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VC V OICES 2012

AN ANTHOLOGY STUDENT WORK | VENTURA COLLEGEWORK 1 AN ANTHOLOGY OFOF VENTURA COLLEGE STUDENT


PREFACE The 2011-2012 school year has been a dramatic one at Ventura College. Amidst budget cuts, enrollment limitations, returning veterans, general economic stresses, and important new television shows like The Cupcake Wars, VC English students wrote diligently, and this issue of VC Voices is the result. Each year, we invite students from all classes and levels of our English curriculum to submit their best writing for possible publication in VC Voices. A panel of English faculty reads each submission, from which all names have been removed, and votes are tallied to select the winners. We think you will find this issue of VC Voices, the eleventh since its inception, to represent many talented voices. Each year, this publication is used in numerous English classes as a supplementary textbook, and we invite instructors from other disciplines to use it as well to provide models of good research, solid reasoning, and consistent style. Students enjoy seeing the success and creativity of their peers and will be inspired to see what they, too, can achieve in writing. We would like to thank students of the Ventura College art department for creating the artwork featured throughout this anthology. Also, special thanks Dina Pielaet for artwork photography and publication design. Appreciation is also due to Professor Amy Madsen for her generous editing assistance. We are grateful to student Patricia Keller, who kindly helped with the organization of the submissions. Finally, we would like to thank all the instructors who encouraged their students to submit work and to the family and friends who supported their efforts. As Erasmus, Renaissance humanist and scholar, famously declared, “Literature makes us human.� VC Voices and the VC English department faculty heartily concur. Keep reading, keep thinking, and keep writing!.

Sharon Beynon Amanda Enfield Jenna Garcia Kelly Peinado Editors AN ANTHOLOGY OF STUDENT WORK | VENTURA COLLEGE

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JUDGES

WRITERS T.O .C.

Heather Aguailar Gabriel Arquilevich Sharon Beynon Amanda Enfield Jenna Garcia Sumita Lall Henny Kim Sheryl Leonard Eric Martinson Kelly Peinado Jaclyn Walker Ann Wolfe

ARTISTS

English 1A

Brian Byman Texas Redemption

English 2

Ashley Nichols Diminished Capacity Defense

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Marlo Gaston Love Portrayed in the Media

Martin Fagin How to See a Chicana Role Model

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Kat Lisowska A Bespectacled Blonde in Pink: From Cultural Confusion to a Media Sterotype 1 Briana Figlio Indiscriminate Welcome Mat

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Tatianna Warwick Education: Privilege, Right, or Incomparable Opportunity

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Jaime Asperin The Situation 1

VC Voices would like to thank Bob Moscowitz and the Ventura College student artists whose work appears throughout this publication. All student artists were selected to participate in the Annual Student Art Competition and Exhibition.

Adan Jonathan Olid The Blame Game 1

English 1B

Daniel Okonek Kurtz as the “Ubermensch”

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Joel Ceja Strawberry in the Sand

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Gabriela Olivares I Told you So 1

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Amanda Sandez Why the Fuss over Reality TV: Truth Is... 1 Giovani Bautista An Unforgettable Memory 1 Nature’s Law, Not Men’s Decision Starr Madrid Walking on the Beach

Shaza Aldaoud Tranquil Mountains

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Kevin Keebler Walking with Memories 4

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Jonathan Sixtos Diversity in Rap 1

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Jacquelin Arroyo Uglypuss the Great

Sirvontré Ingram Two Historical Leaders

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English 3 & 4

Matthew Casas The Metamorphosed Metaphor of the Phoenix 1 Hanna Mitchell First Confessions

Sara Edwards How Dance is Part of Me

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Esteban Sanchez Hype it Up! 1 When the Bubble Pops, Education Drops 1

Cassie Lundgren Examining the Appearance of Love through Feminine Silence in “The Story of an Hour,” A Doll’s House, and Trifles 1

Cubic Sculpture by Ermelinda Bendy

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ENGLISH 1A Brian Byman Texas Redemption

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In the summer of 2008 I was employed by a couple of wealthy businessmen as their project manager for a landscape installation company. The two owners of LIG (Landscape Installation Group) went by the names of Mike and Lenny. Mike, a retired NHL player, was very hard to communicate with. He was a short, mean, spray tan wearing, Danny Devito look-alike. His hair looked as if he’d lost a long battle with a pair of dull clippers, not to mention his sideburns were scalped to the skull. I would rather French kiss a rattlesnake than spend more than five minutes with Mike. Lenny, however, was the complete opposite of Mike: funny, easy going and a really cool boss. He was the type of guy that would invite you to a concert and pay for everything. Lenny was tall, round and childlike in appearance; you wouldn’t be far off to call him Shrek. Little did I know how a shot-in-the-dark proposal and the consent of these two men would impact my life and those of two very lucky strangers. I was working on a colossal three-month waterfall project for LIG worth 2.4 million dollars. This project consisted of ground cover, planting three hundred Red Oaks and Eastern Red Cedars, digging two retention ponds with an 80ft wide waterfall that connected the two ponds, and more boulder work than any of us cared to handle. My crew of forty-four hard working laborers worked at a pace that even the Romans would have noticed. Everyone on the job site from general contractors to crew foremen took notice of our efficient methods and unflagging work ethic. After two long Texas summer months my crew managed to get a week or two ahead of schedule, which delighted Mike. So I approached him with a brilliant idea: that I and the other two project managers should take a weekend trip to a south Texas river for waterfall and rock formation designs. I was standing there drenched in sweat from the day’s work expecting a very swift and harsh refusal from Mr. Oompa Loompa himself. Much to my astonishment, he thought it was a splendid idea. The magnanimous donkey even offered to pay for the adventure. We were river bound and down! The following Friday Big Casey, Lil Casey, and I were on our way to the Guadalupe River. Big Casey or B.C. as I liked to call him, was a grizzly bear of a man who stood around 6’4” and was built like a freight train. His voice was deeper than rolling thunder in the Hill country. Looking at B.C. you would never fathom how gentle, calm, and just how nice he really was. “Never judge a book by its cover,” I always try to tell myself. 6

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Lil Casey or L.C, on the other hand, was a tall, wiry and very quiet individual who kept to himself for the most part and I assumed that’s why Mike insisted he come along. I didn’t care much for L.C. when I first met him but that was short-lived. As we started our journey down south I started to tell past river stories and it really set the tone for an entertaining three-hour drive. Now, the Guadalupe River has been a huge part of my life. Ever since I was old enough to get the hell out of town, I would retreat to this glorious bikini-filled river. Once or twice a year my friends and I pile into Camp Huaco where unspoken debauchery and mortality-testing events unfold nightly. But aside from all the sinfulness, Camp Waco is a beautiful natural sight with enormous Cypress trees that reach to the sky, wonderful wading pools that are always full of laughing campers and tall bat-filled canyon walls. And of course there’s my personal favorite lounging spot, Party Rock, a boulder in the middle of the river, large enough to hold ten to fifteen people, surrounded by hundreds of passing tubers bejeweled with bikini-wearing beauties-- it’s sheer greatness! All the way in the back of the camp is a peninsula that reaches out into the river where a beautiful 5ft waterfall turns into 200 yards of rapids. At that spot a couple of crazy buddies and I honed the art of rapid swimming. Rapid swimming is when you strap yourself in a good life vest, dive in, and let the power of the water have its way with you. We would usually pop out a half mile down river, hike back, and do it again. This extremely foolish event took place each year on my birthday for some not so strange reason. We weren’t thirty minutes on the road when the beautiful baby blue Texas sky started to swirl and morph into an angry grey and black beast. The wind turned cold and blew with enough force to push the full size white Silverado all over the lane. The sky with its wrathful antics, enraged at the dry flat countryside, let out a thunderous boom. Almost instantly Mother Nature and all her ferocity exploded on us. The torrential down pour was so extreme that we contemplated turning around and ending our expedition. With the thoughts of abandonment looming around the cab of the truck, I enlightened my fellow Texan driver about the possibility of just partying at a local bar off the river. Everyone was totally on board with the idea, especially L.C., who at first glance appeared never to have participated in a party in his entire life. As we drove south on Hwy 35 just past Austin the clouds began to retire their swirling grayish-black colors. The wind became obsolete and as quickly as the storm had manifested, the storm vanished. I couldn’t help thinking to myself how the weather might have affected the river; I knew it wouldn’t be good. But with the change in the weather came a change in our attitude. When we finally made it to town we promptly checked into our hotel and made an executive decision to skip work and go to my AN ANTHOLOGY OF STUDENT WORK | VENTURA COLLEGE

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ENGLISH 1A

of an enraged river. The river tossed, pulled, and swallowed the man several times. He didn’t have much time, if any at all. I imagine he knew he was in trouble the moment the river claimed him.

The Ice House is a local spot where on any given night Willy Nelson or Wu Tang could be jamming on the huge Texas flag stage. This bar is a hot spot for bikers, college students, river rats, and cowgirls, with no dress code enforced. No shirt, no shoes, no worries. After a full night of drinking, dancing, and debauchery, we were forced to leave our watering hole and retire.

All I remember is B.C. yelling, “Brian, get’em!” At the river’s edge, I made a tough judgment call to go after the father first. He had only seconds left-with no flotation device he was drowning in front of our eyes. However, the child, with the help of his arm floaties, seemed to stay on top of the water. I stood at the river edge waiting for them to get a bit closer and with a well-executed dive, I, too, was in the dark, cold, raging rapids. My only thought was, “Damn, I’m going to drown with these poor strangers.” But that only fueled a fire that no water could extinguish. With a few powerful strokes and the awesome power of the water, I reached the panic-stricken man in no time at all. I knew from the life saving classes that I took as a young man that if he took hold of me we would drown for sure. So with a deep breath I dove with the current underneath the helpless rag doll and grabbed him by the swim trunks. About the same time I took hold of him I twisted my body and came in contact with a submerged boulder. With all my strength and the help of a guardian angel that was a rock, I was able to push off the boulder and launch the half dead man to calmer water where my two comrades pulled him safely from the cypress roots he desperately clung to.

{Brian Byman ~ Texas Redemption con’t} favorite bar right up the street from the river.

The next morning, after Gatorade, Advil, coffee and a long goodbye to my acquired guest, we were river bound. We were a few blocks away from the area where I wanted to shoot my pictures when we noticed flooding on the street. Not a hopeful start. It was no surprise when we came to the first bridge and it was underwater. B.C pulled over to a tube rental stand and the striking young lady working there told us that the river was closed, even for guided river trips. Not even the kayakers were partaking in the powerful violence of the water. At that moment I knew we weren’t getting the photos; there were no falls to shoot, just high raging water. Now most folks may have packed up and high- tailed it home. But not us! We waited for the appropriate alcohol buying time, stocked up, and headed for my beloved campgrounds. I again thought to myself, “Man, I hope it’s not underwater.” When we arrived at the campgrounds it was completely deserted, mud covered, and the river had a violent unforgiving nature. The Texas clay was so bad B.C. had to use four-wheel drive just to make it through the entrance. The truck slipped and slid all over the small campground road. I took one look around and almost didn’t recognize my camp of old. The water level looked as if it rose over ten feet high, Party Rock was totally submerged, the mountain peak-like roots of the Cypress trees were completely underwater, and the river front campsites were 2-3feet deep. When we made it to our drinking spot, B.C. dropped the tailgate and we started doing what we Texans do on rivers. We were roughly two hours into our river binge with “Simple Man” jamming on the radio when I heard the words that changed my life. B.C. yelled, “Brian, is that a fucking tube in the water?!” I no sooner turned to the river when I saw a pink capsized tube traveling fast through the water. My first thought was that it probably had washed out of some campsite up river. But before I could comment I saw a child no older than eight wearing the classic bright orange arm floaties; the floaties seemed to be the only reason he was still alive. The child was moving extremely fast through the white water towards the falls and a certain cold death. That wasn’t the worst part of it. His father, with no flotation device, wasn’t very far from his son, completely at the mercy 8

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With the drunkards helping the water logged man on the safety of the river bank, my concentration was completely focused on the child who was traveling swiftly towards what I call “the bad shit.” I knew that if I didn’t reach him he was turtle food for sure. Flirting with death, I came to the conclusion I was not leaving the water without the kid. Hell, I could think of worse ways to die. The river did most of the work for me but I almost swam past the boy and into the jaws of the monster. The boy was in severe shock and unable to hold on to me which made it impossible to swim in this sadistic area of my beloved river. So I tried the same approach that worked on his pops. But there were no boulders or river bottom to assist us, nothing but deep, mad water. With time running out and death ever so close, the river gods offered me one last chance to escape a watery demise. I felt the boulder slam into my legs and was able to spring off it and toss the boy the same way I would throw my nephews in the pool. The child flew through the air and landed in the root system of a cypress. It had to hurt but I know he was relieved to be out of those rapids. I swam to the safety of the cypress tree not ten yards from the point of no return and pulled the kid to shore. Once on the shore a feeling of anger came over me. I wanted to yell at the man, “How could you let this happen!? You should be ashamed of yourself!” But as he stumbled up, spent and completely wiped out, he hugged his son. The man was ghost white and his eyes were looking through me. All he could say was, “Thank you, God! Thank you God! Thank you, God.” His exhausted son, still in shock, just gave me what I interpreted AN ANTHOLOGY OF STUDENT WORK | VENTURA COLLEGE

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{Brian Byman ~ Texas Redemption con’t}

ENGLISH 1A

as a “Thanks for saving our life” look. They didn’t ask my name. The two of them just embraced, turned, and walked off, more than likely returning to a freaked-out mom. With victory ours, Big Casey, Lil Casey and I decided sheer debauchery was the method in which we would celebrate. Back to The Ice House… After all, it’s all on Mike.

Ariana Mendoza Mediterranean Hills, ceramics

Marlo Gaston Love Portrayed in the Media

ENGLISH 1A

Most Americans today tend to believe that reality television is similar to an average person’s reality. Common sense seems to dictate that a lot of what we see in reality television is a cartoon version of a normal life. In discussions of how love is portrayed in the media, one controversial issue has been if the love we see is genuine, or another acting performance up for a wannabe academy award. On the one hand, some argue that many of the problems seen on reality television can be related to normal people. On the other hand, others maintain that it is all scripted and edited to appeal for viewers. My own view is that each individual lives a different lifestyle than another, and the portrayal of love in the media should not be held liable or relevant for normal people in everyday situations. Many love to watch love stories unfold, and just like a best-selling box office movie, there are always twists and turns until the princess finds love and lives happily ever after. However, in reality shows, the story doesn’t just end, we see life after happily ever after, and it’s not always a happy ending. The hot topics of love stories in the media are love stories in reality television and the dating shows for singles looking for love. So how is love being portrayed in the media? When it comes to reality television, the first topic that is steadily in the public eye is the recent marriage and divorce controversy between Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries. Celebrities, such as Kim and Kris, seem to live the fabulous life full of glam, luxury, yet with a fast-paced schedule. It was fairly recent and quick that the two had become an item in the public eye, given the fact that just less than a year before “Kim and football player, Reggie Bush, ended their 3 year on and off again relationship” (Serpe). According to E! Online news, “Kris popped the question on May 18, 2011, to Kim, girlfriend of roughly six months” (Serpe). Being that younger sister Khloe Kardashian married basketball player Lamar Odom 9 days after their engagement, it was no shocker on the timing when Kris proposed, and Kim to plan an extravagant wedding just a few months after their engagement. Even though there were clear red flags between the couple when they had not dated for that long, haven’t lived together yet, conflict within in-laws, planning the wedding, etc., but the engagement pressed forward as planned. The glamorous wedding took place on August 20, 2011, less than a year of first dating. This Cinderella wedding left viewers in awe of the gorgeous decorations, the princess wedding gown, and the beautiful reception; one would easily agree that these two appeared to be in love. Timing of how a relationship plays out should be kept in mind when it comes to spending costs. This is usually true for “normal” or “average” people. Yet, in the case of the Kardashian and Humphries wedding, money didn’t seem like an issue. For only

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{MARLO GASTON ~ LOVE PORTRAYED IN THE MEDIA con’t}

ENGLISH 1A

having dated for a short amount of time, and marriage only lasting for 3 months, Kim and Kris’ wedding costs would seem like they loved each other forever (or at least for more than 3 months). What people don’t realize is that the couple actually made more money that spent. Even though Kris’ “20.5 carats engagement ring to Kim was $2 million he allegedly got at a steep discount. By comparison, her wedding band cost a modest $200,000. $17.9 million was the amount Kardashian and Humphries reportedly earned from the wedding, including a $2.5 million photo deal with People magazine and the $12 million to $15 million the four-hour, two-part wedding special pulled in for the Kardashian clan” (Kaufman). With these numbers, one could ask, “Was this just another gig to make profit?” In a personal survey (“How do you see love being portrayed in the media?”) with Ventura locals, 10 out of 10 said that the media does not portray love in a positive form. Businesswoman, a recent eligible bachelorette, Megan Frisbie, stated, “I think it’s commercializing the idea of love. People still like a good love story with a happy ending but now you need help finding love - hence the websites and shows. As for the Kardashian wedding, that’s just completely mocking love. I believe true love still exists but it’s harder to find because so many have values that have been corrupted by society. People’s hearts shouldn’t be treated like a used car - can’t just trade them in” (Frisbie). Frisbie surely is right about her analogy of divorce as trading in a used car because, as she may not be aware, recent studies have shown that “for the past decade, the overall American divorce rate has remained stable, at around 50% for first marriages. The statistics become more depressing for each successive marriage, with 65% of second marriages ending in divorce and even higher rates for third marriages and beyond” (“Divorce Statistics”). As stated before, these statistics prove to be very depressing and leave little hope for a successful marriage. At this point I would like to raise some objections that have been inspired by the skeptic in me. My own view is that what Frisbie insists is a genuine concern how people perceive commitment as having little value. Those unfamiliar with this school of thought may be interested to know that it basically boils down to a couple sincerely making a decision to spend their lives together because they love each other. I agree that a lot of reality shows, such as Keeping up with the Kardashian’s, gives false portrayals of actual love and reality, because my experience of watching breaking news of an immediate break up confirms it. I feel that barely living together after their marriage is one implication of Kris and Kim’s divorce. Another implication as to why the marriage ended was the lack of the “second stage in a romantic relationship. There are two distinct stages of a romantic relationship. The first is the “falling in love,” or the infatuation phase... that intense euphoria of attraction. The second phase is the “attachment” phase that is 12

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often less intense but much more comfortable and satisfying” (Jones). It was obvious that the couple had an explosive start but consequently did not allow the spark to grow. My discussion of the Kardashian wedding and divorce is in fact addressing the larger matter of where can young viewers find guidance for love? When reality television does not satisfy the needs of its viewers, one can simply change the channel to any dating shows such as Tough Love, Why Am I Still Single?, The Bachelor, Millionaire Matchmaker, etc. These shows are designed to address dating issues as to why people (they have hand-picked) are still single. Basically, it’s to help fix these “dating-challenged” individuals to become more successful in the dating world. In the recent season of Tough Love Miami, love guru Steve Ward introduces a selective group of women, which he has each given nicknames on the show for their individual problems: “Miss Delusional, Miss Desperate, Miss Body Issues” (“About Tough”), etc. Through series of blind dates and the promise of 1 out of so and so eligible suitors is the one for you. As the season progresses, issues are being brought up and resolved in a matter of an hour episode. But are all of these issues relevant to everyday people? Can all the issues be presented and resolved within that hour on the air? This shows no REAL representation of REAL relationships. In the same survey as mentioned before (“How do you see love being portrayed in the media?”), high school friend Vita Sonders, asserted her thoughts, “I think there is especially a lot of pressure put on women to feel they need to be married by a certain age, have kids by a certain age, etc. There’s a stigma surrounded by a woman who is single and let’s say 40, regardless of how successful/happy she is, there is still a pressure from society that she SHOULD be married or at least have a kid. I think all of the things you listed are some way tied to that idea (especially Tough Love) that for both men and women, it’s not ok to be single and that EVERYONE wants to get married eventually. I don’t think that’s true, I think that it’s just a traditionally view that people are still trying to hold on to despite what they actually want and what works best for their lifestyle” (Sonders). I agree that there is a pressure from society that everyone should be married or at least have a kid, a point that needs emphasizing since so many people believe that if one does not obtain a family then they have failed in their life. Sonders theory of a stigma for women (and men) to eventually get married is extremely useful because it sheds insight on the difficult problem how “love” in the media is shedding influence of commercialism in society. If the claims that Frisbie and Sonders are right that the media portrays love in a negative fashion, as I think they are, then we need to reassess the popular assumption that we can rely on reality shows or dating shows for guidance. Sonders probably overlooked what I consider an important point about these dating shows, and that’s the authenticity of the show itself. Many of the people on these shows are too dramatic, superficial, and AN ANTHOLOGY OF STUDENT WORK | VENTURA COLLEGE

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{MARLO GASTON ~ LOVE PORTRAYED IN THE MEDIA con’t}

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overall dysfunctional. One would safely ask if these individuals are genuine or putting up a front because the camera is right in their face. The idea is to find hopelessly single individuals who appear to be desperate, being that they have put themselves on a television show to solve their problems, and put their issues on blast for everyone to see. This leaves little room for privacy to develop a desired relationship. What would appear to be normal dating situations on these dating shows are actually hyped up for the sake of increase viewer ratings. Ultimately, what is at stake here is holding value to reality and dating shows advice to dating. My discussion of how love is portrayed in the media is in fact addressing the larger matter of how to find love in our society. The portrayal of love in the media should not be held accountable to assist in everyday situations with the average John or Jane. Recent studies like these shed new light on the dating world, which previous studies had not addressed. Although the influence of how love is seen in the media may seem of concern to only a small group people who fantasize in these shows, it should in fact concern anyone who cares about finding a loving and long lasting relationship. Although none of them ever said so directly, my parents have often given me the impression what love means. They have shown me that love is meant to be shared between the pair, in the privacy of their own development, without comparison to others, and blossom into prospering relationship. As stated before, everyone lives a different way of life than the next person, so who are we to compare.

