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by: 
Lydia, Teen Contributor

Curley’s Wife and Mayella Ewell from the books Of Mice and Men and To Kill a Mockingbird may seem like different characters at first, but share more commonalities than meets the eye. While one speaks at the trial of a black man and the other dies at the hands of a mentally handicapped man, these characters play essential roles in bringing about the authors’ purposes in addressing social standpoints. Both young ladies portray the objectifying and stereotyping of women through their physical appearances, isolation, and interactions with other characters.

Curley’s Wife plays the role of a woman who focuses almost entirely on her physical appearance, how unfair it is that she must remain cooped up all day, and how everybody simply views her as a tart. First off, the appearance of this character displays her as very child-like, as shown with “She had full, rouged lips and wide-spaced eyes, heavily made up. Her fingernails were red. Her hair hung in little rolled clusters, like sausages. She wore a cotton dress and red mules, on the insteps of which were little bouquets of red ostrich feathers” (Steinbeck, pg 31). Wearing excessive amounts of makeup certainly reminds the reader of how little girls often play with their mother’s makeup, covering themselves with it. As well as this, the clothing choices of Curley’s Wife also reflect her child-like qualities, making her appear to be much like a child’s doll toy. Her curled sausages of hair also seem reminiscent of the locks of an innocent little girl. Moving on to the position of isolation that Curley’s Wife finds herself in, “‘I get lonely,’ she said. ‘You can talk to people, but I can’t talk to nobody but Curley. Else he gets mad. How’d you like not to talk to anybody?’” (Steinbeck, pg 87) paints a scene of Curley’s Wife showing some emotion to another character, Lennie. Due to being a married woman, Curley’s Wife, as per the standards of society, has limitations on what she can do with her time. Speaking with men other than her husband certainly does not abide with the rules laid out for her to follow. However, as she said, loneliness often overtakes Curley’s Wife, which explains her reasoning for visiting the bunkhouses to speak with other men. The basis of this dilemma can simply be accounted for by the isolation of becoming the wife of a working man. As such, Curley’s Wife can no longer have a good time with her life without being looked down upon. Lastly, discrimination of gender and self presentation also plays a role when “But Candy said excitedly, ‘We oughtta let ‘im get away. You don’t know that Curley. Curley gon’ta wanta get ‘im lynched. Curley’ll get ‘im killed.’” (Steinbeck, pg 94) takes place after Lennie accidentally ends the life of Curley’s Wife. Thanks to her flirtatious ways, Curley’s Wife became known as a tart. Needless to say, her value didn’t match that of any of the other characters. However, Lennie’s murder of her brings up the idea that, even though she had the flirty qualities of a tart and nobody liked her much, the blame for her murder still landed on Lennie. This incident shows that her position as the wife of Curley accounted for Lennie’s conviction of her murder. Henceforth, despite being a woman and a tart, Curley’s Wife stands superior to Lennie, entirely thanks to her position as the wife of Curley. A child-like appearance, the quality of being isolated, and only an aspect of marriage account for the entirety of Curley’s Wife, yet this character still brings forth social issues of discrimination from gender and behavior.

