Over 2,000 students took us up on our second annual December challenge to “connect what you’re learning in school with the world today,” and, as you’ll see from the work of the winners, below, this year’s best were just as insightful and imaginative as last year’s.
Whether the connections these teenagers made were obvious, or whether they were so oblique it’s likely no one else has ever made them, what delighted us most was seeing the thinking in action. Many described aha moments, when a work of literature or an event in history was illuminated by something in The Times, whether a Letter to the Editor that helped make sense of “Death of a Salesman,” or a Smarter Living piece that, as one student wrote, would have greatly helped Hamlet “handle his anger responsibly.”
Like last year, when comparisons to the #MeToo movement dominated submissions, the echoes of some of our most pressing issues were everywhere. Students saw parallels to climate change in Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave” and Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot,” but also in a Rachmaninoff concerto and a mathematical problem called the Collatz conjecture. Similarly, the role of apps, social media, Crispr and other technologies in our lives today showed up in submission after submission, as students saw forewarnings in texts like “Frankenstein,” “Fahrenheit 451," “1984” and “Oryx and Crake.”
But enough introduction; the essays speak for themselves. Below, in alphabetical order for each, are lists of the winners, runners-up and honorable mentions. So you can see the breadth of ideas, we’re publishing the full essay by each winner, an excerpt from each runner-up, and a list of the two texts matched by the honorable mentions.
Finally, please don’t forget that we run contests for teenagers all year long. From now until April 2, for instance, our Sixth Annual Student Editorial Contest is open. Please spread the word!
Winners: Full Essays
Alexa Bolnick, Indian Hills High School, Franklin Lakes, N.J.: “Death of a Salesman” by Arthur Miller and “A Lack of Respect for the Working Class in America Today”
Last year, reading the play “Death of a Salesman,” I couldn’t understand why salesman Willy Loman refused to accept his son’s desire to perform manual labor for a living. If working on a ranch made him happy, then why couldn’t Willy let his son go.
After reading Daniel Wasik’s letter to The New York Times, “A Lack of Respect for the Working Class in America Today,” I realized that this prejudice against “blue collar” jobs dates back to the beginning of the 20th century. In the 1800s, agriculture dominated the economy, and the average American was a small farmer. However, the Industrial Revolution and development of corporations introduced a slew of new business-related jobs, such as marketing, finance, management, and sales. Since these jobs required much less physical work and offered a steady paycheck, millions seized the opportunity, resulting in urbanization and the domination of business over agriculture. Consequently, the average American was no longer a farmer, but a city dweller, transforming the American dream from the picturesque scene of a quaint farm with a white picket fence to one of wealth and materialistic success.
Americans seem to have forgotten the fact that only a century ago, we would be living on farms, performing manual labor. So much value was placed on the image of the successful businessman, that we have forgotten about our roots, about the people who form the foundation of our success. Working class Americans comprise one third of the population, yet they are looked down upon and treated with disrespect. The common misconception is that “blue collar” jobs are unfulfilling, for people who lack ambition. However, this belief is due to the selfish and materialistic society in which we live: money is not the only consideration when choosing a career. What one individual finds enticing may seem unrewarding to another, but that doesn’t make them less of a person.
Willy Loman cannot accept that both he and his son would be happier performing manual labor because he doesn’t want to be viewed as less. He cannot understand his son’s preference of a simple life because society values material over emotional success.
Today, there are too many Willy Lomans in the world, too many people who look down on the working class like they lead subpar lives. They fail to consider that someone needs to perform the hands-on work that keeps the country running. As the American economy has grown immensely over the last century, working class Americans have experienced little improvement in their quality of life. Yet, as the backbone of our economy, they should be sharing in that growth. Working class Americans deserve better; it is time for them to receive the respect they deserve.
Alex Iyer, Geneva School of Boerne, San Antonio: Homer’s “The Odyssey” and “As Rich Nations Close the Door on Refugees, Uganda Welcomes Them”
In literature, we learned that in Homer’s epic poem “The Odyssey,” Homer uses the tribulations of the hero Odysseus to illustrate the Ancient Grecian custom of xenia. This custom focused on extending hospitality to those who found themselves far from home. As Odysseus navigates the treacherous path back to his own home, he encounters both morally upstanding and malevolent individuals. They range from a charitable princess who offers food and clothing, to an evil Cyclops who attempts to murder the hero and his fellow men. In class, we agreed that Homer employs these contrasting characters to exemplify not only proper, but also poor forms of xenia.
For the people of its time, “The Odyssey” cemented the idea that xenia was fundamental for good character; resulting in hospitality becoming engrained in the fabric of Ancient Grecian society. I saw a parallel to this in a New York Times article called “As Rich Nations Close the Door on Refugees, Uganda Welcomes Them” published on October 28, 2018. Similar to the prevalent custom of xenia in Ancient Greece, Uganda has made hosting refugees a national policy. The country is now occupied by up to 1.25 million refugees, many of whom are fleeing the violent unrest of South Sudan.
The xenia of Homeric times implied a mutually beneficial relationship between host and guest. We see this in Uganda, where villagers share land with South Sudanese refugees. Grateful for this generosity, the refugees gladly help out with farming, carpentry, and even translation. Many Ugandans remember when they themselves had to look to Sudan for sanctuary. During the murderous rampages of Idi Amin and Joseph Kony, the Sudanese provided critical support to Ugandan refugees. These memories are motivating modern-day Ugandans to assist refugees, bringing the world a little closer to what xenia strived for over 2,000 years ago.
Uganda and South Sudan are by no means wealthy utopias. However, xenia was never about the rich blindly giving to the poor. It aspired to foster symbiotic relationships of openness and inclusivity that would endure through time. It’s interesting that a quaint Greek ideal from thousands of years ago would find a practical application in Uganda. When Amos Chandiga was asked why he lent two acres of his own land to refugees, he simply responded “They asked me, and I gave it to them.” He then patted his chest and said “It comes from here, in my heart.” Perhaps this can serve as a lesson to Americans, as we grapple with modernizing our own asylum policies. Teaching us that, whether rich or poor, open borders give way to open hearts.
Megan Lee, West Windsor Plainsboro High School North, Plainsboro, N.J.: “Harrison Bergeron” by Kurt Vonnegut and “The Curse of Affirmative Action”
From racial justice to gender discrimination, the struggle towards equality is one that holds undeniable weight and value. However, maintaining an equal and just society requires a careful assessment of the ways in which inclusive efforts can be exclusive at the same time.
In “The Curse of Affirmative Action,” author Bret Stephens argues the flaws of a policy that aims to provide equal opportunities to minority groups in education and employment. Stephens makes light of a recent legal battle, Students Against Fair Admissions vs. Harvard, in which qualified Asian-American students were being denied chances of admission for unjustifiable reasons in order to create a racial balance. A systematic preference for minority groups through affirmative action has imposed negative effects on another minority group for which the policy was created - although this measure was initiated with the intention of inclusion, it has the ability to do the exact opposite at the same capacity. Stephens states that, “The very people who ordinarily championed affirmative action as a cornerstone of a decent society...had no trouble understanding the other dimension of the policy — an unfair preference for the unqualified. They knew that ‘affirmative action,’ whatever its benefits as a form of social engineering, was a synonym for mediocrity”.
