The Desensitization of Murder in Drive Your Plow

After Janina spills the meticulous story behind each of her victims, Oddball, Dizzy, and Good News are faced with digesting the truth behind their friend. Shocked, they sit motionless on the table as Janina flees her house and goes on a walk.

As a reader, we come into the confrontation expecting the trio to report Janina after hearing her confession. After all, they made it clear that the purpose of their visit was to get the truth from her. However, after the chapter ends, we find their response to be oddly comforting.

One of the most important details in this response can be found in the book that Dizzy drops off. The last sentence of his highlighted message reads, “We are all subjects of Error: Who shall say that we are not all subject to Crime?” This quote directly shows the reader that Dizzy is on her side and doesn’t believe that she should be held accountable for her actions. In a way, he is justifying her murders.

In the next scene, Janina is hiding in the boiler room as the police search her house. This scene sets us up for finding Oddballs opinion on Janina’s murders. First, he tells his son, Black Coat, that she decided to visit a friend in a neighboring town. Later, as they are leaving, Oddball tells Black Coat that “I’ll marry her when she gets out of jail.” This statement is also extremely powerful in developing the idea of Oddball’s and Janina’s relationship. It shows, for the first time in the book, Oddball’s true feelings.

Once escaped, Boros picks up Janina and they drive to the Entomologist’s Research Station. All in all, I was shocked to see how forgiving and nurturing everyone was after finding out about Janina’s actions. Especially after she divulged every single detail and dialogue about the killings. In particular, the poisoning and execution of the President stood out as a heartless crime, as he was unwell and aware of her actions before she committed them. The responses of her friends show how desensitized one can become based on someone’s past actions. Janina’s friends are able to overlook her crimes based on their interpretation of her intentions and have no trouble helping her escape and settle in a new life.

Institutions of Gender in Raising the Red Lantern

Raising the Red Lantern is a movie that highlights the impact of patriarchal ideas on the lives of women. Directed by Zhang Yimou, the movie follows the life of Songlian, a young woman who has just reached adulthood. After dropping out of university due to money issues, she marries and moves into the Masters compound, where she is one of four mistresses/wives. There, she lives in a traditional and patriarchal society, where she fights for the Master’s attention. Disillusioned by the cutthroat environment of the wives along with barbaric traditions, she ends up going insane after her first year. Overall, the movie provides a powerful portrayal of the impact of gender institutions on the lives of women.

The first gender institution introduced in the movie is marriage. Right off the bat, Songlian is confronted with a tough choice: Marry rich, essentially becoming a concubine, or find someone she loves, but face a tougher livelihood. Although this decision is often overlooked, I feel like it delves into the societal outcomes of women in patriarchies. After dropping out of university, Songlian is doomed to a life dependent on men. By marrying rich, she subconsciously chooses to submit to gender power binaries. She pledges her faithfulness with the Master, while he is allowed to have unlimited mistresses and affairs (As we find out with Yaner). Marriage also makes her submit to many expectations, ones that diminish her power. She is expected to bear the masters son, when the time comes, and get along with all of the wives, even when they become immature.

Another institution of gender portrayed in the film is the societal expectation of women to be submissive and obedient. Women in movie. are expected to obey their husbands and fathers who have the final word on any of their decisions. When Songlian tries to break this expectation by pushing back and arguing, she is punished by being dismissed or ridiculed. This can be seen very prominently after the hanging of the third mistress. In her room, while trying to process her grief, she repeatedly calls the Master and servants “murderers”. Although the master knows the truth, he gaslights her by telling her that she has gone mad. Ironically, after this point, she does, and spends the rest of her time as the “crazy wife.”

Finally, another prominent gender role is the use of women. In the compound, The Master makes it clear that the only sue of a woman is to serve their master. The wives all gather every night to see which house the master will occupy, craving the attention of a man who doesn’t care about them beyond their body. The older wives rarely every get time with the master because he is not attracted to their body given their age, even though he is the same age, if not older. The Master is fine with letting one of his wives get killed for having an affair with Doctor Gao.