Mayella Ewell of  To Kill a Mockingbird plays a very similar role to Curley’s Wife in terms of objectifying women, such as having certain physical characteristics that change the way other view her, being isolated from the rest of society, and interacting with other characters in ways that determine how she appears to other members of the story. Starting off with physical appearance, “Mayella stared at him and burst into tears. She covered her mouth with her hands and sobbed,” (Lee, pg 205) shows Mayella as child-like and weak. Although it would be natural to be anxious or nervous when on stand, the act of out-right crying makes Mayella appear to be a weak child. Much like Curley’s Wife, Mayella portrays herself as sensitive or weak, making her seem much like a young child with emotional qualities. Moving on to Mayella’s own personal form of social isolation, “Mayella looked as if she tried to keep clean, and I was reminded of the row of red geraniums in the Ewell yard,” (Lee, pg 204) refers to how Mayella tries to grow geraniums in order to seem more cleanly than her family. Throughout this novel, the fact that the Ewell family represents social outcasts sings out loud and clear. However, since Scout states that Mayella attempted to make herself look good, it can be inferred that although she may be isolated from the rest of society due to family and economic status, Mayella Ewell still tries very hard to fit in. Geraniums, a pretty red flower that grow fairly easily, fit in well with the same red tone of the lips and shoes of Curley’s Wife. Bringing up the ideas of social discrimination, “‘Guilty… guilty… guilty… guilty…’” (Lee, pg 241) refers to how Tom Robinson, a black man, “lost” in his trial. Despite being a dirty, child-like, and generally disliked social outcast, Mayella Ewell’s value outweighed that of Tom for the sole reasoning of her being white and him being black. This incident goes to show that, at the root of it all, Harper Lee managed to cram it into her masterpiece that racial discrimination will always outweigh social segregation. Much like how John Steinbeck imposed that Curley’s Wife’s position as the wife of the boss’s son held her above Lennie. A run-down, unliked white woman who behaves more like a child than not, Mayella Ewell certainly brings out the segregation and discrimination found within society.

Both of these ladies come from the masterpieces of John Steinbeck, Of Mice and Men and Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird. Although these characters may have some subtle differences, it cannot be denied that each show their child-like habits and isolation from the rest of their community, yet play vital roles in laying out social implications of female objectifying and the stereotyping of women.

by: 
Chase, Teen Contributor

I took one glance in to her eyes and noticed that they were different. The pale blue color was the same, and so was the reflection of the sunset that I first saw that one night when we first met. This time was the very first time that I looked into her eyes and didn’t see her. The beautiful, charismatic, and talented girl I looked forward to seeing every single day in advanced calculus was gone. For the first time, I saw what every other person in this awful place called Earth saw. A liar.

 

Image Credit: Danielle Elder on Flickr

by: 
William, Teen Contributor

Utility is a Swiss army knife but human-like. One day he had imagined for some more people to be like super heros but better. He worked on a suit that would grant powers in a mechanical way. He then realized it is too risky to give others a suit like this. They could cause a lot of chaos. He then wore the suit himself and became a hero, influenced by many heroes before him. The suit he is wearing now is mark 3. The suit has a machine gun, hand blasters, small chemist lab, foldable swords, jet pack, boots, and other helpful things.

by: 
Jeremiah, Teen Contributor

Be warned:This film is rated R. 

Most horror movies are bad. It’s not necessarily a judgement on them, for at the very least I understand why they are this way, but it’s still a consistent problem. They are riddled with issues, and very few contemporary horror films succeed at even the most basic standards for quality cinema. Character development, engaging characters, a coherent plot, good acting, all these are thrown out the window in favor of a few cheap thrills. This ideology of thrilling the audience with jump scares and frightening visuals (which, let’s face it, most horror movies don’t even get that right) is ludicrous, as the singular focus cripples the entire film. Because of that thought process, the genre is riddled with terrible films, which really give a bad name to the grouping as a whole. The rare, quality horror films struggle to escape the ever looming presence of their genre. 

Even with this background and struggle, every year it seems a new, exciting, and unique horror movie gets released, restoring faith in the genre. These annual delightful frights break the general horror movie trend of awfulness by being surprisingly good. 2013 brought us The Conjuring, 2014 gave us The Babadook, 2015 It Follows, and nice and early in the year 2016 gives us The Witch.

The Witch follows a deeply religious protestant family living in America sometime during the 17th century, specifically the teenage girl Thomason. They leave their community due to religious differences and move to create a brand new isolated farm at the edge of the woods. Unfortunately for the family, an evil Witch lives in the woods that decides to curse them, stealing their youngest child as the first part of the torment.

Roger Eggers, the writer/director, spent years researching 17th century colonial America. The tagline, A New England Folktale, is really revealing about the story. He scoured over folktales of that era and, under their influence, created his own unique one, one that could easily have been told back in the day. It is less of an in your face horror movie and more of a dark, looming, and horrific story of a family.