Paralleling the same theme, the short story “Harrison Bergeron” by Kurt Vonnegut describes a future in which absolute equality has become the obsession of society. In order to achieve this, any special quality is eliminated through the use of mental and physical handicaps. Those who are intelligent wear earpieces that transmit disruptive noises, those who are beautiful wear degrading masks, and those who are powerful are held down with bags of lead. While doing so allows for a society where no one is above each other, it is also simultaneously counterintuitive and unfair for every citizen. Mediocre standards are set for every characteristic, and the different talents that each individual possesses is buried in the name of total equality.
Although the “Harrison Bergeron” is a heavily exaggerated piece of fiction writing while “The Curse of Affirmative Action” was written to denounce a real world policy, both allude to the delicacy of equality. Ensuring that every citizen has the same rights, opportunities, and fair treatment regardless of personal characteristics is essential to creating a society of growth, tolerance, and productivity. However, translating these values into policies that embrace a healthy equitable balance is an undeniable challenge. As we continue to progress towards a more equal and inclusive society, we must consider and revise the ideal environment that allows equality to thrive.
Jeffrey Liao, Livingston High School, Livingston, N.J.: “The Grapes of Wrath” by John Steinbeck and “The Impossible Choice My Father Had to Make”
Migration. It is a concept fundamental in nature—birds fly south every winter in search of cloudless skies; fish swim away from vast ocean depths to spawn in rivers; dragonflies follow the passage of cold fronts in autumn to reach sun-soaked shores.
Yet for humans, the story is more complicated. In her New York Times op-ed “The Impossible Choice My Father Had to Make,” Reyna Grande illustrates the profound sacrifices that her father—and undocumented migrants like him—must make in order to provide a better future for their loved ones. Through her account of her father’s journey to America, Grande emphasizes the prejudice and violence perpetrated against immigrants—from President Trump’s policy that separated thousands of children from their parents to the derogatory term “illegal alien” that recently entered the sociopolitical landscape—highlighting the unfortunate reality that, in a nation claiming to be built on the ideals of “liberty” and “justice” for all, a deep undercurrent of xenophobia still plagues American society and needs to be addressed.
John Steinbeck’s classic novel “The Grapes of Wrath,” which chronicles the struggles of the Joad family during the Great Depression, documents a similar reality. Due to massive dust storms that erode their property and exacerbate their economic troubles, the Joad family moves westward in search of work. When they reach the haunted promised land of California, however, their hope and optimism quickly wither to ash and dust. Beneath the glimmering façade of opportunities that abound in “the land of the free,” the brutal living conditions, poverty, and abuse of workers are quickly exposed. The locals derisively refer to the newcomers as “Okies,” and, due to rising concerns of a labor uprising, the aristocratic landowners mistreat their migrant workers and promote exploitative policies to keep them subservient and dependent. This vicious cycle of destitution—the faithful becoming faithless, the poor becoming penniless—illustrates the subjugation of the marginalized and the erasure of those on the fringes of society.
Although written nearly a century ago, “The Grapes of Wrath” documents a social injustice that mirrors the plight of immigrants in contemporary America. As Grande notes in her op-ed, the Trump administration’s restrictions on those seeking asylum or legal migration exemplifies the frightening ignorance and monoculturalism of our most powerful political leaders. Just as the migrants in Steinbeck’s novel grew despondent as police officers jailed union strikers and burned their makeshift camps to the ground, modern immigrants must endure the painful struggles that arise from discrimination fueled by Trump’s divisive policies and hateful rhetoric. As Americans, we must do better. We must recognize and speak out against the systemic injustices that immigrants face to preserve the patchwork quilt of diversity that comprises the social fabric of our country.
Jack Magner, Flint Hill School, Oakton, Va.: Biological feedback loops and homeostasis and “After #MeToo, the Ripple Effect”
All it takes is a single action to spark innumerable reactions. In the case of Jessica Bennett’s “After #MeToo, the Ripple Effect,” it is the publishing of a 2017 article in the Times that launches a revolution, changing the treatment and recognition of women for the better. In the case of AP Biology, it is the connection of a ligand to a receptor protein or a drastic change to an organism’s environment that sends millions of signals that protect the organism from harm.
In her article, Bennett aptly describes the systemic suppression of women in their attempts to come forward as a form of “machinery”, containing several long-standing fail-safes designed to ensure that vulnerable members of society remain silent. This phenomenon mirrors that of negative feedback loops in biology, in which a stimulus triggers a biological response designed to keep a biological system at equilibrium. Like an increase in body temperature in order to kill a disease, our male-centric society has developed instinctual, often subconscious methods to protect powerful men at the expense of women, leaving them powerless to speak up.
Conversely, however, the #MeToo movement has thrown a wrench in the once-impenetrable machinery of patriarchal society. It has extended beyond the limits and implicit biases of the American legal process, providing an open forum for women to share their own experiences. In opposition to a systemic negative feedback loop, women have created a positive feedback loop, where a single stimulus prompts the increase of a specific biological response, which in turn leads to the creation of more stimulus. In this rendition, women bravely tell their stories. Subsequently, women feel less alienated about their own experiences and men begin to consider how their actions affect women. As a result of that response, more women speak up and step forward, causing the process to begin again. Each woman’s story serves as a stimulus for a unique “biochemical cascade” of societal impact, with the internet serving as its technological “signal transduction pathway”.
#MeToo and feedback loops are extremely interconnected, but there is one key difference in the #MeToo movement that makes it so dynamic and revolutionary. In biology, feedback responses are developed slowly and organically over millions of years of evolution. Environments select for these responses, and a species’s fitness increases as a result. The #MeToo movement is the exact opposite, attacking the perceived natural order that our environment has selected for at the expense the “fittest” members of society: powerful men. This positive feedback loop does not run in concurrence with the already-established negative feedback loop. It instead serves as its foil, aiming to topple the destructive systems for which hyper-masculine society has selected for over thousands of years.
Kylie Magnus, Verona Area High School, Verona, Wis.: “The End of Men: And the Rise of Women” by Hanna Rosin and “How Same-Sex Couples Divide Chores, and What It Reveals About Modern Parenting”
“Marriage still ain’t equal, y’all. It ain’t equal.” These words spoken by former First Lady Michelle Obama depict the vast inequalities in what is supposed to be a two-sided affair. It takes two to be married, yet women are still being treated like second-class citizens in their own homes. While women have made great strides in the workplace, their quest to ‘have it all’ has been hindered by the increasing amount of housework they still shoulder. This inequality for heterosexual marriages is very different from the equity that homosexual couples have found in their own home lives.
For my AP Language and Composition class, I read “The End of Men: And the Rise of Women,” written by journalist Hanna Rosin. She found that most women, even if they earn the most money in their household or if their husband stays at home, do most of the childcare and housework. A software engineer in the book who is the primary breadwinner was quoted saying, “I have to do the same house/child-care work [as a stay-at-home mom], AND if I lose my job, my whole family is [expletive]” (54).
This book, while providing a comprehensive view of how heterosexual couples interact and carry out housework and child-rearing, does not identify that this system works much differently in same-sex marriages. The New York Times article “How Same-Sex Couples Divide Chores, and What It Reveals About Modern Parenting,” written on May 16, 2018 by Claire Cain Miller, analyzes how marriages that do not need to worry about which gender traditionally does certain chores divide housework much more evenly- until they have children. In the article, it was established that partners divide chores based on personal preference. After the couple has children, however, they tend to divide housework based on which partner does more work outside the home. Contrary to this, women in opposite-sex marriages who work outside the home can shoulder two to three times more housework and childcare than their husbands.
