All By Myself and Noiseless, Patient Spider

We are writing about Celine Dion’s well-known song, All By Myself, which is a part of the album, Falling into You. All By Myself is about the desire for connection and intimacy after feeling lonely for too long. Celine Dion seems to have no hope for her future even through her desperation for a partner or connection in general.

In the song All By Myself, Celine Dion uses repetition in order to show her desperation for intimacy and connection with those around her. The words, all by myself, appear 14 times in the whole 3 minutes and 58 seconds song. The chorus of the song uses the combination of “all by myself” and “anymore” to show her great desire to get rid of that feeling of loneliness.

All by myself
Don’t wanna be
All by myself

This song uses ethos in order to appeal to the listener’s emotions. Dion writes and sings in a way that makes listeners feel empathetic towards her. Nearly every other line is the same throughout the entirity of the song. Dion repeats the line, “All by Myself” 14 times total. Her use of repitition is emphasising the significance of her feelings toward lonliness.

Overall, Celine Dion writes her song, All By Myself, in order to emphasize the significance of her feelings of lonliness and her longing for intimacy and connection.

Animals or People?

In the novel, Drive Your Plow Over The Bones of The Dead, the narrator and main character Janina, has an abnormal view of the world and the people in it. Janina is an older woman living alone in rural Poland. She is a vegetarian with a strong connection to animals. Janina’s strange relationship with the few people in her life as well as her radical love for animals presents an interesting question that I will be diving into: Did people in her life harm her which led to a negative opinion of humans which forced her to turn to animals or did her initial love for animals lead her to dislike humans? 

Janina’s mother, grandmother, and neighbors have treated her poorly and often laugh at her and make fun of her which led her to turn to animals and the love they have to offer. Her failure to mention her past life, specifically the lack of detail we get regarding her childhood or family. The only information about her parents or family is when their spirits or their ghosts are in Janina’s boiler room which isn’t exactly concrete information. Janina is also often dismissed by her neighbors and she is rarely taken seriously which frustrates her. She told her neighbors helpful tips about growing a garden and they simply, “smiled, nodded and went on doing their thing”(146). Another time when she was talking to the police and providing them with evidence on certain cases, she got very frustrated because she’d felt that the police had dismissed her and labeled her as, “an old woman, gone off her rocker…Useless and unimportant”(195). If this is how she is being treated by human beings, no wonder she would turn and be on the side of animals. 

Since Janina lives in a rural area surrounded by wild animals, she became fond of animals in early adulthood which led her to neglect humans. Janina loves her dogs. In fact, she never even refers to them as dogs, instead, she refers to them as, “Little Girls”(61). Readers simply have to infer that she is referring to dogs because she talks about her dogs like they are humans. Where Janina lives is very desolate, she says it is, “far from the rest of the world”(20). She lives alone, far from everyone else, without any mentioned family members. Those are easy reasons to turn to animals for company and answers.

Overall, I believe that humans in her life have caused her harm which led her to turn to animals for company and answers. 

Raising the Red Lantern: The Most Tragic Tragedy

Raising the Red Lantern is an unforgettable tragedy.

The film is full of corruption, horrors, disempowerment, and the opposite of freedom. Similarly to Pride and Prejudice, this film reminds Gen Z that there once was a time when women had no other choice but to rely on a man for financial security. This film shows the horrors of such a system.

This film perfectly shows viewers the claustrophobia women feel when relying on men through the way Songlian is always presented on the screen, as well as the limited options for women to escape such a corrupt system.

The mistress’ in Raising the Red Lantern are always seen in a confined space with little room to move around. For the purpose of this essay, I am going to focus on the film’s portrayal of Songlian. Songlian is almost always framed in some way. For example, in most scenes, she is framed by doorways, entrances, windows, bed frames, and even her clothing tends to have a framing effect.

 Still from  Raising the Red Lantern,  Produced by Hou Hsiao-hsien Chiu Fu-sheng Zhang Wenze
 Still from  Raising the Red Lantern,  Produced by Hou Hsiao-hsien Chiu Fu-sheng Zhang Wenze

Watching this movie leaves viewers feelings claustrophobic for the entirety of the film. As the film nears an end Songlian comes to terms with the corruption of this family. However, she realizes she is too late to escape and believes the only way to escape the confined space, the oppression, and the constant competition is death. She begins to desire death because at least she will have freedom and some space. In the final scene of the movie Songlian insanity is shown through her messy hair, “normal” clothing, and an escape from her small room. She is seen wearing loose clothing that does not frame her face and is seen walking around the long courtyard and exploring new places. Songlian being labeled as “insane” and “mad” is the only satisfaction that viewers receive because although she is insane, she is free.

