Love: Estha and Rahel

Hey everyone! I thought it would be interesting to write about Estha and Rahel’s relationship throughout the novel.

Both Rahel and Estha are seen to be the main characters of the novel. We mostly seem to see the world through Rahel’s eyes however, therefore we end up understanding her a little clearer than Estha.

From the beginning of the novel, the twins are written to be completely complementary halves of one another. The two even consider themselves to be “one” when they are together, and seem to be lost when they are apart. For example, Roy writes,

Rahel stood in the hotel room doorway, full of sadness… The sadness of Ammu’s loving her a little less. And the sadness of whatever the Orangedrink Lemondrink Man had done to Estha (110).

This quote shows the connection that Rahel and Estha always shared throughout their childhood. Rahel felt the pain that Estha had endured from the Orangedrink Lemondrink Man and is able to connect with him on another level. I think it can be inferred that Estha also feels the same connection to Rahel as she does to him.

When the twins are separated for 23 years, they realize that they are essentially not able to lead lives apart. We learn that the only reason Rahel really came back to Ayemenem, was because of Estha.

Estha and Rahel’s relationship turns out to be a bit unorthodox with the act of incest being presented at the end of the novel. However, I think that this act ties up the essence of the novel perfectly. From the beginning of the novel, the two considered one another as “one”. Their connection was stronger than anything, with the ability to break societies harsh standards against incest. Even when 23 years separated the two, they ended up finding their way back to each other. Overall, it is clear that the two are meant to be together and that they are not whole apart. Their love is obviously pure and real and it was very interesting to see their relationship pan out throughout the book.

If Covid-19 Began in Italy…

Hello all! This has been an interesting break from school to say the least. From reading the news about the spreading virus and its global impact, I thought that Edward Said’s novel, Orientalism, tied perfectly into the current state of the world.

Orientalism is essentially the lens in which the West looks through at the East. Throughout history, it has been seen that the East is portrayed as the “other”, seeming to be far different from Western society. Orientalism, therefore has made it very easy for prejudices in the West to be formed against the East.

We all are aware that Covid-19 can be traced back to Wuhan, China; with many sources pointing to the large animal market in the city as being the epicenter of the virus. At the beginning of the outbreak, when the virus was primarily only seen in Wuhan, I saw many disturbing posts directed towards marginalizing and blaming Chinese people. For example, there were images surfacing of a woman eating bat soup (presumably in China), and without even knowing the source of the photo I heard people were BLAMING the virus on that one woman/the people in China eating bat soup. In addition to this, The President also stated in one of his tweets that this was a “Chinese Virus”. Although yes, the origin of the virus was in China, placing such a name on the virus only leads to racism and discrimination! (There are many more examples of racism I saw online, these just stood out the most to me).

For starters, blaming anything on a group of people/race marginalizes that group from the “western” society we are used to. This in effect leads to mass racism. Asian-American’s are coming out online saying that non-Asian people literally walk away from them on the streets… as if they somehow automatically have the virus for looking a certain way? Unbelievable.

I have seen many people post and make racial jokes/comments about the virus, when most of the time, the people making the comments are simply not educated on the topic. It is heartbreaking to see this happening because this is a time when we all need to support one another. People are being hateful towards Chinese people without realizing all that the Chinese have done to try and minimize the spread of this virus. Instead of spreading hate during this difficult time, we should lift one another up and talk about all the good things that are being done around the world to stop this pandemic.

Overall, my question is: would the world look different if this virus originated in Italy? Would people be avoiding “Little Italy” as they were “China Town” in Chicago?

I hope everyone ruminates upon this, and thinks twice about a racial comment they may choose to say. The entire world is suffering, so again, let us take our orientalist glasses off, and appreciate all that is being done to help stop this virus.

A Curious Case of Senioritis

Dear OPRFHS Junior class, 

As I am nearing the end of my senior year of High School, I have some friendly advice that I would love to pass on to you. To preface my message, keep in mind that you still have over a year of High School left before you are able to graduate, and after that most of you will be going off to 4, or even 5 year universities. No one likes school (me especially), and as a senior, the thought of dropping out has seriously (yes, SERIOUSLY) crossed my mind. Therefore, my main message to you is to DROPOUT NOW.  

This may sound quite harsh and impulsive, however I have a lot of reasoning behind my logic; please allow me to elaborate.