This new dynamic, introduced primarily once marriage between same-sex couples was legalized in 2015, proves that heterosexual couples do not need to follow the traditional gender roles, especially if one partner works more. In order for heterosexual women to gain any freedom from the housework they are so burdened with, these couples should take notes on the tactics homosexual couples are using. By each partner doing an equitable amount of chores and childcare, based on the amount of work they are doing outside of the home, and completing the chores that they do not mind or know their partner dislikes, a balance can be reached.
Robert McCoy, Whippany Park High School, Whippany, N.J.: Gilded Age Mugwumps and “Republicans for Democrats”
The 2018 midterm elections saw a misrepresented faction of the Republican Party shed its affiliation by supporting Democrats. As illustrated in The New York Times op-ed article, “Republicans for Democrats,” the “Never Trump” movement was galvanized by political moralism. Contemporary conservatives’ vehement opposition to Trump resembles Mugwumps’ bolt from allegedly corrupt nominee James Blaine to Democrat Grover Cleveland in the 1884 Presidential election. Republican anti-Trump attitudes echo those of their nineteenth century counterparts, such as Carl Schulz, who wrote, “Our duty to the country…is…paramount to any duty we may owe to the party.”
Both groups denounced their party’s irredeemable deviation from its fundamental values. Mugwump George William Curtis rejected Blaine on the grounds that his party, formerly representing “political morality and personal liberty,” had “sprung from a moral sentiment.” The estranged Mugwumps utilized political mobilization to hold the Party to the ideals on which it had been established. Curtis’ diagnosis is readopted by contemporary voters like Lynn Schmidt, who, appalled by Trump’s incivility, affirmed, “I am no longer a Republican if the G.O.P. is the Party of Trump.” Curtis and Schmidt attributed an unfit politician to the Republican Party’s departure from ethics. Both movements challenged the integrity of their Party as a means of reformation.
Mugwumps and Never Trumpers share the desire to preserve honesty in democracy. Mugwumps vocally rejected Blaine, recognizing the regressive effects of embracing an immoral candidate. In 1881, Schulz suggested that Blaine’s election would prompt an unprecedented descent of the government “into a depth of demoralization and corruption.” By rejecting Blaine, Mugwumps aimed to fulfill a civic duty to maintain governmental virtue. Schulz’s alarm is mirrored by Never Trump Republicans like Mary Beth Hunt, who reluctantly supported Democratic candidates on the basis that, under Trump, “we are watching the demise of our democracy.” Both sentiments identified party-switching as a measure to avoid the Republic’s plunge into immorality.
The parallels in the Mugwump and Never Trump movements demonstrate the significance of adhering to a strict moral standard, despite extreme partisan divides. Developing in atmospheres of distinct political polarization - residual disaccord from the Civil War and partisan rifts following the controversial election of Donald Trump - both groups were subjected to scathing criticism from Republican loyalists. Nonetheless, they wielded significant influence; historians attribute Cleveland’s victory over Blaine to the pivotal Mugwump presence in New York, and today’s political analysts attribute the new majority-Democrat House to voters in previously Republican strongholds turning to Democratic candidates. The results of the 2018 midterms show political moralism as a counterweight to party fealty, and modern day mugwumpery in full force.
Connor Stevens, Sunset High School, Portland, Ore.: “Fahrenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury and “How Egypt Crowdsources Censorship”
How can you control ideas? In today’s world, you scroll through feeds, finding any information available: government trade deals, local restaurants, movies, and TV shows. We are in an age where the power to find any fact, answer or piece of information that floats into question is available anywhere. If this privilege was stripped by a bodying government, how would freedom of information change?
The theme of censorship is the template for Ray Bradbury’s novel, “Fahrenheit 451” where the dystopian society has banned books and firemen burn down houses. Citizens in this society fall into a loop of routine and empty beliefs where they’ve been force-fed nonsensical information by the government. Bradbury describes the painstaking process Montag makes to find the history of books and through the help of an outside thinker, Clarisse Mcclellan, he rethinks his entire existence as a fireman.
Though the absurdity of banning books is the basis of the novel, some of the government’s restriction on information are apparent today. Specifically, the actions of those in power. In the article headed, “How Egypt Crowdsources Censorship” it expresses the government’s ban on anything that may contradict the state, its leaders or the religion that is sought out by its very people. Shortly after the impending gas deal between Egypt and Israel, reporters posted an article regarding the government’s actions and were immediately instructed to remove the writing from the news site. This intolerance to free speech oppresses the people much like those in Bradbury’s novel. Reporter and editor of a weekly Cairo newspaper, Yasmine El Rashidi, said he too “learned to self-censor.”
The approach to self-censorship is exactly what Bradbury advises us to avoid. The governance in “Fahrenheit 451” protects their people from offensive information by removing the issue completely while ignoring the casualty of accessible information. Events suspiciously similar to today appear in Bradbury’s novel, Montag gets stopped while walking without purpose; Yasmine Rashidi is stopped and questioned by police officers simply for carrying a notebook. These analogous patterns make you wonder: have people lost the right to freedom?
Both the American and Egyptian countries are built off of the idea of a free democracy and more accurately, a republic. To strip away any information displayed for the public would go against the building blocks of developed society and would neighbor the future characterized by Bradbury. It’s obvious to pick out the foolishness of removing the process of self-thinking in “Fahrenheit 451”, however, today this fiction is seeping its way into existence through the governmental censorship of news reporting.
If we surrender our right to advantageous knowledge, how can we truly conceive ideas independently?
Zaria Roller, Verona Area High School, Wis.: “Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe and “The Boys Are Not All Right”
Colonial-age Nigeria and modern day Western society have more in common than one would think. Although the buzz phrase “toxic masculinity” did not exist at the time Chinua Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart” was written, its protagonist, Okonkwo, might as well be the poster boy for it.
Though the novel focuses primarily on colonization and change, I could not help but think of its theme of masculinity when I read Michael Ian Black’s NYT article “The Boys Are Not All Right.” In his words, toxic masculinity is responsible for the “[brokenness of] America’s boys”: in the US, men are 3.54 times more likely to commit suicide than women, and 97.4% of mass shootings between 1982 and 2018 were carried out by men.
Okonkwo fell victim to the unrealistic standards of toxic masculinity throughout Things Fall Apart: he beat his wives, killed a child put under his care, and refused to show affection, all in the name of not appearing weak or effeminate. Ultimately, this behavior caused his tragic fall. He was once considered the greatest warrior alive; by the end of the book, he was reduced to a failure of a man, unable to prevent the Europeans from taking control of his village. This was deeply emasculating for him, as his identity and pride stemmed from his power, and he eventually resorted to hanging himself. Men expressing their emotions and opening up about their struggles was frowned upon then, and still is, something Michael Ian Black aims to change. Okonkwo’s struggles, although expressed through a work of fiction, were very real and continue to plague modern society.
Toxic masculinity squashes men’s ability to express themselves, whether that be through emotions, the way they dress, or how they act. Men need not show their abilities through aggression, as Okonkwo believed; other men in his tribe unabashedly proclaimed who they were through music, storytelling, and masquerade ceremonies. And such is the message of Michael Ian Black: affirming to young men that expression and vulnerability are things to be strived towards rather than ashamed of.
Although it was not Achebe’s original intent, I believe he inadvertently makes a case for feminism in “Things Fall Apart” by showing the negative impact of Okonkwo’s toxic masculinity. Through the lens of toxic masculinity, the worst thing men can be is like women: crying or spending time on one’s appearance is heavily criticized. If gender equality is achieved, there will be no standard for men to be reduced to. We need to take a page out of Michael Ian Black’s book and look to feminism to fix the world’s broken boys, lest they fall into the deadly cycle that has existed since long before Okonkwo’s time.
