ACUMEN October 30, 2020: Frankenstein

Page 1



Dearest Reader,

rankenstein, the 1818 novel written by English author Mary Shelley, tells the story of a scientist whose ambition leads him to breathe life into a being of his own creation. The creature is not that of Victor Frankenstein’s imagination, but rather a horrid monster who the scientist rejects as soon as his being comes to life. The novel tells the a tale of regret, rejection, and the flaws of society, but also one of love, rebirth, and responsibility. In this issue, we discuss these themes and the questions they lead to: How are we perceived by those around us? What are we made of? What do we create? On each new page, we have explored the aspects of this novel through our own lenses. We may not all be mad scientists (though some of us are) or creatures betrayed by our makers, but we can see ourselves in both Frankenstein and his monster. We truly hope you enjoy this issue of the Acumen as much as we have enjoyed creating it, and we hope you read every word as we have brought it to life.




Olivia Childress & Marvin Fan Editors-in-Chief






The Story of Frankenstein Alternate Beginnings From Different Parts Giving Clothing a New Life Experimental A Mind of its Own A Woman’s World Keep Your Distance The Story We Tell Ourselves Just Write A Monster-osity Take a Chance on Me

04 08 10 12 14 16 18 20 21 22 24 25










Frankenstein is admitted as a student at the University of Ingolstadt, and is fascinated by science and uncovering the secret of life. In order to discover this secret, he starts to dig up old body parts and build a creature out of them.

Shelley was an English novelist born in 1797. She wrote Frankenstein while traveling through Europe in 1815, as well as a number of other novels.


A MYSTERIOUS DEATH Frankenstein returns to his home in Geneva, but receives word that his youngest brother has been murdered. His adopted sister is accused and executed. Frankenstein feels responsible, as he suspects the monster is somehow behind the death.


To take his mind off of his grief, Frankenstein goes to the Alps. H the monster, who admits to the and regrets it. However, he wan Frankenstein to make a compan him. Frankenstein reluctantly ag but later destroys the monster’s companion after thinking of the potential consequences of his w


Frankenstein chases the m found by the captain and e to Walton and then dies. T for its actions, before goin


, He meets murder nts nion for grees, s e work.

2 THE MONSTER IS CREATED In his lab, Frankenstein brings his monster to life using a lightning bolt. He is horrified by his creation and when he wakes up the next morning, he finds the creature has escaped.


THE MONSTER’S REVENGE As revenge for Frankenstein going back on his word, the monster kills Frankenstein’s bride on their wedding night. Upon discovering the fate of his bride, Frankenstein vows to track down the monster and destroy him once and for all.

monster into the Arctic, where the scientist is explorer Robert Walton. He recounts his story The monster appears and expresses remorse ng off to die alone on the northern ice.




Mother, daughter recount in-vitro Q&A CADY ARMSTRONG fertilization, impact of fertility issues SUBMITTED PHOTO SARAH BURNHAM

Q&A: Mother Sarah Burnham Would you mind explaining the process of in-vitro fertilization (IVF)?

How did you feel throughout your journey with IVF?

I’ll be honest with you. It’s been a long time. I had to take shots for a couple months beforehand and then they harvested the eggs. (They) fertilized them in the lab and then put three embryos back in and then two of them took.

The IVF process was disappointing when we lost the first one, for sure. I would say for me, the harder part was diagnosing what the problem was and figuring out how to treat the problem. Because, if I had IVF too soon, I still would have lost it, because they wouldn’t have been able to treat or diagnose and treat the actual problem. So, the harder part was all the miscarriages and then they just kept saying ‘we just can’t figure out what the problem is’. Because I had secondary infertility, instead of primary infertility, it worked right the first couple times and then it was all downhill after that.

How many times were you pregnant? I had 13 pregnancies total and 11 miscarriages because I lost a set of twins one time, so technically that was considered two. I’ve had three successful pregnancies.

What got you to persevere through 11 miscarriages and keep trying? I’ll be perfectly honest with you, I was an emotional disaster. There’s no doubt whatsoever. But, I just always felt like our family wasn’t complete. I had always just wanted to have a house full of kids. I mean, I did the whole thing. I went to college, got the job, worked for a while, got my MBA and worked some more. But all I ever really wanted (was) a house full of kids. And so, I think it was that I also had family and friends that put up with my craziness, because it was hard. I spent a lot of days just sobbing. We didn’t look at adoption options but we’re not against that whatsoever. We did decide (that) we wanted to make sure that we properly got a diagnosis. First, we didn’t ever want to wonder ‘well, what if.’ Then, we decided that after we got a diagnosis and we couldn’t do anything about it that we were going to adopt. We were going to have a house full of kids one way or another.

FAMILY TIME Sarah (top right) and daughter and sophomore Abigail “Abby” (bottom right) Burnham pose for a photo with their family. Abby and her twin brother Henry (bottom left) were born from IVF.

Don’t Ovary-Act

Take a look at the process behind in-vitro fertilization 2. Collect sperm cell sample by donor 3. Eggs and sperm combined to allow fertilization

1. Egg sample collected by stimulating hormones

4. Fertilized eggs introduced into uterus


Yes, for sure. I always said I’m not grateful for what I went through but that I’m very, very grateful for what I learned from the process. I learned how to be a better friend, I learned how to be kind of a better mom, and to look for the good in things.