The director does an excellent job in every aspect of the film. The cinematography and pacing create a brilliant sense of tension and creepiness. The dialogue, some taken directly from documents written during the time period of the film, is excellently written and revealing of characters. Eggers did his job splendidly, and we can expect a lot more from him in the future.

The acting is top notch, specifically the children actors. You never know how it’s going to pan out, hiring children so young, but they were really quite excellent. Haley Joel Osment from The Sixth Sense good. The whole cast spoke in an olden tongue, with thy and thou and hithers throughout the film. I believed that the actors actually spoke like that too, with all the ease and naturalness they brought to the dialogue. They really held nothing back.

As far as the film itself goes, as a horror movie, I’d say is excellent. With a tone that sort of combines The Shining with The Crucible, The Witch is consistently horrifying. It’s a slow burn horror, requiring attention to the characters and emotional investment in order for each scene to crank up the tension. A few incredibly disturbing visuals and a stunning finale seal the deal, so to speak, in the end.

When the movie finished, and I sat reflecting on the incredibly enjoyable film I just saw, I heard some of the other audience members behind me.

“Well that movie was terrible, what a waste of money.”

Another person farther back was yelling. “Refund.”

I was confused to say the least. Here I had watched one of the best horror films I’ve ever seen, and these other people hated it. Did we even watch the same movie? So that left me with this advice. Know that the Witch is a slow burn horror in which the characters talk a lot like a Shakespeare play. If you can’t handle the sort of mental capacity it takes to comprehend what they are saying, you will not like the movie. If you like your horror movies SAW-like, more like thrillers, and are expecting that from The Witch, you too will be disappointed. But if you go into the Witch expecting a creepy, often horrific film with great characters, a great plot, great cinematography, and patience, well you’re bound to enjoy it immensely. That’s why I give it 9/10.

 

Image credit: Stella Marris on Flickr

by: 
Emily, Teen Contributor

beauty

is in the eye of the

beholder they

say

therefore who are they to

set the standards

instead of gowns and glory

to me beauty is honesty

truth love and kindness

you can be as beautiful

as you want to

be

for who is to

say otherwise

so say it

I'm beautiful

 

Image Credit: Wouter Beckers on Flickr.

by: 
Marissa, Teen Contributor

Skiers and snowboarders alike love waking up to the perfect ski day. The sun is out, the temperature is a comfortable thirty-two degrees Fahrenheit and you are ready to hit perfectly groomed slopes. Living in the Colorado Denver Metro Area, there are over seven world class ski resorts that are all under two hours away. How do you choose which one to spend your valuable time and money at? Being an avid skier myself and frequenting all the major ski resorts many times each winter, I have selected my top two choices to evaluate and ultimately crown one as the winner.

Vail and Keystone’s ski mountains are excellent world class resorts with which locals are very familiar. These resorts are also a part of the Vail Epic Pass: a ski pass with a reasonable one time rate for locals and pays for itself if you ski five times or more during the winter season. If you’re not a local, at whichever resort you choose the ski ticket will always range from $90 to $120. Vail and Keystone have about the same amount of ski lifts, trails, snow fall and similar base and peak elevations. They also both have ski-in and ski-out hotels, restaurants and superb villages. What really makes a ski resort rise above others is the mountain itself. You will stay on the mountains for probably four to eight hours a day. Each mountain’s terrain, grooming, lift wait times, crowds and snowpack are the real factors that will cause you to have the best or the worst day in your life. 

