The Elocutionist V2 2021

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The

Elocutionist



The

Elocutionist

Vol. 2


Published by Dapper Sloth Press | Rochester, NY georgegoga.com © 2021 George Goga Cover design: Grace Validzic Cover copy: Sally Young All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form without permission from the publisher. Printed in the United States of America.


VOL. 2

Table of Contents Introduction

11 Part I : Th e P e r s on al Nar rat iv e

Katelyn IklÉ My Success Story 17

Success, or Chance? 21

Madison Martinez

Success in Sports 27

Jacob Trickler

Jeremiah Trowbridge Daria Blanchard

Perseverance and Accepting Imperfection 35

Success, Perfect Chemistry of Family and Culture 39

XinHong Wei En-Ya Shen

A Musical Message 31

Opportunity, Culture, Family, Personality: The Perfect Workout for Success 43

Part I I : Th e A dv e rt i s e m e n t A n aly s i s Janeika Delgado Juliette Ventura

Loretta: Google’s New Memory 51 Ice Cream that Excites 55

Kierstin Comerford Megan Taylor Alexandra Oddi

Tootsie Pop Flop 61

Fliers by Liberty Mutual 65 Adidas 69

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Th e E l o c u t i o n i s t Carly Monahan

Bernie Sanders: Audience, Vision, Appeals 71

Hey! An Analysis of Lego’s Targeted Ads 75

Julian Nault

Brooklynn Salotti

ASPCA Advertisements 79

Attempting to Change a Legacy:

Owen Sellers

Buick’s Shift Into a New Market 83 “What Girls Are Made Of ” 97

Grace Validzic

Part I I I : E t y mol o g y S t udy The Candles in the Sky 103

Grace Validzic

M. Bogart & A. Turijan

Megan Thee Stallion’s Hit Song’s Title Explained 107

Janeika Delgado

The Sinister Minister: Etymology from Religion to Horror 111

Animal or Excellence:

William Diaz

The Rise of the Word ‘GOAT’ 115 J. Nault & J. Trowbridge

The ISHE Age: An Etymological Analysis of a Classic Word 119

Jenna Kafrawi

Dripping Through Time: The Continuance of The Word Drip 125

Purple Reign:

Sally Young

An Analysis of Many Shades of Meaning 129 Kierstin Comerford Owen Sellers Richard Xu

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The Wonders of Weakness 135

Speculating Reality 139

The Ways in Which People Have Fun 143


VOL. 2

Happiness on Demand 147

Max Miller

The Hero with Four Definitions:

Andrew Pilet

The Contrast Between Heroes and Heroism 151 From Anger to Tranquility:

Vincent Cardinale

The History of ‘Melancholy’ The Misunderstood Mood 161 Beatrice Carson

Malaria Clears the Air About Victorian Standards of Medicine and Morality 165 Into Serenity: A Place of Calmness,

Brooklynn Salotti

Tranquility, and Peace 171 On Narcissism 175

Alexandra Oddi

The History and Variations of ‘Beast’:

Juliette Ventura

Complement or Insult? 179 Carly Monahan En-Ya Shen

The Age of Idol Worship: Are We Iconoclasts? 185

Don’t Have a Clue? Here’s a Clue of Clues to Thread Your Way Through 189

Megan Taylor Sean Wright

The History and Cultural Evolution of Ice 195 Let’s Talk About All That Jazz 199

Madison Martinez

Stop, Drop, and Roll Because This Paper is Lit 205

Part I V: G ue st S ub m i s sions Elisabeth Porschet

An Inspection of Unmedicated Adolescence: An Analysis of Holden Caulfield 213

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Th e E l o c u t i o n i s t Michaela Vanzile-Partridge Sophie Augustine

Where I’m From 221 Where I’m From 223

Janeika Delgado

Anthony Baez-Perez

Akira 225

Wendyliz Rios-Morales Claudia Aguilera Aiden Fallo

Forbidden Love 217

My Personal Narrative 229

My Future Dreams to Come 233

On The “Allegory of the Cave” 239 Part V: M i s c e l l any

Various

On Tim Kreider’s “The Busy Trap” 243

Various

On George Orwell’s “Politics and the English Language” 249 What Sits in the Sea 253

Andrew Pilet

What Could Have Been Amanda Gorman 257

Grace Validzic Andrew Pilet Katelyn IklÉ Sally Young

To the Tree in Our Backyard 261 Within the Picture 265 Defining the Undefinable Emotion: Can Everyone Be Happy? 269

Daria Blanchard Owen Sellers

The Loon 281

About the Authors

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Don’t Take This Lying Down 277

283




Introduction

T

he reader holds a collection of non-fiction produced by Geneva High School students during the 2020-2021 academic year. It bears noting that the process of publication signifies a rite of passage in any individual’s life—propelling them beyond the comfortable microcosm of singular experience and into a world of global rhetoric and composition; this is especially true (and rare) of high school students. While the primary scope of this publication is to celebrate student creativity and critical thinking, its secondary aim is to disrupt a series of problematic assumptions about student writers in today’s world. The need for an anthology of this sort is urgent. In a world that’s frightfully expanding its access to publication, whether online or through traditional avenues, one exemption strikes me as most problematic—that of authentic student voices. This is not to say that such voices do not exist; rather, that they have not been adequately celebrated. Year after year, this continues to hold true. We hear of New York Times bestsellers, celebrity authors, and “million-dollar book deals” as though the meritocratic rhetoric of American democracy were not designed to keep particular populations out through not old enough, not wise enough... but maybe next year arguments. The following anthology responds to such a reality, leveraging the included voices to make the reunited case that celebrating student writing is 11


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fundamental to crafting an equitable, informed American populace who can think and write for themselves. And that the process of composition, revision, and publication shouldn’t be reserved for a particular age or station in life—by then, many allegiances have already been decided and it becomes woefully inadequate to speak of could have and would have at some point back then. The talented student writer’s dilemma often goes like this: though writing is by no means a chore, it becomes increasingly artificial as the student moves through their secondary and post-secondary education. Whether it be in high school or college, student writing whose logical end is the instructor’s desk, brain, and by extension gradebook becomes stifling, facile, and at times painful. Eventually, writing becomes a chore to complete with frightening regularity rather than a skill to cultivate. This is not to discount the need for writing for one’s self— but to make the reunited case for expanding access to talented, well-spoken student voices as the first step toward supporting a healthy tradition of composition and publication. The anthology begins with an essay often assigned in introductory writing classes—the personal narrative. Students are required to place their own success narratives in the context of Malcolm Gladwell’s argument in Outliers. Following this, the second essay is an advertisement analysis. Here, students select a memorable television ad and assess its effectiveness through common rhetorical appeals. Beyond the obvious notion that writing about images is a prerequisite for writing about prose, ambitious students often select ineffective ads, explicating in detail how the ad’s rhetoric fails rather than fulfills its rhetorical purpose. The final essay included in this collection involves researching the etymology of one word in the English language. Among other sources, students rely on the Oxford English Dictionary to explicate the nuances and shades of meaning that have affected 12


VOL. 2

the word since its provenance. Beyond requiring students to participate in the research process, the essay also asks students to speculate, and to tell the story of the future of the word’s etymology—a move that would make any linguist proud. One of the most exciting additions to this year’s publication is the inclusion of additional student voices across our school. The reader will find essays written by students in grades 9-12 who enthusiastically pitched their writing to us. Alongside academic essays, readers can expect short fiction and poetry. I’ve allowed myself to monopolize one part of this publication, its introduction, to point out a painful realization: that although I would love to take sole responsibility for these essays, in all reality, it is students’ immense dedication to the task at hand that has crafted the following collection. Throughout the composition and revision process, students have taken the lead to produce the book you now hold. Along with teaching them about the publication process, this experience has placed them at the center of creative expression, crafting their own narrative about who they are as learners and who they will become. George Goga 2021

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Part I:

The Personal Narrative



My Success Story

Katelyn IklÉ

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uccess isn’t something that just happens. As a junior in high school, I have not yet reached my full potential, but I have been successful so far. My family, upbringing, generation, the advancements of my time, my personality and values have contributed to my success. While I have had more opportunities than the average athlete, I have worked hard to get where I am today. Without my athletic opportunities to try different things, I wouldn’t have been able to find my niche. In this essay I will relate the individual stories in Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Outliers, to my personal story of success and how I have received opportunities that most have never dreamed of making me an outlier. My family has had the greatest impact on my success. Each member of my family has contributed in their own way. My father is a world-renowned sailing coach who has competed and coached nationally and internationally. He has coached at four Pan-American Games. Considering this, I have grown up immersed in the values of hard work and sweat equity. If there is an inspirational story, movie, or book about hard work, determination and perseverance, my father knows it, and has taught me those lessons. I have grown up hearing about “The 10,000-Hour Rule” from my father and so I understand the 17


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importance of practice, hard work, and determination. I have heard the same speech about how “researchers have settled on what they believe is the magic number for true expertise: ten thousand hours” over and over countless times. My father has told me that with enough determination I can do anything I set my mind to. It’s not just my father but also my mother who values the importance of movement. She is a dance educator and somatic movement expert meaning she has always supported and helped along the way. As much as my sister may not have inspired me or necessarily motivated me, she does play an important role in my success. She is two years older than me. Her birthday is in February which makes her one of the older girls in her grade. As the younger sister, I was always dragged along to her events when I was younger. This led me to start playing at the same time as her. For example, she was seven-years-old when she started playing lacrosse, but I started at the same time when I was only four-years-old. While I was still too young to be on any team, my father’s connections at the college and only being four offices down from the women’s lacrosse coach, I could participate in the camps my sister attended, despite being two years younger than the age minimum. The chapter on “The Matthew Effect” discusses how being born at the beginning of the year has physical advantages in sports because you are competing with people born the same year as you, but not the same level of physical maturity simply due to the month you’re born in. My sister’s early birth month meant that she could start things sooner because she met the age requirements. Growing up through the YMCA leagues, I was always getting pulled up to play in her games. Soon, I was pulled up for a whole season. I was given better, more intense practices playing with the older girls, which gave me an edge over others my age. I also started playing on a travel team a year before any of my hometown teammates did because my sister played with the club the previous year. As a seventh grader, I played winter lacrosse with 18


Part I: The Personal Nar rative

the varsity team because my sister was on the team and they needed more people. I was given multiple advantages, being able to start things sooner and play at higher levels because of my sister. Everyone in my family has led to my success in their own important, unique way. In the early/middle 2000s, I grew up with a fair amount of technology surrounding me. However, most people had some form of video game or personal devices like a tablet, iPad, iPod, etc. While my family could afford these things, they didn’t let us have them until we were older. We had a TV, but we were limited to what we could watch and for how long. We eventually received our tablets and iPods, but we were much older than our friends when we did. This meant we had a lot more time to fill than most and we were compelled to try different things. While still playing lacrosse, I also performed and competed in figure skating for five years. In the summers, I went to tennis, soccer, gymnastics, and sailing camps. I joined an extreme synchronized swimming team for two years and played basketball for three. I took the occasional dance class and even performed in several pieces at the college dance concerts. Currently, I am on the varsity lacrosse and soccer teams at Geneva and play lacrosse with the area’s travel team at the varsity level. Over the years I have received the opportunity to attend several camps and skill clinics. Despite all the sports and activities I have done, I always played lacrosse. All the other activities confirmed my love for lacrosse. Luckily for me, I haven’t “had to make [...it] alone [...since no one] ever makes it alone” and that I have had my family to provide opportunities for me. I have had the advantage of doing more than most of my generation because without growing up on technology, I had to be out doing things. Growing up in a world that is surrounded by technology, I had the advantage of not being so involved in it unlike the typical child. I feel that everything my parents have taught me has shaped 19


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my personality. I value being on time. I have trained myself that fifteen minutes early is late. I am similar to those on the rice farms and value the importance of waking up early to start the day. Although I am not tied to them through ancestry, I understand that “no one who can rise before dawn three hundred sixty days a year fails to make his family rich”. I might not be waking up early every day, but I do realize the importance of waking up and starting the day early. I also know that I can’t get anywhere without hard work. I understand that “success is a function of persistence, doggedness and the willingness to work hard for twenty-two minutes to make sense of something that most people would give up on after thirty seconds” is an important life skill. Whether it is a math problem, a new shot, or pass, success requires diligence. Every aspect of my life has contributed to my success. I can proudly say that I am an outlier because “outliers are those who have been given opportunities—and who have had the strength and presence of mind to seize them’’. I have been a successful lacrosse player because I have embraced opportunities with determination.

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Success, or Chance? Madison Martinez

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uccess is not all that it is played out to be. Not only is success ambiguous, but success also “arises out of a predictable and powerful set of circumstances and opportunities.” This is contrary to the belief of Malcolm Gladwell, the author of Outliers. He feels that success “is, rather, a gift” while most believe “success [is] simply the sum of the decisions and efforts we make on our own behalf.” One may not consider my story to be a successful one, however, I do. With the combination of my Puerto Rican cultural values and beliefs of never letting my guard down, as well as my family’s economic status and parenting style, and my ambitious personality, I am able to be successful. Similar to concerted cultivation, my generation has become complacent with ease, which had been concentrated in the self-help book, Outliers. As a result of those factors, I can label my journey over the years, specifically in softball, as a successful one. Growing up, I had the opportunity to watch my parents play softball. Although I was playing baseball at the time, I fell in love with softball. Soon enough, the fact that Schoenfeld—a math professor at Berkley who is introduced by Gladwell— attempts to teach his students about math which states “you [can] master [it] if you are willing to try” became my mindset, even before touching a softball. When Gladwell claims, “[All 21


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one] need[s] [is] a chance” to be successful, for me, that holds to be truthful. I took that chance at being successful as Bill Gates took the open computer time in the middle of the night at the University of Washington. When I inch towards the 10,000 hour mark of mastery, like Gates, it does not feel like a task, but more of an opportunity. With the ambition instilled within me combined with my love for the game, steadily approaching 10,000 hours of practice would be effortless. As a young child, values were taught to me that have remained instilled in me today. They have made, and continue to make, my path to success more fluid. When I was younger, never letting my guard down was ingrained in me. That has been beneficial to me in softball, as I never let anyone know when I’m down, struggling, or frustrated. That is helpful outside of softball as well because you never want those around you to view you as weak. I implemented this notion in softball early on. That is because, at the age of 11, I was playing with girls three years older than me. I undoubtedly struggled and got frustrated at times, but I never let anyone know. In this situation, I felt like a young Canadian Hockey player born in November trying to compete against another player born in January—behind in terms of skill. Additionally, playing up had a similar effect, like that of certain boys getting chosen for rep squads—I got reps with higher level play in. I improved as I was able to be challenged more. I utilized the values taught to me to become even more successful by not letting my guard down. With the influence of my vastly diverse family, I became comfortable with not always being comfortable. At times, I would be around people I didn’t know, as my family is just that extensive. That ability combined with the parenting style, which is referred to by sociologist Annette Lareau as “concerted cultivation,” has led me to be unafraid to talk to new people. “Concerted cultivation” is a parenting style that emphasizes guiding your child, encouraging them, and leading them in the right 22


Part I: The Personal Nar rative

direction. That is especially helpful now as I am becoming older and college is right around the corner. Being raised this way makes it effortless for me to have conversations with college coaches, my coaches, and my teammates and not be worried about anyone being ‘superior’ to me. Additionally, having efficient communication with my coaches and teammates is crucial to my success. Just as critical as efficient English skills and communication in an airplane cockpit. I am grateful for this because if it weren’t for me not being afraid to ask questions, I would not be in the same position academically and athletically that I am now. With my family giving me the opportunity to participate in travel softball, the door to success for me had widened. This was a new opportunity that I received, as not only were my parents able to afford to let me play, but they were also able to support me as an athlete. They were able to bring me to practices on top of their already having bombarded schedules. They additionally continued to encourage me because they knew that I was capable of keeping up with those around me. However, I did not see this in me, only they did. In Outliers the equivalence to this is the Baltimore upper class children. They along with the lower and middle class children were studied with the utilization of a math and reading skills exam. With the data from the exams, a spike in reading abilities over the summer was identified in the study by the upper class children because they have access to books and can therefore learn over the summer. All the while, their less fortunate, lower class peers play outside without the same opportunity and lose out on gaining knowledge and skills in reading, like their more fortunate peers. This demonstrated the fact that upper class children gained their learning advantage while not in school because their lower class peers did not have access to the same resources that they did over the summer. My own experiences mirror this fact which Gladwell had introduced because while children my age socialize and enter23


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tain each other over the summer, I can grow as an athlete. This parallels Gladwell’s inclusion of the Baltimore children as I am able to grow more during my peer’s offseason because I have the resources to practice all year around. Not only do I grow athletically by playing over the summer, but I also improve over the fall and winter while others are idle. These extra times to play make me more successful come springtime as I have been playing consistently throughout the year. Uncharacteristic to many of my peers in my generation, I do not stop working towards bettering myself and increasing my accomplishments and success. However, I get anxious to do more; I am never complacent, as I learned to have a high “emphasis on effort and hard work.” I treat my softball career as one would treat their rice paddy, by making sure to weed, fertilize, and monitor the water levels of it. I realize the more I put into softball (like the rice paddy), the more I will get out of it. Like the Borgenichts, I realized I was becoming successful and knew I couldn’t just stop. With attending college being infrequent throughout my family, I recognized softball as a gateway to college. With that new realization, I knew that if I kept putting in the work that I could become even closer to my 10,000 hours by playing collegiate softball then hopefully joining a professional women’s league for softball. If I continue to upkeep the rice paddy of my softball career like this, my dreams could become reality. Unfortunately, I may end up like Chris Lanagan, with a lot of potential and nothing to do with it as I currently face push back from my body not being able to handle what I’m putting it through. Although I would love to continue playing until I’m too old to do so, I may not get this opportunity. I use what my family has told me and learn to never take anything for granted. As both of my parents grew up in Brooklyn with seven other people in the house and with little income; they were able to make the best with what they had. Both my parents and their siblings 24


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had to get jobs at young ages to help support their families. The knowledge I have of the upbringing of my parents has taught me to be grateful for my current situation. That helps me become successful as I always strive to play like it will be my last time (as it very well could be). That means that I will always push myself and even push my limits. Although my body may not be able to handle what I’m putting it through, I’m making the best of my situation and taking what my parents taught me and using it to help me become successful. Taking the step to play up in softball has ultimately benefited me. Like the Borgenicht’s decision to move to the United States, it was high risk but it paid off in the long run. Knowing that success is perfectly aligned timing and opportunities that fell in my favor that I was able to take advantage of, assists me in realizing that success isn’t all me. The fact that my softball career could cease at any time encourages me to live in the moment. Playing is a privilege, as I never know when the last time my body will allow me to play. As Gladwell states, “Hard work is a prison sentence only if it does[n’t] have meaning” and fortunately, my hard work does have a meaning, success.

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Success in Sports

Jacob Trickler

O

utliers by Malcom Gladwell has shown me how this book can relate to how I am successful in the sports I play. Malcolm Gladwell has displayed to me that my family, culture, generation, and personality are key components in my success. Gladwell’s book made me dive deeper into it making me relate on a deeper level. I would have never realized how much more my dedication to sports meant without this book. In this essay, I argue that Gladwell’s book relates to an audience’s understanding of success through the external factors in their lives, including a supportive upbringing and a strong cultural heritage. My generation has been a big part of my life and why I am successful with sports. It even has an impact on my personality. Outliers have shown me that all steps big and small that I have taken along the way are the reasons I am successful in different ways. The author stated in the text “if you work hard enough and assert yourself, and use your mind and imagination, you can shape the world to your desires.” This quote has a real connection to me because all my life I’ve been told to never give up and to make the world mine. This quote also can relate to my generation because in today’s society my generation does not care about laws or rules. They will do anything in their power to make things happen even if it hurts the opposing forces. They 27


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want them to feel how they feel, or to see what happens when there are injustices in the world. I can compare this to my success in sports because when I’m playing I’ll do whatever it takes to win. My desires in life are to play pro for hockey or lacrosse. So I can relate to this quote because every time I step onto a field or ice I give it 110%. I put my heart into these games because I love doing so and because it’s my passion. In Outliers the text states, “hard work is a prison sentence only if it does not have meaning , once it does, it becomes the kind of thing that makes you grab your wife around the waist and dance a jig.” This quote connects to my success because it reminds me of my personality during the games. I think of my hockey games like he stated the quote. My games mean nothing until we win, just like how he said that the prison sentence means nothing until you add meaning to it. Also this quote also relates to my generation because right now riots are being held for equal treatment among different races and they will do anything to have change be made. It’s the same as the quote. What’s the point of rioting if you don’t add meaning and have change be made because of your actions? That is how these quotes relate to my personality and my generation. My family and culture is a huge part of my success too. I dedicate a lot of my success to these because they push me to my limits so I can succeed in life. The book states “I’m guessing the former, because there is a complexity, autonomy, and a relationship between effort and reward in doing creative work….” This quote really helps me relate to my parents since they always tell me to stick with the things that make me happy. My mother always said that and still says that to this day. She even gives me speeches before my games because she wants me to do well. The reason family can relate to this quote for me is that it just reminds me of the saying if you’re not having fun, you’re not living. It also reminds me of when family tells you to live in the moment, not the past nor the future. This book 28


Part I: The Personal Nar rative

states, “it’s the culture you find yourself in that determines that.” This quote just screams never be ashamed of your culture/family. Once you learn to embrace your culture, your mood just comes up. It took me a while to embrace my culture but when I did I was so happy after and my success comes from that. Before I embraced it I was really sad because I didn’t know who I was, or why I’m meant to be on the planet (like my purpose) but after I learned about it my grades came up. My skills in sports doubled, and I was finally happy. That is why I dedicate my success in sports and in life to my family and culture. This has been about how Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell has guided me the best in my game that my success in sports. The four main parts have my back when I have a hard game to play and they are: Family, personality, culture, and my generation. This book will help anyone understand how they are successful in life. Once you read this book it will change your life completely. That is how I can relate my success in sports to Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers.

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A Musical Message

Jeremiah Trowbridge

L

ife is like a snowball rolling down a mountain; any action has a small impact that affects the greater picture of one’s path. As the snowball rolls down the hill, it slowly picks up more and more snow until that little sphere of potential has accumulated into a massive avalanche. That small ball of snow would never have reached that point had it not been for the right condition of the snow, a steep enough angle on the hill, or the right path that it took down that hill. In life, you are the snowball, and every little piece of snow you pick up on the way is an opportunity that fate presents to you; allowing you to grow into that massive avalanche of success and prosperity. In the case of my life, my ancestry, and lucky conditions that the mountain has provided me with, have allowed the smooth accumulation of successes in my life. Through the medium of Malcolm Gladwell’s insightful publication, Outliers, I hope to give meaning to the way in which I have accumulated musical and artistic success in life so far, and to give a new perception of how the ability to seize life’s opportunities leads to fulfillment and prosperity. Growing up in the upper-middle class has been especially beneficial to my success, as it has provided me with a chance to focus on my dreams and hone in on music; enhancing my skills 31


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and providing me with the experience to join with other advanced groups of musicians such as the Rochester Philharmonic Youth Orchestra (RPYO). This massive advantage of being a part of the upper-middle class would have never been possible without the inheritance and accumulative success of my ancestors from both ends of my family. Additionally, Gladwell writes, “the legacies passed down by our forebears shape the patterns of our achievement in ways we cannot begin to imagine” which I personally can attest to. For starters, on my Dad’s side of the family, right before the start of World War II, the Trowbridge’s decided to create “Trowbridge and Sons Lumber Company” in Monticello, New York. When the war started, the United States military was in need of massive amounts of lumber in order to build barracks and other military structures for the troops and as a result, Trowbridge and Sons Lumber Company became a contractor for the war department and started accumulating great sums of money. The descendants of Trowbridge and sons wisely invested this money into stocks, eventually allowing my Grandfather to inherit a lot of money. This caused my Dad’s college debt to be completely cleared and out of the way, clearing our family’s financial burdens. On the other hand, my grandfather on my mother’s side of the family started an entrepreneurial business in the ’70s called “Bergeron Companies”. This company ended up being quite successful and earning my mom’s family a good amount of money, allowing my Mom’s college tuition to be paid for and for my family to buy our house and have money to pay for my musical education at St. Peter’s Community Arts academy, as well as enrolling me in several different instruments. My ancestry not only provided sufficient funds for my family to be successful, but it also passed down the middle-class parenting tradition of “concerted cultivation” giving me the constant advantage of being able to assert myself, and learning how to “cope in highly structured settings” as well as how to “speak up when [I] [need] to.” By seizing all of 32


Part I: The Personal Nar rative

the opportunities that my parents, and my ancestors had given me, allowed me to be cultivated from a young age, and I was able to grow up with ever enhancing skills in the musical world and succeed in my career of musical artistry. One of the most important factors of my life that has played the most influential role in my success as a musician would most definitely be my parents. Both of my parents have spent their entire lives studying music and using it to bring joy to people’s lives so it’s no surprise that a lot of their knowledge has been transferred to me, not to mention the musical genes that gave me a good ear and sense of musical expression. My parents had a very firm grasp on concerted cultivation; almost every summer once I was old enough, they would send me to some type of music camp where I could grow as a musician and experience the joy that it brought firsthand. In that sense, the advantage I had over less privileged kids was how I was “[learning] while [I] [was] not in school.” This gave me an extra set of opportunities besides the ones they gave me during the school year when I would take private lessons for violin and piano, which in turn, further accumulated my opportunities for success and enhanced my musical abilities to where they are today. The location also plays a critical role in my musical career because of the prominence of musically rich colleges in New York. Growing up in Geneva gave me close proximity to these colleges and allowed me to attend the Ithaca College Summer Music academy for multiple years and advanced theory courses that I now take at Eastman Community Music School. All of these advantages and opportunities that I have been set up with just prove that “the values of the world we inhabit and the people we surround ourselves with have a profound effect on who we are.” It would be a lie to say I didn’t have a privileged childhood, as I would not have been anywhere near the musician I am today had it not been for the countless opportunities given to me, 33


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whether I wanted to seize them or not. Had you not read about the opportunities I have previously listed, some may have just believed my musical skills to be plainly derived from “talent” however much to the surprise of the majority of society, unique and advanced skills don’t just come out of nowhere. As Gladwell puts it, “we are so caught in the myths of the best and the brightest and the self-made that we think outliers spring naturally from the earth” however unfortunately this is nowhere near true as outliers are made from the unique accumulation of opportune success. The successful are often the ones who get presented with unique opportunities that heighten their success even more. Gladwell refers to this as the “Matthew effect” because, for every little success you have, there are more “special opportunities that lead to further success.” The “Matthew effect” has especially held true throughout my musical career as seen by all of the little successes my parents provided me with and how they had a profound effect on my musical ability and the new opportunities that were presented to me because of them. All in all, Outliers has truly revolutionized the idea of success, and proven to me and many others that society has a false perception of fortune and prosperity and that instead of these famous, rich, and popular outliers being the result of the selfmade determination, they become prosperous because of the environment, people, and opportunities they have been given.

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Perseverance and Accepting Imperfection Daria Blanchard

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ftentimes, success is a hallowed marker of wealth and influence, but it can also be a judgment of stability or personal happiness, as different people have different goals they wish to achieve, and two dreams are generally not the same. Even so, paths to success in all forms are rarely the achievement of just an individual, but are actually influenced by multiple other people and outside factors. In my life, one thing I would count as successful is my performance in school. My grades are generally good, and I have faith in my ability to learn most things with extra effort. In his book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell asserts that no one person makes it alone, and success is the product of multiple factors, including culture, family, and class, rather than just the work of an individual. This not only allows him to argue for various factors that can make one successful, but also applies to my success in school. Family culture impacts the choices individuals make, as well as the values they hold. A significant impact on the path someone’s life may take is made by the traditions and attitudes given by their family. Gladwell argues that “the traditions and attitudes we inherit from our forebears” can play a role in determining success. My maternal grandmother came from a highly educated family. Her mother attended nursing school in China, 35


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and her father and grandfather both left China to go to school in America. Therefore, when my mom did extremely well in school, her schoolwork was emphasized; she wasn’t enrolled in any extracurriculars, and had few chores. My mom still values education, as does my dad. She works as a professor of Asian art history, and my dad taught ESL for over two decades. Despite their similar interest in education, their methods of trying to give me life skills are different than the ones her parents used. At a young age, my parents enrolled me in violin lessons because they believed this would help my brain develop, and they have assured me that while getting an education is important, imperfect grades are acceptable and trying one’s best is what matters most. My family culture places value on education, encouraging me to always try my best. This environment takes some stress away from school, as there are no punishments attached to failure, only encouragement to try again. In addition, another aspect of family culture that has helped me is the value reading holds in my family. My maternal grandmother, paternal grandparents, and parents all enjoy reading. Our house is filled with books, so I often see my family reading. This has helped me view reading as an enjoyable activity rather than a chore, and in turn extra reading has improved my reading comprehension, which is important in multiple areas of school. I also genuinely enjoy reading. I think this makes me happier in school, and I think my happiness with the things I learn and my grades are important. I’m not a perfect student, but I still feel content with how I do and look forward to learning more, which I think matters just as much as my performance. If I constantly berate myself for not doing better, I don’t think I can count myself as successful, because success seems emotional just as much as anything else. The importance of enjoying education and reading in my family helps me do better in school, as my parents have always tried to ensure I have necessary life skills. 36


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Not only that, but community aid is important for the success and learning of everyone, and this is something my family has given me. My parents have remained involved in my life, especially with school. Gladwell posits that middle class parents often “t[alk] things through with their children,” and that they “interven[e] on behalf of their children,” which gives children a sense of “entitlement” to “pursue their own individual preferences.” In seventh grade, my mom insisted on advocating for me to get into the advanced English class, when I had not made it from the advanced English class in sixth grade, because she believed I was capable of doing more. In addition, my dad also insisted that I do fifteen minutes of math with him every day over the summer. Their insistence that I was capable of doing more than I believed has given me more confidence and helped me enroll in AP Chemistry sophomore year, a class I did fairly well in. The supportive style of parenting my parents have used has given me more confidence in my own ability, helped me get into higher level classes, and helped me develop the skills I need outside of school. Middle class students also have an advantage over lower class students with education over the summer. In a chart depicting the change in reading scores over summer vacation, Gladwell observes that lower class children tend to lose points due to a lack of practice, while upper and middle class children gain them, despite fairly even or better learning gains during the school year. My family is middle class, giving my parents the means to provide me with books I wanted when I showed an interest in reading. They were also able to buy math books so I would retain some ability over the summer, allowing me extra time to practice my reading and math. My experience as a middle class child relates directly to Gladwell’s explanation for reading level disparities amongst social classes, as I have been given advantages by being a member of the middle class. Gladwell discusses the importance of practice in development 37


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of a skill, citing the “10,000 hour rule,” a standard for achieving “true mastery” in a subject, which many unusually successful people have, like Mozart. While extra time spent reading outside of school is far from ten thousand hours and reading comprehension might not necessarily increase that much, extra practice is certainly useful. Reading and math skills are also useful in many subjects, including history and science, as well as math and English. Economic advantages from time spent outside of class have helped me take more advanced classes and improved my grades. Overall, economic advantages, the supportive environment my parents have provided, as well as their determination to help me learn has helped me to do well in school. This is an area I count as successful, because my grades are good, but also because my parents showed me that it is okay to fail. I am comfortable asking for help, and I am happy with how I have been doing so far. In terms of success, I am content with where I am. I’ve learned that a successful life is one that you enjoy, rather than one marked solely by power or wealth.

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Success, Perfect Chemistry of Family and Culture

XinHong Wei

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uccess comes from many different aspects of life. Some may work hard to get that success while some may get lucky. However, the main way to get success is to work for it. Many successful people such as Bill Gates have put in the work to get the success that they are aiming for. One of the successful moments of my life was when I was just growing up and going through school. During my time in school, I have taken everything my teacher has taught me and adjusted them, making me more successful than others. In the book Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, he talks about success. He would talk about different main ideas that led people to become successful. The main points that could relate back to my life is the importance of family and culture. My family has always been there for me, even when I’m down and about to give up. My family has been very important to my success. If I’m feeling down or can’t do something by myself, my family will be there to help me out. Many times, I have been stuck and needed help to do some type of work that needed to be done the next day, such as school work. I would always ask for help from my family, either talking with my aunt 39


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or my older sister. They would always try and help me do it, but would also help me to get better at it. Most of the time, I would be stuck doing an essay, and would ask for help, trying to figure out how I should start or how I should fix it. I always go to my older sister for this type of activity because I know that she would help me out and explain something that is there that I didn’t see. Even in this essay, I have asked for a bit of help. My family would also do anything for me to be more successful, even if it means to take away things that are important to me. They wouldn’t do this because they hate me, but instead to do it to teach me a lesson about working harder. At times like these, I may start to feel resentment towards them, but I have helped me become a more successful person. My family has always been there for me and that has made me a bit more successful than the other students. My culture has always been a part of me and that has helped me be successful. My Asian heritage has always been a part of me, ever since I was born. As I grew up, my culture became clearer to me. My culture is very important to my family. I would always do something different compared to the other kids in my grade as we have different cultures. I was more successful than the other kids in my early years of my life because of my culture. The English language is very different compared to Chinese. One of the biggest differences between the two languages is the number of syllables in words. One great example of this is the pronunciation of numbers. In the English language, numbers have multiple syllables and some numbers are just confusing to understand such as eleven or twelve. The numbers thirteen or fourteen have “teen” in its name, which means it’s in the 10’s but eleven or twelve don’t, which makes children have a harder time remembering them. However, in the Chinese language, every number makes sense such as 11 or 12. In Chinese, the numbers are spelled differently than in English so that they make logical sense, a point Gladwell raises 40


Part I: The Personal Nar rative

repeatedly throughout his argument. In the Chinese language, the numbers are all like this and larger numbers will always have a corresponding character that goes along with this. With this way of numbers, Chinese students are one year ahead of English students because the numbers are easier to memorize than the English numbers. This is the importance of language in my culture, as I could learn the language early in my life, which puts me ahead of others around my age. My family is also very involved in our culture and my parents always want me to have a high grade in all of my classes, which makes me work harder than the other students. Culture had a huge impact in my success, which makes me who I am today. There are many other aspects of one’s life that could make them successful. Either be it through personality, hours of time put into a subject, or even just the community around you, there are multiple ways for someone to be successful in their lives. Success comes from the hard work you put into something that you want to succeed in. The way to become successful is to put in the time and effort to get to the goal that you have created for yourself. One doesn’t have to be a millionaire or have a large IQ to be successful, all someone needs is to put in the time. I have put in years of learning in school to become as successful as I can be. These years of school have shaped me into who I am today.