What else do you think you’ve learned from your experience with infertility and IVF? I’ve learned that unfortunately in life, that there is a lot that happens. I remember my dad saying to me, 10% of life is amazing, 10% sucks, and then the other 80% is somewhere in between. I always thought that all my fertility problems were in the 10% of awful until I was able to kind of step back and say that I learned a lot. I did end up getting to have Henry and Abby. I was one of the lucky ones in that not everybody (has) a successful outcome. It definitely taught me to be more grateful and to have perspective but also to not ever give up. You know if you truly believe in something, then you’ll figure out some way to get there. I mean like I said, we were not ever against adoption either. We were going to have a family one way or another and you just have to be willing to put forth the effort.

Check out the full Q&A online at

Do you think that being born with the help of IVF has changed your perspective on life? Honestly, I didn’t even know that I was born (with the help of) IVF until a couple years ago. It doesn’t really change me and that I‘m happy (for that). But, it also taught me that she (had) to persevere through that and (it) showed me how strong she is.

Do you think this has impacted your relationship (with your mother)? It just gives you a personal perspective on what kind of person my mom is, even though she had to go through all that.

How did you find out that you were born with the help of IVF? I don’t even know. It wasn’t like a serious conversation or something. I feel like they said something and I was just like, ‘Oh, I had no idea’.

Do you think this will impact you when you think about having kids? I don’t really know just because I don’t know if I’ll have the same kind of (infertility) problems, but I do know that if there is something wrong that I’ll have someone that I can go to or have someone that I can ask questions to and feel comfortable asking about (my mom), but I feel like as of now, I don’t really know.

Sophomore Abby Burnham

Do you think fertility problems have changed your perspective on life?





t first glance, senior Luis Withrow’s left arm appears normal. However, there is actually something rather unusual in it: a metal plate. Withrow broke his arm after a skateboarding accident, and the damage was severe enough to warrant placing a plate in his arm to fix it. “I broke my arm in two places, and it was a pretty bad break,” Withrow said. “Normally, when you break your arm, you get a cast. Well, this was worse than (a normal case), so I guess (the doctors) decided that we shouldn’t have a cast. (They decided they) should do an implant.” Withrow’s situation is similar to those of other students with metal implants. Senior Lauren Tester had scoliosis, curvature in the spine, that was so severe that doctors deemed it vital that she receive metal implants in her spine. “The normal spine is like a straight line, with a tiny degree, but mine, it pretty much made an S-shape, so it shifted some organs, and they found it was vital to correct the curve and straighten it out,” Tester said. Tester also said the discomfort her scoliosis brought her made it necessary to get implants in her back. “Sitting for a long time or standing for a long time was so uncomfortable,” Tester said.“I was still really flexible in my back, but it felt off. I could just feel that something was off.”

Students with metal implants experience unique challenges WORDS AUSTIN GUO

KNEE IMPLANT This photo is an example of an implant used for total knee replacements designed by surgeon Michael Meneghini. He said designing a modified version of an existing implant could take a year, while making a new design could take several. SUBMITTED PHOTO MICHAEL MENEGHINI

To straighten out Tester’s spine, surgeons placed a metal rod on each side of her spine along with 21 screws in her vertebrae. She underwent this operation last December. Tester immediately noticed a difference in her posture and body after the surgery. She said, “I remember when (the doctors) had me stand up and try to walk, I actually grew 2 inches. I went from being 5 feet, 6 inches to 5 feet, 8 inches”. Two inches is a big difference, so I noticed that.” While differences and side effects are inevitable, doctors try their best to make their patients feel as normal as possible after they get metal implants. Michael Meneghini, an orthopedic surgeon who does hip and knee replacements and designs metal implants, said designing implants is a lengthy process that can take years. “A simple modification to an existing product can take about a year or so, but starting to design a product from start to finish, conceptualizing it, designing it, testing it, getting it through the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the government and going through the regulatory process, that can take anywhere from two to four years.” To make sure that the implants he designs are suitable for medical use, Meneghini places them in cadavers and tests them for toughness. “We’ll manufacture some test parts, and we start by implanting them in cadavers, people who have died and donated their body to science. We do that, and then, once we get through that, then we submit it to the government,” Meneghini said. “The engineers are simultaneously testing it to make sure that the materials perform properly. The FDA has requirements that we have to satisfy and we submit our findings to the FDA. When they approve it, then we can launch it.” However, the vetting process for implants does not end there. Surgeons then test the new implants by placing them in a few patients.

