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Referred Pain: Societal Ailments Manifested as Individual Illnesses in Dystopian Literature

By Ms. Margaret Caron, English Faculty

Referred Pain: Societal Ailments Manifested as Individual Illnesses in Dystopian Literature

 “Life is pain, highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.”

  • The Princess Bride

Perhaps life is indeed pain, as Goldman suggests, or perhaps life is only pain when a government’s control and society’s structure become so stifling and warped that its people develop pains and illnesses as a reflection of that government deterioration. The unbearable agony experienced by Westley in the Pit of Despair is not unlike the pain experienced by the residents of the Thieves’ Forest as they are unjustly forced out of their homes; Buttercup’s sorrow at hearing of Westley’s supposed death mirrors Florin’s morning when they hear news that their new princess has been killed; and Count Rugen’s six-fingered right hand embodies a distorted hand of justice. A corrupt prince, an abuse of power, and manipulative treason are made more palpable by a character’s singular screams and suffering.

This narrative tactic is evident in the novels of Atwood, Zamyatin, Abdel Aziz, and Ishiguro. The Handmaid’s Tale, The Queue, We, and Never Let Me Goshare similar authoritarian governments, sick characters, and broken social systems. Offred, Yehya, D-503, and Kathy are broken, ailing humans, but they are also members of irrevocably broken societies and authoritarian governing bodies. These characters’ illnesses are more than mere byproducts of broken government control and societal values. Rather, these dystopian societies with authoritarian governments posit characters’ physical ailments as representative of larger societal illnesses and failings. (more…)

National Identity in The Golden Fish Hook

By Lora Xie, V Form

National Identity in The Golden Fish Hook

Prompt:

Research and write about a foundation myth that has influenced the country’s national identity or that continues to influence its identity.

On April 24, 1970, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) used the Long March 1 rocket to launch its first satellite into Low Earth orbit, becoming the fifth nation to achieve independent launch capability.[1]Long March 1 belonged to a family of rockets named after the “Long March” (长征), a year-long military retreat is undertaken by the Red Army of the Communist Party of China (CCP) from 1934 to 1936 to escape from the pursuit of the Kuomintang (KMT or Chinese Nationalist Party) army.[2]The trek was apotheosized by the American chronicler Edgar Snow in his 1937 officially endorsed “Red Star over China.”[3]When the Communist Party founded the PRC in 1949, it adopted the legends about the tribulations and demonstrations of heroism that took place on the Long March as some of its most important foundation myths. These legends are taught in schools and broadcasted through media to promote the so-called “Spirit of Long March,” summarized by Jiang Zemin, the fifth president of the PRC, as “loyalty,” “sacrifice,” “practicality,” “collectivism,” and “popularism.”[4]This essay will analyze how one specific myth, “The Golden Fish Hook,” promotes those ideologies, offers citizens consolation and motivation for adversities, and cultivates patriotism through pride and gratitude.

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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…)

Dodge Poetry Festival Reflection: She Felt (x-Prosaic-x) Poetic

By Anuoluwa Akibu, V Form

Dodge Poetry Festival Reflection: She Felt Prosaic Poetic

On October 18, 2018, she came in wanting to improve her poetry. She felt prosaic. However, to her surprise, she entered a world far more different than she envisioned, a world of discussion rather than lecture, of insight rather than instruction. Instead of organized workshops to scrutinize her work in, she was given a program complete with introductory statements of the poets and a schedule of the events, the venues in which they were held, and the attending poets and the freedom to choose what she attended.

Prior to the Dodge Poetry Festival, she simply felt uncomfortable with her poetry, as she could not identify her voice in it. She forced strange words on a paper for outward validation and ignored her internal articulation. Her so-called “self-expression” was, in truth, silencing her. This was weird for her because creative writing has always been one of her passions, yet she was creating barriers between it and herself.

Of course, her voice was not entirely lost, but the Dodge Poetry Festival was an opening to an overcoming of this feeling of mediocrity, and she wasn’t disappointed. (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…)

What Led to America’s Economic Prosperity After World War II?

By Samantha Wang, IV Form

What Led to America’s Economic Prosperity After World War II?

Editor’s Note: Samantha utilized funds from the Kean Fellowship in the spring of 2018 to finance videos, programs, and books for her independent research project.

Background Information

By the early 20th century, America had quietly become the world’s strongest industrialized country. But not for long. A huge crisis was brewing behind the exploding expansion of the U.S. economy: on October 24, 1929, a sudden storm swept across Wall Street, and an economic depression followed.[1]The United States, as the birthplace of the Great Depression, became a major disaster area. American industrial production shrank by a third from 1929 to 1932, the unemployment rate was horrendous, pessimism pervaded the whole society, and many people came to doubt the capitalist system.[2]In 1932, the Democratic Party candidate, Franklin Roosevelt, was elected President of the United States. Faced with a severe situation, President Roosevelt advocated for the repression of the domestic forces of Nazism and Communism and the execution of complete control over the national bourgeoisie through his New Deal policies. The American economy slowly got back on track afterward. (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…)