Sebastian Zagler, John T. Hoggard High School, Wilmington, N.C.: the Collatz, or 3n+1, conjecture, a mathematical problem that has produced no mathematical proof for over 80 years, and “Stopping Climate Change Is Hopeless. Let’s Do It.”
The Collatz conjecture is a seemingly simple math problem. It reads: “Multiply any counting number by 3 and add 1 when odd, and divide it by 2 when even, and it will eventually reach one.” And while this conjecture has been observed to be true, it has never been proven mathematically. Its solution is much more complex than the problem’s statement. The same could be said about climate change. Describing the problem is easy; climate change is fueled by an excess of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, trapping in heat and causing a warming of the planet. However, solving the problem is so much more difficult. As Auden Schendler and Andrew P. Jones write in their article, “Stopping Climate Change is Hopeless. Let’s do it,” reversing climate change will be more difficult than “sending a man to the moon,” or even “winning World War II.”
The Collatz conjecture is famous in the mathematical community. Its apparent simplicity yet monstrous difficulty pulls people in. Experts and laymen alike have tried to solve it and have shared their results for others to continue. The problem has appeared in countless dissertations and journals. Still, it remains unsolved after 82 years, and a discovery of the solution in the near future is highly unlikely. The legendary mathematician Paul Erdős put it simply, “Mathematics may not be ready for such problems.” It may require the development of new branches and innovations in mathematics to prove the Collatz conjecture.
Climate change is similar; it may take new branches of science and changes in human behavior to develop the solution. It is a global problem which scientists and politicians must work on together, across nations, sharing their progress amongst each other to continue the fight. It has become apparent that the reversal of climate change is the hardest task that humans have ever faced, so hard that they may never see it realized. It is “not a job with a clear payoff,” and yet people devote their lives to it.
What draws mankind to these impossible problems, whether it be solving the Collatz conjecture or reversing climate change? Fighting for a common cause brings people together, making them part of something greater. Even fighting a “long defeat” can give one a sense of purpose—a sense of belonging. There is a beauty in fighting a losing battle, as long as a glimmer of hope remains. And as Schendler and Jones write, “If the human species specializes in one thing, it’s taking on the impossible.”
Runners-Up: Excerpts From the Essays
Anieya Archuleta-Valdez, a student from Utah, connects the Op-Doc above with Elie Wiesel’s “Night.”
For the runners-up, we are publishing short excerpts from their essays — enough, we hope, to give readers an understanding of why and how the writer connected the two texts.
Anieya Archuleta-Valdez, NUAMES High School, Layton, Utah: “Night” by Elie Wiesel and “Wuilly Arteaga: Fighting Venezuela’s Repression With My Violin”
“Night” had me dumbstruck and in turmoil while reading. It transported me to another place, and I could almost feel the pain and need for survival one might have felt. However, there was one important part of the book that stood out to me: Juliek’s farewell. He played Beethoven’s Concerto, something the SS forbid him from doing. He broke the silence that filled the darkness and played the last piece he ever would.
Much like Juliek, Wuilly Arteaga played in defiance against the Cuban government. He too lived in restraint and was denied his “basic” human rights. He was beaten, tortured, and witnessed his comrades die before him.
Despite this, Juliek’s and Wuilly’s music wasn’t filled with hatred or anger. Their songs reflected pain and hope, but, most of all, both of their performances conveyed forgiveness.
Mahesh Agarwal, Berwick Academy, Exeter, N.H.: “Oryx and Crake” by Margaret Atwood and “Chinese Scientist Claims to Use Crispr to Make First Genetically Edited Babies”
A mass-distributed drug has eradicated Homo Sapiens—an inefficient, violent and sex-crazed people. Now, “Crakers” inhabit the earth. This gentle new species has a digestive tract that can process grass and skin that is UV protected and blemish free. Devoid of lust, Crakers breed during a specified season and live until they’re programmed to die at age thirty, avoiding the ailments that come with midlife. Such is the vision of Crake, a bio-engineer in Margaret Atwood’s novel “Oryx and Crake.” By spreading a virus and “improving” humanity, the geneticist’s desire for perfection propels him across both scientific boundaries and moral ones.
Atwood’s story, although obviously fictional, deals with a relevant topic: the ethics surrounding genetic modification. Two months ago, Chinese scientist He Jiankui reportedly created the world’s the first genetically edited babies: twin girls named Lulu and Nana. In order to give the embryos HIV-resistance, Dr. He used CRISPR Cas9, a chemical pair of “scissors” that can cut and paste sections of DNA. Dr. He caused global uproar. Gene-editing is still in its infancy and many pointed out that any mistake would affect not only Lulu and Nana but all of their future descendants. Instead of being championed as a step towards a healthier future, this experiment was seen as a rogue move that used humans as lab rats.
Vaidehi B, Deccan International School, Bangalore, India: “1984” by George Orwell and “Your Apps Know Where You Were Last Night, and They’re Not Keeping It Secret”
On the surface, it seems as though the world of Winston Smith is a hyperbole, a worst-case scenario, an exaggerated version of your reality. However, upon closer examination and analysis, you notice the uncanny and surprising similarities between the reality that Orwell paints in the book and the reality you live in. The book alludes to several themes that are relevant in the 21st century, the two major ones being privacy and freedom.
“Big Brother is watching,” is a statement that is pervasive throughout the novel, and it makes you think about the Big Brother in your reality, a significant segment of which may be comprised of social media- Facebook friends, Instagram likes, WhatsApp instant messages. These big tech companies send out assured proclamations of security and data privacy, but in reality, every millisecond of our activity on these apps is being fed into the machinery of profit-generation.
Christine Baek, Northview High School, Johns Creek, Ga.: “Lord of the Flies” by William Golding and “A Dictatorship Is Rising in My Country, Again”
I watched as the boys [in “Lord of the Flies”] shed their wide-eyed purity as easily as snake skin, staining their newly naked forms with bloodshed and decay. The sovereign dictatorship molded from the ashes preceded a society rooted in nationalism based on fear and manipulation and impassioned acts of violence. In the end, the children had become their greatest fear and their greatest enemy; the island was no longer a refuge, but a battleground as the inhabitants descended into chaos.
Just months later, I read an op-ed essay: “A Dictatorship Is Rising in My Country, Again” addressing the reality of Daniel Ortega’s regime as a “return to dictatorship.” President Ortega, once a symbol of revolution and freedom from the violent Somoza dynasty’s reign, is now the head of the sprawling Sandinista government. The brutalization of innocent people, the burning of books, and the organized attacks on religion are all done to strip away the human rights of Nicaragua’s citizens. They are all acts I have seen in the nightmarish dystopian novels flooding my school supply list.
Luke Briody, Byram Hills High School, Bedford, N.Y.: “Maus” by Art Spiegelman and “Migrants in Tijuana Run to U.S. Border, but Fall Back in Face of Tear Gas”
Liberty’s lantern flickers in the eastern skies as the sun blazes down upon Tijuana, Mexico. While American citizens sit down on their couches to enjoy the Saturday morning cartoons, a caravan of migrant families are immersed in chants and cheers of freedom; they have traveled hundreds—thousands—of miles in search of sanctuary. Yet here at their new home and haven, they find instead a new hell, as tear gas rains down upon them. Suffocating. Silencing. But why? Homeland Security secretary Kirstjen Nielsen suggests violence by migrants, but Maya Averbuch & Elisabeth Malkin imply in “Migrants in Tijuana Run to U.S. Border, but Fall Back in Face of Tear Gas” that the true impetus was nothing more than the color of the migrants’ skin: the beginnings of an American hecatomb.