Modern Medicine

Take a look at the features of metal joints, their purposes

Functions of Implants Replace worn-out joints Fix broken bones Correct skeletal deformities

Composition of Implants




other metals


Metal joints Natural joints can be replaced with metal, which lasts much longer. Like natural joints, metal implants and joints consist of a ball in a socket. GRAPHIC EDWARD DONG




Natural joints Ends of bones are covered by articular cartilage, a smooth white tissue which allows bones to glide against each other with little friction. SOURCES FDA, VERYWELL, SCIENCE DIRECT, AAOS

“We do it in small groups of patients at first and To regain function in their bodies, both Withrow follow them closely,” Meneghini said. “You develop and Tester said they had to go through physical therapy. it. You do the trials with a certain number of patients “After I got the surgery, I had this miniature cast until you know it’s safe. Once it turns out successful, on my arm for the next two and a half months,” then you can release it to the entire world.” Withrow said. “I had to take off this cast for 30 Although engineers and physicians thoroughly minutes a day and do physical therapy. I would test the implants to make sure they are safe for stretch my hand and mildly build up muscle back use and effective, the recovery from the operation into this broken arm.” is not smooth and immediate. There is a lengthy While Withrow said he did not enjoy the therapy, recovery period after the operation. Withrow said he said he recognizes that it was necessary, and is he had very limited use of his left arm after he got glad he underwent this therapy and had this implant. his implant. “To be honest, (physical therapy) was annoying to “During that period, I couldn’t use my left me. I didn’t like doing it, but I’m glad I did it because hand at all. I could use my thumbs. I could still (my arm) healed properly,” Withrow said.“(My left move my hand, but I could not hold a video- arm) feels pretty normal; I’m used to it all now.” game controller. I was basically sitting in my bed The effects of the implants extended beyond the watching TV or on my phone,” Withrow said. physical effects for Tester. Tester said the operation “I’m a right-hand-dominant person, so it wasn’t as and the recovery process helped her determine what bad as if I broke my right hand, but still, it made she wants to do in life. daily life difficult. I couldn’t do a lot of things I “It made me realize that I want to do nursing, usually had no trouble with.” because I want to be able to help other people like Similarly, recovery limited Tester in her activities my nurses helped me,” Tester said. following her surgery. On a broader level, she said the operation and “The recovery was painful. I had to have a lot of her recovery from it have shaped her outlook on life. help from my parents to stand up even. Throughout “I definitely try to be a bit more optimistic. Even the night, they would have to help me roll over in times that are challenging, I try to just know that because my muscles were so tight.” it’s going to get better. There are going to be rough Additionally, there are now permanent times and challenges in life, but you have got to limitations to her body. push through it. I still have pain. At first, I was angry, “For the rest of my life, I won’t be able to (do) and I was like, ‘It should be fixed! I should be fine!’ a back bend or bend backwards because the metal But now I have adjusted to know that it’s going to rods restrict me in that way,” Tester said. get better and I just have to give it time.” A

BEFORE This X-ray shows Senior Lauren Tester’s spine before her surgery. She said her scoliosis caused her organs to shift within her body, making her spine implants necessary.

AFTER This X-ray shows Senior Lauren Tester’s spine after her surgery. The surgery to place these implants took five hours, and Tester stayed in the hospital for five days after that to recover. SUBMITTED PHOTOS LAUREN TESTER



Q&A: Marissa Cheslock FCCLA Co-President, senior Marissa Cheslock thrifts, changes clothing to give new life Q&A CALINA HE

How did you get involved in thrifting?

What is your favorite part about thrifting and altering clothing?

What do you do with clothing after you thrift it?

Do you have any advice for people who also want to thrift or repurpose their clothes?

I started thrifting when I learned about sustainability and I wanted to stop buying new clothes when possible. I would go to thrift stores because they were more sustainable options. I go through everything I have and I don’t buy anything unless it’s something that I really want. A lot of times when I go thrifting, I’ll buy something I don’t really need and then never wear it, which defeats the purpose. (So), I only buy what I actually want.

Right after, I thrift clothing, it always goes straight into the laundry. Once it’s washed, I either put it away if it’s something I’m not going to alter or flip, or I’ll put it aside for a few days, so I can think of ideas. A lot of things that I buy, I alter. Whether it’s cutting it up a little bit, or making it more trendy, or taking it apart and making something completely different out of it, I alter a lot of the things I thrift.

It makes me feel good about things I am buying and being creative with it. I enjoy going to the store and coming up with ideas of things that I can do. My favorite part about thrifting and altering clothing is the fact that the clothes are being given a second life, rather than sitting on a rack, in my closet, or in a landfill.

My advice would be to just go for it. With thrifting, you’re not going to hit a jackpot every single time, but you’ll never find anything if you don’t try. And sewing can feel very intimidating at first which is what turns most people away, but it just takes practice and a willingness to learn from mistakes. Start with what you have because that’s the most sustainable option; go through everything you have.

SEWING Senior Marissa Cheslock carefully sews flower buttons onto her thrifted pants. She said that 30% of her clothes are altered or thrifted. PHOTO MADDIE KOSC

A NEW LIFE Upcycling updates


Take a look at how to crop a shirt to give it new life SOURCE WIKIHOW

Step 1: Measure the shirt from shoulder to hem and mark where you want to cut, allowing for the hem to roll slightly

Lila Simmons

Step 2: Using a dark pen or pencil and a ruler, mark along the shirt where you want it to be cut

Step 3: Lay the shirt flat and use sharp scissors to cut along the drawn line in

bro a kee d stro pa k stra es to line ight

Cabinet Member, junior Lila Simmons sells clothing as a way to fundraise

INSTA MARKETING Junior Lila Simmons posts pictures of the clothes she is selling on Instagram to raise money for Riley Children’s Hospital. She said that if something isn’t selling, she might change the way it looks.


What are you doing for FTK? This year, because we are limited in the ways that we can raise money, we had to think of it (in a) more outside-the-box (way). So, me and another Cabinet member decided to consign our clothes to raise money for the kids at (the) Riley’s Hospital for Children.