Overall, Raising the Red Lantern is a great movie that shows the hypocrisies of patriarchal societies. Women are punished for actions that men are free to do. The film reminds us of the importance of dismantling practices that perpetuate oppression.

The Onion’s Take on UberEats Culture

We all know The Onion as the hilarious parody news site filled to the brim with satirical articles. But what specific part of each article makes us laugh? How do their writers add specific elements that lead us to special inferences and hidden meanings? What’s the point behind these articles?

In this article, I will be offering a more nuanced explanation behind The Onion’s “Annoyed Man Rates UberEats Driver 3 Stars For Having To Pry Order Out Of Their Dead Frozen Hands.” Before we begin, however, its important to understand what makes the article conventionally funny.


Frustrated with his delivery driver dying from hypothermia, Cory complains about having to go outside and pick up his food from his drivers dead hands. This leads him to refusing to tip and giving the deceased driver a 3-star review. Although the article is extremely short, there are many details packed into it that make it an advanced work of satire.


The writer uses many literary techniques to add different satirical dimensions to the article.

Annoyed Man Rates UberEats Driver 3 Stars For Having To Pry Order Out Of Their Dead Frozen Hands

Starting off, the title evokes parody and understatement. Stating that Cory was merely “annoyed” at the sight of a dead body foreshadows his uncaringness which is later revealed in the article. Diction like “Dead Frozen Hands” make it obvious that the title is a parody of a more normal interaction with a delivery driver. In our case, we expect something like poor service, not “dead frozen hands.”

Irked by what he described as unprofessional behavior

The first sentence furthers the sense of understatement. “Irked” has a carefree tone that doesn’t reflect the gravity of death and loss. The reader is made to think that nothing important has happened in Cory’s eyes, when the reality is different.

I find my order 30 feet away from my front step in the hands of a frostbitten corpse—disgusting

By ending his reaction with “disgusting”, the reader is surprised by the lack of empathy and emotion displayed by Cory.

I only ordered food in the first place because I didn’t want to go outside. It’s cold, like, dangerously cold!

This sentences is a great example of irony. The reason why Cory ordered UberEats was because of the dangerous weather conditions, the same ones that his driver succumbed to. By pretentiously complaining about the inconvenience, he neglects to mention the similar circumstances his driver had to power through to deliver his order.

Call to Action

For a piece to be considered satire, it has to elevate from basic comedy and offer a criticism that will ultimately change society. Although it is easy for this article to be interpreted as a comedy, it contains valuable criticism on society and culture.

sources confirmed Morales had decided the driver’s widow did not even deserve a tip.

This final sentence has a lot to say on the lives of low-paid workers, especially in the delivery business, who rely on tips to sustain themselves. Cory, throughout the article, is painted as someone who doesn’t care much about his dispensable money. He is able to order UberEats and gets mad when he doesn’t get his way. He is likely fully capable to tip his driver, but chooses not to at the slightest inconvenience.

Additionally, this article has a lot to say about the growing class and economic divide. Cory repeatedly calls his driver “lazy”, when he himself is the one who refuses to go outside, and chooses to order delivery for his convenience.

Overall, the article shines a light on socioeconomic divisions, while also using elements of satire to make it funny.

King Lear’s Similarities to Donald Trump

The Tragedy of King Lear, written by Shakespeare, was first performed over 400 years ago on December 26, 1606. Since then, people all around the world have enjoyed the plot through books, movies, and of course, more plays. The play tells the story of a King (Lear) who divides his kingdom between his daughters based on superficial expressions of love. As the play progresses, Lear descends into madness as his entire world is turned upside down.

Not only were the themes explored in King Lear relevant to Shakespeare’s time, but they also translate to unique parallels in US politics. The play serves as a cautionary tale of the dangers of ego, flattery, and unchecked power. In particular, this post will be detailing some of the similarities between Donald Trump and King Lear.