Overall, Raising the Red Lantern is the ultimate tragedy where viewers are left with no character to root for as all are corrupt or dead. This film shows the true horror of living as a woman in pre-revolutionary China.

Satirical Binaries in Mean Girls

The 2004 classic, Mean Girls, is the perfect example of an effective satire. Mean Girls is a classic coming-of-age film about the vulnerable, Cady Heron, who is starting 11th grade at a new school. Cady Heron is nervous about starting at a new school because she is afraid she won’t fit in with the inevitable “Mean Girls”. As Heron starts school she meets as different groups of people with specific labels. These groups include, “The Plastics”, “The Art Freaks”, “Cool Asians”, and “The Desperate Wannabes”.

All of these groups are typical for a high school film. However, this film specifically is pointing out the flaws of cliques through satire. The portrayal of teenagers in this movie is exaggerated in order to expose the problems of most teenage friednships and relationships. There is constant competition between the members of the popular girls, “Plastics”. Although the girls in the “plastics” are supposed to all be friends, this is where the most ruthless behavior goes unnoticed. This competition and constant fighting between the girls is always funny. The jokes and insults always make the audience laugh which is why most go “unpunished” by viewers. However, the jokes and insults that are made throughout the film, are degrading to women. There is no main male character who is disempowering women which leads the audince to belive that this film is a empowering females. However, the truth is the girls are gaining power from degrading other girls in their circle or even their best freinds. This is made clear when Cady leaves her first friend, Janis, for the popular, “plastics”.

Cady: “You know I couldn’t invite you! I had to pretend to be plastic!”

Janis: ” But you’re not pretending anymore! You’re plastic! Cold, shiny, hard plastic!”

This is the end of Cady and Janis friendship and its end is not pretty. The fight seems to be surface level and its very comical as they are fighting over plasticity. However, this fight is key to understanding the deeper meaning behind Mean Girls. This fight specifically shows that bringing others down does not lift yourself up, in fact you will probably go down with them.

Cordelia: Shakespeare’s perfect woman

In The Tragedy of King Lear, Cordelia is seen as perfect and pure. In most remakes of the play, she is clothed in white or pastel colors in every scene. She is clearly much younger looking and is described as more beautiful than her sisters, Regan and Goneril. Cordelia is portrayed as an untouchable, perfect woman throughout the play.

Cordelia has very few lines in the play. making her unproblematic. She doesn’t inherit any power from her father and almost never speaks against any male in a position of power. While her sisters, Regan and Goneril, both inherit land and power from their father and they have many lines all throughout the play. However, Regan and Goneril are portrayed as rude, ugly, monsters. Regan and Goneril are rude to their father and banish him from the kingdom after he has given them land and a title.

Shakespeare uses Regan and Goneril to imply that when women are in positions of power they will inevitably fail. Regan and Goneril both die at the end of the play while they are mourning the loss of Edmund who they both had grown to love. A recent debate in America is whether or not women’s “mood swings” and every changing emotions will interfere with their jobs. Specifically, when women are in positions of power, others often blame their “mood swings” for their mistakes. In King Lear, Regan and Goneril both forfeit their power as they try to win Edmund over.

Furthermore, the daughters’ response to their father’s illness was very different. Cordelia immediately left France and rushed to her father’s side to just be with him. While Goneril and Regan have very different responses to any of Lear’s shortcomings.

You should be ruled and led, By some discretion that discerns your state, Better than yourself


Regan and Goneril fail over and over again to give their father any grace. Yet, Cordelia is constantly shown loving her father and valuing family and friends over power and title. Cordelia is the perfect woman in the Shakespearean era, yet not so much in 21st-century America.

Red, Blue, and Dark Gray

Love has many aspects that are nearly impossible to fully explain or even understand. Many artists of all varieties even attempt to capture the idea of love in many different mediums, however, singer and songwriter, Taylor Swift is best at capturing all aspects of love. Specifically in her song Red, from her 4th album, Red. Taylor swift writes this song to explain all the complex side effects of being in love. She begins each stanza with a comparison of an aspect of love to a color or specific familiar moment. She opens up her song by comparing love to a feeling many listeners know all too well. 

“Loving him is like driving a new Maserati down a dead-end street”

She immediately catches the listener’s attention by writing about a feeling most people have experienced before, driving. In many of Swift’s songs she alludes to the feeling of driving, however, in this opening sentence, she intentionally compares that feeling to love. 