What’s the message you want to spread from your account? In Cabinet, we wanted to be really creative with the ways we raised money. We all have a purpose (for) why we are doing this, which is for the kids at Riley. So I think the harder you work and the harder you want something, that will help you raise money and help support the kids at Riley Children’s Hospital.

How much are you hoping to raise from your clothing account? So far, we have made around $400. We are hoping to make another $500. All proceeds of our clothing account go toward Riley Children’s Hospital.

Can you describe the types of clothing you sell and why you chose to sell clothes above other items?


We sell a lot of sweatshirts and sweaters and right now, we have a lot of summer clothes out as we are transitioning to fall. We are also going through some fall clothing. We decided to do clothes because we both talk about places like Plato’s Closet (that) do not pay us enough money for our clothes because we are giving away really nice clothes like Champion sweatshirts and Brandy Melville. So we were like, ‘What if we start a clothing account?’


EXPERIMENTAL Pol Berger Romeu, STEM Research Club member, junior recounts passion for research, experimentation Q&A ALLY HORWITZ



Q&A: Pol Berger Romeu Where did your passion for experimenting come from?

What project are you planning for this year?

During freshman year, I started to get really interested in biology and started to read lots of books about several different topics in the field. I then met a senior through a club that told me that he was doing research at Purdue University. Once he explained his project to me, I knew that I wanted to get started on my own project. That summer, I contacted a professor at Purdue and got started with researching towards the end of that summer.

As stated earlier, I can’t do the project that I initially wanted to do, so now I’m back at square one trying to find another gap in research that I can look into. Since working in a lab is going to be very tough this year with the pandemic, I plan on competing in innovation competitions that just require proposing a solution to a problem without actually having to do the physical experiment.

What does STEM Research Club do with its members and their projects?

What experiment did you do last year for the club and what will you do this year?

Last year I purified ‘F1F0 ATP Synthase’—a At the club, our main goal is to help our members protein found in the inner mitochondrial get involved in research and then help them membrane that is responsible for the production participate in whatever competitions they want of the majority of ATP in eukaryotes—and put to compete in. Additionally, we plan on having it into an artificial membrane to then see if I our members present their projects to younger could speed up the production of ATP using middle and elementary school students to let UV light. This year, I planned on running future high school students know of all of the different experiments using the same setup to different opportunities they will have open to find other ways to increase the production of ATP, however, I haven’t been able to start as them in the STEM field. the lab I normally work at is closed and I am dependent on some of the equipment in the lab. How do you think

experimenting has impacted you as a person?

Research has had a really positive impact on me as a person. Outside of letting me explore my interests, it has made me a much more resilient and driven person. Throughout the research process, things always go wrong and you never get the results that you want on the first attempt, (but) overcoming those failures makes the end product so much more rewarding. GETTING PRECISE Pol Berger Romeu, STEM Research Club member and junior, measures ethanol using a graduated cylinder at a STEM Research Club meeting on Oct. 8. Berger Romeu said experimenting has allowed him to explore his interests and has made him a more driven and resilient person.

How long have you been working on this project? I have been working on my current project since the start of sophomore year. I was planning on adding on to what I had done last year during this school year, but I’ve had to postpone it due to COVID-19 as Purdue’s labs are closed.

If someone wanted to start their own projects and experiments, what would be your advice for them? I would tell them to go for it. Research can be done in any field, meaning that there is a project out there that aligns with anyone’s interests. Once you have started doing the research, be patient. Don’t worry if you don’t get the results you want—figure out the problem and try again.


A MIND OF ITS OWN Students share perspectives on TechHOUNDS use of AI in robots, breaking technological barriers WORDS RAGHAV SRIRAM



espite the cancellation of the FIRST robotics competition (FRC), Aryan Indarapu, TechHOUNDS programming and electrical lead and senior, and fellow club members have been working hard on making changes and improvements to their robot. This includes improving the current Artificial Intelligence (AI) system in this year’s robot. Indarapu, who said he became interested in AI after reading and hearing about it on the news, spent the majority of last year setting up a limelight camera that used artificial intelligence to help improve their robot’s vision system. “Basically, we have a camera mounted on the robot and this camera senses these ‘retro-reflective tapes’ across the field, and based on those tapes it calculates the distance or whatever calculations the robot needs to do to get the most points,” he said. “It’s a pretty cool advantage we have over other teams. Not many other robots and other teams are privileged enough to have this piece of equipment that can do this for us.”

LEADING THE WAY (below) Aryan Indarapu, TechHOUNDS programming and electrical lead and senior, briefs club members on their roles during the callout meeting on Oct. 8. Due to hybrid scheduling, the club separated members into a red and blue cohort.

Carey Anderson, computer science teacher and club sponsor of the Computer Science Honor Society said, “I think what TechHOUNDS is doing with their robots in general, (especially) their implementation of artificial intelligence, has been extremely impressive. The level of interest some students have in artificial intelligence at Carmel High School is unlike anywhere else I’ve been.”


