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By Lora Xie, IV Form
Reflection on Wedding of Zein by Tayeb Salih
Both Haneen and the Imam are important religious leaders in the village’s spiritual life. While Haneen, a Sufi master, represents the mystery of Islam, the Imam represents the traditions and doctrines of Islam. However, both of them bring God into the village life.
Haneen enjoys unanimous respect from the villagers because he is ascetic, enigmatic, and accredited with the year’s miracles, the most prominent of which being stopping Zein from killing Seif ad-Din and turning Seif ad-Din from a wastrel to a pious Muslim. Haneen also correctly prophesied Zein’s marriage with “the best girl in the village” (64). The marvels’ magic cause even the secular people, such as the “gang,” to admire in awe. Through his unpredictable, spectacular, and uplifting miracles, Haneen gives the humdrum village life a heart-warming magnificence that can derive from nothing but a loving and powerful superior. He strengthens people’s awareness, appreciation, and awe for God by becoming a vessel for the higher power’s love and greatness himself. (more…)
By Alex Colon, VI Form
“I Simply Speak Best in Metaphors”–Creative Writing at SM
Editor’s Note: The Rise of the Short Story and News That Stays News are VI Form elective courses that constitute a key part of St. Mark’s creative writing program. In the fall, students examine the integral parts of a successful short story in order to craft their own. In the spring, students explore poetry, both originally in English and in translation. In News That Stays News, students attempt to define poetry, experiment with form, and establish a personal voice.
Alex Colon’s short story, “Completely Undone,” was composed while using the second person pronoun (you) perspective as the driving force of the story. This is a particularly difficult task, as one risks alienating the reader. For Alex’s second piece here, a poem entitled “The Morning Inconspicuous,” the assignment was simply one of form: write a sestina. However, a sestina is a very complex form of obsession, where the six words at the ends of the lines in the first stanza are repeatedly woven, in a given order, throughout the poem.
Your heart beats slow- abnormally slow. You are healthy and lean, but your heart is beating along like you are on your deathbed. You must have been in love at some point because there is no other reason why your heart should beat so slow. Your feet struggle to pick themselves up. With every step you are putting yourself in danger. (more…)
By John Warren, Head of School
Optimism About the Power of the Book
Immediately after learning of our impending grandparenthood, our conversations with daughter-in-law and son, Caitlin and Ethan, turned to books—their recollections of favorite childhood books that had been read to them and that they had read to themselves, and our recollections of favorite books that we had read to Ethan and to our daughter, Amanda. From Ethan and Amanda’s infancy right up through much of elementary school, my wife and I had a nightly ritual of reading to them, and memories of those times are among our happiest. We have been pleased to learn that these memories are among Ethan and Amanda’s happiest, too. (more…)
By Gabe Brower, VI Form
Drawing on Our Brains: How Neuroscience and Art Can Teach Us About Learning
I have yet to meet a single student at Saint Mark’s that has never crammed for an exam. They fill up their brain temporarily with information for an upcoming test in a vain attempt to not fall flat on their face the next day during their test. To be honest, it sometimes “works”, as defined by a good score, and I can speak from experience in this area. However, that doesn’t mean cramming is effective. It is the result of disengaged students and ineffective teaching methods that culminates in temporary information retention, and over the long run the crammed information isn’t retained. Therefore, no valuable learning takes place. (more…)
By Joey Lyons, VI Form
The Second Amendment Debate
“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” – Second Amendment to the United States Constitution
In the 1960s, the assassinations of renowned public figures, such as Martin Luther King and President John F. Kennedy, sparked an intense, national debate over gun control. The debate between gun control supporters and gun rights advocates continued into the twenty-first century and continues in the present day. Gun control supporters argue that unrestricted gun rights cause avoidable atrocities and that the Second Amendment does not guarantee an individual the right to bear arms. Gun rights advocates believe the right to bear arms is not only necessary for self-defense, hunting, and security against tyranny, but is also protected by the Second Amendment.
By William Bagley, Advancement Office
Through a Different Lens – A Book, Blood, and Altruism: Thinking About Philanthropy
On a corner in Cambridge in 1974, a day before taking my graduate degree, a favorite professor stopped me and offered a book. He described it as “something you have to read.” Though I had visions of reading a Trollope novel on a beach on Cape Cod, I could not say no. The book, written by Richard Titmuss, changed my life. Its title is The Gift Relationship.
In the late 1960’s, Titmuss was a professor at the London School of Economics. His academic interests would lead him to study philanthropy – but in a very distinctive way.
Rather than look at philanthropy expressed as gifts of money, he looked at philanthropy in the (more…)