Vail is one of the most well-known ski resorts in the world because of its prestige and the lavishness of its village. Last year it was especially in the spotlight because the resort was lucky enough to host the 2015 Alpine World Ski Championships. This race has only been held in America three times, and Vail also hosted this race the two previous times in 1989 and 1999. Millionaires own mansions there, but the general public is still welcomed to enjoy its facilities and mountain. The Vail ski mountain has a large variety of green, blue and black runs. I would also consider it one of the safer mountains, because the runs are more directly marked and grouped by difficulty. It is a great place to learn how to ski or snowboard for the first time. Unless you are in the back bowls, it is very hard to get lost or accidently end up on a run that is way above your current ability level. Because of this mountain’s reputation, it is also one of the most crowded mountains. Lifts for the easier runs can have wait times of thirty minutes to an hour on weekends, especially holidays, in the later morning and afternoons. The mountain’s connector trails and primary runs also get very crowded and have a lot of beginner skiers and snowboarders which make them hard to navigate. I would therefore recommend the much less crowded back bowls which have mainly black and blue runs.  Vail also changed their grooming pattern last year. They used to groom overnight and also half way through the day to ensure that you could always find a freshly groomed and crisp run. Because of an incident in the 2013 to 2014 winter season where an inexperienced skier managed to get hit by a snowcat, a very large heavy metal machine that goes less than five miles per hour, Vail no longer grooms during the day. This causes the snow to be very icy and clumpy by the afternoon. There are also more runs with moguls and harder terrain because of the grooming shortage.

Keystone is a more tucked away and not as mainstream of a mountain. Its village is smaller and not as much of a tourist trap. Keystone is also a more advanced mountain. Their average run is steeper and there are many back bowls that are only for advanced skiers and freestyle. Even so, Keystone’s ski school is excellent and many of the kids are able to go down green runs on the mountain by the end of the day. Keystone also has one of the largest terrain parks of any of the ski resorts. One lift goes right through the terrain park, allowing anyone to enjoy watching professional tricksters. Because Keystone is more secluded, lift waits and crowds are much more minimal. There is no waits in the morning and I have never waited more than fifteen minutes in the afternoon. The runs also have minimal crowds, especially the back bowls. Keystone’s snow cats have not yet managed to hit any skiers, which means they groom all day and night. You can always find a few non-crowded, crisp runs to cruise down the whole day. Keystone also has a few unique features that many other resorts do not offer. They have a vast amount of runs you can night ski on. This is one of the reasons they have been able to keep up with and continue to be as popular as other resorts. Skiers usually have to hike to get to backcountry skiing at many ski resorts. Keystone offers the unique experience of taking or being pulled behind a snow cat for only $10 to whichever run you want.

Overall, Keystone is a more advanced and secluded mountain that offers unique experiences and ways to beat crowds and long wait times. Even so, Vail is still a family friendly resort and if you can manage to be an early riser and be on the mountain right when it opens, you will have a good three hours of groomed terrain to enjoy. Personally, I would rather go to Keystone over Vail for a day ski trip during the winter season. Being a more advanced skier, I love being able to go alpine style down long black runs with no other people. Go Devil, Wild Irishman and Mozart are my favorite runs. Many locals also prefer resorts like Keystone because of the more advanced terrain and the lack of tourists. If you are a beginner skier or snowboarder and are not planning on enrolling in ski school, then I would recommend you go to Vail. Vail is a safe place to learn and cruise down less steep runs until you have more developed skills. Cub’s Way, Simba, and Born Free are all good runs to start with. Once you can navigate well and are confident in your skills, then you can try out Keystone and really enjoy your experience. Either way you choose, Vail and Keystone are world class ski resorts in which you can sample terrain that is the best Colorado has to offer.  

by: 
Jeremiah, Teen Contributor

Anomalisa began not as a film, but as a stage play. Written by the brilliant Charlie Kaufman, the play featured 3 actors, standing off to one side of the stage, acting mainly with their voices and with no movement.The staging was designed by Kaufman to spark the imagination of the crowd. Instead of showing the characters doing things, the setup made the audience visualize the wild and crazy story. Anomalisa was intended to be a fleeting thing, a special experience reserved only for those that attended the limited release.