Infinite Recharge See what tasks TechHOUNDS completed using Artificial Intelligence during its most recent season Robot can move independently as well as be controlled remotely


Robot should be able to reach up and hang onto the bars of generator switches without touching the ground

Robot can pick up and store power cells while they move across the arena Robot can distinguish between colors in a wheel so that the robot can spin the wheel to land on a certain color

According to Aditya Ariyur, founder of the Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning club and junior, AI occurs when a computer learns to display human-like behavior in certain tasks through the constant repetition of data. “AI is extremely important because it has a variety of applications. For example, I did an internship over the summer where I had to identify different sites where RNA modification had occurred. I used AI for that because without AI there is human error since you can always overlook something, especially with such a big data pool,” he said. “You can use it in the medical field to analyze lungs, use it in cars to make (them)self-driving as Tesla does, (use) Face ID (on) iPhones, which are all available thanks to AI.” However, over recent years, artificial intelligence and its uses in the modern era have been criticized and stigmatized by the general public. Ariyur said, “There are two major perceptions (about AI). The first is that AI is extremely beneficial, which is where I fall in. The other is that it is bad SHOWING OFF (left) Ayden Hornsby, TechHOUNDS robot ops lead and sophomore, shows robotics builds from past season to club members during the callout meeting on Oct. 8. During the club’s build season, the robot ops division is responsible for constructing and testing the robot.

Robot should be able to throw the power cells (yellow balls) through different hoops to score points without any remote control

because it takes away a lot of jobs and is very costly.”

Anderson brought forth a different perspective. “Well I think before we talk about artificial intelligence and the negative effects that might come with it, we need to take a step back and go back to when (industrial) machines were first introduced to (the) workplace,” she said. “While these machines did take over medial jobs and hurt many people, it also freed up more space for other jobs and creative positions. So, while many might feel the repercussions as we continue to integrate AI in our daily lives, I think society as a whole will start to benefit.” Indarapu said he agreed. “Don’t be (scared) right now. I think that AI is an overly-stigmatized topic. I think we should (be cautious), but in the long run, it’s more impactful and it’s gonna help the world,” he said. With this said, AI is still a recent field of study with new developments made daily and Ariyur said he believes the future looks bright with AI. “We’ve started using AI in research and medicine, but I think we should continue progressing it. For example you can use something called ‘artificial neural networks’ which is used for analyzing different pictures. But if we progress this, we could make it so that it identifies different patterns that could aid in identifying diseases,” he said. Indarapu said he believes TechHOUNDS will continue to use AI in their future robots. “I think AI will become (a) prominent features of the robot aside from the limelight. Especially with our autonomous and other systems we have (and) especially with the rate technology is progressing, I think AI is A going to start working itself elsewhere,” he said.


A Woman's World Female authors reflect on role of women in sci-fi media, feminist legacy of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein WORDS SAM HAWKINS


n November of 2019, amid tough classes, college visits and marching band practice, senior Erin Osborne wrote a novel, for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), a national novel-writing event that takes place every November. Her story is called Coded, and it is a science-fiction novel set in a dystopian future of her own design. “I made an entire social structure based around the manipulation of humanity through our technology. How far can we take subliminal propaganda?” Osborne said. “There are no rules about the social structure. Sci-fi (anticipates) that something new is created entirely, so that’s the real gift about sci-fi.” Osborne is close to the age of Mary Shelley when she wrote her most famous novel, Frankenstein. Shelley was only 18 years old when she began writing, and 20 when it was published in 1818. Now, Frankenstein is widely considered to be one of the first, if not the very first, science fiction novels ever published. Shelley, daughter of renowned feminist writer Mary Wollstonecraft, also set a precedent for female writers at a time when women did not have the same rights as they do today. Dr. Sunny Hawkins, author and English Lecturer at Butler University, wrote, “It’s obviously worth noting that Mary Shelley published Frankenstein anonymously — and yet most people still assumed her husband, Percy Bysshe Shelley, was the author, even after her name was listed as such. If you live in a society which has historically assumed that women were creatively and intellectually inferior to men, you aren’t likely to see a lot of stories told by women, because women wouldn’t be encouraged to write them and people wouldn’t want to read them.” She said since Shelley, many female authors, filmmakers and artists have taken up the pen and published notable works of science fiction. “It should be no surprise that a lot of it was kind of pioneered by women. Fantasy is often rooted in history, and historical fiction speaks for itself, but sci-fi creates an incredibly new social order, almost unique to every book,” Osborne said. “I’d say women in sci-fi tend to be very successful. Think of when Mary Shelley was writing, there’s this whole thing that’s considered parlor politics, where women can have their own social sphere, but also their own social norms that they’ve kind of

Did You Know? Agatha Christie is one of the most published authors of all time with 69 novels.

created that are completely separate from the whole of society. Once you realize that kind of society can be such a fluid entity, just so easily changed as long as there’s a method to it. It really does kind of spearhead the way for a lot of women to write it. “Sci-fi includes everything from robots to space, you know, and so, I kind of think of it as like sci-fi fantasy or sci-fi dystopia, and I think all of those kinds of sub-categories have different levels of involvement for women,” Osborne said. “You see a lot of times in Mary Shelley’s writing for Frankenstein, a lot of these reflections of themes of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, which is the pamphlet that Mary Wollstonecraft produced.”