Works Cited “About Tough Love Miami.” n.p. n.d. Web. 7 December 2011 www.vh1.com. “Divorce Statistics in the USA.” n.d. Web. 1 December 2011www.divorceguide.com. Frisbie, Megan. “How do you see love being portrayed in the media?” Marlo Gaston. 6 December 2011. Interview. Jones, Jennifer. “The Stages of Love: Infatuation and Attachment.” 17 January 2007. Web. 6 December 2011 www.theartofloveandintimacy.com. Kaufman, Gil. “Kim Kardashian And Kris Humphries: By The Numbers.” 1 November 2011. Web. 1 December 2011 www.mtv.com. Serpe, Gina. “Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries: Anatomy of an Engagement.” 25 May 2011. Web.5 December 2011 www.eonline.com. Sonders, Vita. “How do you see love is being portrayed in the media?“ Marlo Gaston. 6 December 2011. Interview.

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Linda Kennon Quit While Your’e Ahead Pencil Drawing

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Katarzyna Lisowska ENGLISH A Bespectacled Blonde in Pink: From Cultural Confusion to a Media Stereotype

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A popular children song claims that “It’s a small world after all” and indeed the world we live in gets smaller and smaller every day. Latest technology innovations bring people from different parts of the globe closer and closer. Although it seems that Internet, television and satellites help us to get to understand each other better, Judith Ortiz Cofer’s essay “The Myth of the Latin Woman: I Just Met a Girl called Maria” accurately demonstrates that mixed cultural signals propagate numerous stereotypes of women, often based on insignificant external traits. Ortiz Cofer, Puerto Rico born author and poet, describes how popular and shallow stereotypes of Latina woman affected her in her real life. She makes it painfully clear that the way people, especially men, perceive women is based on first glimpse, superficial judgment, and the ideas they were trained to believe in. Although Ortiz Cofer and I were raised in two cultures worlds apart from each other, the examples she brings to the table strike a familiar note. I am convinced that, in my life, I have witnessed or even experienced the situation comparable to those depicted by the author. First, Ortiz Cofer observe how often minor and meaningless accessories as “jingling bracelets” are misinterpreted as an encouragement for sexual advances (5). The same adornment exposed in a store window would have never instigated thoughts of this kind. Hung on a slim wrist, against brown, fresh skin, bracelets get confused as a “come-on” (5). According to Ortiz Cofer, clothes seem to set off equally confusing message. The author herself states: When a Puerto Rican girl dressed in her idea of what is attractive meets a man from the mainstream culture who has been trained to react to certain types of clothing as a sexual signal, a clash is likely to take place (8). Basically, Cofer Ortiz is saying that Puerto Rican and American cultures carry totally conflicting image of the way a proper seniorita (or a decent girl) should dress, which is one of the reasons Latin women get pigeonholed as “hot tamales” or “sexual firebrands”(6). Later, the author makes the point that by promoting one dimensional image of the Latin women media are responsible for perpetuating stereotypes that Ortiz Cofer finds so unfair and superficial. Finally, the writer goes to explain the reasons why Latinas image is so biased by claiming: It is custom, however, not chromosomes that lead us to choose scarlet over pale pink. As young girls, it was our mothers who influenced our decisions about clothes and 16

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colors – mothers who had grown up on a tropical island where the natural environment was a riot of primary colors, where showing your skin was one way to keep cool as well as look sexy. Most important of all, on the island, women (…) were protected by traditions, mores, and laws of a Spanish/Catholic system of morality and machismo whose main rule was: You may look at my sister, but if you touch her I will kill you (7). In other words, the author believes that the Puerto Rican traditions might have worked for her parents back on the island. However, transplanted to the new country, these traditions complicate lives of the next generation born in the US. As a result, Ortiz Cofer concludes with a sigh that “if you are a Latina (…), the island travels with you” (1). Although “jingling bracelets” are completely out of my style, I try to compensate my desire to accessorize by wearing well-framed eyeglasses. Though glasses seem to repel men rather than attract them, I can wholeheartedly confirm that the stereotype of a bespectacled woman is running as strong as its Latin equivalent. In popular perception, women with glasses are supposed to be plain ugly. Reaching for an example from mass media, Ugly Betty comes to mind. In this popular TV show, the main character played by beautiful America Ferreira is made unattractive simply by putting a pair of black framed, slightly oversized glasses. Other common practice in movies is showing a character’s makeover from an ugly duckling to a beauty, by simply taking a pair of horrible glasses off actress’s nose. In the classic 1995 version of fairy-tale classic Sabrina, the main character played by Julia Ormond evolves from a shy, unattractive, bespectacled chauffeur’s daughter to a confident, contacts wearing beauty who wins Harrison Ford’s heart in the concluding scene. Quite popular is belief that women wearing glasses are smarter than the ones who are blessed with perfect vision. Take the case of Vilma Dinkley, a Scooby-Doo character who is a brain behind any action but she wears tacky sweat shirts, has nerdy habits and shows the tendency of being socially awkward. Summarizing, the image of bespectacled, nerdy and shy woman lives in our brains has fruitful relationship with Hollywood. Most of the stories using this stereotype seem to be based on the implication that glasses are just a hideous optical device, maybe a notch better than a prosthetic leg and a glass eye, but just like them shameful and stigmatizing. I simply hate this stereotype with all my heart and I refuse being muscle by it. Glasses went a long way from being revolting and uncomfortable to being hip and comfy. In these days, every major designer has his own frame line. Moreover, thanks to the progress in technology, lenses became lighter and thinner. There is no reason to be ashamed of glasses; everybody can wear a pair of really cool – I mean “Prada” cool – glasses. All it takes is some guts and attitude, as the glorious examples of Tina Fey and Janeane Garafalo teach us. Clothing is even more prolific with female stereotypes. No matter what culture one considers, clothes have always been used as a statement expressing position and power or just a message. As Ortiz Cofer demonstrates in her essay, the perception of the AN ANTHOLOGY OF STUDENT WORK | VENTURA COLLEGE

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{Katarzyna Lisowska ~ A Bespectacled Blonde in Pink con’t}

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message can be quite different than what is planned. From all the feminine garments I can think about, the burqa - a Muslin head cover - illustrates this trend the best. Caryle Murphy, a correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor in Saudi Arabia defines the burqa stereotype in one simple statement, ”It liberates. It represses. It is a prayer. It is a prison. It protects. It obliterates.” Its perception is totally subjective. According to Murphy, the non-Muslims consider the burqa to be the most recognized symbol of Islam. Thanks its image in the public media, they often associate it with terrorism, oppression and men’s control over women’s freedom. The Muslim women, however, have different opinions on the role of the burqa. Those who are the most observant wear it for religious reasons; others use it to protest against the global spread of the Western culture. Some Muslim women, especially in developing countries, wear the burqa to avoid harassment and stares from men. Finally, Murphy goes to say that “the most commonly, there is family pressure from fathers, husbands, or brothers who want their female relatives to be seen by society as a “good girl” or “good woman.” This statement reminds me of Ortiz Cofer’s parents’ definition of “a proper seniorita.” Also, like the example of the stereotype of the Latin woman presented by Ortiz Cofer, the clash between reality of the burqa and its Western stereotype leads up to havoc. Truly, although there is a difference in the cut and color, the Muslim burqa and the tight, scarlet Puerto Rican skirt brings up the similar kind of cultural confusion.

very desirable and it is considered to attract men. Although hair color depends on the genetics rather than the tradition, the example of a dumb blonde proves that some stereotypes are indeed, as Cofer Ortiz claims, one dimensional and easy to promote or even overused in media. Having read Ortiz Cofer’s essay, I realized that no matter what our skin’s color, accent, clothes or even an education might be, we women will be always at risk of being unfairly labeled. As long as mass media keep promoting an easy to digest, shallow and extremely visual vision of woman, I cannot imagine any change for better. After all, as Antoine Saint-Exupery said, “what is essential is invisible to the eye,“ which means that true values can be recognized by one’s heart and soul rather than eyes. Unfortunately, media seem to choose show and glorify simplified and unjust stereotypes, instead of promoting in depth discussion and dialog between opposites, like women and men, young and old or East and West. I wish one day mass media were able to recognize their immense potential in promoting respect, peace and understanding between people of different backgrounds.

Works Cited Murphy, Caryle. “Embraced or Banned, a Prayer or a Prison, the Muslim Veil Is Spreading: Who Wears It – and Why?” The Christian Science Monitor. 12 Dec. 2009. Web. 1 Oct. 2011. Ortiz Cofer, Judith. “The Myth of the Latin Women: I Just met a Girl Called Maria.” Class reading material.

Finally, in her essay Ortiz Cofer argues that the reason of cultural misconception concerning women lays in tradition rather than gens. I think she contradicts herself. On one hand, by describing herself as a person who “so obviously belongs to Rita Morano’s gene pool”, the author claim that physical traits can generate reactions based on stereotypes (1). On the other hand, she also says that “it is custom, not chromosomes” that make women convey such a confusing message. In saying so, Ortiz Cofer overlooks many stereotypes based on inbred physical traits like, for example, hair color. This particular trait perpetuated a massive avalanche of stereotypes. It looks like no matter what hair color a woman has, she is doomed anyway. Red heads and brunettes get their share of shame, but no other hair color initiates such universally recognized and grounded in pop culture stereotype as a dumb blond. First, blondes are perceived as women who do not make the best use of their brains. This aspect of the stereotype produced hundreds of blonde jokes. Although we agree that blonde jokes are sexist and politically incorrect, everyone sinned with laughing at them and sending them out by email. Next, the popular opinion holds that dumb blondes rely on their beauty more than on their intelligence. Marilyn Monroe, in 1953 musical comedy Gentlemen Likes Blondes, incarnates a classic, dizzy, not so smart blonde. The other way of emphasizing the blonde’s dumbness in this movie is juxtaposing her with a smarter, more serious minded brunette. The final piece of the puzzle is the fact that blond as a hair color is 18

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AN ANTHOLOGY OF STUDENT WORK | VENTURA COLLEGE

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Briana Figlio Indiscriminate Welcome Mat

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Forever schools have expected students to accommodate them. Think back to high school. In English we were assigned to read and understand pages of Shakespeare’s Old English plays and interpret layers of vague poetry. Know this and we’re labeled educated and intelligent. Smart. Perhaps it’s time for schools to accommodate the students. They’ve been too focused on the correct way to for students to learn when really they need to learn the best way to teach. The reality is the school system isn’t perfect, but imperfection isn’t a bad label. Imperfection means there’s always room for improvement and it’s never too late to change this system that we’ve grown so accustomed to. By first forming a welcome mat embracing all students, will they more eagerly cross the threshold into the educated world of analytical and critical thinking. In his essay “Rethinking the Student-Centered Classroom,” Tim R. McDonald, an associate with Education|Evolving, asserts a more student-centered teaching method and emphasizes that motivation is key to the student’s, and the teacher’s, ability in the classroom. It all boils down to the fact that motivation is what drives any person to accomplish any task. The want to do something. McDonald argues that the typical classroom setting is “artificially limited; confined within an authoritarian structure of batch processing, centralized authority, and standardization” (McDonald). I disagree with the extremity of this negative characterization of the education system in that we do need a standard and most students are comfortable with the authoritarian style of being told what to do. It seems a number of students are with comfortable having a teacher who gives the sense of control and knowing what they are doing. They trust the system. At the same time, however, I cannot ignore the fact that a stale, restricted environment is not the best way to learn. In order to encourage motivation, we need to incorporate the interests of those doing the learning: the students. In line with McDonald, in his essay “Hidden Intellectualism,” professor of English and education Gerald Graff argues that schools are too limiting on the domains they deem intellectual for its students. There is literary merit in, say, sports and fashion as long as the student thinks critically and in an intellectual way. His purpose may be to encourage schools to incorporate such interests in their curriculum and to assure students like himself that their “preference of (i.e.)sports over schoolwork was not anti-intellectualism so much as intellectualism by others means” (Graff 199, 200). According to Graff, you can learn just as much from the world of sports as in the world of school. He supports his argument through his own personal experience growing up as teenager in the “hood” where being openly book-smart wasn’t smart. Instead he unknowingly exercised his intelligence in “seemingly philistine debates” in the “analysis of sports teams, movies, and toughness” (Graff 201). He explains that the 20

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world beyond school contained numerous topics that connected one to people and the community, unlike the isolation of school work. Similarly, McDonald observes that “outside of school we have the most creative, resourceful, energetic citizenry of any civilization in history” (McDonald). Why not take advantage of the world around us in order to engage students? If Graff is right that the interesting topics have the same potential to teach us the same literary mind frame, as I think he is, then we need to reassess the popular assumption that only weighty academic topics can teach one to think analytically. Graff’s effective use of personal experiences and accessible language allows the reader to connect and relate to him with his conflict in “the need to prove [he] was smart and the fear of a beating if [he] proved it too well” (Graff 200). In order to survive his environment, he turned away from school. Instead he delved into the world of sports where he not only grew as a person, but as an intellectual. Although his essay is highly personal, he keeps it on a professional level and doesn’t come across as just an “antiintellectual” going against the education system. Instead he uses his experience as to urge one to see the value in relevant topics such as sports and its potential to ignite “hidden intellect.” I agree on his point that once a student can realize the possibility of analyzing the very topics that interest them, they will more easily make the transition as a true intellect. Though in no way does he suggest that all work such as Plato, Shakespeare, and nuclear fission be entirely replaced by “more interesting subjects.” In fact he says one “[needs] to read models of intellectually challenging writing… if they are to become intellectuals themselves” (Graff 199). He merely suggests it as more of a stepping stone and a learning opportunity schools should incorporate. I completely agree with the idea that a school shouldn’t decline any source of knowledge. By first learning to view topics of interest “through academic eyes,” one can more easily make that same connection to the “weighty” academic topics. Not only should students see this connection, but schools as well. In perspective, Graff seems to paint a very attractive world: one in which books smarts incorporates the world of street smarts. But this is getting ahead ourselves. What exactly defines these two worlds? I believe, for the most part, book smart is universal. It’s the facts and information. The know. It’s learning from the experiences and knowledge of others. There is, however, a very big difference in knowing something on paper, and applying this knowledge. As they say, “It’s easier said than done.” That’s where street smart comes in. Street smart isn’t something you can learn in a book; it’s more common sense. I believe it comes from real life experiences and knowing how to act in certain situations like say AN ANTHOLOGY OF STUDENT WORK | VENTURA COLLEGE

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{BRIANA FIGLIO ~ Indiscriminate Welcome Mat con’t}

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the football community and knowing the lingo. The more experience you have with these different communities, the easier it becomes to connect with a variety of people and adapt to different situations. It’s our primal instinct to adapt and trust our “guts.” A book smart person would think or “know” how to get out of a bad situation while a street smart person would be able to, say… talk their way out of it.

Works Cited Graff, Gerald . “Hidden Intellectualism.” They Say, I Say. 2nd ed. Ed. Gerald Graff and Kathy Birkenstein. New York: W.W. Norton, 2009. 198-203. Print. McDonald, Tim R. “Rethinking the Student-Centered Classroom.” Engage Learners. Engage Learners, 12 Aug. 2008. Web. 17 Sept. 2011.

The catch is, having just one or the other can only get you so far. You can have the knowledge, but not know how to use it. Let’s say your job was to advertise a certain product in Korea. First you would need book smart, being well informed about your product and fully knowing it. You also need to know their culture and the best way to sell it to them versus selling this product in the US. Then how you sell your product and your stage presence is where street smart comes in. Your audience needs to feel they can trust you. You need to be able to personify this confidence so you can convince them you know your product and know it’s the best for them, which of course comes with experience. Ideally, one would want to be the master of both worlds, but usually people tend to lean to one side or the other. There’s nothing wrong with that. The world would be a boring place if everyone were the same. For me, however, I just happened to be one of those kids where school was my domain. Call me a nerd, but I honestly enjoyed going to school, learning, and the feeling of being “smart.” I was the lazy nerd that didn’t like homework, detested essays, and found that school came easy to me. I was book smart. That being said, it wasn’t enough to be book smart. In the crowd I found I wasn’t smart at all. I was uncomfortable and awkward in the realm outside books. When it came to connecting to people, or even just giving a presentation, I was a mouse facing a lion. It was a challenge and lucky for me, I had the courage to stumble my way through and successfully enter the community. My experience shows street smarts aren’t better than book smarts nor vice versa. You can have the experience of adapting to your environment, but not have the ability or knowledge to leave that environment. Though there is value in street smarts, I agree with Graff’s point that “street smarts are not enough” (Graff 204). What our education system needs to do is to free the distinct line between street and book smart and allow the interests, the student’s interests, to be looked at in a new light. “But even if they don’t [become engaged in more intellectual topics],” as least they’ll learn to become “more literate and reflective than they would be otherwise” (Graff 204). After all’s said and done, it’s not about the diploma or the grade; it’s about the actual journey and gains of personal growth. Though seeing a complete mesh of the two worlds may be too naïve a thought with street and book smarts being so different, the least we can do is make the realm of education a welcome mat indiscriminate to smarts of all varieties. 22

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Paola Ramirez Jack AN ANTHOLOGY OF STUDENT WORK | VENTURA COLLEGE

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Tatianna Warwick Education: Privilege, Right, or Incomparable Opportunity

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Education is something many of us may take for granted when we are younger. Many never realize the blessing; others never have the chance. For most students; the fundamentals like reading, writing, and simple arithmetic come almost effortlessly. But, it isn’t this way for all, because for those like my younger brother Taner, these basics of early education were a daily struggle. No matter how desperately he wanted to learn and be like everyone else, he couldn’t. At least not in the same ways that others could. It required an exceptional effort on his part. This would become a facet of who he is and would hang before him like a proverbial hoop he must jump through or a persistent hurdle that always stands between him and his ability to acquire and process information; brightly colored and there for the whole world to see. At the onset, my family noticed that Taner was much slower in reaching his milestones. He had always taken a little bit longer to master things than most other infants. As a toddler, the basics like talking, crawling, and walking didn’t come as early for him; as my mom remembers they did for me. This consistently worried her, enough to where she actually took him to his pediatrician to find out if something could be wrong. She just couldn’t understand how there was such a stark difference between her two kids. She recalls that she could have full conversations with me at the age of two, but here he was at almost three and still struggling to form simple words and sentences. The doctor just told her that boys were typically slower than girls, and that it was completely normal because they tend to be lazier. She strived to accept this and not worry so much. She was mindful to be more patient and encouraging with him. But, I often observed her lost in thought with her forehead wrinkled. It was as if she was quietly contemplating how she would complete this impossible puzzle of white clouds placed before her. For so long throughout that time, she wore her fear like an unwelcomed wet coat, heavy and burdensome. My dad would provide her with a glimmer of hope, through his recollections of his own struggles in school; reassuring her that he turned out just fine. But it never provided her any recompense from the unrelenting fact that something was not right. It wouldn’t be until Taner started school that others would start to take notice and address the weaknesses that were becoming more noticeable. Still, it wasn’t until the second or third grade that we would find out exactly what it was that was causing him to be more delayed than others. It turned out that Taner had dyslexia. Not until after a series of assessments were completed by a neuropsychologist were his weaknesses pin-pointed more precisely. Memories of going to that appointment 24