Luckily, for the rest of us who didn’t have a chance to get out to the theatre, Kickstarter funded the film adaptation of Charlie Kaufman’s play, turning it into the stop motion Academy Award nominated beast it has become. The resulting product is amazing, unbelieveable, crazy, touching, and absolutely lovely. It’s world is perfectly realized, with believable characters and a relatable protagonist.

I would like to tell you the story of Anomalisa, what the inciting incident is and the setup and all of that, but I don’t think it’s wise. The trailer does a great job of hinting at the story without spoiling anything, and the official IMDB description reads “A man crippled by the mundanity of his life experiences something out of the ordinary.” As much as I am generally opposed to vague marketing and J.J. Abrams’ “Mystery Box”(the marketing was a big problem I had with Star Wars), I respect Anomalisa’s use of this strategy, and actually think an audience member will get the most out of the experience knowing the least amount possible about the story. You can find any number of synopsis’ on the internet, explaining what the setup of the film is, and if you’re so inclined, you can find one and read it. And even though you now spoiled the premise for yourself, viewing it is going to be a great experience despite the knowledge you possess. But unfortunately you lose the investigative aspect of the film. You can never gain back the adventure of finding out more and more about the story and world, and it is for that reason you will find no such description here.

All that you need to know about Anomalisa at this moment is that it is a story from the mind of Charlie Kaufman, who created such unique and amazing works as Being John Malkovich, Adaptation, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Well known for his unique and hilarious writing style, he does not disappoint with his most recent endeavour.

The stop-motion animation is very fluid and beautiful, showcasing the ideas and messages pursued throughout the film perfectly. Duke Johnson was chosen to co-direct alongside Kaufman, and he was the perfect choice. Johnson is a true veteran of the stop motion world, having worked on many different projects in the field. I cannot emphasize how important and influential he was for Anomalisa to become a success. He and Kaufman made an affecting stylistic film that stays true to the story’s original vision.

The style really elevates the film creating a consistently wonderful tone throughout. Kaufman was worried that in its transfer to screen, Anomalisa would lose the magical, imaginative aspect it had developed in its theatrical run, but the magic is still very much alive through the puppets, and sets.

Anomalisa is an amazing film. I cannot express enough the emotions that are elicited through this movie. It’s touching, amazing, beautiful, funny, sad, and melancholy. It deserved it’s Best Animation Nomination, and I believe it deserves to win Best Animated Picture (even though Inside Out is totally going to win. Inside Out wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t nearly as good as this was). You are doing a disservice to yourself if you miss out on this one. 9/10

 

by: 
Chase, Teen Contributor

Nature always wears the colors of the spirit.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

by: 
William, Teen Contributor

Haze's Grandfather was working on something that could make a new superhero like Ex.67 during the age of super humans. Then many years later Haze had found his Grandfather's work. What he found was: A suit, smoke pellets, holster with a gun, and a smoke recipe sheet. When Haze put on the suit he felt a wave of strength surging through him. He then started busting out villains from sphere 13 (a villain society getting the world ready for the sphere). I will explain later about the villain society....

by: 
Caitlin, Teen Contributor

Real talk: it’s Valentine’s Day, and I still like books more than people. I have unrealistically high expectations because I’ve read so many romance novels. I’m waiting for my Park Sheridan, Augustus Waters, Étienne St. Clair… *sighs* Anyway, in honor of Single Awareness Day (a.k.a. Valentine’s Day), I’ve compiled a list of my favorite romance novels. Don't forget to check out my blog for more YA book reviews and recommendations and follow me on Instagram for updates every time I post! 

 

My Favorite YA Romance Novels (In No Particular Order): 

1. Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell 

2. The Fault In Our Stars by John Green 

3. Anna and the French Kiss (series) by Stephanie Perkins 

4. If I Stay by Gayle Forman 

5. My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga 

6. I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson 

7. The Game of Love and Death by Martha Brockenbrough 

8. The Selection (series) by Kierra Cass 

9. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

10. Delirium (trilogy) by Lauren Oliver 

 

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