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Moral Obligation…in Hamlet & a Fetus

By Lulu Eastman, V Form

Moral Obligation…in Hamlet & a Fetus

Hamlet, a Shakespeare play, follows the tragic tale concerning a deeply troubled Danish prince of the same name. Hamlet is forced to confront his traitorous mother and uncle in order to avenge his murdered father, who, as a ghost, has requested Hamlet takes his uncle’s life in order to bring him justice. However, Hamlet is distressed by the thought of committing such a bloody deed. As he wavers through indecision regarding his proposed mission, he also struggles against the drowning weight of his depression, as the toxic environment of the palace causes him to lose faith in the goodness of people. In the novel, Nutshell, by Ian McEwan, the story of the fetus is based off of Hamlet. With the reflective fetus entangled in the plotting of his traitorous mother and uncle, he finds himself in a predicament similar to that of the Danish prince. Although he has yet to even experience life for his own, the fetus has already lost hope for the vitality and decency of humanity. Every moment of his being is spent listening to conversations that only reveal more and more of the villainous and duplicitous ways of his mother and uncle, Trudy and Claude. Both Hamlet and the fetus reach a point where they contemplate committing suicide, as it seems to be the only way to put an end to their pain. However, both decide to live instead. Though both Hamlet and the fetus have cynical views of the world, and both consider suicide, they continue living through their suffering because they have moral obligations, beliefs, and fears that bind them to life. (more…)

“I Simply Speak Best in Metaphors”–Creative Writing at SM

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.

Completely Undone

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…)

Seamus Heaney: The Pen and The Spade

By Logan King, IV Form

Seamus Heaney: The Pen and The Spade

“The Forge” by Seamus Heaney expands upon the theme of strength that he first established in his poem, “Digging.” However, instead of exploring the similarities between using a pen and a spade like in the latter, in “The Forge”, Heaney examines the craftsmanship and beauty a blacksmith uses despite the force required to do his job. The bluntness of the short words used contrast with their meaning to create the image of a tough, rhythmic job that creates art. He does this similarly in “Digging,” where his word choice creates a non stereotypical image of farmwork, all underscored with the rhythmic act of digging. Linking both poems is not only the sense of wonder and appreciation the author holds for the two jobs, but also regret, because he can only recognize instead of participate in the art of their work. (more…)

U.S. Historical “I am” Poems

By Samantha Sarafin, John Hart, George Littlefield, and Ginny Walsh, V Form

U.S. Historical “I am” Poems

Each of our United States History courses revolves around eight major themes prevalent throughout history. One of those themes is the question of “Who is an American” at any given time in the nation’s history. In keeping with our work and also trying to connect what we do inside our classroom to the broader St. Mark’s community and world at large, each class took their Community and Equity Day “I am” poems and looked at them from a historical angle. Each student was asked to look at an “I am” poem from the perspective of a figure from history. Some students were asked to be someone as specific as Alexander Hamilton, while others were (more…)

Northern Pacific Seastar Asterias amurensis & My Zone as an Artist

By Mei-Mei Arms, III Form

Northern Pacific Seastar Asterias amurensis & My Zone as an Artist

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(See larger image below)

This seastar originated in Japan, Korea, China and Russia, about 20-40 metres deep off the coasts of these countries. It was introduced by the ballast waters of cargo ships as they returned from these countries and used ocean water to replace the weight of cargo. They can reproduce without the aid of another sea star and can multiply in the thousands. Due their rough exterior, the Northern Pacific Seastar does not have many natural enemies. Their larvae are so small that we cannot find a way to capture them and nothing appears to eat them at that stage in their life cycle. The Sea stars eat crustaceans and due to their numerous population, when they enter a new area, their numbers can wipe out the whole population of crustaceans. They can break off limbs and these limbs can grow in to new Sea Stars, but this process does take years. (more…)

“I Am” Poetry

By Miss Amanda Hultin, English & Religion Faculty, and Charlie Mosse, Gillian Yue, Cooper Giblin, Hailey Dubose, Peter Ackerman, & Mark Wang, IV Form

“I Am” Poetry

In the first days of school, there is much that I want to learn about my students. I ask them to write, “How can I be a good teacher for you?” “What do you want me to know about you as a student? As a person?” The answers are read only by me.

I also want my students to learn about each other and to begin creating the learning environment unique to each class. I assign the “I am” poem as an exercise in thinking, writing, and talking about (more…)