In the Chorus of Red, she begins to repeatedly compare complex aspects of love to different colors. Her chorus is repeated three times over in the song. Taylor Swift is sharing her personal experience of love and being in love in this song. Red is released right after she breaks up with her boyfriend, Jake Gyllenhaal. Jake Gyllenhaal was about 9 years older than Taylor Swift which created many problems as Swift was 21 and Gyllenhaal was 30. Swift uses simile after simile to describe the feelings she felt while being in love with an older man. 

“Losing him was blue like I’d never known

Missing him was dark gray, all alone

Forgetting him was like tryin’ know somebody you never met

But loving him was red”

Lastly, the diction that Swift uses creates a poetic tone in order to address the complexity of love. For example, this complexity is represented through her frequent change in tone from stanza to stanza. The first stanza of her song makes listeners think fondly of love and long to be in love. However, as the song progresses, Swift describes the negative aspects of the love that left her feeling broken and sad. 

“Memorizing him was as easy as knowing all the words

To your old favorite song

Fighting with him was like trying to solve a crossword

And realizing there’s no right answer”

The big shift in tone here is portrayed through Swift’s lyrics as well as the instruments used in the section of the song. 

Indifference in The Stranger and Exit West

In The Stranger, the main character, Meursault, has a lack of care for relationships in his life which leads him to unintentionally harming those around him. Meursault’s indifference towards life is similar to the way the main character in Exit West, Saeed, views life.

Although Saeed does care for his partner, Nadia, and his parents, he has little care for life itself. Saeed’s city is in the middle of a war and destruction is all around him, touching almost every area of his life. However, he has yet to realize the true horror of war until his mother passes away due to the fighting.

“In times of violence, there is always that first acquaintance or intimate of ours, who, when they are touched, makes what had seemed like a bad dream suddenly, evisceratingly real”(31).

The war in Saeed’s city became even more real after the death of his mother. However, his reaction to his mother’s death was shockingly small. Readers are left wondering what happened, wondering what Saeed’s reaction was and what his father’s reaction was. However, the author, Mohsin Hamid, did not give readers what they desired. Hamid strategically leaves the readers desiring a sense of closure to show what the war had done to Saeed and his emotions, or lack thereof.

This is similar to the way The Stranger portrays Meursault. From the beginning of the book, Meursault isn’t emotionally attached to anything or anyone. He, similarly, has little to no reaction when his mother dies.

Parenting Your Parents.

202 Checkmates was a refreshing addition to the short story lineup. While coming-of-age stories like 202 Checkmates are not new to us, we were able to carefully dissect the new, unique parts of this specific story.

While most coming of age stories feature authoritarian parents, 202 Checkmates has a new parent/child dynamic. Readers are able to see into the lives of parents living paycheck to paycheck while also trying to salvage a broken marriage all while parenting and raising a child. The father uses chess as an escape yet also as a way to be with his daughter and teach her about life. Throughout her childhood years, she hears her parents fighting loudly through the walls and she watches her father lose his job and never find a new one. Chess was there when she became a woman and it taught her how to handle her unsettling home life. However, towards the end of story, specifically during match 202, the tables turn and the daughter becomes the teacher. The daughter was finally good enough to put up a good fight against her father, yet she chooses to refrain. She saw the obvious move to make that would bring her first victory against her father, yet she chose to let her father win. She was able to see the effects winning had on her father and she wanted him to remain happy and willing to continue playing chess with her.

Ultimately, the daughter was observant and learned that the sweetest victory is found in others’ joy. The daughter taught her father.

Domination and Power

In, ” The Bonds of Love”, the author, Jessica Benjamin, proposes a theory that investigates the reason why Americans are desperate for power. The idea that powerless people have the strongest desire for power isn’t completely off, yet that argument is underdeveloped. Benjamin believes that the desire for domination and power begins with the submission and relentless following of an all-powerful figure. Usually, the submitter sees that all-powerful person as a goal to one day get to themselves. This power dynamic is becoming increasingly common in today’s world. However, the relationship between the powerful and the powerless is a tale as old as time.

In order to stop this harmful cycle that will lead America into many more disagreements and even more polarization, we must address the power struggle. Even more specifically, the oppressed person or group must name the harmful power dynamic and peacefully work to end that dynamic. However, this is no easy task. The oppressor might not see themselves as all-powerful. Many times the person in power does not know or believe that they have large amounts of power and that they are viewed as all-powerful. This often leads to the powerful not listening to the powerless which destroys the hope of healing and change. No wonder this dynamic has been happening since the beginning of time.