Irish writers 

By: Thalia & Abi 

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There were 5 remarkable Irish writers who impacted Irish culture and influenced writers today.

The first Irish writer is James Joyce. James Joyce was born on February 2, 1882. He was a poet, noelist, and a short story writer. One of his most famous works was his book ‘Ulysses’ that was published in 1922. This book is a modern version of ‘The Odyssey’. As a poet, Joyce was one of the best avant-garde writers. Joyce made an impact on Irish culture by being a part of the avant-garde movement. The avant-garde movement is a reference to art. The term means “that any artist, movement, or artwork pushes the boundaries”. James Joyce died on January 13, 1941.

The second remarkable Irish writer is C. S. Lewis. C. S. Lewis was born November 29, 1898. He was a novelist and a scholar. C. S. Lewis taught at Oxford University and he became a renowned Christian apologist writer. To support his faith, he used his logic and philosophy. C. S. Lewis is also known for writing the fantasy series, ‘The Chronicles of Narnia’. This series has now been adapted into many films. His motivations and his impact on Irish culture both had to do with religion. He restored a Christian version of humanity along with the idea of reason, and he demonstrated how Christianity could help individuals who wanted answers in life. C. S. Lewis died on November 22, 1963.  

The third remarkable Irish writer is Jonathan Swift. Swift was born on November 30, 1667. Jonathan Swift was a satirist writer and an essayist. Satire writing is a type of social commentary that uses irony, exaggeration, and other literary devices to make fun of people, traditions, or simply anything that they want to comment on. An essayist is someone who writes essays for publication. Jonathan Swift is most known for ‘Gulliver’s Travels’, which mocks English customs and politics of the day. According to the website Britlitsurvery2, Swift paved the way for political writers of the 21st century. Swift helped find a way to connect with his audiences and educate them about the economic conditions of their country through his satirical writing. Swift died on October 19, 1745

The fourth Irish writer is William Congreve. Congreve was born on January 24, 1670. Congreve was also a satirist writer like Jonathan Swift was. He was also a playwright and poet. Congreve’s most famous plays are ‘The Double Dealer’, ‘The Way of the World’, and ‘Love for Love’. According to Britannica, William Congreve is known to have shaped the English comedy of manners through his satirical portrayal of the way of the sexes. He was also known for his influence on the comedy of manners style of that period. Congreve died on January 19, 1729. 

The fifth and final Irish writer is Oscar Wilde. Wilde was born on October 16, 1854. Wilde wrote many things including epigrams, which is the “One-Liner” of literature, journalism, drama, short stories, and criticism. Wilde was most known for his novel ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’ (1891) and for his comedies of manners ‘Lady Windermere’s Fan’ (1892) and ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’ (1895). Oscar Wilde involved himself in two movements. One of which was the Aesthetic movement which believed “that art in its various forms should not seek to convey a message to instead exist beautifully”. The second movement that Wilde was involved in was the Decadent movement which was similar to the Aesthetic movement. The Decadent movement believed that “creativity was more important than logic”. Wilde died on November 30, 1900.

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‘Divergent’ book review

By: Ella Sutherland & Lauren Kottke

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Book summary: (contains spoilers)

In the book ‘Divergent’, the population is separated into 5 different groups or “factions” within a contained city (this was the only city not affected by a war that happened earlier). Abnegation, which is selflessness, Amity, which is kindness, Candor, which is honesty, Dauntless, which is bravery, and Erudite, which is intelligence are the factions.

There is a girl named Tris, and she is a part of the faction Abnegation. She has always felt as if she doesn’t belong in that faction. At 16, everyone in this society has to take a test that helps them choose which faction they want to live in for the rest of their lives.

When she turns 16, and goes to take the test, her result is different from other people’s. Her result was inconclusive, which, in this society, means Divergent. People are afraid of Divergents because they can not be controlled like everyone else. Since she is Divergent, she fits into 3 of 5 factions. Abnegation, Dauntless, and Erudite.

At the choosing ceremony, she is scared because she doesn’t know which one to choose because the test was supposed to help her decide. She ends up choosing Dauntless because she has always felt a connection to it.

