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自来 – From the Beginning

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…)

A $10 Billion Industry

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…)

Gender Roles at Fenway Park: Analysis of “Rain Delay” by Michelle Von Euw

By Tate Frederick, Anni Zhang, Clara Hua, Tommy Flathers, Kartik Donepudi, and Elise Gobron, IV Form

Gender Roles at Fenway Park: Analysis of “Rain Delay” by Michelle Von Euw

Editor’s Note: All IV Form Writing & Literature classes embarked on a 30-20-30 Assessment (30 Minutes of Drafting; 20 Minutes of Peer Review; 30 Minutes of Revising & Editing) for a one-paragraph analysis of the short story “Rain Delay” by Michelle Von Euw. PROMPT: “What does “Rain Delay” have to say about gender? Focus your analysis on either Caroline or Kyle.”

Tate: The character Caroline in “Rain Delay” challenges the traditional gender roles used in literature because of her interest in sports and her boyfriend Kyle’s unreciprocated enthusiasm in their relationship.

Anni: Kyle acts as an embodiment for men in the society who are unaware of the other gender’s true feelings.

Clara: Caroline shows how females face more judgments and constraints in society than their male counterparts.

Tommy: By showing the difference between the reactions of boys and girls to their kiss, the way that “Rain Delay” is set up reveals the underlying role of gender that makes Caroline feel even more isolated than she already did.

Kartik: By giving insight into gender norms that guide Caroline’s actions, Michelle Von Euw uses Caroline’s situation in “Rain Delay” to highlight the expectation for high school girls to conform to societal standards when it comes to relationships.

Elise: By representing Caroline’s identity, the short story “Rain Delay” uses symbolism to communicate young women’s struggle of identity due to an underlying male superiority.

SCROLL DOWN FOR FULL PARAGRAPHS! (more…)

Delinquency: It Comes from Within (Rebel without a Cause Juxtaposed with Cycle of Outrage)

By Matt Walsh, VI Form

 

Delinquency: It Comes from Within (Rebel without a Cause Juxtaposed with Cycle of Outrage)

Although its production was fraught with promiscuity, Nicholas Ray’s Rebel Without a Cause promotes a moralistic Cold War agenda. Protagonist Jim Stark, portrayed by James Dean, is a new kid in town with a history of delinquency. Because his parents struggle to exert authority over Jim and are quick to forgive him for his wrongdoing, Jim, albeit well-intentioned, finds himself associated with a group of delinquents. Included in the group is Judy, a sixteen-year-old girl whose misbehavior is driven by her father’s reluctance to reciprocate her love for him. Jim also develops a friendship with Plato, whose absent parents make him the most delinquent of the three protagonists. Rebel Without a Cause blames their misbehavior on their lack of emotional connection with their respective parents, and likewise, James Gilbert’s 1986 book A Cycle of Outrage suggests that many Americans viewed a stable domestic setting as the panacea for all forms of juvenile delinquency. Nonetheless, the film Rebel Without a Cause suggests that only emotional connections between children and parents can curb the epidemic of juvenile delinquency whereas A Cycle of Outrage suggests that the public viewed delinquency as an epidemic that originated outside of the family. (more…)

Two Worlds, One Mind (ABC’s LOST, Shakespeare’s The Tempest, Huxley’s Island)

By Boyd Hall, VI Form

 

Two Worlds, One Mind (ABC’s LOST, Shakespeare’s The Tempest, Huxley’s Island)

Jacob, the protector of the Island in LOST, brings me to his island because he believes that the island will force me to confront my flaw in order to survive. My idealistic thoughts hinder me from seeing the reality of situations. I romanticize my hopes for the future until those thoughts consume my mind. Like Ferdinand in The Tempest, who is so entranced when meeting Miranda that he fails to understand the responsibilities of marriage and living on an island forever, I overlook commitments in order to see the perfect aspects of my life. On the island, I learn that indulging myself in quixotic dreams restrict me from focusing on my current being because surviving without materialistic aid requires focus and attention to the present. (more…)

Poetry: Pouring Myself into the Pages

By Kendall Sommers, III Form

Introduction from the Poet:

I enjoy writing poetry because using words creatively is an art form that acts as an outlet for me. Depicting my emotions with strings of words allows me to be more in tune to my inner self and helps me to explore different forms of expression. I am often inspired when reading my poems over again. I thoroughly enjoy seeing myself grow emotionally as a writer and as a person. The fact that there truly is always room for improvement in writing is fascinating for me. This understanding of poetry is what drives me to keep pouring myself into these pages. In addition, I also explore poetry by reading the works of other people, whether these are poems in books or magazines or the portfolios that my friends have me read over. I learn something from every line I read, and I am inspired by how open and unique every word and every writer is. I especially love the creative genre in which I write: free verse. I choose to write in a narrative tone because it allows for the story I always have to shine through. Some of my stories are emotional, some are funny, and some are seemingly meaningless, but I use all of them as a method of exploring my thoughts and seeing how they appear to other people as text. 

Below are some of my poems with explanations of how I crafted them. (more…)