Currently, my English class is exploring Art Spiegelman’s “Maus” and its classification into a genre, considering the controversy of its content and graphic medium. Hailed as an allegory, a comic strip, and a pure biography, Maus encompasses all literary realms… But what if the ambiguous nature of this piece’s identity was intentional? Spiegelman created “Maus” to illustrate the strength of an interconnected narrative of past and present, rather than the bare bones of one strained through the polluted dichotomies of genre. This concept applies to all levels of identity created by and for humans: every border, belief, and birthright. When Hitler perceived the Jews as threats, he did not identify them as humans, or lovers, or families, but as animals. With the isolation of an entire people from their true identity, we irrevocably lost six million of our own kin.
Sarah Fulton, Flint Hill School, Oakton, Va.: The psychological term “choice blindness” and “Why Trump Supporters Don’t Mind His Lies”
In psychology, we learned about a term: choice blindness. Essentially, a person becomes so consumed with their own choice that they fail to see any development or change in the situation that would change their opinion. It’s part of a bigger circumstance called the introspection illusion. People tend to be more confident and stubborn than they should be in their choices; we will even go to the extent of defending an argument that’s wrong, just because we made it.
Unfortunately, this is reminiscent of the political climate today. In the article “Why Trump Supporters Don’t Mind His Lies” by Daniel A. Efron, it states that Donald Trump made over 2,400 false statements in under 400 days in office, however, his Republican approval ratings are at 82 percent. The excuses people actually believe these falsehoods or they just don’t mind them because they’re a result of his confidence; nonetheless, I believe it stems from this introspective illusion. Specific to our president, in 2016, voters made a choice and now that that choice may not be as ideal, people still want to believe they were right. This isn’t specific to Trump either. In all major issues, there tends to be two sides that get so caught up in their own viewpoint that they refuse to even acknowledge the other side.
Gabriela Garity, Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart, Miami, Fla.: Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave” and “Climate Denial Was the Crucible for Trumpism”
The deadliest wildfire in history, the costliest hurricane ever to hit the United States, and multiple exhortatory reports from the world’s leading experts seemed to have no effect on the most powerful man in the world’s belief that climate change is a “gigantic hoax.” It does not require a scientific degree to notice that as carbon emissions, deforestation, and pollution have increased, so have global temperatures and natural disasters. Why, in our abundance of knowledge, do those in power turn their backs to the truth? Paul Krugman, author of “Climate Denial Was the Crucible for Trumpism,” says the reason is a combination of “corruption, willful ignorance, conspiracy theorizing and intimidation.” Examining the relationship between knowledge and politics, Plato in his “Allegory of the Cave” presents a similar list of reasons: lack of sense of duty, private interests, and corrupt political ambition.
In Plato’s allegory, a group of prisoners chained inside a cave, unable to turn their heads to look around, have spent their entire lives believing that the shadows in front of them are “real” objects. One prisoner escapes and enters the world of light, recognizing that his life in the cave lacked objective truth. When he informs the other prisoners of his findings and attempts to liberate them, they threaten to put him to death. Plato applies his allegory to politics, demonstrating how the truth is sacrificed in favor of political gain. Sound familiar?
You Young Kim, Seoul International School, Seoul, Korea: Virginia Woolf’s “Professions for Women” and “How I Came to Hate the Word ‘Wife’”
As bizarre as it may sound to an American reader, [aegyo (a Korean word for acting cute)] is encouraged in Korean women. Female celebrities are often asked to show aegyo on television; a young female singer named Kang Jiyoung once incurred much hatred online for refusing to show aegyo on a talk show. Aegyo has long become a characteristic many Korean men expect in women, and even many women concede that it is a quality that women should possess.
Growing up in such a society, I did not ponder the implications of aegyo deeply until I came across Virginia Woolf’s “Professions for Women” in my AP English Language class. Delivered in 1931 before a branch of the National Society for Women’s Service, the speech celebrates Woolf’s successful killing of the Angel in the House (the idea that a woman should be devoted and submissive to her husband). I rejoiced in her success only briefly, however; my eyes lingered over her lament that she still has “many ghosts to fight, many prejudices to overcome.” Indeed, the conventionality of men restricts a woman’s freedom. A woman can no longer be herself once she is concerned about the male opinion of herself.
Almost a century after Woolf’s speech, women still struggle to fight against the expectations thrust upon themselves—their Angels in the House—as well as men’s conventions of gender roles. In “How I Came to Hate the Word ‘Wife,’” Marcia Walker finds herself feeling strangely possessive about housework that she previously resented after finally acceding to the label “wife.” Despite feeling distressed by the traditional duties associated with this new “role,” she is unable to redefine its responsibilities in a way that would not compromise her freedom and identity.
Just like Walker’s revelations that she does more housework as a wife than her unmarried self, women in Korea, myself included, often find ourselves raising our voices and omitting syllables—whether consciously or not—to appear more feminine, as society expects.
Simon Levien, Sparta High School, Sparta, N.J.: “The Metamorphosis” by Franz Kafka and “Some Good News, and a Hard Truth, About Science”
There’s a famous line in German. Translated, it goes: “As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams, he discovered that he had been changed into a monstrous, verminous bug.” It comes from Franz Kafka’s most-celebrated novel, “The Metamorphosis,” in which salesman Gregor Samsa wakes up, suddenly transformed into an insect-like creature, or bug, or cockroach, or dung beetle, or...we don’t really know. Metamorphosing “The Metamorphosis” into English has been a translator’s quandary for over a century. The German word Kafka uses in place of “bug” is “Ungeziefer” (and yes, it’s a capitalized proper noun) with no direct English translation. Translators search their entomological glossaries for suitable “Ungeziefer” alternatives but to no consensus.
...But the problem of translation doesn’t just stick to the literary world, it very much extends into our own lives through science communication. Science and technical journalists are tasked with the same challenge as literary translators. They need to take dense, jargon-filled research articles and clarify them into succinct feature pieces that both catch the eye and stay true to scientific findings. Effectively, they—just like Kafka’s translators—must interpret and innovate to get a text from language A (the scientific world) to language B (the general public). And sometimes, compromises must be made for simplicity’s sake.
But between staying true to hard data and embellishing it for readability (or for clicks) is a balancing act. Fake news writers and conspiracy curators are not-so impartial translators, distorting information, misrepresenting statistics for their agendas. And there’s major ramifications in purposeful mistranslation—swung votes, misinformed minds, unvaccinated children. It inspired the recent March for Science this Science Times article deals with. As literary translators defend the sanctity of translated works, hoping to be as close to the original as they can, science journalism and science’s portrayal in the media must follow suit. In the words of the article’s author Alan Burdick: “That’s the task of science journalism, to tell that story, as well as keeping the enterprise accountable.”
Peyton Narr, Vanden High School, Vacaville, Calif.: “Speak” by Laurie Halse Anderson and “How I Used Art to Get Through Trauma”
“Speak” is about a freshman named Melinda Sordino whose sense of self-worth is obliterated after being raped at a high school party. Not only does she face the ordinary trials of transitioning to high school, but also faces depression, self-harm, suicidal thoughts, bullying, severe loneliness, insecurity, fear, anxiety, and many symptoms of PTSD. At the beginning of the story she feels utterly isolated, unable to voice her seemingly endless suffering. Throughout her journey of reclaiming her life back, she rediscovers her love of art and uses it to empower herself and heal.