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Opportunity, Culture, Family, Personality: The Perfect Workout for Success En-Ya Shen

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uccess, something everyone wants to achieve but has a different idea of what it is for their life. Since no person is born into the exact same culture and circumstances, some being more beneficial than others, everyone has different methods to become successful. In my case, a supportive family, endless opportunities in my city to exercise, and the passion to improve myself every day have allowed me to achieve success in what I believe is one of the most important aspects of life, self-love, specifically towards my body. In Outliers, Gladwell follows the story of Chris Langan, a genius who unfortunately did not have the circumstances and opportunities to succeed to his full potential. However, when Gladwell visited Langan in his fifties, Gladwell believed, “Langan seemed content [with] farm animals to take care of, and books to read, and a wife he loved”. Although not as successful as he could be, the important thing is that he is happy. There are some successful people who always strive for more and are never satisfied, despite having many respectable achievements. I 43


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believe the true success in life is being proud and satisfied with yourself, which has given me much more enjoyment in life and made my mental health much better. Part of my success in body positivity can be attributed to my Asian culture, despite stereotypes surrounding Asians as being people who have no personality and only study. While this is usually directed as an insult, Gladwell writes, “a belief in work ought to be a thing of beauty”. My culture has given me the mindset that if I want to succeed, hard work is the obvious answer, and if I am unhappy with myself, I have to work to change. After illustrating the tiring lives of Chinese rice farmers, Gladwell emphasizes, “Working really hard is what successful people do,” but opportunities are just as important. Even if someone dedicates their entire life to a certain skill, if they are never given the chance to utilize and display their talent, it is practically useless. Although Asians are known to have innate talent for academics, the same is not true for athletics. Instead, the focus is on beauty and slimness rather than fitness, seen with South Korea having the highest rate of plastic surgery, and with Japan, India, China, and Indonesia being among the skinniest nations. However, because my family lives in America, where there is much more focus on loving your body no matter the size, the priority to be thin is muted; but culture doesn’t disappear that easily. After describing an experiment where southerners reacted more angrily than northerners, all at the University of Michigan, Gladwell argues, “[Cultural legacies] persist, generation after generation, virtually intact, even as the economic and social and demographic conditions that spawned them have vanished”. For me, the combination of the two cultures has resulted in the desire to be fit, but achieving this on my own accord, not society’s. I am lucky to have an abundance of opportunities because of my family’s wellbeing and support. Gladwell mentions Lar44


Part I: The Personal Nar rative

eau’s study of black and white families in both wealthy and poor homes, where it was discovered that, “The wealthier parents were heavily involved in their children’s free time, shuttling them from one activity to the next,” while poor children did not have this luxury. My parents have allowed me to pursue dance, track, lacrosse, cross country, and many other extracurricular activities, always encouraging me along the way. Of course, these opportunities exist because of the town I live in, which is something not everyone has available to them. Cross country, track, and lacrosse are available to me through the school, and there are multiple dance studios in Geneva that I have attended. Without these opportunities, I would never have discovered my passion for dance and running, and I wouldn’t have acquired the skill of pushing myself to improve. While I have not necessarily succeeded in all of these elements, I have achieved self-satisfaction in physical fitness. There are certain predetermined attributes that have either increased or decreased my chances of succeeding in the athletic field. Gladwell mentions how cutoff dates for sports unintentionally give players an advantage based on their birthday. While studying Canadian hockey, Gladwell observed, “the eligibility cutoff for age-class hockey is January 1,” resulting in “a boy who turns ten on January 2 [...] playing alongside someone who doesn’t turn ten until the end of the year,” and this “twelvemonth gap in age represents an enormous difference in physical maturity”. As someone extremely young for their grade, being born in January of the following year compared to my classmates, I had the disadvantage of being physically shorter and smaller when I was younger, hindering my ability to succeed compared to my teammates. Luckily, I am now above average height, which is extremely helpful for running. While desiring to be fit, something I am very lucky to have is a fast metabolism and being naturally thin, making it easier to be in shape. Unfortunately, these characteristics along with 45


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being tall do not help at all in the aspect of my body which I hated the most, flexibility. As a dancer, flexibility is crucial, especially for ballet, which is what my studio specializes in. When I was younger, I was not forced to go to stretching classes, and started taking dance classes relatively later than most, ultimately leading to me being the least flexible in every single one of my classes. This upset me class after class for years, embarrassing me until I finally decided to take action. My Chinese culture and parents have always emphasized how dedication will result in success, and I have the mindset that if I don’t like something about myself, change it. Last year, I began stretching every day, even though it was painful and it seemed like there was never a convenient time for me to do so. I sought inspiration and motivation online, and told myself that if I worked my hardest to succeed, there was nothing to complain about. Months later, I achieved full splits on each leg. I will never forget the first class of the new school year where I showed my dance teacher my progress. She was extremely proud of me, and I realized how much my hard work truly benefited my feelings toward my body, regaining confidence towards dance. Not only did stretching increase my flexibility, it also taught me the pain and suffering that are required to reach amazing goals. My personality has always impelled me to improve, allowing me to take pride in my achievements. After improving my flexibility, I started to focus on my entire body and goals I’d like to accomplish. I’ve begun eating healthier, and although cross country, track, and dance gave me enough exercise during the school year, quarantine has made me rely solely on my own efforts, forcing me to set aside time to work out every day. Although I am far from a perfect, healthy lifestyle, a culture of dedication, parents who allow me to pursue the opportunities in my city, and a personality which is determined to change what I dislike about myself has allowed me to achieve self-love for my body through my own efforts. 46


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Succeeding in self-love does not mean I’m going to stop improving myself; rather, it gives me the motivation and proof that if I continue working toward my goals, I can succeed in other aspects of my life as well.

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Part II:

The Advertisement Analysis



Loretta: Google’s New Memory

Janeika Delgado

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magine a world without advertisements, without commercials; how would we know about what’s new in the world. Whether we realize it or not advertisements and commercials play a big role in society, and in the economy. Televised advertisement commercials have been around since the first ad for the Bulova Watch Co. was televised in 1941, at the start of a Brooklyn Dodgers’ game. Advertisement commercials are a company’s way of getting their product across and viewed by many people in the world. Advertisements have helped the economy grow due to the fact that advertisements allow people to see and want to buy new products continuously. Advertisements are in our everyday lives; believe it or not but the average person is estimated to encounter between 6,000 to 10,000 advertisements every single day. It’s hard to imagine a world without advertisements because ads have become such a key factor in the sales of business all around the world. The most interesting and successful advertising campaign is unique and comes in different forms because they are uniquely made for a certain audience. Superbowl advertisements are widely known and very popular. The Google advertisement, “Loretta” was featured as one of the ads during the Superbowl and was magical, memorable, and touching. Loretta empathizes with anaphora, 51


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a somber tone and appeals to pathos to demonstrate the recurring theme that memory loss takes a bigger toll on the heart than brain. In the commercial “Loretta” the use of anaphora is the main focus for the old man as he struggles with what life has brought him. The old man is dealing with memory loss and the loss of his wife, Loretta; Google then introduces their technology and how their technology can do different tasks including saving memories. The elderly man is telling the Google product to remember the key details of his marriage with Loretta, and his favorite things about her; from places they hated to favorite movies that they have watched. This gloomy, black and white commercial is focused on remembering those small moments with loved ones, especially when the ones that all you have of them are memories. The man continues to say, “remember Loretta…” and near the end of the commercial, Google then displays all the facts that the man told it to remember; the repetition of the word “remember” allows the audience to really acknowledge the heartbreaking truth about memory loss and the consequences of it not only to the brain but emotionally. Google shares the benefits of their technology by using repetition which allows for them to get their message across. While Google did not incorporate the appeals to logos and ethos in their advertisement, they did use a somber tone to appeal to pathos. Google strategically uses pathos that influences the audience’s interest in Google products and boosts their economy. Many people get really emotional easily based on certain things in commercials, and usually those emotional moments make them memorable. The somber tone in “Loretta” appeals to pathos because it is a form of sadness and heartbreak and creates emotional feelings about the truth of the future to come. Throughout the ad, the audience comes to understand that Google’s product provides a solution to promote their products. “Loretta” is more advertised to the elderly, due 52


Part II: The Advertisement Analysis

to the fact that the loss of memory is often more common in elderly people; but can also work for the younger generation who are scared to lose emotional memories as they grow older. The somber tone and the slow music create a sad atmosphere to really draw the audience to their product emotionally and the somber tone is a successful technique to appealing to the pathos of the audience because it was more likely to draw the audience with using a sad atmosphere and a situation which many are afraid of. Unlike many advertisements, the Google advertisement, “Loretta” relates to a possible and relatable future for many people, that they may not want to accept. Usually people would see over the top, very exaggerated and very unrealistic scenarios for an advertisement. That’s what makes it more heartbreaking about the Google advertisement; it is a completely true scenario and it is coming in the near future, and so people do want to find a solution to forgetting. Unfortunately on the contrary, there are commercials which are just too sad to watch and “Loretta” may fall under that category because it’s about an old man not trying to forget about the memories he had with his now deceased wife. With that being said Google is trying to sell their products and a better way to do that is finding solutions to society and their audiences. The heartbreaking truth is a hard pill to swallow but Google boosts their sales with not providing a replacement of the memories but a way to keep those memories alive. Unlike many advertisements Google does not introduce their product nor the cost of their product they simply introduce the capability of Google products and how they can accommodate you. Google portrays the importance of their audience and that they really care about their audience’s emotions. The Google Superbowl ad “Loretta” campaign emphasized the importance of keeping members alive and how Google products help you remember memories that you slowly forgot through the use of anaphora, and a somber sad tone. It success53


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fully appeals to pathos through the sad atmosphere and the soft slow music and voice; successfully it allowed to increase the want of Google products. The scenario that Google presented in their ad “Loretta” is realistic and a sad future to face for many people which helped strengthen the appeal to pathos. The main purpose of an advertisement is to boost the product and boost the company’s economy. In trying to do that you have to gain the attention of a wide variety of people in the audience. Google does complete this goal by portraying the elderly who have to deal with memory loss and are looking for solutions, but also they also have an audience of younger people who are terrified of getting to the point where they start to forget or their family members start forgetting who they are. Loretta was a successful advertising campaign because it appeals to the audience’s emotions and will remind the audience to use or get Google products in the future as well. Maybe in a world without advertisements, society would not have a solution to keeping the memories alive and a way to just remember the little things from a little help.

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Ice Cream that Excites

Juliette Ventura

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dvertisements come in many different forms, especially in this day and age. You could see the same ad on YouTube, television, and even the radio, but other times, you might see a completely different advertisement for the same product in the same place. Companies produce massive amounts of advertisements in many different forms because these ads bring in a variety of customers. Although advertisements from different companies or even the same company can be very different from one another, they all promote their products through appeals to ethos, pathos, and/or logos. Little Baby’s Ice Cream is a company that produces small batch hand-made ice cream. They started their business in 2011 and produced obscure ads that were mostly shown on YouTube. They became quite popular for their ad called “This is a Special Time” in August of 2012 shortly after the release of the ad. This advertisement was meant to emphasize the uniqueness of their ice cream and to emphasize their slogan: “Ice cream is a feeling.” The advertisement displays a man covered in ice cream, eating said ice cream off of himself with a spoon all while staring directly at the camera without blinking. There is also a narrator for the video who raves about the brand throughout the advertisement. Little Baby’s Ice Cream permanently closed in 2019, but while they 55


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were in business, their ads were very popular and effective. The advertisement is directly selling ice cream to its audience, but implicitly selling health and happiness to anyone who wants it. The purpose of the ad is to sell ice cream and make money, but it is also meant to make the people buying it feel like they are making the right choice and helping themselves in the process. Little Baby’s Ice Cream wants the audience of the advertisement to feel like the company genuinely cares about them and wants them to feel immense joy like the man in the ad. Little Baby’s Ice Cream employed an appeal to pathos to attract viewers to their advertisements. The ad was published on YouTube, where most of the world could easily see it. On YouTube, there are many different types of people who look for numerous kinds of content, so this was strategic as well. One can find almost anything on YouTube, which means that people who search for obscure or considerably weird content because it is intriguing are the company’s target audience, the reason being that they stumble upon videos like this all the time. That is what Little Baby’s Ice Cream was hoping for. The ad employs creepy, strange vocabulary and visuals to appeal to people’s emotions. When any person, especially a younger person, who is more likely to be on YouTube, sees a Little Baby’s Ice Cream ad, the shock value will be so high that they won’t want to click away and the product will pique their interests. This is important because young people are the company’s target customers and they will want to show their friends and look into the product to see if it is as unique as it is made out to be. The ad will then spread even further than the target audience and the target market will expand. In the ad, there are strong uses of obscure visuals and music as well as the association of words and phrases to appeal to pathos. The ad draws confusion and curiosity from anyone who watches it, and maybe even laughter. The actions taking place in the ad are so confusing that it makes the viewer want to con56


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tinue watching to see what happens. The ad begins with a man covered in vanilla ice cream staring at the viewers, wide-eyed. This moment appeals to pathos by creating curiosity in the viewer. The viewer will be curious as to why the man is covered in ice cream and why he isn’t blinking. The ad soon moves on to the man eating ice cream off of himself with a spoon while still staring at the camera. This magnifies the curiosity and confusion in the audience, but also brings on a feeling of fear and intrigue that makes you want to keep watching. There is a valid reason for the use of vanilla ice cream rather than strawberry or chocolate to cover the man in the ad. Vanilla ice cream is white, symbolizing purity, light, and innocence, correlating with claims that say the ice cream “keeps [you] young” and makes your skin “shine”. The company uses vanilla ice cream to direct attention to the light that their ice cream carries into one’s life and the true purity one feels after eating the ice cream. They also made the background black, the absence of color, to emphasize the color white, the exact opposite, making their point more obvious. All of this combined with creepy music that glitches at some points and an overly happy voice causes goosebumps that give you a reason to keep watching, but also hope for the joy that is promised. This ad doesn’t only appeal to pathos with shock value, but it also discusses the joys of eating Little Baby’s Ice Cream like any normal company would by using words and phrases that have positive connotations. The narrator speaks all throughout the ad, preaching about how the ice cream gives him “glistening skin” and how it “keeps [him] young”, “spring[ing] from activity to activity” and “lov[ing] life”. The narrator of the ad also sounds happy and energetic, depicting the results from eating the ice cream. As the narrator continues speaking throughout the advertisement, he sounds more and more excited all the way until the end of the ad. This tone of voice gets the viewer excited to experience what he is experiencing and be just as happy as him. 57


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He seems so animated about the ice cream, leaving the viewer to wonder if they could feel the same by eating the ice cream. The narrator also tells the viewer what they will experience instead of what he is already experiencing. He informs the viewer that they will “wink and nod and hug and high five each other with great enthusiasm” which makes the viewer think that not only will they be affected, but their whole atmosphere around them will change in a positive way. This also makes them want to get Little Baby’s Ice cream for their friends as well so they can experience the feeling with them, which,for the company, means more revenue. Some may argue that the Little Baby’s Ice Cream ad is too strange and that its claims sound far too good to be true. The ad is filled with spine-chilling music that would make you want to run away if you heard it anywhere else. It would scare some people off at the beginning of the ad. The ad also makes numerous claims about how the ice cream will positively increase your health mentally and physically. It is unlikely that you will find peace and “clear skin” in a pint of ice cream, since it is well known to be bad for your health. Not to mention, it costs money, which almost never radiates positive energy. However, when you’re told that a product will help you and give you positive results, you want to see if any of it is true because that makes you curious about the item . People buy products all the time just because they heard that it has good results from advertisements or even their friends. When an ad uses words with positive connotations, like Little Baby’s Ice Cream, people’s emotions are put into play and they feel like they are being talked to more directly and with sympathy for their problems. They feel that the company genuinely wants to help them. They want to take their chances at being happier and healthier. The creepy music that the ad uses draws most people in because they are curious as to what the ad entails. The music brings out a slight fear, but it makes the viewer want to know “Am I meant to be scared?” 58


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and “What am I meant to fear?” Even if they do fear parts of the ad, they want to know more about it. This Little Baby’s Ice Cream ad, “This is a Special Time”, strategically uses association and imagery to appeal to pathos and is so unique and curiosity inducing that it is unforgettable. It is guaranteed that after anyone watches this ad, they will always remember it. I know I will. I saw it for the first time many, many years ago and it was the first ad that I thought of when we started talking about advertisements in class. When you see an ad like this , you want to look into it and find out more about it so you feel like you have a better comprehension of what it is. Nobody likes to walk away from something being confused or wanting more. With this ad, Little Baby’s Ice Cream has given viewers a reason to check out their website and all their platforms to learn about them and likely buy something to see what it is truly like to eat the ice cream. This company was proud of its uniqueness and used it to their advantage.

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Tootsie Pop Flop

Kierstin Comerford

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he 1982 advertisement for Tootsie Pops is selling lollipops with a Tootsie Roll in the middle. A naked child, holding one of the Tootsie Pop lollipops, goes up to a turtle and asks, “how many licks does it take to get to the tootsie roll center of a Tootsie Pop?” Mr. Turtle responds to the boy by telling him to ask the owl, since he doesn’t know the answer. Mr. Turtle confesses that he just gives up and bites the Tootsie Pop. The boy then asks Mr. Owl, who takes the lollipop and licks it three times, then bites it. The child did not get the answer he wanted, seeming to appear disappointed at the end. After this, the narrator announces that “the world may never know” how many licks it will take to get to the center of the Tootsie Pop. While made in 1931, in 1988 these lollipops became the most popular lollipop brand. They are still being made today, with more flavors than before. The Tootsie Pop ad explicitly sells Tootsie Pops, but it implicitly sells patience to children. This ad was aired in 1982 but Tootsie Pops were made decades before then. This cartoon advertisement consists of a naked child, a turtle, and an owl. The boy, the turtle, and the owl are all white, no color. Starting off, the Tootsie Pop the boy is holding is orange, and so is the background. In the next part with Mr. Owl, the background is blue. Towards the end, there 61


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are six Tootsie Pop lollipops, which are the colors of the rainbow. Then at the end, there is a bright orange lollipop with a blue background. The main colors in the advertisement are blue and orange. This advertisement is directed towards children. It’s a cartoon about candy, what child wouldn’t enjoy it? Kids like cartoons and kids like candy. This ad is persuasive towards these young humans. After they see this advertisement, they will go up to their parents and ask them to go buy them some Tootsie Pops so they can see how many licks it’ll take them to get to the center of the lollipop, which is the Tootsie Roll. The children would want to prove the ad wrong. The world will eventually know how many licks it will take. This ad could also be directed towards parents. It could be a great idea to give their children these lollipops and tell them to count their licks. The ad encourages parents to buy this product because it will keep their children occupied, so the parents can have time to relax. Also their children will be practicing a skill they have been taught in school, counting. This advertisement employs appeals to logos by making people wonder how many licks it actually takes to reach the Tootsie center of a Tootsie Pop. People might want to conduct the experiment themselves, maybe with different flavors and trials. A child will possibly give up counting but will be thankful that their parents have bought them the candy. The parents may think, “well, at least they tried,” not all kids can count to 100, let alone 200-400, which is the average amount of licks it takes, according to Google. Figuring out how many licks it will take may take patience and concentration. But people have put themselves up to the challenge. I have definitely tried it when I was younger, but I have given up around 100 licks because it looks like barely any progress was made. This task is hard, one lick doesn’t do a lot. The answer may vary from person to person depending on the possible factors of how big the lick 62


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was, the tongue size, starting size of the lollipop, any cracks or broken pieces of the lollipop, or maybe even the flavor. This advertisement appeals to the mind and includes statistics. The appeals are effective because just like they boy, the viewers were left without an answer to his question. The audience would want to try and answer the question themselves. Contributing to the advertisement’s appeal to the mind, logos, the importance of math is reinforced. Math is very important in life, especially when you’re an adult and have to do taxes. So by learning and paying attention in school, it’ll start to prepare you for the future. But for this experiment you need to know how to count. And where do they learn how to count? School. Their parents may only buy them this treat if they count their licks but of course, they have to know how to count. These kids may be motivated to stay focused in school for these lollipops. This advertisement appeals to logos by cause and effect, and facts. Mr. Turtle told the boy to ask Mr. Owl since owls are known as wise. Mr. Owl may know the answer to the boy’s question, “how many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop” because of this fact. Mr. Owl took the Tootsie Pop and attempted to count his licks, but then bit the lollipop after three licks. Being known as wise does not guarantee that you are; and clearly this owl has no patience. The boy was willing to wait to see how many licks it actually takes, but the owl failed him. The appeals are effective because the children watching this ad are thinking that if they find out how many licks it takes, that they will be wise. This advertisement appeals to pathos by its imagery. The main colors are orange and blue. Orange is associated with friendliness, cheerfulness and confidence and blue is associated with trust, strength, and dependability. Together, the colors appearing in the ad are positive and upbeat which can bring light to a child’s smile when they’re asking their parents for 63


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these tasty treats. The appeals are effective because the ad is depending, blue, on you to figure out how many licks it will take. While orange is telling you to be confident in yourself and to not give up when you’re doing the experiment. The advertisement appeals to pathos by personal anecdotes and connections to the audience. The ad brings up childhood memories and nostalgia to the audience. Being reminded of what it’s like to be a child, having no responsibilities, eating candy without worry of your teeth rotting, playing all of the time, taking naps, the list could go on. Or maybe touching on the fact that you miss your old ways, like where you used to live, old friends, family you haven’t seen in awhile, etc. Just missing how life was when it was a simpler time. This advertisement appeals to the heart and emotion by pathos. After the owl ate the child’s lollipop, the child was upset. The owl was satisfied though, he got a free lollipop. But the boy lost his lollipop and never got the answer he was expecting. Instead, the child watched Mr. Owl take three licks and a bite of his Tootsie Pop. The appeals are effective because it makes the audience sympathetic for the boy. He didn’t get to enjoy his lollipop, nor did he find out how many licks it takes. The boy will probably not give up. He really wanted to know the answer. He was asking around if anyone already knew. This ad is significant because it brings attention towards patience. It conveys the idea that if you put your mind to something and work hard, it can be accomplished. It additionally conveys the idea that you shouldn’t ask anyone, even the wisest, for answers when you could attempt to arrive at the answer yourself. How many licks does it take you to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop?

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Fliers by Liberty Mutual

Megan Taylor

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n this world, advertisements provide our society with excitement and information to try and rope us into buying their product or signing with their company. Companies have to find a way to persuade audiences to be interested in their company and what they have to offer. For an ad to be effective, therefore, it all depends on what approach a company wants to take. Most times, that is through appeals to ethos, pathos, and logos. Additionally, society prefers a fun approach to commercials, so that they don’t get bored quickly. With a plethora of different companies that fall under the same category, companies have to ensure that they are using the right persuasion tactics to catch their audiences’ eye. Liberty Mutual Insurance uses the appeal to pathos and the appeal to ethos. The Liberty Mutual insurance company offers you a quote and tells you what you can save based on different rates. The “Fliers” ad for Liberty Mutual Insurance explicitly sells car insurance and quotes, so you only pay for what you need. Liberty Mutual chose an appeal to ethos and pathos that intrigues the viewers from its intended markets. For companies to draw in their customers, they need to make their ads entertaining to keep a consumer interested while, at the same time, building up their credibility. Many consumers prefer commer65


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cials they watch to have an entertaining but straightforward tone; so that they know they are not being conned by the company. Liberty Mutual uses an appeal to ethos and pathos by incorporating both entertaining and credible aspects, which includes incorporating the guy dressed in the phone and a catchy reliable quote. In the “Fliers’ ‘ commercial for Liberty Mutual, a guy dressed as a phone handing out fliers for repairing phones is told that he can get a quote by simply going to their website. A few key points represent the appeal to pathos in this commercial. The first point is the guy being dressed up as the phone and being able to click on it like an actual phone. This is an appeal to pathos that Liberty Mutual leverages to keep their consumers invested. The references to the phone indicate the appeal to pathos because we are addicted to our phones; the use of technology is used in everything nowadays, thus persuading a customer more. Through this ad, Liberty Mutual uses relevant topics to convince a customer, but they also demonstrate their motto of how easy it is to get a quote. The narrator says you can go to the Liberty Mutual app and get a free quote in the ad. The motto signifies getting a quote from Liberty Mutual is just as easy as using your phone or handing out fliers. The appeal to pathos in this ad becomes effective because Liberty Mutual catches people’s eyes by using personal things to society and demonstrating how easy it is to save money on car insurance. While entertaining and keeping the customers interested is essential, it’s also crucial for a company to persuade their audiences by validating their credibility. While using an appeal to pathos, Liberty Mutual also incorporates its appeal to ethos through their commercials. The commercials that Liberty Mutual typically plays are usually funny and exciting; this aspect helps them build their credibility through ethos because the commercials run more than other insurance companies. Additionally, In the ‘Fliers’ commercial, the narrator says to the guy 66


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holding the fliers: “did you know Liberty Mutual customizes your car insurance, so you only pay for what you need?” This quote is an appeal to pathos in every commercial of theirs. This boosts Liberty Mutual’s credibility because the company says you only pay for what you need frequently and are straightforward about it. The use of ethos is effective for Liberty Mutual because they can gain customers’ trust and encourage more people to get a quote with no questions asked. Unlike other insurance companies who usually have complicated processes, Liberty Mutual is easy and quick to use. Additionally, the image of the water rushing up onto the guy is used as an appeal to pathos and a comedic effect. Although it’s very unrealistic, the incorporation of this is to exemplify the fact that you can’t always expect things to go your way, but you can always rely on free quotes and the right insurance from Liberty Mutual. Some may argue that the content of the Liberty Mutual Insurance commercials are too unrealistic and aren’t straightforward enough, thus making their ads ineffective. The Hudson waters are not likely to rush over the balcony at the pier as they do in the video. This would suggest that other companies may be trying to persuade you back to their company and that trying to get a quote and a deal with Liberty Mutual is the wrong choice. However, throughout the history of the Liberty Mutual ads, they have all been a bit unrealistic. Still, the company adds this to keep customers interested and adding humor while subtly warning consumers about the lies of other companies. This would be an effective strategy for Liberty Mutual because keeping people interested means keeping people wanting to know more about their offers. Liberty Mutual’s “Fliers” commercial accentuates the money you can save if you get a quote and use Liberty Mutual Insurance. Everyone is worried about money in today’s world, whether it’s how much money you are making or how much money you should have saved. This commercial appeals to both 67


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pathos and ethos through its easy to remember motto or the fun, farfetched commercials that are drawing in more and more customers. Although their commercials, including this one, seem far fetched, they utilize the appeals to ethos and pathos. Liberty Mutual has had a lot of success through their fun and creative commercials because even though the irony of it may seem silly, it’s still straightforward, and everyone needs a little creativity. If Liberty Mutual didn’t use such creativity, would consumers even think twice about their insurance companies?

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Adidas

Alexandra Oddi

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ommercials convey a message and a product which could help us with our daily life needs. The advertisement that I chose to write about is Adidas. It talked about Covid and the huge break from school and how we will be back and playing sports, and when that time comes, we will be ready to be back. The advertisement mentioned all of the sports and the major leagues to represent how you can be the best player. The background introduces you into the big leagues and people taking risks and your experiences while watching people play. The Adidas ad explicitly sells clothes, but it implicitly sells shoes to athletes. The advertisement at the beginning shows the separation from the equipment and how we were in Covid. It talks in the past tense, as if we would never come out of the tragedy. Her voice is powerful, but in a sad tone. Then it changes emotion and goes into the past in all of athlete’s adventures as if we were there with the narrator. It shows us all of these people having fun, taking risks, being adventurous. This commercial makes you want to experience all of the activities in the facilities. At the end it shows a football field with the lights off and then they turn them on. That makes such a powerful statement because we are in this time of tragedy then she turns on the lights. 69


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She proves that we will be out there again. This advertisement targets athletes, of any age. It uses a higher sport class, any race. It educates you to start a sport or start something new. During the beginning of the advertisement the use of pathos was used by not being able to play any sport. The Coronavirus shut down the school and we wouldn’t be able to play the extra curriculars we have come to know and loves. To protect the human race the school had to shut down. This includes sports that people have been waiting to play and it could have been their last time of playing this sport (seniors). Appeals to pathos appear by people being sad and not doing what they love. This commercial delivers a message by encouraging people that we will be ready to go back, to create, and to compete. This uses ethos because it helps us believe that everything will be normal after Coronavirus. That we can take risks and become a person we want to be. This advertisement tells us to keep going or believing no matter what stands in your way. This commercial also argues that you should never give up and you will be like the pros in the video where everyone is watching and cheering you on. This commercial gives you encouragement to keep going and to conquer your goals.

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Bernie Sanders: Audience, Vision, Appeals Carly Monahan

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n this campaign ad for his 2020 bid for presidency, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders presents his triumphs he has made for the American people throughout his political career. Spanning from the start of his activism as a teenager in the Civil Rights movement to the strides made by him in the senate, this ad reveals Senator Sanders’ true vision for the improvements he wants to see in the United States. In the 2020 Democratic primary, Senator Sanders ran on a platform of fighting for someone you don’t know, and this ad is a prime example of that. Bernie Sanders believes that democracy is a fight, and this ad portrays him leading the charge. Throughout this ad, Bernie Sanders appeals to pathos to get the help and support of the American people for his fight. The use of slower sadder music in a minor key is a deliberate choice by the Sanders campaign to appeal to the American people’s sense of empathy for people possibly less fortunate than themselves. The Senator presents issues that are important to his supporters and the general public, like social justice issues and humanitarian crises that he has helped throughout his career. Graphics of children appear as the Senator is talking about 71


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children at the border and saying “you don’t rip little children from the arms of their mothers” This adds to the ads overall sympathetic tone. Senator Sanders makes it clear he’s been fighting for issues his whole life with the ad saying “the fight against injustice has been the work of his life” This appeals to his audience because his supporters are more empathetic to the causes he’s been fighting for. Bernie Sanders appeals to his audience because he exemplifies a new hopeful perspective. Bernie Sanders appeals to ethos by displaying his lifelong dedication to change and equality. This ad in particular provides an image of Senator Sanders getting arrested at a protest for civil rights as a young person. The Senator’s career started with activism as a teen and then he worked his way up to senator of Vermont where he works tirelessly to put into action these changes he’s wanted his whole life. The ad also displays headlines of major accomplishments from the Senator’s career like taking on big corporations like Amazon and Disney to fight for fair livable wages for workers this goes hand in hand with the senator saying “nobody in America who works 40 hours a week should be living in poverty” This adds to his credibility proving his work gets done. With every headline in the ad it also shows the news source it comes from. Senator Sanders long successful career is shown throughout the ad, proving he’s very well capable of being president. Bernie Sanders appeals to logos by giving sources and proof and news clips to prove that he’s been successful all throughout his career and he does this to ease the people who may not have heard of him before seeing this or seeing his campaign. One of the Senators’ major platforms for his 2020 bid was his commitment to believing scientists about climate change and needing to protect our planet as a major world power. Another Bernie platform displayed in this ad is his dedication to fixing or helping fix the major income inequality in America. Bernie states he wants “jobs and education not jails and incarceration,” 72


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displaying that he wants to get rid of the very prevalent school to prison pipeline that exists in our country. Bernie Sanders employs appeals logos to incentivize the American people to take their activism to the polls. Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign utilizes ethos, pathos and logos to make a wider appeal to a larger audience, aka the entire country as opposed to just the state of Vermont. This ad is Senator Sanders trying to appeal to the entire country by portraying his impressive track record of a career. Bernie Sanders makes this plea to the American people to help him continue his lifelong fight for justice and democracy.

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Hey! An Analysis of Lego’s Targeted Ads

Julian Nault

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ur lives are filled to the brim with ads, whether that be TV ads, ads on streaming services, or even product placements. However, by far, one of the most effective, eye-catching ads which I’ve noticed from these different types of adverts, were those produced by the Lego company. Their ads catch the attention of many different kids from a very young age, setting them on a path which builds consumer loyalty. With a large, and growing customer base of all ages who consistently buy their products year after year, they’re able to churn out a constant profit with their many different product lines. Their product lines can be separated into two distinctive groups, one being licensed properties (ones that already have a base of fans when launched) such as Indiana Jones, Star Wars, and Harry Potter, or non-licensed properties (ones that don’t have a base of fans when launched) such as power miners, technic, or bionical. But by far, one of the most effective non-licensed lines is that of the Lego City product line, owing it to their advertisement campaign. The Lego city ad’s are some of the best produced commercials of the Lego brands. Through the crafting and perfection by their marketing agency, they have been able 75


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to release the same type of advertisement that has been used for the past 15 years, and will continue far into the foreseeable future. Through a multitude of different approaches, and methodologies involving colors, music, tone, appeals to emotion, and more, they’ve been able to craft this ad, never relying on a sole approach in fears that it would become too cliche, or too uninteresting. These come together to form a near perfect ad, capable of running for a near eternity compared to the lifespan of other ads, and still able to catch, and bring in those audience members who are susceptible to its clever marketing ploys, allowing them to exploit maximum profit while putting in minimal effort. Through the appeals to pathos, and use of colors, tone of voice, music, group selling, runtime, and repetitiveness has allowed them to manipulate their younger consumer base into consuming their products. The first thing one notices while watching the ad is the colors they use. Lego creates its City ads with a bright, eye-catching color pallet. From its logo that is in bright red, invoking emotions of excitement, to the bright colors used in its scenery, such as through the bright blues, whites, yellows, and greens, in addition to many others, are used to manipulate young children into watching the ad, while also instilling feelings of creativity, and optimism. This grabs their attention, and pulls them into watching the advert. After having accomplished this, they now need to go deeper into developing the stakes to heighten the danger of the ad, and retain viewers, which is when they start to develop the pathos of the ad. Many of these ads create a sense of urgency, putting a character, or multiple characters, in danger. In turn creating a sense of dread through the ad as you wait for the day to be saved. This is important to understand as to the targeted demographic and their vivid imagination, these ads depict real life or death situations. They continue their appeal to pathos after exclaiming “hey!”, which catches any individuals who might be drifting 76


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away from the ad, reacquiring their attention in the process. They then have a rescue team come and save the day creating a sensation of relief, but finally finishes reeling you into buying their products by saying “only you can save the day”. Implying it’s only possible for you to do so through the purchase of its products; once more, instilling that sensation of urgency. This all has been crafted masterfully to catch the attention of the viewer, and get them to develop this sense of urgency to buy the product and “save the day”. Throughout the ad there are finer details which help to create the atmosphere of the ad, and also aid in helping sell more than just one product at a time. For instance, with the ever changing emotional beats comes the intensity of the music and the tone of their voice which follows the ups and downs of the advert. With the intensity of both accentuating, and complimenting the appeal to pathos, strengthening it in turn. These advertisements are also aided by their repetitive nature. Just about every ad from these lines of products are the exact same, demonstrating that the adverts must be extremely effective. It also aids in children remembering the products, as repetition is a great way to get people to remember what you’re selling, (especially to children) and are therefore more likely to then go out and purchase it. Not only do they advertise one product at a time, but they group other products throughout in a bid to get consumers to also buy the products associated with the advert. This way they can entice their audience into recreating the scene depicted in the advertisement with all the sets, which creates more profit for Lego, as consumers are buying multiple sets at any given time. All of this happens in a matter of 15-30 seconds on average, which allows just enough time to develop these different methodologies, while also not being an infomercial which drags on resulting in plummeting view count as time goes on. All the while also putting the consumer on a roller coaster of emotional highs and lows, in addition to instilling a 77


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sense of urgency to go out and buy a wide range of their different products. Allowing the Lego company to grab, pull in, and exploit a wide demographic in a short time span, maximizing potential profit for themselves. These ads are a testament of a company’s success in perfecting a formula, and exploiting it for maximum profit. These ads are a shining example of how to create the perfect ad for something that has no base. Lego City being a non-licensed property means that it didn’t have any notoriety before being launched. And despite this, it’s still extremely successful, accentuating how far a good advertising campaign can truly go. The Lego group has been able to hone their craft in these ads, and knows that they do it well. Their ads for this line being an example to all other companies in how to do advertising correctly for a targeted demographic. Through the combination of these different appeals, and the diverse amount of rhetoric, Lego has been able to grab, and pull in a sizable portion of the population, with them then exploiting it for their own capitalistic gains, for better, or for worse.

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ASPCA Advertisements

Brooklynn Salotti

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ave you ever seen injured or homeless animals and wanted to find a way to get involved to save these helpless animals? ASPCA advertisements have brought attention to many individuals looking for a change in animal abuse. These commercials not only inform the public but also display ways they can help, such as calling a number to donate money to their organization. The ASPCA is one of the largest organizations in the world helping animals in need. These animals have no voice, they can’t ask for help or protection. Humanity must be their voice and step up to protect these animals in need. This advertisement displays just one way to get help for these animals, pick up a phone and donate. Every cent counts. This advertisement features abused and neglected animals in hopes to get the audience’s attention to help these poor innocent animals. The cats and dogs shown are shivering from the frigid temperatures and being left out in the cold. These neglected creatures have tears in their eyes and are crying for our help. Videos are added to this advertisement of the cats and dogs looking at you with such sad and depressed faces, hoping to get you to contribute to this organization. Animals are seen not even being able to walk correctly and some are even missing limbs. Towards the end of the advertisement, animals are 79


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shown in shelters, proving to the audience that there is hope for these innocent souls. This advertisement explains that if you donate to this organization you receive a welcome kit including a picture of an animal in the shelter that you helped save with your donation. This is a way for the ad to persuade the audience into donating. The ad seems to be very depressing which is understandable for an animal abuse commercial. Personally, this ad brought tears to my eyes and probably everyone who has seen it as the advertisement features animals that have been tortured to the point where something needs to change. ASPCA advertisements don’t really target anyone of a specific audience with things in common such as race, age, education, marital status, etc. But everyone who has an interest in the ASPCA advertisements do have one thing in common. They all want what’s best for these animals and want to do something to help them. There have been children, teens(including myself ), and adults who have contributed to help these poor animals. It doesn’t matter what race you are or what education you have, if you have a few cents to donate to this organization you are able to. There have been many other ads within the ASPCA publication that have reiterated the ad I’ve chosen. Each ASPCA advertisement targets people in the public that want to get involved and lend a helping hand to these poor innocent creatures. ASPCA commercials employ appeals to pathos to persuade the audience to support abused and neglected animals. There are many emotions being shown within this advertisement. Examples of pathos are used to pull the heartstrings of the audience and find a way to get into their head to make them want to do something to get involved. Including the pictures and videos of animals that have missing limbs, can barely stand up on all four legs and putting together videos of animals shivering out in the frosty and cold snow really impacts the audience. The use of pathos within this ad really makes us have some compassion 80


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towards wanting to help these animals. For me as an individual who loves animals and never wants to see them go through this, the emotions brought about within this advertisement really made me want to do something about animal abuse. Overall, pathos plays a big role within this advertisement. It is one of the key features to inform the audience to not only show them what is going on in the world but also notifying them on how to help these animals by donating. This ad is very significant within society currently. Animal abuse stats keep rising and it needs to be stopped. This effective ad informs the public on how to stop animal abuse once and for all. Yes, animal cruelty will still be going on and will still be an issuse within society but the goal of ASPCA commercials is to influence others to help out the public and send some comfort and reassurance to these needful animals. Hopefully this ad will bring a successful future to these animals and they will no longer have to wonder when their next meal is, or the next time they will feel the warmth of a cozy bed or the soft touch of a hand.