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still play through my mind. Being so young and unaware of the seriousness of the situation, I felt a sense of jealousy of all the attention he was receiving. Suddenly, he became the “it” topic around the house; this teacher said this about Taner and so and so said that. On the day of the appointment, my mom asked me if I would go with her for support. I remember that the reception area was small and there were little games and things around the room to keep kids occupied as they waited. It was a beautiful summer day; the sun was at its peak and a million fun things I would prefer to be doing raced through my mind. There was no one else there except for the neuropsychologist and her husband, who was also the receptionist, and their big beautiful golden retriever who laid there in complete tranquility just wagging his tail. He wasn’t fazed by our intrusion at all. For the first three hours I did what I could to entertain myself. I looked at magazines filled with articles and pictures of lavish gardens, fancy models, and tasty recipes. At one point, I even began playing with what would be considered baby games in the corner of the room. My mom fidgeted and drank tea made from a tea bag shaped like a triangle that was filled with what looked to be tiny flowers and nuts and other strange herbs. I could tell that Taner was nervous; he had never done anything like this before. The entire process took about six hours of him sitting in a closed room with the neuropsychologist, with only a thirty minute break for lunch. Starving, the three of us walked over to a Wendy’s across the parking lot to get something to eat. The fries were hot and salty, the bright colors and animated noises in the fast food restaurant were very welcoming after being in that silent boring waiting room for all those hours. Imagining how Taner was feeling having to take all those tests only occupied my thoughts for an ever so brief moment. He looked strained and exhausted, but relieved to finally get something in his growling belly. Encouraging him or acknowledging his discomfort in exposing his most profound weaknesses did not play into the equation that day. The importance of this process was outweighed by my discomfort and the imposition this was having on my own life. The memory of sitting in that office, in that small building filled with different specialists of sorts feels so recent, that I could reach out and feel the doorknob as if I were just walking inside for the first time. The reality that I ever suspected the need to waste our day or that it could ever be a way of him wanting to be the center of attention; shows my immaturity and weighs heavy on my heart today. At the time, I had just entered middle school; this was a huge difference from my elementary experience. The predominant issue for me was being the little fish in a big pond. Because of this, there was a sort of oblivion as to what was going on with Taner. The major change I noticed was that my mom was attending a lot of meetings at his elementary school and having a lot of conversations with his school district about things like “IEP’s” and special assessments. It was also difficult because she was crying a lot and not being her normal self. All these things were foreign and intrusive like an annoying jester in your face at all times. Of course, kids in special education were a part AN ANTHOLOGY OF STUDENT WORK | VENTURA COLLEGE

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{Tatianna Warwick ~ Education: Privilege, Right, con’t}

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of the school experience, but what that meant never interested me nor crossed that proverbial line in the sand that separated the general education students from those in special education. I am ashamed to say that I went along with the assumption that they were the school mutants, defective in some way. The correlation of the considerable struggles they faced or the fact that they were kids just like me was still unfamiliar. Like my brother, they too, anticipated their birthdays and Christmas in the same ways we all do. They had feelings that got hurt when someone said something mean and wanted to have friends and happy experiences at school just like everyone else did. Looking back with the understanding that special education is a place they need to go to learn and not a definition of who they are is overwhelmingly humbling. I’ll never look at those students in the same way that I used too. This experience has educated me in a very profound way. The lesson that our differences make us unique and that together we all make up the vivid and diverse fabric of the society we live in together would eventually lead me in the direction of my career choice, which will be in child psychology. As things played out at home, I began to be more cognizant that it took Taner a lot of time to do his homework every night, even with my mom’s help. I remember thinking to myself, “How long could it possibly take to do simple spelling homework consisting of four letter words?” Yet, even though the task was simple, he would take hours and hours to complete one assignment, and this was night after night. Eventually he would get so flustered and worn-out from not being able to complete the assignment that he would give up altogether. Only to face the fact that he would have to get up extra early the next morning to complete the work before school. A few times my mom would ask me to take over for her and help him while she made dinner. One time in particular, I remember that his task was to write twenty spelling words five times each. “No big deal, this won’t take very long,” I thought. Well, almost forty five minutes later, dinner was ready and we eventually would have to stop. He kept encountering the same problems over and over again. Even though the words were spelt out correctly right in front of him, he kept switching letters or adding ones that weren’t even there to begin with. It got so bad that I just didn’t have the patience to sit there and help him anymore. The tick tock of the clock seemed to be getting louder and louder. I felt as if the hands were moving round and round like a scene out of Alice in Wonderland. Eventually, I would pass the task back over to my mom. The lack of understanding of what his struggles meant caused me to fail to take notice that the simple act of holding his pencil was taxing. His fine motor skills were delayed and this actually caused him pain. But with time, I begin to realize what a privilege it was to get an assignment and be able to work independently, complete the task in a reasonable timeframe, and without any considerable effort. 26

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I wasn’t exactly gifted academically, but I got by pretty well without really struggling. Looking back, there are many regrets for not being more patient and understanding with him; for just assuming that he wasn’t trying hard enough. Today, I see Taner in a different way. He is my only sibling. Being five years younger than me, most wouldn’t expect us to be so close, but we are. In fact, we probably spend more time together than most other siblings do. I would do anything for him and I know he would do the same for me. Taner is smart, patient, and understanding and he possesses all the skills that he needs for himself through his learning process. He is very aware of his weaknesses and he has an incredible endurance when it comes to accessing his education. I have always been able to pick up a book and be transported into another world of mysterious ancient cities or beautiful love stories. I can research any subject and acquire information on any given topic without incidence. The information is processed as it is accessed, simple as that. So, whether for pleasure or education, I have the freedom to enjoy the skill to delve into the world of print with ease. I can express my thoughts clearly and concisely. As the thoughts form in my mind, my hand translates them onto paper. For Taner, this is impossible. The difficulties that he has, as a result of his learning disabilities, makes all these things a prolonged and arduous effort. The hard realization reached is that he encounters a brutal barrier each and every time a new subject, skill or task is presented. Often, he is confronted by callous and compassionless indifference. Either people cannot understand why it is so hard for him or they automatically assume he cannot acquire it because his abilities are limited. It is commonly thought that his education should be commensurate to his ability; thus, removing the challenge for higher or even grade level education. The question often tossed around these past years is, is education a right? While there are laws in place, there is also a glass ceiling for many students with learning disabilities. Their right to education comes with conditions. It isn’t about maximizing their opportunities. It is about providing access. Yet, access alone often lacks what is necessarily appropriate for mastery of the subject or skill. As an individual devoid of any learning disability, I have learned that there are two extremes to the right to an education. One being the limitations associated with learning disabilities, and the other, having the right or ability and overlooking the endless opportunities and responsibilities those of us without any hindrances have in seeking and obtaining a higher education. Taner’s challenges were apparent for many years before I came to the realization of the incomparable opportunities that I had and discounted. It wasn’t until graduating from high school, standing at that fork in the road, and looking down the extensive journey I was about to embark on, that I realized what I had so easily brushed aside. My ability to learn and grow academically can and will create vast prospects that I could not attain otherwise. My little brother, who struggles to learn, taught me a crucial and powerful AN ANTHOLOGY OF STUDENT WORK | VENTURA COLLEGE

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{Tatianna Warwick ~ Education: Privilege, Right, con’t}

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lesson that I didn’t really put into effect until now. He taught me to appreciate, not just school, but learning in general. Everyone is capable of excellence as long as they try and put the time and effort into it. So there is no need to make excuses. Whether one looks at education as a privilege, right, or an incomparable opportunity it is something that merits considerable and deliberate contemplation. Whether like Taner, who will live with lifelong struggles in attaining and processing information, or those who do not, the value of an education is significant. Most notably, our responses to those who struggle need to be thoughtful and respectful. I have learned that we only do a disservice to ourselves when foolishly self-appointing any sort of superiority over others. There are many considerations often disregarded that cause the academic separation between special and general education. But, I have learned that these students have so much more to offer. This self-reflection has resulted in the fortitude to overcome any preexisting assumptions about others. Recognizing and appreciating all that an education offers has eliminated the chance of overlooking opportunities and taking my skills for granted. For all of this, I will forever be grateful for having Taner in my life, for the lessons learned, and the realizations made; all of which have taught me to be a better person.

Pat Kuhn 12 Fans Painting 28

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Jaime Asperin The Situation

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Stepping foot into the southern Oxnard/Port Hueneme area, one may not feel as though they are in the greatest and safest place on earth. I recall a ride home after a dance from my friend’s father when he mentioned that this was one of the most dangerous places to be in Oxnard and that I was in a difficult situation. “Obviously” was the first word that came up in my head. I mean, at the time I have been living in the area for thirteen years of my life. I have already heard, the gunshots and sirens, seen the ambulances and cop cars, and witnessed once occupied households turn into empty and run-down buildings after the “owner” was nowhere to be found. So yes, I knew what my “situation” was, but was it really a situation? Was it even difficult? A lot of people would say yes with very few people saying no; even I felt sorry for myself at the time. But after years of living and experiencing life in the “hood”, it obviously was not a difficult situation, it was a gift that gave me the opportunity to meet some of the most incredible people in my life that forever changed everything about me. Since both of my parents were born and raised in the Philippines, they brought me up the same way that they were brought up as children, or how they would have wanted to be brought up. Anything less than an A+ and you get the slipper or the broom, listen to me because I know everything that’s right, become a doctor or a nurse when you grow up, play the piano every day for three hours, and so on. My family never really had a lot of money, but they wanted to make sure that I had the best, and that I was in a good and safe learning environment. Since my mom is a hardcore Catholic (my dad not so much), my parents decided to send me to private schools for fifteen years of my life. The elementary and middle school I attended was a private Baptist school in Port Hueneme where parents pay for tuition and students wear uniforms consisting of navy blue polos and khaki pants. We would go to Chapel every Wednesday with the people in our grade range and sing songs about God, praise God, read about God, and pray to God. Grade sizes were only about twenty five-thirty five students per grade, so everyone knew each other their whole life. Life at that school seemed normal, same people, same place, nothing to worry about. Entering high school, puberty hits and people mature. Friends change, people change. The once happy-go-lucky talks about irrelevant things that did not matter now turned into “intelligent” and “sophisticated” conversations. At my new high school, it was all new face I have never seen before. The thirty kids that I knew my whole life dwindled down to five people, with the rest of them fresh new faces. On one bright and beautiful day while I was walking to class, I spot a helicopter circling the area. Thinking that it was just one of those weather helicopters videoing Oxnard, AN ANTHOLOGY OF STUDENT WORK | VENTURA COLLEGE

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I later learned that the police were searching for a young teenager who shot his gay classmate in the head at a nearby school. Upon hearing this news, our whole school went on lockdown. Talking about it with my classmates days later, it was just talk about how dangerous it was in the general area around our school since we were located in the ghetto. I thought to myself that it wasn’t so bad because I’ve lived here my whole life, but when you’ve lived in gated communities with big two story houses your whole life, I can see where they were coming from. But the things they were saying were just pure ignorance. “You would probably have to have a knife or a gun with you all the time if you walked around there.” Sometimes talks what get racial and bring up how everyone there is Mexican and that they were all gang-bangers. First of all, not everyone there is Mexican. They could be from another Latin American country, not just Mexico, so it’s completely wrong to generalize people from what you see. Hey, I mean I can say that some of the people that were in Camarillo or Thousand Oaks are Chinese, when they really are Vietnamese, but that’s a wrong thing to do. Conversations would revolve around so and so’s new television, or so and so’s new car, material things that I would never get to talk about because my family is struggling to barely put me through this school that I was starting to dread so much. That’s the main problem I had with the people at the private high school I went to, just because they were all such ignorant and stuck up people. Then came the year where I transferred out due to financial issues. My sister was in college now so my parents had to pay for that, so I decided to transfer out to our local high school near our house to lighten up the financial burden, Hueneme High School. Port Hueneme and Oxnard have a pretty bad reputation among the surrounding cities; I would read stories on the Ventura County Star about a shooting in Oxnard, and people would be commenting on the articles about how it’s nothing new to have shooting in Oxnard. While I was in New York the summer I was transferring, I got a call from my dad saying that the athletic director at Hueneme High School had been shot in his own backyard, prompting an immediate worrisome face from my mom. I reassured her that I was going to be fine and not to worry. So then came the day I transferred into the school I would be spending the next two years of my life at. I remember stepping foot into the school and not knowing anyone. The first thing that I saw was all the people. My old high school had only about five hundred people in total, and to see double that many people was really cool. The common stereotypes that were given to them were present as well, baggy clothes, tough guy look, people staring you down to scare you, that sort of thing. The school was bathed in the school colors of red and white. There was a memorial for the athletic director that was killed, with signs for counseling decorating the exterior of the library. The classes were given to you during first period where you would find out your whole schedule, and you would also be able to change 30

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it as well, something completely new to me since I just came from a school where they did everything for you. If only they would set up friends for you, since those are hard to come by as the new kid. During every break, I would just walk around the school since I did not know anyone, every class, I would sit in the back ignoring the joyous conversations between well established friends, something I hoped I would have as well. I would talk with some classmates about myself and who I was, which was nice, but I didn’t have that solidified group of friends that I would be able to identify myself with, the ones that I would hang out with every day and meet up at the same spot. As I walked around the school one day, a guy wearing Dickies shorts with a baggy shirt came up to me. He introduced himself to me as Danny, and me being heavily judgmental at the time, I was scared, but my mind at that point was everywhere. I was happy that someone came up and talked to me, I was nervous on what I should say, and I was worried about what he was going to tell me. He turned out to be a really cool guy, completely different from the stereotypical things that were talked about at my old school. He introduced me to some of his friends as well, all of them completely looking fly and gangster, but all really cool and easy going people to talk to. We weren’t talking about our nice cars and televisions, we were talking about everything that wasn’t about us. It felt good, to have a normal conversation about sports, about news in the world, and about life. It was sort of a confidence booster meeting those guys. They helped me open up and be able to talk easily with other, a problem I have always had before since I was always afraid as to what the other person would say. It spoke to me because everyone is a human being no matter what he or she may look like, on the inside is someone that anyone would be able to have a conversation with. Don’t get me wrong, my experiences were not all happy and good. There would always be fights every week, some extremely nasty ones as well, even between women. There was one that will never get out of my head because it happened right in front of me where I saw and heard as a handful of hair was ripped out of a girls head. The sound of the hair ripping out was like Velcro coming off, a sound and scene that will never escape me. There were gang fights that would go on as well between rival gang members in the school, mostly around the general area, but like a snake, stay out of their territory and you will be fine. Such a great gift was given to me that gave me the opportunity to look at life in multiple ways due to amazing people that changed how I perceive others around me. It was a situation that I am happy I was placed in because if I wasn’t, I would not be who I am today.

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Adan Jonathan Olid The Blame Game

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For as long as I can remember, there has only been one thing in my life that I always wanted to have, which was the approval of my parents.  Being the youngest of three children, I often saw the anger and discontent that my brother and sister laid upon them.  My sister would always yell at my parents and was often rebellious by staying out later than she was supposed to.  My brother on the other hand, really did not care about anything.  If my mom asked him to take out the trash, he would just pretend like he did not hear anything and continue watching his regularly scheduled cartoons.  At school he would usually be getting into some kind of trouble, from bullying the geeky kids to never doing his homework.  Seeing the feelings of frustration grow on the faces of my parents, I knew that I should not emulate my siblings so that I can help make life a little less painful for them. At one point in high school, I gave up on those feelings.  It all started my sophomore year.  My biology teacher sent home a report card testifying that I was being loud and disruptive in class, when it was not true because I was a new kid and I did not know anybody.  I began to question the judgment of my parents.  How could a child who grew up getting good grades and received the Student of the Month honor numerous times, all of a sudden have the desire to be disorderly? Regardless of my status, my parents believed the teacher and I was grounded from visiting my old friends from my previous home.  I was penalized for a crime I did not commit, and I was not pleased with it.  I confronted my teacher about the situation and she refused to talk to me about it, so I did what any teenage boy would do.  I rebelled, lost my focus, and school was the last thing I cared about.  While I lay in the bed of my prison cell I called my room, I was paying the price, and in my thoughts I came to the realization that I might as well commit the crime, since I’ve done the time.  So I made life difficult for that teacher the rest of the semester, and the semester following that.  The bad report cards continued coming in and I noticed those same feelings of resentment and dissatisfaction my parents had toward my siblings had now fallen on me as well.  I remember feeling the wrathful staring eyes of my parents drill a hole through my head during dinner. None of that mattered however, because I did not care.  After all, it was their fault. A year later, as I was walking down the hall to get to class, I noticed a flyer for the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test.  The flyer would go on to mention that it would get me out of my first through fourth period classes, and that was enough to convince me to sign up.  After I finished the test, the monitor informed us of a career fair at the convention center in Oxnard the following week.   Once she said that we would get out of class all I day, I was sold and signed up for that as well. The day of the career fair, I woke up not knowing that I would end up meeting somebody that would 32

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transform my life completely. Once I arrived to the convention center, I disembarked the bus and walked in to the building that was being overrun with chaos from other students my age walking around and glancing through all of the potential careers.  Nothing in the front intrigued me, and as if somebody grabbed me by the shirt, I went straight to the back.  It was there that I noticed the Marines, looking sharp in their dress blues and walked straight towards them.  The recruiter gave me his card and gave me my first order of my military life.  He said “call me if you’re serious.” When I came home that day, I approached my mother and notified her of what had happened.   As we continued to discuss my potential opportunity in the service, my father came home and joined the conversation.  The more I talked about it, the more they seemed to like it.  That was until my mom realized that I was talking about the Marines, and not the Navy whom she thought I was referring to at the beginning.  She began to argue and disagree with my decision and I pleaded to her to change her mind but she would not budge.  Finally, I told her “mom, if this is something that I want to do, I’m going to do it regardless if you sign the papers or not.  Next year, I’ll be 18 and I won’t need your signature, so either you support me now or not, I’m still going to do it.”  Surprisingly enough, that worked, and my mother opened up to the idea.  I called the recruiter and he asked me if I could come in that evening, and with the permission of my father, I said yes. After dinner, my dad drove me to the recruiters’ office where I formally met Staff Sergeant Mario Medina.  My father and I sat down on a pair of chairs one side of his desk as he sat on his and we began to discuss what the Marines had to offer me.  I was engaged and excited of what I could hypothetically do, if only I could pass the initial requirements.   As the year went by, I passed my physical, mental, and any other tests that the department of defense threw at my direction.   Finally, the only thing that was required was the signature of my parents.   SSgt Medina came over and talked everything over with my parents and me, and then slid the paperwork towards my parents’ direction.  My dad signed the papers with no question, and my mom put the pen on top of the paper work and began to thank my recruiter. She told him that she was always proud of me and that she knew that I had different characteristics than my older siblings since I was a toddler. She continued by saying that she knew that I was going to do something special with my life, and was pleased to see that it was happening so early in my life.  As she went on, she stated that she had given up on me and at one point even gave up and believed that I was going to end up the worst out of her children which left her distraught.  She declared that the Marines had done so much to change her little boy in less than a year even before he went off to boot camp, and she could not wait to see what they could do for me in the future.  So she AN ANTHOLOGY OF STUDENT WORK | VENTURA COLLEGE

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{Adan Jonathan Olid ~ The Blame Game con’t}

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nonchalantly picked up the pen, thanked the recruiter again, and placed her signature on the corresponding places.  This was the moment I realized that I had a lot to live up to.  I realized that my parents were always watching me, and had held me on a higher pedestal than my older siblings.  I knew that I could not let them down, and I was not going to. A few weeks later, I had a ship date to boot camp, and I had a year to finish high school.  The year before had set me back because I had failed so many classes in my 10th year of school.  I worked hard before, during, and after school.  Suddenly I realized that my parents were not looking at me in anger or discontent anymore.  My parents saw the toil I had put myself through and were proud that I was so focused on finishing school so that I can join the Marines.  

looked around to hide my shame and I realized other guys from my platoon crying as well.  I looked at my parents, and they too were crying.  This was when I realized my accomplishments, and how much my parents influenced me to finish something many people are afraid to even think of beginning.  Finally after all this time and hard work, blood, sweat and tears, I knew how proud they were of me.  I earned a title that could never be stripped away, and I finally got the approval of my parents. As I drove home that night in the foggy San Diego weather, I realized that as long as I work hard, put everything I have in to something that leads to a major accomplishment for me, I will have that approval from my parents.  After all, it was their fault.

