I wrote this for my Reading course at NKU a while back, and I'd thought I'd share this with you all. These were Parts 2 & 3 of the book project for my class. The real icing on the cake is in the last part of my project, at the dashes. Brace yourselves for epic.
I am 18 years old. I've lived a pretty good life free of war and the horrors described in Ghosts of Onyx. I know that every American male that is 18 years of age or older has to sign up for selective services. That means I could be drafted to go to another country to fight a war… it just sounds terrifying. I just don't want to even think about going away from my home to fight a war. When I think about Halo: Ghosts of Onyx, I'm surprised that in a lot of ways, I'm not really sure what they're fighting about. When I talk with my dad about the wars in the Middle East, and some of the many areas where American soldiers are fighting, I'm not sure how we got into those wars either.
Playing a video game or reading a book can never explain the casualties of war and the negatives of war that affect everyone. When I play Halo, I only play to be entertained, to enjoy the experience. But after interpreting everything that I have read, war is terrible. I will still play Halo. It's a sophisticated story, and it's complicated at first, but begins to make sense as you play it. For me, it's a way to escape.
But I think about how It must have felt terrible for Kurt when he learned of the fate of the 300 SPARTAN III soldiers who fought and accomplished their mission, only to have 298 of those soldiers die. An ugly truth about war is that, even if you win a battle or the war, people will still die. Even with advancements in technology for any war in history, people will still lose their lives to war.
Another theme of the novel is the ever expanding nature of technology. Since the story arc takes place 500 years in the future, there surely must be advancements in the technology that we could only dream of. The way we crave for the newest pieces of technology and how we invest so heavily in them is enough for anyone to be obsessed. Some people easily grow bored of the old, so the creators of new pieces of technology will continue to reinvent and repurpose things to fit everyone's desire to communicate, be entertained, or to survive. Whether we need them or not.
I started writing this paper at Christmas time. We have a nativity scene in our living room during the holidays. Baby Jesus is resting on a manger, his mother Mary and father Joseph are nearby. Above the stable is an angel. All of these characters are different from the wise men or shepherds that have come to visit the baby Jesus because they have halos. The halos are there because these people are holy.
I never thought the name Halo in the video games had any meaning. It was just the name of the game. But now, I'm not so sure. In the Halo franchise, the Halo is a massive weapon disguised as a type of planet or solar system shaped like a halo. Now that I've read Halo: Ghosts of Onyx, I think the use of the word halo and the imagery of the halo are not by accident.
The Halo is described in the book as the "salvation" of the Covenant, an army of aliens. They believe the Forerunners are their gods, and that by using the "ring" or halo to destroy the humans, that they will please their gods.
My dad and I were talking about my writing this paper. He told me that a lot of the wars in the Middle East and around the world often start because of religious beliefs. Historically, wars like the Crusades and even the Roman Empire wars were started to advance their religion and to please the gods.
Religion is supposed to be about peace. God is supposed to nurture us and to provide for us. People pray to their god to end hunger or stop the spread of disease, to make the world a better place. It seems contradictory that religions would wage war in the name of their gods.
The "Halo" as salvation is only salvation to the aliens. When they kill humans, it's definitely not salvation to them. So they fight to kill the aliens to protect themselves and their families. This is a dangerous and vicious circle.
Reading about an advanced civilization 500 years in the future is exciting in many ways. The new technology is interesting to think about and dream of. Alien soldiers who can take the place of human soldiers. Human soldiers genetically modified to be better killing machines. Bodies in outer space that silently attack life on distant planets to please the gods.
All of these things may happen one day. It's just disappointing that the view of the future still has us fighting war. People still die in wars. Technology can't stop it. Only we can.