In order to be a part of Dauntless, she has to pass a series of tests that are both physical and mental. In the very beginning she is doing really bad at the training and she is falling behind. But if you do not pass these tests you will get kicked out and become factionless, which is like being homeless.

She starts training at night, and early in the morning, so that she has a better chance of making it. She starts to get noticed by one of the instructors named Four. He helps her train and win fights.

The whole group goes out into an abandoned amusement park and plays Capture the Flag, but with guns that simulate the feeling of a real gunshot. Four chooses Tris to be on his team first and everyone thought it was out of pity, but she ends up winning it for the team.

After that she started training even harder and she just barely passed the first test. The second test is a test about your mentality. You are put into a simulation that simulates your worst fears. For the first time going into the simulation, it usually takes a person around 30 minutes to get out. The only way to get out is to stop panicking and come up with a solution on how to move on from that certain fear. For Tris though, it only took her 4 minutes to get out, because she realizes that the simulation isn’t real. She realizes this because she is Divergent and cannot be controlled.

At first, Four isn’t very suspicious, but every time she goes in she gets out really really fast and the way she’s getting out isn’t practical. He then asked her what her test results were. She gets scared that he knows, but she sticks to her story and says that her result was Abnegation.

After she starts moving up in the ranks, her friend, Al, starts moving down and he becomes threatened. One night when she is coming home from seeing her brother, her friend attacks her and tries to push her off a cliff. Four sees this and helps her and brings her back to his room. The next day her friend tries to apologize but she doesn’t accept his apology.

After that incident, she becomes closer with Four and she eventually tells Four that she is Divergent. He helps her because if she were to go into that final test and do what she’s been doing the whole time the government would find out she is Divergent and kill her.

He helps her and she passes the test smoothly. That night though, they put “trackers” on all of the people who passed. But they weren’t really trackers; they contained a serum that controlled them. Tris though couldn’t be controlled because she is Divergent.

The next morning everyone is being controlled so she acts like she is too. They all go to Abnegation because that is who is running the government, but Erudite wants to be the ones in control. So the Dauntless is being controlled by Erudite, to kill the people of Abnegation if they don’t comply.

Tris realizes what’s going on, and finds Genine, the leader of Erudite. She tries to get her to shut down the program, but when she doesn’t, she injects the serum into her and makes her shut it down.

Tris, Four, and a couple other people take the train to the end of the border and climb the fence to get out of that place.

Our opinions:

Ella: I really liked the book. I liked how she was different and was like the person who kinda saves it all. And I loved her and Four. I gave it 5/5.

Lauren: I enjoyed the book. I like how the whole time she was saving everyone she was also finding herself. Tris and Four were also a great part of the story. I give it a 4/5.

‘Everything I Never Told You’ by Celeste Ng

By: Julia Swee

Caution, this review contains *SPOILERS*

‘Everything I Never Told You’ is a fictional, deep hearted, literary thriller by the American writer who goes by the pen name of Celeste Ng. Within the book, Celeste includes intense imagery of heartache, as she narrates the lives of a five person Asian-American family growing up in the suburbs of Ohio. The story takes place in the year 1977, when society was much less accepting of diversity. This adds a very pragmatic sense of the racism that Asians encountered at the time.

As the story begins, Ng narrates the lives of each family member. The main character, a 15-year-old girl named Lydia, is immediately highlighted as the main subject of the story. From the very beginning of the novel, we are introduced to the fact that Lydia had died in the nearby lake where the family lived. Ng jumps back and forth on the timeline of the family, from when Lydia was alive, and after she died, as each different character’s point of view is set on display while they mourn over the loss of their family member. 

As Ng narrates Lydia’s story, relevant information is included, such as her whereabouts, her connections, and her overall lifestyle before her death. As the book goes on, more and more pieces are connected that give us hints and clues as to what could’ve happened to Lydia, and what led to her the point of death. 

Ng also narrates the lives of Lydia’s mother Marilyn, her father James, her elder brother Nathan, and her little sister Hannah. Ng uses the transitions between different perspectives from each character, and the varying timelines of each event, to allow the reader to connect the pieces of Lydia’s disappearance. 