The tragic event inspiring the New York Times article “How I Used Art to Get Through Trauma” by Terry Sullivan occurred only six years prior to the initial publishing of “Speak.” Sullivan witnessed a mass shooting on her evening train commute in which six people died and nineteen others were injured. Although she fled physically unharmed, she was left with mental scars and suffering. She faced difficulty when attempting to accurately translate her emotions into words, so she turned to her love of art to express herself.
Jenna Park, Blair Academy, Blairstown, N.J.: “The Veldt” by Ray Bradbury and “Technology Has Destroyed Reality”
Bradbury paints a world where technology is so advanced that it creates confusion between reality and fantasy. Although the short story was published way back in 1950, almost 70 years from today, it astonished me how Bradbury foresaw the implications of technology on people’s lives. The New York Times article, “Technology Has Destroyed Reality” by Hito Steyerl, correlates closely with Bradbury’s work. Steyerl shares with her audience that technology “divides and fragments” people, just as Bradbury’s nursery ultimately separates and destroys the family’s relationship.
Although there is no roaring lion in Steyerl’s piece, she describes how contemporary technology provides a “custom-made” reality for “your preferences” if you “don’t like the reality you’re facing.” As Bradbury highlights the dangers and fears of relying on technology too much, Steyerl underscores how our very real technology promotes fake news, false reports, and rumors, as well as technology’s effects on the workforce.
Paige Patton, New Tech High@Coppell, Irving, Tex.: “The Things They Carried” by Tim O’Brien and “Military Veterans Respond to Our Cover Story About Moral Injury”
Pearl Harbor, D-Day, and the Evacuation of Saigon are the war stories we always think about. Our society focuses on the epic battles and forgets about the quiet moments or the loud moments that seem quiet: the death of a friend, the killing of an enemy, the moment when the feeling of war finally settles in. Tim O’Brien’s novel, “The Things They Carried,” describes these instances that affect soldiers’ lives forever. The New York Times also provides anecdotes in “Military Veterans Respond to Our Cover Story About Moral Injury” that describe the psychological injury to veterans.
“The Things They Carried” is a succinct compilation of stories and experiences about the Vietnam War. They range in both length and drama, but each reveals something about the realities of Vietnam. He recounts how a friend was playing with a grenade and it exploded, forcing O’Brien to shake his human remains down from a tree. O’Brien also tells of the first time he killed a man. It wasn’t intentional. It was an “automatic” response, he claims. The victim was a young Vietnamese man walking along a path adjacent to the American ambush team. However, the most important aspect of this story is how O’Brien presents several different versions: one for his daughter, one for the reader, one for himself. The truth is subject to change, and it is constantly evolving to match the circumstance. Civilians never hear the real stories, just the versions they find appealing. We encourage the lying because we are dissatisfied with the mundane.
Veterans often suppress these stories when they return home. In The New York Times, veterans from across wars tell about the internal struggles they faced upon returning home. Huck Flynn from Colorado, “pretend[ed] that he was O.K.” to the guests at his daughter’s birthday party. Sean Case remarks, “my young cousin thanked me for keeping him safe, but I couldn’t bring myself to respond for fear of lying.” These veterans are forced to present a certain truth to those around them while wrestling with the realities of how war has damaged them. These struggles often manifest themselves in the forms of outbursts, addictions, suicide, and murder.
Amy-Grace Ratanapratum, Fountain Valley High School, Huntington Beach, Calif.: “Why I Write” by Terry Tempest Williams and “The Feminist Power of Embroidery”
In such a socially and politically tumultuous time, how can we take a step away from the utter chaos of it all? With the clamor of so many voices, each scrambling to be heard over the other, how can we hope to hear our own?
Stronger importance has been placed on the “self” as of late, and with that importance comes the need for self-expression. There needs to be a way to make ourselves heard—not just to an audience, but to ourselves. Terry Tempest Williams, in “Why I Write,” explains how her writing does just that. Our class had first read it in order to pinpoint exactly why we, as individuals, chose to write. At first glance, the poetry of it struck a chord with me. In it, I saw a piece of myself. We went around, articulating our own purposes for writing, and I was surprised to find that many of us had similar reasoning: “to explain...to express...to understand the world around [ourselves].” Williams, too, “[writes] to make peace with the things [she] cannot control.” These similarities couldn’t be a coincidence.
The act of creating for yourself, and yourself alone, transports you from the turmoil of the world and creates a space where you can be alone with your thoughts. It can be “an act of slowness,” allowing you to process the constant flood of information from behind screens. Or, as Tammy Kim writes in “The Feminist Power of Embroidery,” it can be “transgressive in its silence and domesticity.”
Kim expresses a similar sentiment to Willams’ in “The Feminist Power of Embroidery,” admitting that while “resistance is necessarily public...there is a corresponding need for time indoors, where [she] can be still and let the mind wander.”
Sarahi, Verona Area High School, Verona, Wis.: “Enrique’s Journey” by Sonia Nazario and “Trump and the Baby Snatchers”
Sonia Nazario had written “Enrique’s Journey” to depict the realities of immigrants, especially in recent decades, depicting the journey of struggles immigrants go through, such as gangs, bandits, lack of food and water, and trying to avoid border patrol. As “Enrique’s Journey” humanizes and brings awareness to the situations of immigrants, President Donald Trump’s language tells another standpoint. New York Times author, Charles Blow had written “Trump and the Baby Snatcher”, after President Trump enforced families to be separated and incarcerated because Trump viewed them as “unlawful immigrants” and “criminals”; therefore, the foul language and actions used by Trump dehumanizes all immigrants who cross the border.
Annie Sheridan, Marblehead High School, Marblehead, Mass.: “Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley and “Now Mental Health Patients Can Specify Their Care Before Hallucinations and Voices Overwhelm Them”
Both pieces regard bioethical issues of their times and unfair treatment given to people because of their differences. The creation of Frankenstein’s monster is a great bioethical dilemma because it is be a major scientific discovery but its morality is debatable. The bioethical issue in the article is whether mentally unstable patients should get full control of their treatment.
The amount of respect that Mr. Singer, profiled in the New York Times article, and the creature from Frankenstein received from others are similar. Mr. Singer, who suffers from bipolar and borderline personality disorder, was locked in a room with a guard at the door for 20 hours after visiting the hospital. Both of them were treated like they were animals that were to be put in cages. Even Mary Shelley, the author of “Frankenstein,” wanted to see the creature in anguish.
When reading “Frankenstein,” it can be hard to empathize with the monster because he is just that, a monster. I never felt strong sympathy for him because he acted so inhumane. Surprisingly, the treatment that Mr. Singer received in the NY Times article allowed me to understand how the monster felt.
Tommy Sherman, Bloomfield Hills High School, Bloomfield Hills, Mich.: “Waiting for Godot” by Samuel Beckett and “Going Nowhere Fast on Climate, Year After Year”
In this article, author Paul Bledsoe displays society’s lack of action over the past 30 years, from the meager response to the staggering climate reports of the 1980s to the current withdrawal of the US from the Paris Climate Accords, ending his article with another warning about the rapid warming of the planet and the costs to humanity in the near and far future. Like we care.