After what was probably one of the most stressful years of my life, I did what most people told me I would not.  I graduated high school.  I was the first of my parents’ three children to accomplish this, and I knew how proud they were of me.  But I had bigger dreams, and I was not done yet. A week after graduation, I shipped out to boot camp to become a U.S. Marine.  In those 13 grueling weeks, all I could think about was how it was going to feel like to see my mom and dad again, but transformed from boy to man.  That was my drive and that is what prevented me from giving up, and I never did.  One particular event that happened came a few weeks before I finished recruit training.   Our company began an eight mile hike early one morning.   We traveled for what seemed an eternity.   We walked up hills that eventually transitioned into mountains.   Sometimes, we walked up mountains so high that it was difficult to breathe.  As we found ourselves in mile number five, some of the recruits began to pass out from heat exhaustion.  It was getting difficult and it was time to separate the men from the boys.  I remember several times how much I just wanted to fall over and give up.  How my legs, and especially my back begged me to tears for a break.  But I never listened.  Instead, I pictured going home.  I just wanted to get it over with so I can prove to myself that I can do it.  Somewhere in my thought process, I knew my mom and dad were waiting for me to come home.  I had to finish, and somehow I did. Weeks later on graduation day, I walked out of my barracks, and the first thing I saw was my fathers’ van parked in the distance.  I knew they were there to see me and I suddenly became nervous. Once the graduation was over, I ran to my family and gave them the biggest hug ever, and I did something you will probably never see a Marine do.  I cried.  I 34

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Kaitlyn Perez Self Portrait AN ANTHOLOGY OF STUDENT WORK | VENTURA COLLEGE

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ENGLISH 1B Daniel Okonek Kurtz as the “Ubermensch”

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The image of Kurtz in Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness is one of gargantuan proportions. Kurtz is described as a superman, someone who crosses the threshold between myth and man. Conrad’s work serves as a commentary on the classic Nietzchean idea of the Ubermensch, as his novella provides an expository vision of the horrible realities that the Ubermensch can create. A person unbound by the restrictions of society has the opportunity to develop themselves past the normal limits of humanity. However, this freedom, much like any Faustian bargain, bears a price--the price of self-control, moderation, and the ability to control one’s own passion. All of this becomes Kurtz, a man free of the artificial limits once placed upon him, a man who becomes a legend among “civilized society” at once feared and admired, and a man who becomes physically torn apart--his own body unable to continue feeding the hunger of his obsession. His horror: the realization that while he may have been able to take control over the heart of Africa, he could not control the darkness within himself. The most obvious way in which Kurtz becomes a vessel for Nietzche’s Ubermensch is the glorification and praise he receives from the other members of his former culture. Ivory is the sole reason for the company’s continued expeditions into Africa. Because of this situation, one character describes Kurtz as “a very remarkable person... [he] sends in as much ivory as all the other [trading-posts] put together” (Conrad 19). Here we have our first glimpse of Kurtz as a larger than life figure, a man who is able to create more wealth than any other individual in the Congo. Kurtz’ monumental stature is continually magnified until the point when Marlow meets him: “[Kurtz] is a prodigy… He is an emissary of pity, and science, and progress, and devil knows what else… a special being, as you ought to know” (Conrad 25-26). We then find the unabashed worship of Kurtz, by Europeans in the Congo, stems from the belief that he brings something long overdue to Africa--namely science, progress, and morality. He is a white Prometheus with a higher purpose than harvesting ivory. The reality of Kurtz’ effect on the heart of Africa is quite different. A stated goal of white imperialists was to bring “civilization” to “primitive” peoples: “Westerners began to claim a clearer mission to bring civilization to the peoples of the world--civilization, of course, being as the West defined it” (Stearns 402). This goal 36

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became the rationale for continued expansion of Western imperialism throughout the world. Combining this ideal with the Nietzchean concept of unrestrained personality and strength, we can see why Kurtz may have been so glorified and idolized by Europeans in Heart of Darkness. However, Conrad effectively illustrates the irony of these goals and ideals. The paradox of the Dutch company’s glorification is that Kurtz throws away “civilization” in order to instill values of “civilization” among the natives of Africa. Furthermore, the Ubermensch is one who refuses to let the rules and limitations of civilization stop him from attaining what they desire or attempt to accomplish. In fact, it is the contradictory nature of this unnatural dualism, spreading “civilization” and being an Ubermensch, that accounts for Kurtz’ horror at the end of his life. By becoming the embodiment of the Ubermensch, someone who does away with the artificial shackles of society in order to live into his fullest potential, Kurtz is able to attain absolute control in the Congo at the cost of losing control of himself: I saw on that ivory face the expression of sombre pride, of ruthless power, of craven terror--of an intense and hopeless desire. Did he live his life again in every detail of desire, temptation, and surrender during that supreme moment of complete knowledge? [Kurtz] cried out in a whisper at some image, at some vision--he cried out twice, a cry that was no more than a breath: “The horror! The horror!” (Conrad 71) Kurtz’ horror is his despair that the darkness that pervades the world can never be conquered or exterminated. It exists in any crack or orifice created by a lack of control, a lack of rationality, or a lack of “civilization.” The cost of taking absolute control of external darkness is that cracks are left unfilled within the soul of man. It is through these cracks that darkness permeates his being. This is Kurtz’ realization on his deathbed--there is no hope of extinguishing darkness. By its nature, “Darkness is the unfathomable and the impenetrable; the savage, prehistoric past; the center of Africa, of Earth itself, even of man’s consciousness, echoing, from time to time passages from Dante’s Inferno or Vergil’s description of the underworld in the sixth book of the Aenid” (Wilcox 189). This conclusion also fits in quite nicely with Frederich Nietzche’s philosophical concepts of the Ubermensch and Nihilism. Juxtaposed ideas of “civilized society” and the realities of “civilizing” natives contribute to the reoccurring absurdity of Heart of Darkness. We see this theme even in modern times. Efforts to “modernize,” “civilize,” or progress technologically are often sanitized by Western culture to hide the realities that these pretty words mask. Too often “modernizing” means forced conversion to capitalism, free trade, or other inherently Western modes of economic and social structures. Too often “progress” means using the power and wealth of the West to enslave other nations into economic servitude AN ANTHOLOGY OF STUDENT WORK | VENTURA COLLEGE

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{Daniel Okonek ~ Kurtz as the “Ubermensch” con’t}

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by forcing less powerful countries to supply the West with cheap natural resources and labor. Too often “Democracy” is used as a method of instituting leaders and tyrants favorable to Western desires in foreign countries, at the cost of the welfare of the people who live there. These are the realities of the world and of European imperialism, the darkness hidden by sanitized media and lofty idealism. These are the realities that Kurtz comes to know, and the environment in which an Ubermensch can thrive. At what cost, though? Apparently for Kurtz, the cost for his brilliance, his obsession, and his ability was the loss of innocence and ignorance. For all his greatness and achievement, his reality was simply horror.

Works Cited Conrad, Joseph. Heart of Darkness. New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 1971. Print Nietzsche, Friedrich Wilhelm., and Thomas Common. Thus Spake Zarathustra. New York: Modern Library Publ., 1905. Print. Stearns, Peter. World History In Brief. 7th edition. Vol. 2. Pearson Education, Inc., 2010. Print. Wilcox, Stewart. “Conrad’s ‘Complicated Presentations’ of Symbolic Imagery.” Heart of Darkness. Ed. Robert Kimbrough. New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 1971. 189-195. Print.

Cassie Lundgren ENGLISH Examining the Appearance of Love through Feminine Silence in The Story of An Hour, A Doll’s House, and Trifles

1B

It’s always the quiet ones people wonder about. In the three pieces “The Story of an Hour,” A Doll’s House, and Trifles from the outside looking in, each couple appears to have a good or perfect relationship; however, the wives all have feelings that they never express: they are not happy with their lives and are suffering in silence. In “The Story of an Hour,” wife Louise receives heart-breaking news of her husband’s death. She talks herself through it and comes to the realization that the approaching freedom is what she really wanted all along. In A Doll’s House, wife Nora and her husband Torvald have a father- child relationship in which Torvald thinks everything is perfect and spoils her until she has her way. However, Nora ends up leaving him due to her unmentioned feelings. Lastly, in the play Trifle,s Mr. Wright is found dead and Mrs. Wright is under high suspicion. They have the body, yet they have no motive. According to friends and neighbors, Mr. Wright seemed like a good man, so why would Mrs. Wright want to kill him? With these three pieces including wives whose voices are figuratively not heard until the end, I believe feminine silence to be one of the most over looked aspects of love. Louise Mallard in Kate Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour” turns out to feel a sense of joy about her husband’s recent death. This is not for the fact that he is now dead and she is abandoned, but for the freedom that she is about to obtain. No one ever suspected Louise of being unhappy, but “It was only yesterday she had thought with a shudder that life might be long” (Chopin 68), too long to endure. Louise never had told anyone about her feelings, but the way she and her husband were living was not the way she had planned: “And yet she had loved him-sometimes. Often she had not. What did it matter!” (82). As she is talking herself through her stirred-up emotions, she has an epiphany and realizes that now that her husband is gone and never coming back, she can allow herself to live, to move on. She finally speaks the word she has held silent for so long: “Free, free, free!” (82). Now with nothing to tie her down, Louise can live her life the way she wants. Unfortunately, the shock of seeing her husband alive and walking in through the front door is too much for her weak heart, which tragically silences her voice forever.

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In Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House everyone thinks of Nora Helmer and her husband Torvald as being a perfectly happy couple because this is how they appear, but at the end of the play Nora thinks differently. She brags to her friend Kristine about Torvald, how “…he’s getting a big salary and lots of commission. From now on we’ll be able to live quite differently…we’ll do just what we want…I must say it’s lovely to have AN ANTHOLOGY OF STUDENT WORK | VENTURA COLLEGE

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{Cassie Lundgren ~ Examining the Appearance of con’t}

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plenty of money and not have to worry. Isn’t it?” (Ibsen 1017). According to what Nora is telling her friend it seems as though she is quite happy with her life, but at the end of the play she ends up leaving her husband. This couple never has serious conversations within their marriage and Nora realizes that she has never had a chance to grow up and experience things on her own. She went from getting what she wants from a father- child relationship with her Daddy, to continuing the same relationship with her husband Torvald; now the father figure to Nora’s on-going child. Nora explains to Torvald, “Daddy used to tell me what he thought, then I thought the same. And if I thought differently, I kept quiet about it, because he wouldn’t have liked it…you arranged everything to your tastes, and I acquired the same tastes. Or I pretended to…” (1074). As Nora explains to her husband why she’s leaving, she breaks the silence she has been living with for many years from childhood through marriage.

thread that ties these three women together, even though the silence is different in each work. The women are not satisfied with the way they are living, and after being pushed around or not having a say, they finally find their voice in some manner that results in some sort of action. Whether it is accepting one’s true feelings, doing something about a problem and leaving, or snapping and putting an ending to one’s suffering completely, these women are all the same, and sadly not too different from all other silenced women.

Works Cited Chopin, Kate. “The Story of an Hour.” Literature, A Pocket Anthology. Ed. R.S. Gwynn. Boston, 2010. 79-82. Print. Glaspell, Susan. Trifles. Inside Literature: Reading, Responding, Arguing. Ed. Gwynn R. S., and Steven Zani. New York: Pearson Longman, 2007. 234-243. Print. Isben, Henrik. A Doll’s House. Inside Literature: Reading, Responding, Arguing. Ed. Gwynn R. S., and Steven Zani. New York: Pearson Longman, 2007. 1010-1079. Print.

People who profess to know John Wright in Susan Glaspell’s Trifles believe him to be a good man: “He didn’t drink, and kept his word as well as most…and paid his debts” (Glaspell 239). Because of this perception, most people didn’t see why Mrs. Wright would want to murder him. This play is different from “Story of an Hour” and “A Doll’s House” because Mrs. Wright doesn’t speak, yet she is talked about by the other two female characters in their attempt to figure out if she killed her husband and, if so, what her motive would have been. When neighbors Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters begin grabbing some things to take to Mrs. Wright in jail, they soon discover in her sewing box her dead canary whose neck appears to be wrung. The two ladies come to the conclusion that Mr. Wright strangled the bird; “No, Wright wouldn’t like the bird – a thing that sang. She used to sing. He killed that, too” (240). According to Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters, Mr. Wright was a cold and hard man. He most likely was controlling in the relationship and wanted everything his way or it wasn’t going to happen. Even Mr. Hale remarks, “I didn’t know as what his wife wanted made much difference to John” (231). It appears Mrs. Wright kept silent and let everything slide by without speaking any words of protest, or standing up for her elf during their marriage. Yet as a seamstress who had been silently knotting quilts for a while, she became proficient at tying knots. While working with her hands she let all of her anger and resentment build up in her heart and mind, and was thus silent about her suffering. The day Mr. Wright killed her bird, because he couldn’t get some peace and quiet, is the day she starts to unravel. Finally undone, she ties a nice tight knot of “rope around his neck that choked the life out of him” (241). She ends her streak of silence by quietly tying one last strong knot that forever silences Mr. Wright.

Sin Ying Ma Portarit Type Multi Media

The appearance of love can be a puzzling situation. Things go on behind closed doors that no one ever imagines. Here we have seen how feminine silence is a common 40

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Matthew Casas ENGLISH The Metamorphosed Metaphor of the Phoenix: Death and Rebirth Within the Samsa Family

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Creation arises from destruction; one is a continuum of the other. This idea of death and rebirth is very prominent in certain mythologies and religions. This notion of the decline of one substance giving rise to the development of another is also present in Franz Kafka’s, “The Metamorphosis.” Similar to the legendary Phoenix of mythology who “ends its life” in a fiery combustion which results in “a little Phoenix [being] born anew from the father’s body,” the Samsa family also follows a cycle of death and rebirth (Weiss 66). The fabled Phoenix is an animal that has been alluded to by many different traditions and cultures. This mythological bird is a representation of a cycle of regeneration: The Phoenix follows a circular course, increasing and decreasing, with birth, death and rebirth following a cycle that passes from an aromatic bird closer to the sun than the eagle flying at great heights, to the state of a worm in rotting matter…. From the bird’s ashes, consumed at the end of its long existence in a blazing aromatic nest, is born a small earthworm, nourished by humidity, which shall in turn become a Phoenix (Weiss 66). This concept of life following a cyclical course is an archetype formed by the human psyche, “which is essentially the same in all human beings,” causing similar symbolism to be found throughout different cultures (Campbell 60). The symbolism of the Phoenix is reminiscent of the Hindu deity Shiva: “When the universe must be destroyed it is Shiva who does it with his dance of destruction, which reduces everything to ashes so a new universe can arise” (Breuilly 93). Shiva symbolizes “the eternal movement of the universe… [and] the notion of life as a cycle and dance, which ends in the flames of destruction only to rise again,” which is exactly the course followed by the Samsa family (Breuilly 104). Without the decline and death of Gregor, his family would have never received the opportunity to excel in the ways it did. In nature, “extinction is springboard to other life,” in the same way that Gregor’s decline is the springboard for the new lives of his family members (“Evolution”). The metamorphosis of the Samsa family takes them on a course that begins with Gregor as the primary source of income for the family, and ends with each of the other family members employed into jobs that “were all exceedingly advantageous and also promising” (Kafka 2030). From the ashes of Gregor Samsa arises the newly re-birthed Samsa family who has progressed towards a more self-sufficient lifestyle, as opposed to their old life of dependence upon Gregor, under 42

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their new sets of circumstances. On the surface, the most obvious transformation is Gregor’s. His is not only a physical transformation into “a monstrous vermin,” but also a very significant mental transformation (Kafka 1999). He starts off giving much consideration towards his obligations to the director and towards the welfare of his family, and even “felt a certain pride that he had managed to provide his parents and his sister with such a life” (Kafka 2010). But by the end, becomes so resentful of his family’s negligence towards him that he tries “to devise ways of getting into the pantry” even though he is not hungry (Kafka 2022). This is indicative of just how much Gregor’s focus shifts from the welfare of his family towards a more personal and selfish interest. However, this deterioration and eventual demise of Gregor leads to the blossoming of the Samsa Family. Gregor provides a “restoration of the family” and a reversal to “the erosion of duty within [his] family” (Ryan 147). Gregor’s mother transforms in a very noticeable way. At the beginning of the story, she establishes herself as not overly affectionate of Gregor, but concerned for him; but by the end, when she points “toward Gregor’s room” and says, “’Close that door, Grete.’” She not only closes the door literally, but figuratively as well (Kafka 2021). As a result, she becomes more productive, and the woman who had once “spent every other day on the sofa, gasping for air” is now responsible for the maid’s duties and “sewing fine lingerie for a fashion boutique” (Kafka 2014, 2020). This movement towards selfsufficiency is evident in the other characters as well. The father goes through a profound change. In the past, he had run a business that collapsed, and had since then become a fat and clumsy man that “had not done a lick of work in five years” (Kafka 2014). Prompted by the inconveniences of Gregor’s situation, he gets a job as a bank attendant. He begins to take charge of the household again almost immediately, and “in the course of the very first day, the father laid out their overall financial circumstances and prospects to both the mother and sister” (Kafka 2012). The father, “the same man who used to lie buried in bed, exhausted,” reaffirms his position as an organizer in the family (Kafka 2019). This rapid restoration of the father’s household duty is brought about by Gregor’s metamorphosis, exemplifying how the cyclical course of life unfolds. If Gregor is the Phoenix that has been consumed by flames and turned to ashes, then Grete is the earthworm “which shall in turn become a Phoenix” (Weiss 66). Before Gregor’s metamorphosis, the mother and father view Grete as “a somewhat useless girl” (Kafka 2015). While the parents are unaware of Gregor’s condition, Grete is not even referred to by name. But as soon as they apprehend the seriousness of the situation, responsibility is placed upon Grete to fetch a doctor and her name is used AN ANTHOLOGY OF STUDENT WORK | VENTURA COLLEGE

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for the first time, highlighting the beginning of her evolution towards womanhood and individualism.

Works Cited Breuilly, Elizabeth, Joanne O'Brien, and Martin Palmer. "Hinduism." Religions of the World: The Illustrated Guide to Origins, Beliefs, Traditions, & Festivals. Ed. Martin E. Marty. New York: Facts on File, 1997. Print. Campbell, Joseph, and Bill D. Moyers. "The Journey Inward." The Power of Myth. New York:

She begins as a rather unproductive girl. Besides playing the violin, she spends most of her time loafing about. But after Gregor’s metamorphosis, she asserts herself as his primary caretaker, showing a great deal of consideration and responsibility. She is at first very attentive of Gregor, but after she “found a job as salesgirl,” she starts “studying shorthand and French every evening in hopes of perhaps eventually obtaining a better position,” and gradually becomes more neglectful of him (Kafka 2020). An ironic shift in her feelings toward Gregor also occurs. When Gregor was the primary source of income, his sister was the only family member close to him, but after his metamorphosis, her repulsion becomes so great that she suggests getting rid of him. This is further evidence of Grete’s evolution towards individualism. So Grete, who in the beginning “was still a child at seventeen,” now “had blossomed into a lovely and shapely girl…despite all the sorrows” (Kafka 2014, 2030). Grete’s metamorphosis into a young woman was intertwined with Gregor’s metamorphosis into a vermin. The upward mobility of Grete is directly related to Gregor’s demise. Gregor not only “held on long enough to glimpse the start of the overall brightening outside the window,” but he also held on long enough to glimpse the start of the brightening within his home (Kafka 2028). The fact that Gregor’s death coincides with the sunrise is symbolic of the dawn of a new day for the Samsa family. The new lives of the surviving members of the Samsa family are different, but whether or not they were better is debatable. They are more self-sufficient, they take it upon themselves to take in boarders, and are no longer leeching off Gregor, but they also fall into the same predicament as Gregor. They are consumed by their work: “The father fetched breakfast for the minor bank tellers, the mother sacrificed herself to underwear for strangers, the sister, ordered around by customers, ran back and forth behind the counter” (Kafka 2021). They seem to be heading in the same direction as Gregor, who abandons his personal life to devote more effort to his job. But it is not completely grim for the Samsa family; after all, “their future prospects… were anything but bad” and their jobs were promising (Kafka 2030). From the ashes of Gregor Samsa arises a newly re-birthed Grete, along with her mother and father. A sense of responsibility is not present in the other family members before Gregor’s metamorphosis, but as a result of it, the stagnation within the family is done away with, and their lives are rejuvenated by Gregor’s eventual death. The fall of one leads to the rise of the rest of the Samsa family.

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Doubleday, 1988. 60. Print. "Evolution: Change: Deep Time." PBS: Public Broadcasting Service. Web. 21 Nov. 2011. Kafka, Franz. "The Metamorphosis." 1915. The Norton Anthology of World Literature: The Twentieth Century. Ed. Sarah N. Lawall and Maynard Mack. Vol. F. New York: Norton, 2002. Print. Ryan, Michael P. "Samsa and Samsara: Suffering, Death, and Rebirth in "The Metamorphosis"" The German Quarterly 72.2 (1999): 147. JSTOR. Web. 13 Nov. 2011. Weiss, Allen S. "Is the Phoenix Kosher?" Gastronomica: The Journal of Food and Culture 8.2 (2008): 66. JSTOR. Web. 13 Nov. 2011.