Celeste Ng uses this story to present an almost surreal look into the life of a modern family and the real life horrors that can severely impact the foundation of such. The way that Ng uses different perspectives to show the varying emotions that are caused by loss provides insight into the notion that life and death go hand and hand in the world. Celeste Ng does a beautiful job of setting the scene for a story that opens your eyes to the cold hard truth of the impacts that individualistic differences can have on youths. 

As we learn more and more about Lydia’s life before death, and what led up to it, we are able to grasp and understand the inner workings of her family. Ng leads a heartfelt path to the final devastating conclusion of the novel, allowing the reader to grasp the notion that nothing is ever really what it seems. 

Celeste Ng published a novel that drew a portrait of life, loss, family, heartbreak, and everything that comes with it. I recommend this book to fans of books that touch on deep family trauma and reconnection. The subject is touchy, and it is depressing, but it is not without hope at times, including the at end.

Book review on ‘Where The Crawdads Sing’

By: Ella Sutherland & Lauren Kottke

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‘Where The Crawdads Sing’ is a book about a girl named Kya growing up on her own in a marsh who gets involved with a murder case.

Summary (CONTAINS MAJOR SPOILERS)

Kya has grown up most of her life alone on the North Carolina marsh. Her family left one by one because of the abusive household. Her mom left when she was 6 years old, and her brother left not long after. Kya and her dad started having a good relationship, until Kya’s mother tried to contact them again. He began his drinking again and left her to live alone on the marsh.

Kyas never fit in with the rest of the town. If she were to go into the town, people would look at her and scold her. She didn’t wear the right clothes for them or talk the same. She was called the “Marsh Girl” because she lived alone, and isolated, on the marsh. But she loved everything about living on the marsh. She loved to feed the birds and explore the species.

After Kya’s family left her, a social worker came to the marsh and sent her to school. Kya went and immediately felt judged. Unlike all the other kids, she couldn’t read. She ended up never going back to school, but she did learn how to read.

Her childhood friend, Tate, left bird feathers on a tree stump for Kya knowing that she had a love for the marsh. They started talking and Tate offered to teach her how to read. They began growing a friendship and then a romantic relationship. They spent every day together on the marsh. Tate was never ashamed of their relationship, even though people judged him.

After a couple years of their relationship, Tate had to leave for college. He didn’t want to become trapped in the small town and knew that college was his only way out. He loved Kya but also wanted a better future for himself. Kya was obviously upset with his decision to leave. Tate promised he would come back for her on the 4th of July.

Kya waited months and months for Tate to come back to her. She waited for days after the 4th of July, but Tate never showed up. She was heart broken. Tate had become such an important person in her life, and he left like the rest of her family. She became depressed and lost her love for the marsh.

She began to fall back in love with the marsh. Kya went back to feeding the birds and exploring again. She was still angry and disappointed in Tate, but knew she had to get back up. One day, when she was exploring by the shore of the marsh, she spotted a group of people walking down by the water. She quickly climbed up a tree in the fear she would be seen. She could see that it was the star quarterback of the town, Chase Andrews, and his friends. They all came from rich families of the town. While the group of teenagers was walking down, Chase looked up at the tree and saw Kya. He didn’t say anything but held eye contact. Kya’s heart was racing. Like how it used to be for Tate. She didn’t know how to react to the feeling. She knew all the girls went head over heels for him, and now she could see why.

A couple days later, Kya and Chase met at the boat port while getting gas. Chase asked Kya to go out on a date. At first Kya was hesitant to say yes because of his reputation. They ended up going on a picnic date. Chase brought Kya over to a part of the marsh and they sat by the shore. They had a really good conversation and Kya thought it was going well. Chase leaned in for a kiss but it became more. Kya pushed Chase off and ran through the woods home.

While Kya was boating around in the marsh a week later, she saw Chase. He waved her over and she boated over to him. She didn’t trust him but wanted to know what he had to say. Chase apologized for making Kya feel uncomfortable and wanted a second chance.

Kya gave him the second chance.

They had a relationship for a while. Their whole relationship, Chase kept it a secret. Unlike Tate, who wasn’t ashamed to be involved with Kya.