Although tempting, to think this increasing disregard of our global problems is merely a modern phenomenon would truly be naive. Societal ignorance is a never-ceasing historical habit, which has spread into our literature through the escapist genre, often infused with political allegory.
In my English class, we recently read the play “Waiting for Godot” by Samuel Beckett, a play originally written in France in 1949. The play follows two characters, Vladimir and Estragon, as they wait for a man named Godot for reasons unknown to the reader. As Vladimir and Estragon wait for Godot, they converse about things they wish to do: hang themselves from a nearby tree; never see each other again; and move from where they are, ultimately ceasing to wait for Godot. However, Vladimir and Estragon severely lack the motivation to take almost any action throughout the play, expressed ironically at the end of Act I when Beckett writes,
ESTRAGON: Well, shall we go?
VLADIMIR: Yes, let’s go.
They do not move. Curtain.
...Beckett’s incessant displays of inaction are not only purposeful, but also a satirical stab at the ignorance of the political elite in post WWII France. Although his play was written for another time, Beckett’s Waiting for Godot still has relevance today, as the problem of lethargy has surfaced again with respect to global warming.
Janani Srinivas, West Windsor-Plainsboro High School North, Plainsboro, N.J.: World War II and the Holocaust and “China Is Detaining Muslims in Vast Numbers. The Goal: ‘Transformation.’”
“Never Again,” that is what we said after World War II, never again would such prejudice corrupt the thoughts of our world. “Never Again,” was the anthem of the people after the 9/11 attacks, never again would we let ourselves be caught off guard like that ever again. “Never Again,” is what we say after every single school shooting that has happened over the past decade, never again would we let our schools become war zones. It is funny though, how history keeps on repeating itself, isn’t it. Now the situation in China with the Uighur Muslims is no different, yet again are we imprisoning people for being who they were born to be, or who they chose to be. Throughout my education I have learned about the Holocaust in different subjects to varying degrees. In science, we learned about how the Germans used chlorine against the american troops. In language arts, we read the “Diary of Anne Frank” and other books detailing the life of a Jew during this time. And in history, we learned about everything leading up to the War and all the catalysts and warning signs. At the time my peers and I just went through the motions, did the homework and took the tests. Only after reading about the Uighur Muslims did I understand why we were being taught the same unit year after year.
Valerie Wang and Kisha Yan, Richard Montgomery High School, Bethesda, Md.: Newton’s Third Law and “Women Will Pay for the Mess of the Kavanaugh Confirmation”
Newton published his laws of motion in his Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy. Not only have these laws been the cornerstones of the field of physics, but they’re also applicable to the metaphysical world. Perhaps the most often quoted is Newton’s third law, which states that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Simply put, it explains why your knuckles hurt while boxing, or why a tennis ball bounces. Outside of its implications in a classroom setting and its fundamental interpretations, the general principle stands: everything you do will have repercussions, making it crucial to remain tenacious in our words and actions.
For decades, people have been urged to speak up about sexual assault, yet society still tiptoes around the subject like it is broken glass. The past year has brought momentous change, with pivotal figures such as Christine Blasey Ford, Deborah Ramirez, and Julie Swetnick shedding much needed light on the issue of sexual harassment. Women around the world, realizing that they were not alone, were empowered by the courage of others to share their own stories, sometimes earning justice for the crimes committed against them. Although the rise in such testimonials should have solely been constructive in the treatment of women in society, it has caused unanticipated backlash and damage.
The article headline, “Women Will Pay for the Mess of the Kavanaugh Confirmation,” likely shocked readers initially, especially those for whom Ford has become a beacon of inspiration. Yet, reading into the article reveals the author’s disheartening, albeit true, conclusion that the women involved, the very people who ought to have benefitted from Ford’s testimony, are unfortunately losing just as much as they should have gained. Hence, being equal, but opposite.
Maxwell T. Wilson, Cresskill High School, Cresskill, N.J.: “A Streetcar Named Desire” by Tennessee Williams and “China Is a Dangerous Rival, and America Should Treat It Like One”
Two partners, polar opposites in attitude and personality, find themselves in a relationship built not on love but on carnal needs, violence, dominance, and submission. One is delicate, valuing kindness and virtue. The other is aggressive, even animalistic. It works because the former submits to the latter, rationalizing and forgiving abusive behavior.
American literature buffs might recognize this relationship as that of Tennessee Williams’ Stanley and Stella Kowalski, two main characters in “A Streetcar Named Desire.” But the pattern of dysfunction also describes another star-crossed couple: The United States and China.
A recent article in The New York Times entitled “China Is a Dangerous Rival, and America Should Treat It Like One” noted that the Chinese are simultaneously one of our greatest trading partners, and one of our greatest strategic enemies. Their ideology is antithetical to ours; they steal our intellectual property and rattle at us a military saber built with our dollars. It seems that just as Stella is dangerously attracted to Stanley’s dark masculinity, the U.S. is addicted to The Red Dragon’s cheap goods.
Audrey Yin, Phillips Exeter Academy, Exeter, N.H.: “The Danger of a Single Story” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and “China Breaks Silence on Muslim Detention Camps, Calling Them ‘Humane’”
I first heard about China’s hidden internment camps through a snapchat news story. Located in Xinjiang, these camps hold tens of thousands of Muslims. The Chinese government refers to them as students, bragging on public media about their “generous” living conditions. However, the truth of the situation has been brought to light by various news sources. These Muslims are being brainwashed and stripped of their identities. Chinese officials ignore Islam values like the strict adherence to permitted “halal” foods and dress code, instead detaining Muslims and force-feeding them communist propaganda.
It is shocking to see how individualism was not allowed fifty years ago and are still not allowed today. Reflecting on what happened to my grandparents during the Cultural Revolution, and seeing picture after picture of Muslims reciting laws and being forced to do hard, manual labor, I wondered how it was possible for oppressors to oppress. I realise now that this isn’t a simple matter of empathy. Maybe the incentive is more of an absolute power for the communist regime.
In English class we watched the Ted Talk “The Danger of a Single Story” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. She spoke of how one version of what you hear has the power to totally infest your perspective on someone or something. Are these Chinese officials, the ones who are running the Muslim “schools”, hearing single stories from the government? Are the Muslims trapped in these camps hearing single stories from these officials? When these shallow, one dimensional stories become somebody’s truth, do we start forgetting about putting each other in each other’s shoes, regardless of religions or customs?
Honorable Mentions: The Texts They Paired
Sarg Adrien, Lycée Saint-Louis de Gonzague, Paris. Music : Concerto No. 2 Rachmaninoff (Moderato Adagio Sostenuto Allegro scherzando) and “Losing Earth: The Decade We Almost Stopped Climate Change”
Akshitha Bhashetty and Arthi Venkatakrishnan, West Windsor Plainsboro High School North, Plainsboro, N.J.: Geometric proofs and “She Was Exonerated of the Murder of Her Son. Her Life Is Still Shattered.”