Chloe Rahimzadeh Black Birds ceramics

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Hanna Mitchell First Confessions

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“All the trouble began when my grandfather died and my grandmother---my father’s mother--- came to live with us” (263). So begins the epic of young Jackie, a wee Irish Catholic boy who is faced with the “ordeal by fire” of making his “First Confession” in Frank O’Connor’s story of the same name. Jackie is not a bad boy, but he is faced with some great problems in his young life and has no one to turn to for advice. The episode which brings matters to a head is the arrival of grandmother. As a little boy, Jackie’s image of God has been shaped by the nominal “religious” people in his life. Ironically, the parish priest, the religious figure Jackie fears the most, is the one who finally sets the boy free from his misconceptions. “Relations in the one house are a strain at the best of times…” (263) Jackie informs us, but the arrival of Gran brings Jackie into conflict with his Da, a place where the lad is loath to be. For most boys an image of God as father comes from their own father, but Jackie’s “Da” is a model to strike terror in the heart of any God-fearing boy. When Nora goes tale telling about Jackie’s “attempted murder,” Da doesn’t even bother to hear Jackie’s side of the story. Although it seems to be known in the family that Nora bends the truth, and “she knew Mother saw through her…” (263), “Father gave me [Jackie] a flaking…and for days after that he didn’t speak to me….God knows, I was heart scalded” (264). If this is the image of God that Jackie has been brought up with, there is no wonder that the prospect of laying all his sins out before such a one would convince him that making a bad Confession was not so bad after all. While Da leads by example, the “Christian” with whom Jackie lives his life in constant conflict, presents another side of things. Nora, when left to her own devices, becomes “the raging malicious devil she really was” (266). Jackie solemnly states that “that girl had ways of tormenting me that Mother never knew of” (265) and does things that he would never think of since “I was too honest…” (263). She sucks up to their grandmother for money (263), tattletales to Da about Jackie’s doings (263), physically abuses him (268), and causes him to almost commit the sin of murder by trying to drag him out from under the table where he is hiding from Gran’s dinner (263). Luckily, the clever boy is possessed of forethought, so he “took the bread knife with me for protection.” (263). Thus Jackie sees in Nora’s God someone who blesses those who suck up to Him, makes sure your sins will find you out, deals out justice swiftly and sometimes for no apparent reason, and pushes a boy beyond what he is able to bear. The truly distressing thing about Nora is that, although Jackie knows what a vixen she is at home, she knows just the right way to “make points” at the parish. The lad listens 46

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in ever-growing consternation to “her voice, as if butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth” (266). Then he watches her as she exits. “God, The hypocrisy of women,” the young philosopher exclaims. He continues: “Her eyes were lowered, her head was bowed, and her hands were joined very low down on her stomach and she walked up the aisle to the side alter looking like a saint. You never saw such an exhibition of devotion” (267). Jackie is concerned at these acts of devotion since he knows what she is like with no one looking. What must other religious people be like with a God like that? “Then, to crown my misfortunes, I had to make my first confession and communion” (264). As if matters weren’t bad enough with Gran bringing out the worst in Da and Nora at home, Jackie is forced to go and meet this God head-on in confession. The woman whose solemn task it is to prepare him for this occasion, Ryan, is “well-to-do, lived in a big house…and came every day to school…and talked to us of hell” (264) Jackie informs us. What bothers him the most about her is that she is so stingy with the money she uses during lesson: “It was a great disappointment; a religious woman like that, you wouldn’t think she’d bother about a thing like a half crown.” (264). She also terrifies him greatly with her stories of a man who makes a bad Confession and is doomed forever to wander around “burning people’s furniture.” “With the fear of damnation in my soul I went in, and the confessional door closed of itself behind me,” Jackie quails. “It was pitch dark and I couldn’t see the priest or anything else. Then I began to be really frightened. In the darkness it was a matter between God and me, and he had all the odds….I had no chance” (267). All alone in the dark confessions box, Jackie is faced with the prospect of laying out the sins of his life to the God he knows from contact with “religious folk.” He knows that his prospects are bad with such a mercurial and vicious deity, and when he receives no response to his introduction, the poor boy knows that “He had me spotted all right” (267). Imagine then, if you will, the surprise of the boy when he meets the priest, special emissary of God sent directly to deal with Jackie. After an awkward introduction puts him on the receiving end of the priest’s “angry voice” and “terrible looks” (268) Jackie is sure that the worst of his fears regarding this God and his people are true. However, when the priest sends Nora packing --“’How dare you hit the child like that, you little vixen?’”-- (268) Jackie sees that he has found a man who can see through Nora’s devices of holiness. Jackie discovers him to be “intelligent above the ordinary” (269), a religious person who actually practices what he preaches. This is a man to whom he is able to bare his soul, quite unlike his Da. “’Father,’ I said, ‘I had it all arranged to kill my grandmother.’” (269). Although the priest is “a bit shaken” by this news, he helps Jackie to work through the issue, not tattling on him, or thrashing him for it. In fact, the good man helps him come to the conclusion that killing Gran really is not worth it by regaling him with stories of those who hung for killing their grandmothers, to AN ANTHOLOGY OF STUDENT WORK | VENTURA COLLEGE

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{hannah mitchell ~ first confessions con’t}

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Jackie’s great delight. Jackie feels him “the most entertaining figure I’d ever met in the religious line” (270). Through all of his interactions with “religious folk” Jackie had been exposed to a God he perceived to be controlling, dictatorial and not above a good thrashing every once in a while. In the priest, the most frightening religious image of them all to his young mind, he finds a kind ear willing to listen to his troubles and commiserate with his woes: “He had me there for a full ten minutes talking, and then walked out the chapel yard with me. I was genuinely sorry to part with him…” (270). Jackie has found a friend who shows him a much more friendly vision of God through his actions. As he exits the church yard enjoying his farewell gift of “bullseyes” from the priest (271) the boy philosopher is assailed by his “religious sister” who tries once again to gain control over him. This time, however, young Jackie is able to brush her comments off, prompting Nora to exclaim in frustration at his new friendship, “’Tis no advantage to anybody trying to be good. I might as well be a sinner like you’” (271).

Works Cited O'Connor, Frank. "First Confession." Points of View: An Anthology of Short Stories. Eds. James Moffett and Kenneth R. McElheny. New York, N.Y., U.S.A.: Mentor, 1995. 263-71. Print.

Jacquelin Arroyo Uglypuss the Great

ENGLISH 1B

If only Uglypuss could talk, she would probably have some friendly advice to share with Joel and Becka to save their relationship…or at least their sanity. In Margret Atwood’s “Uglypuss,” Atwood depicts the breakup between Joel and Becka. However, had either Joel or Becka picked up some hints from the most unlikely of characters, Uglypuss, they could have, perhaps, come out with quite a different ending. Uglypuss is a symbolic character because she carries the traits that both Joel and Becka would have liked to see in each other through their tumultuous relationship. Uglypuss never demands much. As long as she has the love and affection from her caretakers, she will be hospitable and even provide her unending affection. Literally, Uglypuss likes whatever feels good: “Uglypuss brushes against [Joel’s] legs, purring. He scratches her between the ears and pulls her up slowly by the tail, which he’s convinced cats like”(492). Joel is right in assuming that Uglypuss likes the way he handles her, otherwise Uglypuss would have scratched Joel’s arm and run out of the room with a wail. However, it is actually Becka that interferes and frequently tells Joel, “‘Cut that out, you’ll break its spine,’…But Uglypuss was his goddamn cat, to begin with” (492). If Uglypuss could talk she would probably have said something to the effect of, Chill Becka. I like to feel like I’m flying. And yet, Becka’s reaction is a sign of jealousy since at this point Joel is already beginning to show more affection to the cat than to her. Perhaps, if Becka wasn’t thinking so much, Joel would scratch her behind the ears every once in a while, too. As the relationship approaches its pitiful end, Becka is more and more concerned about Joel’s reaction rather than following her own gut instinct; even immediately after she is destroying Joel’s furniture, Becka is antagonized by what Joel’s reaction might be: “…You mean you really can’t think of anything more important to do?” (503). This is why Joel loves Uglypuss more, and probably wishes that Becka (or any woman for that matter) would be more like his furry little gal than to act like a crazy lunatic. Uglypuss never fights back. She does not have to create havoc in order to be on Joel’s intellectual level, as though it was some type of competition, and Joel appreciates that: He hopes he was right, he hopes she’s not too political. Becka wasn’t political when he first met her. In those days she was doing art therapy…She’s had a calmness, a patience that he’s since realized was only a professional veneer…He’d enjoyed trying to educate her, and she’s gotten into it to parrot him or please him. What a mistake (495). At the beginning of the relationship Becka, too, had that sense of being in the moment.

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{Jacquelin Arroyo ~ Uglypuss the Great con’t}

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It was that “calmness” she once carried that reminded Joel of Uglypuss and is what attracted him in the first place. But the more Becka feels that uneasiness of insecurity, the more she tries to be someone she is not. Her efforts to become more like Joel and be more involved in his interests are what inevitably drive Joel away. After all, who wants to spend their time with someone who is always fighting? That takes a lot of energy, and Uglypuss, like most cats, do not like to waste their time in unnecessary exertions of energy: “[Joel] prefers women who are soft-spoken and who don’t live all the time in their heads, who don’t take everything with deadly seriousness…someone who won’t argue” (495). Joel’s refined preference in what he wants in other women is a clear indication of what he is not getting from Becka. Around Uglypuss, Joel demonstrates a protective-like quality that he never displays for Becka, another reason their relationship begins to deteriorate. Joel loves Uglypuss and wants to make sure she is all right: “She meows, but he doesn’t want her going out, not at night. Even though she’s spayed, she wanders, and sometimes gets into fights” (492). Joel’s need to protect Uglypuss is because she does not demand much from Joel, but accepts him as he is---as opposed to Becka, who constantly pokes fun at his flaws to be funny but ends up irritating him:

lying with her eyes closed and her mouth slack and open” (504). If only Uglypuss could talk, she would place a reassuring paw on Becka’s shoulder and let her know that loving yourself is the most important thing. Uglypuss would say: Do what feels good for you, and if this isn’t I,t tell him to “hit the road, Jack.” But unfortunately, Uglypuss can’t talk, and lesser-minded creatures such as Joel and Becka have to fend for themselves. Uglypuss is always there through the ups and downs of the relationship. No matter what Joel or Becka did to each other Uglypuss was there and willing to give her undying affection without judgment or criticism. Perhaps everyone could take a lesson from Uglypuss and remember to go after what feels good. Life is too short, especially for a cat. There is no reason anyone needs to be someone he or she is not, like Joel who attempted to be the “relationship guy” when all he could think about was the next piece of tail or cream puff, or Becka who thought she needed to portray a more intellectuallysavvy side even though she was never that interested in politics to begin with. Instead, be like Uglypuss, who left her judgment and criticism aside. Be like Uglypuss and just live in the moment. After all, that is the only thing this life guarantees.

It was right after this that Becka caught him in the bathroom, standing with his back to the mirror, looking at his head from behind with a plastic violet-framed hand mirror, hers. She wouldn’t let up on that for weeks. ‘Checked out your manly beauty this morning?’ ‘Thought about Hair-Weave?’ ‘You’d look cute as a blond. It would go with the skull.’ ‘Chest wigs yet?’ (484) This type of humor could be not only an attempt to point out Joel’s flaws but also to cover up hers. In addition, Joel’s irritation in her comments also displays the insecurities he is experiencing. Had Uglypuss been in this situation she would have not felt the need to fight fire with fire, but instead, to just chill. Becka, like Uglypuss, loves Joel, but Joel does not love her: “He’d always thought more of the cat than he did of her. It used to make her sick, to watch the way he’d pick it up by the tail and run it through his hands, like sand, and the cat loved it…It was the kind of cat that drooled when you stroked it. It fawned all over him” (504). In the end, Becka realizes that she is more like Uglypuss than she cares to admit. And it is this realization that finally pushes Becka over the edge: “Maybe the real reason she couldn’t stand it was that it was a grotesque and stunted furry little parody of herself. Maybe this was what she looked like, to other people when she was with him. She thinks of herself 50

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Adrian Carnejo A Face

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Kevin Keebler Walking With Memories

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Our lives are defined by transitions. I was graduating from high school, and I remember the night my parents sat me down and gave me two options: stay in Oregon with onethousand dollars, or move with them to California, where I would have a bed to sleep in, food to eat, and college for twenty-six dollars a credit in one of the most beautiful areas I’ve ever been in. Which would you have chosen? Even though the choice was made easily, the pain of leaving everything and everyone I had known had already began to burn me with the tears I knew would come. Memories, and the ones you share them with, wrap you up like a blanket, becoming this thing that shields you from loneliness and despair. Now it was time to shed my well-forged comfort and feel the cold of sunny California: new faces, no memories, just potential—for good or bad. Before I left, however, I decided to make one final memory. I bought some plain white Vans and a handful of colored Sharpies, and, during a school event, anyone who wished to do so could make his or her mark upon those canvas shoes. Some simply signed their names, whether it was because I didn’t know them too well (acquaintances I wish I could have known better), or because it was their way (my best friend signed his name and baseball-jersey number, telling me that it’d be worth millions someday). Others offered one-liners that are really secrets, phrases that fill my head with adventures, jokes, or trouble avoided. A select few tried fitting a novel onto a size 13 shoe, and I love them for that. I remember how they were the ones who could talk and talk, and I remember listening. I successfully transformed those shoes into something more. What had once cost forty dollars was now priceless. They are empowered by memories. I look at them and I see smiling faces; I see laughter. I see love. They are buried away somewhere in my closet because I never wear them. Instead I pull them out and examine them in reverent respect, as one looks at gravestone. I bask in the nostalgia as it pulses from them. One needs to take great care with memories. I plan to take these laced memories wherever I go, and to those who ask I will reply, “Why? Because they are a physical testament that wherever you walk in life your memories will walk with you, stained and inked in multiple colors upon your shoes.” “Your shoe may stink, but your heart doesn’t.” – Miranda

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Nancy Beswick Fagan Canyan, Barranca Vista

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ENGLISH 2 Ashley Nichols Diminished Capacity Defense The insanity defense is based on the theory that people can choose to follow the law, but a few (the mentally ill) cannot be held accountable for the crime because their mental disease or disability deprives them of the ability to make rational choices. These individuals need treatment, as opposed to sentencing in prison. Was it a good decision for California to abolish the “diminished capacity defense” in 2002? Diminished capacity or diminished responsibility is a potential defense where defendants will argue that even though they broke the law, they should not be held criminally liable for doing so, as their mental functions were “diminished” or impaired. The law was established to balance the need to be fair to an individual wrongdoer, but offer protection to society from an individual who may not have complete control (that is, mens rea ) over their behavior due to a mental illness. Therefore, the U.S. Congress needs to create a defense to protect the mentally ill as opposed to imprisonment. One example that led to the abolishment of the Diminished Capacity Defense is the trial of Dan White. In 1979 the trial of Dan White, a former San Francisco police officer and fire fighter who assassinated both San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk on November 27, 1978, was the deciding factor that led to California’s decision to abolish the defense. White’s psychiatrist Martin Blinder convinced the jury that White suffered from depression, causing White to abuse junk food. Elements of a poor diet are known to worsen existing mood swings. White was charged with involuntary manslaughter opposed to first degree murder because White suffered from a mental disorder-- “depression.” In White’s defense, White was struggling with depression resulting from loss of employment and problems with his marriage. White’s depression was said to lead to an increased consumption of sugary foods and sugar-laden soft drinks, causing White to “explode” neurologically and was on “auto pilot” at the time of the killings. This proves that White had no knowledge of the two lives he ended or the law he just violated. The jury found Dan White incapable of the premeditation required for a murder conviction and instead convicted White of involuntary manslaughter. The ruling in Dan White’s murder trial had a staggering effect on the way the criminal justice system handles pleas of insanity. This absurd “junk food coma,” now known as the “Twinkie defense,” led states throughout the U.S, including California, to abolish the diminished capacity defense (Pogash).

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As mentioned, in 2002 California abolished the diminished capacity defense with PC§25: Diminished Capacity Defense Abolished: In criminal action as well as any juvenile court proceeding, evidence concerning an accused person’s intoxication, trauma, mental illness, disease or defect shall not be admissible to show or negate capacity to form the particular purpose, intent, motive, malice aforethought, knowledge, or other mental state required for the commission of the crime charged…. (State). The effect of the defense varies among jurisdictions and states, resulting in a full psychological evaluation done by a licensed psychiatrist and therefore a verdict of “not guilty” equaling a lesser offense. As stated in California PC§28: “Evidence of mental disease, mental defect, or mental disorder is admissible solely on the issue of whether or not the accused actually formed a required specific intent, premeditated, deliberated, or harbored malice aforethought when a specific intent crime is charged”(State). The abolishment of the diminished capacity defense in PC§25 leaves mentally ill individuals with no defense against crimes they had no knowledge of committing or that the act they performed was in fact breaking the law. Individuals whose cases are decided on this basis should be hospitalized and provided appropriate recovery-based treatment rather than treated as if they have been found guilty and sentenced to years behind bars. There have been several incidences where Iraqi veterans have come home to their awaiting families and are suffering from life threatening Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). One example proving PTSD to be a mental illness is the story of Matthew Sepi, a twenty year old Iraq veteran returned home from war, who now struggles to do daily activities and separate the life he has now from the life he once lived in a war zone. In 2005, Sepi headed out one night to a liquor store to buy alcohol to help him sleep. Nights of bombs blasting and cries from the Iraqi civilians and his fellow brothers forced Sepi to abuse alcohol to cope with the nightmares. Carrying his loaded AK-47 for protection, Sepi reached the store, bought his liquor, and returned to his path home. While Sepi walked back home two gang members came out of the darkness and confronted him; Sepi got a glimpse of a gun one of the gang members was carrying. Sepi claims he heard a loud bang and just snapped, shooting rounds from his AK-47 at the two gang members leaving one dead and one badly wounded. Sepi fled the scene trying to escape the enemy until police caught up with him. Matthew Sepi, in his mind, was back in Iraq, completing a mission and taking down his targets, as he explained to the police. Sepi was later booked and was traumatized after the realization that he had not killed the enemy Iraqi extremists; instead, it was two civilians on the street in his neighborhood (Sontag). The New York Times found one hundred and twenty-one cases in which veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan committed a killing in the U.S or were charged with one after returning from war. In many of these cases, combat traumas and stresses of deployment--along with alcohol abuse, family discord and other attendant problems-- appear to have set AN ANTHOLOGY OF STUDENT WORK | VENTURA COLLEGE

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{Ashley Nichols ~ Diminished Capacity DefensE con’t}

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the stage for a tragedy that was part destruction and part self-destruction (Sontag). In my interview with First class Sergeant Lee Lewis, a military police officer in the U.S Army, Lewis states that after doing two tours to Iraq in 2003 and 2005, the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder have made him suffer from anxiety attacks. Lewis was a body guard for the 4th Infantry Division Command Sergeant Major (one of the highest enlisted soldiers in the division), and he currently struggles in daily activities. Lewis is always looking over his shoulder, on edge from protecting the Sergeant Major from any suspected attacks. Lewis has problems sleeping because his mind is constantly racing back to the mental images he witnessed in Iraq, He confesses to alcohol use in coping with his insomnia. Sgt. Lewis in fact admits carrying his licensed hand gun around with him stating, “After going through what I went through, two tours in some of the un-safest locations, I’m not going to get killed by some civilian who tries to take advantage of me in any situation”(Lewis). It is unfair while these young men and woman get treated medically during their tours in some of the worst conditions known to man, they are coming home to their families and civilian lives with mental illness and disabilities that they have no psychological cognition on how to cope or treat. The criminal justice system needs to balance both the individuals’ rights of the mentally ill and society’s rights to be free and protected from the risks that living and socializing with the criminally insane might bring. In Southwest Denver there is a community where the criminally ill are able to live and work in society. Mental Health Center of Denver allows some inmates to live in a neighboring apartment complex like Briggs Terrace, which is run by Doug Cominskey, a former convict that killed two priests because a werewolf told him to. Briggs Terrace apartment complex shadows a school, a ball park, and neighboring residential homes. Residents of the neighborhood near Briggs Terrace are worried about the potential crimes the criminally insane residents next door could commit against them and their children (Brenckle). Mental Health America (MHA) urges that an independent review board be empowered to make release decisions based on the individual’s recovery and consequent lack of danger to the public (MHA). Recovery through medical treatments must lead to a release back in to society for the mentally ill opposed to no treatment and jail cell confinement.

birth” (Qtd. in Gaines 22-23). Today at the University of Arizona, Geneticist David C. Rowe believes, “All behavior is represented in the brain, in its biochemistry, electrical activity, structure and growth and decline (Qtd. in Gaines 22-23).”Ancestral traits are passed down from generation to generation. As stated by Ceasare Lombroso, “You have no choice; you are born with these traits, passed down to you by your ancestors” (Qtd. in Gaines 33). It is the individual’s decision if he/she is going to let these family traits-- addictive, criminal, good traits or not--to affect their lives and decision making when it comes to breaking the law. People choose to break the law every day; the desire may be a trait you are born with but you control your own actions and are able to identify right from wrong. Mental illness is real, serious, and needs to be treated. Failure to recognize it results in unnecessary circumstances like criminalization of the person with the mental illness. Recognizing the insanity defense is essential for the judicial system to address these issues. It would be far more life threatening to society to put the mentally disabled individual behind bars for crimes he/she has no recollection of ever committing nor knowledge that the law the individual violated was in fact a crime. Not being given proper medical treatment or psychological therapy can damage society because, given the chance, these criminally insane individuals might be reinstated back to the community to relieve overcrowding in our jails that leads to future crimes committed by the criminally insane. If these individuals are mentally ill and they violate our laws, they need to be medically treated and after recovery given the chance to thrive in their community as “normal” functioning citizens.

