The legend of King Arthur and the Round Table has been told many times. Over the years, it has been rewritten as the story of an injured American trying to modernize medieval England, turned into a comedy starring shrubberies and flesh wounds, and adapted into fantastical role-playing games. This year has seen a reboot, The Kid Who Would Be King, which features a twelve-year-old schoolboy who awakens the evil sorceress Morgana Le Fay in a game of make-believe. Still, not much has been told about the women of King Arthur—the wives, mothers, sisters, and daughters who watched the story unfold. In her high-school series The Mists of Avalon, Marion Zimmer Bradley explores the famous legend from a new point of view.Continue reading “A Fresh Perspective: A Review of The Mists of Avalon“
“See you later!”
I moved away from the group, re-playing our conversation in my head. Had it gone well? I wondered idly. Did they like talking to me, or were they only being polite? I hoped not. Maybe I was too strange, though. Or maybe I was just overthinking things. I shook my head, trying to clear it, but how I wished I could peek into their minds, if only for a moment. How I wished I could know what they were thinking. What if I could?
They had me cornered–two adults sitting on the ground, and my friend in between them. I gave them all a bewildered look and sat heavily on the ribbed metal bench.
The man asked the dreaded question. “So, where are you from?”
I wanted to run away screaming, certain I would be here for hours. “Well,” I said tentatively, “I’m Italian-German on one side, and–or, well, I suppose more like Italian-German-American, since—” I broke off. They were nodding at each other in satisfaction.
“We knew you were American. You have the accent,” said the man sagely.
I glanced at them helplessly. “But . . .” I had an accent, but it definitely wasn’t American. “But, ah, I’ve never lived in the US,” I said. They just blinked at me. Inside, I sighed. Why did they assume—even invent—so much based on race?
“You still have an American accent,” said my friend, and I nodded weakly. What harm could it do?Continue reading “Harmless, Harmful: A Review of Othello“
On Friday the fifteenth of March, Greta Thunberg proclaimed another #FridaysForFuture—a day when students skipped school to protest for responsible energy usage and a cleaner, greener planet. I watched videos of thousands of students out on the streets, holding up signs and shouting things like “You’re killing our lungs!” The same day, I accompanied a friend as he passed out flyers at our legislative building. It was easy to believe that we could have some impact on what lawyers and legislators decided. And yet—what if you were the only voice? Would you be lost in the opposition?
We sped past the pine trees, leaving only exhaust in our wake. The wooded area by the highway was lush and green, but I recognized a plant that should not have been there. The kudzu vine is invasive in my area; you see it everywhere. How could we contain it? I frowned, gazing at a tree completely enveloped in the plant. If only the kudzu vine had never been introduced. How would the landscape look like today? The car switched lanes, bringing me away from my object of study. Would we even know the kudzu vine was a problem? Worse, would another invasive plant just have taken its place?Continue reading “Vines and Threads: A Review of Leviathan“
I sat in the back of the classroom, sketching the enormous vase of flowers in front of me. A girl walked in and looked over my shoulder. She was maybe eight years old, and Asian—probably Chinese, since they taught Mandarin as well as art here. After a few minutes of conversation, the girl announced, “I bet my parents are stricter than yours.”
“I bet they are,” I said blandly.
The girl blinked. “My mom,” she said, unfazed, “made me stay up and study for a test that the teacher didn’t even tell us about.”
I gave her a second glance. She was an eight-year-old living in the United States. What kind of eight-year-old would study for a test? Just how different was the Asian method of education from the American way?Continue reading “Late-Night Education: A Review of Little Soldiers“
What are basic survival needs? Food, clothes, shelter—these seem obvious; they have been so for centuries. But what about survival in a world slightly different, survival in a world of complicated social rules and hierarchies—what else would we need besides food and shelter? Perhaps we would need money, an education, good connections. But what if there was something more, something that would make the difference between living comfortably and scraping by; what if the last element was a profitable, well-negotiated marriage?Continue reading “Forced Survival: A Review of Pride and Prejudice“
The girl held her Nerf gun close to her chest. “It’s not fair!” she hissed at me. “I got that girl, and she’s still shooting!” Suddenly she stood and began shouting. “Hey! I got you! You’re dead!”
I waved her down.
“But it isn’t fair,” she protested, huddling under the protection of the table.
“No one’s playing by the rules here,” I said impatiently. “‘Fair’ doesn’t matter.” I studied the soft foam bullet in my palm. Was the world even fair? I loaded my gun. Did we impede justice, or did it support it?
I shot, and missed.Continue reading “Soft Bullets: A Review of The Woman in White“
My friend stared at the book in her lap in defeat. “I can’t find it,” she said, flushing uncomfortably.
“Let me see,” I said, taking it out of her hands and flipping through the smooth white pages. She stared at me for a while in a bemused silence. Then she said something which made me pause.
“Why are you helping me?”
I paused. What an odd question, I thought. I was only trying to be helpful—but, as I found the correct page for her, I wondered: would my peers exploit me for my willingness to lend a hand?
“I don’t know,” I said slowly, handing her back the book. “But I found the page.”Continue reading “Strength in Weakness: A Review of The Way of Kings“