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Growing Pains: Coming of Age in The Catcher in the Rye

By Amanda Wang, IV Form

Growing Pains: Coming of Age in The Catcher in the Rye

Growth is a beautiful pain. In American classic, The Catcher in the Rye, J. D. Salinger vividly depicts a teenage protagonist who is overwhelmed by the rapid changes around him and his impending adulthood. Holden lives in a metropolis but does not belong to it. All he wants is to “catch [children] if they start to go over the cliff [of sophistication]” (Salinger 191). But in reality, he is the child who runs astray. When he is on the verge of falling, Mr. Antolini lends him a helping hand and provides him a satisfactory answer to his dilemma. At last, Holden accepts his philosophy and procures a new understanding of his situation, surroundings, and society. 

Mr. Antolini wakes Holden up from his dream of escaping the city. Mr. Antolini speaks bluntly that Holden is “riding for some kind of a terrible, terrible fall” (Salinger 206). Since Holden wastes all his time deceiving others and himself and trying to delay his inevitable adulthood, Mr. Antolini has to ruthlessly tear off his mask and force him to face reality. Yet he takes an atypical approach to help Holden. While old Spencer reinforces that “life is a game that one plays according to its rules” (Salinger 11), Mr. Antolini advises Holden to know his “true measurement and dress [his] mind accordingly” (Salinger 210). Contrary to other adults in the book, Mr. Antolini sees hope in Holden. His firm belief inspires Holden to become the captain of his life instead of drifting along the mainstream or dropping anchor in place. Holden’s struggles now motivate him to continue his ordinary life instead of alienating him from it. Then Mr. Antolini asks Holden to think twice about attending school, describing education as history and poetry. Holden takes his proposal into consideration because he feels cared for and understood by him. Moreover, Mr. Antolini consoles Holden by stating that he is “not the first person who [is] ever confused and frightened and even sickened by human behavior” (Salinger 208). His words narrow the feeling of disparity between the depressed and lonesome Holden and other youths. Mr. Antolini gives Holden a carrot after the stick, bringing him back to the real world and arousing his passion for life. 


El Cambio Climático no Existe: Poetry as Protest in Advanced Spanish

By Grace Li and Rebecca Wu, V Form

El Cambio Climático no Existe: Poetry as Protest in Advanced Spanish

Assignment Note: In Advanced Spanish Language and Culture, students learned about using art and music as a form of protest. As an assignment, they were tasked with creating a piece of art that reflected their thoughts about an issue in society. The poem is about the importance of speaking out for climate change. It describes what is going on right now and what students could be doing to use their voices to make a positive impact in the world.

El Cambio Climático no Existe

“El cambio climático no existe”
Una afirmación de Trump que es muy triste
El gobierno no ha hecho nada
Por lo tanto la gente está enojada
La falta de progreso
Crea mucho descontento
Y hay muchas protestas
porque no hay otros planetas


Which Woman is the Wicked Witch? Atwood’s Feminist Revision of Witch Hangings

By Catie Summers, V Form

Which Woman is the Wicked Witch? Atwood’s Feminist Revision of Witch Hangings

The inspiration for Margaret Atwood’s poem “Half-Hanged Mary” was drawn from Atwood’s ancestor Mary Webster. Yet, Atwood’s eerie portrayal of a seventeenth-century woman’s battle with death, inner demons, and societal norms is written with a punch of feminist revision. Throughout Atwood’s poem, “Half-Hanged Mary,” particularly in the third and fourth stanzas, the foundation of a true, yet uncanny, occurrence is laced with a feminist revision of the history in question: that of witch-hunting in the seventeenth-century America. 


Knock Knock, Is Anyone Even Listening? Says the Feminist

By Allison Bechard, IV Form

Knock Knock, Is Anyone Even Listening? Says the Feminist

Sexism, despite constantly being viewed as a thing of the past, remains a predominant issue, especially in the workplace. Undeniable strides towards equality have been taken, yet females are still oppressed, being granted fewer promotions and less money than their male counterparts.

Key Points:
1. Males and females tend to receive different and unequal treatment when it comes to applying for jobs. Even though women often meet the same criteria as males and have superior test scores, men still get employed over them.
2. Men often receive more money from the moment they start their careers, leaving women to only earn $0.79 for every $1.00 a male makes.
3. Women are judged by different standards due to common misconceptions and stereotypes placed upon them by the dominant group. Women often find themselves without a sponsor to champion their work causing their careers to stall.
4. Men are reluctant to sponsor these females as they are afraid of losing power, despite this superiority being historical. 

Moana: The Movie that Could Have Been

By Lina Zhang, V Form

Moana: The Movie that Could Have Been

As part of Disney’s revival era animations, Moana details the journey of its eponymous heroine to restore peace and prosperity to her island, a community loosely based upon Samoan culture but also drawn from Polynesian culture as a whole. As Moana is one of the first movies to be made about Polynesian cultures, many see it as representation and awareness for the community and dismiss instances of cultural appropriation or misrepresentation in it as mere unintentional accidents. However, it is important to recognize that while the film promotes the positive message of strong femininity in the character of Moana, it also reinforces the limited and stereotypical narrative that Western audiences have of Pacific Islander cultures. From the culturally-insensitive coconut people to Maui’s controversial body, Moana is the movie that could have done better but didn’t, failing its expectations of cultural representation and perpetuating Disney’s trend of cultural appropriation. 


The Nickel Boys: The Formation and Destruction of Elwood’s Moral Compass

By Nick Sparrow, IV Form

The Nickel Boys: The Formation and Destruction of Elwood’s Moral Compass

Colson Whitehead’s latest novel, The Nickel Boys, is a story based on true events, which follows a bright and promising African-American boy with a strong moral code growing up in the Jim Crow South. The main conflict of the story is his sentence to a reform school where he finds himself facing a racist and corrupt sovereignty, which uses torture to discipline students. Elwood Curtis was on his way to college when nothing but bad luck and prejudice got him arrested for a crime he didn’t commit. Throughout the novel, Elwood seems to be the only person willing to take a stand and face the system, unable to see that everyone else had already been defeated. After his first week of trying to do good at The Nickel School, Elwood is taken to “The White House” where he is flogged until he passes out. He ends up in this situation as a result of his bravery and nobility, which is what ultimately causes Elwood to lose sense of his moral compass and any hope of escape. This novel tells details the ways in which hate, racism, and prejudice will find a way to take good people down, even when they live sincerely and by the book.