Works Cited Brenckle, Laura. “Killing Hits Too Close for Comfort.” The Patriot - News: A.1. ProQuest Newsstand. Jun 26 2010. Web.10 Apr. 2012 . Gaines, Larry K, and Roger Leroy Miller. The Core Criminal Justice in Action. Belmont: Wadsworth, 2010. Print. Lewis, Lee: Personal Interview. 16 Oct. 2011 “MHA.org.go.position-statement 57.” San Francisco. n.d. Web.14 Oct. 2011. Pogash, Carol. “Myths of the Twinkie Defense.” San Francisco Chronicle. SFC.com, Nov. 2003. Web. 16 Oct. 2011 Sontag, Deborah and Lizette Alvarez. “America: Iraq veterans leave a trail of death and heartbreak in U.S” The New York Times, 10 Jan. 2008. Web. Oct. 2011.

Hundreds of years ago medical professions began studying biological and psychological traits for mentally ill individuals that could lead them to some criminal behavior if given certain circumstances. Different trait theories by Italian Physician Ceasare Lombroso (1865-1909), show that “criminals were throwbacks to the early humankind and could therefore be identified by certain physical characteristics. These individuals have no free choice when it comes to wrong doing, their criminality has been determined at 56

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State Legislative Counsel. The California Penal Codes. USA: State Legislative Counsel, est. 1872. Print.

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Martin Fagin How to See a Chicana Role Model

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People see with their eyes every day, but fewer and fewer people today try to see with their minds. Reading a book used to be a very popular activity of leisure, but now the average interest in reading a story is waning. Could it be that books and stories have come to feel too linear to their readers? Perhaps an interest in reading could be rebuilt if there were more stories out there that were purposefully left incomplete; leaving readers to fill in the blank details and heighten their own appreciation of the story through their involvement. How to Be a Chicana Role Model by Michele Serros is an illuminating example of how a written story can be made more interesting and even involving by allowing the reader a limited amount of imaginative freedom. How to Be a Chicana Role Model often gives the reader a chance to envision the overall looks of the people mentioned in the story for him or herself, rather than being instructed on exactly what these people look like. When Serros shares that, “When I take my graduation pictures, my nose will look just like Terri’s,” the reader is left to imagine what Terri must look like, based on Serros’ jealousy and an earlier-implied loathing of her own nose (Serros 14). Plenty of other people mentioned throughout this book, such as Serros’ family members and her eventual roommate Angela, are not described in the slightest beyond how the reader would interpret their looks through their actions and what they say. Because the story never really focuses on any one person (besides the author herself) for any significant length of time, the reader is free to envision the others however he or she wants to. This adds to the people’s value and level of interest because they are given a personal touch by the reader. An author who can show a reader both a person and his/her lifestyle without ever writing a word about either ought to be commended and recognized, and Serros makes this kind of difficult writing seem like a walk in the park. There is not a single sentence in How to Be a Chicana Role Model in which Serros describes anything visual about her roommate Angela, and when Serros enters Angela’s room repeatedly to take nervous glances at her diary, the room itself is never detailed to the reader in a way that would paint a clear picture of how it looked (87-92). Instead of being told what Angela looks like or being walked through her room from floor to ceiling, the reader is left to “create” Angela based on her interactions with Serros. Angela states that she wants Serros’ boxes of books out of the living room in time for the holidays, yet the boxes stay, giving the reader freedom to imagine how a passive, possibly irresponsible person such as Angela might look and sound (35-37). Allowing readers this interpretive freedom only pulls them further into the story, gripping and holding them until they’ve finished just one more chapter. If a reader gets to create the people in the story just as the author does, then it can feel like his or her story, too. Of course, the reader’s 58

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imagination is reigned in when necessary, but never to the point of cutting the reader off from his/her involvement. Serros’ writing style clearly shows that she understands which descriptions matter in a story, which ones don’t, and which ones should be left up to interpretation by the reader. Serros tells her readers about an experience she had while working at a place called Annie’s Art Emporium, yet the store itself is never detailed to the reader (75). The only informing details the are the orange smocks and name tags the employees wear, and the fact that Serros was behind a cash register with a phone nearby (75-77). However, when customer Sheila Emmerson entered the store (and the story) for the first time, her clothing, jewelry, and especially her haircut were explained to the reader in such a way that much of her character was quickly and clearly defined (76-78). This probably was intended to give a lasting impression of this lady to the readerbecause she gave Serros a lasting impression of her own through the experience Serros had with her. Serros chose to have the reader experience this lady the same way she saw her, making this woman worth describing instead of providing visual details of the store they were in. This was an obvious writing decision to keep readers focused on what matters while allowing their imagination to fill in the background, a clever way to let readers’ imaginations stay at work while still involving them with the story details. Books that don’t offer interpretive freedom can be good or even great in their own right, but they can also become boring as they are stacked upon each other. If the average person knew that there were books out there, such as How to Be a Chicana Role Model, that involve his/her own personal input and thoughts, leisurely reading might see the rise in popularity that it deserves. The author is always the one to write the story, but part of the experience of reading it should lie in what the reader may create.

Works Cited Serros, Michele. How to Be a Chicana Role Model. New York: Berkley Publishing Group, 2000. Print.

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Sara Edwards How Dance is a Part of Me

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What makes me who I am? Am I special or am I just another person in the crowd? When I was little, I always wanted to do something beautiful, like dancing. Dancing just seems so happy and fun. I have always admired people who can dance beautifully, but when I was thirteen, I was diagnosed with Scoliosis. My doctor told me that I had to have surgery, but I did not want it. I was told to be nice to the doctors because they “knew” what was best for me, and surgery was the best solution. I did not want to be cut open and have something placed into my back. I knew that there were better ways to help me without smashing my hopes and only I could find it. I just didn’t know that once I found the solution, I would find something more than what I expected. I didn’t know I would find my solution in my dream. I was thirteen years old when my mother and I found out that I had scoliosis. I have a double curve spine that is slightly rotated. One curve was at 42 degrees and the other was at 37 degrees, which is bad enough to qualify for surgery. At first I was angry and wondered why this horrible curse was handed down to me. I was so mad because I found out that it is hereditary; I am the only one in my family, except for my great-aunt, who has scoliosis. I remember saying, “What did I do to deserve this?” I knew that if I had surgery then I would never dance well because I would be in too much pain. I was terrified by the thought of being cut open. I also knew that if I had the surgery, I would have a rod placed into my back to support my spine. I had been frightened by stories of surgery survivors who ended up with even more pain than they had had before the surgery.

Paige Kilborn Water Ballet Photo

My doctor thought a hard back brace would help, but he was far from right. Once I got the brace, which was when all the problems started to happen, I was told that I had to wear it for 22 hours a day. At night, I would sometimes wake up not breathing. My mother realized that I also stopped eating and growing. The brace wasn’t doing anything good; unfortunately, it was making things worse. My doctors and my mother told me that exercise with the brace on would help my back, but it hurt too much to exercise with it on. I was talking to my mother one day about exercise. She wanted me to find something that would be good for my back while wearing the brace, but everything that I tried caused too much pain. My mother and I made a deal that I would exercise more, but with my brace off. At that moment, exercise was my only solution. When I was fifteen, going to the gym wasn’t very fun, and doing exercises at home did not work. At this age, I also became rather rebellious. One day, I was talking to some

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friends. They mentioned that they were thinking about signing up to take Ballroom Dance class and told me that I should take the class as well. I was really nervous about taking a dance class, since I hadn’t danced before. I was afraid of looking dumb or ridiculous in front of people, but I didn’t. I did rather well! My teacher invited me a few weeks later to take Swing Dancing. The dancing helped me with my posture. I became good enough that my teacher asked me to assist him with demonstrating moves to the whole class for both Ballroom and Swing on the days when his wife was too tired. A few months later, I went to the doctor again and he noticed the difference in my posture, but it was still not enough. I still needed the brace and I needed even more surgery. I became really annoyed with my brace and with my doctors. I then stopped wearing the brace altogether and refused to go to the doctor. I still had to go to the doctor, but I was scolded several times about how foolish I was by my doctors, as well as my mother. I didn’t want the surgery, so I knew that I didn’t have that much more time to find my solution. I was looking through a Ventura community recreational catalog and saw a different dance style: Belly Dance. I thought that it looked interesting and that it might help me even more than the Ballroom and Swing classes. My mother agreed that that dance style might help me even more than the others because Belly Dancing focuses a lot on the core and back. I took Belly Dancing for a little over six months and I gradually noticed how much better I felt physically! I had to get an X-ray done on my back, so the doctors could make the final decision on if I needed the surgery or not. My doctors realized that my back had improved by enough degrees that I would be fine without the surgery. So now at the age of eighteen, with no surgeries ever done on me, I feel great. I dance every day now and I want to be in more dance classes. Currently, my favorite styles are Ballet and Modern, which I am studying at the moment. Thanks to dance, my body is more flexible and I am happier than I was a few years back; being in dance is an amazing feeling. Each dance style is so different and unique. There is a type of freedom and creativity that I experience while dancing, something that I haven’t felt since I was a kid. Even the strict dance styles have the creativity and freedom built in, whether you can find them and make the best of them, or not. For the future, I hope I can be a performer and a dance teacher. I love working with people, especially children. I understand that performers don’t have long careers, but I hope I can perform at least a few times. I also would like to try as many different styles of dance as I can while I am still alive. I want to show people what dance is to me and how it has changed me. I love dancing. I feel free and I feel less pain than what I had to deal with in my younger years.  I would like to show and encourage people that any obstacle can be overcome if you continue to do your best without giving up, especially if your dreams are at stake. 

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Sirvontré Ingram Two Historical Leaders: A Comparison and Contrast between Martin Luther King, Jr and César Chávez

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In recognition of these historical leaders of America, how much do you appreciate the way you are able to walk into any place of business without a sign in the window that states “Whites Only”? Well, thanks to the many historical leaders that made this possible for our society as we know it, this does not happen as it once did. Of those many leaders, there are two that stand out for being lifelong advocates of equality. In comparing Luther King, Jr. and Cesar Chavez, these two unique leaders have some differences; however, they both fought for rights for everyone. Rowe states that King’s background was unusual. He grew up in a time of segregation in Atlanta, Georgia, where he was born on January 15, 1929. In Auburn, Georgia, where King grew up, there were many successful African-American businesses, and it was also where some professional men made their homes. Needless to say, King Sr. and his wife made sure King, Jr. and his two siblings had a good upbringing; they surrounded them with nothing but positive influences. King’s academic quest was one that reflected his upbringing with King surpassing the ninth and twelfth grades. It would be safe to say that he was ahead of many youth his age. This gained him admittance to Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia at the early age of fifteen. King later transferred to Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pennsylvania in 1948. King would finish his academic quest in 1955 at Boston University where he earned his doctorate in religious studies. In 1953, during his studies at Boston University, King met his wife, Coretta Scott. Thus, the poverty that so many other families were dealing with in this time was not the case in the King household. His background was a solid and positive one that molded King into the man that he became (Rowe 4-5). In contrast to Martin Luther King, Jr.’s solid and positive background, Cesar Chavez was born into a poor background. Chavez was born March 31, 1927, to Librodo Chavez and Juana Estrada on a family farm in Yuma, Arizona during the time of segregation, like King. His academic quest was nothing like King’s. Although Chavez only got what is equivalent to a fourth grade education, he learned a lot from his parents in the household and in the fields. In 1944, when Chavez was only seventeen, he joined the U.S. Navy to fight in World War II. After two years of service, he returned to Delano, California to work the fields with his family. Chavez found his wife at the early age of twenty-one. Shortly after that, he and his wife Helen Fabela moved into a one-room shack in Delano (Gonzales 5-19). Even though King and Chavez came from two totally different backgrounds, their philosophies are almost identical. 64

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According to Patterson, Martin Luther King, Jr.’s philosophies of equality and nonviolence went hand and hand. He also studied and believed in the methods of Mahatma Gandhi’s nonviolence. So his fight for equality was done in a nonviolent manner even if violence was done to him or his followers. King led movements such as boycotting the busses due to the fact that Ms. Rosa Parks was arrested for not giving up her seat on the bus for a white man. He also led marches in Montgomery, Alabama, and Albany, Georgia, as well as in several other cities and states-- all in a stand for equality for all. With King being such an advocate of equality and nonviolence, he inspired and eventually partnered with other civil rights groups that were in the same fight, such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), The Freedom Riders, and the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), as well as several others. Although King’s leadership was greatly appreciated by many, he also was resented by many, as well. However, King never let any of the negativity stop him from his main goal of eventually living in a perfect world with no racism and with equality for all (Patterson 1-159). These were the philosophies of Martin Luther King, Jr., and Chavez’s philosophies were almost exactly the same. Chavez followed in the footsteps of Martin Luther King, Jr. and adopted his philosophies of equality and nonviolence. Chavez, much like King, studied the life and teachings of Ghandi. He exemplified these philosophies while he led laborers and even when he became the founder of the United Farm Workers. He also was greatly concerned with solving the problems of migrant farm workers nationwide. So Chavez started seeking help from Fred Ross, the founder of an organization called Community Service Organization (CSO). Chavez became the director of CSO in California and Arizona in 1958. However, he resigned from CSO in 1962 after several years of being shut down about starting a special farm labor union. This gave him the motivation to form the union himself, so he did. It was called The National Farm Worker’s Association (NFWA). In 1965, the NFWA got national attention due to the fact that his union joined forces with the United Auto Workers and the AFL-CIO to form the largest union in America. It was called the United Farm Worker Organization Committee (UFWOC) and after 1972 was only known as the UFW, or the United Farm Workers (Ribera 53-57). Much like King, Chavez wanted equality for all farm workers nationwide, so he rose above the racism and uncivil working conditions and made a nonviolent protest against it. The philosophies of those two historical leaders will be remembered and recognized in households and classrooms nationwide forever. According to Patterson and Rowe, Martin Luther King, Jr. has many accomplishments, but he is remembered for a few in particular. One of them is King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, which he gave at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. on August 28, 1963. King is also a Nobel Peace Prize recipient. On December 10, 1964, he was awarded

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this prestigious prize for his life-long fight for equality. King’s final “accomplishment” was his assassination. This made a martyr of him. Due to his assassination, people will never forget him, as opposed to if he had died any other way. The assassination brought people together, no matter the color of their skin, as equals. Lastly, we celebrate Martin Luther King’s birthday in commemoration of all he did for America with his fight to accomplish equality for all Americans. These are some of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s accomplishments while he was on earth; most people could never match his accomplishments for America (Patterson 1-123, Rowe). Similar to King, Chavez has several accomplishments from his life- long fight for equality. The first one is that he encouraged several migrant workers to become citizens in the United States. He also insured equality for all farm working migrants, and formed The United Farm Workers. One of his latest accomplishments was in August, 1994, when President Clinton presented Helen Chavez, the wife of Chavez, with the Medal of Freedom, America’s highest civilian honor. Lastly, we have been celebrating Cesar Chavez Day on March 31 every year since August 18, 2000, when the governor of California passed legislation making Cesar Chavez Day official in America. Celebrating Cesar Chavez Day is one of the ways we acknowledge one of the many accomplishments he has made on America’s behalf (Gonzales 35-104). In conclusion, according to some scholars, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Cesar Chavez are two of the most remembered historical leaders today. These two men helped make a better society for everyone. In this long journey of equality that we humans still struggle with in the world today, people like Martin Luther King, Jr. and Cesar Chavez are much needed. In commemoration of these two unique leaders, we will never forget the accomplishments and impact which they have had on America.

Works Cited Gonzales, Consuelo. Cesar Chavez. New York: Chelsea House, 1991. Print. Patterson, Lillie. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Freedom Movement. New York: Facts on File, 1989. Print. Ribera, Feliciano, and Matt S. Meier. The Chicanos: A History of Mexican Americans.

Jesusu Rivers Untitled

New York: Hill and Wang, 1972. Print. Rowe, Jeanne A. An Album of Martin Luther King, Jr.,. New York: F. Watts, 1970. Print.

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Joel Ceja Strawberry in the Sand

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Good experiences and bad experiences are what await a new soldier in today’s military. Those bad experiences can be difficult ,and, for some, impossible to overcome. Out of all my experiences, good and bad, while in the U.S. Army, one stands out in my mind that influenced me so much it has made me look at the world positively. Either glass half full or half empty is the best way to describe how people choose to understand the world. I chose half full. My experience while deployed in Iraq solidified a future I did not even know I wanted. It was a warm July night just south of Baghdad. The weather was so warm and perfect during the night that one could close his eyes and imagine burying his toes on a white sand beach on a tropical island. I was riding as a gunner in the turret of a Humvee military truck. The warm, dusty, desert wind gently brushed against my cheeks as the truck moved speedily through the dark city. After seven months of deployment, the fear of being exposed outside of the safety of the truck’s armor had subsided, not because I was used to it, but because I had made peace with the fact that we all are going to die eventually. The hope is that one meets the Grim Reaper as an old, well-traveled man in a warm bed surrounded by his loved ones, not alone in this dirty desert. As our convoy drove down the worn Iraqi highway, I could see under the moonlight the side of the road full of uneven charred potholes from detonated improvised explosive devices (IED). Our unit was given the order to escort a group of Iraqi policemen from a safe house to their home station. After meeting with the Iraqi police officers, it was decided to take a dirt path along the edge of town to avoid enemy contact because of the unarmored Nissan trucks the Iraqis drove. We all knew dirt roads were a bad idea because of land mines and artillery shells buried along those roads, but because it was night time and there was no way to landmark passing vehicles on open dirt roads, they were deemed safe by command. As our convoy neared the Iraqi police station, the faint lights on in the lower level became visible. The two story building was on the outskirts of town along a polluted, human feces-filled canal. Standing in the turret, I could look down at the water in the canal. I could clearly see the reflection of the moon against the dark water as if it were a painting hanging on a wall. Then, like flash of lightning, I was blinded by a hot bright flash and at the same time deafened by a loud boom. I instantly knew it was an IED! In a panic, I checked to make sure I was in one piece. When I realized I was okay, I looked out to see if our truck was the one that was hit. From the gentle orange glow emanating from the burning wreckage, I saw it was one of the Iraqi police trucks that 68

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received the full blast. It tore the now unrecognizable vehicle completely apart, like a fuzzy chew toy mauled by a pitbull. As our medic ran past my truck, he looked up at me and asked, “Are you good?” As I replied, “Yeah,” my voice sounded funny, like I had my ears plugged. I jumped out of the top of my truck into a disorientating dust cloud kicked up from the blast, small particles of dirt falling gently on and around me like snowflakes. Still slightly confused, I quickly moved closer to the smoldering vehicle. I could hear the muffled sound of my breath in my head, mixed with a man’s panicked screams. I had never heard a cry from a grown man like that before, almost animal-like in its intensity. As I made my way around the back of the truck I saw what looked like a strawberry in the sand. It was a piece of human flesh, glossy from the fresh blood that covered it and speckled with bits of dirt. I chuckled and thought, that is strange, why am I smiling? The screaming was coming from one of the Iraqi policemen. The blast had ripped his pants clean off, along with his right leg. His intestines were spilling out of his body like sloppy spaghetti spilled from a bowl. His eyes were wide open and looking around wildly, searching for somebody to help. So much blood flowed from his wounds that I knew he would die for sure. We all knew. It was apparent to all of us that this man would die a horrible, agony-consumed, dirty death, all but the medic. Sergeant Hill, our troop medic, worked on this Iraqi man with an urgency that seemed unnecessary for a lost cause. I later asked him why he tried so hard for a guy who was going to die anyway. He replied “If it was you, would you just want me to watch you die?” His words stuck in my mind. His words and compassion made me think, what if it was my child, wife, friend, or anybody who means something to me? I have many lingering memories of my time in the service, some good, and some not so good. The memory of that warm summer night plays in my mind like an old broken record, never entirely fading away. The words Sergeant Hill spoke to me also never faded. I chose to see the positive that resulted from that horrible event. After leaving the Army I found myself searching for a new role in society, a way to fit my cog into the machine that is civilian America. When deciding what career I wished to pursue, I chose to follow my heart. I want to help others heal from their sicknesses and injuries. I wish to be the caring person that others look to when in need. Sergeant Hill’s dedication to his fellow man inspired me to follow his lead, and to become someone who makes a positive difference in the world.

