Passive female figures in Chekhov’s “The Darling”, “Anyuta”, and “A Gentleman Friend”

Known for his ability to recreate Russian life succinctly through representative anecdotes, Anton Chekhov creates female protagonists who uphold morals and expose flaws of Russian society through silent suffering and endurance. Due to their honesty and innocent malleability, these females are wronged and exploited as marginalized members of society. Olenka, Anyuta, and Vanda, from “The … Continue reading Passive female figures in Chekhov’s “The Darling”, “Anyuta”, and “A Gentleman Friend”

Children Invent Things: Venice, Determinism, Bach

Before I knew that there was a country called Italy, before I knew the word philosophy, let alone Plato or Socrates, before I had touched classic literature or become addicted to the internet, I liked to daydream. I still do, of course, that's a pastime that will never completely leave me and is probably essential … Continue reading Children Invent Things: Venice, Determinism, Bach

Fangirl Apologetics (♂♀) – Open Letter

Dear All, The term "fangirl" gets a bad rap because it conjures up images of cooing hordes of women too old for their obsession. Teenagers hanging up posters of Justin Bieber and One Direction in their bedrooms. Wannabes writing less-than-stellar fan fictions. Immaturity. Hysterics. Dreaminess and idealism. As with all stereotypes, there is some truth in that. But like the others, there can be so much more. If you know me, you will know that I am a huge nerd about many things. From Harry Potter, Star Wars, and DC/Marvel superheroes, to string quartets, Shakespeare, Johnny Depp, and musical theatre, I've had many "phases", but I never look upon them as that way, not even in retrospect. So in short, here's my statement defending the legitimacy of all the fandoms that I belong in.

The Inexhaustible Variety of Life

“I was within and without, simultaneously enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life.” ― F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby As an INFJ, I have a difficult time staying in the present. My inferior function is Se, or extroverted Sensing, so sometimes I find myself detached from the moment and the finer details of my surroundings elude me. In instances like today, where four years' worth of students gather in a large room, that tends to happen. As humans, we tend to separate ourselves from the masses. (Teens enjoy saying: Nobody understands me! Adults admit to feeling lonely even among other people.) But we're actually more similar than we'd like to care to admit. At the same time, when we realize we're not so different, our distinctions tend to emerge. When this happens, every life, every face, seems, to me at least, to become much more precious. When I zone out, like Nick Carraway, I appreciate humanity more. Wait a minute - is that like saying, you enjoy the concert more when you shove earplugs into your ears? Not exactly. I think it's more like putting on a pair of glasses and seeing the world in a new tint. Sounds absurd to you? Never mind, that's just my thought of the day. ~Gloria

The Paradox of Time and Experience

Does anyone else find our conception of time fundamentally odd? We are said to be constantly inventing ourselves. We go through periods of change and growth. When we emerge from these, we are said to be new. Yet inevitably time causes us to grow older. That's just the way it works. We associate growth with youth. Youth is seldom associated with wisdom however. Our tradeoff for wisdom is our youth. When we celebrate new years and birthdays we say, "Look at me, the new and improved. This is my fresh start." But the paradox is that in order to be new, you have to grow old. Our so-called old selves are younger, oddly. Have you ever thought about that? Time doesn't seem to make sense. It's almost saying that those in the past - the old - don't know any better. The present moment is the oldest we will have ever been before we have gained even more time under our belts. The human who has had the most opportunity for growth and change has been cheated by time. Here's the mystery: We shed our old selves to become older.

Some Universal Laws, According to Homer’s “Odyssey”

Recently I read the great Homerian epic, The Odyssey, and though I expected it to be difficult, the story was both grand and sensitive at times, and altogether very engaging. Simultaneously, I am also taking a Coursera class aptly titled Greek and Roman Mythology from the University of Pennsylvania (for free!). I've been working ahead a little bit and … Continue reading Some Universal Laws, According to Homer’s “Odyssey”

Original Poem: My Revelation

Here's one I had written from experience nearly three years ago now. I unearthed this recently and was reminded of how the younger version of myself experienced God, "surprised by joy", as C.S. Lewis would have put it. Oh! How I soared From that sudden energetic burst The earth was far below And I had … Continue reading Original Poem: My Revelation

Difficulty of Communication – Words, Words

Words can be limiting. They result in misunderstandings, mistranslations, and sometimes even barriers that prevent humans - us - from reaching through to each other. Author after author has complained about how the meaning they are trying to convey in their writings never quite find the right words to come out through, and everybody has … Continue reading Difficulty of Communication – Words, Words