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Attempting to Change a Legacy: An Analysis of Buick’s Shift Into a New Market

Owen Sellers

I. Introduction

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he modus operandi of General Motors is to target a more specific, generational market of consumers with, especially, their Buick line of cars—and this was the case until 2015, which saw Buick’s new group of advertisements, aptly named, “Is That a Buick?” This new line of advertisements worked to shift Buick’s target market from older generations of consumers to a younger crowd, by having the focal point of the ads be the new, complete and refurbished lineup of Buick models (intending to shift [younger] buyer mindsets through more sleek and new-age designs). While seeing this ad in repetition does leave some kind of resonating imprint on my mind regarding Buick models, what it does not do is leave a positive connotation for the brand itself. Since General Motors (GM) reorganized in 1920, the Buick line has been consistently a step below their top tier iconic luxury brand, Cadillac (which is primarily aimed at the upper echelons of the wealthy), and, 83


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distinctly, a step above Chevrolet (aimed at middle to lower class buyers—the greater portion of the market). Within these specific advertisements, GM used, in combination, appeals of logos and pathos—logically knowing, or at least figuring, that younger generations will pull for a more modern, sleeker new car; and in appealing to pathos, attempting to grasp at those more contemplative emotions in an attempt to shift the young’s perception of their legacy brand. However, the ad campaign only worsened the public image of the brand, especially among the very market they were targeting. The brand’s reliably upper-class reputation became desperate and convoluted leaving buyers of all kids weary to buy their next car from Buick. The ad in question begins in the kitchen of a younger couple, as the woman points out that “the Garcia’s” (their neighbors next door) purchased a new car. The camera then shows a couple of similar age getting out of a bright and new Buick, with, note, the front of the car facing them, and more importantly, the very side holding the (at the time) 56-year-old trishield insignia. The male partner of the couple looking at the car, then asks, “what did they get?” and the woman replies, “I don’t know” while looking directly at the car. This segment of the ad capitalizes on social comparison in the US, as the couple are taken by the new mysterious car in their neighbor’s driveway and hope to find out and possibly get one of their own, to not fall behind. Buick is stimulating this predatory obsession to match others in any case that they can by adding their cars to that list of desirable possessions. This trend of reactions continues throughout the ad within different settings, but the same concept. II. Issues with the Advertisement The entire basis of the ad is that Buick’s cars are so new and 84


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sleek compared to what they previously released that they are unrecognizable. In theory, this strategy would work, and yet GM failed to operationalize two significant components of that theory, that their cars are entirely different, and that people are surprisingly smart. Firstly, the new lineup looks marginally different from the previous models; the style is still distinctly Buick. They may have changed the interior some, but the ad focuses more on the outside. Keeping this in mind, we can also say that since their cars look nearly identical, the new sleeker design that is supposed to appeal to younger people does not exist. Furthermore, disregarding the points I just made, Buick acts as if no one has ever heard about their company before. All the people in this ad are in their 20s to 30s, and somehow have some idea of what a Buick is and yet at the same time no idea what a Buick is. This contradiction once realized, immediately leads to a downward spiral of the ad’s credibility. The ad would make sense if the only association the people in the ad had with the brand beforehand were Buick’s 1980s cars, but I find that improbable given their age and the fact that they grew up in the age of digital information. The biggest weakness in this ad is about 7 seconds into the ad; it shows a woman on the phone with her friend trying to find where her friend parked, except, she is standing about 5 feet away from the car that her friend is in. Not only this, but her friend uses terminology that likely would not be used by people of her age—especially ones who do not know much about the brand. She says, “I’m in the Buick.” Looking at this from GM’s perspective, they use this phrase to display that people do not expect Buicks to look like they do in this commercial as well as getting their brand name in your head. The main issue with this part is that any normal person would just roll down the window, flash their lights, or even just pull up five feet and be right next to the person. Few people would say “I’m in the Buick” as if they’re saying, “I’m in the 85


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SUV” while being parked 5 feet away from them. Later, the ad depicts a valet running around a parking lot trying to find a Buick. There are several logical errors with this that all make the ad worse for Buick. First, valets do not tend to run around a parking lot searching for a car; most of the time they know where it is because they parked it there. Second, as I have mentioned before, the Buicks in this ad look incredibly similar to how they have been looking for 10 years, and I doubt that a valet whose entire job is to drive cars has not seen a Buick before. The valet finally finds the gray Buick in a parking lot full of black cars by standing in front of the car with his back to it and he clicks the unlock button on the key fob. This causes the car’s light to turn on for a second and it makes a little noise. My issue with this demonstration is, one, cars have been able to do this for years upon years, and two, if the valet were struggling to find the car in the first place, any other sensible person would have clicked the unlock button first. We later get a shot of him sitting in the car as well as a rare glimpse of the interior, and surprise, nothing has changed. In the ad, the car is still designed with the older person in mind, contradicting Buick’s new claims. There is a reason that they only show the interior for less than a second; they know it too. Buick’s central error is marketing that their entire brand has changed, before actually changing the brand. The mysterious part of this ad is that they produced this because people have a negative connotation with the brand already. The theme of the ad is not keeping your positive perception of the brand but rather trying to swing your perception to being a positive one by saying things like, “Take a fresh new look at Buick, it might surprise you”. One could argue that they are trying to restructure the brand to stay profitable; however, for that to happen, the cars and brand need to look and be different.

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III. Anticipating Counterclaims One could argue that the ad is smarter than I give it credit for since Buick is a legacy brand meant for the older generation: younger generations would not know what a Buick looks like in the first place, which is a fair point. However, while that might have been the intent, the execution backfired and exposed Buick to being behind the times. First of all, they act like no one under 35 has ever seen a Buick logo before, which displays the point that they think down on this demographic, but who could blame them? They have been the brand focused on older consumers for the better part of a century and now they are trying to completely shift everything they have built to a market already dominated by plenty of other brands. This is GM’s big mistake. Going into this, GM had a decent clasp on most ends of the markets, but following the 2008 recession, where the U.S. Government had to bail them out, they were forced to close some of their brands leaving them with Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick, and GMC for the American market. These brands were left as they firmly covered almost the whole market, but six years later, Buick is leaving their established market to join an already densely crowded market, one that their partner brand, Chevrolet, already is and has been established in. In 2008 GM aired an advertisement for a remarkably similar-looking car but the style and intent of the ads could not be more different. The ad opens on a larger sized house with an older man living in a more refined way. They compare the materials to their nice amenities and have some classical music in the background, obviously appealing to the generations with more means, which tend to be the older ones. But like I have said before, the cars are not too different; the only difference is who they are targeting. It is as if they are trying to sell dentures to teens instead of braces. You cannot shift the previous perception. 87


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IV. Analysis of Rhetorical Strategies While making this ad, GM used two appeals, logos and pathos, which ended up forcing them to inadvertently have the third, ethos, used against them. They went by the logic that if they make an ad with sleek cars, actors from the target market, and a “fresh” look they would appeal to the emotions of the younger audience, and while in theory, this is true, they accidentally forced the use of ethos, as this market is new and unfamiliar to them. They had young actors, they had them communicating with new cell phones, they had a big screen inside the cabin, all things that appeal to the younger generation, but there are plot holes that they try to hide in these appeals. While the actors did communicate with cell phones, they did it five feet away, showing that Buick still does not quite fully grasp the concept of cellular communication yet. At 18 seconds, they quickly flash a shot of the interior while the valet says “Nice” and your attention is drawn to the big lit-up displays in the center console and the dashboard; however, if you look closer, you can still see that these vehicles are still designed for the older generation. The buttons and dials are bigger, the dashboard display shows the speed and tachometer in huge, easy to read fonts. Fonts. Buick knows this as well, that is why the only image where one can identify these things is flashed for less than a second. By a quick analysis, their logic is debunked, and their legacy brand nature is exposed to have never changed after all, despite what they said. The initial idea of appealing to the logos and pathos was great but it is as if they thought of that, then called it a day. Now, the brand struggles to find an identity, although they have tried to shift markets, they still have not left their original one. Buick saying that they are now a brand for the youth does not mean anything unless the public agrees, and they most likely will not, as generation after generation they have seen their grandmother pull in a Buick to their driveway, and no 88


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one wants to drive the same car as their grandmother, unless of course, she drives a Ferrari. V. Analytics of the Advertisement Ever since this ad first aired in 2015, Buick is still pushing this younger market, but their market share has done all but increase. Their sales did start to increase a bit after the recession and their new image, but this peaked quite low and has been decreasing since 2011. Maybe this re-imagining is something they had to force and was not their initial intention. Since GM had to shut down Pontiac following the 2008 recession (one of their main brands for the younger crowd) a gap was left, and GM was forced to fill it with Chevrolet and Buick. A smart move GM could have made was to fill this gap with some new cars from the Chevy brand, as this brand was already common in the younger market as they best fit the majority price range for young buyers. However, they chose to go a different route. GM filled this hole by reinventing their mid-tier luxury brand Buick into one that is made for people coming out of school, the only issue being that they did not change the cars, just how they presented them. A Buick car from 2010 looks quite similar to the ones advertised in the commercial, and yet, their market share has been dwindling since 2014, right before the ad aired. The difference between these two cars is not as much the car itself but the way they present it. They took something that worked for the older generations and tried to sell it to the younger ones without changing anything. In 2014, Buick’s market share hit 1.39%, and currently, it sits at 1.22%. For comparison, Ford sits at 15.22%, but Ford rivals GM, not Buick. Buick then must be compared to a singular car company, for example, Mazda. Mazda’s market share sits at 2%, still higher than Buick. The same goes for BMW-Mini, Volkswagen, Subaru, and even Daimler. 89


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Almost all car manufactures have above a 1.22% market share. In fact, I have yet to find a company with a lower market share than Buick. I am sure one exists; however, the fact that it is so hard to find does not bode well for Buick. VI. GM and the Recession Since its founding in 1908, General Motors has had a major presence in the American car market with iconic brands such as Pontiac, Chevrolet, and Cadillac. Located in Detroit Michigan, the company has always focused on all sides of the market, whether that be ultra-luxury, or economical. In 1962 they peaked in market share by having just over 50% of the American market, an unthinkable number for an automotive company today. Although never reaching that number again, GM held a strong market share going into the early 2000s, even having their all-time high stock price of just over $93 a share. However, this is where the company starts to spiral into a hole they still are struggling to get out of. In the early 2000s, the company found itself in deep financial trouble as they reported over a $10 billion loss in 2002. They even stopped putting the GM badge on the side of any new car, which is still true today, despite them being in a more financially stable position. Wall Street viewed GM as a hazardous investment predicting that the company was in for a lot of turbulence ahead, and in 2006, the stock market price had fallen to just $19 a share. To help slow these major losses, GM started selling off subsidiaries, but they were too far down the path to turn back, especially with 2008 right around the corner. Entering the year 2008, the company reported losses of over $2 billion which quickly escalated to an unthinkable $15 billion quarterly loss just as the biggest recession since the Great Depression began. The 2008 recession was a devastating blow to the economy, 90


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but it hit car companies especially hard. The major American car manufacturers, GM, Ford, and Chrysler had to go through a major restructuring to keep from going bankrupt. Suddenly, millions of Americans could not afford a new car; jobs were lost, and gas prices were skyrocketing. GM was already on the brink of bankruptcy going into the recession, and in 2008, they announced that they would run out of money by mid-2009 if major changes were not made to the company. And even started undergoing preparations for if they did end up ceasing operations. They turned to the only entity big enough to save them, the U.S. Government, although their first application was denied. By the end of 2008, the barely living company posted a $30 billion loss, making its future increasingly unforeseeable. In early 2009, GM officially entered chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, giving them some time to pay off some debts and submit a new proposal to the U.S. Government. After negotiations with the U.S. Government, they finally accepted a proposal and GM started its journey of completely restructuring the company. The Government had granted GM about $50 billion in taxpayer money to pay off loans and reinvent the company. As part of the deal, GM killed off or sold sub-brands such as Pontiac, Hummer, and Saturn, causing them to close over 900 dealerships and lay off 22,500 employees. By the end of 2010, GM had finally posted a positive revenue of over 4 billion dollars and has since done a relatively good job of staying financially stable, now focusing on more economical and fuel-efficient cars as well as investing more money into their four major brands, Cadillac, Buick, GMC, and Chevrolet. VII. Cars: Then and Now If you compare a new car today and a car from 1975, they are going to look quite different as style changes over time; howev91


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er, now look at a 1997 Plymouth Prowler. Now, look at a 1985 Subaru Brat. These cars are insane compared to today’s standards and just as insane when they were released. No car today looks anything remotely like either of those cars, or even back then for that matter, so why were they ever released? At the time, companies had money to spare and could make unusual cars as fuel economy was not as important to the consumer as having a fun car to drive. Nowadays, cars all look more and more similar; unusual and bold designs look to be a thing of the past. The fuel economy has become the main focal point in the new car market, so manufacturers have invested millions of dollars in aerodynamics, fuel-efficient engines, and even the use of electricity, to make cars more efficient than ever. Most notably from a design standpoint in that bunch is aerodynamics, as this is why cars all look so similar today. The more aerodynamic a car is, the better gas mileage it will have, so in a market where fuel economy is king, companies will do all they can do to make the most competitive cars, even if that means losing originality. Another factor why cars all look so similar is that companies are quite a bit more conservative today than they were 40 years ago. Coming off the 2008 recession, car companies still have not fully recovered and are not looking to take many risks that could jeopardize their newfound financial stability. Car colors are also a factor that has changed over the years. The colors of cars change depending on what is going on in the world at that time. During and after a depression, car colors will become blander with more white, black, and gray cars selling than any other colors, but when the economy is stable and people are generally happy, car companies will make and sell bolder and unusual colors, just like they do with car designs. Currently white, black, and silver makeup 77% of all car colors. Today, we are still recovering from the 2008 recession and the pandemic has also made the economy struggle. However, those are not the only reasons. Companies like Apple have signifi92


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cantly changed the car color market as their brand is made of minimalistic colors such as white, gray, and black, and people want to carry that lifestyle into their automotive life as well. Buick has followed this just like every other car color; however, a classic color from them is brown. This color is used to associate the car with a certain level of refinement like that of leather. Despite Buick’s love for it, brown is not a quite common color elsewhere on the market which in a way gives them a niche in the market, but the reason there are not many other brown cars is that the color itself is less than desirable. Obviously, since the 1970s, cars have drastically changed, styles have changed, there are more and more safety requirements, and the room for innovation is starting to decrease. Every car brand looks different today than it did 40 years ago, but I want to focus on Buick’s differences and why their decision to leave their previous market was not necessarily a poor decision. 40 years ago, GM had two luxury brands, Cadillac and Buick; Cadillac being marketed towards the ultra-luxurious class and Buick being a step below. Back then, this worked well, as this was the golden age for cars, gas was cheap and car companies had an enormous amount of room to innovate. Since car companies had a huge amount of room to innovate, that meant that there was quite a bit broader market than there is today as companies had more freedom to make what they wanted so they could fit and create markets galore. This is when Buick thrived; they held a market that few other companies had a part in, and GM placed them perfectly in their company line up. However, as 2000 approached and the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) put in more safety regulations, the time to freely innovate and experiment was coming to an end; and because of this, the number of markets quickly decreased until there was just a fraction of what was there before. One of those markets that shrank was Buick. Buick found themselves now directly competing with Lincoln from Ford, a company 93


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that also lost their market. The difference between luxury for all and luxury for the old quickly merged into just luxury, which made the market more crowded than ever before. People went with what they were already familiar with for big-ticket purchases such as a luxury car, this meant purchases from Mercedes, BMW, and the ultimate in iconic luxury, Cadillac. Then 2008 hit and GM had to make some massive changes, which included pulling Buick from being the lower side of ultra-luxury to the upper side of the younger market. The decision to move Buick was not a bad one as their century-old market was quickly diminishing and they needed to change something; the problem is that they made the wrong decision. The room for innovation is quite minimal nowadays which makes every market crowded, regardless of how many companies take up the market. That means more budget-friendly car companies such as Honda, Toyota, and Chevy do not appear that different from ones like Buick. Considering this, new buyers are more likely to go with the cheaper option as they still associate the Buick brand with older generations, so why spend more just to be told that you drive an old person’s car? As the market shrunk, Buick’s firm position in their respective market suddenly vanished and they were left to relocate to a market that will never fit them. VIII. Conclusion This advertisement marked a new chapter for Buick and GM. One of getting themselves out of the biggest depression since 1929, and serving all ends of the market with innovation that not only excites, but pushes the rest of the automobile industry forward as well. Despite their hopeful attitudes to the public’s perception of the brand changing, their poor execution, and their previous reputation will not let a change of perception— 94


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especially one of this size, come easily. Changing Buick like this was most likely never the plan, but GM was forced to do it following their almost total collapse. Even if this is the case, the public can already start to see the cracks forming on the 118-year-old brand especially in their increasingly desperate ad campaigns. I expect that Buick will not last too much longer. They have left the only market they could please for one that they have no chance in, and in 10 years or so, the brand might fall along with the very people it was originally made to serve. IX. Postscript While writing this paper, I found myself ever more intrigued by General Motors and how their massive corporation operates, changes, and develops over the years. I highly suggest that you take the time to research how some multi-billion dollar corporation has changed since their founding, especially if it is currently defunct. Now, considering that I am in high school, there may be elements of the advertisement that I was not accustomed to or able to know, so if there are please let me know as I am extremely interested in the topic and strive to know more. Despite my various qualms with this advertisement, I do think that General Motors is heading in the right direction especially with the massive shift to electric vehicles. Electric vehicles are the world’s future mode of individual transportation, so to establish yourself at the forefront of this new era, is an incredibly intelligent move. The new Ultium platform could serve as the stepping stone that will bring Tesla’s near monopoly of the EV market down. General Motors’ announcement showed their immense progress since 2008 as for the first time they started to attempt to stand out in the market, not simply operate conservatively. Most companies have, up until this point, structured their business around recovering and paying off their 95


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debts that they gained in 2008. This meant companies were producing boring, cheap, and practical cars, so a new brand like Tesla could take the market by storm as their recent founding a vastly smaller size made the recession a lot less of a problem for them. Now, about 13 years after 2008, the larger corporations are taking steps forward that show the new comfort in the market for them to experiment more. After seeing an era of cars that were all quite similar looking with unexciting colors and features, it is nice to see companies take the coming change to electric cars as an opportunity to make new and interesting ideas brought to life once again. General Motors legacy in America is close to unmatched as they have successfully provided the means of transportation for all types of people and will always be a major component of the global automotive market.

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“What Girls Are Made Of ” Grace Validzic

A

Russian advertisement recently published in 2017 by Nike and Wieden and Kennedy Amsterdam illustrates a modern twist to one of the country’s most recognizable ads and loved children’s songs. This advertisement displays the female sex’s reality by disagreeing with what women should be. In a recent Middle Eastern ad, “What Will They Say About You?” the swoosh (Nike) challenges cultural traditions that compare to the ad “What Girls Are Made Of,” which challenges gender inequality. By doing this, Nike allows its growth to increase through advertising an equal view of women in sports. Prior to this, when the United States Congress passed Title IX in the Education Amendments of 1972, that illustrated a landmark bill that enforced gender equality in high school and collegiate sports once and for all. Approximately a week later, the U.S Olympic Track and Field Trials began in Eugene. A handful of former University of Oregon runners created t-shirts and gave away free shoes that featured the now-famous Nike swoosh. Their small company was called Blue Ribbon Sports. The boots featured were called Nike, named after the Greek goddess of Victory. This appearance was the start of an era that featured social outcasts through a platform that normalized pushing the status quo. Nike advertised the outcasted revolution by display97


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ing dominating castaways on magazine covers, commercials, and nationally known advertisements. Nike strives for women’s equality and gives those who feel unaccepted the power over stereotypes. The “What Girls Are Made Of ” ad explicitly sells women’s equality, but it implicitly aims to prove society’s standards false to younger women and other outlaws. A young girl appears in an innocent white gown just before approaching a stage filled with a well-dressed adult audience. As the girl walks onto the scene, the spotlight hits her, and the piano’s delicacy begins to play soothingly. The traditional Russian Song does allow the belief that women are “flowers,” “gossip,” and “marmalade,” all of which receive a warm reception from the audience. However, the ad then takes a decisive turn where she changes the lyrics to include qualities such as “self-dedication,” “skill,” and “perseverance,” which receives a confusing reaction from the audience. As she sings, powerful female athletes dance, box, and display their strength around her. They end the advertisement with the same girl who previously sang, on a soccer field ready to make a goal, as her opponents and teammates stand directly behind her, emphasizing their power and women’s unity. Just before, the words “You’re made of what you do” and “Believe in more” flash upon the screen. This advertisement illustrates the complicated social standards applied to women and those who feel restricted by social norms. The little girl encounters influential figures who nod their heads, agreeing to the unification to prove females’ strength. The music beat quickly begins to pick up, striking an adrenaline rush to those who feel the commercial appeals to them. It is important to note that since Russia is a multicultural society, women often experience various ethnic, racial, religious, and social lines. Therefore, there is no single meaning of what a true woman is. Viewing this as a young child, a psychoanalytic critic would consider this exposure to allow children to 98


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accept themselves for who they indeed are. Often those who feel this way struggle for the social equality of LGBTQ+ members, racial and gender inequality, and many more. Overall, the key takeaway to the targeted audience is to understand that although we live in a judgmental society, we can overcome the standards if we unite. This advertisement successfully appeals to a pathological proposal that connects universal memories to times when individuals face gender inequality. Strategically Nike using the objectifying words “flowers,” “gossip,” and “marmalade” allows the integration of stereotypes of “What Women Are Made Of,” that leaves no room for toughness, determination, or strength. Undoubtedly, Nike intends to strike a mix of negative emotions to the target audience to gain the viewer’s attention. The concerning factor is how the well-dressed audience seems to nod their heads and sway almost as if they agree with the stereotypical message that is conveyed by the Russian songwriter. If the target audience were to view this portion of the commercial without analyzing it to the full term, there would be a great chance this advertisement could be ineffective. However, by watching this commercial to its full term, Nike’s targeted audience will be positively affected by the message. As the little girl continues to sing the sexist song, a figure skater interrupts by dramatically opening the auditorium doors, making direct contact with the little girl, and giving her a symbolic head nod that seemingly telepathically connects the figure skater and the little girl. At that moment, the targeted audience shifts their negative emotions directly into positive ones. After this encounter, the song drastically turns its perspective, and the girl immediately begins to sing “made of bruises, and of punches. Made of bravery, and of clenched fists.” In contrast, while the little girl sang this song, influential figures arose from the audience. Each model tore apart social standards and stereotypes of how women should behave through the ripping of 99


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a formal shirt, the sweat of a box, the strength appeared by the gymnasts, and the intense pull up by the athlete. This pathos appeal allowed the targeted audience to connect emotionally with the advertisement. Allowing them to remember situations where society confined them to be the stereotypical women, made “flower.” Frequently, these occurrences inflict trauma toward the individual and provide a platform that strives to allow victims of social harm to feel less alone successfully when their mission is complete. Therefore, after Nike develops this platform name to strive for equality, it will enable Nike to remain successful nationally. Due to the message represented in the advertisement “What Girls Are Made Of,” most sports teams proudly support Nike because they continually promote equality for worldwide conflicts. Therefore, athletic teams and athletes feel honored to be wearing something that helps to correct global social issues. Nike’s advertisements often share a pathological appeal that successfully targets audiences that emotionally connect with the topic. Due to their growth, there is no doubt that the effectiveness of this ad was extremely successful. However, without the opportunities to advertise inequality struggles within societies, wouldn’t have the same exposure, and Nike’s growth wouldn’t be near the same rate.

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Part III:

Etymology Study



The Candles in the Sky

Grace Validzic

A

urora, the noun for “the rising light of the morning; the dawn,” has developed into a variety of forms. Its linguistic roots originate in Jacobus de Voragine’s collection of hagiographies, Gold Legend in 1483. Spanning to modern variation, referring to aurora polaris, aurora borealis, and aurora australis, implying a natural light in the Earth’s atmosphere. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the term “aurora” is singularly used to depict colors in the sky, however, throughout many centuries, the literary works associated with “aurora” hold stories of their own. Evidently, throughout this paper the depiction of these individuals’ stories will allow insight to how the noun “aurora” came to be. By studying the art of the past, we can learn the way people view themselves and the world. Providing a meaning to understand the relationship with the past and the present. Although art doesn’t hold a linguistic value to the etymology of words, it plays a significant role. Especially for the word “aurora,” that is seen, but rarely spoken. This is because our mouths fail to put words behind the true beauty that we are witnessing. Which justifies why throughout my research on the history of “aurora,” the majority of the information included diverse art. The earliest known citing was in 2600 BC in China. Fu-Pao, the mother 103


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of the Yellow Emperor Shuan Yuan, claims to have seen a powerful light moving around the star Su, evidently illuminating the sky. This light had such an impact that thousands of years later, in 1570 AD, the drawing of the aurora was depicted as candles burning amongst the sky, pictured below. However, it wasn’t until 1619 AD that Galileo Galilei fabricated the term “aurora borealis” after Aurora, the Roman goddess of morning. He had the misconception that the auroras he saw were due to the sun reflecting from the atmosphere, when in reality it is a natural electrical phenomenon. In 2001, a parallel to Galileo Galilei’s artistic depiction of the term aurora, was illustrated in modern art format. Maidia Withers was a director of a new modern dance piece performed by an internationally diverse cast. The piece was inspired by the aurora presented by the picture below, of a single dancer illuminated by a pigmented color scheme. Maida Withers Dance Construction Company stated on their website that the “Dance of the Auroras, [was] an evening-length work of dance, music, and visual presentation, is a groundbreaking poetic voyage in space from the Sun through Earth’s auroras, the mystic luminaries of arctic and Antarctic skies also known as the Northern and Southern Lights”’. Without Galileo Galilei’s initial association with the Roman goddess Aurora, the name “aurora borealis” would fail to exist, providing the word aurora with a different purpose. However, it is interesting to investigate the impact the goddess Aurora has on the conception of the individual word. Her name derived from the Latin “aurora,” meaning “dawn.” Eventually, her name was born in Roman mythology (with her Greek counterpart, EOS). Story has it that as she renews herself every morning, she announces the arrival of the Sun. It is believed that shortly after, her tears turn into the morning dew. The relation between the artistic point of view and the scientific analogy about aurora distinctively correlates. As time 104


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has progressed, NASA has had the opportunity to deepen their study of astronomy. All the information relating to art thus far was provided by NASA on their website. Almost as if they felt the art had discovered “aurora” before they had allowed them to create their own interpretation. With the help of modern technology a satellite was able to capture a distinct picture of the aurora australis on September 11, 2005. With the caption “From space, the aurora is a crown of light that circles each of Earth’s poles”. According to Oxford Dictionary, the Meteorology definition is “a radiant admission that occurs sporadically over the middle and high latitudes of both hemispheres in the form of luminous bands, streamers, or the like, caused by the bombardment of the atmosphere with charged solar particles that are being guided along the earth’s magnetic lines of force”. From past to present, artistic to sophisticated, the word aurora has a convoluted configuration. Granting the etymology of “aurora,” the trends were nearly consistent, except for a singular outlier. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, “aurora” is the name of a flower that shares the beauty and brightness of their namesake. The association occurs during spring when they bloom for approximately one hour, then die. While this concept may seem alien, the rarity acts as a symbol of dawn. This act is not only interesting, but additionally odd because not many flowers have the ability to die naturally while living such a short life. However, the name for this plant is not only fitting, but accurate. The sun rising in the morning lasts for a period of time almost parallel to the flowers before the pigmented sky transforms into daylight. Providing the word “aurora” to be associated with short periods of time. The evolution of this word has progressively shifted over time. But what’s to come? Considering the current dynamic of present day society, technology will continue to progress rapidly. Allowing NASA to gather more information upon the 105


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illuminating auroras than they’ve already gathered. In relation to art, our society has become more aware of this community. By receiving the appreciation they deserve, members of this group will evidently use their artistic abilities to teach everyone, including those with disabilities about how the creation of auroras has developed overtime. This is a subject quite overlooked, however, those with disabilities best communicate through art and see things millennials fail to. In future research, conjoining brains will allow for us to see “aurora” in a new light. This means that a new color may be discovered in the auroras, or possibly auroras will progressively increase pigment to their color, therefore, over time allowing the sky to produce unimaginable color schemes. Unfortunately, no one can predict the future; we can only imagine the significance aurora will hold in the future whether that be through literature, astronomy, human names, or pieces of artwork that appear for approximately an hour before they die off.

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Megan Thee Stallion’s Hit Song’s Title Explained

Melanie Bogart, Ashley Turijan

W

hen we see something such as an item of clothing, a picture, a word, or even a particular food item, we interpret them differently based on who we are and the environment we grew up in. Certain words can trigger an emotion from an experience or a historical event surrounding the particular word. Different groups of people have words which can spark an emotion that not everyone will be able to relate to. The word “savage” for example is one of the words which appallingly affects Native Americans due to the historical background. They were constantly belittled and treated like uncivilized beings or even referred to as “animals,” only for the word to regain popularity in the 2000s and is now treated as a compliment. Clothing brands even have merchandise with the word in bold print on them, ignoring all the agony which Native Americans went through just to gain profit for their company. In search of new land to colonize, Christopher Columbus set out to find a shorter route from Europe to India in 1492. Columbus had misinterpreted where he was sailing and ended up on what is now known as the United States of America. He viewed it as the perfect piece of land to claim for Europe de107


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spite the Native Americans already living there. Back then, seeing Native Americans for the first time was like meeting someone from another planet. Their cultures varied in many ways, their appearances were different, their food, clothes, etc. There was a brief moment where they exchanged goods during the 15th and 16th centuries which later became known as the Columbian Exchange. The Americas were known as the old world who shared items such as corn, squash, tomatoes, and tobacco. Europe, known as the new world, traded items such as horses, chicken, pigs, rice, and cattle. Although there were various positive aspects of the Columbian Exchange which brought wealth and prosperity, there were also negative sides including certain diseases which spread from the new world to the old world such as smallpox, measles, and typhus which caused a decrease in the population within the Native Americans due to their lack of medication availability and immune system capabilities. Their differences assembled to create a flourishing atmosphere of prosperity despite the diseases. Much like everything else, the actions of the New World began to alter as time went on towards the Native Americans and the virtue and merit that was once demonstrated from them slowly began to vanish. During the year 1523, the term “savage” peaked in its usage but quickly decreased soon after which was when the word which was the beginning of categorizing Native Americans under such terminology to make them aware that they’re seen as “animals”, “uncivilized”, and overall less than human. In the course of the years 1447-1696, the term “savage” was to have the same behavior as a wild animal. During the years 1800’s-1850, the term was more frequently used, which was around the time of the Indian Removal/Trail of Tears which is when the word also began to have a definition in connection with being furious. When the Indian Removal Act was taking place, Native Americans were placed into a separate place apart from the rest of the people who migrated into 108


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the United States known as Oklahoma. Due to them having to migrate westward, “it is estimated that the five tribes lost 1 in 4 of their population due to cholera, starvation, cold, and exhaustion during the move west.” When being placed aside and called names on their homeland, they were being robbed of not only their land, but their culture, and even their way of life. Over the years, the slur that they were referred to had a constant definition relating to being furious or uncivilized when most of the tasks Natives carried out daily were harmless. As more people migrated over to the Americas, they expected Native Americans to become accustomed and convert into their way of life by becoming westernized just to be recognized as “civilized” or even human beings. During the 1800s, Native Americans were transformed to fit into Western culture by altering their appearance by cutting their hair, which they held dearly to their culture and who they were, their clothing, and they were even expected to convert to Christianity. When going into boarding school during the 19th century, the Americans had the dedicated mindset of “kill[ing] the Indian in him, and sav[ing] the man” as if Indians themselves weren’t already man. Recently, “on August 7, 2017, the U.S. Army began exhuming the graves of three children from the Northern Arapaho tribe who had died at Pratt’s Carlisle Indian Industrial School in the 1800s. The children’s names were Little Chief, Horse, and Little Plume-names they were forbidden to use at school.” Instead of the schools welcoming the Native Americans, they led to many of their deaths and stripped them from their history and their family traditions by “forbid[ding] Native American children from using their own languages, names, as well as practicing their religion and culture.” Schools are supposed to make people feel welcomed no matter where they come from or what they look like. The boarding schools which Native Americans attended were transforming them into European standards as if their way of life was incorrect or immoral. By hiding the tra109


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ditions and culture of the Natives, it would make them feel less than and embarrassed of who they are. After experiencing the trauma over the years from being referred to as a “savage” for their culture, the word now comes back into play in a positive manner. “The word “savage” originally comes from 13th-century colonialism and is directly correlated to the discovery of the New World. The word comes from the early French word “salvage” and from the Latin word salvaticus (meaning “of the woods, wild”) an alter form of silva meaning “woods or forest.” The word was initially used to describe something untamed, wild, or even beastly.” Instead of using the word towards animals in the wild, during the time of colonization, the term was used against Native Americans. They constantly faced harassment and inequality simply for who they were born as. Now, according to Urban Dictionary, the word “savage” is equal to being fierce, cool, hardcore, or someone who doesn’t hold back. Companies profit from using the terminology on clothing, accessories, or sometimes even posters without acknowledging the history and agony it holds to Native Americans. Even if a word does not affect us personally, we should take into consideration the people who are affected by it and agree with whatever they say and their emotions towards the topic. We shouldn’t walk around with a word on our shirts without fully understanding the history and pain it may bring a person due to their family losses or history. The emotions of Natives should be considered prior to our actions with words that may bring them sorrow and remind them of their ancestors’ agony. The word “savage” shouldn’t be thrown around as if it were another word in the English vocabulary without understanding the deeper meaning. To this day, we are still affecting Native Americans by living on their land, the least we could do is listen to their emotions in regards to their history. 110


The Sinister Minister:

Etymology from Religion to Horror Janeika Delgado

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ccording to the Oxford English Dictionary, “sinister” is an adjective that is used to describe evilness and part of the unknown. The roots of “sinister” started as early as the fifteenth century, as a description for having malice or being ill-willed in old Gospel books about the crucification of Jesus Christ. Now with the etymology still spanning out into the twenty-first century, being used as a genre for many books and movies with supernatural or gruesome events. In popular usage, a person who is sinister is corrupt and relentless. Even though these etymologies are different, they all circulate around the same theme of evilness. The main purpose of this paper is to evaluate all different etymologies, and to identify the revolution of sinister’s etymology from the basis of its social impact. From experiencing it, to becoming it, to reading it; “sinister” has revolutionized the American culture. The first high trend in the etymology of “Sinister” includes the relationship between the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and the sins that were committed when disobeying the Ten Commandments. Even though the first recording of the Sinister was in the 1400’s, religious books did not start getting published until the 111


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1500’s, when Thomas Taylor published his religious book about the after effects of the crucifixion of Christ. Mr. Taylor states, “Many in some blind and sinister respect or other, can come to heare Ieremie speaking from the Lord” the association with sinister has to do with the sins people committed, and the murder of Jesus Christ. During the 1500’s the word sinister typically meant acting suspicious, or as if you were hiding something. Being suspicious was seen as “sinister” because it was said in the bible that demons are found inside people and are masked as everyday humans walking through the streets. In the 2003 the Artibus et Historiae was published by the IRSA, and it included details about the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, “The Resurrection appears appropriately on the more important dexter side of the crucified Christ, while the sinister side is reserved for the Entombment.” The crucifixion of Jesus Christ was seen as “sinister” because armed men nailed Jesus Christ to the cross and continued throwing rocks to his body, which caused him to die. This was a traumatic and unusual event and one of the connotations that were associated with experiencing something unusual and a disaster. During this time, a lunar eclipse was said to have occurred; many Christians believed this was a warning from up above that the world was going to end. It was reported that in the Book of Revelation, the end was described as the moon being a dark to red color and the world would experience a loss of light. With this event occurring, people associated it with being “sinister” and that the end of the world was coming. “Sinister” does have a close connection and frequent use in the religious world, due to the close theme of all the connotations being circulated around evilness. A second important trend in this word’s etymology is its relationship to battlefields. In the OED for instance, another connotation is of an action, which can be expressed through dishonesty, unfairness and shadiness. This connotation influenced the writing of Appeal to Public by R. Harris, he explained, 112


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“The impressions of guilt which their sinister information had made upon his mind” when talking about the “sinister” acts committed on the battlegrounds. During the late 1500’s there were many battles fought mostly against the Spanish and religious empires. These wars were very gruesome, many deaths and most importantly many left injured badly, innocent and guilty. This popular trend lasted into the 1800’s and after this, many books about the history and the attacks were written; for example J.H Roses’ Life Napoleon which included, “He did not leave until November 10th, and before that time a sinister event [sc. an engagement between English and Spanish ships] had taken place... Resenting this action, Spain declared war” when talking about the Spanish American war. In the Spanish American war there were 385 American soldiers killed, 1,662 wounded and 11 prisoners, which left everyone in shock. This event sparked writers to write about the horrific war and the “sinister” events that soldiers and Americans experienced. This event has connections that are related to the connotation of experiencing something horrific and unfortunate. Some Americans believed that our Navy Admiral at the time, George Dewey, was sinister because of his orders he sent regarding targeting the Spanish. This helped the literal definition of “sinister” grow and spread through the different states and communities in the United States. The evolution of the word also represents a change of its literal meaning to the more generic meaning in the modern century. In the twenty-first century, “sinister” is more associated with the movie series, Sinister which was a screenplay written by Scott Derrickson and C. Robert Cargill and the book, Sinister written by Lisa Jackson, Nancy Bush, and Rosalind Noonan. Americans today, if watching a horror movie, would characterize that movie as being “sinister” because of the gruesome events that took place in the movie. The most popular definition of “sinister” is evilness, which leads to everything being evil asso113


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ciated with “sinister.” For over twenty years fiction books have dramatically increased the etymology of “sinister.” Books that typically contain supernatural and sinister events are in high demand to supernatural fans. In these books having mythical creatures and unnatural things are key to having a successful supernatural/ thriller book. Finally this definition is the most frequently used term when explaining the definition of “sinister” and supernatural objects are the most frequently used examples. “Sinister’s” current definition and the original definition are very similar, in that horror movies and catastrophic events both contain evilness. From the religious correlation to the horrors in the films, the word “sinister” has been around for many generations and will be for many more years to come. Since the thrill of watching horror movies and the importance of religion in many people’s lives are not going to disappear, the etymology of “sinister” will continue to grow.