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Gabriela Olivares “I Told You So”

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Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve never been a big fan of school. Since I spent my childhood in a small town in Mexico, the customs were that the female was to be a stay-at-home mom and not go further than completing elementary school, and if she were lucky, maybe middle school.  When I came to the United States at the age of nine, I was in culture shock.  There were new foods, new language, new friends, new everything.  This was a very important period, yet a very difficult time in my life. Since my father lived most of his life here in California, his desire to bring my mom, my brother, and me to California came true.  I hated him so much for making that decision; who was he to decide where I should live my life? When I asked for an answer, all I could remember him saying was, “Es por tu propio bien,” meaning it’s for your own good.  For my own good, I thought? What about our relatives, my school, my friends, and my horse? “You’ll see them soon,” he mumbled. It was difficult for me to assimilate because after spending nine years of my life in a small town, the city was overwhelming and stressful.  The days of running wild on nothing but pure nature were over.  No more folktales told by grandpa for me.  No more fishing at the lagoon, feeding the chickens, hunting at night, no more fun for me. But what I was going to miss the most was my horse “Arcoiris.”  I love riding horses, so my grandpa, who owned a ranch, gave me Arcoiris for my eighth birthday.   It was really difficult and moving to say goodbye to Arcoiris.  He was my best friend. Every day I went back home running from school to my house to feed and ride Arcoiris. When I was saying goodbye to him, it was like he understood everything that was happening. “You be good to grandpa,” I cried. “He will take care of you until I come back.” As I left the stable, his humming became more and more sullen. When I got to California, it was obviously not the same. Even the weather was different; this weather was cold and humid compared to where I was from. In California, I would actually count all the stars; back in Guanajuato the night was clear and hundreds of shiny, endless stars glimmered in the sky.

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There were signs everywhere here in the U.S, which didn’t really matter because I didn’t understand one single word of them. And then there was school. It was an average size school, but to me it was prodigious because back in Guanajuato my school had only 12 classrooms, one restroom, and a principal’s office.   AN ANTHOLOGY OF STUDENT WORK | VENTURA COLLEGE

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{gabriela olivares ~ i told you so con’t}

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I hated my first day of school because I didn’t know anybody nor understand anything. At the beginning of class everybody stood up to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.  I wanted to run outside so badly to sing the national anthem of Mexico just like we used to do every Monday in my old school, but I knew I couldn’t.  By lunch time, I had already made a friend whom I felt comfortable with, but this didn’t last a long time because, due to her parent’s job, she had to move out of state. I managed to learn English through fourth and fifth grade.  It turns out it wasn’t as bad as I thought.  I was able to communicate in English with my teacher and classmates by the time I got to sixth grade.  I made new friends with whom I still keep in touch and who are some of my closest friends.  In sixth grade, my life took a flip.  I remember going with my class to a field trip to Channel Islands University. I fell in love with it, and ever since then I knew that I did not want to be a stay-at-home mom.  I wanted to explore the world and enjoy my life in this marvelous new world that I had found, filled with opportunities,  but I had to commit to school if I wanted to become more than what I had thought I wanted.   For the first time in my life, I had a clear vision of what I wanted to do when I grew up.  I had to be realistic with myself because I knew that my parents were not going to be able to afford the tuition, so I took it upon myself to achieve my goal no matter what.  I promised myself that nothing was going to stop me from pursuing my dreams and reaching my goal.  The desire to succeed has kept me alert and optimistic all these years.  Every now and then I get a little sad because I miss the way that I used to live in my childhood, and then I remember my father’s  words before I departed from  Mexico, of how it was going to be the best for me.  I now know that he was right: it was all leading to this. He did not want his little girl to get married at an early age.  He wanted a better future for me and my family.  Over the years my parents divorced, and even though I am not as close to my dad as I used to be, and I hate to admit it, he can now proudly say, “I told you so.”

Alejandro G. Paz Rooster Mask 3D design

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Esteban Sanchez Hype It Up!

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Imagine a bus full of kids screaming the lyrics to an intense song being played over a megaphone. To most this seems strange, but anybody who has ever been in a marching band knows that these adrenaline-filled kids are just getting hyped up for their show. If you have ever done something amazing or cool that you had to brag about, then you can begin to understand what hype means. The word hype is used by most people to talk about excessive advertising, promotion, or just plain hoopla. To a person who has been a member of a band or a drum corps, hype means excitement, attitude, and the feeling of being part of a badass team. When a people get excited or hyped up, their heart rate increases and the adrenaline starts flowing. This can help more than just band kids getting ready for a competition. Many people have a workout playlist on their iPod that is full of music they put together to pump themselves up. This is the same idea behind the megaphone blasting and belting out songs on the bus. When band members sing an intense song along with the rest of their band mates, they are not only building a strong brotherhood, they are also building excitement and getting ready to give their performance all that they have to give. An additional effect of getting hyped up is it puts band members in the proper attitude to perform. When they are performing a show, one of the most important things each member of the group must do is display the right attitude. Hyping up is the best way to get into that attitude of confidence and strength. Another effective way of getting hyped is to behave as professionally as possible. When band members walk to their warm-up area or to the stadium in perfect silence and form, as opposed to chatting with friends and walking in mobs, they put themselves in a professional mindset. Band members feel like everything they are doing is strictly business, and their upcoming performance therefore deserves their full focus. All this put together gets them in the best mindset to perform their show. There is one other use of hype. Hyping can also be something that you do alone. When I had a solo in our show my instructor told me to “hype the solo,” which basically means to get into it. Hyping can be anything from head motions that accentuate parts of the solo to grooving with the solo and expressing it with your whole body. What this does is make the solo stand out more, but it also looks and sounds better to the judges’ eyes and ears. When someone dedicates hours of their life to perfecting their skills at something they love, it is very easy to get intimidated by others. Performing in front of people who are 74

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watching and judging you is scary. It’s easy to think that maybe you aren’t as good as you think you are. The worst thing you can do is freeze up and make a mistake. This is one of the main reasons people choose to get hyped up before performances or games. The attitude and confidence you gain when you are hyped up helps to prevent choking up. Football teams are another group who use hype to get ready to perform. High schools and colleges spend thousands of dollars on their sports teams, most of which usually goes to the football team. Three years ago, in the midst of state budget cuts, my high school managed to find over one thousand dollars to spend on an inflatable tunnel for our football team to enter the stadium through. The administration approved spending over one thousand dollars on something the team would use only six times per school year. The benefits of this tunnel were great, though. When the tunnel was filled with fog and the band erupted with the school’s fight song, the players became consumed by energy, excitement, and an awesome feeling of power. The amount of money spent by my high school is miniscule compared to what professional and even college football teams spend. The UCLA athletic program spends thousands of dollars on their teams and events. If you have ever been to a football game, then you know that it is like an entirely new world. They have firework displays, four hundred piece bands, cheerleaders, and on special occasion, military jet flyovers. All of these expenses are geared towards getting the football team and the crowd hyped up. It’s not only up to the school to get the team hyped up. The crowd’s participation and support is often more effective than anything the school could pay for. There is no better feeling for a football player than turning to the stadium seats and seeing a wall of fans painted in your school’s colors. It is not only the spectated who delve into hyping; spectators also love getting hyped up before games and performances. From air horns and noisemakers to face painting and body painting, spectators love to immerse themselves into the show. For as long as people have had something to cheer for, there has been hyping. The only thing you need to hype yourself up is a reason to get excited and maybe some friends. Getting hyped up can be so fun that people actually devote entire days to getting excited about something. The perfect example is the Super Bowl. The Super Bowl is the most watched sports program in America. People even have Super Bowl parties with all of their friends. Hyping is something that anybody can do, from the elderly to children who barely know how to speak. Hyping can be done alone when getting ready for a solo performance; however, it is typically better when it is a group activity. Tailgating is a perfect example of just how fun hyping up can be when you have others to do it with you. The sound coming from the stadium and the cheers and yells scattered throughout the parking lot create AN ANTHOLOGY OF STUDENT WORK | VENTURA COLLEGE

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{estaban sanchez ~ hype it up con’t}

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an intoxicating effect that fills everyone around. Cheering in the stands has its own benefits. The sheer sound is enough to rattle your soul and send you on an adrenalinefilled adventure. Those are just two examples of how hyping with a group of friends, big or small, can help get you even more hyped up. Some people think hyping isn’t necessary and just plain weird. Those people, I’d imagine, have never really gotten pumped up enough to have a great performance. When people get in the right mindset and block out everything else going on in their lives for just a day, they feel like they are in an entire new world where all of their other problems do not exist. They are free to give themselves entirely to their performance. This is what getting hyped up means.

Esteban Sanchez When the Bubble Pops, Education Drops

ENGLISH 2

When the housing market bubble popped in late 2007 we saw the backlash in many parts of the economy, affecting nearly every person in America. Many realized that with the down-turn in the economy many things would have to change. Millions of people now had to change their way of life until they emerged from the recession. Now that the recession has been officially over for over two years, its effects are still being felt by many. One group of newly independent adults who felt this downturn more than others is college students. The current crippled economy has forced college tuition rates to increase. Along with the cost of living, these ever-rising prices are putting college students in a vise, forcing them to change majors, incur debt, seek employment, or, in some extreme situations, drop out of school. When the economy takes a turn for the worse and the government is already in debt, several spending cuts need to be made. Of these spending cuts, cuts to education are both common and controversial. Two systems that often receive large cuts to their budgets are the UC and CSU systems in California. Every year the California government gives about 18 percent less money than the previous year to the UC system. This drop in funding is then passed on to the students who must make up the difference. Currently, there is a proposal that will be voted on that could create a recurring 16 percent tuition increase each year over the next four years. (Gordon). According to a report published by the United States Department of Education, California universities are not the only ones seeing a rise in tuition rates. Across the nation, there has been a steady increase in the average price of attendance in universities. At the turn of the millennium the average tuition for undergraduate public universities was under $7,000. Now, only ten years later, the average tuition rate for undergraduate students rose by nearly 50 percent! It is not only in four-year universities that the skyrocketing tuition rates are being seen. The average tuition cost for a two-year, public institution rose over one thousand dollars; this is about a 20 percent increase. Intuitively, we know that this inflation is not only taking place within the education world (United States, Postsecondary).

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Everyday commodities such as gas, food, and even shelter have seen record high prices since the Great Recession began. In 2008, at the height of the Great Recession, we saw the highest national average gas price at $4.114 per gallon (AAA’s Daily). While we are not at that level anymore, we can still view this as a powerful effect of the recession. With gas prices at this level, the average commuter student who drives a truck twenty minutes to and from school spends around sixty dollars in gas each week. Additionally, the cost of maintaining a vehicle has also gone up. Tires, motor oil, and other essential AN ANTHOLOGY OF STUDENT WORK | VENTURA COLLEGE

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{estaban sanchez ~ when the bubble pops con’t}

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lubricants that are made out of oil are rising in price, too. The risk of not regularly maintaining these could potentially lead to expensive repairs or even dangerous accidents. This, when added to the rising price of food, gas, and tuition, makes paying for college more daunting than many can handle. One of the effects of these heightened costs is that many students are being forced to change their educational goals. For example, I began my college endeavors striving to enter the field of cosmology in order to be able to better understand our universe and how it works. When I began applying to schools I realized that not many schools offer study in cosmology, and I knew why. The fact is, cosmology is one of those dead-end paths that will not likely lead to a lucrative career. As soon as I saw the unpopularity of cosmology, I began re-evaluating. I then reluctantly settled into engineering. I knew that if I obtained a degree in mechanical engineering I would have many more opportunities for employment. Sadly, I am not the only college student who has had to sacrifice their personal interests in order to survive in our crippled economy. There are many people who struggle with the decision of which major to pursue. Education is a huge investment, and nobody wants to make the investment without a good chance of landing a decent job afterwards. The largest program of study during the 2009-2010 school year was Business Administration and Management. That year all across the United States, that field of study graduated 136,926 students. That is nearly 10% of all Bachelor’s degrees earned that year (United States. Dept. of Labor). Clearly, many students are seeking degrees that they believe will lead them to more lucrative career paths and perhaps abandoning their personal interests. Another reason why students are forced to change their educational goals is because their chosen institution has the ability to cut funding to any program they have. Recently, Moorpark College actually removed Computer Science from the list of subjects offered. Moorpark is not the only College to drop courses. A friend of mine who attends Moorpark College was pursuing this computer science major before the school did away with it. Just like anybody who is put in this situation, he had to decide whether to change his major despite being very committed to Computer Science, or to transfer schools. Because he did not learn about the college’s decision to cut the program until it was his time to register for classes, he had no choice but to take other classes and pursue a slightly different field of programming. Luckily for my friend, his school offered a similar course of study that he was interested in. For many others this isn’t the case. For these unfortunate individuals the problem usually leads them to switch schools, which will disrupt their journey to graduation and add more time and 78

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money between them and a diploma. With tuition rates at an all-time high across the nation, most students are resorting to student loans to pay for their education. In addition to the number of student loans being taken, these loans are becoming more and more risky. Many people are beginning to question the value of a college degree. Some people, such as Charles Murray, are criticizing what a degree really tells employers about an applicant: “Even a degree in a vocational major like business administration can mean anything from a solid base of knowledge to four years of barely remembered gut courses” (Murray 705). The risk of investing in an education often goes overlooked based on the common belief that if you go to college, you will be successful. This is not always true. In an interview with NPR, Michelle Kurtwright gave her story: “I graduated from the University of Central Missouri in May 2010 with a BFA in English. I'm a high school teacher at a low income district and I make less per year than all of my family members who didn't even go to college” (“What A College Major”). A report by the United States Department of Education study entitled Baccalaureate and Beyond Longitudinal Study found that over half of all first-time Bachelor’s Degree recipients had accumulated a nearly $25,000 debt . The current amount of outstanding student loans in America is nearly one billion dollars! Mark Kantrowitz states that “[t] otal student loan debt is increasing at a rate of about $2,853.88 per second.” Michelle Singletary compares student loan debt to credit debt in her article “Hint for studentloan debt: Avoid it.” “In the third quarter [2011], total student-loan debt was $865 billion. These figures dwarf credit card debt, which was $694 billion in the second quarter and $693 billion in the third.” In addition to massive student loans, many students are resorting to taking up jobs. For example, I actually held two part-time jobs during the majority of this fall semester. One of the reasons I was able to do so while still maintaining an ‘A’ average is because I was only a part-time student. Had I been a full-time student, my grades would definitely have suffered significantly. It is no secret that if a student is trying to earn a living and acquire an education, one of the two will suffer. Unfortunately, fear of being terminated typically forces education to suffer, and in a society as competitive as ours, even a small drop in GPA can mean the difference between getting the job of one’s dreams and unemployment. The federal government recognizes the pressure on students to afford college and has created the “Federal Work-Study Program.” This program provides qualifying students with federally funded jobs. This is perhaps the most common employment sought by college students. A student enrolled in the Federal Work-Study Program will earn on average, “about $2,000 per school year” (United States. Dept. of Labor). When you AN ANTHOLOGY OF STUDENT WORK | VENTURA COLLEGE

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consider the fact that the median annual income for first time college graduates, according to Baccalaureate and Beyond, is $36,000, it is easy to see that this income is essentially nothing for a student who is paying around $20,000 a year. The only thing making these meager earnings worthwhile is that, unlike loans with rising interest rates, the money you earn in this program does not have to be paid back. For the students who, despite all the possible financial aid, cannot afford college, the only option left is to drop out of school. Dropping out of college carries with it a heavy burden of shame and a sense of failure. Thankfully, the majority of students do not have to endure this pain. According to the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics, during the Fall Semester of 2009, two-year institutions saw an overall retention rate of 61%, and four-year institutions saw a 77% retention rate. This rate is much lower for part-time students who are undoubtedly juggling parttime jobs as well. In 4-year institutions only 48% of part-time students returned. This number dwarfs the retention rate of part-time students at two-year institutions, which was only 40% (United States, Digest). If the government does not become more proactive with repairing our broken economy, the crippling effects will only deepen into the lives of college students. Schools will be very limited in what they will offer to students. The cost of attending college will become so high that student loans will take decades to repay. Most importantly, attendance will dwindle down to devastatingly low levels. Competition for jobs that require a college education will drop, and nearly every adult will be fighting for the same low-paying jobs that are already scarce. America needs to realize that in order to have a successful future, we need to be preparing the college students of today who will run the nation in the future. If the current system remains where only the fortunate can afford a good postsecondary education, unemployment rates will skyrocket, the division of wealth will widen, and poverty will run rampant in America. The “Great Recession” may be over, but its effects will remain with us for years. That is, unless we decide to take the necessary steps to make college degrees more attainable. We must provide more financial aid to students with very limited income and less well-off families. We must also lower the cost of attendance dramatically instead of following this trend of hiking up tuitions. I believe that with these changes we can repair the effects of the recession on college students and provide a better prepared workforce for the future.

Fear it Will Lead Legislators Not to Boost Funding." The Los Angeles Times 15 Sept. 2011. AA.1. ProQuest. Web. 17 Nov. 2011. Kantrowitz, Mark. “Student Loan Debt Clock.” FinAid. FinAid Page, LLC, 2011. Web. 16 Nov. 2011. Murray, Charles. “For Most People, College is a Waste of Time.” Focus on Writing: Paragraphs and Essays. 2nd ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2011. 704-07. Print. Singletary, Michelle. “Hint for Student-Loan Debt: Avoid it.” The Washington Post 30 Nov. 2011. A.19. ProQuest. Web. 1 Dec. 2011. United States. Dept. of Education. National Center for Education Statistics. 2008–09 Baccalaureate and Beyond Longitudinal Study (B&B:08/09). Emily Forrest Cataldi, et al. July 2011. Web. 17 Nov. 2011. Dept. of Education. National Center for Education Statistics. Digest of Educational Statistics, 2010. Thomas D. Snyder and Sally A. Dillow. Apr. 2011. Web. 17 Nov. 2011. Dept. of Education. National Center for Educational Statistics. Postsecondary Institutions and Price of Attendance in the United States: 2010–11, Degrees and Other Awards Conferred: 2009–10, and 12-Month Enrollment: 2009–10. Laura G. Knapp, Janice E. Kelly-Reid, and Scott A. Ginder. Sept. 2011. Web. 15 Nov. 2011. Dept. of Labor. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Occupational Outlook Handbook 2010-2011 ed. 2011. Web. 18 Nov. 2011. “What A College Major Is Really Worth.” NPR News. NPR, 6 June 2011. Web. 14 Nov. 2011.