One day, Kya went to her mailbox and grabbed the newspaper. As she was reading it she saw Chase’s name in the upcoming engagements. She was shocked. She had been seeing him for months without him mentioning he was getting married. The next day, Chase came to see Kya, but she didn’t answer.

The murder part of the book comes in after Chase and Kya end their relationship. Chase is found dead in a swamp by a fire tower. Chase was pushed off of the fire tower. Kya became a suspect because of her relationship with Chase. Although there was circumstantial evidence against Kya, she had an alibi for the night Chase died. There was also no hair or fingerprints found at the crime scene. One piece of evidence they had against Kya was a shell necklace Kya gave Chase. Chase always wore the necklace. But when they found his body, it was no longer on him.

While Kya was put on trial for the murder case, Tate came back. He came back years before but saw Kya with Chase so thought she had moved on. He still loved her and didn’t believe she would commit murder. He stayed by her side the whole time.

Kya gets ruled innocent and let free. She and Tate lived out the rest of their lives together. They weren’t able to have children, but they had nieces and nephews. She got the family she wanted her whole life. She continued her love for the marsh and even wrote books on them.

The last part of the book is when Kya passes away in her late 60s. Tate is cleaning out some of her stuff when he finds a necklace. A shell necklace. Tate is frozen in shock. Everyone in town was convinced that Chase’s death was an accident. But in reality Kya had pulled off a murder.

Reviews
Lauren: I loved this book! I loved how much detail there was. I could picture the marsh with the blue water and all of the characters. I was also shocked by the ending. In the beginning I thought it could be Kya, but I thought it was too obvious. The author did a great job tricking the readers. I would rate this book a 5/5.

Ella: I also loved this book. My favorite part was the love interests. Both of the love interests were so different and had a different impact on Kya. I think the way the book was written made the book even better. It was written from the past with Kya, and the present with the murder. While reading the book I would always be on the edge of my seat. I would rate this book a 4/5.

Book review on ‘The Year After You’

By: Lauren Kottke & Ella Sutherland

‘The Year After You’ by Nina de Pass, is a heartfelt story about a girl named Cara. She is learning to let people in, and love others as well as herself.

Summary (contains spoilers):
On New Year’s Eve last year, Cara and her best friend G, went to a party. At the party something happens that gets G really upset. She ends up very drunk and tries to drive home, but before she can, Cara takes the keys away and drives because she is sober.

While they are driving they get into a car crash and G ends up dying. Cara feels very strong survivor guilt because she was the one driving. For a while — almost a year— she shut herself out from everyone and lost most of the joy she got from being with G.

She starts attending a boarding school that her mom decided she should go to because she can see that she is not happy. When she first gets there a girl named Ren shows her around. Ren turns out to be her roommate and her first friend at the school.

Cara has a lot of trouble letting Ren in, or even considering Ren her friend, because she doesn’t want to replace G. Ren introduced Cara to her other friends, Fred and Hector. Immediately, she feels something different with Hector, but she keeps him at an arm’s length away.

She has so many walls built up that it is hard to see the real her. Ren and Hector know that something is wrong and they want to know what it is. They try to get her to open up and it takes a long long time, but eventually they figure out what happened.

For Cara it felt good to get it off her chest, except that wasn’t the full truth. The reason G had been so upset that night was because she had made things official with her boyfriend, and then later that night she saw him cheating on her with Cara. The guilt Cara felt was extreme and that is why it was so hard for her to open herself up.

Cara and Hector develop a more romantic relationship. He gets her like no one else does because he has his own problems. They become very close and that is when she finally tells him the whole truth. At first he is caught off guard, but then he realizes that she has changed and she truly does feel bad.

Our reviews:
Ella: I really enjoyed this book. I thought it was a very sad but amazing book. I loved Ren, she was my favorite character by far. I loved her energy and how nice she was to everyone. The romance between Hector and Cara really played out well in my opinion. I loved them together. I really liked how while she was finding friends, she was also finding herself. When she let these people in, she didn’t know it at the time, but it was a way of forgiving herself. Overall I give the book 4 out of 5 stars.

