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A Novel of Reaction: Larsen’s Passing

By Charlotte Wood, V Form

A Novel of Reaction: Larsen’t Passing

W.E.B. Dubois wrote that “all Art is propaganda and ever must be…” He thought that artists and writers should try to make the world a better place through their work. Nella Larsen, the author of Passing, would not agree. Her novel centers on two light-skinned black women, Clare Kendry and Irene Redfield, and their respective decisions to pass as white or not. I believe she wrote this novel not to persuade the reader of something or to convince them to enact change, but rather to reflect the world how she sees it. The book is a reaction to society, not something for society to react to. Passing itself is portrayed as something that simply is, not wholly good or wholly bad. Both characters participate in it, and so the reader is not meant to side with one over the other. The relative passivity of its message is reflected in the passivity of its main character, Irene. Because she is not active, the intention of the novel is not active. Lastly, the ambiguity of the ending leaves the reader, like Irene, with more questions than answers. (more…)

Make Peace With the Day to Enjoy the Evening: Remains of the Day

By Gabriel Xu, V Form

 

Make Peace With the Day to Enjoy the Evening: Remains of the Day

There’s an old Chinese idiom that roughly translates to, “The person on the spot is baffled, the onlooker sees clearly”. Surely, this applies to the case of Mr. Stevens. As the aged butler in Remains of the Day travels farther away from the house he has been in service of for decades, he starts to see the truth of his former employer more clearly — a truth so dark and ugly that Stevens has tried very hard to escape. Although Mr. Stevens is forced to learn the tragic truth about his former lord and consequently his own small, yet undeniable contribution as butler to the evildoing his master was conducting, the meeting with Ms. Kenton, a former housekeeper, allows him to see value in his decades of service, to make peace with his past, and eventually to move forward into a hopeful future. (more…)

The Architecture of New England’s Boarding Schools and Its Significance

By Claudia Chung, VI Form

 

The Architecture of New England Boarding Schools and Its Significance

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Post Revolutionary War boarding schools focused on educating America’s elites. These schools were products of their time; their values reflect a set of specific principles that their founders deemed admirable. Although these values evolved over time, they often included concepts of leadership, service to the nation, and dedication to one’s family. Schools built in the mid- to late- eighteenth century, the “Academies”, seem to reflect vastly different values than those of their  “Episcopal” counterparts founded in the mid- to late- nineteenth century. Following the religious teachings of the Episcopalian tradition, episcopal schools boasted community and family based values; while the academies prided themselves on their focus on classical academics and service. The architecture of these schools closely follows architectural trends of their time and, at the same time, serves as powerful testament to the schools’ founding values. Despite each school founding with different affiliations, purposes, and people, the architectures of these schools deeply reflect the principles valued by the school —from its founding to present day.

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La Realidad de la “Democracia Racial” entre Brasil (En Español and English)

By Theo Bartlett, V Form

La Realidad de la “Democracia Racial” entre Brasil (En Español and English)

Our core objective in our Spanish IV class is to study Latin American history in order to understand how and why Latin America has been shaped into the region that it is today. Within our curriculum, we accomplish this task by doing case studies on many different countries in Latin America, in which we study the national history of the country and then connect it to recent publications regarding its modern day situation. Within these case studies, we explore the demographics, economics, politics, and social scene of a country by immersing ourselves in Latin American literature, political debates, documentaries, and movies, and we reflect on what we have learned in both classroom discussions and written responses throughout the studies.  Most recently, at the end of our case study on Brazil, we were asked to take the information that we learned in the PBS documentary “Black in Brazil”, which talks (more…)

Memoirs of a Self-Professed Drama Geek

By Charlotte Wood, V Form

Memoirs of a Self-Professed Drama Geek

CharlotteLEO2I am a fantastic liar. I lie every day for hours at a time, occasionally to hundreds of people at once. I practice lying in my free time. I never feel bad, I always get caught, and I think it actually makes me a better person. People love my lies, and so do I.

No, I’m not some sort of psychopath, I’m an actor. When you think about it, that’s all acting is, really. Lying. Don’t get me wrong, I hate lying in the conventional sense. Honesty is the best policy, as they say. However, I firmly believe in the value of lying with the consent of the party being lied to, or, in other words, acting. (more…)

To Go Through Hell and Resurface

By Isabella Cruz-Nascimento, V Form

To Go Through Hell and Resurface

Crazy, insane, bipolar, OCD–all terms that have worked their way into colloquial language. Most people use them to describe themselves; “Oh my God, I am so OCD, I can’t handle messy rooms” is a sentence that could be heard regularly among teenagers. However, swap in a teen that genuinely displays compulsive behavior and the declarations turn into murmurs of, “What’s wrong with her?” “She needs to calm down,” “They need to medicate her already”.  Mental illness is inconsequential and intriguing, until one sees its effects in person. In a community like St. Mark’s, being diagnosed with a mental illness can be onerous, not only because of the rigorous environment, but also because of the burden of the connotations that come with having a diagnosis. In an environment that demands perfection, I sometimes feel branded as incapable of success because of my diagnosis. For the majority of the past two years I have kept my dishonorable secret closely guarded. I refuse to do that now. (more…)