Sci-Fi Pioneers Take a look at some of the important women in sci-fi Ursula K. Le Guin (1929-2018) American Writer who championed Science Fiction’s literary value. Famous works: Hainish Universe, Earthsea Fantasy Series Honors include Grand Master of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA), Living Legend, National Book Award Andre Norton (1912-2005) American Writer who helped popularize the genre Famous works: Time Traders, Witch World First woman to be Gandalf Grand Master of Fantasy, SFWA Grand Master, and inducted by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame



“I think it(science fiction) is a really interesting “If we’re speaking very broadly, some critics have thing to look at,” Osborne said. “When I think argued that science fiction challenges heteronormativity, of sci-fi, I can think of all sorts of things. George white supremacy, and binary gender because it allows Lucas comes to mind (with) Star Wars. But I also us to imagine bodies ‘differently’ — as aliens, cyborgs, think of more the dystopian bend, which a lot of zombies, etc.,” Hawkins wrote. modern sci-fi writers are kind of going On one hand, she said, female, towards. And what I tend to think of LGBTQ or people of color may appear as when I think of dystopia is I think side characters in a story ultimately about It should be no surprise that a cis, of The Giver with Lois Lowry, or if straight, white men, such as in the you want to go into a bit more teen lot of it was kind of pioneered by reboot of Star Trek. fiction, I suppose you could say Kiera women. Fantasy is often rooted “In the case of mainstream science Cass, (who wrote) The Selection(a five- in history, and historical fiction fiction, then, I wouldn’t say we see book series), even Marissa Meyer, (who speaks for itself, but sci-fi creates much that challenges the status quo of wrote) Cinder, and various things that white supremacy or an incredibly new social order, heteronormativity, we can consider sci-fi actually do have binary gender and we also have to be almost unique to every book. careful about assuming that just because a prominent female voice. (It’s) kind of an interesting thing, because we a female is the “lead” in a sci-fi story or SENIOR ERIN OSBORNE tend to think of like, STEM, from a film, we are necessarily seeing the status traditional standpoint as something that’s very quo disrupted. Telling a story about a devious and much dominated by more of a masculine presence. sexy fem-bot who manages to escape her male captors There’s such a growing movement to get women (Ex Machina) doesn’t make a story less misogynist, into STEM and how people kind of explore this if women are still presented as objects of the male avenue that wouldn’t traditionally, but sci-fi has imagination - nor, in the case of Ex Machina, less racist, always been very much dominated by women.” if, as critic Leilani Nishime has argued, the white fembot achieves her escape at the expense of the Asian fembots she leaves behind,” she said. Osborne said she has been a reader and writer for as long as she can remember, and said she reads a variety of literature — everything from regency-era romance, such as Pride and Prejudice, to dystopian science-fiction like Veronica Roth’s Carve the Mark. Doris Lessing (1919-2013) Osborne said one thing that draws her to science British writer who aimed to write space fiction fiction, however, is its predictive nature. “I would argue that explored various social ideas. that most of sci-fi is predictive in a sense; if you look Famous work: Canopus in Argos at Star Wars, how many messages do we see about kind Awarded 2007 Nobel Prize in Literature of unity versus evil, and what happens if we don’t, and taking chances? And so it magnifies everything.” She mentioned that it can often be escapist, as well. Hawkins wrote, “I think the potential for disruption and queerness draws me to sci-fi. Done well, science fiction prompts us to imagine ourselves and our world differently; it opens up space to explore Mary Shelley (1797-1851) identities that aren’t white, straight, cisgendered, and English novelist who was known for her able-bodied. As a queer woman, I enjoy science Romantic novels and promoting the works of fiction that problematizes the master narrative of her husband.. what makes someone the hero of a story, because Famous work: Frankenstein, Valperga, frankly, I get pretty tired of reading about all those The Last Man handsome, straight, cisgendered white guys saving Awarded 1975 Hugo Award for Best Dramatic A the world from zombies or alien invasions.” Presentation

Check out the full story online at


KEEP YOUR DISTANCE Impacts of social distance seen in clubs, classrooms


Q&A: Aleksandra “Aleks” Shepherd Have you felt more or less isolated recently due to COVID-19? I have felt more isolated because when we’re at school, there’s way less people. It’s also harder to find people to sit with at lunch or anything, especially since you only have two people at a table.

How has participation in your club helped with feelings of alienation? Even at Spanish Club, there’s only like five people because (the student body) is split into two (with virtual and hybrid) and then it’s split into two more (with cohorts). (With Spanish Club), you get to have more interaction with people that aren’t just sitting in class since you can’t really talk to people much in class anymore other than when doing schoolwork.”

Six Feet Apart Check out the ways school life in classrooms has been changed due to COVID

Classes must end 5-10 minutes early so teachers have time to spray down desks and tables

Desks and students are spread out within the classrooms

SOLOS JUNTOS Senior Alexsandra “Aleks” Shepherd works on an activity during Spanish Club. As a member in the club, Shepherd attends meetings as a part of the Greyhound Hybrid cohort.