Lauren: This book was written really well. My favorite character was Ren as well. She had such an important role in getting Cara to be happy and find herself. Ren also had a very hard time, but she was always there for her friends and is just such a good person. I really loved the flashbacks to when Cara went to her old school, and G was still alive. It really made the connection to G stronger, which made the book even more sad. I give the book 4 out of 5 stars as well.

We both loved this book so much and we think you should definitely read it if you have a chance!

3 books you need to read

By: Jessica Garcia Saligan

Why do I recommend these books?

Well, the reason why I recommend these books is because I’m a person that hates reading and these 3 books are books that caught my attention, and I think they will catch your attention also.

1st) ‘The Child Called “It”‘

The first book I recommend to read is ‘A Child Called “It”‘. It’s based on a true story. The book is about a kid living a normal live with his family; he had a beautiful family then all of the sudden it all went down hill. His mom wound act different when his father would go to work. She would mistreat him, she would make him starve, and his only escape was going to school where his mother wouldn’t do anything him.

During school hours, he would steal his classmate’s lunches while they were at recess. His teacher noticed that he would go to school everyday with the same clothes and even more bruises, so he made a report to the principal’s office and his principal called the police…you won’t believe what will happen next!

2nd) ‘Wonder’

‘Wonder’ is a book that is based on a real life incident. The book is about a boy that is 10 years old, who had facial anomaly. His name is August Pullman, and his whole life was a lie. He was always homeschooled because his parents were scared to put him in a public school for his facial anomaly, and they were scared for what others kid would think about him.

Ever since he was a kid he always wore an astronaut costume everywhere. At some point he convinced his parents to let him go to a real public school. He met this little boy that would stand up for him when his other classmates would just make fun of him.

3rd) Holes

The third book I recommend is called ‘Holes’. ‘Holes’ is a book that is about a boy that is cursed, by a curse, that was placed on his great-great- grandmother. His name is Stanley. Stanley gets bad luck by the curses in his family and he gets sent to an camp called Green Lake. Green Lake is a juvenile detention camp that is located in the middle of nowhere in Texas.

Stanley was put in the juvenile detention camp for a crime he did not commit. Stanley and the other juvenile kids are made to dig large holes everyday in the dry land, and they also barely get food and water. They get a gallon of water and every 3 hours the truck of water comes to fill up the gallon. Stanley has a hard time while he’s there because of the kid’s bullying him, until he finds a good friend that treats him very well.

‘It Ends With Us’ book review

By: Ella Sutherland & Lauren Kottke

Note: This book review details abuse in a relationship, so note this may be a trigger for some.

*Spoiler Alert* This review gives aways details about the end of the book.

‘It Ends With Us’ is a heartfelt story about a girl named Lily Bloom that grew up in a small town in Maine. She did not have a great life growing up because her dad was not a good person. Her dad abused her mother all throughout Lily’s life and she never could figure out why her mother stayed. When she grew up she ended up moving to Boston which had been her dream for so long.

One night she was on a rooftop after her dad’s funeral, where she gave a eulogy. While she was up there a man came up and he was very angry. They started talking and she learned that he was a doctor and he had lost a patient and that’s why he was angry. They had a strong connection and when they parted he took a photo of her.

They ended up meeting again when she opened a flower shop and his sister started working for Lily. They begin to get really close and started falling in love. Everything in their relationship is going good until Ryle burns his hand and gets angry and hits her. He promises he would never do it again.

A couple days later they go to a restaurant, and Atlas (her childhood love) is the chef. He notices that she is hurt and so is her hand, so he confronts her and she gets mad. He comes to her shop the next day and gives her his number in case of emergency.

Nothing bad happens for awhile and Ryle and Lily get married in Vegas. A few weeks later, Ryle finds the number Atlas gave her, gets really mad, and pushes her down the stairs. He again apologizes and says it won’t happen again.

Then Atlas comes out with an article about his restaurant called BIBS which stands for “Better in Boston”. On Lily’s fridge there is a magnet that says “Better in Boston”. Ryle puts it together that they were in love and gets so mad that he hits her and then tries to force himself on top of her. She then calls Atlas and he picks her up. In the end, she goes to the hospital and finds out she is pregnant, and she has the baby and tells Ryle that she wants a divorce.