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Animal or Excellence: The Rise of the Word ‘GOAT’ William Diaz

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uhammad Ali vs. Roy Jones Jr, Michael Jordan vs. Lebron James, Pele and Lionel Messi, what do these men all have in common, or should I rather say what’s the common dispute amongst them? Which one of them is the greatest of all time, or how adolescents refer to it, the GOAT? It’s fascinating though how an animal has been turned into a phrase and that one word can start a civil war in barbershops, cookouts, or any gathering. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word “goat” is best associated with the animal defined as a “domesticated browsing ruminant mammal, Capra aegagrus hircus, having backward-curving horns and typically a beard, kept worldwide for milk, wool, and meat. Also with distinguishing words to specify the breed.” This paper will address the social origins and contemporary etymology of the word from its provenance to how it continues to be used today. From the start, it’s important to note that the acronym GOAT has no connection with the animal. However, we can indubitably dissect when the animal became less prevalent and the acronym began to develop headway for a term of everyday use. The man accredited with this is of course one of the goats 115


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of all goats, Muhammad Ali. Muhammad Ali is unquestionably one of if not the greatest boxer to ever live. Ali embraced it too; he not only talked the talk, he could walk it too and even coined the legendary phrase “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee”. Ali was the epitome of confidence mixed with talent and just as he always would say “I am the greatest’’, and for that time period he sure was. In September 1992, Ali’s wife, Lonnie founded “G.O.A.T. Inc.” which was a seemingly perfect way for Ali to cement his legacy and aura long after his career had finished. This move into the business world legitimates the importance of the word’s continual power to market products and a lifestyle associated with sports. LL Cool J, a New York rapper was the next to add popularity to the phrase. In the year 2000 he released his album titled “G.O.A.T” in which he attributes all the praise to Ali. LL Cool J is responsible for sparking the debate thta would cement GOAT’s legacy as a word traded as cultural capital. Many rappers carried on this tradition of self proclaiming themselves the greatest of all time such as Drake, J.Cole, and Lil Baby, and to this day, the debate lives on. In 2016 the word “GOAT” spiked and it’s most likely for a reason even non sports fans may know. The greatest debate currently in all of North American sports. Lebron James vs Michael Jordan the two unquestionably greatest basketball players of all time. However, we live in a society of absolutes. In many fields, only one can reign supreme. The debate between these two greats is one that is very complicated because in one sense, Lebron has Jordan beat in every statistical measure and in most accolades. There’s one accolade that cements one’s entire legacy, championships. Jordan had six, while Lebron only had a measly two, going into the summer of 2016. Lebron makes it to the championship and is facing what many believe to be the greatest team of all time and almost nobody expected his team to win, and for the first half of the series, it looked over. The 116


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opposition took a commanding 3-1 lead in a best of seven series. Then the tides changed, and the next three games are what sparked the uprising of the word “GOAT” on social media. In dominating fashion, Lebron James roared a comeback to give his hometown city of Cleveland its first Championship in 50 years, slaying an unbeatable team, and being the only one to overcome a 3-1 deficit in the NBA finals. This performance solidified himself as the greatest of all time to many, as the debate was already going before that. Few years later on his media platform, he declared himself the greatest basketball player of all time. Social media is the sphere of influence currently in society, evidenced in James using it to solidify his own legacy after numerous wins. As social media began using “GOAT” more frequently, it became such a common phrase that in a sense it has lost its meaning. Everyone knows what it means and its significance in certain contexts. However, when the word is still being used in insignificant contexts, it tends to raise an eyebrow. Many kids use it as an everyday expression to give praise but they’re not insinuating that their peer is the greatest of all time. The word has even been altered into “goated” in a way to express something that a great would do. The sphere of influence known as social media changes our speech more than we’d like to admit. Even though “GOAT” might have lost its value in the everyday atmosphere, its relevance remains. From the likes of Ali carrying a deep rooted word to amass his legacy, the word then turned into a phrase that was used more in everyday language by LL Cool J. Finally, the word has become a staple of adolescent vernacular as social media pushed it and television shows promoted the word. The debate between Lebron James and Michael Jordan will never have an absolute; in fact, the only certainty I can give you is that “GOAT” is here to stay for the long haul. Ultimately, it remains up to the reader to decide who the greatest of all time truly is. 117



The ISHE Age:

An Etymological Analysis of a Classic Word

Julian Nault, Jeremiah Trowbridge

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anguage is quintessential to effectively communicate with other people; to express ideas, and grow as human beings. And like society, language too changes and develops as time passes with shards of history shining through. And it is through this process that humans create slang, an informal approach to language that leads to new definitions of old words, or words which are entirely created based upon the jargon the adolescents of today employ. It is with these youth and their jargon which has redefined the word “Ice”. Having once meant the literal substance of water in its cold, solid state, now refers to wealth in the form of diamond bling. Because of this association with expensive diamond wear, many adolescents have also come to associate “ISHE” as an expression of swagger or achievement. For example, someone might say “ISHE” as an exclaimed response to good news or it could be used to flaunt someone’s diamond jewelry. Derivations in language, such as “ISHE,” take time to morph and transform, but they always have formal origins in the past. A word’s journey goes through many cycles, and different meanings, with the youth of today playing a major factor in the transformation of our language. 119


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This natural progression of language stems from the need for human connection. Language, while first meant to be purely communicative, transformed into being a more colloquial tool as time progressed, resulting in words morphing into new definitions for the popular lexicon of the time. Slang was born from this need to be social and as a result, it encapsulates society at the time. Understanding the origins and roots of our language and subsequently slang, allows us to become more in touch with society and human connection, serving as a form of deeper cognitive and social communication that binds us together. Slang by itself, especially in a modern setting, is responsible for the creation of comfortable and relaxed environments which are ripe with human connection. By understanding the origins, and the path which words/phrases have undergone, one will better understand human expression and form more genuine relationships. Much of our modern language evolves and transforms, leaving behind a trail. For much of our language, this trail can be traced back to Latin. As for the expression “ISHEEE,” it happens to have ties with the suffix of “ice” during the Roman era. Much of the Latin roots have their applications in English words, some of which connote a similar meaning thousands of years after being formed. Words with the suffix of “ice” subsequently mean both “hoarding wealth”, as well as “to give [...] notice,” and these meanings ironically found their way into the modern interpretation of “ice.” It is this relationship which is important to the understanding of our modern era, and the interactions we have with one another, as our modern interpretation of our language is ultimately a reflection of society as these words morph to fit the modern jargon of the era and how we should interact with one another. As society became more open and less formal, language became more relaxed, and as a result, slang was introduced into our modern lexicon. This informality allowed us to form new expressions within our language, com120


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bining phrases together to create a more informal, yet more comfortable form of speech. An instance of this occurring in the modern era can be observed with that of the Inuit/Yupik languages. Both of these languages have a multitude of different words and phrases describing what we English speakers consider to be the same thing. Both of the languages ironically having multiple words for types of ice. While English has condensed, and broadened words which are similar in concept, many languages which are more formal, and more communicative rather than social have a diverse set of variations of words which help with their daily way of life. This condensing of language which leads into the modern day expressions which many of these slang phrases exude, are a result of societal changes towards a more informal way of communication. And it is this reform of our language and informality which leads to more genuine human connection. A relaxed/casual environment is a catalyst for a comfortable conversation and the bonding between peoples. These casual environments often aid in forming bonds between people. Looking to the past, and understanding the history of words and their deeper meaning helps us to understand our society and the people around us, allowing us to make that deeper, and more genuine connection with one another. Just as important as its original interpretation, “ice’s” more modern connotation must also be addressed, especially in regards to the hit song, “Ice Ice Baby” by Vanilla Ice. The “Ice” portion of his name originates from an iconic dance move that he coined at the start of his career that appears as if he is sliding on literal ice, however much of the general public associated “ice” with having swagger, and bringing attention to said swagger. Because of Vanilla Ice’s extreme popularity within the rap industry and with the mainstream media, he started a butterfly effect with the term “ice”. This butterfly effect helped to broaden the term more, as people began to use “ice” in everyday conversation as a result of the popularity of his name and 121


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song, using it in a whole host of different scenarios. Meanwhile, this new meaning still incorporated the latin root application of “ice” which makes sense since the latin root incorporation is defined as “grabbing attention” except the new meaning found a multitude of other applications. This example demonstrates how the condensing and increased informality of our lexicon allows for language to incorporate from the past whilst applying new meanings as we move towards an even more social environment. Subsequently, Vanilla Ice’s impact on the public almost certainly branched out the word’s slang usage because of the newfound relevance and popularity of “Ice Ice Baby”, as well as his name, especially since his released song was the first ever hip hop single to top the Billboard Hot 100. “Ice Ice Baby” was originally released in 2009 but came to prominence in 2012. The song has even been credited for helping to diversify the language of the general media by introducing it to a mainstream audience through a rapper which was unique and new for the time, resulting in the broadening of terms which were associated with the word “ice”. Overall, Vanilla Ice’s legacy as a mainstream hip hop artist proved to have a major influence over the word ice’s popularity and aided in transforming it into the jargon that it is today. More recently, at the end of 2020 going into 2021, the extremely influential social media app, TikTok, became a host for a new trend and influence of the word “ice” and practically reinvented the way that people use this word within slang. It all started when a young TikTok creator posted a video in which he satirized individuals with fake bling by testing his fake “diamond” teeth with some random object that was obviously not a diamond tester, and then proceeded to shout “ICE,” except his fake diamond teeth gave him a lisp that altered the sound of the word to sound like “ISHE”. This TikTok caught the attention of millions of viewers across social media because of its sarcastic nature and started a trend of other users who replicated 122


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the joke with their own unique and funny “diamond bling” and “diamond testers” that consisted of tin foil necklaces, party city crowns, and other random household items. This running joke eventually lost relevance; however, its effect on the etymology of “ice” is still prolific, and became known amongst the many young viewers of TikTok. Since the word ice had now become associated with a running joke and satire, its usage as a slang word began to reflect that atmosphere of humor. Despite the new connotation of humor, “ice” still maintained the original meanings established by the Latin roots, and the work of Vanilla Ice. For the future of “ice,” only time will tell, but its association with a more casual and funny connotation could potentially lead to a gradual spike in the usage of the word as of late 2020 and onward which Google Ngram Viewer currently does not show. The reason that the change of this word became so rapid and mutative as of recently is almost certainly due to TikTok itself. Ever since Covid-19 became responsible for a worldwide pandemic, 2020 became a catalyst for social change. With the youth stuck at home in quarantine, a majority of the young population participated in social media, especially the app TikTok. This gave way to a massive influence over younger generations and allowed for these types of massive social and etymological transformations on all platforms, but especially TikTok. The word “ice” simply became a social lubricant for this specific TikTok trend within the complex clutter of stimulation that is social media. By expanding its meaning through social media, “ice” was simply adapting to the needs of modern language by applying to a more informal and social setting. Overall, The word “ice” has a fairly mundane origin, but its complexity comes from its modern interpretations. Like a lot of other words in the English language, ice experienced, and continues to experience, massive reform to its meaning and usage, teaching us how a word’s interpretation reflects back directly 123


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upon society itself. Since a majority of society today is more social in nature and doesn’t necessarily need to be as precise as it had been, with us no longer needing specific communicative dialects to survive, we have informalized our language to better suit social situations. And as a result we instead end up broadening the application of words to things like trending satire on social media, or associating it with hip hop and swagger. The circumstances on which language change occurs has become so much more descriptivist and reflective of expression that it allows for words like ice to have the opportunity to undergo rapid and complex etymological adaptation. On the whole, slang is the catalyst of language evolution and its importance has its foundation in making social environments more casual and vulnerable to human expression. Understanding where this slang originated helps us to understand the society of the time that it reflects, and better apply it to human connection. This is why slang is ultimately the solution to expanding human emotion and becoming unchained from the prescriptivist firewall.

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Dripping Through Time:

The Continuance of The Word Drip

Jenna Kafrawi

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riginally from the Proto-Germanic drupjanan, drip was integrated into Old English in the form of drypan or dryppan, until it became the modern version we know today. Sam’s voice was dripping with sarcasm as he replied to his brother, the faucet dripped after years of being neglected, the IV dripped as the patient struggled to maintain consciousness: these are all prime examples of the utility of the word drip. Due to its versatility, this word has been used consistently throughout time, the earliest form of it in English (drippen) recorded to begin in the 13th century. The most common meaning of the word is to “have moisture or liquid falling off in drops; to be so copiously wet or saturated with as to shed drops,” and while this form has daily uses, the word drip has also permeated into American Slang and its meaning has changed as well. According to the Urban Dictionary, drip can be used to describe something “very swag and cool.” While its utility has not changed, allowing drip to have endured the test of time, drip has also evolved throughout history in the form of slang. A major trend in the history of the word drip is its figurative meaning. The first instance of this occurred from 1919 to 1946 125


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and it was the derivation in its meaning from the classic sense to meaning “nonsense; flattery; sentimental drivel.” This usage was first visible in Wine, Women & War, the 1918 journal of Howard Vincent O’Brien, when he wrote about “duties by Navy egg, regular and hard boiled. Usual R.O.T.C. drip.” This meaning stemmed from the figurative sense of the word drip, starting with the literal meaning of the word “to be so copiously wet or saturated with as to shed drops,” and applying it to daily conversations. In this sense, this meaning may refer to excessive and meaningless statements or flattering someone so much that it is overdone. Additionally, the second trend in the meaning of the word drip is the negative connotation now attached to the word. In this case, drip is used to describe someone who is “stupid, feeble, or dull.” This meaning lasted from about the 1930’s to the 1960’s, and was visible in works such as Men are like Street Cars by G. Lorimer and S. Lorimer, who wrote “He’s no drip... Ted’s a darn good egg,” exemplifying how drip was used in a disparaging manner and the negative connotation that came with this version. This meaning also continues the trend of using the metaphorical meaning of the word, as it may have referred to someone that was so unbearable that their negative traits seemed to exude from their very being. The third version of the word drip is a combination of the two trends including both the figurative meaning and the negative connotation. From 1945 to 1970, drip meant “a grumble [or] complaint.” An example of this version in use is in the Holiday Sailor by Tackline, writing “Some of you chaps, you’re on the drip the whole bloomin’ time. Nothing but moan, moan, moan.” This meaning still reflects the trend from the first example, which may be due to the fact that this form was known as naval slang, and so, it may have spread through the military, allowing it to have preserved the trend of using the figurative meaning. In this version of the word, it still describes some126


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thing in excess like in the first example, only this time it refers to complaints and not flattery. Similarly, both this example and the second example follow the trend of a negative connotation with the word. The overlap in trends may be due to the fact that there is also some overlap in the time of use between the different versions of the word drip. The last trend observed is a split from the negative connotation to now a positive connotation. In modern American slang, drip is used to refer to something or someone that has so much confidence, swagger, or style that it seems to exude (or drip) from their very being. The exact origins of this version of the word are highly disputed, with many rappers vying for the credit of coining this term. This is likely due to the fact that the person who is credited with popularizing the term would gain social standing. And so, these various rappers are fighting for this social capital through claiming credit for such a popular term. Furthermore, each rapper has their own take on the meaning of drip. Sauce Walka claims that “to drip” means to “be a king [and] to be a winner,” Offset and Cardi B use it to describe their wealth, and Gunna believes that drip refers to fashion. Though their interpretations of the word differ, each interpretation has the same positive connotation accompanying the word. Despite the varying interpretations, there’s no doubt the impact of this word in American popular culture, as it has appeared in multiple songs such as Lil Baby and Gunna’s “Drip too Hard,” and Cardi B’s “Drip,” highlighting just how influential the slang word is. I theorize that the word drip in American slang will continue to follow the trend of referring to the metaphorical meaning. With the 1920’s version referring to excessive flattery, the 1930’s meaning excessive negative traits, the 1950’s referring to excessive complaints, and now the modern version referring to excessive style, drip in slang has consistently used the metaphorical meaning and applied it to a certain trait. On the 127


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other hand, the connotations of the word drip have not stayed constant. Originally carrying a negative connotation, the word now is used as a form of praise in slang. And so, I believe that this trend will continue and the connotations of the word will undulate between positive and negative. Ultimately, drip will continue to have relevance as it is not only practical but is also adaptable as is evident in its various slang definitions.

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Purple Reign: An Analysis of Many Shades of Meaning

Sally Young

I. Introduction

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hile red is often associated with anger and blue with sadness, purple has its own unique world of symbolism that stretches across centuries. The word purple, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, is “of a deep, rich shade intermediate between crimson and violet.” Aside from being that recognizable mix of red and blue, though, purple has several distinct symbolic meanings that differ from other colors. Purple means luxury, royalty, and even bloodshed. It is often a symbol in literature and art, as its use as both a word and visible hue leaves a lasting impression on any audience. The development of the word itself and the expanse of ideas surrounding purple prove that the world’s natural beauty has always been a birthplace for art and creativity. When asked my favorite color, purple is always my response. Its depth and flexibility never fail to amaze me. Initially, I struggled admitting this, because I didn’t want to fit into the stereotypical feminine norm. I recognized that society should not be pushing the idea that girls like purple, but I wanted to fight 129


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against it so vehemently that I denied my own truth. I found, though, that purple meant much more than a ‘girl color.’ It is a royal color, a religious color, and even now, a portrayal of female empowerment. Its history was important to my understanding of its beauty, and I am now proud to boast my love for both the word and the hue. I appreciate that nature creates such a dynamically meaningful shade. II. Development The first forms of the word purple came about in the times of Ancient Greece and Rome. As culture and signifier of status became increasingly important, new luxuries were considered markers of the wealthy. A dye extracted from murex shellfish, a new shade of crimson, was one of these markers, and sprouted the name Tyrian purple. Those who were able to afford clothes of this expensive dye were seen as paragons of luxury. From its very beginning, purple has served a symbolic purpose, galvanizing the class divide. Further, early definitions of the word purple included its use as a “distinguishing feature of the dress of emperors.” The legacy of the word itself, too, has included its first identifying purpose: a visual representation of royalty. At this point, the word was not spelled the way it is now. The spellings varied, from the Old English “purbple,” to Middle English forms like “purpel” and “purpil.” Just as the early definitions of the word were primitive, the spelling, too, was not set in stone. In its early period, purple remained a basic idea of wealth, but even then, it served a greater purpose than just a simple word or hue. As language expanded and matured throughout the Middle Ages, the usage of the word purple did as well. In the 15th and 16th centuries, the modern spelling of ‘purple’ was first introduced, and eventually cemented itself into the English lan130


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guage. In fact, in the years surrounding 1590, there was a spike in the use of the word in literature. The Google Books Ngram entry for purple proves that as the English language itself expanded, the word purple moved in parallel expansion, and was an important etymological and symbolic part of the language. At this point, too, the meaning of purple updated to its current status, the mix of crimson and violet as opposed to just a certain shade of crimson. Symbolically, the meaning constantly changes and adapts to the purpose of authors and artists, although some specific symbolic meanings have stood out from those early stages up until now. Color, which derives from the world around us, serves a great purpose in incentivizing new art. III. Symbolism Since its beginning, purple has represented royalty. As discussed before, this came about due to the expensive dye that introduced the hue to society. In art and literature, still, the word and color symbolize high status and luxury. For example, in Thomas Gray’s 1753 “Hymn to Adversity,” he muses that “Purple tyrants vainly groan,” which makes purple a quality of being royal. This demonstrates further that purple, as a term, symbolizes that high imperial status. As a color, too, purple symbolizes wealth. In the art of the Middle Ages, royal or extremely wealthy figures were depicted wearing garments of purple. This illustrates the connection between language and art, the world that we’re able to observe and that which we read. Color merges the two, and creates a complex identification of symbols that is intuitive and unconscious. Another of the many symbolic meanings of purple is biblical penitence. During the Catholic Church seasons of Advent and Lent, priests wear robes of purple in order to demonstrate 131


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their sorrow and repentance of sin, before the symbolic arrival of Jesus Christ. An early example of this usage is Jarvis’ translation of Miguel de Cervantes’ novel Don Quixote, as “a venerable old man” is “clad in a long mourning cloak of purple bays.” This demonstrates not only that purple suggests “mourning” and penitence, but also that only the “venerable” and respectable members of society wear it. The term has been a widespread, recognizable representation of sorrow and respect, even in translations of classic literature. Purple has served to advance the purpose and complexity of the work of authors and artists, and continues to illustrate a variety of identifiable ideas. Purple is also often associated with the idea of femininity. While colors like blue and red adorn children’s toys and clothing aimed at boys, girls are conditioned to associate themselves with pink and purple. However, leaders of the ongoing movement for equality have begun to reassociate purple into a powerful symbol. Alice Walker, author of The Color Purple, argues that “womanism is to feminism as purple is to lavender.” While lavender represents the feminist movement that has long forgotten women of color, womanism celebrates underrepresented races in the movement for women’s equality. Purple, considered darker than lavender, represents the movement that includes women of a darker skin color. Purple has come to symbolize an intersectional feminist ideology, even in today’s political sphere. Women in government often wear the color to support this movement. Thus, the association of purple with femininity has been reclaimed into a form of feminine empowerment, a taking back of the color to lift women up rather than push them into submission. Color is able to shift in meaning as ideologies evolve, a testament to the role of art in creating these new ideologies.

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IV. Predictions Because purple, and colors in general, are so flexible and open to interpretation, it is impossible to make a prediction of what purple will come to represent next. Authors and artists are able to shift its meaning into what they desire, to spread the message of their piece on a wider and more complex scale. However, I can accurately predict that purple will always serve symbolic purposes in art. Perhaps other shades will come to represent different meanings, like Walker equates lavender with feminism and darker purple with womanism. In the future, shades like lilac and amethyst may have their own distinct symbols, instead of falling under the umbrella of purple. While color is used in conversation by everyone, I predict that, like today, artists will maintain its importance to the field of creativity, and continue to be inspired by the world’s natural beauty. V. Conclusion As humans, we take for granted the world around us. This is seen in the blatant disrespect of the planet by leaders and companies that pollute it. The naturally-occurring wonders and colors of the world are left under appreciated and underrepresented, even though it is the inspiration for the art that we enjoy everyday. Nature and its colors have incentivized the creation of art and language that express the human experience. Purple, particularly, has an ever-expanding realm of symbols, from the class divide to the empowerment of the oppressed. I urge society to recognize the importance of color in the art, the literature, and the nature we take in every second. Over time, the spelling and meaning of purple advanced with the expansion of language and human intelligence. It became a representation of wealth through its origin as an expensive dye, and 133


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expanded to represent this in art and literature. More symbolic meanings took root, and now purple is almost always used as a symbol of some other idea, connected with another aspect of the human experience. Our culture must reach a point where we credit the success of the media we consume with the beauty of nature and color.

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The Wonders of Weakness

Kierstin Comerford

I. Introduction

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eakness is a word that describes something in a negative way, such as a disadvantage, either to an object or a person. Weakness has four trends which include, when a liking for something is too strong so you can’t resist it, your lack of physical strength, your emotions, and the circumstance, like a character flaw. I think that weakness is a word that everyone can relate to, in any of the four different ways the word is used. I feel like people may think that having weaknesses is something you should ignore and/or try to fix. Everyone wants to be strong and wants to be perfect. But personally, I believe that weaknesses should be embraced. You shouldn’t be ashamed or embarrassed of having them. I feel like ignoring weaknesses is what makes you more weak and portrays the fact that you’re too scared to admit them. So adding to that, I feel like the people who use this word only use it when they are pointing out others’ flaws or when picking on others for their weaknesses. They are cocky and want to be thought of as great and perfect. But they put up a front and hide their feelings and they bring others down so their weaknesses won’t be visible. They’re insecure and want their insecurities to be hidden. No one wants to 135


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be thought of as weak, everyone else has their weaknesses too. Having weaknesses doesn’t mean that you’re weak, it means that you’re strong. You deal with them and you can admit that you have weaknesses, which can be a range of things including your fears or your insecurities. II. Etymology The first trend of the word weakness is physical strength. This was the first way this word had been used meaning the quality of being weak, the opposite of strong, saying that someone or something has little power. Dating all the way back to 1300, but it had been changing the word’s spellings up until 1920. The second trend is the circumstance. Starting in 1597, circumstance meant a disadvantage. The definition finally stopped going through change in 1920. The third meaning of the word is the emotional state. Being mentally ill or not having the right mindset. This utilization began in 1645, while the definition became set in 1859. The fourth meaning the word weakness has, is a liking for something, including an object or feeling. When your liking for something is too strong and it just reels you in because you can’t resist. This trend has been in use from 1712 up until 1913. Going back to the spelling of weakness, the Oxford English Dictionary had stated that some spellings were once, “Weiknes” from 1300, “Weykenesse” from 1440, “weakenesse” from 1616, and now “weakness” from 1686 to now. The meaning of this word never really changed, but had been added to, as I had already mentioned the four definitions. Going back to the first spelling in 1300, “weiknes” the root word “weik” means “to bend.” As mentioned on vocabulary. com, the root was discovered in 3000-2001 BC. “The origin of weakness can be traced all the way back to its Proto-Indo-European root of weik.” The Proto-Indo-European was founded 136


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in Ukraine and Southern Russia. The root “weik” meaning “to bend” is mentioning physical strength; the first definition the word weakness had. This word though has been used all over the place. For example, it was mostly used in 1774. The most common event that happened in 1774 is that the British Parliament had passed the five Intolerable Acts. The laws passed were used as punishments targeted towards colonists after the Boston Tea Party, which tax was added on to certain goods, getting a reaction out of people that didn’t have enough power to do anything about it. During this era, the Christian Era, weakness was used as the quality of being weak and physically deficient in power. I feel like as I was doing my research the most popular way weakness has been used is when it’s describing the physical strength of someone or something. III. Predictions The word weakness and the definitions will definitely stay around in the future. It’s already been around for at least seven hundred years. I don’t think any of the definitions it has will change, but if something were to change I think only more in depth definitions or other definitions would be added, or the use of the other definitions would not be used anymore, like the psychological trend. I feel like in the future that meaning will be used less because nowadays, people are starting to embrace everything over social media, for example, body positivity, no matter the height, weight, skin color, etc, everything is accepted and appreciated. So I think everyone will start to give in and accept everyone for their flaws and their own insecurities. They will soon think everything is normal no matter who they are. I don’t think that anyone will not use this word though. But I do think it will mainly be used for the physical strength trend and mainly only talking about objects. An example of this is when 137


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construction workers and people in their house talk about their furniture, making sure it is stable, not weak. I feel like that’s it’s only purpose it should have—on objects. I don’t think this word should be used to describe any person, especially if it’s in a negative way, which it usually is. It is acceptable to use in this context at a hospital when a doctor is speaking about a patient that is weak and may not survive to describe the condition of the patient to the patient’s family. This is an acceptable situation for the word to be used in this context because it’s not bringing down the patient’s self esteem as they really can’t do anything about their condition. This solidifies the idea that the use of describing weaknesses in a person should decrease. In the future, I don’t think the word weakness will be associated with other words. Weakness has synonyms but I feel that those synonyms can’t be confused with weakness. Weakness has its own way of describing four different characteristics, while a synonym may only uncover one of the four trends.

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Speculating Reality

Owen Sellers

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he Oxford English Dictionary definition of the word ‘Reality’ is simply 1. “Real Existence” and 3. “A real fact or state of things”. The definition given before, while broad at best, cannot be scrutinized for being broad as to accurately define the word would take a lot more words than their modest nine. Personally, reality has always been a word of interest, not because of its definition, but lack thereof. There is no definite definition of reality, and there never will be, it is one of the few words that can never truly be defined universally. Any type of reality, whether that be a dream or simulation, can be just as real as the presumed real life if both feel just as real. As the word statically traveled through time, its meaning fluctuated in relevance to current events such as the discovery of the new world as well as speculatory philosophical ideas. Today, the word’s meaning is still scattered; however, some have concluded different portions of our life that relate to reality and these bring a more dynamic association with the word than previously thought of. While the word itself has stayed quite consistent over time, the definition has been anything but consistent. The word can first be traced back to Ancient Greece when philosophers from around the world alluded to the possibility that our known reality could be an illusion. One philosopher, in particular, 139


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Zhuangzi, argued that if what was experienced in a dream felt just as real as real life, then is there a distinction between the two? Since then, this question has become a piece of luggage that usually comes with the word as it is continuously adapted to numerous events throughout the history of the world. One main example is the new world, in which Google’s Ngram service has been able to trace a surge of the word’s usage that aligned with the discovery of the new world from explorers of the old world. This connection is made as people question the relation from the old world to the new one, was it that they had just not discovered it? Or possibly that a new world had been made to replace where they currently were, whatever the relationship might have been, they questioned the structure of the world they had known up to this point. The old world was all that they knew of up until that point, they did not believe that other continents existed. Plato’s allegory of the cave perfectly encapsulates this phenomenon. In the allegory of the cave, three people are sitting next to one another chained in such a way that the only thing they have ever seen is the wall that is in front of them. Behind them lies an eternally lit fire and a path in between the fire in the people. As people walk on the path, their shadows are cast upon the wall, and the people, as they know nothing else, assume that the shadows are real independent entities, and if the passersby talked, they believed that the shadows talked. They had no idea that the shadows were mere copies of already complete beings. The chained people represent the people from the old world, except that they have now been unchained and are free to discover the truth. In current times, the word reality’s usage has remained quite consistent in that it not only describes the supposed true reality but also a possible reality that may be seen as separate from the true one. Knowing this, the future of the word’s usage must be based on future events and discoveries that cause people to question if what we know is the truth or a mere simulation; 140


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discoveries such as aliens proved to be real, not them just being hypothesized to exist. Some people currently believe that we already live inside a simulation whether that be through a religious presence or just some being running a trial that happens to include us inside. This claim is commonly used to justify enigmas over the possibility that the event was purely coincidental. While people can try to justify any overarching existence, no concrete evidence can be displayed to prove any theory, so it remains a matter of speculation. With the sharp spike in computing power in the past semicentennial, a focus of a new industry has been to create the most realistic virtual reality to take people out of the supposed true reality temporarily. Companies like Oculus and HTC have devoted their model to pushing the limits of a controllable false reality forward until the difference between the supposed true world and what has been created becomes negligible. While enormous steps have been taken, we are still far from complete immersion in the created reality. Virtual reality headsets place a screen directly in front of the eyes of the user and fit in around the contours of the user’s face to completely immerse their vision. Ideally, headphones are also used to cover the sound of the outside world and help to further push you away from the true reality. The issue that continues to persist is how to cover the other three senses, those being touch, taste, and smell. In most cases, controllers are held in the hands to control how you interact with the virtual world, but the controls remain constant, so no matter your activity, you will be feeling the same thing the whole time. Many virtual reality experts such as Michael Bjorn, the Head of Research at Ericsson, predict that by 2030 a completely immersive virtual reality will become available. While, as of now, virtual reality can still not be considered a completely different reality, it is not long before all of us will have access to a reality of our choosing. If technology continues to allow humanity to both expand 141


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outward and inward, the assumption is that we will continue to expand over inward and push farther from our only known home, the earth. While this has been the goal for years, I cannot help but wonder what the craving to leave is. We are less than 10 years from being able to live out any reality we want in near or complete immersion, so why take the risk? I am not saying that we should halt all external explorations; they should be continued as we should continue to expand outward; however, the general consensus of humanity wanting to leave the earth just makes the effort evermore complex. The difference between the two is that while living in virtual reality you can experience something else, however, it is still not real, especially compared to what we think of as real life. We have yet to definitively experience a reality that truly rivals the one we have always lived in. While the word “reality” has yet to change in the word itself, how the word is used has been anything but static. Reality can be interpreted in any way imaginable as without it, our existence would be deeper in questions instead of conclusions. The inability to define the word rivals this desire, begging the question of why there is so much focus on creating a new reality when we should be trying to delineate reality. While there are endless theories about what our main existing reality is, not yet has there been any definitive proof on any one of them, leaving our desire to know endless and unforgiving. Reality is unique in that when thinking of what it could mean, you can easily fall into a rabbit hole that makes you question everything you knew up until now, leaving you speculating endlessly hoping to find that rock, that solid proof that we exist somewhere else.

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The Ways in Which People Have Fun

Richard Xu

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he word ‘fun’ is a commonly used word throughout the present day and is often associated with lighthearted humor or enjoyable activities, but the word we are all familiar with once held a completely different meaning. Some of the oldest recordings of ‘fun’ date back to the 1600s when its connotation was used to cajole someone. Even the formality surrounding the word fun changed significantly as it became more popular among the average serf. Several English authors revolutionized the word into the noun and adjective form we know today. Many phrases we use on a daily basis stem from fun. The word has become an integral part of modern society and how people express their blissful emotions to one another. During the late fourteenth century several English writers began dabbling in the word ‘fun’. One writer in particular, Geoffrey Chaucer wrote a collection of novels known as The Canterbury Tales which transformed the usage of ‘fun’. Prior to his publication, fun was often utilized as a diversion from the upper class to appear educated and wealthy. However, Chaucer’s ridiculous stories revolved around bodily humor and other funny actions. He even pioneered the whoopee cushion which 143


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was often a humorous trap that appeared in his texts. By the 1600s, the definition of fun shifted to a verb, which entailed cheating and light-hearted jokes. The public enjoyed Chaucer’s sense of humor within his tales and implemented the word fun into their own vocabulary. At this point, fun became a staple word for the average serf. Chaucer defied the pretentious boundaries of the upper class through his ridiculous stories. The origin of fun exemplifies how the average man is capable of defying social boundaries to adopt new forms of language. Fun’s history was not always welcomed with open arms. Most notably, this occurred when Henry VIII banished the word in England. There is no definitive reason as to why he outlawed the word, but historians speculate King Harold’s defeat in “The Battle of Fun’’ marred England. One of Henry VIII’s former wives, Anne Boelyn, protested to reintroduce fun into English language. Unfortunately, following her death, the word was once again banished. Henry VIII then forbade any of his future consorts and wives from ever having fun. Nearly one hundred years later, fun was finally reintroduced in English society, following the end of William III’s reign in the late 1600s. The popularity of the word skyrocketed; fun had finally integrated into the English language. Fun transformed into an adjective and the definition was lighthearted pleasure. Once again, the restoration of fun signaled the power of the working class to empower themselves through linguistic phrases. Fun eventually made its way to the western hemisphere when London criminals were arrested and sent to the shores of America. Early usage of fun began in the South, where the word thrived. Shortly after, fun developed into northern areas such as New England. Several records of history contain phrases of fun such as “to make fun of ” and “to have fun with”. During the time period of 1850-1950, fun’s usage steadily increased in part of its migration to the Americas. In the present day, fun is found all around the northern continent. There are even hol144


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idays like April Fool’s Day, which revolve around funny jokes. Several phrases with ‘fun’ were popularized among American literature and are still used today. Fun has evolved into the noun we are familiar with today, meaning enjoyment and amusement. Other words, such as funny, stem from fun and became a crucial part of the English language. Language reflects a culture’s identity and without the word ‘fun’, America’s sense of humor may have looked completely different as to what it is today. One of the many fascinating ideas the etymology of fun perpetuates is the struggle between socioeconomic classes in society. As mentioned previously, fun was an exclusive term reserved for the upper class since the working class were unable to afford proper education. By implementing this word into their language, they created yet another divide between rich and poor. Differences in language are differences in philosophies, which manifest into physical tension. A famous example of increasing tension between opposing social classes is the French Revolution. King Louis XVI’s tyrannical rule siphoned the working class’s tax dollars to orchestrate palaces for the wealthy. Consequently, a civil war emerged which resulted in a diffusion of culture. Similar to the etymology of fun in England, members of the lower class in France adopted customs of the first and second state such as language. Changes in language are often associated with revolutions; language is shaped from culture and culture is shaped from revolution. The modal shift of fun illustrates the unique perspectives of cultures. When language travels from one social class to another, shifts in attitude are created. Words themselves are only as powerful as people make them. Their meaning is derived from human culture and how people view the world. During the 1600s in England, fun originated as a verb meant to trick someone into doing something. Given the circumstances of the Middle Ages, poverty was a common sight in England. But as fun migrated to the western hemisphere, fun transformed into 145


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a noun and adjective. In addition, the definition shifted to a ‘light-hearted pleasure’. Culture in the Americas by the 1700s was heavily dictated by religious morals. The vast differences in cultures between the two countries highlighted the ways in which language transformed. However, there were many similarities America and England shared, such as the taboo of having fun in society. Puritanism despised any forms of leisure that defied God’s will. Drinking and partying were demonized among American society. Likewise, English rulers restricted the average serf from having fun. In both cases, the struggle of power between social classes demonstrates the transition in fun’s etymology. In recent years, fun has evolved into a noun or adjective commonly used in informal speech. Everyone’s form of fun is subjective which is why there are a variety of phrases to express these emotions. Whether people are having fun or making fun out of others, humans indulge in fun. Transitions throughout fun’s history portray the dynamics of human culture and society. Fun’s usage has been steadily increasing ever since the 1970s. People will continue to have fun as long as there is pleasure to be had. Everyone seeks to satisfy their desires and fun is one of the many ways to do so. Fun’s future will prevail, making it an essential part of language within society and culture.