Bells to release classes are staggered in order to prevent crowded hallways

THE STORY WE TELL OURSELVES How do CHS students believe they are percieved by society? SPEAKUPS, PHOTOS EVA GLAZIER

I believe that in society one is usually perceived as something completely different than what (they would) perceive (themselves). Personally, I think I see different features or insecurities about myself that nobody else sees. I also see different personality traits, and different characteristics of myself. For example, a lot of people might not know some of my random hobbies or habits that I have. I really like to sew and you wouldn’t know that from looking at me or my social media! I think it would be the same for other people. I assume things about people that I see in my grade, but they may not even be true. JUNIOR HALI PAPACHARALAMBOUS

I believe that I am perceived very differently by myself than I am by society. For example, on the surface I appear far more calm and collected than I truly am. I am not sure that even my closest friends perceive me the way I perceive myself, but this is mostly due to my own insecurities and not the fact that I do not share much about myself. It is important to be less critical and see ourselves more like our loved ones do. SENIOR LENNY PEREL Most of the time, I think people perceive me the way I perceive myself. I am usually perceived as the soccer girl by my friends because of how much time I spend playing (soccer). My friends also perceive me as a chill, down-to-earth person, which I agree with. Some people I just meet think I am nice usually and I think that too. FRESHMAN ELLA SHEMESH


JUST WRITE Student writers reflect impact of professional authors, how writing helps them in life WORDS ZAINAB IDREES


ary Shelley, a romance novelist, was in her late teens when she wrote her masterpiece, Frankenstein. Today, young authors like Emily Garnes, member of Just Write Club and junior, are following in Shelley’s footsteps. Garnes said she’s liked to write for as long as she could remember. “I’ve always really wanted to write stories.” she said. “I’ve loved reading ever since I was a little kid. (Writing) always came naturally to me and lots of my favorite book series inspired me to write because I’ve always wanted to create something like that and put it out in the world.” Jasmine Hsu, officer of Just Write Club and senior, said she helped create the club for students like Garnes to be able to write stories. She said, “We (the officers) created it with the intention to create a community of writers, while also encouraging individuals to expand their writing horizons. We want it to be the kind of environment where people are excited to come to bond with other kids because in a school of almost 6,000 people, having a smaller place with people who share the same interests as you, that’s extremely helpful.”


GROUP TALK Just Write Club Vice President and senior Jasmine Hsu (top right) and senior Uredoojo Agada (bottom right) interview Just Write member junior Mary Foster (left) for officer position. Over the past few years, the club has been able to effectively grow to have more members. FREE WRITE As she types on her laptop, Jasmine Hsu, Just Write Club Vice President and senior, participates in a free write meeting. She said that Just Write Club serves as a space where students can participate in the world of creative writing that can help writers relay information to other people.

Hsu said the club has been successful in gaining more members over the years. “When we had pitched this club idea, we had four people who were interested, and even in our first year it took us some time to get things going. But now we have in the ballpark (of ) 20 kids in our club.” Garnes said she mainly writes fantasy, short stories and poetry, while Hsu said she prefers to write memoirs and biographical stories. Regardless of genre, Creative Writing teacher Robin Glicksberg said she believes there are many benefits to creative writing and that it is easily relevant in students’ lives. She said via email, “Creative writing is absolutely applicable in other parts of students’ lives. If you can tell a good story, you can create relationships with other people. I don’t think people realize how integral storytelling is in our everyday lives. We tell stories all the time. If you can write, you can communicate and communication is at the heart of every society.” Both Garnes and Hsu said creative writing applies to other areas of their lives. Hsu said, “I have a couple management positions, and just being able to cast them appropriately to adult audiences, writing has helped me a lot with that.”

Past Parallels

Take a look at the inspiration and events prior to the creation of Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein”


painful “nothing is as mind an m to the hu d sudden as a great an change”

Shelley’s mother died from her birth. This event would inspire Shelley to write on the topic of death, which would find its way into Frankenstein.


Hsu also said creatively writing has helped her in her academic work. “Even for something as simple as SAT prep, there’s a writing and reading section on that. I didn’t really have to do much prep because my whole life I’ve always loved to read and I love to write so all those things (developed) over time,” Hsu said. “Sometimes I’ll have to write essays for classes, or any kind of writing assignment in any academic course and it’s definitely come in handy a lot of times.” Additionally, professional authors have affected both of the young writers, and impacted them in styles of writing as well as influenced their perspectives. “In terms of impacting my life, definitely the (book) The Namesake (influenced me). It’s about an Indian boy growing up in America, and it’s a struggle when you have minority parents who come from a minority family, so he goes through a lot of identity crises,” Hsu said. “He’s also Indian and me being half-Indian and growing up in India, I really empathized with the words and that totally changed (my) outlook on (what) my parents have done for me and it made me appreciate everything I have a lot more.” “For a series that has inspired me, definitely Harry Potter. I know that’s cliché but it has (inspired me),” Garnes said. “Also, (I really love) the books I read in middle school that were fantasy-themed. I hope to write books that are fun like that.”

“Invention, do es not consist in crea ting out of void, bu t out of chaos” “The agony of my feelings allow ed me no respite”

On a stormy afternoon, Mary and a few friends decided to share ghost stories. This led to a contest to see who could write the best horror piece.

When Mary was 24, her husband Percy died in a sailing accident. Shelley would later incorporate the death of a significant other in her novel

In the end, Glicksberg said imagination is crucial in creative writing. “(Creative writing is) truly is an outlet where students’ imaginations have no limits. When you write, there’s no limit to who you can be or where you can go. If you can imagine it, you can create it,” Glicksberg said. “I think there’s freedom in that students don’t get in the real world. Not only do students have the ability to go places they’ve never been before, they can take others with them. And there’s beauty in that because that shows A the writers that they’ve reached an audience.” FANTASY WORLD Emily Garnes, Just Write Club member and junior, uses her laptop to write during a free write session for Just Write Club. Garnes said she likes writing poetry, fantasy and short stories.


