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By Jake Oblak, IV Form
The Absurd Act of Looking for Meaning in Camus’ The Stranger
What is the meaning of absurdism? How are absurdist people perceived by others? How can someone be impacted by this lifestyle? These are all questions that arise from The Stranger by Albert Camus. This philosophical novel follows a man named Meursault through a portion of his adult life. His experiences in the book range from his romantic relations with his girlfriend Marie to being sentenced to the guillotine after being convicted of murder. Throughout these events, problems emerge as a result of Meursault’s absurdist lifestyle, and personal values. Consequently, Camus delivers an eloquent introduction to absurdism and negative impacts of believing in a counter-cultural philosophy, but based on his own logic looking for a message in his writing would be ignorant.
Absurdism is an uncommon philosophy compared to modern day ideologies, but its outlook on life is unique. Absurdism is defined as “a philosophical perspective which holds that the efforts of humanity to find meaning or rational explanation in the universe ultimately fail (and, hence, are absurd) because no such meaning exists, at least to human beings” (New World). As this definition explains, absurdism is based on the idea that life has no meaning and is completely arbitrary. As a result, looking for any kind of meaning in life would be considered futile. Through an absurdist lens partaking in events in order to fulfill a requirement created by society is ridiculous. This is a common theme which occurs repeatedly throughout The Stranger. Absurdists believe in doing what feels right to them, rather than doing what is right in the eyes of the norm manufactured by society. (more…)
By Cara Mulcahey, IV Form
On Sherman Alexie’s “Clean, Cleaner, Cleanest”
The short story “Clean, Cleaner, Cleanest” focuses on the grueling conditions motel maids face every day. It follows the
life of a motel maid named Marie who despises cleaning but does it for the money it provides. Marie gets physically assaulted by her coworkers, sees horrific sights in motel rooms, cleans revolting messes guest leave behind, and does not complain about the dehumanization she faces on a daily basis. Sherman Alexie, the author of “Clean, Cleaner, Cleanest,” utilizes Marie’s self vs. self-conflict about her job as a way to display the horrors motel maids face every day and why they should be appreciated in society.
Marie loathes being a hotel maid because cleaning repulses her and her coworkers have mistreated her. While she had gotten used to cleaning abhorrent bathrooms, making beds, and vacuuming, the idea of cleaning people’s leftover (more…)
By Grace Kingsbury, V Form
The Apple Does Not Fall Far From The Tree: On Cisneros’ “The Family of Little Feet”
Everyone has heard the saying, “the apple does not fall far from the tree,” but is there any truth to it? In “The Family of Little Feet” from The House On Mango Street, Esperanza plays a game of dress-up with her friends, Rachel and Lucy. They are given old high heeled shoes and strut around Mango Street, flaunting their beautiful shoes and long legs. The three girls are catcalled by many older men in the neighborhood, but they enjoy the attention. In the short story “Girl,” the girl is taught of chores that are expected of young women by her mother. Her mother stresses the importance of maintaining a positive reputation and looks down on promiscuity. Due to the differences in their upbringing, Esperanza expresses her sexuality whereas the girl suppresses hers as seen in their prominent accepted hobbies, varying feedback, and female role models. (more…)
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…)
By CJ Schumacher, Lucy Zheng, Stephanie Moon, and Robby Harper, VI Form
Post-Apocalyptic Literature Discussion Posts
Editor’s Note: This explanation is about “E-Portfolio and/or Discussion” posts in Ms. Hultin’s VI Form elective, The Dystopian Flood: Post-Apocalyptic Literature–“Posts are due every week or two weeks. Posts must be typed, relatively error-free, and published on your Google Sites E-portfolio or Canvas discussion page. Each post should be a minimum of 300 words. Occasionally, E-portfolio assignments will have more specific instructions. In these assignments, your answer should explore and analyze the material from class. E-portfolio posts are thoughtful, but informal responses that demonstrate your thinking on a topic.”
Robots are either created to serve humans or to emulate them. They are meant to either be companions or house maids. In “Robbie,” Robbie is created to serve, but he ends up proving that despite his lack of human characteristics; he is equally human in terms of human connection. After being thrown away by the Weston family, he risks his life to save Gloria, his only friend. Just because Robbie cannot talk does not mean he is unable to form human connections or have emotions. Ex Machina tells a different tale. Ava is the closest thing to artificial intelligence and is built to be the next evolution of the human race. However, her own genius is what keeps her from forming human connection. She is too smart to see forming an emotional connection as important. Ava manipulates Caleb into feeling as if he is forming a real connection with her. She gets him to tell her personal things about himself and shows him interest and care, which in turn gets Caleb to fall for the idea that he and Ava have a genuine connection. However, Ava abuses Caleb’s trust and uses him to help her escape and subsequently kill her creator. She leaves Caleb locked away, desperately picking up the broken pieces of his heart. In this story, Ava abuses the human need for connection for her own benefit. (more…)
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…)