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Happiness on Demand

Max Miller

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he Oxford English Dictionary presents the word “happy” as an adjective for “senses relating principally to good fortune.” The word “happy” represents any feeling or sense of optimism and joy, and is linked with human behaviors such as smiling, laughing, and positive gestures. The thought of one achieving happiness throughout life is significant to “happy” because every single human on the planet searches for the sense of being happy, and craves the sensation of enjoying life or a certain aspect of life to ultimately result in the spectacular feeling of happiness. Individuals in today’s world may say things such as “I’m hyped rn” and further on to represent an energetic form of being happy. Other synonyms and terms used to describe happiness may be joyful, ecstatic, content, gleeful, delighted, etc. These synonyms are not as commonly used; however, they are used to present an emotion that every human being experiences and usually favors. Often, “happy” can be used in places and situations that are meaningful to an individual’s life, such as weddings, gatherings of friends and family, and any scenario representing a joyful or optimistic atmosphere. “Happy” can be traced all the way back to 1387, where it was still defined as good fortune, luck, and success and contained occasional extended use. Centuries ago, “happy” has held the meaning of 147


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somewhat similar concepts, which either involved good luck or positive emotions. These two ideas can both essentially define “happy” in the way that feeling fortunate or having good luck results in the feeling of optimism. Besides this, a majority of any altering or change revolving around the word “happy” are the change of the common synonyms used to describe it. Between the 12th-19th centuries, “gay” was a heavily used term in substitution for “happy, excited, and merry,” and has been replaced in modern day society by terms such as “lit, turnt, and hype”. But through these hundreds of years, happiness has still been constantly prevalent through society, and the synonyms for the word that vary through time circle around their original root, and that is the word happy. The importance of the term comes from the representation of overall fortune and positive emotion throughout centuries worth of generations. The root word of “happy” is the Middle English word “hap”, which is the same root of words such as perhaps, happenstance, and happen. “Hap” represents fortune, luck, or something happening. Most European words connected to “happy” were more focused on these factors rather than joyful emotion. Besides the two slightly differentiating definitions of luck and emotion touched upon earlier, the word “happy” has not changed it’s overall meaning or forms of representation. However, there is also a way to use the word “happy” that does not define optimism, and that is through sarcasm. Someone can use a sarcastic sentence and say something along the lines of “Yeah, I’m so happy that I don’t have money” or “I’m so happy that I don’t have any friends.” In this case, the word is implied in a negative situation, showing that someone is not actually happy and instead are disappointed or angry at someone or something. Besides this, the “happy” is still used everyday in its pure form for multiple reasons, for example one’s emotions or the input for a holiday or a birthday, with phrases such as “Happy birthday”, “Happy Thanksgiving”, “Happy Holidays”, and so on. 148


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While the holiday favored by many, Christmas, would probably be thought of to use the phrase “Happy Christmas” it is said as “Merry Christmas”, which essentially means the same thing. These phrases are seen year round for a majority of celebrated holidays, and although happiness isn’t used in every given situation where it could be described, the various synonyms that root from the word can be used instead. This form is also used to honor one’s birthday by saying “happy birthday”. The term can be found in various popular songs, including “Happy Birthday” by Stevie Wonder (1980) and “Happy” by Pharrell Williams (2013). Listening to these songs instantly creates a happy feeling, and it is quite hard to not be in a better mood after listening to them. While having the word “happy” in the title won’t instantly make it a positive or enjoyable song, the rest of the song revolves around the term, and the diction located in the title can almost appear as the presentation for the rest of the components of the song like the lyrics, chorus, and production. Positivity in pop culture, jobs, or nearly any aspect of daily life can be revolved around the word “happy” as current synonyms such as lit, turnt, vibing, hype, chillin, etc. In a way, it is almost like happiness can’t be ranked on a popularity scale because of its originality. What can be ranked is the words that share the same meaning and can be used as slang in modern day society, but even with the major presence of other terms replacing the word “happy” in a lot of current civilizations vocabulary, the word “happy” is still a common word and this is what makes the term unique. The prefix for the term is unhappy (un) and the suffix for happy is happiness. Though I do not typically say “unhappy” or “happiness” to describe something along those lines, or happy in its pure meaning, I almost always refer to the word “happy” when congratulating someone on their birthday or expressing joy during a holiday, as do most teenagers regardless of the constant slang we consume as a generation. Though the word may seem to be 149


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more prevalent within adults and older people, the pure definition will always be available as the synonyms selected to replace “happy” are all there for a reason, and the clear reasoning for the insert of them resorts to happy, and it seems to be a root to many common words in today’s age. There is no real barrier to a specific group or age when it comes to the word “happy”, it can be used for literally every single time you wear a smile that is genuine, see something that gives you a sense of good fortune, or experience any life situation in which you feel good about something, and it represents one of the most beautiful parts of an individual’s life. How much longer will the word “happy” still hold importance? How much longer until the word is extinct? My prediction is that the word “happy” is here to stay in when it comes to present vocabulary; and although the slang terms of future generations that represent happiness will differ as time goes on, the word will be continuously prevalent towards birthdays and holidays, and even if the word might seem a little plain to say moving forward, it will always be explained if someone says something along the lines of “I’m lit” or “I am so hype right now” or whatever terminology the future youth will hold. Definition wise, in specific “senses relating principally to good fortune”, I also think that this will not budge to other definitions. There are not any other uses for the word besides good fortune and optimism, and even when used in sarcasm the known meanings of the term make it ironic, which is the overall purpose of getting one’s point across sarcasm. The word “happy” is one for the ages, and the significance the word holds will always play a role in our society’s basic vocabulary.

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The Hero with Four Definitions: The Contrast Between Heroes and Heroism

Andrew Pilet

I. Introduction: Hero and Heroism

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he word hero (plural, heroes) is derived from ancient Greek, which, more notably, is the origin of the Latin word hērōs, which essentially means: a person of superhuman strength and/or one favored by the gods; having courage and/or ability; holding heroic qualities. Over the centuries, beyond when this word first appeared, this definition has remained relatively consistent—and, furthermore, within this definition, four distinct concepts can be found: hero, in relation to mythology; hero, in relation to ancient and modern storytelling; hero, in terms of being venerated for service and/or ability; and hero, in terms of being venerated for good/moral character (reflecting the ideals that comprise heroism). As such, an etymological analysis of the word cannot be done through looking at how its definition and/or word structure, but instead through an analysis of how its definitions have been maintained and adapted over the course of human history, and how, at points, it distinctly juxtaposes ideals of heroism. Before I can go into depth on the consistency of hero, as 151


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well as its societal and literary applications, I think it’s important to cement a basic idea for what “heroism” is. On a psychological level, there are numerous commonly-cited traits which comprise heroism (for example: self-sacrificial, selfless, protective, etc.)—however, for this essay, it is fitting to give my own perspective on what standards make up heroism. I think heroism could be best described as a mindset steeped in morality; inherently, heroism is centered around the protection of the innocent, the ability to put others above all else, and the fortitude to smile and remain true in the face of danger. In this ideal, I think heroism is able to be manipulated; characters labeled villains may adhere to these same principles, but the ultimate deciding factor on whether they are heroes is determined by morality. Heroism is fundamentally good—but being a hero doesn’t automatically make one good. This is where the etymology of hero works against itself, because it and heroism are not perfectly tied, despite how their structures may make them appear. Heroism is a mindset, whereas a hero can be one who either adheres to that mindset, or one who embodies traits or a position that have simply come to be referred to as a hero. II. Hero in Mythology The oldest known application of hero—following the definition of “[one] of superhuman strength, courage, or ability, favoured by the gods; esp. one regarded as semi-divine and immortal”— in text can be attributed to that of Greek and Roman mythology, particularly certain leading characters of classic epics and tales. Moreover, this fact reflects the etymological origins of the word from Greek and Latin, revealing how intertwined the word itself is with the nature of its appearance (and subsequent connection to mythology). In the sense of literature (and, to a point, academics), thus, 152


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the earliest example of the use of hero can be found in both the Iliad and the Odyssey, by Greek poet Homer, originating sometime in the span of 725 to 675 BCE. Similarly, for Roman literature and mythos, Virgil’s the Aeneid also was one of civilization’s first uses of hero. The trend between these works, besides being the most notable literary examples of hero’s appearance in language, is in how hero is used. Hero is utilized by Homer and Virgil to describe their respective protagonists, Odysseus (“young Ulyssean hero”) and Aeneas (“great heroes”); in that connection, and, furthermore, by solely attributing hero to them, the word itself is given a connotation directly linked to the acts and position of these characters. Uniquely, those relate to a connection to gods, and characteristic cunning and bravery. As a result of this connotation, set by these ancient myths and tales (as summarized, in fashion, by Homer and Virgil), a literary precedent was created where a hero refers to a character (typically a protagonist) with inherent ties to mythological or religious imagery, while still holding to fundamental philosophical ideas about heroism (and having aspects of those ideas directly affect character and personality). While this definition, like the other three in hero, has remained a constant in academic, societal, and literary analysis, a contemporary adaptation of this idea can be identified; the modern Greek and Roman heroes—superheroes. Whether it be the works of Marvel or DC or other IPs, modern superheroes have taken the precedent of ancient heroes in mythology and applied them to current-day ideals and new-age consumer fantasy. Just like how the old heroes were blessed or born from gods, numerous characters of the new age have received their great abilities from powers apart from their own making (Spider-Man and the radioactive spider, the Hulk and gamma rays, etc.)—and, in those abilities, have embodied old and new ideals of heroism, following in the footsteps of ancient heroic storytelling. 153


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III. Hero in Storytelling Following hero’s presence in mythological narratives, the word holds another story-bound definition: “the central character or protagonist [...] in a story, play, film, etc.; esp. one whom the reader or audience is intended to support or admire.” Working in a similar fashion to the usage of hero in mythology, hero in storytelling has become synonymous with protagonist—when one refers to the “hero” of a piece of media, they’re typically referring to the lead character, the one which the narrative is centered around. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the use of hero in this way—against the typically, pre-modern usage (of direct relation to mythology)—can be dated as far back to the mid-1600s, with books like Hist. Polexander and Conquest Grenada, and has continued long in use until the modern day. However, in recognition of this, the greatest development of hero in terms of storytelling can be found in the mid-1900s, with the release of Joseph Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces. The Hero with a Thousand Faces revolutionized this definition of hero; with said definition already being a derivative of its mythological definition, Campbell’s work solidified the ultimate differences between the two, by creating direct parallels between them. He argued that the journey of a hero in all forms of mythology followed a set of rules, events, and ideas, which could then be adapted and molded to fit new creative visions. Through this analysis, Campbell detailed now-iconic literary structures—ala “the Call to Adventure” (the inciting moment in which a hero is pushed towards adventure), “the Road of Trials” (the obstacles riddling the hero’s path), and the numerous archetypes of the hero itself (“Warrior,” “Lover,” “Tyrant,” “World Redeemer,” etc.)—which have persisted throughout 154


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contemporary storytelling, so much so that “the Hero’s Journey” (the series of steps Campbell found in mythology, and generalized for the sake of new narratives) has become synonymous with the basics of creative storytelling. This etymological development of hero, from the word for a myth’s protagonist to one applying to all fictional (and sometimes non-fictional) protagonists, marks a significant detail in the essence of hero, as a word and concept: that it’s steadfast, yet flexible—as if hero could be represented by a person, who keeps one foot in a pool of established myth and structure, while the either stands on ground of imagination and manipulative creation. This flexibility becomes even more noticeable when you consider, once again, the etymological dissonance between hero and heroism. As I previously established, heroism is inherently good and just—it can’t be changed or manipulated; you can’t create a new, morally ambiguous meaning from heroism, because doing so would fundamentally contradict what heroism is. Heroism could be defined forevermore (as, whilst society grows, new traits could be found and attached), but its old traits will never change—it will always be equated to a mindset of self-sacrifice and basic altruism. However, hero doesn’t restrict itself to said inflexibility. A hero, in this sense specifically of storytelling, is simply the protagonist, the narrative focal-point; although a hero is typically “intended to [be] support[ed] and admire[d],” they can meet that criteria without following the tenets of heroism. Some may find a hero who bends the rules and doesn’t always act in favor of the common good more admirable, and, in the nature of underdog narratives, a hero who rises up from the dirt and keeps fighting—even if they’re intent is villainous, and their end goal callous—may be supported just as much as one who’s morally righteous. In observing the continued contrast between hero and heroism in this way, you can create an even greater dissonance within their relationship with the age-old narrative structure of ‘the hero versus the villain’— 155


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good versus evil, a savior versus a devil—as the idea of heroism will always be on the side of good (‘the hero’), but the nature of hero may very well place it on either side—it simply depends on what focus the narrative gives. IV. Hero for Service and Ability Beyond the fictional aspects of hero, the word has long been a constant within everyday societal usage, particularly in the fields of service (military, innovative, ethic, etc.)—working, etymologically, as less of a position one holds, and more of a title that one may earn. To this extent, a hero is: “[someone] generally admired or acclaimed for great qualities or achievements in any field; [one] distinguished by the performance of courageous or noble actions, esp. in battle.” While this definition has seen frequency over the world (particularly languages which derived from Latin and Greek (and thus relied on their respective root words for hero)), the United States has particularly adhered to this definition—so much so that the phrase “American hero” has continual presence in honors, memorializations, and the media. Historically, numerous figures of US history have been designated by the Department of the Interior as “American heroes”—including people like Martin Luther King Jr., Douglas MacArthur, Susan B. Anthony, George Washington, the Wright Brothers, and so forth. In this, just like how Homer and Virgil’s usage of hero inherently tied it to godliness and mythic prowess, hero is given numerous societal connotations, all in relation to some kind of service—activism, politics, innovation, and action. As a result of the connection between heroes and utmost service and dedication to any (or all) of these fields—at least as how I would view it—a disconnect is created between the average person, and what makes a hero. With this definition, heroes 156


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are pioneers and leaders, people with such national significance that the average person—desiring that same position—will ultimately never reach it. To that point, this definition follows in the steps of hero in regards to storytelling, where these heroes of service are the focal figures of America’s narrative, just as heroes in fiction are the sole protagonists of their works. However, in the natural process of language, this is how this definition of hero has persisted—by having it apply to such a limited group (in where not every American citizen is an “American hero”), it keeps its presence consistent in veracity. However, uniquely, shifts in American thought and language have actually seen this definition slowly becoming redundant— remaining still in constant use, but without the near-idolizing nature of its primary utilization. An example of this reality can be observed in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks, and, subsequently, the beginning of the War on Terror. As the Google Books Ngram viewer for hero depicts, prior to the early 2000’s, the largest spikes in the use of “American hero” were during the 1890’s (likely attributing the phrase to the numerous leaders of industry appearing at the time), and around the late 1930’s to mid 1940’s (directly correlating with the Great Depression and World War 2); come the early 2000’s, however, and the rate of use is effectively quintupled from those periods. As it could best be described, I would argue that the use of “American hero”—and thus, the definition of hero relating to service (typically venerated to historical precedence)— ties directly to waves of patriotic fervor in American history. Patriotism was high back in the 1890’s and early 20th century, but hero, at that time, was a word of long-held importance, reserved—with the qualifications I previously detailed—to those of great position and acts. By the time of 9/11 though, in where American support was needed to further support the ensuing War on Terror, hero suddenly exploded in use—everyone could now be a hero for their service, no matter if it was joining the 157


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war effort in the Middle East, or simply contributing to the underlying feeling of panic striking the nation (be it by profiling or by showing your own patriotic colors). Come this new reality, hero saw an unprecedented etymological truth—it was redundant for what purpose its original definition served. Within a societal precedent where everyone, be them actual historic figures of notoriety or just any other citizen, is labeled a hero for their ‘service,’ then no one is truly a hero. V. Hero for Character Despite the redundancy incited in the hero as used for service, there’s an underlying and vivid truth of how hero can be used to describe one’s moral character. Within the given definition of service, this definition of character is found: “[one] distinguished by [...] courageous and noble actions.” While this definition is somewhat vague, especially for one having a sole section devoted to it (being one of the four I initially referenced), I feel that it’s vastly important to recognize this definition, and its overall importance to the essence of what a hero is. While the other three notable definitions of hero have largely been related to figures and positions of great importance—in fiction, with heroes of mythological significance, and heroes of narrative focus; and in society, with heroes of historic service (until the definition was, at least in the US, made redundant)— defining hero as one relating to one’s character allows for the title to truly become universal in nature. In this sense, anyone can become a hero, without being so becoming meaningless; you aren’t required to enlist, lead a movement, or pioneer the technology of the future—if you risk your own health to save another’s, if you put yourself out of your own goal’s way to assist others, if you simply embody true heroism, then you’re more than worthy of being labeled a hero with this definition. Ety158


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mologically, this definition is the only one out of the four where hero doesn’t have the possibility to contradict the ideals of heroism. Being a hero by the means of being morally just, righteous in character strictly aligns oneself with heroism. Unlike being a hero in service, where being one may very well still facilitate traits that counteract the essence of heroism (being innovative doesn’t necessarily require self-sacrifice, being a leader doesn’t mean you’ll be completely invested in the interests of all others over yours), being a hero in character means the exact opposite—in the moments where one’s heroism shows, their all is devoted to it, and therefore, they’re worthy of being a hero. As a result, this definition has stayed true throughout all of human history (from as long ago as when Jesus Christ described the Good Samaritan in one of his parables, to modern times with the occasional miracle stories on the news of everyday heroes), remaining without adaptation or manipulation. VI. Conclusion: The Future of Hero When looking at hero overall, in contemplation of its four definitions, a general outline of its existence could be defined: it began with heroes in mythology, which splintered into three categories—heroes in literature (which morphed mythology to fit modern storytelling), heroes for service (following the precedent of mythological acts, before falling into gradual redundancy), and heroes for character (which took from mythology courage and bravery, and remained constant thereon). As these definitions have remained consistent in their fundamental meanings, it is with the changes of the world and thought that their connotative meanings have also been changed. If I were to attempt to foresee the future of hero, therefore, I believe that the trends it’s shown up until current day will only continue and grow more in emphasis over time—venerat159


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ing people as heroes for service will continue to move forward in redundancy, and, eventually, some amount of irrelevancy, if the public (the people who determine the nature of what hero means) no longer sees service as something deserving of the title of hero, then it won’t. This truth I think would define the word moving forward—alongside the definitions of mythology and storytelling, which, in their nature as literary elements, are more inclined towards historic continuation—especially as using hero as a way to describe one’s character will become, at least as I believe, the ultimate form of the word; one’s character being more important in veneration and admiration than their national contributions.

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From Anger to Tranquility: The History of ‘Melancholy’ The Misunderstood Mood Vincent Cardinale

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elancholy; defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as “sadness, dejection, esp. of a pensive nature; gloominess; pensiveness or introspection; an inclination or tendency to this.” That is how many people see melancholy today; however, if you take a look at its long history, you will find that melancholy has not always not always been viewed in this way. As we expand our knowledge and push the boundaries of human possibility, we tend to develop new ideas; consequently, we disregard prior ones, in hopes of better understanding the vast universe around us. Likewise, this same process happens in our language, and even as a result of our newfound knowledge. In the case of melancholy, this holds true; the Oxford English Dictionary identifies a previous definition of melancholy as “a pathological condition thought to result from an excess of black bile in the body, characterized in early references by sullenness, ill temper, brooding, causeless anger, and unsociability, and later by despondency and sadness.” This meaning of the word has since fallen out of use, but why? Humorism was a system of 161


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medicine about the human body that sought to explain how our bodies functioned; consequently, as science advanced, more specifically, with the advent of the germ theory, humorism fell out of favor around in the nineteenth century, and subsequently so did the use of melancholy. However, melancholy has seen a recent resurgence in usage, as people begin to take a look at what melancholy means in the modern sense, and what place it has in the English language. Melancholy or melankholia in ancient Greece; from melas, melan, meaning “black”, and kholē meaning “bile” was believed to be the cause of deep sadness. It was believed that sadness came from the excess of this black bile, which defined melancholy for centuries as it moved through classical Latin around the fifth century, and to Old French; “melancolie”, where English eventually received the word around the fourteenth century. Throughout this time, black bile was viewed to be “one of the four chief fluids or cardinal humours recognized by ancient and medieval physiologists’’ and an excess of this was thought to be the cause of deep sadness. This view is demonstrated by Rembert Dodoens in his Niewe Herball: “The dissease called choler or melancholy’’, exemplifying how people viewed “melancholy” as some “dissease” that was caused by an excess of black bile that needed to be cured. Humorism was the way that humans thought of the body during this time, before the advent of the germ theory, which revolutionized the way that we viewed diseases. After the germ theory was proven, humorism fell out of favor around 1850, and likewise, melancholy fell heavily out of use. It seems clear that at least in the case of melancholy, our language evolves with us, and we discard words and ideas that are no longer useful to us. Naturally, we use words to describe our reality, and when our perception of that reality shifts, we no longer have use for these words. Melancholy was given a negative connotation in its early 162


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stages because of humorism. Melancholy still carries this negative connotation, as in present day English, melancholy can mean a feeling of pensive sadness; taking the core meaning of the word throughout its history and discarding the idea of black bile, for we know it to no longer be true. Melancholy is still regarded in some senses as a negative feeling, often associated with depression, which causes it to carry a very heavy weight. Despite this, however, the usage of melancholy has seen an increase in use over the past few decades. Knowing that melancholy is now regarded as a feeling of pensive sadness, it would seem that in these times of melancholy, people are in need of a way to express this feeling. But also, people are starting to view melancholy as an alternate mood, as opposed to always being happy. In a society where we view sadness in a very negative way, and place such a high importance on being happy all of the time, we forget that life is full of grief and loss. Recently, we have been faced with a lot of that, and so it is no surprise that melancholy has been steadily increasing in usage over the years, as we seek to find peace in a world full of suffering. Even today, taking away the idea of black bile, melancholy still holds a negative connotation from its previous meaning. Yet people have challenged the meaning of melancholy for centuries. Melancholy, since the late sixteenth century, has been viewed as “a fashionable mark of intellectual or aesthetic refinement”. Melancholy became a reflective, sentimental sadness, and introspection that contrasts the need to always be happy, and not finding any value in being sad. Melancholy became associated with the arts during the Western Renaissance and the Romantic era, as the feelings that art convey are not always happy, and there can even be a certain contentment in sadness. This perception of the word coexisted with melancholy’s connection to black bile, and set the foundation for the way that we are starting to view this word today. The concept of black bile gave melancholy a negative connotation, and made it seem that 163


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melancholy was some disease that needed to be treated, but this contrasting definition pointed towards a different mindset. This mindset viewed melancholy as not deep sadness or anger, but an alternative way in which we could view the world. Melancholy became a recognition of life’s many misfortunes and finding an inner peace with reality, instead of always trying to be happy, melancholy faces reality with honesty and introspection. With melancholy’s recent rise in contemporary use, this is the definition that it takes on; however, we still have to disassociate melancholy with its negative connotation placed on it under humorism, in order to form a new positive connotation so that people can embrace melancholy in all of its beauty. Given its recent rise in usage and the shifting mindset of people towards the melancholy mood, I predict that its usage will continue to grow, and even start growing at an even greater rate in the near future. There is certainly a place for melancholy in today’s society, in dark and difficult times that we all continue to face, we need to understand that melancholy isn’t a bad feeling, that we all face hardships, and suffering is universal to all of us, and melancholy is a way to meet life’s folly. Melancholy acknowledges life’s hardships and recognizes that “the good life is not one immune to sadness, but one in which suffering contributes to our development”. To me, melancholy is a tranquil word, a word that describes a feeling of inner peace achieved by accepting that life has both highs and lows, and facing those lows with courage and strength. After researching the etymology of melancholy, I believe that melancholy has an important history that is far from over, and that we all need a little more melancholy in our lives.

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Malaria Clears the Air About Victorian Standards of Medicine and Morality Beatrice Carson

I. Origin

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he word “malaria” is most commonly known as a disease that occurs when a mosquito carrying the malaria virus bites a human, thus transmitting the virus to the person. The most common symptom of malaria is the ague fever, which is just a very high fever accompanied by shivering fits. The word is derived from the Italian phrase “mala aria” meaning “bad air”. Before modern medical studies revealed the true cause of malaria and ague fevers, people believed that the bad air was causing people to get sick. Italians believed that specifically the hot air in the summers was what was making them sick. Concurrently in England, people were seemingly suffering from a mysterious new disease every week, most of which they would blame on the bad air and name “malaria” for lack of a better, more scientific term. Ironically, most literal uses of the word “malaria” before the 20th century were actually referring to different diseases entirely. On the other hand, Victorian people 165


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were very superstitious, so they also often saw illness as having a moral component, meaning that they thought illness was God’s punishment for immorality. Furthermore, Victorian society was obsessed with reputation, so their idea of morality was really just about social status. This means that if someone had an unexplained illness, it could harm their reputation in society. The word “malaria” gives us an interesting perspective on the development of medicine and thoughts about morality throughout history. II. Victorian Ideas About Disease Susceptibility Without the understanding of disease and epidemics that we have today, doctors made bizarre assumptions about the things that were causing people to get ill. People believed that “bad air” could make them sick. The Victoria and Albert Museum’s page on health and medicine in 19th century Britain explains that Victorian doctors commonly believed that disease was transmitted from genetics, lifestyle (including ethical decisions), and environment, referring to the “noxious exhalations” in certain areas deemed hotspots for diseases. This was a fair assumption at the time; diseases were more frequent in cities which we now know is because of overpopulation and poor plumbing, but they just knew that the air smelled more rotten in the city (because of the poor plumbing) so they blamed the air for getting them sick. Medical treatments for moderate illnesses often “relied heavily on a ‘change of air.’” Therefore, when a doctor was unable to diagnose what specifically was wrong with a patient, they would inform the patient that they had malaria and recommend a different environment. In addition to the assumption that diseases were caused by air quality, some people also believed there was a moral aspect to disease susceptibility. In times of crisis, it is not uncommon 166


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for people to turn to God for an explanation, which was what people did during epidemics prior to our modern understanding of epidemiology. This trend is not exclusive to Victorian British beliefs; it is evident across cultures and centuries. The Mandate of Heaven—which dates back three thousand years— was created for this exact reason; it explained that if disaster (including disease), the current “rulers lost prestige” because God was punishing them for some form of moral turpitude. The topic of morality in medicine was also very common during the HIV/AIDS epidemic when religious groups believed that AIDS was God’s way of punishing gay people. The ethical beliefs about disease were also common during the 18th and 19th centuries. In addition to ideas about the air, Victorian doctors had some superstitions about how ethics could affect a person’s susceptibility to disease. According to Marsh, doctors even used hypnosis on patients in attempts to break them of their immoral habits that were causing them to get sick. Subsequently, the metaphoric use of malaria was on the rise. In 1850—right at the height of the malaria epidemic—the phrase “moral malaria” hit its peak usage. The phrase “moral malaria” (or just the metaphorical usage of malaria) draws a connection between Victorian ideas of health and Victorian ideas of morality. The Oxford English Dictionary defines the figurative definition of malaria as “a malign influence” and includes an example from W.M. Thackeray’s 1854 book Newcomes that says “She was as a malaria to him, poisoning his atmosphere.”At this point in history, germ theory was advanced enough for people to understand the concept of contagiousness, so using disease to describe morality gives the implication that immorality was believed to be contagious. Although the figurative use of malaria is now very rare, we have kept the idea about immorality or a bad reputation being contagious.

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III. Universal Linguistic Trends In order to fully understand the scope of the word malaria it’s important to make connections to similar linguistic trends in connected languages. The French verb that means to seem or to appear is “avoir l’air de,” which directly translates to “to have an air of.” However, “avoir l’air de” has an entirely different meaning than “etre” which is the verb “to be.” The big difference is that the word “air” can be a metaphor for one’s reputation. Similarly, the word “aura” (Latin for wind or breeze) is used in many types of alternative medicine to describe one’s spiritual energy. Considering that “avoir l’air de,” “aura,” and malaria all have roots in romance languages (French, Latin and Italian, respectively), there is a clear common trend in romance languages linking air with one’s reputation. Although English is not a romance language, it is reasonable to assume that this trend is evident in English as well—because “air” is an exact cognate of the French “l’air” and a near cognate of Latin “aura” and Italian “aria”—which explains why the word “malaria” has such a major metaphorical connection to reputation. IV. Reputation vs. Reality This also brings up the issue of differentiating between reputation and morals. Someone can have a bad reputation (or have a negative aura or a bad air about them) and still be a good, moral person and vice versa. This is very commonly accepted nowadays, but back in the 19th century morality was very centered around reputation in society, as opposed to one’s private life. A website specializing in Victorian history states that Victorian “morals usually included any set of values that supported chastity, not committing crimes, a strict code of conduct within society.” When people spoke about moral malaria during the 168


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Victorian period, they were most likely coming from a place of judgment. I find this ironic because usually when people have a serious illness like malaria, the moral thing to do would be to wish them a quick recovery instead of shaming them. This is really just because of the lack of medical knowledge during this time period that led people to blame disease on immorality, which turns into a cycle where an illness could harm a person’s reputation. V. Future Metaphors We don’t usually think about what specific implications our rhetoric surrounding disease can have on society. Usually whenever there is a new epidemic that people are worried about it will spark a collective interest in previous epidemics. I predict that once we are more or less out of the woods with COVID, biological metaphors surrounding disease will make a major comeback. Although we now know that there is no connection between disease and morals, COVID has more or less taken us back to the Victorian mindset of shaming the diseased. I’ve started to notice a stigma surrounding COVID survivors where people shame survivors for not doing enough to be safe. Although this is definitely true in some cases, plenty of people have gotten COVID while taking every necessary precaution. I think that this stigma will make terms like “moral malaria” much more common during the next decade.

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Into Serenity: A Place of Calmness, Tranquility, and Peace Brooklynn Salotti

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ccording to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word serenity dates back to the 1500s, while now meaning calm and tranquil. Though the definitions of this word do tend to have some flexibility among them, they all still have similar meanings. It’s first use is seen to be dated back to the mid 1500s giving a superior title to princes and kings. Throughout time the word Serenity can be seen to shift around through time periods being that it is defined more as being calm. According to Google, the current meaning of the word Serenity is to be in a state of calmness and tranquility. As I grew older and expanded my vocabulary, all I knew about the word Serenity was this definition of being tranquil and calm. I never knew that a word can have more than one meaning and how it can fluctuate throughout history. The use of the word Serenity seemed to decrease drastically and then started to escalate during the recent years. Google also shows the change from the 1800s up until recent years. During the 1800s the use of the word Serenity seemed to be pretty popular, but going through 171


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time into the 1900s there was a drastic decrease of the word. Leading up to the 2000s, the word has again gained some popularity. Why could this be? I believe that it could be from songs, films and even books that recently incorporated the word. For example, the 2005 film Serenity seemed to have a pretty popular viewing. Then again in 2019 another movie called Serenity was released that also had a very popular viewing (including me, I think it was an interesting movie). I think that these authors and screenwriters have an impact on the usage of the word Serenity. Google also plays a part in supporting where the word Serenity comes from. It is derived from the Latin word serenus meaning calm, tranquil or peaceful. Overall, Google has a lot to say about the etymology of the word Serenity. Going along with the usage and popularity of the word Serenity, Ngram has also been seen to give upstanding data. Ngram is seen to express data of the meaning and trends of certain words. The first piece of data that was observed from the chart was in 1574 the word Serenity was most used during this time, it was at its peak during this point in time. The word’s definition (meaning calm, tranquil and having peace) was most popular at this time, so going forward this was most likely the reason why the word Serenity was at its peak. Another piece of evidence that was taken away from the Ngram table was that in 1805 the word Serenity was at its highest peak with being used as a color. The color Serenity is a soft blue with a touch of red and white. The color was named Color of the Year in 2016 for having it bring a sense of relaxation to its viewers. During the time of 1822 the word Serenity was most commonly used as a noun. A noun being a person, place, or thing gave the opportunity of the word Serenity to be created as giving a title to honor someone of a higher status, honor or authority and was highly used during this time period to do so. Ngram is a reliable and authentic data website to find useful information about a word’s history, how it was used, when it was used, and just over172


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all a beneficial website to find data if you were to as well write a detailed description of a word or even an entomology paper. Going about more research on the word Serenity, the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) has been a helpful resource to complete my research. In the year of 1538, the Oxford English Dictionary states that Serenity has a definition meaning “Clear, Fair and Calm weather, clearness and stillness of the sky.” As this word started in 1538 it portrays it to be used as a word talking about the weather, the calmness and clearness of the sky. The definition of the word has always connected back to being something calm and peaceful. For instance, in this case the meaning of the word was used to describe how calm the weather was. In 1641 the Oxford English Dictionary explains another meaning of Serenity and that being, “Tranquility, peacefulness (of conditions, etc.).” Now having it being 1641 the meaning of Serenity has changed a small amount but it still goes about to cover the same topic of calmness (being tranquil and peaceful) while still keeping the weather involved in some aspect of the meaning. The third definition I have found from searching the OED is that Serenity involves being more cheerful while still being tranquil. A pattern I noticed between all of these three definitions is that they all explain being calm, peaceful and tranquil. The only difference is that with this definition it explains more about having Serenity within your mind, body and temper having more of an emotional connection to the word other than just explaining the weather or the sky. The fourth and final definition I have collected from the OED is something I have previously mentioned in the essay. The Oxford English Dictionary defines Serenity as, “A title of honour given to reigning princes and other deities.” This meaning of the word was used during the same time as the first definition mentioned from the OED but each has their own meaning. One talks about being calm and peaceful while the other 173


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talks about giving someone a title of honor. Why could this be? My explanation for this would be during this time already given that Serenity has a meaning of calmness, individuals could connect the two and put into perspective that people of a higher authority tend to be more tranquil and calm than the average person. In my opinion I believe that the OED was the best website to obtain all my research from as it let me grasp on the best knowledge of my word. This was also the website I spent most of my research time on. Going deeper into this beautiful word, learning about Serenity was definitely a fun experience. Going into depth on definitions, learning new meanings and how Serenity was used in history was something that I haven’t experienced before but again I would dive deeper Into Serenity: A place of Calmness, Tranquility and Peace.

