By Caitlin Lochhead, VI Form
Burgeoning Singer-Songwriter with Two Original Songs
Utilizing the Class of ’68 Fifth Form Fellowship, over the summer Cait took songwriting lessons at Encore Music Academy in Millis, MA and recorded two original songs at Encore in Franklin. She wrote both songs: “Now We’re Done” unassisted and “Young” with the help of Brian Dollaway, a former guitar teacher of hers with whom she took songwriting lessons.
Click on the songs to listen!
By Ms. Margaret Caron, English Faculty
Referred Pain: Societal Ailments Manifested as Individual Illnesses in Dystopian Literature
“Life is pain, highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.”
- The Princess Bride
Perhaps life is indeed pain, as Goldman suggests, or perhaps life is only pain when a government’s control and society’s structure become so stifling and warped that its people develop pains and illnesses as a reflection of that government deterioration. The unbearable agony experienced by Westley in the Pit of Despair is not unlike the pain experienced by the residents of the Thieves’ Forest as they are unjustly forced out of their homes; Buttercup’s sorrow at hearing of Westley’s supposed death mirrors Florin’s morning when they hear news that their new princess has been killed; and Count Rugen’s six-fingered right hand embodies a distorted hand of justice. A corrupt prince, an abuse of power, and manipulative treason are made more palpable by a character’s singular screams and suffering.
This narrative tactic is evident in the novels of Atwood, Zamyatin, Abdel Aziz, and Ishiguro. The Handmaid’s Tale, The Queue, We, and Never Let Me Goshare similar authoritarian governments, sick characters, and broken social systems. Offred, Yehya, D-503, and Kathy are broken, ailing humans, but they are also members of irrevocably broken societies and authoritarian governing bodies. These characters’ illnesses are more than mere byproducts of broken government control and societal values. Rather, these dystopian societies with authoritarian governments posit characters’ physical ailments as representative of larger societal illnesses and failings. (more…)
By Mei-Mei Arms, VI Form
自来 – From the Beginning
6,156 days ago, I was in an orphanage in China. 6,155 days ago, I met a family of three looking for number four. I didn’t know their language, nor they mine, and when they called me Mackenzie, I am told that I responded with looks of uninterested confusion. My older brother, Richard, who was six at the time, attempted Mandarin and called me his mèimei (little sister), I responded to the word, and with that, I got my name. The name’s meaning, to me, is fated, not to sound superstitious, but everyone in my family is the oldest. My mom’s the oldest of seven, my dad’s the oldest of three, my brother’s the oldest of two, and even our dog’s the oldest of nine. At first, my parents didn’t see it that way, they thought they’d call me Mei-Mei for a bit then switch to my legal name, Mackenzie, but here we are 6,155 days later, and it’s safe to say it’s not switching.
In elementary school, I loved being Mei-Mei, I thought it was cool to have a unique nickname, and in time, I grew to dislike ‘Mackenzie.’ I always dreaded roll calls when new teachers and substitutes said Mackenzie, resulting in either my saying ‘I go by Mei-Mei’ or another student annoyingly saying it for me. I was embarrassed that I had a “real name.” For years, I couldn’t wait to turn eighteen for the sole reason that being eighteen gave me the power to get rid of ‘Mackenzie’ because I’ve always thought it important that if you have the power to change something you don’t like, take action. However, I grew to understand that erasing Mackenzie wouldn’t solve my problems. (more…)
By Jenny Tang, V Form
A $10 Billion Industry
In many communities of color in Asia, West Africa, and Latin America, fair skin is glorified, and skin-bleaching is as normal as applying lotion.
There is a multitude of causes. In some communities, colorism stems from classism: being tan means you work in the fields and are poor. According, having light skin indicates a wealthy indoor lifestyle and is desirable. In other communities, colorism has deep colonial roots: fair skin of European rulers symbolizes power and calls for worship. Whatever the cause, prejudice against dark skin harms many individuals, both on a personal level by causing shame and on a social level by increasing discrimination. Sadly, despite substantial evidence attesting to the health risks of skin-bleaching, an entire industry of skin-lightening products worth $10 billion continues to thrive today.
The three women in the artwork are Yanusha Yogarajah, Nyakim Gatwech, and Jella, who are all beauty influencers celebrating dark skin. Drawn as standing in solidarity, their confrontational gazes ask us, “What will you do about colorism?” (more…)