Works Cited AAA’s Daily Fuel Gauge Report. AAA, 10 Nov. 2011. Web. 10 Nov. 2011. Gordon, Larry. "UC Tuition may Rise Up to 16% a Year; Plan is Called just a Guideline. Critics

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ENGLISH 3 & 4 Amanda Sandez Why the Fuss over Reality TV: Truth is... In this day and age it seems as though there is a reality television show for every possible life situation. Whether it is about addictions, relationships, parenting or cooking, there’s bound to be one that catches your interest and time. It is said that there are some shows that are inappropriate for television and should not be aired because of the misunderstanding of what it is teaching the viewers. Critics think that it encourages young adults, more specifically girls, to have bad morals in future relationships and real life situations. Despite the criticism of reality television, at the end of the day it benefits people because it entertains the viewers, and it also teaches people the dos and don’ts of different lifestyles. According to critics, one major flaw of reality television is that viewers mainly benefit only with a laugh or two by watching people make a mockery of themselves. In his article “TV Contestants: Tired, Tipsy and Pushed to Brink,” author Edward Wyatt writes about the limited sleep and the pressure contestants feel toward alcohol consumption before and during the recordings of reality shows. “When we arrived, there was liquor in the refrigerator, before we even put food in,” said Zulema Griffin, from the 20056 Project Runway. “I felt like it was a passive-aggressive way of encouraging alcohol consumption”(Qtd. in Wyatt). The contestants feel that the only way to be a success on the show is by drinking excessively. While Griffin states a good point, it is necessary to understand that prior to auditioning, contestants research these shows. I doubt that producers randomly draw names out of a hat and force people to do these shows, and it’s ultimately the contestants that freely sign up. As for the alcohol consumption, the liquor is there for contestants to drink at their own risk; it is not forced on them. Likewise to the issue with alcohol on the shows, it is said by critics that teens learn immoral behavior from certain shows. At one point a friend told me that young girls idolized the teens on 16 and Pregnant and even wanted to get pregnant at a young age in hopes of getting a spot on the show. Although it is a great point towards the concerns with teen pregnancy, critics must understand that the teens on these shows have minimal positive parental guidance. The parents of the teens on 16 and Pregnant have rarely had a stable life themselves. Quite a few mothers of the teens have been in a similar situation as the young girls and pleaded with their daughters not to follow 82

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in their footsteps. Although they pleaded with their children to go down the right path, the parents give the teenagers limited rules such as curfew or knowing their whereabouts. When young teens are given too much freedom from parents, it can lead them to follow in their parents’ footsteps. Despite the negative feedback received regarding reality television, at the end of the day it benefits its viewers by entertaining them. In his article “Reality TV at 10: How It’s Changed Television- and Us,” James Poniewozitz points out that regardless of the criticism of the shows, normal people like me and you can be entertained by watching reality television rather than an overly paid famous celebrity show that we know for sure is fake and scripted. It is each viewer’s decision to watch these reality shows as well as make his or her own perception about it (Poniewozitz). Additionally, another great thing about watching reality shows is the time you spend at home rather doing something away from family. I once had a family member make a comment about how his wife was so attached to watching these shows. I responded simply, “It’s better her being home than out shopping.” His eyes lit up and with a big smile he replied, “You’re right! I would rather have her safe at home than out on the streets.” This can also relate to young teens. Instead of them wanting to be out at dinner with friends or at the movies, they can sit and watch real life situations on TV and learn a thing or two about the thing we call life. Now that is less stressful for parents than wondering where their child is at 10 pm on a school night. Comparable to the advantage of entertainment with reality television, it also benefits the viewers by showing people the good and bad lifestyles. Steve Buldini, a contributor for Yahoo Lifestyle implies in his article “The Benefits of Reality TV Outweigh the Costs” that because of certain reality shows, issues such as AIDS, gay culture, physical or mental disorders and many more issues have been addressed on the shows and have given viewers with similar issues the comfort to expressing them. Reality television shows are popular because they bring the community together. With so many different kinds of shows, there is at least one that many relate to and can talk to each other about (Buldini). Furthermore, a viewer can get great feedback from the situations on the shows. Fans have the ability to see how a beautiful cake is made or what it is really like behind the doors of a labor and delivery room. Perhaps viewers have never known how repossessing a vehicle can put an employee in a near life situation. There is a lot a person can learn from these reality television shows. Yes, there are quite a few that seem ridiculous and a waste of time; however, there are a nice handful that have given positive feedback and that gave people the courage to speak up about their related situations. In spite of the criticism towards reality television, it truly can benefit people by entertaining them as well as teaching the viewers about the dos and don’ts of different AN ANTHOLOGY OF STUDENT WORK | VENTURA COLLEGE

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{Amanda Sandez ~ Why the Fuss con’t}

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lifestyles. At the end of the day, reality television has positive attributes. The viewers are the ones that have the choice to watch these shows as well as to decide their own perceptions on them. The new generations have many more benefits because of these reality shows. Thanks to the producers, viewers can see real people go through the same issues they might be going through. In the end, viewers may have comfort in knowing what the real world is like through the good and bad lifestyles shown on reality television shows.

Works Cited Buldini, Steve. “The Benefits of Reality TV Outweigh the Costs.” Yahoo Lifestyle. Yahoo! Inc., 12 Sept. 2005. Web. 16 Nov. 2011. Poniewozitz, James. “Reality TV @ 10: How It’s Changed Television- and Us.” TIME. Time Inc., 22 Feb. 2011. Web. 11 Nov. 2011. Wyatt, Edward. “TV Contestants: Tired, Tipsy and Pushed to the Brink.” New York Times. The New York Times Company. 01 Aug. 2009. Web. 15 Nov. 2011.

Giovani Bautista An Unforgettable Memory

ENGLISH 3 & 4

I remember my mom and I spending time together in the kitchen, which back in 1999 was the only place where we could spend time due to the fact that she was a really busy woman. She cooked as she sang. Her lyrical voice was relevant and expressed happiness and joy that transformed a boring old kitchen into a magical place. I would watch my mother be a perfectionist who put a touch of love in everything she touched, making the best Mexican dishes I have ever tasted. My mother has always found joy in the kitchen, and the two of us have created many wonderful memories together there. There are a few things I must explain about my mother, Maria. She is the most responsible and caring person I know, and she always puts her family before herself. She is also a great cook. From what I understand, her generosity and cooking skills have been carried on for many generations. Every person who tastes her food has never had any negative comments. Anywhere she goes, people recognize her -- either for being a great cook or just for standing out with her gregarious personality. Her eyes are amazingly beautiful, and as she smiles, her big brown eyes shine like the stars. There is just a fascinating companionship about her that is transmitted like oxygen through the air. The round shape of her face complements her personality, and in my opinion, it is one of her best physical features. Every time I interact with my mother she has a new inspirational phrase to tell me. Whenever I feel like giving up, she declares, “Never tell me the sky is the limit when there are footprints on the moon!” This always cheers me up and makes me remember that everything in this life is possible. Now to understand my mother Maria, one needs to know about the place where she spent her childhood and learned to cook with her heart: the kitchen. At my mother’s house in México, my mother and I have experienced hundreds of scenes, smells, and sounds of happiness in the kitchen. This place was created right after my parents married. Back then, there were not many resources to create a regular kitchen like we see nowadays. However, every cabinet and piece of furniture around the kitchen was made out of light wood freshly cut out of a tree and designed by my dad. Right by the entrance there was a cabinet that contained all the condiments that were used for my mother’s yummy dishes. Next to it was a medium-sized green refrigerator that contained mostly meats and vegetables that father grew in the field. On the other side was a big cabinet that contained mother’s various cooking utensils. There was a big table in the middle of the kitchen where my family enjoyed the meals.

Jaime Bailon El Corazon photo

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In order to better understand what mother is like in her kitchen, I should explain the unwritten, unspoken rules that exist there. Since she is such a nice person, she does not have any rules more important than to be safe while in the kitchen. However, I am convinced that AN ANTHOLOGY OF STUDENT WORK | VENTURA COLLEGE

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if she had any they would be: 1) Do not run. 2) Stay away from the stove. 3) Wash your hands. 4) Eat without complaining. 5) Do not break anything. 6) No bad words. 7) No chewing with your mouth open. 8) Clean your spot after eating. One memorable event that occurred in the kitchen was when my mother was heating the tortillas for dinner and accidently burned her finger. I remember that day my mom and I were home alone trying to deal with one of the hottest days of the summer. My mother was finishing one of México’s most popular dishes called mole, which is a thick, rich, chocolate-tinged sauce that is also known as the “national dish” of México. The place was as quiet as a church where one could only hear the priest, but in this case the only sound was the noise of the boiling pot in the old stove. We were both complaining about the hot weather. “Ay, ay, ay, mijo. I am so frustrated,” mother murmured. We sat on the table as she announced that the food was ready. She placed four tortillas in the black flat iron that is used specifically to heat tortillas, which is also known as a comal in México. Breaking the silence she asked with a big smile, “So how are you doing in school?” “I am doing excellent. I got an A on my math exam, and since I got one of the highest scores, my teacher told me that I was guaranteed to pass his class.” “I am so proud of you. You must have gotten your intelligence from me because I don’t think you got it from your dad!” she laughed sarcastically. As we talked about school, the smell of something burning interrupted our conversation. We turned and realized that the tortillas were burning on the comal. My mother had totally forgotten about them. She tried to take them off the comal and burned her finger. She screamed so loud as she threw the tortillas up in the air before they finally ended up on the floor. Everything happened so quickly that after realizing how weird and unusual this was, my mother and I started cracking up. This is something that we never forgot. When I taste my mother’s food, all I can do is enjoy and smile. There is just something special about her food. She is really important to me because she has taught me many things in life, and she has also taught me some of the family recipes. After all, she is my mother and like any other son, I love her. She keeps our family united and happy, and she is our main ingredient to keep a successful family. It is one of my goals in life to pass these experiences and recipes on to the next generation.

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Rita McBride Contemplative Priest

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Giovani Bautista Nature’s Law, Not Men’s Decision

ENGLISH 3 & 4

Empty your mind and imagine a world where only good looking people exist. As you come back to reality, you will start to realize that by the laws of nature it is not possible. No laws of nature have ever been broken; nevertheless, today’s society is now on a mission to do so by trying to portray a world of perfectly good-looking people that obviously does not exist. In the article, “Going for the Look, but Risking Discrimination” by Steven Greenhouse, senior industry analyst, Marshall Cohen is interviewed. Cohen is a contributor to the concept of using good-looking people to represent industries and portray a world of perfection. He supports industries such as Abercrombie and Fitch, Gap, and L’Oreal, which hire people based on their physical appearance supposedly to increase the sales and create a clean environment for the community. While hiring people based on looks is somewhat tolerable because it gives the store a better image, it is ultimately unacceptable because it is immoral and absolutely illegal. It is true and has been proven that beautiful people give stores a better representation. Greenhouse confirms, “Businesses are openly seeking workers who are sexy, sleek or simply good-looking.” Basically, Greenhouse is emphasizing the clever method that big companies are using to increase sales. Essentially, this example shows that companies such as Abercrombie and Fitch, Gap, and L’Oreal are following what seems to be one of the most creative ways to give themselves an impeccable image. Additionally, nowadays the general public seems to be more interested in a person’s look rather than their personality and skills. Due to this circumstance, companies seem to be benefitting economically by taking advantage of the situation and offering what people want, which is to see pretty people. While it can be economically beneficial, hiring people based on their looks contributes to inequality, and it is completely immoral. Unfortunately, in today’s society inequality has dramatically increased, and it is not getting any better due to the fact that good physical appearance is becoming one of the main requirements to get hired, or even worse, have a successful life. This is definitely morally wrong because nobody can really be a judge of beauty and award people for it. This world is becoming severely judgmental to the point where many people have started to feel uncomfortable and lose their self-esteem. Another example that adds up to this monstrous problem is L’Oreal, which expects every single one of their employees to be incredibly skinny and have a magazine look. Melissa Milkie, a sociology professor, comments on the situation by inquiring “whether that’s morally proper is a different question.” The company never responded to the request for comments on this problem, which once again proves all of the immorality that is being created and that no company can argue 88

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against. This new technique that most companies seem to be using does not only break morality, but it also breaks the law. A punishment for violating the law should be equal to every individual and company; in this case, hiring according to looks is completely illegal and should immediately be brought to an end. Director of Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Olophius Perry declares, “If you’re hiring by looks, then you can run into problems of race discrimination, national origin discrimination, gender discrimination, age discrimination and even disability discrimination.” The essence of Perry’s argument is basically summarizing the numerous problems that companies can get into by implementing the idea of hiring by looks as a prerequisite. Let’s not forget that nobody in this life is born perfect. Furthermore, as if this was not enough, now unappealing people have to deal with the fact that they will most likely not be successful in this life no matter how hard they study or how well prepared they are because at the end of the day they don’t possess the look. This is the main reason why it has become illegal to hire based on physical appearance, but as we all know, this idea is dramatically expanding through companies without anybody putting a stop to it. Breaking the law in this country always has serious consequences. It is time to put an end to this brainless idea of discrimination by appropriately reinforcing the law. Somehow the idea of hiring based on looks is understandable because of the judgmental society that we live in. However, this does not mean that we have to make our society of inferior quality by implementing such ideas; no matter what this is still immoral and has no justification towards that law. We should be well aware that physical appearance is not everything in this life. Let’s not forget the fact that we evolved from the well known Homo sapiens; nobody evolved from a model-looking ape. Whether or not this affects our judge mental society is a different question.

Nathan Britton Still Life 3

AN ANTHOLOGY OF STUDENT WORK | VENTURA COLLEGE

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Starr Madrid Walking on the Beach

ENGLISH 3 & 4

It was a nice day, and I decided to take a walk on the beach with a good friend of mine and his dog. My friend’s name is Cliff. His dog’s name is Deuce. As we walked, our toes squished into the warm sand. The water glimmered with the reflected setting sun, and the ocean seemed to be the color of turquoise. Pink, yellow, red and orange clouds filled the sky, which looked like it had been painted with the brightest watercolors. The air was warm and blew in a gentle breeze that tickled our skin. The dog barked and chased the warm, gentle waves that broke on the shore. Cliff and I just walked along, enjoying the water lapping at our feet and laughing at Deuce as he tore along the beach. We talked about our lives and how great they were. Cliff explained how happy he was with his job at Sprint. I told him about the success I was achieving at school. I expressed how happy I feel as I reach my goals. Finally, the sun sank below the horizon, and the sky grew dark. Deuce came and walked by our side. He was panting and in need of a drink of water. Our legs, weary from walking, told us it was time to go. We climbed the long wave-worn staircase to the parking lot, got into my car, and then we drove home.

Julienne Case Ashland Beauties Painting 90

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Chris Hammersley Channel Island Landing Painting AN ANTHOLOGY OF STUDENT WORK | VENTURA COLLEGE

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Jonathan Sixtos Diversity in Rap

ENGLISH 3 & 4

A toast to the dead for rap legends and pioneers Your legacy won’t be forsaken as long as I am here Knowledge of the past, and wisdom of the present I’ll teach and leave in the hands of a worthy lieutenant These underground lyrics by Immortal Technique signify the difference between mainstream and underground music. The underground is considered the home of genuine rap, while the mainstream houses the fabricated rap. The two sub-genres deliver a different sound and overall experience to the audience; the lyrics, the production, and the overall performance of these artists are different. Generally, underground rap is considered the most genuine because it presents a message over rough beats, while mainstream artists deliver materialistic lyrics over soft-sounding beats. Regardless of the differences, inexperienced listeners may mistakenly identify them as the same when they actually have very few similarities. Underground rappers like Immortal Technique make lyrics their primary concern; the intelligent lyrics he raps come before everything else. In the song “Toast to the Dead,” he aggressively rap: But some of you won’t survive the changes the Earth makes Swallowed by tsunamis, hurricanes, and earthquakes And that’s just the first stage of ‘you-can-not-reverse-ways’ And realize that we are one, regardless of our birthplace. The lyrics flow well together and hold a significant message, even if it’s something the audience doesn’t want to hear. Immortal Technique delivers raw, realistic lyrics with a very aggressive tone, even if it doesn’t appeal to the sensitive fan base. Meanwhile, a mainstream rapper like Lil Wayne is mainly concerned with rhyming words in the most creative ways, and, most of the time, they don’t make sense. For example, on the very popular song “6 Foot 7 Foot,” Lil Wayne raps: Paper chasing, tell that paper, ‘Look, I’m right behind ya’ Bitch, real G’s move in silence like lasagna People say I’m borderline crazy, sorta kinda Woman of my dreams, I don’t sleep so I can’t find her. If Lil Wayne did not change the pronunciation of the words, the lyrics would not rhyme and would just be words. Also, the lyrics in this track are not relatable and jump from 92

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subject to subject with no meaning. The lyrics in mainstream rap are very common and repetitive; most mainstream rap artist use the same boring rhyme scheme and rap about the same subjects. If that wasn’t bad enough, mainstream artists usually have soft, squeaky voices that are often digitally modified. Underground and mainstream rappers are very different when it comes to lyricism; underground artists rap about their true feelings, politics, and life in general, while mainstream artists stick to materialistic lyricism, like rapping about money, clubs, and cars. Production is important and varies within the genre depending on the artist and producer. Listening to the beat in the background should make your head nod, like a bobblehead, when you play the track. When you listen to Immortal Technique’s “Toast to the Dead,” you’ll hear a very simple beat that compliments his deep voice. Generally, underground beats give off a dark, gritty sound with a few exceptions. Some beats maybe give off a softer, more relaxing sound to deliver a message of inspiration or hope. There are plenty of underground producers that add variety to the large library of underground songs, so you usually hear something new. Also, the underground sound is stunningly genuine since some producers often use real instruments to compose the beat instead of computer-generated sounds. On the other hand, Lil Wayne’s “6 Foot 7 Foot” delivers a very different sound. The beat is loud and obnoxious, which is generic for the genre it’s placed in. This track is clearly over-produced since it’s filled with computer-generated sounds and samples that clash together to make an even louder sound. Also, most modern mainstream rap uses very light, pop-sounding beats mainly to appeal to a larger audience. Mainstream rap has very little variety when it comes to production; the next song played on the radio will sound the same as the song that just ended. Both genres are very different with underground delivering a variety of beats and mainstream bringing very catchy and pop-like production. An underground rapper like Immortal Technique doesn’t take appearance seriously and will go on stage in casual clothing. He has a rough, rugged appearance; although he has no visible tattoos, he usually wears loose, dark clothing and won’t be caught wearing skinny jeans. Underground rappers are very comfortable with their appearance and prove it on stage. The performance of an underground track is amazing and stunning. Immortal Technique gives his heart and soul to his fans when he performs; he viciously recites his lyrics with emotion and no background vocals or help from friends. These performances are done in small but packed clubs or in music festivals. Conversely, a mainstream rapper like Lil Wayne is mainly concerned with appearance. Lil Wayne needs the bright, blinding spotlight on him, and needs to set trends in order to be successful, even if it means wearing leopard print jeans made for women and other tight clothing. Tattoos are also part of the mainstream rap culture; Lil Wayne has dark, bold tattoos all over his body and even on his face. (One mainstream rapper even has a ridiculous ice cream cone tattoo on his face.) And when mainstream rappers get on AN ANTHOLOGY OF STUDENT WORK | VENTURA COLLEGE

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{jonathAn sixtos ~ diversity in rap con’t}

ENGLISH 3 & 4

stage, they have additional vocals from friends and the song plays in the background, since some artists don’t have confidence in their lyrics. Clearly, underground rap is as genuine as it gets and mainstream rap is purely a source of materialistic lyrics. Listen to Lil Wayne perform “6 Foot 7 Foot” and you’ll experience lyrics like, “Young Money militia, and I am the commissioner/ you don’t want start Weezy, ‘cause the F is for Finisher.” The lyrics flow well when mispronounced, but are still poorly constructed lines and sound ridiculous when pronounced correctly. On the other hand, Immortal Technique, an underground legend, delivers perfectly constructed songs with amazing lyrics that can be discussed and pronounced easily. As a final example of genuine rap, listen to the haunting final toast Immortal Technique performs in “Toast to the Dead” as he raps: My last toast to the dead is for the listener Human being or extraterrestrial visitor Remember us for more than our primitive ways When you study us long after the end of our days.

Works Cited Immortal Technique. “Toast to the Dead.” The Martyr. Viper Records. 2011. MP3. Lil Wayne. “6 Foot 7 Foot.” Tha Carter IV. Universal Republic Records. 2011. MP3.

Tomoko Y. Murphy Hole is not a hole when there is an artist around Abstract Brad Austin Mourning Intrusion Painting

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AN ANTHOLOGY OF STUDENT WORK | VENTURA COLLEGE

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Shaza Aldaoud Tranquil Mountains

ENGLISH 3 & 4

School is over and summer is here. It’s time to pack things up and stay at my grandparents’ house in the mountains for a week or two. Their spacious, beautiful yard gives a warm, comforting feeling that easily takes my mind off of all my worries. The house was built long ago by my great grandfather. Back then, the yard was a huge garden where he grew some fruits and vegetables to feed his family. He built a fence around it out of the old black volcanic rocks that area is known for to keep thieves away. As of today, most of the yard is an enormous cement field. It’s a great place for family gatherings, and a big playground for the kids. Sitting back on a chair after the long ride, I slowly drift out of the real world and get lost in my senses. I watch a trail of ants working hard to gather food and take it to their underground home. A lizard running on the fence catches my attention and my eyes land on the few remaining old trees as they’re done chasing it. A wild cat carrying a bird sneaks between the bushes where she has found a shelter for her and her kittens. On the opposite side are some jasmine and rose bushes and a lemon tree. The gentle wind tackles the lemon tree leaves, and the bright noon sun casts their dancing shadows on the wall. The chilly breeze twirls my hair and I slowly close my eyes in relief. Taking a deep breath, I fill my lungs with the fresh mountain air. The smell of the wet soil after watering the trees reminds me of all the fun I had with my friends playing under the rain and jumping into water puddles. A bee buzzes by me as it flies to the bushes nearby, and I snap out of my daydreaming. A wide smile draws across my grandfather’s face as he watches his grandchildren bouncing the ball and cheering. The joyful noise invites me to join them, and the playing continues till the sun is about to set. We all gaze in wonder as it hides behind the Krak des Chevaliers Castle that’s on the top of an opposite mountain. The stars start to shine one after the other as the clear sky grows darker, then the playing resumes. The smell of freshly brewed coffee my mom just made invites the rest of the grownups to the yard. Agreeing or disagreeing, the men’s voices rise as they talk politics, making the whispers of the women even harder to hear. My grandfather tears up with joy as he watches all of his family gathered in his yard, while my grandmother frowns at the mess and noise the kids are making. After a long stressful school year, it’s nice to finally be able to stop worrying about finals and just have fun with family in the best place to relax and escape the summer heat. 96

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Jayson Pugh Killer Commute Photography AN ANTHOLOGY OF STUDENT WORK | VENTURA COLLEGE

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Maria L. Hendrix In Between Print


VC V OIC ES 2012 is a compilation of Ventura College student art and writing from the 2011-2012 school year.

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Š 2012/ ventura college liberal arts department 2012 VC Voices www.venturacollege.edu

VC Voices 2012  
VC Voices 2012  
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