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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 Great Gatsby: Chapter 10

By Eric Zhang, V Form

The Great Gatsby: Chapter 10Gatsby_1925_jacket

(Editors’ Note: In Ms. Matthews’ American Literature class, this assignment prompted students to create a 10th chapter of Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, utilizing Nick Caraway’s melancholic tone and including some type of closure for the characters)

It had been five years since the funeral, and I finally returned to this city that I once thought was haunted. Everything was so depressing. There were no sounds of the orchestra playing or shimmering sights of the girls wearing fancy dresses with decorations on their shoes. The city of New York had changed since that October in 1929, what was later called Black October. I wandered the streets of New York, and ultimately, I was pulled back to the Eggs and Gatsby’s mansion. What was once a (more…)

The History of Coeducation in America and at St. Mark’s

By Sarah Robertson, VI Form

The History of Coeducation in America and at St. Mark’s

Gender inequality has been an enduring issue in America. In 1848, there was a call to end discrimination when women signed the Declaration of Sentiments at the the first women’s rights convention in Seneca Falls, New York.[1] But, it was not until 1920, seventy-two years later, voters ratified the 19th Amendment, the right for women to vote. In 1972, Congress passed Title IX, prohibiting discrimination, exclusion, and denial of benefits based on sex in all federally funded education programs.[2] It took until 1972 for coeducation, for the government to protect education of students of both sexes together. Though these strides were positive, they were certainly drawn out. The progression towards coeducation, both in the United States as a whole and at St. Mark’s School in particular, was similar: slow, always a step behind. However, both America and St. Mark’s ultimately have become strong, healthy, coeducational environments.

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Advice to a “Girl”–What I Wish I Knew

By Mary Hoffman, IV Form

Advice to a “Girl”–What I Wish I Knew

(Based on Jamaica Kincaid’s short story)

Always be aware of your surroundings; never ignore your gut feeling; when you don’t feel comfortable in a situation- leave; the police are always there to help; nothing good happens after midnight; learn from your mistakes; you deserve what you tolerate; treat people how you want to be treated; make your bed every morning, it teaches smart habits; clean your room; dress to impress, people will treat you better when you look nice whether that’s right or not; never slut shame- girls are supposed to support each other; friends and family are more important than romantic relationships; don’t gossip; don’t burn (more…)

More Important Than My Fear

By Payton Nugent, VI Form

More Important Than My Fear

Do you really think anyone cares?

During my announcement to the school, I hear this lone internal voice.

What you’re trying to do is stupid and doesn’t matter.

I have tried to shake this voice from my head, but it keeps coming back. During every announcement I make for the Gender Sexuality Alliance, that voice represents every student who is rolling his or her eyes. That voice represents every student who thinks issues of gender identity and sexuality are nonexistent because “there are no gay people at St. Mark’s.” For some, I will never be able to change their minds. Whenever I make these announcements, I wonder why I run for head of the GSA if this voice is always pestering me. (more…)