Throughout the entire book Lily is reading her old letters that she wrote to Ellen Degeneres, who she had as a pretend friend. It goes more in depth about her past life. She didn’t have many real friends and one day she saw a boy that turned out to be Atlas. He was on her school bus and he got off at the same stop. She noticed that he took a weird route to walk home from the bus stop and saw that he went into the house that had been abandoned for a while.

After seeing him for many days and realizing that he was homeless, she left blankets and food at his doorstep. They started to become friends and would always hangout. They eventually developed more of a romantic relationship. He was Lily’s first kiss. He would go over to her house everyday after school before her parents came home from work.

One day they witnessed Lily’s dad tried to force himself on Lily’s mom and Lily saw and tried to call the police, but her mom stopped her. She was very angry at her mom for letting her dad get away with hurting her.

Lily and Atlas were getting closer and their dream they shared was to move to Boston when they were older. Atlas was leaving for the military, and on his last night he and Lily were making out in her room and Lily’s dad came in and beat up Atlas almost to the point of death. She never saw Atlas again until Boston.

Lily spent her childhood watching her father continually abuse her mother. She felt helpless in the situation because she had no power. All she wanted to do was protect her mom. But she mostly couldn’t understand why her mother would stay with such a horrible person. Her mom and dad stayed together for awhile until Lily’s dad passed away. Lily never really forgives her dad for what he did to her mom.

It is very unusual for Colleen to use real events in her books, except for ‘It Ends With Us’. The book revolves around Colleen’s own mother’s story. Her mother went through abuse and felt she was only doing justice by telling her mom’s story. In the book, the first time Lily was hit by Ryle is actually a true story. It is the exact same incident that happened to Colleen’s mom.

It was hard for Colleen to write a story so personal. Writing events that she witnessed. She took her time to depict the characters in the perfect way. She made characters that the readers fall in love with to show the heartbreak that victims go through. Colleen’s mom fell in love with her dad and went through heartbreak as he turned into a different person. This book shows how hard it is to leave someone you care so much about.

Ella give this book a 5/5 and Lauren gives it a 4.5/5

Book Recommendations

By: Musab Muhamud

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‘Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief’ by Rick Riordan

This book by Rick Riordan is a fun and light read for anyone of all ages. It delves into Greek mythology and creates a magical world. It uses many themes such as family and nature to expand upon its characters while keeping the reading level low.

Percy is a young man who was raised by a single mother. He is shocked to learn that he is the son of Poseidon, the Greek god of the seas. He is introduced to many friends on his journey throughout the story, and his friends are important later on in the story.

The book shows many highs and lows that most young readers could relate to. I think this book is a very well written and impactful book especially for its level. This book is a solid foundation for a series of books to follow, including completely different mythologies being used as well.

‘The Hunger Games’ by Suzanne Collins

This novel uses darker themes to expand its world. The story is set in a dystopian world where a despotic regime bleeds its 12 surviving colonies dry of their already meager resources. The capitol lives in lavish conditions and forces 2 representatives from every colony to fight to the death for their entertainment.

Katniss Everdeen is forced into this cycle by her own bravery in becoming a placeholder for her sister who was drawn into the Hunger Games. Katniss continues to exhibit incredible bravery throughout the book. She survives by her lonesome for a great part of the fighting and she eventually creates alliances and forms multiple rivalries during the fighting. Katniss shows her ability to make the best of a bad situation by surviving life before and after her involvement in the games.

From being a borderline mother to her little sister, to her will to stay alive, Collins leaves you with a hunger to find out what happens in the next

‘Uninvited’ book review

By: Mary Koch

Image taken from: https://www.goodreads.com/book/
show/13645645-uninvited

‘Uninvited’ is the first book in a 2 book series written by Sophie Jordan, and ‘Unleashed’ is the second one. I read the books the first time in 7th grade for English class, and they’ve been my favorite books since.

The first book follows Davy Hamilton after she tests positive for HTS, or the kill gene. People who test positive for HTS are supposed to have killing in their genes, so the government is putting extra control and rules around carriers. They have special classrooms in schools, curfews, and a social worker constantly checking up on them.

There’s also always the threat of getting an H tattoo on their necks which is meant to mark the more dangerous killers.

