue to love us. God knows everyone of us, He created us, and so He knows all of our weak places, the areas in which we are vulnerable to sin. No matter how many times we fall into those weak places, He will be there to bring us out.Conclusion In Conclusion to my ISU, I am very pleased with my novel selection and I am happy that I managed to read the book and extract many different points and helping tips to better my life as a manual. People would read this book and look at it in a dark tone and perspective. That was my initial reaction as well, obviously where murder and crimes are being mentioned it never seems to be for a good occasion. What I did while reading was to take in everything that I read and convert it into something good and positive. I would also view things as something I should not do. So what now? I make my manual points from the novel a reality and consciously act on all of them. It does not have to stop there however, there can be more things that were extracted from this novel that I can display in my everyday life. Even external instances that I receive from outside the walls of fiction. They all are designed to steer my life into a path that would most benefit my future and that is exactly why this translates as a manual for me.The book really did display many signs of a manual. It had me reflect on my life and really think about my future and what I want to do. There is a quote in the story that will always continue to resonate in my head, and that quote is this,”One gets infected, it is true, by the style of a work that one has been reading.” That quote was used by Detective Poirot. I look at this and I can totally relate, this novel that I read for my Independent Study Unit, acts as a manual for my life. The points that I stated are all reasons as to why the novel is a manual for me, and I managed to collect those from the book. In a fictional sense, I was infected by my perspective of the style of work I was reading.  

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