#4 School is Overrated

Many of the most successful entrepreneurs in the world did not end up going to a 4 year university. Some even dropped out of High School half way through. For those of you juniors that have a million dollar idea in mind, please do yourself a favor and pursue those dreams–while leaving all types of schooling behind.

#3 $$

You all thought that college was expensive? Well senior year is a whirlpool of money that will leave both you and your parents/guardians confused about where their money even went. From college application fees, to graduation and prom fees, senior year is filled with absolutely unnecessary costs that will cause a huge dent in your bank account.

#2 Money is (also) Overrated

You don’t think you can be successful without a High School or college degree? I beg to differ! Think about all of the people in the world that do not even have access to proper schooling, and they seem to be doing just fine. If that is not convincing enough, you could also always just become a stripper, or a street dancer! Tips are great.

#1 Why leave your Parents?

Alright, I know you juniors are probably looking at this thinking, “um I want to be FREE from my parents!”. But listen, considering that both your parents most likely have day jobs, if you drop out of school, you will have the entire day to do as you please! In addition to this, you will see (if you make the mistake of staying in school) that senior year you will begin to appreciate your parents far more than ever before. Therefore, why leave the comfort of your own home? Anyways, your parents really only wanted a child so that they could love and nurture them (sorry for the accident children out there, maybe you should move out). A parent’s sole job is to care for you so take advantage of that while they are alive!

I hope you all are able to follow my message and realize that school is absolutely not necessary to survive in this day and age.

Sincerely,

Asta Simonovic

Over Soon…

Bon Iver’s song, “22 (Over Soon)“, marks the first song in his 2016 album 22, A Million. This specific album is a complete journey of songs that encapsulate Bon Iver’s own journey in life. With many references to God and Biblical imagery, Bon Iver takes the listener to a tumultuous state in his life with the first song of “22 (Over Soon)”, and ends the album with songs that show his newfound direction in life.

“22 (Over Soon)” is about Bon Iver searching for a direction to take in his life. The first couple of lyrics show his confusion with life, and his realization that nothing lasts forever.

It might be over soon
Soon
Soon
Where you gonna look for confirmation?

Clearly, Bon Iver is struggling with some kind of decision he has to make before his life is over, or before a huge change occurs in his life. With his repetition of the word “soon” he evokes a sense of urgency, and need to find his path in life. His confusion with direction is directly seen with Bon Iver not knowing where to go for “confirmation”.

It can be inferred that this song is about Bon Iver overcoming his depression as well due to the bright aspects some of his lyrics show. We see in the second verse Bon Iver makes a biblical connection to the Garden of Eden when he says

There isn't ceiling in our garden

In the Bible, the Garden of Eden represents the intimacy God and humanity held with one another. For the first time in history the relationship between God and humanity was perfect. Therefore, by Bon Iver depicting that there was not a ceiling in the garden, he is referring to the serendipitous relationship between Heaven and Earth, unencumbered by a “ceiling”. All in all, with Bon Iver’s use of Biblical imagery, he is able to illustrate the perfection and unity in his life.

However, there is also a dark tone to the song because of the repetition of “over soon” he implicates the idea that his happiness may be over soon as well. With his last two lines, this darkness and depression is clearly seen.

Within a rise there lies a scission 
(It might be over soon)

Here Bon Iver uses a metaphorical phrase to show that even in one’s happiest of times, nothing lasts forever. Bon Iver is saying that acquiring his fame may not have been all that great because any great “rise” is inevitably tied to an inverse “scission”.

Bon Iver’s “22 (Over Soon)” is a multilayered song which refer’s to the quintessential theme of life that in order to find true happiness, one must experience true sadness as well, and that anything, may be over soon.

Community in Beloved

In Beloved by Toni Morrison, community plays a large role in the characters lives. The black community in Cincinnati acts as a salvation for ex-slaves, while the underground railroad acts as a support network for escaping slaves. These two communities are most prominently seen throughout the novel.

When Paul D is in the depths of slavery and is in his “chain gang”, him and the other prisoners around him find a way to escape together. The only way in which they are able to escape is because of the fact that they are all together, and because of the community and support provided by the underground railroad. Essentially the underground railroad is a network of people all working under the same community and fighting for the same cause-freeing slaves.

One key example of a community coming together is also seen when Baby Suggs coordinates for the whole black community of Cincinatti to provide food for Denver and Sethe when they are in need. This sense of community is even further seen when a large group of women basaically stand in front of Sethe’s home in an attempt to exorcise Beloved from the home.