Before she got her test results, she was popular, nice, and she was going to Juilliard, but that ended when she was forced to change schools.

Eventually the government decides that carriers need to be quarantined, so they make camps, but some teenagers will be taken to schools to become trained killers. Davy, and her new friends Gill and Sean were taken to the schools where they had to escape.

The book is exciting, and the author made the characters relatable. They aren’t perfect people who randomly save the world. They all make mistakes, and they learn from each other.

The book also doesn’t get too boring with lots of serious talks from the government. At the end of a lot of the chapters, there are letters and updates that give more information about what’s going on in the world that Davy might not know about yet.

The story has a good pace, it’s not a quick read, and the characters take their time, but the story isn’t prolonged or over-filled.

If you’re looking for a new book to read, I recommend ‘Uninvited’, and the sequel, ‘Unleashed’.

Rhythm 0: Risking your life for performance art

By: Annika: Getz

*Note, this article may have material that could trigger individuals (violence against women), therefore, we present a trigger warning here.

Performance art is a style of art which was created and developed throughout the 20th century. The idea is that rather than a painting or a sculpture or something of that nature, the art is a live performance done by the artist.

Marina Abramović is a performance artist who did most of her work in the 70s, 80s, and 90s. Most of her work puts her in very dangerous situations, and ends with her being cut, burned, starved, or some other form of harm being inflicted on her physical being.

Her career began with the ‘Rhythm’ pieces, ‘Rhythm 10’ (1973) involved her playing a Russian knife game, and cutting her fingers repeatedly. A year later ‘Rhythm 5’ followed, where she layed in the middle of a burning star, until she eventually lost consciousness, and had to be taken out of the performance. She remarked later about being angry with the results of the performance, saying “I was very angry because I understood there is a physical limit. When you lose consciousness you can’t be present, you can’t perform.” In the same year she performed ‘Rhythm 4’ and ‘Rhythm 2’ where she invoked her own unconsciousness in a way which would not interrupt the performance.

Still in 1974, Abramović performed her final piece in the ‘Rhythm’ series. ‘Rhythm 0’. In this performance, Abramović placed 72 objects on a table, and invited the audience to do whatever they’d like to with her and the objects. She left written instructions which read “There are 72 objects on the table that one can use on me as desired. I am the object. During this period I take full responsibility.” For six hours Abramović remained completely passive, not moving, or speaking.

Some of the objects were ordinary, everyday objects. A hat, soap, cake, a rose. Some of the objects however, were less tame. A knife, scissors, a gun, a bullet. Abramović took the ultimate risk, knowing that if the audience wanted to kill her, they could. She said later that she was fully ready to die in the performance, and counted herself lucky for coming out alive.

For a little while, at first, the public remained calm, they put a rose in her hand, fed her the cake, kissed her cheek, etc. However, as the night went on, the audience became more aggressive.

They at one point used the scissors to cut off her clothing. They placed her on the table and stabbed the knife between her thighs. The artist recounts someone even cutting her near her neck and drinking her blood, then covering the wound with plaster from the table. She also remembers that at one point, the gun was put in her hand, and later even pointed at her head.

Abramović recounts the night as being almost six hours of pure horror. At the end of the six hours, when the performance was over, she began walking towards the audience, covered in blood and tears, and the people ran away from her. It was as though the public realized that it had been a real, living person who they’d been torturing for hours, and they couldn’t face her.

This remains to me, one of Abramović’s most important works. Showcasing the sadistic nature of people when given the chance to hurt others without repercussion. There were probably people there who went without the intention of hurting the artist, but once put in the environment, found themselves doing just that. I think the psychological aspects of the performance similarly mirror those of the Stanford Prison Experiment, an experiment done by the psychology students at Stanford in the 70s. Through a hyper-realistic prison simulation, with college students playing the parts of guards and prisoners, they found that perfectly normal people became cruel when put in positions of power where they were given the chance to do so.

I think it speaks to our human nature, that these people became so sadistic in such a short time. The issue was that they didn’t see Abramović as a human being during this time, and so they felt they could treat her however they wanted to. The moral of the story is really just to treat everyone with the basic human decency that we all deserve.

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