Certain traits in Lear’s personality echo those of Trump. In the opening scene of the play, Lear can be characterized as someone obsessed with flattery. He first uses flattery to distribute land to his daughters. This mistake is what changes the trajectory of the story and builds the initial plotline.

“Which of you shall we say doth love us most, That we our largest bounty may extend”

(Lear, 1.1.56)

Similarly, Trump sought power and recognition throughout his political career. Trump was known for his desire for flattery and his tendency to make decisions fueled by his ego, rather than what was best for the American people. He often paid more attention to his reputation and what people would think about him than taking meaningful action that would serve the American people.

An example of this can be seen when Trump invited his White House employees to praise him during a cabinet meeting. He listened intently as secretaries swooned over him. A link to the event can be found below:

Much like Lear dividing up his kingdom, Trump uses superficial methods to stroke his ego. The effects of these can make it extremely hard to decipher integrity from lies. By creating an environment that promotes words over actions, people become focused on pleasing others over serving their constituents. This toxicity is one of the reasons why the messages within King Lear are more important than ever in todays day and age.

Another theme explored the play is excessive pride. As a King, Lear believes that he is superior and more powerful than everyone else. Although this works for him at the very beginning, after distributing his power away, people start to question his true authority. Lear, not used to this, stays overconfident, stating,

“I will do such things– What they are yet I know not– but they shall be The terror of the earth.”


This quote showcases Lear’s excessive pride and superiority complex. His willingness to take drastic action ultimately leads to his downfall. Similarly, Trump’s excessive pride caused him to take extreme actions. These actions eventually lead to a low approval rating and impeachment trials.

Overall, King Lear’s character archetype has a lot in common with Donald Trump. In conclusion, we still have a lot to learn from a 400-year-old play,

I Gave You Power

Life isn’t fair. We hear this phrase from time to time whether it be from our parents or friends to justify instances of improper treatment. Unfortunately, many people live this reality every day, persecuted by prejudiced laws and generations of inequality.

In his second studio album “It Was Written”, which was released in 1996, Nas reflects on his experiences growing up in NYC’s Queensbridge housing projects during the height of the crack epidemic in the 80s and 90s. Nas’s life embodies the “Life isn’t fair” phrase that low-income Black Americans were too acquainted with at the time. His unique ability to poetically share his experience saved him from a life of drugs, gangs, and violence, and gave us a taste of his life story through songs like “I Gave You Power”. Lyrics can be found here.

“I Gave you Power” is truly a one-of-a-kind song. Its central meaning reflects the paradox of gun violence in the impoverished neighborhood Nas grew up in. On one hand, Nas talks about needing to bear arms for protection in the violent streets. On the other hand, he acknowledges the destruction guns have on his neighborhood and future generations. The short-term need to carry a gun for safety perpetuates the long-term danger of gun violence in his neighborhood. Economical pressures to make money force him to live unsafely. Throughout the song, there are hints of the conflicts between Nas vs. the police and the thought process needed to survive in a constant high-pressure environment.

Damn! Look how muh-fuckers use a n****
Just use me for whatever the fuck they want
I don’t get to say shit
Just grab me, just do what the fuck they want
Sell me, throw me away
N***** just don’t give a fuck about a n**** like me right?
Like I’m a f… I’m a gun, shit

In the opening verse, Nas compares the way he gets treated from his friends to a gun. This personification of a gun continues as an extended metaphor throughout the song. This line is important because it sets up the context for the rest of the song. This metaphor is powerful because it shines a light on the dehumanization and objectification that people like Nas experienced growing up.

How you like me now? I go blaow
It’s that shit that moves crowds makin every ghetto foul
I might have took your first child
Scarred your life, crippled your style
I gave you power
I made you buck wild

This interlude shines a light on the destruction cause by gun violence around the housing projects that Nas grew up in. In these few lines, Nas talks about the pain that mothers feel to see their kids succumb to gun violence, the communal PTSD associated with death, and the repurcussions of living paralyzed. The last two lines talk about the effects of carrying guns from the carriers perspective. They note that it makes them powerful and more likely to act crazily or “buck wild.”