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On Narcissism

Alexandra Oddi

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ou may know someone who has narcissistic characteristics. To most, this person isn’t typically associated with fond memories. The adjective narcissistic was first identified as a cognitive disorder by the British essayist and physician Havelock Ellis in 1898. People who exhibit excessive selfishness have been recognized throughout history. The definition of narcissism, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, is “relating to, or of the nature of narcissism; characterized or produced by excessive self-admiration”. A narcissist has an exaggerated sense of self-importance, high sense of entitlement, and constantly needing validation from others. They rarely see others’ needs, others’ accomplishments, and lack compassion for others. Researchers have identified how the word narcissist dates back to the late 1800s with slight changes in the definition. In the early nineteenth century, narcissism came from Greek myth from a young handsome hunter known for his beauty, self-love to self-idealization stemming from early environmental factors. This suggests that narcissism is a stage in normal development, and to today, where the word relates to self esteem, self-representation, pathological disease, and even a personality disorder. Narcissism is believed to come from Greek myth of a young boy named “Narcissus”. This Greek myth was about a young 175


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boy who rejected advances of the “nymph Echo”. His punishment was that he had to look into a pool of water until he fell in love with his own reflection. Narcissus suffered from this punishment because he became so obsessed with his own reflection he couldn’t love others’. This fate eventually caused his death by drowning in the water, and he turned into a flower that is named after him. In addition, many of Shakespeare’s writings used similar terms of self love. Shakespeare’s writing of Romeo and Juliet (1591-1596) reflected a narcissistic love. In Natalie K. Eschenbaum’s article “Juliet’s Narcissism” states, “Romeo becomes a narcissistic reflection of Juliet”. Eschenbaum indicates that Romeo and Juliet’s love story stems from the Greek myth of Narcissus. Throughout the story of Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare presents Juliet and Romeo’s only self love, but at the end, Juliet tries to break the narcissistic tendencies, but doing so causes their death. The Oxford English Dictionary states, “1915 - L. E. Emerson Jrnl. 29 Mar. in M. Duberman About Time (1986) 109 Felt better in warm bath, naked, saw own body. Narcisistic [sic]”. That description of narcissism is describing an event. Later in history, Sigmund Freud “declared in 1909 that narcissism was a necessary intermediate stage between auto/erotism and object/ love”. Freud thought narcissism may not be abnormal but part of an individual’s ego. He felt as the child’s ego developed, external factors could impact self love. In 1914 Freud published an article titled, “On Narcissism: An introduction”, where he argues that narcissism is connected to one’s libido. Narcissistic individuals have strong psychic energy and biological urges. Narcissism could stem from low self esteem as Karen Horney believed that narcissists tend to be a “product of indulgence rather than deprivation”. Karen Horny saw narcissism differently from Frued. She believed that “narcissistic needs intendicees are not inherited in human nature”. Heinz Kohut used the term “narcissistic personality disor176


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der,” which is when trauma disrupts the process of self esteem through its environment. Kohut suggests that narcissism is a part of normal development and if the caregivers fail to provide adequate support for the child, the child grows up with poor self esteem which could turn into narcissistic behaviors. Otto Kernberg uses the term narcissism to describe selfesteem. He also believes in normal infantile narcissism that changes over time and matures with healthy adults around them. Narcissistic personality disorder involves arrogant thinking, lack of empathy, self-centered patterns, and excessive need for admiration. Observers tend to describe them as cocky, manipulative, selfish, patronizing, and demanding. Psychological literature since 1911 has referenced narcissism as a personality disorder but some people may just have personality types but not a disorder. In 2018, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) recognizes narcissistic personality disorder as a mental health issue that has to be diagnosed through a professional psychologist. In the article “Narcissistic Personality Disorder Symptoms and History” by Kendra Cherry, she explains that about 1-6% of adults are thought to have NPD. She states that NPD is recognized as an “important condition characterized by symptoms...”. Cherry discusses how NPD is a long term behavior which can affect everyone around the patient including work, family, and friends. Mental health is an important part of overall wellness. This Narcissistic Personality Disorder falls under the umbrella of mental health crisis. Psychotherapy can help improve one’s narcissistic behaviors. Once diagnosed individuals realize how their behaviors impact those around them through therapy. In therapy individuals with narcissistic personalities practice better ways of interacting with one’s around them. The article “What is Narcissistic Personality Disorder and How Can It Be Treated” by Sarah Fader explains how treatment includes psy177


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chotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy which helps uncover underlying feelings and daily disappointments that stem from their behaviors. Fader indicates that medication can be a great way to help. It does not treat the disorder but helps the secondary characteristics of anxiety and depression. She states that it is very hard to cure this disorder but with help they are able to live a healthy and productive life. Narcissistic person is someone who is difficult to be around. Their lack of empathy and self-loathing can be hurtful and damage personal relationships. A narcissist has an exaggerated sense of self-importance, high sense of entitlement, and constantly needing validation from others. They rarely see others’ needs, others’ accomplishments, and lack compassion for others. Natalie K. Eschenbaum, Sigmund Freud, Karen Horney, Heinz Kohut, and Otto Kernberg are all historians that researched the adjective Narcissistic and they support the characteristics of a Narcissist as self-loathing and lack of empathy. There is a history in the study of narcissism, historical literary authors use narcissism in their writings like Shakespeare, the origin of narcissism goes back to 1915 and is currently still being written about in medical journals. There are narcissistic people around you. Through diagnosis and therapy by a psychologist, narcissistic people learn new ways to cope with their disorder, and in turn are easier to be around. Research through the years of narcissistic Personality disorders have developed avenues to help them live a healthy and productive life.

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The History and Variations of ‘Beast’: Complement or Insult?

Juliette Ventura

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ccording to the Oxford English Dictionary, beast, in its earliest stage during the late 1400s and early 1500s, was a word used to describe a “living being” or “animal”, and happens to be the Latin word for animal. It also, more notably, defines “a brutal, savage man” or the devil. This definition still runs true but is used much less commonly than the new slang meaning. Have you ever heard someone call an athlete a beast? Or use the phrase mad beast? If you have, you are hearing the now common slang that has become a compliment. The dictionary defines beast as a “person that is extremely talented at whatever they do and always display[s] great determination, dedication, and resilience”, which has a very positive connotation compared to the religious and/or negatively connotative definitions given in the OED. Instead of calling someone a beast for acting rabid or like an animal, one might say “That dude’s a beast!!” to recognize their talent. The difference between these two definitions depicts a change in society throughout many years and the way our language has shaped into something much more lenient than it once was. The reason most words come back into common use is that people form new or slightly differ179


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ent definitions for them, and these new definitions make more sense with the time they are in compared to the old, out of use meanings. This is how beast came into popular use once again. The word beast was used very commonly in the 1800s, likely due to the religious roots relating to the Antichrist, but once the 1900s came around people were using it less and less every year. That is, until the 2000s began. Since 2000, the usage of the word beast has only increased, and rapidly as well. The reason for this increase is that in the early 2000s, a mostly new definition was formed and it could be applied very easily to daily life. The definition was very different from the past in the sense that it had different connotations, but it was and is also a little bit similar. The slang definition for beast is often used when someone is strong and/or powerful, an athlete per se, like how one might describe an animal. Animals seek their prey with strength like an athlete seeks a win in their sport. Although powerful and strong people don’t necessarily correlate with the Antichrist or a mythical beast, they have a few characteristics of an animal, but in a way that compliments them. Beast is also used in a phrase made popular in the 2010s, mad beast. In the Urban Dictionary, mad beast is defined as something that is not just beast, but “very, extremely, or totally beast.” This phrase is usually used when talking about an object or place rather than a person. This phrase, along with beast, is widely popular in my family’s vernacular so I’m quite familiar with how it is used. The phrase is not quite as popular as the single word beast, but is still used in America frequently. I have heard people around school using it, especially when I was in middle school. The phrase is slightly different from the single word though. While beast basically means to be strong, powerful, and/or talented when applied to a human, mad beast usually means to be really cool directed at a human or object. Something that is very interesting to me about the word beast is its correlation with the “Antichrist, or the Anti-chris180


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tian power,” many years ago. The comparison between this form of the word beast and the more prevalent one is very ironic because of how different they are, yet they are the same word. In the times of Middle English and many years after, people were given the mark of the beast, which was “a sign placed on followers or worshipers of the Antichrist.” People who supposedly supported the Antichrist, who was and is considered the source of all evil in Christianity, were given marks of the beast and would be seen as a worshiper of evil. This is seen as an insult, but now if someone is recognized as a beast it is an amazing compliment. People want to be called a beast because it means they are strong and talented. The word beast has evolved tremendously into a word with a whole new meaning, so new that the previously used meaning is almost never used anymore compared to its newer, slang counterpart. As the word beast was continuing to increase in popularity in the year 2017, so was a YouTuber by the name of MrBeast. This YouTuber started in 2012 and was slowly gaining popularity, but in January of 2017, he made a video called “I Counted to 100,000!” that got him millions of views and subscribers. That video now has over 22 million views and almost 1 million likes. Around 2017 is when the word beast was still gaining popularity, and it is likely that when MrBeast gained his popularity, it contributed to the usage of the word. Although the word may not be as popular as it was then or in the early 2010s, it is still very relevant today. MrBeast is one of the most popular YouTubers today, so it is not surprising that people would want to be called a beast or even wear clothing with the YouTuber’s name on it. Beast has almost completely moved on from being an insult. People like MrBeast embrace the word as a compliment which leads to regular people wanting to do the same. Why wouldn’t you want to be in the same category as someone so well-liked? MrBeast has 5 separate YouTube channels, each with over 2 million subscribers and gaining millions of views 181


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per video, and there is a similarity between all of them. They all include the word beast in the name of the channel. The popularity of the word beast skyrocketed around 2017 and a little before, making it plausible that MrBeast was one of the main causes. This depicts that social media has a large impact on vocabulary in society. In the 2000s, the Internet was becoming extremely popular and so people were communicating daily, therefore sharing their lingo. It would have been almost impossible for no change to occur within society and especially within common vernacular throughout the world. Simple and overused phrases couldn’t be used anymore because they had become boring. With so many different types of people sharing stories and talking to one another, new meanings to already thought-up words were bound to appear. Once people had actually started using new slang like beast, it was easy for others to catch on now that they had a way of communicating fast. Now, more than ever, it is the easiest it has ever been to talk to people online, and it’s even easier to view what others say on social media and learn from it. Almost everyone uses it now and if someone is hearing or seeing something enough, it is very likely that they repeat it or act in a similar way. The word beast was not very popular at all until the late 90s and early 2000s when almost everyone was on the internet communicating. People started using the word because it could be so easily applied in conversations about people, sports teams, and activities that you enjoyed, which is why it is still in use today because it no longer just means “animal” or “Antichrist.” For a notable amount of years now, people have been using the word beast consistently in their vocabulary, including me. It is a word that can be applied to almost anything you want it to, and for that reason it has grown in popularity and is still growing. I don’t believe it has reached its peak just yet either. I think that it will continue to widen its uses in casual conversation and 182


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more people will use it as time goes on. Currently, it is mostly teens and children who use the word, but as those people grow they will continue to use the word and future children will grow up hearing it as well. Therefore, at some point in the future, the majority will be using the word. I don’t think most current older adults will start using it because they didn’t grow up hearing the word and they aren’t on social media as much as teens and especially children are to see and hear the word now. I also think that we will continue to use the word beast in the future when it comes to books, movies, and stories, especially in fairy tales and fiction, because we have been doing that for many years and it hasn’t changed much. Stories like “Beauty and the Beast” will be kept alive, but beast will not have the same meaning here as it does in normal conversation. People will still recognize the other meanings behind beast, but those meanings will not have anything to do with the connotations behind being called a beast in regular conversation.

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The Age of Idol Worship: Are We Iconoclasts? Carly Monahan

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ll biblical images that we know are just interpretations by artists and we see art displayed in churches and religious spaces in every religion, but is iconoclasm as an idea only applied to biblical art? In the Byzantine era, an iconoclast destroyed art for the good of the religion to oppose the great sin of idolatry. Today, we praise art that is biblical. What best explains this shifting binary? To start, in the eighth and ninth centuries, the Byzantine empire imposed a ban of divine images. This ban rid the empire of what they believed to be idolatry so no one in the empire could believe something that isn’t God to be God. This censorship is now known as iconoclasm. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, an iconoclast is someone who breaks or destroys images or who attacks cherished beliefs and traditions. Does iconoclasm have to only apply to art? Is the idol worship that we see with celebrities today idolatry? Iconoclasm has taken on the meaning of “attacking cherished beliefs and traditions with a negative connotation of attacking a cherished belief ”, and today, iconoclasm can be seen as a great act of rebellion. This dispute, however, has historical precedence. In the 185


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eighth and ninth centuries in the Byzantine empire there was a dispute over biblical art and whether or not it was going against The Bible in the sense that some people believed biblical art was idolatry. The solution the Byzantines came up with was to destroy biblical art so no one in the empire could go to hell for idolatry. If an empire did this today, this would be seen as censorship but the Byzantines believed that this act was for the greater good of their people. This conclusion is significant because it identifies a common thread throughout the history of Christianity—from this point on, people began asking if they should be worshiping idols and images because The Bible directly states not to. We see this happening again in the sixteenth century during the Protestant Reformation, where the question of whether displaying biblical art is a sin or not came to the forefront of this era’s view on religion on morality. This era also featured kings who told the people that God had sent them to rule which would appear to be just as much a form of idolatry as believing art to be divine is. In the twentieth century, there was a huge rise in idol worship because of celebrities and Hollywood and while there isn’t direct iconoclasm because of celebrities, it can be argued that people giving fame to celebrities is iconoclasm. Today we have superstars who are universally loved and worshiped and with the rise of Stan culture (fans who watch and stalk their favorite celebrities on social media), celebrities are worshiped so hard that this could be thought of as iconoclasm. This type of iconoclasm can be extremely dangerous because as soon as society gives someone that fame, it can be taken away just as easily. We’ve seen iconoclasm in art also on the rise in recent years with graffiti and street art becoming more popular. The idea of graffiti being iconoclasm because in the eyes of some it’s destroying something else for the sake of art which is exactly the opposite of trends we’ve seen before with iconoclasm controversies in art. This also begs the question of is it really 186


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iconoclasm if it’s adding art to something, but it is destroying the image of something else to add the art? What started as suppression of biblical art by people worried they would be sent to hell for idolatry, is now an act of rebellion or idol worship. Iconoclasm over the years has shifted from this very strict biblical idea to this idea of destruction for the greater good.

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Don’t Have a Clue? Here’s a Clue of Clues to Thread Your Way Through

En-Ya Shen

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n the Oxford English Dictionary, clue is defined as “a ball of yarn or thread”. In the OED, clue is defined as “That which points the way, indicates a solution, or puts one on the track of a discovery; a key.” Two completely different definitions of the same word: clue. The first, a ball of string, seems to have no relation to the current definition at all, where the word clue typically refers to information that helps a detective solve a mystery. For most people, it seems improbable that thread could be the key to figuring out a challenging problem. However, Greek Mythology states otherwise, specifically the myth of Theseus, King Minos, Ariadne, and the Minotaur. Hopefully there will be a clue of clues in this essay to give you a clue about the numerous definitions of the word clue. Pushing aside the different meanings of the word, clue was originally from Old High German, spelled as kliu, kliwi, and kliuwi. These variant spellings barely look like the same word as clue; even the Old English spellings cliwen, cliowen, cleowen, cliewen, and clywen do not bear much resemblance either. The 189


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Middle English variants began to look similar to the popular spelling today, with clywe, clewe, and clowe losing the Old English final -n. Soon, the modern and popular spelling became clew, which remained popular until the 17th century. In Middle English, -ew was the normal form even for words from French in -ue and -eu (blew, imbew, crew, dew, sew, glew) later altered to -ue (hue, spue, rue, true, clue). The variant spelling clue appeared first in the English language in the 15th century, becoming more popular in the 17th century, and is now the most prevalent spelling. Clew, the previous widely-used spelling, has become extremely uncommon as clue has taken the spotlight as the most popular spelling, with most people only knowing that specific spelling. The first definition of the word, as listed on the Oxford English Dictionary, is a noun used for “a ball of yarn or thread”. Although the spelling clue eventually became the most popular, the first common spelling, clew, seen in Randle Holme’s The academy of armory in 1688, is used as a measure word for yarn in the sentence “The Weavers Trough is that in which he puts his Clews of Yarn”. Even after the 17th century when the spelling clue had gained popularity, it was still used in reference to string. In Hugh Miller’s Scenes and Legends of the North of Scotland (1835), the word is used in “A small clue of yarn”; the meaning staying true to the original. However, the use of the word in Greek Mythology began a shift in clue’s definition. The heroes, by Charles Kinley in 1855, used the word in a similar way to the examples above: “I will give you [Theseus] a clue of thread, and by that perhaps you may find your way out again”. Although the meaning is the same, the purpose of the thread transformed clue’s meaning into something that guides people out of challenging situations. The myth of Theseus and the Minotaur changed the meaning of clue from “a ball of yarn or thread” to “that which points the way, indicates a solution, or puts one on the track of a dis190


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covery; a key”. In the myth, King Minos imprisoned his enemies in the Labyrinth so the Minotaur could eat them, a creature half man and half bull. Theseus, son of Aegeus, decided to go to Crete and kill the Minotaur, ending the practice of human sacrifice to the beast. He was determined to slay the Minotaur, and when King Minos heard of his plan, he knew that even if Theseus succeeded, he would never be able to escape the Labyrinth. Before entering the Labyrinth, Theseus met Princess Ariadne, who fell deeply in love with him. She gave him a thread, instructing him to unravel it as he went deeper and deeper into the Labyrinth. By doing so, he would be able to retrace his steps and escape after killing the Minotaur. Theseus was able to defeat the Minotaur and rescue the Athenians, using the string to find the way out of the labyrinth. Since the string was what allowed Theseus to find his way out of the labyrinth, the use of the word clue to describe string was transformed into referencing something that helps someone find the solution to a problem. The word clue has taken several figurative meanings, such as “the thread of a discourse, of thought, of history, tendency,” with the string’s importance resulting in the phrase of “‘threading’ a way through a labyrinth or maze,” or any other challenging problem. This meaning of clue still relates to string, with “thread” being used in its definition, keeping a connection to the original definition. Many of its other meanings are more related to the later definition, including “A recognized point or landmark, or a series of such, enabling one to trace out one’s way,” completely different from a ball of yarn. In The last of the barons, by Edward Bulwer-Lytton, clue is used in the sentence “She had lost all clue to her way homeward,” referring to a landmark, not a bundle of string. This usage for clue could be related to how different landmarks on maps were used to find treasure, since specific points on a map were what led sailors to find their destination. However, neither of these meanings are typically used for clue in the 191


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modern world, with most people not knowing these definitions even exist. Nowadays, clue almost always refers to a piece of information that helps someone to solve a problem. It is common to use clue in reference to “a sentence or phrase (often employing a definition, synonym, anagram, pun, etc.) serving to indicate a word or words to be inserted,” mainly in crossword puzzles. This definition first arose in the 1900s, coinciding with the creation of crossword puzzles made for entertainment beginning in the 1900s, typically in newspapers. A use for clue more on the colloquial side is the phrase “not to have a clue,” which means “to have no idea; not to know; to be ignorant or incompetent”. Arising in the early 1900s as well, this is likely a result of clue’s use in referring to crossword puzzles, since “not having a clue” would mean someone does not know how to solve the puzzle, later being used in all sorts of different situations. The definition of the word clue has clearly changed throughout the years as its meaning of a ball of yarn is practically nonexistent, with connotations of clue usually being puzzles and mysteries in need of solving. The popularity of the word clue was relatively consistent until 1984, when there was a rapid increase in its usage up until around 2014, as seen in the Google Ngram’s chart for the word. Although the cause of this sharp increase cannot be known for certain, a reasonable explanation is the popular board game Clue coming out in 1985 for the USA, which would definitely account for part of the increase. Another factor possibly contributing to this trend is the true crime genre becoming popular in the 1980s, mainly being associated with serial killers. Its usage has been staying relatively constant since 2014, likely because crime shows and mystery novels have stayed quite popular among the general public. All forms of entertainment surrounding crime and mystery undoubtedly have the word clue appear in many cases, with its meaning always being related to 192


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a piece of evidence useful for solving a case, not a ball of yarn. With mystery and riddles consistently entertaining people the past few decades, clue’s meaning probably will not change. Although it has had many different meanings in the past, the current definition is likely here to stay. Whenever someone says clue, what comes to mind is always a crime or problem in need of solving. Since connotations to the current definition have been so ingrained into people’s minds, and since there will always be questions in need of solving, resulting in people always asking for clues in order to figure something out, clue’s meaning will not change again. The myth of Theseus sparked a change in the definition of the word clue that could never be reversed, with its original definition needing a clue of history to escape from the labyrinth of clue’s etymology.

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The History and Cultural Evolution of Ice

Megan Taylor

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ce. Where did it come from? How is it used? What is ice? According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word ice is a noun that means “A Frozen Water Made Solid.” This word has taken many meanings and forms throughout history. There’s always been a thought in my mind about how the word ice came to be and so, in my studies of etymology, I wanted to find the answers I needed. This word is used often in everyday conversations, including talking about science, slang, or full phrases. Depending on the context of usage, one might think someone is a criminal or a world renowned scientist. Stemmed from Old Germanic language, the word ice has evolved for centuries and has made its way into our contemporary world. Originating in Germany, the word ice has had a lot of time to make its way to contemporary English. From the early 1200’s until 1692, the word ice has had many different spellings. According to OED, the word ice’s spellings included yse, isce, isse and plenty more. In 1692, the word ice and that specific spelling started to get integrated more into contemporary culture, but this spelling can also be dated back a few years before that. So what caused that? At that time there was a little ice age, 195


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a period of cooling and cloudy darkness for people in Medieval Europe. As demonstrated, throughout history words are used in patterns, when a significant event happens in history certain words tend to be used more than others. In addition to this, the word ice has many many different meanings. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word ice takes many different forms. Some forms include scientific and literary forms and other slang that has been used for generations. Meanings including diamonds or money used by criminals from as early as the 1800’s to today and the embodiment it has taken as describing someone’s dark personality the figurative and slang use of this word bring its roots to life. This entails the evolution that this word has gone through when journeying into contemporary English. The word ice is pretty popular and has made its way to a frequency of 6 according to the OED. The frequency of 6 is very significant in the popularity of this word because a frequency of 6 means that this word is used 10 and 100 million times in typical modern day English. This data can also be backed up by the Google Ngram because the trendline for the word ice has many peaks and valleys and it’s interesting to think about some events that could cause these peaks and valleys. One peak in the Ngram that was observed was in the 1800-1832 time period, at this time, there were a plethora of books and articles being written about fossils and other paleontology digs. This is significant because it’s astonishing to see the trends of this word and when it peaked in language because it helps us understand the productivity of this word and at what turning points in history it was used. Since what was mainly seen was the books coming out about paleontology digs and finding woolly mammoth remains and from that we can assume that there were more and more paleontology digs which sparked discussions about their findings. Additionally, there was one of the highest peaks of use in 1821. From research found, in 1821 there was an article 196


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from “gentleman’s magazine and historical chronicle.” In this article it talks about a story about a ship that was going through great hardship on the seas, including ice glaciers and wind. This is significant because it demonstrates a sense of wonder and urgency about such a dire event that occurred and the increase in conversations amongst society about how scary it must have been trying to get around ice. Additionally, there was another peak in ice’s usage in 1912, when there was a mini ice age and the invention of refrigerators for homes came to be. The peak of the word use in 1912 makes sense because if looking back at some of the dates in the OED, in 1912 there was talk about ice marks and ice marks are “a scratch, groove, or other mark produced by the action of ice esp. By glacial action during an ice age.” This is significant because it demonstrates the popularity of the word at this time, because an event like a mini ice age is bound to rattle people’s minds and raise serious questions and awareness for how this mini ice age is affecting our world. Additionally, in 1912 there was also the invention of at home refrigerators,a life changing invention for modern day society which definitely stirred up conversation, likely because of advertisements and more and more people getting to have their own at home refrigerator. These peaks demonstrate a broader understanding of how the popularity of this world fluctuates in different time periods. With fluctuations in the usage of the word ice, there’s peaks and then there’s valleys. One valley in particular that should be mentioned is in 1969 as there was a decline in the usage of the word and from research, according to the OED, there was an article in the New York Times about an ice skating competition team that was not able to compete. This could cause a decline in the usage because these were world ice dancing champions, competing could spark fan excitement from all around the world. However, since they were not competing it could cause great disappointment around the world resulting in a general 197


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decline of the usage. In addition, there was another significant decline in the word’s usage and popularity in 1998, there was a devastating ice storm that affected the north eastern parts of the United States. This devastating ice storm is significant to the decline of the usage of the word because a traumatic event like that can have effects on the way people react to the word ice or ice storm in general because of post traumatic stress of the days that it happened and the effects it had afterwards. These declines in the usage of the word help to demonstrate the effects that detrimental events like the ones mentioned can have on the ongoing popularity of a word. The future remains unknown. However, the word ice’s journey into contemporary English is well known. Today people use ice in a bunch of different forms including, money, drugs, food, personality and geological findings. While the original meaning still sticks, this word will take form as more figuratively said, as, for example, when used in describing crimes. With the rise in use of slang, food, and insults, ice is bound to evolve even more from its frosty origin by the upcoming generational trends and culture.

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Let’s Talk About All That Jazz

Sean Wright

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ccording to the Oxford English Dictionary, jazz is a verb, noun, and an adjective. The original meaning of jazz was used in the context of a genre of music. The meaning of jazz is “A type of popular music originating (esp. in ragtime and blues) among African Americans in the southern United States, typically performed by ensembles and broadly characterized by regular forceful rhythms, syncopated phrasing, modifications to traditional instrumental tone and pitch (such as the use of blue notes), and improvisatory soloing. A piece of Jazz music (now rare); (b) spec. a passage of improvised music in a Jazz performance (rare).c. Any of various styles of dance performed to or associated with Jazz music; spec. (a) (frequently with the) a ragtime dance (now rare); (b) a dance form having its roots in popular and theatrical dance and characterized especially by athletic movements and an emphasis on improvisation. Jazzy; lively; sophisticated; unconventional”. Jazz comes from the word jasm, which in Old English means “Strength and energy”, and in Middle English the spelling is “Jasm”. It would make sense that the word Jazz comes from the Old English word meaning strength and energy because jazz is very lively for music, so there’s a lot of energy to it. The music associated with jazz is a good example of dance music in the 1920s. 199


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In 1917, the first appeared in the Chicago Sunday tribune “Blue’ Marion sat down and jazzed the jazziest streak of jazz ever”. This is the first time that the word jazz was used as a genre of music but as blues music. Blues is a form of jazz that emerged during the Rock and Roll era. This was the most popular in parties with the rise of prosperity of the economy. The birth of jazz is considered to be from the 1920s Prohibition era. Due to the fact that “following World War I, large numbers of Jazz musicians migrated from New Orleans to major northern cities such as Chicago and New York, leading to a wider dispersal of Jazz as different styles developed in different cities.” What’s more, “As the 1920s progressed, Jazz rose in popularity and helped to generate a cultural shift. Because of its popularity in speakeasies, illegal nightclubs where alcohol was sold during Prohibition, and its proliferation due to the emergence of more advanced recording devices, Jazz became very popular in a short amount of time, with stars including Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway, and Chick Webb. Several famous entertainment venues such as the Apollo Theater and the Cotton Club came to epitomize the Jazz Age” . Jazz emerged with the Great Migration when many African Americans moved from New Orleans to Chicago and New York City. With this expansion of jazz to the new cities, came the Harlem Renaissance. In a 1917 New York Times article, it was first shown that jazz was a form of dance. This was the time when the roaring 20s came to be and the idea of the flapper appeared in American culture. Jazz was the most popular genre of music at parties and people began to dance to jazz. According to Encyclopedia Britannica, jazz dance is dancing to a swing band in a ballroom, “any dance to jazz accompaniments, composed of a profusion of forms”. Jazz dance paralleled the birth and spread of jazz itself from its roots in Black American society and was popularized in ballrooms by the big bands of the swing era (1930s and 40s). It radically altered the style of American and European stage 200


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and social dance in the 20th century. “The term is sometimes used more narrowly to describe (1) popular stage dance (except tap dance) and (2) jazz-derived or jazz-influenced forms of modern dance. It excludes social dances lacking jazz accompaniment—e.g., the rumba and other Latin-American dance. To this day, jazz can be almost anything. Musically speaking, the first major type of jazz is called ragtime; it was started by Scott Jopllen making the march songs from World War I, and is characterized by speeding up the tempo (tempo is the speed at which a passage of music is or should be played), and making the melody (melody is the part of the song that you remember—musicians do this on purpose) choppy and broken up which ended up in the loss of forward momentum. This became known as ragtime because the melody was ragged compared to the original music of the time, which was Romanticism music. Ragtime became the first genre of music to break the traditional rules of music. The next form of jazz is called Big Band swing. It’s called swing because the melody of the song bounces along and swings along with the rhythm. Jazz quickly replaced the blues as American popular music, in the form of big band swing, a kind of dance music from the early 1930s. Swing used large ensembles, and was not generally improvised, in contrast with the free-flowing form of other kinds of jazz. A big band is a type of musical ensemble associated with playing Jazz music which became popular during the Swing Era from the early 1930s until the late 1940s. A big band typically consists of approximately 12 to 25 musicians and contains saxophones, trumpets, trombones, and a rhythm section. Periodically it would also include a flute. The last big form of jazz is called bebop. Bebop came from the heart of jazz filled cities across America in the mid 1940s. It is a form of jazz that takes jazz improvisation to the next level and makes it more complex and more unpredictable. Bebop is 201


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a complex form of jazz that revolutionized the way jazz musicians performed. As the author of Udiscover Music explains, “In bebop, though, the rhythmic emphasis was switched from the bass drum to the subtler hi-hat and ride cymbal, which allowed greater rhythmic fluidity (drummers Kenny Clarke and Max Roach were the chief instigators of this new approach).” In the hands of bebop musicians, “jazz became more blues-oriented and riff-based too; and because Parker and Gillespie were able to marry their supreme technical ability with their knowledge of advanced music theory, what resulted was a new type of jazz defined by extended solos and whose harmonic language was denser and richer than ever before.” It is for jazz that is also hard to compose unless you are Charlie Parker or Dizzy Gillespie. The word’s importance is evident in the fact that jazz festivals continue to occur across the world. In 1970, the first New Orleans Jazz Fest took place. In 1954, the first Newport Jazz Fest, and in 2002, Rochester NY, had its first Jazz Fest where Jelly Roll Morton was considered the first jazz musician. Finally, the Montreal Jazz Fest holds the 2004 Guinness World Record as the world’s largest jazz festival. Even New York City has its winter jazz festival that has been going on for 17 years. Jazz originated during these festival, and continued to change and evolve to suit different eras’ musicals, their needs, and what their audiences wanted to hear. Jazz as a genre remains hand in hand with its linguistic etymology. Jazz is as old as the music, the word jazz is an old word derived from the word jasm of the Middle English time which means power and energy. This would make sense for the genre of jazz because it is a very lively form of music. There is a lot of power with the movement of jazz. Jazz comes from the word jasm, which in Old English means “Strength and energy”, and in Middle English the spelling is “Jasm”. It would make sense that the word jazz comes from the Old English word meaning 202


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strength and energy because jazz is very lively for music, so there’s a lot of energy to it. The music associated with jazz is a good example of dance music in the 1920s, and will remain a prevalent genre of music for many years to come.

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Stop, Drop, and Roll Because This Paper is Lit

Madison Martinez

W

hen you think of the word “fire” what comes to mind? Is it the key to your tasty s’mores? The command that is shouted to initiate gunfire? Or a reminder of a job termination? When proposing that question to teens, those are likely not one of the first ideas that come to mind. Thanks to the broadening of the English language due to slang, teenagers will likely also think about the word fire in different terms. What is expected to come to mind is the “fire” that is defined by Urban Dictionary as “Something that is really good, amazing, [and] crazy (in a good way).” When the scope is shifted to adults, it is likely they will think of literal fire that is defined as “The physical manifestation of combustion, characterized by flames and the production of (intense) heat, light, and (typically) smoke, and caused by the ignition and burning of flammable material” by the Oxford English Dictionary. This gap between teenagers and adults is viewed by many adults as harmful to the English language. This is due to the negative connotations that many adults place on slang. Unbeknown to adults, slang is not harmful due to the sole reason that language changes and grows over time. Although the overutilization of slang can be harmful as it can 205


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have a negative impact on a person’s grammar usage; slang usage to that extent is typically not present. Slang is additionally inevitable. It is popular in, and roots from, “popular music, politics, and the Internet” according to Wonderopolis. The internet is an especially large source, as there are many ages, races, ethnic groups, and simply so much diversity on the internet. This leads to the diffusion of ways of speech which ultimately can birth slang. The scale that slang has reached has contributed to the appeal that comes with it. Teenagers are said to utilize slang as a mode for individuality, as it separates them from their parents. While slang is also sometimes used as an attempt to fit in. It is believed that the utilization of slang itself dates back far into the 1800s. Other sources however claim that this date is closer to the 1920s. With the utilization of slang having spanned this long, it is safe to say that slang is here to stay. Emojis, characters made of symbols and pictures that can be placed in text, are widely understood by teenagers nowadays. Unsurprisingly, “fire” was no exception to the compilation of emojis. With fire being synonymous with slang words like “dope,” “nice,” “cool,” “fuego,” “fye,” and “lit” it is not a surprise that it is commonly used among emoji users. When it comes to the fire emoji, its many utilizations align with the words that are synonymous with its slang definition. When using the fire emoji, someone may put it under a picture of someone indicating that they are attractive or they may even make it as a caption to food, indicating that it is spicy or that it tasted good. The emoji is versatile as it can even be found under an athletic clip which would indicate that the clip was impressive. This versatility is a reason why I and many other young people use the word “fire” and many other slang terms. Emojis themselves are widely used among smartphone users. The fire emoji is special because it represents a slang term. Since it is easier to type an emoji under a sporting post than it is to type “that was a nice play,” the emojis will get used more often. The effects of the ease thanks 206


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to the emojis can be seen as the flame emoji is #7 on the list of the most used emojis on Twitter during 2019. Due to the slang word fire, the flame emoji has grown in popularity. That popularity does not seem to end and it should retain its popularity as long as the slang term “fire” is still being widely used. It is easy to think that adults disapprove of slang because they feel like they’re excluded and or they don’t understand what is being discussed, in terms of the word fire this may be part of the issue. Some slang words have meanings that can be derived from the slang word itself without prior knowledge of the slang definition or are even cognates to their meanings; fire however is an exclusion to this. Not only is this an exclusion, but it is nearly the total opposite as the term has contradictory synonyms. In order to see the contradiction, one word that you have to realize is synonymous with fire is “cool.” Just like you can tell someone “your (out)fit is fire,” you can also tell them “your (out)fit is cool” and the same message would be conveyed. “Fire” is however not alone when it comes to this. The slang terms “bad” and “nice” are seemingly opposites. When it comes to slang, someone can say “that play was baaad” and also “that play was nice,” and they would have the same meanings. This occurs in slang because when it comes to slang it is not what is said but rather what is conveyed. The same rhetoric can be applied to the usage of slang as well. A parent may note their child using slang as informal. The child, however, uses slang as a way to set themselves apart from their parents and others. It is an attempt at grasping onto whatever piece of individuality that they can get. The case of striving for individuality is nothing new. As humans, we have language to set ourselves apart from the rest of any other forms of life. Our utilization of many languages displays our sophistication as a species, something that no other animal has. While people who don’t use slang may frown upon it, it would be beneficial to simply realize that it is a form of expression and mode for 207


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individuality. Those who cannot accept this point are simply failing to realize that languages of the world themselves have the same motives (of individuality) that slang has. Although fire is widely known as a slang term, it is crucial to recognize the other ways in which “fire” can be said. One particularly popular way is “fye.” “Fye” (pronounced like pie with an f ) is special because it is not just synonymous with “fire,” but it is also an apocope. The last syllable of fire is dropped and “fye” is the result. That leaves slang users with two condensed ways to say “fire.” One is by using the flame emojis while the second would be by using “fye.” Fire has yet another synonym with a very direct connection to fire and that word is “fuego.” “Fuego” means fire in Spanish and can also be used interchangeably with “fire,” “fye,” and other related words. Another word related to “fire” is “lit.” Unlike “cool,” “lit” is related to fire in the sense that they both have warm connotations. “Dope” is yet another word that can be used interchangeably with “fire.” Like many other slang terms, “fire” has a long list of related words and additionally a notable origin. Its origin and related terms are critical in the understanding of the word as it ensures you are using the word accurately. Without the knowledge from above and the baseline knowledge of knowing that fire as a slang term has a different meaning than its literal term, you would be lost and maybe even confused or scared. If you were knowledgeable about the above facts and heard “fire” being used in its slang terms and conversation and assumed that actual fire was being discussed, the meaning would be lost and confusion would fog your head. If you did not know that fire was slang for “cool” that could land you in unsettling situations. For instance, if your child just had a friend over and you were taking the friend home and the child told you that “your house is fire” after leaving, you would immediately panic. You may immediately call 911 and report the house fire that is at your home or even believe that 208


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you have a child who committed arson in your backseat. If you did however know the meaning of fire (as a slang term) then you would accept the phrase and feel good as the child had just complimented your home. Without knowing the word in its entirety, the meaning would be lost, leaving some people in utter confusion. The tension between the literal term and slang term is overwhelming and contributes to the hypothetical confusion. If the tension were not present, a misinterpretation of the word fire would not result in such a gap in the message that is being conveyed. “Fire” as a slang term has undoubtedly gained traction recently, an attribute that makes it deserving of being included in the Oxford English Dictionary. This word will continue to rise as a result of quarantine. During quarantine, many people have soul-searched and found their true selves, revealing beauty that was hidden as the people reached their fullest potential. These occurrences can be (and oftentimes are) referred to as glow-ups (by teenagers who use slang). These occurrences mean that “fire” as a slang term needs to be entered in the OED as it will become an increasingly more commonplace term among everyday language that is used by people. In order to capture what has occurred in its fullest essence, people must use the word “fire” to fully capture events of great change that have occurred like that. A simple “you look nice” is no longer sufficient. With the inclusion of fire and all of its synonyms (including the flame emojis) into the OED, English would become one step closer to becoming complete as a word with increasing usage could be added. This addition would increase familiarity with the in turn knowledge and usage of it. Even if the word is not added into the OED, it will continue to live on connected to words like “fit,” in turn making up phrases like “that fit is fire.” Although the exact slang definition for fire is likely subject to change, I do not believe that the term as a whole will fade as a slang term. And to those who believe that fire as a slang word will too fade, 209


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please consider this; colloquial language will also likely fade as a result of insufficiency. It is clear that teenagers already use slang as they feel that colloquial language isn’t enough to have individuality. That will inevitably lead to colloquial language becoming insufficient as well due to its versatility, allowing for many to adapt to it which doesn’t leave much room to be different. Not only will language likely collapse because of that fact, but slang could also likely collapse. That could be the case because of the liminal space in slang that is allowed due to the tension between the young and the old. While younger people may find it “cringy” when older people use slang and as if they’re “trying too hard,” older people have a similar bone to pick with the younger generations. They are essentially anti-slang as they claim that it ruins language. This occurrence of both young and old not wanting the other to use slang will eventually lead to chaos and likely the fall of slang as it becomes a lose-lose for both the young and the old to use. With both groups wanting the same for the other (to stop using slang), slang will eventually crumble.