A Monster-osity “Frankenstein” structure too confusing, not memorable enough for students WORDS EMILY CARLISLE


had to read Mary Shelley’s book, as he teaches himself language by Frankenstein during my listening to other people and even sophomore year for AP teaches himself how to read. Not to Literature and I still don’t get the mention he does not mean to hurt hype. Although the concept is anyone, except for Victor, but at great in theory, the book itself is that point the doctor deserves it. way too confusing and hard to Maybe if the book was a little follow. Not only is the book itself bit more clear or memorable, confusing, but everyone who has people would be able to tell the not read it has an entirely incorrect monster from Frankenstein himself. idea of the story. I’ll admit, I am 100% one of the First, the plot of the book is generally people who will correct you when you confusing. The story of a hideous call the creature Frankenstein. Because creature who is hated by all who can although Victor Frankenstein was the see it is a sweet sentiment to how true monster, the “monster” he created HiLite Reporter A judgmental society can be. However, was never given a human name. since the book is portrayed as a story, within a story, all within a letter, the The views in this column do not narrative does not follow in the way one would expect it necessarily reflect the views of the Acumen staff. Reach to. If that use of an embedded narrative is not confusing Emily Carlisle at enough, a lot of the text consists of pages and pages of descriptions of nature and mountains and other things that do not impact the story at all. When I read this, my teacher told us we could skip over these pages because they went on for too long and truly would not change As an AP Literature teacher, what one’s understanding of the text. Over the top description are your opinions on the book? is a characteristic of Victorian writing, which is fine for some people but I personally thought it was too much. SPEAK UPS JOSIE CRUZAN The message is a bit hard to find within the story and the media already blurs the lines of what the story actually is. Second, people’s expectations of the book have been marred by pop culture. For example, one I love it. I’m an english misconception around Frankenstein’s monster is that teacher so I love he is green. However in the book, Shelley describes him the language that as around 8 feet tall with thin yellow skin pulled too Shelley uses, I love the tight, watery eyes and flowing black hair. The monster background of how is far from the square-headed, green beast we see in she came up with the media today. If more people would actually read AMANDA RICHMOND the story as a ghost the book, then maybe the media’s perception of the AP LITERATURE TEACHER story, and just kind creature would change. Frankly, he is the best character of the innovation of the times and the fact in the book and nowadays one would think of him as a fumbling creature wreaking havoc on innocent people. that she was way ahead of technology. But he is actually one of the smartest characters in the

Emily Carlisle

Speak Up!

Take a Chance on Me Dark, twisted plot, characters in “Frankenstein” speaks to any high school student WORDS TESSA COLLINSON


ust hearing the word descriptions of scenery—I appreciated Frankenstein sends chills the detail Shelley put into her novel. down many students’ Although I admit I skimmed over a backs. Written by Mary Shelley, large portion of these descriptions, the 280-page book is a core I could see the time and effort aspect of the AP Literature she put into weaving those curriculum and not always a descriptions into the heart of her welcome one. Many view it as story. A raging storm represented yet another long, boring novel Victor Frankenstein’s monster’s with fancy language most teens turn to evil due to the hardships struggle to understand. While thrown at him. The expanse of English teachers find hidden a mountain range personified meanings in every little detail on Frankenstein’s vast lack of knowledge each page, students struggle to in relation to his creation. understand what’s happening, let Further, the society Shelley HiLite Managing Editor depicts in her novel is delightfully alone decipher it. For me, however, I thoroughly twisted. At every turn of the novel, enjoyed reading Frankenstein. While they lied and deceived each other, hid there were some parts of the novel that seemed some nasty skeletons in their yards and even tricked to drag on forever—namely the two-page long themselves into believing they were doing the right thing. When the professors ridiculed Frankenstein for what he believed was intelligence, I was riveted by the harshness of his society. Meanwhile, Justine Morwitz’s pressured false confession and subsequent hanging I love the novel. had me at the edge of my seat. I think it’s great. My favorite part of the novel was the structure. At It’s a little heavy first, I thought the story within a story within a letter on the description would confuse me. However, it was very straightforward and presented an original way to tell a story. The structure sometimes but it’s set up a bittersweet ending that was more emotionally a great novel. KRISTI LEVEQUE complex from an outside perspective. What I like best AP LITERATURE TEACHER I understand how someone could be apprehensive about it is the reading this book. It’s long, it’s for school and it’s a conflict between creator and creation classic novel, something many teens turn their nose and what responsibility a creator, or to. Despite this, the twisted nature of the novel parent because the metaphor can be speaks to the twisted nature of high school students. taken in so many different layers, has Overlooking the fact that it’s a book for school, I for their creation. There’s just some big found myself enjoying Frankenstein more than I’ve A philosophical questions that emerge enjoyed a book in a while.

Tessa Collinson

from the book that Mary Shelley just sort of throws out there and plays with in the text and so that’s my favorite.

The views in this column do not necessarily reflect the views of the Acumen staff. Reach Tessa Collinson at