He squeezed harder, I didn’t budge, sick of the blood
Sick of the thugs, sick of wrath of the, next man’s grudge
What the other kid did was pull out, no doubt
A newer me in better shape, before he lit out, he lead the chase
My owner fell to the floor, his wig split so fast
I didn’t know he was hit, it’s over with
Heard mad n***** screamin, n***** runnin, cops is comin
Now I’m happy, until I felt somebody else grab me

The ending lines of the song, this excerpt shines a light on the cycle of violence experienced in the Queensbridge housing projects. The story follows a gun that jams, which causes the victim to turn into a murderer. The gun, which is temporarily given feelings, laments that someone else picks up the gun and continues the cycle. Much like the gun, Nas awaits an end to the violence, and is constantly let down through the environment he lives in.

Understanding Camus’ Argument in “Myth of Sisyphus”

The Myth of Sisyphus is a popular Greek myth that follows a mortal and his punishment by the gods. Sisyphus is a mortal and was the ruler of Corinth, a city in Greece. He notoriously was able to cheat death twice. On his second death, he convinced Hades to let him go to the overworld after death, in order to instruct his wife on proper burial procedure. He then stayed in the overworld for many years until his last death, where he was subject to the wrath of the gods. Once back with Hades, he was punished by being made to roll a boulder up a hill. After getting it up, the boulder would roll down the hill, and Sisyphus would be made to repeat the task for eternity.

Most people who read the myth and hear about the fate of Sisyphus feel sadness and pity because repetition and hopelessness seem to be traditionally sad qualities. However, Albert Camus argues that Sisyphus is happy and free to do what he wants. Camus says that by knowing his fate and the hopelessness of his situation, Sisyphus is empowered to accept his new way of life and has nothing to complain about.

Camus states that the absurdity of normal life does not make Sisyphus truly punished. In reality, by changing what he wants himself, Sisyphus is able to meet his expectations and is therefor free to do as he pleases, despite being tasked with rolling the boulder up the hill.

My thoughts on Camus’ Argument

I disagree with Camus’ perspective on Sisyphus’ situation. When looking at the myth, we come to learn that Sisyphus lived a long and happy life for the most part. For this reason, I believe that Sisyphus has a strong ground of memories. Now that he is tasked to roll this rock up a hill in hell for the rest of his life, his past will likely remind him of his unfavorable eternal fate. I think that Camus glosses over the fact that Sisyphus had a privileged life before entering hell. The absurdity of life can be found among people who find themselves involved in long hours at work or at physical labor, which may resemble similarity to rolling up the boulder. However, for Sisyphus, the ruler of a kingdom, his life and mindset is not adjusted to the absurdity of life due to the non-traditional upbringing he had.

I do think that Camus is correct in certain aspects. For example, think about an animal that spends most of its life hunting for food, sleeping, and general survival. The animal would not have the despair that Sisyphus would have, even though the repetition of their life is comparable. This is due to the fact that the animal is doing all they have ever known, while Sisyphus’ condition is an obvious downgrade from his previous life.

This changes one’s look at how our world works. The only difference between the animal and Sisyphus (or any other human with a routine) is perspective and experiences. The perspective of the animal is narrow, focused on survival, which is all that they know to do. The perspective of humans revolves around happiness, which is the absurd expectations we send to our universe. Disappointment is therefore infinitely easier for a human who sets their goals above survival.

“The Secret Woman” and its take on Relationship Insecurities

“The Secret Woman” by Colette is a short story that follows an insecure husband’s journey of trying to catch his wife in the midst of an affair at an opera house. The husband, originally scheduled to go to the show with his wife, lies about a work commitment and disguises himself before showing up to the opera house.