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Guest Submissions



An Inspection of Unmedicated Adolescence: An Analysis of Holden Caulfield

Elisabeth Porschet

The following paper is a character study written on Holden Caulfield from J. D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye.

T

he Catcher in the Rye explores the concept of grieving one’s childhood, with J.D. Salinger using characterization to portray Holden’s attempt to escape impending adulthood and save children from a similar fate. As Holden grows up in what he has begun to recognize as a broken world, he struggles with the thought of other children having to grow up the same way he was forced to. As a way of rejecting the responsibility that accompanies growing up, Holden does hardly any of his schoolwork, and is expelled for the third time as the book begins. Holden’s mental health deteriorates as he finds himself grappling with isolation while he attempts to distance himself from the suffocating expectations of his parents and mentors. While Holden is staying in New York so he doesn’t have to break the news of his latest expulsion to his parents, his quest to rescue children from the perils of adulthood leads to his spi213


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raling into reckless and self-destructive behavior. Holden has a close relationship with his sister, Phoebe, and lives vicariously through her to reminisce about the liberty of being a child, blissfully unaware of the daunting future. In a conversation with her, when Phoebe tells Holden that he hardly seems to like anything anymore, she claims that the only things or people he can name are dead, which is symbolic of Holden’s childhood and his insistence on clinging to the shreds of things that are far gone. In the text, Holden tells Phoebe that “Just because somebody’s dead, you don’t just stop liking them, for God’s sake—especially if they were about a thousand times nicer than the people you know that’re alive and all.” The significance in this conversation lies in Holden’s description of what’s ‘dead.’ In this case it’s childhood, and Holden deemed it infinitely better than the dark place that he’s in at this point in the text. In this passage, Salinger deliberately characterizes Holden as painfully human through illustrating his desperation to return to the comforting naivete of childhood. Holden’s negative experience with adolescence leads him to be extremely protective of the innocence of young children, and he is appalled when he goes to Phoebe’s school and sees profanities scrawled on the walls. In the text, Holden states that “Somebody’d written [something awful] on the wall. It drove [him] damn near crazy. [He] thought about how Phoebe and all the other little kids would see it, and how they’d wonder what the hell it meant, and then finally some dirty kid would tell them—all cockeyed, naturally—what it meant, and how they’d all think about it and maybe even worry about it.” Here, Holden’s sense of duty surrounding the innocence of the children becomes apparent and highlights Holden’s devotion to ensuring that Phoebe and her classmates’ blissful naivete remains intact for as long as possible. However, Holden’s intense desire to bend the universe to his will eventually overwhelms him, to the point of madness. 214


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The novel concludes as Holden alludes to sickness that leads to his stay at a mental institution. J.D. Salinger employs characterization to illustrate how Holden spent the book doing his best to preserve the innocence of his children. Nonetheless, Holden learns soon enough that change is inevitable, and protecting the youth of a few children will not allow Holden to escape adulthood, but it will cost him his sanity. During a moment of melancholy realization, Holden proclaims, “that’s the whole trouble. You can’t ever find a place that’s nice and peaceful, because there isn’t any. You may think there is, but once you get there, when you’re not looking, somebody’ll sneak up and write [something awful] right under your nose.” The magnitude of this passage lies in the irony that Holden has spent nights on park benches, gotten into fistfights, excessively consumed psychoactive substances, and convinced himself that he was going to hitchhike to the middle of nowhere and pretend to be a deaf-mute, all in a backwards attempt to evade the inescapable. Holden Caulfield has spent an entire novel trying to rebel and defend the purity of young children from the dark forces of growing up, only to have a sudden moment of realization and come to the conclusion that while he’s been trying to find tranquility, his denial and inability to make peace with his present has perpetually prevented him from feeling any sense of serenity.

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Forbidden Love

Michaela Vanzile-Partridge There are two races that make up two kingdoms, the Demons and the Angels. In this world, the two kingdoms never get along and one day, something tragic happens that causes a war between them.

“Hello?’’ said Angel. “Hello?’’ said Demon. “Ugh, do you know where we are?” asked Angel while she rubs her head. “Yea, I do” said the Demon with a sad and worried face. “Hey, are you okay?’’ asked Angel. “Yea...’’ said Demon. “Who are you?’’ asked Angel. “Oh, sorry. I’m Demon, prince of the underworld. What is your name?’’ “My name is Angel, princess of heaven,” said Angel. “Oh sorry, my princess,’’ said Demon while bowing down to the princess. “Do you know exactly where we are?’’ said Angel while blushing to change the subject. “Yeah, we are in the underworld, my home,” said Demon. “So, why aren’t you in that castle then?’’ asked Angel. “Demon?’’ said Angel while she sees Demon staring off. 217


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“You need to get out of here now or my dad will see you,” said Demon angrily to the Angel who started to cry. “I didn’t mean to yell. Here, come with me.’’ So Demon took Angel in his arms and flew with his wings to a mountain near the blood red moon. “Here, you can let go now.’’ While Demon was standing there, she put her hands down and was amazed. “Wow, Demon what is this place?’’ “Never mind that but here you go,” said Demon while giving roses to Angel. “You know, before we magically appeared here, I remember running away from home trying to escape from my father. Then, I saw this ice orb thing and I walked towards it and tried to grab it, then I woke up back here.’’ “Aren’t your parents going to worry you’re not home?’’ asked Angel. “I always feel like I’m invisible and my parents always tell me to take care of everything but sometimes, I just want to run away and never look back.” “Angel, are you okay?’’ said Demon worried. “Yeah, it’s just that I feel the same way but I just don’t want so many responsibilities anymore so I tried to run out of the castle but then the guards caught me but promised not to tell my mom,’’ said Angel. Demon just looked down. “I’m getting tired’’ said Angel while falling asleep. “Me too, but I’m not sure where you live so I can’t—oh, you fell asleep already’’ said Demon while looking down at Angel who had fallen asleep. “Demon, get up now!’’ yelled the King. “Yes, yes I’m up, what do you want?’’ said Demon, very annoyed. Chaos ensued among the three. “Angel, are you here?” said Demon while walking towards 218


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the tree but Angel never showed up...

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Where I’m From

Sophie Augustine

I am from bookshelves, from duct tape and epsom salts. I am from the crossroads, choices looming like the pine trees above the drive— sweet sap leaving a lasting imprint on all who come near. I am from the magnolias, The wall of green formed by hedges. I am from on the spot songs and scrappiness. From stories of the glory days, Bakers and Augustines. I am from the unrelenting and perfectionists. From “love your neighbor” 221


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and “no man is an island”. I am from idiosyncrasy And strong ideologies, A congregation driven by love. I’m from a small town, big enough to learn but small enough to know. Chocolate and almond extract. From the bat catchers, towels flapped and hampers thrown, With schedules split like personalities. I am from the attic boxes, snapshots of an easier time. Decorations and photographs, Where the smell of hope and mildew lingers. Moments frozen in time— A thousand emotions Hidden beneath a single smile.

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Where I’m From

Janeika Delgado

I am from Tall Tropical trees, to pinchos down the hill, From old monopoly games and runaway lizards, that would sneakily get close then run as you moved, on the porch. I am from the limbes known as icies From the Avanza! And Vamos! I am from overrated pernil and rice; Young mothers and a beautiful family tree. I am from the Tropical Sky and the Bipolar weather, From the beautiful city in PR and the ordinary town in New York. I am from long luscious hair I can sit on, to forbidden slim short hair. I am from New Dresses for church every Sunday, From the bleach spray and scrubs.

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From a distant family but close at heart. I am from the Surprise Birthday parties and the saddest “see you soon.” I am From the Delgados and the Cruza.


Akira

Anthony Baez-Perez The following short story is a work of fiction that explores the implications of literary symbolism.

“T

he city of Neverwinter, brim and gloomy, teemed with miserable life. This society stricken with bad luck and terrible events, for the normal and just people. The streets overpopulated to the stock, elbows would sometimes greet others, mice too. A boy, a quarter into his fifteen years of age, struggles in the boring, oppressive life, living with his step parents. Finding no truth to the disappearance of his real parents, nor does he have a clue that the step parents are not his own blood. Dennis, a name created with littlest effort, such effort can be compared to a drunkard trying to recall events at the intoxicated moment. “Make sure you get back with the bread and nothing else!” shouted the step mother. “Fine—not like there is anything interesting to look at anyway,” Dennis said with dread, with lightly seasoned sass. Taking a deep breath, knowing he has to traverse the crowded streets of Neverwinter, to avoid contact with anyone and anything just to not receive the heated back of the step mother’s hand. Seeing as the main road is almost impossible to pass through, Dennis resorted to taking shortcuts protruding in the main street. Dennis, finally entering 225


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the store, quickly grabbed the bread and paid the store keeper the price. Checking the sky, he noticed that the sky was already mixing with the darkness of the night and the dying light of the afternoon. “I better hurry, this will not look good for mom.” Dennis sprints to the lonely alleys, tripping to a broken glass, not to the fault of his own, as the ground was barely visible without some light source. As he lays there, he notices white feathers of unknown origin falling to rest on his hand and head. Dennis, looking puzzled, grasped the feather gently, with fear of crushing it’s graceful looks. The feather, bearing familiar looks of a Raven feather but white for reasons unknown. He gets up, discovering that his knee was cut, bleeding ever so slowly. “Umm, this is not the way home. Definitely didn’t have a tree there or the fact that the ground just changed to this fluffy grass.” The alley was no more, conquered by the scenery of a forest, something of a fairytale, much to Dennis’s disbelief. “Either I’m dead or someone slipped something in my toast” Dennis said. He walked around, trying to make out of this place, the trees looked lively, as if a talented artist drew this. The air, fresher than the city Dennis was in. The sky shined, giving life and color to the ground it hovered above. Dennis walked around the forest, seemingly having no road or a guide out of this forest. The ground vibrated with the sound of galloping horses appearing to meet him. Knights in these horses circled around Dennis, although appearing hostile, their weapons not drawn. One knight spoke to another, two of them staring at Dennis with calmness as Dennis looked harmless for a fifteen year old. One of the more decorated knights sprung a question “Who are you? What country or faction do you reside in?” Dennis only looked with a flummoxed face. ‘I don’t know what they were saying’ was what crossed Dennis’s mind. The knight thought for a moment, as he came quickly to understand that the boy seemed harmless and may not be of this world, yet he senses something from him that might be tied to this place. 226


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The knight got off his horse and approached Dennis, though with gentleness and curiosity. Dennis, unaware of his intentions, backs away slightly only for the knight to kneel and analyze the injured knee Dennis had earlier. The knight touched the bleeding spot with only his glove, took a look and the blood, eyes opened wide, came to be the result. To the other knights, he gave a stern look and the other got the message. With a few words the knight stopped the bleeding of the wound, yet the wound remained open and the blood suspended as if time had stopped. The knight got on his horse, gave a gesture that Dennis could easily make out of. Dennis joined with the fellow knights and fast they rode away from the forest. Dennis, wondering where they were taking him, only met with utter serious silence and only distracted himself with the scenery that was fast appearing. They arrive at a castle Dennis has thought to be made believe. ‘I swear this is a dream or I’m still dead’ Dennis thought. He was still holding on to the white raven feather and every so often, a white feather would be falling around him, though it is not seen to the other eyes. Only Dennis can see this unusual phenomenon, as the appearing feathers only phase through the knights and even the ground. The knights then arrive at the entrance of the great hall. Dennis and the other knights get off their horse and escort him to the great hall, noticeably in a method as if they were guarding him. A man, wearing clothes defining power and utmost royalty, approaches Dennis with a soft, almost friendly face. Dennis quickly looked to find the man wearing a crown, and a sword. Such a sword it is, glowing ever so bright, the hilt of the sword looking more ruthless but at a controlled state. The king took a look at the wounded knee, eyes wider than the knight had upon the discovery of the blood of Dennis. ‘My sword never reacted like this to anyone other than within kin. And his blood…’ thought the king. Dennis only looked more and more confused at what was unveiling. 227


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The king looked at Dennis with profound happiness, mixed with sadness and longing relief, and put his hand over Dennis’s head “I’ve finally found you, my son.” The shocked Dennis, who pinched himself, thinking he was dreaming, but to no desirable result. Dennis, looking around, finding the knights kneeling in honor, then looking back to his father, finding the white feathers falling around his father as well, with more falling than before. Dennis, on the verge of tears, looked to his father and said “Where is Mom, if you’re here?” The king, switching to a little serious look “She is out there, somewhere. We will find her, to the very ends of reality. Let me show you around, Akira...

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My Personal Narrative

Wendyliz Rios-Morales

The following personal narrative is modeled after those shared in American Like Me, an anthology of stories addressing what it means to be American.

I

t wasn’t until I moved to America that I knew that my mom was right: I have to work twice as hard. I was 5 years old sleeping in my grandparents’ house and hearing the chirp of the crickets when my mom entered the room. She said, “Mi amor levantate queremos ir al aeropuerto”. “My love wake up, we have to get to the airport”. I was confused and hurt. I didn’t want to leave my family behind and I didn’t want to leave my cousin because we had grown close. I had a great life in Puerto Rico, filled with adventures and joy, but my mom and I were searching for a better life. The goal was to meet my dad in Geneva, but when we got there, my life quickly turned into a nightmare. A few months after I moved, I could tell that my mom and my dad were not acting the same. Because the tensions that were going on, my father decided to leave. I felt like my heart broke into many pieces when he left without giving me a reason. My mom told me when I could fully understand why, but it still didn’t change the hurt I felt growing up. After my dad left, my mom and I did not have anything. We had to stay in a 229


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hotel and tried to save money to buy food. She kept trying to find a job until she found one, but it was a night shift so it was difficult for her. I remember when my mom had to go to work, I had to get a babysitter and I would always cry because I did not want my mom to leave. It was my first day of school as a second grader. I was so scared and confused because everything around me seemed different. Kids in school would talk to me in English and say random words that I didn’t understand. I would stare at them and zone out until they would walk away. At the time, I only knew how to speak Spanish. I would be upset and mind my own business because I couldn’t fit in with the new environment. During class, when the teacher tried to talk to me and I would stay quiet, there would be students laughing at me or staring at me. One student said to me, “You don’t know how to speak English?”. I didn’t know what that student said to me, but I could tell that they were making fun of me. School was over and I ran to my mom’s arms. I said, “No me gusta esta ciudad, podemos ir para Puerto Rico otra vez” “I don’t like this city, can we go back to Puerto Rico”. I told my mom that the kids in school are bullying and laughing at me. This broke my mom’s heart and she could tell that I was really upset. She said, “Mi amor yo se que esta vida va hacer dificil pero tenemos que hacer fuerza y no te rindas”. “My love, I know that this new environment is hard for you, but we have to be strong and not give up”. So, I didn’t give up and kept working hard. My mom bought me this book to learn to speak English and it helped me. I am always so thankful that I have an amazing, hardworking mom that would not give up on me. A few years later, I learned how to speak English really well. I still have more to learn, but I was glad I didn’t give up and kept pushing myself. My mom had a great job that she liked and everything in our lives had become stable. Coming to America was difficult. My dad left me and I was trying to fit into this new environment, but if that didn’t 230


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happen, I wouldn’t be here where I am. All this conflict that I’ve been through made me into an independent, stronger person. I couldn’t have done it without my mom being there by my side. I am proud to be a Latina American because not many other Latinos or Latinas can get that opportunity to come to the United States. I can’t wait until I walk up off the stage, holding my diploma and see her smile with happiness. At that moment, I will say to her, “I did it”. Living in America as a Hispanic can be hard for some individuals, but in the end, we have to work twice as hard to accomplish our goals.

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My Future Dreams to Come

Claudia Aguilera

The following personal narrative is modeled after those shared in American Like Me, an anthology of stories addressing what it means to be American.

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oming to America from another country can be life changing and difficult. America has a completely different language, culture, and an everyday way to live. As a kid, I had always been a dreamer. At the age of four, I would tell my mom that I wanted to be a princess, but she couldn’t understand so I would have to say it in Spanish: “Ma quiero ser una princesa”. She would look at me and smile. Growing up she tried to speak English, but it was hard for her. My dad was almost never there because he would work about eleven hours a day, though I don’t blame him. He tried to put food on the table. My mom said I could be whatever I wanted to be; she gave me hope. She’s always been my number one supporter. Now at the age of seventeen, I want to graduate high school, be the best aunt ever, and get a job I genuinely feel fulfilled with. My dreams will make both of my Mexican immigrant parents proud. Consequently, my biggest goal is to make my parents proud. By graduating high school, I know I will make them proud. 233


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I also want to be the best aunt ever to my three niece and nephews I have. They deserve to be happy because they have the sweetest, kindest hearts. Eventually, I would like to be a real estate agent. I would go to school, understand strategies, that will one day help me sell houses. I want to be my own boss, and have no one to depend on but myself. My first goal is to graduate high school. Graduation is important to me because my parents never had the opportunity to have an education. My parents didn’t make it past the sixth grade. My mom attended school until the sixth grade, and my dad until the third grade. They had to get out of school to help my grandparents. The men in Mexico would go to the desert all day watching the sheep and cattle, while the women stayed home and cleaned. My dad came to America at the age of 17, my age. I cannot imagine doing my dad’s job. He works seven days a week from 6AM to 5PM. And he only gets a day off when the weather is bad, and even when the weather is bad, he doesn’t sit and relax. I will achieve graduating high school by trying my best, and pushing myself even when the situation is hard. Sometimes, school can be really difficult for me, and my parents see that I’m frustrated, but they can’t help me. I know they feel bad for not being able to help me. I try to be as helpful as I can, so I usually pay the water, gas, phone, cable, and wifi bills for them. They can pay the bills but they both get home tired, so I just feel as if it’s my duty to pay them. My parents don’t often tell me they’re proud of me, but when they do, I feel like I’m on top of the world. My family is my motivation, and without them, I’d be lost. I know I wouldn’t be here, where I am today, without them. I know the only way to pay them back is by trying my best. My biggest goal is to make my parents proud. By graduating high school, I know I will make them proud. I will sacrifice any material I have to make my parents proud. 234


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If I could receive my high school diploma right now, without finishing high school, I wouldn’t take it. I would reject the offer and keep going until I earn it. I would rather have my parents be proud of me than to have an expensive car or mansion. I would give up anything to see them proud of me; all my life, I have been trying my absolute best for my parents to say “Claudia estamos orgullosos de ti”. This will influence my life by making sure I will “be someone”. My dad tells me I have everything that he never did. And since I can go to school, I should take advantage of this opportunity. He wants me to “be someone” in life. When my dad says he wants me to be somebody, he is saying he wants me to be known, to stand out, to be someone, because he says he is no one. When my dad says this, it breaks my heart because he is someone. He is a Mexican immigrant living in America. I know he deserves to be here because he is hardworking and the best dad in the world. Sometimes, he says he’s sorry for not always being there for me as a kid since he works long hours. As I’ve grown older, I’ve realized that he did this to help maintain us. I have no idea how to repay him, which is why I want to make him proud. Growing up, I never had an aunt who was there for me. All of them would say I was a show off because I lived in America. My mom has never done that to any of her nieces or nephews, so I quickly decided that I want to treat my nieces and nephews just as my mom treated hers. I’ve decided this after reading the quote, “Be the person you never had growing up”. I will never forget that quote. Right now I have an eight year old nephew and a set of twins, boy and girl, who are four. There are another two on the way, due in July. Having them in my life has been my biggest blessing. They came to my life, not knowing how much I needed them. These kids made me and my whole family happy. They are the glue to our love. I became an aunt when I was eight, I had a quick childhood. I was changing diapers at the age of nine. Babysitting at ten. I matured more quickly than 235


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my other classmates. At the same time, however, I was never taught how to be an aunt. I want to be the best aunt I can be because my nephews deserve it. I will achieve this by giving my niece and nephews a hug when I see them, asking them how their day was, and asking them if anything is wrong. I’ll do this because I’ll always remember a time in third grade when I was bullied. I will never forget her since she acted like a friend but wasn’t. She would throw cookies in my hair and make fun of my weight. I never told anyone at first. But after a while, my mom saw that I wasn’t the same, and she asked me what was wrong. At that point, I told her, and the next day, she told her boss she wasn’t going to be able to make it to work. She went with me to the principal’s office, marching in, barely knowing English, and demanding for that girl to be punished. To this day, I remember everything, it’s the worst feeling in the world. I don’t want any of my nieces or nephews to ever go through that. No one deserves that. My mom is the best mom ever. I want to be like my mom, the love she gives me, is the love my niece and nephews deserve from me. To achieve being the best aunt ever, I will call my nephews when I can’t see them. I will hug them even if they say “get away from me” (I used to say that, not meaning it). I want them to know that they are the most important people in my life. My long term goal is to eventually become a real estate agent. I will go to school to get my real estate license. I will take notes that other people say are important and have them, so if I’m struggling one day, they may help me out. I ultimately want to be my own boss, where I renovate houses and sell them. I want to be able to do what I want to do whenever I want to do it. To achieve this goal, I will have to get a job soon, but it won’t be permanent. Becoming my own real estate agent is important to me because I want to be in charge. I want to be able to make my schedule, have people ask when I’m open, and not depend on anyone. If I want something done, then I have to do it. I 236


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will achieve being a real estate agent by going to school, and trying my absolute best. This will also involve opening up to people’s ideas, and hearing them out even if I don’t necessarily agree with them. By following this dream, I have followed in my parents’ footsteps. My parents also have a few houses in Geneva that have been renovated, and are being rented at this very moment. My dad says: “Estaré allí para ti, seré tu mano derecha. Eres mi princesa y te mereces ser feliz”. Meaning, “I’ll be there for you, I’ll be your right hand. You are my princess and you deserve it to be happy”. My motivation is my family. I want to see them happy, I want to push forward to show them each and every sacrifice they made to be here together where we are today has paid off. I want to walk down that stage knowing this was only accomplished because of them. I want to take my nieces and nephews to Starbucks. I want them to live the best childhood; though I had a short one, I feel as if it’s my duty to make the best childhood I can for them. Throughout my journey, I’ve learned that the people who want to see you succeed will always have your back, and will be proud with whatever decisions you have to make. People who want to see you fail should be your motivation to keep going. Only you can make your dreams come true.

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On The “Allegory of the Cave” Aiden Fallo

The following reaction paper discusses the value of Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave” in today’s world.

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he “Allegory of the Cave” illustrates many implicit philosophical ideas about understanding how society operates and how ignorance can overwhelm a human mind—whether that ignorance is self-inflicted or a byproduct of a socioeconomic or political system. Plato’s cave suggests that improper education is a blinding force responsible for the illusion that captivates the minds of the masses. It’s possible for the prisoners in the cave to believe the illusions because subjectively that is the truth they know. They have “not been allowed to turn their heads”, as Glaucon states, making it so they have only ever seen the shadows of the objects. This is the same catalyst that causes the escapee’s eyes to hurt when they see the light, or truth. To them, the light is a distortion of the shadows, and from their perspective, reality has been flipped on its head. Furthermore, Socrates explains that since the prisoner is only previously familiar with the shadows, the actual object will mystify him. In his mind, the shadows are “truer” and will be easier to recognize, even though they are the mere silhouette of the truth. He has already accepted the 239


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shadows as reality, which indeed they were for him. The simple fact that reality is subjective to the person experiencing it proves this. Although a world of comprehension and light exists above the prisoners, not having knowledge of it means it is not encompassed in the prisoners’ reality, which demonstrates how an illusion can be accepted as the truth. Ignorance has the potential to be so strong that a person doesn’t realize it’s there, which is where the danger resides. As prisoners to this blissful ignorance, they are trapped until someone frees them. This aligns with why Socrates made the last step to enlightenment, to turn back and help another. Even though the prisoners’ eyes hurt at first, they can no longer conceptualize the shadows as reality, meaning that they’ve reached the point of no return. His purpose in creating this scenario is to demonstrate how learning from one another is the most powerful tool in the world, one that can distort a reality and create a much more powerful new one.

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Miscellany



On Tim Kreider’s “The Busy Trap” Various

Richard Xu

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reider’s busy trap is the excessive urge to validate an individual’s time by completing excessive activities and achieving a “busy” status. Personally, I’ve fallen victim to this trap on multiple occasions throughout my life. Whether it is in academics or life in general, I feel guilty by staying idle. Society perpetuates the notion that by staying busy you are using your time effectively. However, as I’ve learned to observe, time management is extremely subjective to everyone. Spending time on quality work may ironically require spurts of relaxation. Kreider says it best when describing the reasoning behind staying busy is to escape the “dread [of ] what they might have to face in its absence”. People seek validation by expending all their time. Busyness does not necessarily equate to success. People find themselves guilty when they waste time on recreational activities due to the virtues society emphasizes. Hard work and dedication are some of the many empty words everyone uses to encourage busyness. While I do agree staying idle 243


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is not always the best use of time, I disagree with the negative connotation behind staying idle. Every person has their own ways of staying productive and personally I need to emerge myself in the area I am working in by taking a few steps back. It is embedded in our brains that by giving something we receive something in return. Time is no exception. There must always be sacrifices in taking steps towards success; it may take several years before people accomplish their goals. Socioeconomic status is intertwined with staying busy. Paradoxically, it seems that people who are at the top of the economic podium have excessive time on their hands whereas those at the bottom work tirelessly. As a writer, Kreider is fortunate enough to earn a livable wage by spending time doing what he loves. He proposes an interesting dilemma that “perhaps the world would soon slide to ruin if everyone behaved as [he did]”. Time is attached to labor, and people sell their time to corporations in order to earn a wage. Inevitably, the lower class is exploited as their time is transformed into pennies so that large moguls live luxuriously. Members of the lower class are constantly busy and never have the time to sustain themselves. To make matters worse, social norms encourage this behavior by associating tireless workers as hard working people. This distracts from the corruption in society that frequently exploits people’s expense of labor for monetary gain. Thus, greedy individuals feed off those in unfortunate circumstances to propel themselves across the socioeconomic ladder.

Ashley Turijan

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he Busy Trap is a name which refers to the desire to consistently remain occupied. Growing up in a world which is rapidly evolving around us, everyone has the desire to catch 244


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up, especially in the United States. In order to catch up, we’ve designed a way to continually remain occupied for the sake of ourselves. Whenever we are not busy, we feel no longer needed, as if we are missing something within ourselves or have become a waste of space. When we are busy, we feel useful and needed but when we are not, we begin to feel “anxious and guilty” because we are using our time by doing tasks which do not promote our work. “[We’re] busy because of [our] own ambition or drive or anxiety, because [we’re] addicted to busyness and dread what [we] might have to face in its absence.” It’s almost like an addictive drug which we can never separate from. When using busyness as an excuse “it makes you feel important, sought-after and put-upon.” As humans, we crave to feel seen and appreciated by others. When we receive recognition from others, or even seen by them, we feel important and delighted. Personally, I have fallen into the busy trap. Whenever I go for a long period of time without doing anything or keeping myself occupied with tasks which will help me improve either mentally or academically, I feel as if I have achieved nothing. I begin to do other chores or activities trying to fill the emptiness from not being occupied. Although I am fond of the thought of being busy, “I hate actually being busy” just like Kreider. Just like Kreider, “I also feel that four or five hours is enough to earn my stay on the planet for one more day” but instead of writing, with schoolwork because of my lack of completeness on my work whenever I am here for a full 24 hours. I continually feel the need to remain occupied to feel some sort of meaning or purpose in life. From a young age, we are taught in a way which is designed to prepare us to fall in the Busy Trap: “Even children are busy now, scheduled down to the half-hour with classes and extracurricular activities. They come home at the end of the day tired as grown-ups.” We are taught to base our success around num245


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bers, grades and compare ourselves to others around us. When we receive a 90-100, we tend to feel proud and continue to work into bringing more success but if we receive a low grade such as 30-40, we tend to feel unpleasant and as if we are putting forth inadequate effort. When we receive a low grade, we feel unimportant and as if our busyness had no purpose. “Busyness serves as a kind of existential reassurance, a hedge against emptiness; obviously your life cannot be silly or trivial or meaningless if you are so busy, completely booked, in demand every hour of the day.” As humans we desire to be reassured that we are doing something which promotes goodness and has a purpose which is what we relate to busyness. Although remaining busy is important to everyone, we have to create a balance between busyness and time with our friends and family. If we spend too much time focusing on work or school, we will end up regretting putting people aside for the sake of our busyness. We’ll end up laying on our deathbeds regretting not spending enough time with the people around us and laughing with them.

Jenna Kafrawi

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n “The Busy Trap,” Tim Kreider discusses how overworking yourself has become the norm in our society. He mentions the busy trap, which is when we force ourselves to be busy all the time. Typically this is to make yourself feel important or sought after since your time is so full of things to do. I definitely have fallen into this before, as I would force myself to be busy to prove to myself that I’m productive or show that I’m capable of juggling several things at a time. Nonetheless, this is not a healthy habit as it often leads to an unhealthy amount of stress and pressure and promotes this trend among others. 246


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I don’t think that humans should automate meaningless tasks because there is value in even the most mundane tasks. As Krieder mentions, idleness is “paradoxically necessary for getting any work done,” highlighting how even what some may consider meaningless such as folding the laundry or putting away the dishes are important as they serve as a repose from the hectic busyness of our lives and can even lead to more productivity as you will be more prepared to do other tasks. Furthermore, I don’t think that there are any jobs that are meaningless. Without workers of every level, society would not be able to function smoothly. And so, there is value in every job and every worker. There are steps that we can take to get rid of the busy trap. I agree with Krieder’s belief that we should value time with others more. As he states, he considers spending time with the people he loves the best “investment of [his] limited time on earth.” While there are factors such as financial limitations which hinder some from living this way, I believe that it’s still important to keep Krieder’s sentiment in mind while living so that we don’t end up regretting the way we lived.

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On George Orwell’s “Politics and the English Language” Various

Vincent Cardinale

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rwell is somewhat of a grammatical prescriptivist and a grammatical descriptivist. He does point out a lot of the errors in modern English, but his main concern isn’t whether or not the English is correct, but rather, the actual meaning of what a person is trying to say. Orwell explains this by going into detail on dying metaphors, where he argues that “In real life it is always the anvil that breaks the hammer, never the other way about: a writer who stopped to think what he was saying would be aware of this, and would avoid perverting the original phrase”, effectively, Orwell is pointing out the inherent flaw with a misused metaphor, as it does not portray the true meaning of the metaphor. He is concerned with the dying of metaphors, because it makes writing lose its “vividness” and meaning. So, while Orwell is commenting on the correctness of language in a prescriptivist manner, he is doing that because he cares about the meaning of what people are saying. He does not want that to be lost, especially in politics, where it is important 249


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for people to be able to understand someone’s message, so that they can make informed decisions. This is why Orwell seeks to reach a broad audience of English speakers, because language is a very integral part of all of our lives, especially in the world of politics, which Orwell aims to demonstrate in this essay. He realises the many flaws with modern English, and how it not only affects politics but is also affected by politics.

Andrew Pilet

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e cannot live outside of our language; within reality, our understanding of culture, history, social systems, etc., are all defined by how language acknowledges them. This can be seen with Saussure’s idea of semiotic arbitrariness—it’s a pervasive fact that it is we, as humanity, who gives meanings to the things we see around us with language. As commonly given as an example, a tree is a “tree” because that is what we agreed to call it, so, furthermore, that concept applies to all facets of reality; the way we identify the impacts and presence of our senses, our emotions and moods, our thoughts and arguments, are all shaped by how our use of language defines them—without language serving as a basis to reality, what other way would you be able to express the more complex aspects of your person? Physically, goosebumps could signify cold weather or fright, sweating may signify nervousness, and a frown or a grimace may, biologically, be ingrained in our minds as signs of anger and sadness; but, beyond more simple concepts, how would one express discontent, or reverence, or shame? Our language is directly tied into the way we think, the actions we take, the appearances we create to represent ourselves, and, so, without it, reality isn’t really reality, or, at least, it’s one that humanity is not a part of. 250


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To bring this idea back to Orwell, he himself states that—in regards to the more licentious and negligent usage of language— that English (and what could be attributed to language as a whole) “becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish,” but, in turn, “the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts.” Language and thought are directly tied, and what we understand of reality is, in itself, directly tied to how we perceive—the thoughts we have about it. If our language is corrupt, then our thinking is corrupt—but if language is absent, then thinking, and its connection to reality, is also absent. It’s impossible to live without language, because without it lies a reality that is unabashedly disconnected from what humanity can and will understand and thrive in.

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Every year, the University of Chicago asks first year applicants to answer an intriguing prompt in their personal statement. The following essays represent students’ answers to some of these prompts, which are included below.

What Sits in the Sea

Andrew Pilet

UChicago professor W. J. T. Mitchell entitled his 2005 book What Do Pictures Want? Describe a picture, and explore what it wants.

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n a picture of little consequence, there’s a vast sea; the waters appear immeasurably deep, absent of waves, flat and tranquil—yet, nevertheless, still crashing and filtering over itself, waves of sea foam forming in circles and lines across the bank. In the middle of that sea is a lone fig tree, impossibly large and resolute, appearing like a beacon in the dark waters; its bark is coarse and twisted, with branches splitting off in every direction. Hanging on one of those branches is a swing. Yellow twine, formed into two ropes, ties around the branch and trails down to the seat of the swing, wrapping around its thinned edges. The swing is made of soft looking amber wood, and sits over the calmest part of the water—no foam, no paradoxically flat waves, just a nauseatingly black chasm. In the picture’s stillness, the swing seems to still calmly move back and forth, like the leaves and branches, as the wind makes its way across the 253


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water, back and forth. A sunset frames the picture, a giant red dot exiting through the horizon, giving one final kaleidoscopic display of warm colors, before leaving the fig tree, the sea, and the swing alone. I think this picture wants you to feel uncertain. How we think, how we understand, how we learn, is defined by what we recognize by reality—and, like in this picture, if that reality is challenged, then what’s left is confusion and uncertainty. Uncertainty in the reality of the waves—who move back and forth with the wind, crashing over each other, even as the water remains still and peaceful—and the safety of them; in those waters, where tranquility is chaos, reality is obscured, and fear sets in. The land under the water may appear to crawl up to its surface, seeming shallow and secure, until you dip your foot into it, and suddenly you find yourself plunging into the cold water, the land actually being years and years away. Or, as it were, you may dive into the water, anticipating it to continue towards the Earth’s center, and instead smack your head against the underlying sand—and, in that moment, you’ll stand up and laugh at yourself, before the sand gives way under you. This picture makes the water feel deceitful—devilish in intention, warping and maligning your vision, mind, and spirit; this picture makes you want to distrust the water, and feel uncertain. On another hand, the picture wants you to trust. Beyond the raging and deceitful waters is that steadfast fig tree, which, even in its own impossibility, holds strong. Unlike the water, the fig tree gives itself away. Under no shadow does it hide, in no fashion does it keep itself from sight—it places itself against the sun, and the sun yields, gifting the fig tree’s bark a brilliant coat of red, orange, and yellow. There’s no land under the fig tree, instead seeming to float in place within the blue, which, in itself, seems to truly still around it—and the fig tree remains there, no powers of wind (be it as it worked to blow through and away the tree’s vibrant green leaves and fruit) or water able 254


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to distort it. This picture wants the tree to appear as it were: truthful—the wooden beacon at the maxima of the ruinous waters; the journey’s destination. Finally, the picture wants you to choose. Wrapped around the strength of the fig tree is a swing, connected with yellow twine. This picture wants you to sit on that swing, and wait. Around you will be the vast, evil ocean, whose waves contort themselves to appear your true source of trust, even as you sit solidly at the behest of the fig tree. Both the water and tree will look at you and wait, and the wind will slowly push you back and forth, back and forth, waiting for you to respond. The water will wait for you to drop, and sink beneath its surface, plummeting into its most treacherous depths—and perhaps the tree itself will hope you’ll rise from your seat and cling to one of its beautiful, resolute branches, abandoning the crutch you’ve made of the swing. This picture, though, wants you to sit, wait, contemplate, and choose in due time. Perhaps you’ll sink; perhaps you’ll climb; perhaps you’ll float; perhaps you’ll wait. This picture wants to make you choose.