Alice Dauchez, Lycee Francais de New York, New York, N.Y., “Death of a Salesman” by Arthur Miller and “With U.S. Soil Achingly Close, Decision Time for Caravan Migrants”
Reagan Dunn, New Tech High@Coppell, Irving, Tex.: “The Scarlet Letter” by Nathaniel Hawthorne and “For Transgender Americans, the Political Gets Even More Personal”
Amelia Grullon, Bronxville Middle School, Bronxville, N.Y.: The chem
“【好】【的】，【谢】【谢】【你】【了】【冯】【老】【伯】！” 【知】【道】【在】【冯】【老】【头】【这】【里】【也】【问】【不】【出】【什】【么】，【蜀】【佳】【莹】【找】【了】【一】【替】【口】【离】【开】【了】，【不】【过】【她】【看】【冯】【老】【头】【的】【家】【境】【惨】【淡】，【在】【离】【去】【前】【她】【给】【冯】【老】【头】【开】【了】【一】【副】【方】【子】。 “【冯】【老】【伯】，【你】【这】【样】【咳】【下】【去】【很】【伤】【身】【的】，【我】【这】【里】【有】【一】【个】【方】【子】，【而】【且】【里】【面】【的】【药】【也】【不】【贵】，【我】【看】【你】【还】【是】【按】【照】【这】【个】【方】【子】【去】【抓】【些】【药】【来】【调】【理】【一】【下】，【一】【个】【疗】【程】【三】【天】，【每】
“【看】【来】，【不】【留】【下】【点】【儿】【东】【西】，【还】【真】【是】【走】【不】【了】！” 【嘴】【角】【微】【微】【不】【太】【自】【然】【抽】【搐】【中】，【神】【色】【倒】【也】【安】【定】【了】【下】【来】。 【这】【家】【伙】【功】【夫】【的】【进】【步】，【确】【实】【邪】【性】！ 【细】【想】【想】，【似】【是】【还】【有】【种】【说】【不】【出】【的】【毛】【骨】【悚】【然】【之】【感】。 【但】【他】，【也】【终】【究】【不】【是】【吃】【素】【的】。 【想】【要】【留】【下】【他】，【绝】【非】【轻】【而】【易】【举】【能】【做】【到】【的】【事】【儿】。 【如】【果】【这】【家】【伙】【真】【的】【到】【了】【这】【种】【地】【步】，【那】【这】【片】【禁】
【白】【皓】【雪】【说】【完】，【把】【手】【里】【的】【合】【约】【交】【给】【楚】【音】【儿】：“【楚】【姑】【娘】，【这】【些】【文】【件】【你】【先】【拿】【着】，【等】【我】【找】【到】【霁】【寒】【煜】【后】【再】【说】。” 【说】【完】，【白】【皓】【雪】【也】【不】【管】【楚】【音】【儿】【是】【什】【么】【表】【情】，【同】【意】【还】【是】【不】【同】【意】，【就】【立】【刻】【跑】【了】。 “【喂】……【你】……” 【楚】【音】【儿】【看】【到】【白】【皓】【雪】【跑】【的】【越】【来】【越】【远】，【没】【一】【会】【儿】【就】【不】【见】【的】【背】【影】，【只】【能】【无】【奈】【的】【叹】【口】【气】。 【楚】【音】【儿】【原】【本】【也】【打】【算】【打】【道】
…… “【这】？” ***【震】，【露】【出】【了】【不】【可】【思】【议】【的】【神】【色】。【然】【后】【又】【冷】【笑】【了】【一】【声】【说】，“【切】，【这】【都】【已】【经】【是】【什】【么】【年】【代】【了】。【哪】【个】【还】【无】【聊】【到】【玩】【这】【个】【梗】？【无】【聊】！” 【不】【过】，【鬼】【使】【神】【差】【般】【的】，【在】【他】【即】【将】【选】【择】NO【的】【时】【候】，【还】【是】【点】【了】【个】YES。【反】【正】【选】【择】【了】YES，【也】【至】【多】【就】【是】【被】【捉】【弄】【一】【下】【而】【已】。 “【光】【明】【骑】【士】【养】【成】【系】【统】【已】【植】【入】，【任】【务】福中福高手心水论论坛“【什】【么】？【你】【再】【给】【我】【说】【一】【遍】！”【罗】【恭】【听】【了】【朱】【司】【正】【之】【言】，【立】【即】【揪】【住】【朱】【司】【正】【的】【官】【袍】，【不】【相】【信】【的】【质】【问】。 “【行】【了】【行】【了】，【别】【问】【了】，【这】【种】【结】【果】【我】【早】【就】【预】【料】【到】【了】。【这】【种】【无】【名】【小】【卒】，【若】【是】【在】【被】【利】【用】【完】【之】【后】，【只】【能】【当】【替】【罪】【羊】，【只】【能】【被】【灭】【口】。【现】【在】【看】【来】，【牛】【三】【很】【荣】【幸】，【成】【为】【了】【一】【只】【替】【罪】【羊】。【可】【是】，【他】【却】【忽】【略】【了】【一】【个】【问】【题】。”【冯】【祜】【狡】【黠】【的】【笑】【道】。
【白】【墨】【染】【坐】【在】【书】【桌】【前】，【如】【同】【往】【日】【一】【般】【看】【着】【医】【术】，【却】【是】【怎】【么】【也】【看】【不】【进】【去】【了】，【眼】【神】【不】【断】【的】【瞟】【着】【门】【外】，【像】【是】【在】【等】【待】【着】【什】【么】。 “【主】【子】，【你】【在】【看】【什】【么】【呢】？” 【说】【话】【的】【是】【已】【经】【很】【久】【都】【没】【有】【出】【现】【在】【白】【墨】【染】【面】【前】【的】【月】【辰】，【按】【照】【玉】【浮】【笙】【的】【说】【法】【是】【要】【教】【一】【教】【月】【辰】【规】【矩】，【再】【加】【上】【月】【辰】【之】【前】【也】【太】【过】【放】【肆】，【所】【以】【就】【同】【意】【了】【玉】【浮】【笙】【的】【提】【议】，【直】【到】【近】【几】
【白】【芷】【被】【一】【只】【肥】【腻】【的】【手】【抓】【住】【了】【胳】【膊】，【顿】【时】【一】【股】【子】【厌】【恶】【感】【从】【内】【心】【深】【处】【窜】【出】，【外】【露】【的】【皮】【肤】【上】【跃】【出】【一】【层】【鸡】【皮】【疙】【瘩】。 【强】【压】【住】【逃】【跑】【的】【冲】【动】，【顺】【着】【对】【方】【拉】【扯】【的】【力】【气】【坐】【下】，【却】【不】【想】！ 【臀】【部】【下】，【是】【一】【双】【粗】【壮】【的】【大】【腿】~ 【这】【一】【刻】，【白】【芷】【觉】【得】【自】【己】【头】【皮】【都】【在】【发】【麻】，【再】【也】【控】【制】【不】【住】【内】【心】【的】【抗】【拒】，【猛】【地】【站】【起】，【推】【开】【挡】【在】【前】【面】【的】【人】【往】【外】【冲】。
【阿】【亮】【狡】【辩】【道】：“【党】【正】，【你】【怎】【么】【能】【信】【我】【娘】【的】【话】？【我】【娘】【老】【糊】【涂】【了】，【天】【天】【在】【我】【耳】【边】【聒】【噪】，【我】【都】【快】【被】【她】【烦】【死】【了】。【甚】【么】【不】【三】【不】【四】【的】【人】，【都】【是】【村】【里】【的】【几】【个】【后】【生】。” 【王】【党】【正】【厉】【声】【警】【告】【道】：“【后】【生】【中】【也】【有】【好】【歹】！【像】【阿】【胡】、【虎】【哥】、【棍】【儿】【等】【几】【个】【后】【生】【天】【天】【吃】【喝】【嫖】【赌】，【不】【是】【甚】【么】【好】【人】！【你】【家】【是】【清】【白】【人】【家】，【你】【就】【不】【要】【跟】【他】【们】【来】【往】【了】。” 【阿】【亮】