The story follows the numerous encounters his wife has with other people at the showing, and documents the husbands anxiety and (in a way) hope that his suspicion about his wife is correct. Thankfully, (although she kisses another man) by the end of the story, the husband is relieved to find out that his wife is not having an affair.

To truly digest the level of insecurity and lack of faith that the husband had in his wife’s loyalty to their relationship, it is important to see his reaction to each event.

She’s here for someone, with someone. In less than an hour I’ll know everything.”

The surety in which the husband expects his wife to have an affair with someone else emphasizes how insecurities can warp rational thinking into a twisted reality. As readers we come to find out that the husbands theories are all false, yet for a majority of the story, we are convinced that the wife is unfaithful.

Her husband ran a few steps and reached the couple just as Irene was crying flatteringly, “You big brute!”

This is an example of how the husband jumps to conclusions about his wife’s actions with other people. The lack of trust in their relationship leads the husband to believe that his wife receiving a hug in a crowded opera house by a mysterious man must be evidence of cheating, even though his wife was the one being harassed.

She went down the steps, placed her hand on the shoulders of a warrior who asked her, silently, to dance, and she danced, clinging to him.
“That’s the man,” the husband said to himself.

Following this interaction the husband realizes that his wife didn’t say a word to the warrior after dancing, and promptly left. This 3rd false alarm in the row seemed to finally effect the husband and cause him to think more about the problems on his end. Why is he so insecure about his relationship? Why doesn’t he posses the trust in his wife?

This realization seemed to happen at a very confusing time, right after the man witnesses his wife kissing another tired man who is resting on a bench after heavy dancing.

This time, however, instead of jumping to a conclusion and interrupting the two, he decides to reflect on both of their actions. The last paragraph of the story documents the change in the man’s mentality, and leaves the reader happy with the progression and knowledge that the husband has gained.

In his consternation he no longer feared, no longer hoped for betrayal. He was sure now that Irene did not know the young man, drunk with dancing, who she was kissing, nor the Hercules; he was sure that she was was neither waiting nor looking for anyone, and that abandoning the lips she held beneath her own like an empty grape, she was going to leave again the next moment, wander about once more, collect some other passer-by, forget him, and simply enjoy, until she felt tired and went back home, the monstrous pleasure of being alone, free, honest in her crude, native state, of being the unknown woman, eternally solitary and shameless, restored to her irremediable solitude and immodest innocence by a little mask and a concealing costume.

Understanding Jessica Benjamin’s Theory on Subjectivity

Jessica Benjamin argues that identity is formed from mutual recognition and intersubjectivity. In traditional psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud’s theory on subjectivity states that a childs identity is created from the father (a figure of authority) raising a conflict between the child and their mother (symbol of comfort and nurturing). This enlightenment marks the end of the childs “mirror stage” where they believe that they are an extension of their mother. However, as many psychology analysts will note, this theory is flawed because it it leaves out a crucial group of people: women. For women, since the anatomical difference between the mother and daughter is not as clear cut, a hole in reasoning opens up to the development of subjectivity of women under Freud’s theory. In his time, Freud shrugged off this logical hole by using it to say that women have inferior reasoning skills to men. Evidently, this is not true, which has led many psychoanalysts to revise Freuds theory and create new ways to explain the development of subjectivity.

This is where Benjamin steps in to share her comprehensive argument on intersubjectivity and mutual recognition. Rather than proposing a binary system where the child is their own person because they are NOT their mother, Benjamin proposes that a person becomes a subject through mutual recognition. She explains that through interactions between people who each believe that the other is an individual with a separate identity, one strengthens their own individuality. This idea shatters the thought that one builds individuality through differentiation, and instead proposes one’s individuality through connections with others. This theory also builds on power struggles. It proposes the idea that domination and submission (or any power struggle/imbalance) are the result of unbalanced relationships of mutual recognition, where one person does not believe that the other is a subject (submission), while the other one asserts themselves (domination). Overall, this explanation, although optimistic regarding mutual recognition, better explains intersubjectivity compared to Freud’s theory.