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What Could Have Been Amanda Gorman

Grace Validzic

Joan of Arkansas. Queen Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Babe Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Mash up a historical figure with a new time period, environment, location, or occupation, and tell us their story.

A

manda Gorman became famously known for her uprising during the inauguration of Joe Biden. Not only did she make a mark in history for being the youngest inaugural poet, but she also wowed the world during a global pandemic. At a time where the United States faced multiple major crises’ Gordan displayed a light within the darkness, giving many Americans hope. However, since her famous upbringing has just begun, there is still a lot we do not know about Gorman. Gorman has an auditory processing disorder and is hypersensitive to sound. She also had a speech impediment during her childhood. In 1988, in Los Angeles, California, raised by a single mother who was a 6th grade English teacher. It makes one wonder if her talent was a pure descending gene from her mother. Considering all the factors that would ensure their family to be low class, Gorman attended New Roads, a private school in Santa Monica for grades K-12. As a senior, she was 257


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awarded the Milken Family Foundation college scholarship. Later going to study sociology at Harvard College, graduating cum laude in 2020 as a member of Phi Beta Kappa. Her powerful words have an immense impact on social society, making her a great candidate for an advocating role in the 1960’s, also known as the Civil Rights Movement Era. The Civil Rights Movement in the United States was a decade-long struggle for African Americans. They fought to end institutionalized racial discrimination, disenfranchisement, and racial segregation in the United States. Having Amanda Gorman as a leading advocate for not only African Americans, but female members of the community, and this became an influential epidemic. “The Hill We Climb” was the speech given by Gorman on March 7, 1965; on Bloody Sunday. In the Selma to Montgomery March, around 600 civil rights marchers walked from Selma, Alabama to Montgomery, toward the state capital, in protest of Black voter suppression. Her famous words of overcoming the “belly of the beast” and “learning that quiet isn’t always peace,” gave those who were once in fear the confidence to utilize their voices with fearless power. Giving a nation, “that isn’t broken,” hope that “there is always light, if only we’re brave enough to see it, if only we’re brave enough to be it.” Her voice had become the key to unlocking the voices of many. However, the success behind her power is not because of her talent, but because of the hardships she had faced as a “skinny black girl [that] descended from slaves and raised by a single mother.” She employs appeals to pathos to become a credible and reliable source for African Americans during this oppressing time. With pride and prejudice, they continued to march and storm for their rights as humans. Eventually, the march went on unimpeded and the echoes of its significance reverberated so loudly in Washington, D.C, that the Congress passed the Voting Rights Act. This secured the right to vote for 258


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millions and also ensured that Selma was marked as a turning point in the battle for justice and equality in the United States. With Amanda Gorman’s lead, her monumental figure began to spread world-wide, giving all the oppressed the hope they never had. As you can imagine Gorman did not stop here, throughout her lifetime she continued to fight for equality. Traveling to third world countries and sharing her poems to create strength among the weak. Her words became the cure for fear and silence. Women in the world became scientists, doctors, professional athletes, police officers, all of the things that were once obscured for a woman to do. We began to unite as a country, listening to one another but learning that every life matters. Marches shook the United States in 2020 as lives were being lost from racial matters; these marches included members of every race fighting for the rights of one. Without Gorman’s voice in the 1960’s, the revolution of fighting for equality would not be present, and progress would not be made in the slightest. Gorman continues to live in a row house in Los Angeles, California, writing poem after poem, hoping that one will be the final cure. Although this story of Amanda Gorman, in the 1960’s, is obviously quite fictional, her figure would’ve been a figure alongside Martin Luther King Jr. Both figures had such a powerful voice that seduce people into listening to every word they had produced. Since Gorman is only in her early twenties, it is safe to say that the years following her inaugural poem in the 2021 inauguration will be impressive.

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To the Tree in Our Backyard

Andrew Pilet

In 2015, the city of Melbourne, Australia created a “tree-mail” service, in which all of the trees in the city received an email address so that residents could report any tree-related issues. As an unexpected result, people began to email their favorite trees sweet and occasionally humorous letters. Imagine this has been expanded to any object (tree or otherwise) in the world, and share with us the letter you’d send to your favorite.

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hen we first moved from Seattle to Geneva, I remember entering our new house for the first time—the floors were dusty and broken in parts, the walls were painted in oddly vivid colors, and posters were plastered one very bathroom door (and, from there, took years to completely come off )—I don’t quite remember if you were there yet. I haven’t asked my parents if you were growing in the middle of the yard before we had even got there, or if they had planted you for the fun of it—my memory isn’t the clearest. You’ve been there as long as I have thought, I know that. You’re in a very opportune spot; unlike the great walnut and evergreens which surround the house on every other side, you’re the closest tree to the house from the backside, and you’re small enough to fit our vision from the kitchen window; moreover, you’ve had the best spot to sit and 261


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watch time pass by. The first thing you probably saw, if I remember more clearly than I usually can, was my oldest sister’s graduation party— where I’m sure streamers were strewn across your branches. From there, you kept seeing parties (for my oldest brother’s graduation, and for the numerous ones my other brother and I have had in the yard). We don’t use the yard as often now—the fire pit is in the front yard now, and most of us don’t really play whatever sports we want to outside nowadays (with how uneven and nasty the field can be—snake holes, spiky plants, poison ivy and all). You saw the first above-ground pool we put up (which slowly lost water until it collapsed), and the second one we put up over the course of hours in the August heat (which also slowly loses water, but hopefully won’t collapse). You saw the old picnic table we had, which no one besides my mom really used (except for when, in the winter, my sister and I filled it with snow). You saw how we transformed the old house (which was created in the early 20th century, and was originally two houses, as you can definitely tell in parts); we tore up the ground and some bushes when the plumbing started getting finicky (leaving one half of the yard even more uneven than usual)—though, thankfully, the workers didn’t end up tearing you down in the process. You saw the walls of the house’s outside turn from a pale green, with paint peeling off and weird blobs of insulation peeking out from under the corners of the crumbling gutters, to a deep blue as it was sided, and all those little issues (which made us look about as poor as we are) were nicely covered up. At the same time, you saw some of the harsher parts which happened in the field—our neighbors’ trash flying through from the other side, the wild animals (raccoons, and, unfortunately, skunks) which our other pets tended to not agree with, and the numerous accidents that have occurred with our lawnmowers (which, just like our pets and wild animals, didn’t agree with the uneven 262


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ground—or simply the oil within (the view from the kitchen window, which shared the sight of you, was one well for seeing the mini-mushroom cloud that grew when one caught fire)). I called you a sapling for a while, mainly because I wasn’t used to seeing a tree so small. I’m not even quite sure what kind of tree you are—the other trees are obvious; the walnut tree next to our driveway, whose fruit often stained my clothes for school; the oaks trees which stand strong and steadfast on either sides; the evergreens which have always felt dangerously close to my room specifically; the apple trees near the front, which I’ve never actually eaten an apple from; and even the peach tree next to our porch, which has been dead for a while, but my dad refuses to tear it down. I’m not quite sure what you are though. With the wind storms you’ve endured, you’re probably a very young oak tree—but if that’s true, then I probably won’t ever see you as tall as the other oaks until I’m long gone from the house. Maybe then, another family will come in and see you fully grown; and maybe, with that, there’ll be another little tree in the yard, which another kid can watch grow with them over time. Sincerely, Andrew

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Within the Picture

Katelyn IklÉ

UChicago professor W. J. T. Mitchell entitled his 2005 book What Do Pictures Want? Describe a picture, and explore what it wants.

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. J. T. Mitchell, a professor at the University of Chicago titled his book in 2005 What Do Pictures Want? A picture is a visual amenity, something that is beautiful and complex. Free for and to your interpretation. Every picture tells a story; it is able to tell its own story without words or even the use of language. Our minds are the ones that connect a picture to language with our view and insight. We take away what we see and then translate it into our own words. One person’s description of a picture can be completely different from another’s interpretation of one. As said by Fred R. Barnard “a picture is worth a thousand words.” This statement is very accurate henceforth it has become a staple in our view of photographs or art, and the language in which we employ to talk about images. Art is very expressive and allows for anyone to connect in their own unique way. It grasps the idea that a picture tells you more than what someone can say. For example, take one of the most well known paintings in the world, and still everyone who will look at it will see some265


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thing different, focusing on different amenities. Let’s examine George Seurat’s most famous work of art, a Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte. The painting is worth around six hundred fifty million dollars. The eighty one and three quarter inch by one hundred twenty one and one fourth inch painting is a very complex painting that showcases several different people in one scene. It demonstrates how different people can be and how people appear when you look at the broad scale versus individuals within. The piece is a type of painting called pointillism or Neo-Impressionism. Pointillism is a painting made of individual dots of different colors combined to create a larger image. It is a prime example of something you can only see once you take a step back and look at the whole picture. The picture itself is a simplistic beauty of people frozen in time. The background and landscape. The landscape is a green grassy area with scattered trees in the back and to the right side. On the left is a strip or small body of water with the other shore visible in its background. The background is relatively plain and is only made up of 4 colors, two or three shades of green, two shades of blue, a cream color, and brown. The landscape is still and calm creating a peaceful atmosphere. The people in the painting appear to be sophisticated Parisians sprawled across a rivers bank. They appear to be calm and just having a peaceful day at a park. However there’s more to the painting than what appears at first glance. You can look at the people together or as individuals who are merely just together at the same location in time. All the people in the painting are ultimately individuals alone in society. Whether it is the madam in front with the black umbrella and purple skirt. The man laying in the front who’s smoking a pipe that is wearing an orange tank top and grey toned khakis. The man sitting on the hill of the bank with a top hat and cane. The ladies that are fishing in red and orange dresses, who are metaphorically prostitutes. The woman dressed in a pink and orange 266


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outfit with an orange umbrella in the center front. The child holding the woman’s hand, wearing all white because they are the only thing that hasn’t been tarnished by society and are the only truly pure person in the painting. The four rowers that are on the water; that are all dressed in unison with a fifth member on the row boat, a woman sitting in the front wearing darker colors and holding a white umbrella. The two soldiers walking shoulder to shoulder, side by side dressed identically except for a different hat color in orange pants and green jackets one with a blue hat the other with a white one. The man that’s playing a trumpet and wearing an orange red suit with a round hat. The girl wearing an orange dress that’s running around or dancing at the beginning of the trees on the right. There’s all of these different people throughout the painting doing their own things and having their own experiences. They may be witnessing each other from the sides of their eyes but are probably still oblivious to the others actions and involvement in the total scene. They are just passing by each other in time. The painting wants to demonstrate how easy it is to be with people and surrounded by people but to still be completely alone. No matter what, we are still individuals living our own lives. You may be impacted by others but everything is still up to you. George Seurat’s painting demonstrates all these different people how each one is unlike another, all unique and each their own person. He does this by having the different color combinations in the ways everyone is dressed and accessorized from an umbrella, a hat, a fishing pole, a book, a pipe, or, an instrument. No one is identical. There aren’t people who are interacting with each other; there’s no conversations going on; no one is acknowledging each other’s presence. There’s only a couple groups of people who are sitting near each other or walking close to each other but it’s limited. You can put yourself into the perspectives of each person and find that even the people they sit with are just together in proximity; for most of them 267


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are doing completely different things. The painting wants you to recognize society’s flaw of separation in the lack of people reaching out to others beyond their comforts or bubbles. The painting also wants you to realize and recognize the beauty and the overwhelming sense of serenity that you can find in nature when you block out the chaos around you. So what does a picture want? It wants you to absorb a sense of safety in knowledge for your interpretation cannot be incorrect for it is what you gather. A picture wants you to experience a surreal beauty that you may not be able to find on your own. It wants you to find something unique that you can relate to. It wants you to be able to be yourself and not worry about what others grasp from it. It wants you to be free within it. A picture tells a story but the way you see the story it tells is up to you.

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Defining the Undefinable Emotion: Can Everyone Be Happy? Sally Young The following research paper was written in Art of Argument: An Introduction to Philosophy.

I. Introduction

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appiness combines the certain and uncertain, the controlled and uncontrollable, and the biological and practicable. It is the feeling that seems undefinable, manifesting itself in laughter, peace of mind, and real satisfaction with one’s position in life. The question of how to achieve happiness has long been a controversial one, and it has existed for thousands of years. From Greek philosophers to modern scientists, the desire to pinpoint the definition of happiness stretches across eras and fields. This topic is significant because conversation about mental health has grown in popularity with the expansion of social media and other modern technology. With this growth comes an influx of curiosity over how one can combat societal pressures (of which social media plays a role) to foster a happy life. In truth, research has demonstrated that happiness is sourced from two main places: biology and practice. It is the combina269


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tion of the right hormones and healthy living style that create a generally joyous life, which exemplifies that it takes both luck and certainty, contradictions that complement each other, to harvest that sought-after fruit of happiness. In the broader world, joy has forever been a point of contention. Poetry and literature in particular have put an emphasis on human emotion and the search for life’s fulfillment, from The Great Gatsby to The Catcher in the Rye. Throughout other fields, like science and medicine, there is no definitive answer to the question of happiness and how to achieve it. This is because the uniqueness of the question forces humans to unite their occupational differences. Happiness unites the philosophical and scientific, usually contradictory positions, and causes them to complement each other. Answering this question of joy allows one to maximize personal happiness, control internal strife, and look at the world with optimism instead of trepidation. II. Support & Analysis From a scientific standpoint, happiness is defined as the release of certain signifiers into the body that are associated with pleasure. Perhaps the most well-known signifier of this kind is serotonin, “a neurotransmitter that mediate[s] satisfaction, happiness and optimism.”. Science asserts that the actual bodily feeling of happiness comes from the release of biological signifiers, and that it takes an array of circumstances to achieve that feeling. Other chemical facilitators of happiness include endorphins, dopamine, and oxytocin. According to Dariush Dfarhud et al., authors of “Happiness & Health: The Biological Factors,” endorphins “are released during continuous exercise, fear, love, [or] music,” which, in lower levels, lead to positive emotions. Dopamine and oxytocin, similarly, produce positivity and pleasure when released in the right amounts. These signifiers are 270


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integral to living a satisfying life, which proves that biology plays a large role in happiness. However, it is not simply these processes that lead to a happy life; it is the result of outside, controllable forces as well. Another way to view happiness in the scientific community, proposed by Morten L Kringelbach and Kent C. Berridge in “The Neuroscience of Happiness and Pleasure,” is through “hedonic hotspots.” These are parts of the brain that generate “‘liking’ reactions to a sensory pleasure,” and often cause the pleasure stimulation associated with addiction. These findings stress the importance of a well-developed brain and nervous system in feeling happy. This last step in the process of happiness, the actual release of chemical facilitators, is dependent on the genetic and developmental establishment of those areas of the brain, which proves that happiness is caused in large part by biological factors. Biologically, chemical facilitators create that indescribable feeling of happiness, but some people are genetically predisposed to these facilitators. For instance, some are prone to abnormally high levels of hormones like adrenaline and cortisol, which are related to stress, anxiety and depression. Contrastingly, people “with higher levels of ‘personal growth’ and ‘purpose in life’ registered lower and more stable levels of salivary Cortisol and urinary Adrenaline.” These findings assert that there are uneven levels of hormones among the general public, making some more likely to feel happy regularly, as opposed to others, who are more likely to experience anxiety and depression. This seemingly unfair genetic advantage demonstrates that the biological process of happiness is generally out of one’s control, and can reap disastrous impacts on one’s living. Further, anhedonia, which is the lack of pleasure related to people with mental illness, is correlated with a specific area of the brain. Damage or lack of development in the “ventral pallidum might [...] be linked to human anhedonia.” Damage to certain parts of the brain can cause mental illness (and overall lack of 271


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happiness), proving that in some regard, happiness is out of an individual’s control. People without brain damage are more likely to live happier lives, which again asserts that biology is accountable for some aspects of happiness. Ultimately, studies have demonstrated that “genetic factors count for 35 -50 percent of happiness.” It is a combination of these genetic factors, and healthy living practices, that lead to a happy life. Since such a large portion of happiness cannot be controlled, it is important to recognize that people struggling with mental illness do not have full power over changing their lives for the better. This shift in perspective also shifts the approach toward mentally ill people, and even those just looking to be happier, to focus on what can be controlled rather than this genetic pool of uncertainty. Healthy living practices incentivize a more common feeling of joy. In ancient Greece, Aristotle recognized that happiness is “not merely a feeling, or a golden promise, but a practice.” He used the term eudaimonia to describe the subjective happiness that comes from personal living choices, and the fulfillment of one’s purpose in life. Will Storr, author of “A Better Kind of Happiness,” found that this purpose can be achieved by completing a “‘core’ project” that emphasizes “goodness, but [...] also [...] pursuing excellence.” Depending on one’s values, these core projects have some malleability. Aristotle’s view of happiness illustrates that even thousands of years ago, scholars recognized that joy is more than just that indescribable feeling, and humans have some level of control over it. By choosing to pursue success and benefit society, mankind can bring eudaimonic happiness upon themselves. Similarly, Aristotle’s mentor, Plato, mused that humans have a constant internal conflict that must be controlled in order to be happy. In The Happiness Lab podcast episode entitled “Happiness Lessons of the Ancients: Plato,” Dr. Laurie Santos and her colleagues discuss Plato’s metaphor that “a human being is like a charioteer driving a chariot 272


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with two horses.” One horse represents the human nobility and focuses on appearances, while the other represents “fundamental desires [...] share[d] with other non-human animals.” In order to move forward, the charioteer must control these two horses, just as one must use their human reason to control their contrasting desires and direct them toward happiness. Plato’s view of joy illustrates that much of human internal conflict can be controlled, and must be controlled. He suggests that it is a difficult process, as the horses are unruly, but is a definitive step toward human happiness. In order to live a satisfying life, one must find their drive for goodness and success, and control their innate human turmoil. Here many philosophers and scientists alike would probably object that aiming for success is a healthy living practice that ultimately brings happiness. In fact, Arthur C. Brooks, a professor at Harvard and writer for The Atlantic, finds that this sort of ambition makes people “perpetually unsatisfied and incapable of happiness,” in his article titled “‘Success Addicts’ Choose Being Special Over Being Happy.” This is because the process of making and achieving goals, and receiving praise for those achievements, releases dopamine, “which is implicated in all addictive behaviors.” While it is true that addiction is a serious issue that does not promote a happy life, it does not necessarily follow that success causes this addiction. Even ancient philosophers promoted the use of natural internal struggle to propel humans forward, toward success. In Aristotle’s definition of eudaimonia, which is the type of happiness that fulfills a purpose, achieving goals does bring joy. However, in order to avoid the addiction that comes from constantly reaching for more success, goals “must be meaningful in some way, and we must have efficacy over [them].” Success addiction can be real if goals are unrealistic, but it is harmful to promote the ending of all ambition, when it can be perfectly healthy and beneficial. Ultimately, one way to reconcile these differences is to promote 273


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meaningful creation of goals that can achieve the right balance of dopamine release and healthy satisfaction. III. Connections to Texts Studied This topic is explored in several philosophical texts, as philosophers often search for an answer to the most difficult questions of the universe; one of these questions, of course, is that of happy living. In one example, Plato’s “The Allegory of the Cave” presents a dialogue between philosophers Socrates and Glaucon, in which Socrates describes prisoners “dwelling in a sort of subterranean tavern,” unable to move even their heads. These prisoners can only watch the shadows of objects passing behind them, created by a fire in the cave. The shadows become the prisoners’ reality, until one of them is unshackled and “compelled to [...] lift up his eyes to the light.” It takes adjusting, but the man eventually sees that true reality is much better than the darkness he was in before, and goes to help the other prisoners. This text employs a metaphor for the process of educating oneself, which concretely improves one’s life and happiness. Plato and Socrates sought to find a definition for the ideal society, and one aspect of this was the enlightenment of its citizens. Educating oneself demonstrates that level of control humans have over their own happiness. “The Allegory of the Cave” also suggests that there is a drive within all people to help others educate themselves, and consequently, become happier. According to Adriana Cavarero, author of the New York Times article entitled “A Revolution in Happiness,” Socrates believed in “collective happiness,” or happiness as “a shared political experience.” When people live their lives in service to others and in search of success, they achieve an enlightened, happy life. This connects to the argument above, that living practices are a huge factor in happiness. Just as Aristotle believed that, to be happy, 274


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humans must achieve goodness and excellence, Socrates asserts the same (in regards to education). IV. Personal Stance My view of happiness and how to achieve it coincides with the argument I’ve presented. As someone who struggles with Social Anxiety Disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder, I have a unique view of joy, and lack thereof. I have experienced that uncontrollable, biological aspect of happiness that detriments my own, and I’ve learned to focus on what can be controlled. In this modern day and age, there is too much focus on the opinion of others, through the media, that has dictated resentment and general unhappiness in young people, especially. My goal is to dismantle this focus, and turn this generation of youth toward healthy practices that will increase well-being. Like those Greek philosophers argued thousands of years ago, happiness, in part, is the result of living in accordance with personal values, and fulfilling that purpose (which ultimately, serves the good of society). Personally, establishing those goals has improved my own happiness, and I have a grasp over what I want to achieve throughout my life. I urge others to recognize the biological aspect of happiness, and express greater appreciation toward mentally ill people. Happiness is not a choice, but we can decide to live our lives in a way that leads to its harvest. V. Conclusion As I’ve demonstrated, this topic combines usually-contrasting ideas, almost paradoxically. Both concrete scientific research and almost-spiritual practice are factors in achieving a happy life. Happiness itself is such a broad and beautiful concept, that 275


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it is chased by every sentient being. Because of this broadness, my research on this topic only represents a subset of the larger conversation being had about happiness. In the future, we will need to consider ways in which to alter the genetic aspect of happiness, so that it is more accessible to those predisposed to mental illness. There must be further research on the effectiveness of different treatments for anhedonia, in order to create a world where, despite unfortunate circumstances, everyone can achieve happiness. Happiness, although a complicated biological feat, should be the simplest resource available to mankind. Laughter, peace, and satisfaction are humanity’s main unifiers. Our world has the potential to move toward progress, but those who are unhappy and ignorant prevent our global interconnection. At every turn, our society provokes hatred, violence, and strife. This is sourced from a deep, overwhelming lack of joy that spreads to the hearts and minds of millions. What would a world look like in which everyone was happy? My core project is to make gains toward that utopia, just as Socrates and Plato sought in the 5th century BC. If everyone were able to experience that uncertain certainty, that uncontrollable control, our world would ultimately become a better one.

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Don’t Take This Lying Down

Daria Blanchard

The following paper was written in stylistic imitation of Jonathan Swift’s “Modest Proposal”, which is widely considered a satirical masterpiece in the English language.

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n this fine nation, it is a sorry thing to visit a high school, where the unfortunate students roam the halls like zombies, eyes deadened but for the prospect of lunch. The poor souls are victims of sleep deprivation, as our schools begin at the unnatural hour of seven thirty. Students cannot learn when they are not awake, and yet they are not awake even an hour after being made to rise. It can be seen by any passersby that sleep deprivation takes a heavy toll on the youth of America. I myself am a student, and I can attest that the lack of sleep is a most grave and serious matter, as spacial awareness and linguistic ability are the first to flee, soon followed by coherency. Memory of any subjects covered in class and motivation to do work are likely to vanish just as eagerly, damaging one’s understanding of material. As a result, time spent on homework is lengthened by lack of energy or simple mistakes that throw off answers, and so it becomes compelling to our wretched souls to leave some of the work for study halls the next day. However, this prevents the completion 277


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of tomorrow’s homework in school, and creates a vicious cycle in which our sleep is diminished and our work accumulating. Thus far, all of my high school level science classes have been scheduled quite early in the morning, including the two Advanced Placement ones I have enrolled in. While futilely struggling to remain awake first thing in the morning is painful enough, science classes often include labs, which require careful attention that cannot always be given, a potentially dangerous situation if a student is handling carcinogens, acids, glassware, or fire, all of which I encountered during AP Chemistry. Teachers are not to be held at fault for accidents, as students must learn somehow and instructors cannot be expected to bestow grace upon us, but something must be done to solve this. A reasonable solution seems ever so difficult to find, but after much deliberation, I have stumbled across an answer that may do away with the problem altogether. This is to provide what schools rip students so callously from: a soft place to rest. Wheeled cots and pillows to match, which could be pushed through the halls, would spare students the strain of holding their head upright with such little energy. Naturally, the temperature of the school and the effort required to pay attention to what teachers say would prevent any of the students from actually falling asleep until they had sufficient time to do so, in a study hall, or perhaps in lunch. Students stand to gain and conserve much energy from avoiding the strain of raising their feeble necks. For those who might fear that students would fall asleep, I can provide my own rebuttal. With my own two eyes, I have observed that students who recline on their beds or their couches during class remain awake and responsive, but enjoy the comfort and luxury of not straining to keep their heads up. I have concluded that cots would also provide significant aid in the practice of social distancing. With cots provided in place of desks, in small classes occupants could remain as far away from each other as space allows; particularly when there 278


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are fewer than four students in a room, who are freed by the provisions of open space. Should the question of where to provide these cots from arise, I am sure that some kind billionaire, as they are ever so generously inclined, could provide many schools with the required number of cots, which is already reduced by the number of remote learners, or perhaps our fair federal government might deign to provide funding. Failing that, a slight increase in property taxes could also be used to do away with the problem, or perhaps a bake sale. Surely, at the very least, the Chromebooks donated to the school cost more than simple cots would, as fewer cots would be required than Chromebooks, and cots might be more easily repaired than the inner mechanisms of a computer. Another economic benefit would include the conservation of funds, as the energy students gain from lying down and taking naps during free periods might prevent accidents and the destruction of school materials. Backpacks, which are heavier than ever before and likely to depress the backs of students and bow our spines, might be loaded onto the beds as they are pushed from room to room, saving the posture of many students from an undignified and painful death. Coats, umbrellas, and other supplies might also be piled upon the cot, brought without fear within the school, as we currently have no lockers to store our various materials in. I estimate that a fairly sized cot might weigh from fourteen to thirty five pounds, depending on the style, far from burdensome to transport. This would also build muscular strength, as students fold their cots and carry them up stairs, and provide them with exercise. Teachers also stand to gain from this plot. Individual cots might be more easily cleaned than the desks which must be sterilized after every period, saving teachers labor and time before the start of class, so they might prepare their materials and zoom sessions earlier, and handle those malfunctioning smart279


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boards. Having students lie down in class might also foster a more casual environment in which students are relieved of the pressure to be correct, allowing thoughts to be discussed more thoroughly than ever before. Remote students, whose alarm clocks are somewhat less of a hindrance as they languish at home for two or five days of the school week, might still be encouraged to lie on their own soft surfaces and benefit from the casual environment created on Zoom, should they not do so already. With their burdens that weigh as heavily as the heavens did upon Atlas’s shoulders, the students of America ought to be provided with relief, and this seems to be the way to do it. I do not believe much else can be done to grant the student body more rest and spare us all from the clutches of the early morning, or the uneven sleep schedules that fight against nature itself for the many who are compelled to wake only once the sun has crossed the horizon. Surely, if there was a better method to aid students starved of sleep with limbs still growing, it would have already been implemented for the sake of our health and the very future of America, as the generations that will lead it forward can hardly do so only half awake. Therefore, I believe that the innovative suggestion I provide here may be our best hope in improving schools, and that cots are the best solution in allowing students sleep, teachers engagement, and all safety during the pandemic. I propose this out of desire to aid all those unfortunates so deplorably impacted not only by these troubling times, but the continuous plight of constant exhaustion that plagues students so. Naturally, however, I care little for the impact this proposal has on myself, for I now benefit from a fine nine hours of unconsciousness every night, and seek only to provide relief for those of my peers who are less fortunate than I, knowing their pain from past years of sleeplessness. 280


The Loon

Owen Sellers

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ilton Pond, a place that is now the same as when it was first settled, remains not too keen on moving on into the future. Locals want to preserve the splendid peacefulness by living calmly and simply. The cottage there surrenders to the idea that it is just a shelter for you to disappear into the isolated mountains of New Hampshire. Mount Cardigan sits on a stage above the pine trees, hiding a pond purely powered by the hand of the paddler. Each day, the loon rises, preparing itself to brave the pond and be challenged much like its ancestors were before. The bass rivals the loon as the perch swim in a constant state of fear, hoping not to see webbed feet above nor big mouth behind. The common turtles bathe on lily pads while the snapping turtle guards the dock, hoping the perch will seek the shade as safety. The casual fisherman sees the pond as still as a photograph, until a single interruption in the glass: A rise from the underworld. A fish rises to break into the overworld and shatter the tension that holds the watery glass, which effectively erases the isolation for an instant—connecting the aquatic to the overworld. Except for the loon. The loon does not live confined; it lives in the light yet feeds in the dark, controlling both sides of the spectrum and keeping the balance. Far beyond Kilton Pond, the loon’s reign is overshadowed by villainous man, with 281


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ax, motor, and gun. However, Kilton Pond lives on, an outlier in the grand sweep of manhandled nature that pushes the habitats into a state of cultivated obsolescence. The apex of other ponds has now fallen into an imbalance of what was a once perfect cycle. Despite this monarchy of the world, one still stands to keep the peace: The loon, the forever king of Kilton Pond.

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About the Authors Daria Blanchard Daria Blanchard is a junior at Geneva High School. Her hobbies include procrastinating on assignments and staring into the void.

Melanie Bogart Melanie Bogart is a junior at Geneva High School. Current hobbies include sitting outside in the sun without a thought in her mind, and buying clothes for her dog. In the future she hopes to live in an isolated mansion as either an architect or racecar driver.

Janeika Delgado Janeika Delgado is completing her senior year at Geneva High School. She plans to attend college after she graduates, majoring in criminal justice. Janeika loves Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups but dislikes peanut butter. In her free time, she plays softball and loves to read, especially non-fiction books. Janeika loves watching documentaries and movies based on true stories, as she looks forward to a career in law enforcement.

William Diaz William Diaz is a junior at Geneva High School. He plans to attend college and dual major in business and psychology after he graduates from Geneva. He expresses much of his own per283


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sonality in his unconventional writing style. His favorite activities include playing basketball, soccer, and baseball. In his spare time, he hosts many gatherings at his home as he loves to have people over.

Max Miller Max Miller is a junior at Geneva High School and in his free time enjoys playing lacrosse and soccer. He plans on graduating high school and going to college for a still undecided major, and is strongly considering playing college lacrosse as well.

Carly Monahan Carly Monahan is a junior at Geneva High School and in the future, she plans to write and direct movies. She enjoys making slideshows at one in the morning, writing scripts, making Tik Toks, and analyzing Taylor Swift songs.

Andrew Pilet Andrew Pilet is a student at Geneva High School, going into his senior year. After that, he is planning to study psychology, with the hope of becoming a researcher and/or professor. In his spare time, you may find Andrew wandering around Geneva.

En-Ya Shen En-Ya Shen is a junior at Geneva High School who runs, puns, and likes cinnamon buns. She enjoys baking, running, singing, and dancing.

Megan Taylor Megan Taylor is a junior at Geneva High School, about to attend her senior year. After high school, she plans to attend col284


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lege to study medicine, hoping to become a nurse practitioner. She enjoys spending quality time with her family and friends, singing, and watching hockey. You will mainly catch her dozing off out of nowhere or blurting out something random.

Jacob Trickler Jacob Trickler is a student at Geneva High School. He is a two sport athlete and would like to go to college for lacrosse, preferably division 3 through division 2. His goal is to run his own electrical/carpentry business in Florida when he is older.

Ashley Turijan Ashley Turijan is a junior at Geneva High School going into her senior year. Unfortunately, she is not aware of her future plans but might be interested in the field of psychology. She also constantly dreams of finding a million dollars on the side of the street.

Juliette Ventura Juliette Ventura is an up-and-coming rapper and pop artist who is nearing the end of her junior year of high school. She aims to go into physical therapy focusing in sports medicine with a DJ job on the side.

XinHong Wei XinHong is a junior at Geneva High School. He is just a quiet kid who can’t bring himself to start conversations with others. He likes to enjoy the small things in life, as well as biking around his backyard or spending time on his phone. 285


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Sean Wright Sean Wright is a junior at Geneva High School and a musician. His talents include rapping, singing, beatboxing, playing the flute, and composing music. He has no idea what he wants to do after high school, but may consider moving to Florida.

Vincent Cardinale Vincent Cardinale is a junior at Geneva High School. He plans on attending college somewhere (far away), and studying something, for some unknown reason. He enjoys being outside and going for runs, sometimes, if the weather is just right, and hopes to keep running through college and beyond.

Beatrice Carson Beatrice Carson is a junior at Geneva High School. She participates in several extracurricular activities including drama club, dance and choir. After high school, she plans on studying philosophy or political science and hopes to go into either law or TV journalism.

Kierstin Comerford Kierstin Comerford is a junior at Geneva High School. After high school, she plans on attending college but is unsure of what she will major. In her free time, she enjoys either sleeping or going on walks, two completely different activities that bring her joy.

Katelyn Iklé Katelyn is a junior at Geneva High School. After she graduates she plans to attend college where she hopes that she will be able to play lacrosse. She enjoys traveling and hopes to travel 286


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the world some day. Katelyn enjoys all forms of art and actively creates.

Jenna Kafrawi Jenna Kafrawi is a junior at Geneva High School. After graduation she plans to attend college with a major in computer engineering. She enjoys spending her free time drawing, playing soccer, and reading.

Madison Martinez Madison Martinez is in her junior year at Geneva High School. She plans to attend college and remain a student-athlete during that time. In her free time, you can find her watching crime shows, taking five hour “naps,” or practicing for a sport. She is also a small business owner who makes custom jewelry.

Julian Nault Julian Nault is a junior at Geneva High School. He recently played the roles of ensemble and customer in the High School’s Production of “Little Shop of Horrors”.

Alexandra Oddi Alexandra Oddi is a junior attending Geneva High School. In her free time you will catch her playing sports such as softball, volleyball, tennis, and sometimes basketball. Sports have been very important to her since she was very little. In her free time she enjoys hanging out with her friends and family.

Brooklynn Salotti Brooklynn Salotti is a junior at Geneva High School. After 287


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graduation she plans on attending college to study childhood education and hopes to get her degree in teaching. She is part of the Geneva Varsity Cheer Team and plans to continue cheerleading throughout college. In her spare time, she is often seen sleeping, shopping, and hanging out with friends on the weekends.

Owen Sellers Owen Sellers is a junior at Geneva High School. After high school, he plans to continue his education in college with a focus on eco-friendly architecture. Outside of school he enjoys watching documentaries, playing numerous sports, as well as being an Olympic gold medalist at procrastinating anything he possibly—maybe he’ll finish this bio later.

Jeremiah Trowbridge Jeremy Trowbridge is a junior at Geneva High School. He loves playing various musical instruments, as well as being chaotic with his peers. Outside of school, you will see him going into deep philosophical rants about the universe or making songs on the piano. In the future, Jeremy plans on becoming a music teacher and settling down in a small town.

Grace Validzic Grace Validzic is a rising senior at Geneva High School. After high school, she plans on continuing her athletic career (in lacrosse) at Mercyhurst University in Erie, PA. As well as her academic career where she plans on majoring in Art Therapy and minoring in American Sign Language. However, the future is quite unpredictable; therefore, she at least hopes that one day her art will have a positive impact on the world around her. 288


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Richard Xu Richard Xu is a junior at Geneva High School. He loves the outdoors where he can ski and skate. He plans on pursuing his education at a college somewhere with warm weather such as California but has no idea what to major in.

Sally Young Sally Young is a rising senior at Geneva High School. She spends too much time reading, so naturally, she plans to study English after high school. She has too many hopes for the future to write them all down, and is currently trying extremely hard to be as witty and cool as her peers.

Elisabeth Porschet Elisabeth “Scout” Porschet is a freshman at Geneva High School. She is a formidable Connect 4 opponent and recently finished hiking the 46 Adirondack High Peaks. Her future goals include owning a cat and attending college.

Sophie Augustine Sophie Augustine is an eighth grader at Geneva Middle School.

Anthony Baez-Perez Anthony Baez-Perez is a senior at Geneva High School. He plans on becoming a video game programmer and will major in Science in Game Programming and Design at FLCC. He then plans to transfer to RIT.

Wendyliz Rios-Morales Wendyliz Rios-Morales is a junior at Geneva High School. 289


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Claudia Aguilera Claudia Aguilera is a senior at Geneva High School.

Aiden Fallo Aiden Fallo is a senior at Geneva High School.

Michaela Vanzile-Partidge Michaela Vanzile-Partridge is a sophomore at Geneva High School.

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