Community is essential in anyone’s life, however, I believe that it is especially essential for ex-slaves trying to form a new life after slavery. In Beloved, community is what the characters fall back onto when they are in need. Without community, there definitely would not be any surviving slavery, along with the after effects of slavery.

The Fall of Yugoslavia and Exit West

In the novel, Exit West, Nadia and Saeed live in a city undergoing a civil war. Nearly 25 years ago, my parents lived in Yugoslavia during its own civil war.

The moment we began reading Exit West, I could not help but relate the details of the novel to stories my parents had told me about their life during the war. Nadia and Saeed both met in an adult education course, similar to my parents, who met at a University in Serbia. Once my parents fell in love, they did everything they could to get out of Yugoslavia. They were desperate to leave their falling country, as were Saeed and Nadia in Exit West.

In the novel, Nadia and Saeed’s relationship grows stronger as the war worsens. From Saeed waiting for Nadia in front of her apartment all day, to Nadia expressing her feelings for Saeed, it is clear that the characters have a deep bond. I believe that during a war, people hold on to others they love with more strength than otherwise. At the beginning of the novel, Saeed had his parents to take care of, but no one to truly hold on to besides them. Nadia on the other hand had no one, until she met Saeed. Therefore, when Nadia and Saeed finally do form a relationship, they hold on to each other with much strength.

When my parents first immigrated to this country, they struggled both financially and emotionally. Migrating to a new place requires immense emotional strength and endurance. Accents, for example, are a huge definer between who is a native, and who is an immigrant. Having lived in Serbia for most of their lives, both of my parents still struggle with pronunciation in America. Along with this, there are huge cultural barriers for any immigrant migrating to a new country. Small differences make immigrants stand out from the natives in a crowd. Emotionally, this can be very hard for an immigrant, making them feel out of place and marginalized.

My parents held on to each other through all of the hardships they faced during the war in Yugoslavia, and the process of assimilating to a new country. I have therefore heard many stories from my parents about their migration, and have thus have been connecting their migration to Nadia and Saeed’s own migration. I am now very curious to see where Nadia and Saeed’s migration through the magical doors will lead them, and to keep track of their relationship.

Is Meursault Really a “Stranger”?

In the novel, The Stranger, it is clear that the main character of Meursault seems to be a “stranger” in his world. From not showing any emotion at his mother’s funeral, to shooting a man with seemingly no remorse, it is hard for us as reader’s to completely understand why Meursault is the way he is. Sure, we could say he is a sociopath due to the lack of sympathy/empathy he shows throughout the text. However, I believe that us labeling Meursault as a sociopath is merely a cover up for something much deeper about his character; that being his similarity to us.

We all feel emotions on a day to day base. What I believe is the most frustrating thing in, The Stranger, is that we see almost no emotion come from Meursault. Is this necessarily a bad thing though? Meursault doesn’t feel many complex emotions, and he spends most of his time basing his life off of the physical sensations in life (sex, cigarettes, light, etc). He never seems to be happy, but he also never seems to be sad…

I believe that Meursault understands what emotions are and most likely feels them sometimes, but I think that he ultimately finds emotions (along with most things in life ) meaningless. Due to this, he remains indifferent about the majority of things in life until it comes down to physical sensations.

Now, going into the degree of Meursault’s “strangeness”:

I am sure that we all get excited for our birthday’s, Christmas, etc. Those days are the best days, right? But then you wake up the day after your birthday, or Christmas, and everything is exactly the way it was before. You might be a year older, or have a new computer; but what significance does that really bring to your life? None.

I am sure that we all have had sporadic moments in life where we have thought about how meaningless everything around us is. How your own personal existence does not really matter. How nothing matters. When we think about these truths, we for the most part, feel sadness. The people around us tell us, “No! Life is meaningful, you mean so much to this world” etc, and we think, “hmm they may be right”. We convince ourselves that we DO matter, and that the world is a better place with us on it. It would essentially be too hard to view the world as completely, and utterly meaningless.

All in all, I think that we have all been in Meursault’s shoes. So what if I kill a man? It doesn’t really matter. Nothing matters! We are all “strangers” in this world. Meursault has simply accepted that life is meaningless, whereas most of us are constantly searching for meaning in life. Which take on life is better?