The Forbidden Thought

In dystopian works (especially those set in zombie apocalypses like Zone One), the idea of the “forbidden thought,” also known as giving up and committing suicide, is so deeply ingrained and common into the setting that it is often overlooked (or at least I know I have). This is usually due to the focus on a main set of heroic characters that fight tooth and nail against these blood-thirsty zombies. However, Colson Whitehead combats this familiar theme with his very own Mark Spitz. Continue reading “The Forbidden Thought”

United We Stand

As a child, my favorite response about where I came from was “It’s the melting pot of the world,” and I still stand by that phrase today. While my race is Chinese, I consider my ethnicity to be Chinese-American. The interrelationship between these two words is what defines the very core of my being because one cannot exist without the other. Throughout my life, the traditions and values from both my Chinese home and my American education have reflected and overlapped with each other to ultimately create one well-integrated upbringing. In combination with my constant exposure to other cultures, I grew up constantly finding the middle ground to any problem or situation. Contrary to the phrase “no man’s land,” there should be no uncertainty or fear for two cultures to meet, especially in the medical field. Continue reading “United We Stand”

My Happy Place

Just like many other undergraduates, my academic career did not go without some unexpected twists and turns. Despite the stereotypes surrounding Asian American parenting (which I must say, are often true), my parents never steered me towards any specific subject during my early and later childhoods. By leaving me with the impression that they completely trusted whatever decision I made, I have always set high expectations for myself in response to that trust. In doing so, I placed myself in my own self-constructed cycle of constant apprehension and satisfaction without any proper guidance, like a rickety hamster wheel.

Unfortunately, the huge imbalance between the secondary education and the college education systems in North America almost threw me off. Even with a specialized high school education from the city, I was not prepared to enter college as a pre-med Biology major. And yet, here I am in my junior year as a pre-med English Literature major with a Biology minor and the beginnings of feeling like I am on the right track. However, do not be mistaken that I regret entering SUNY Geneseo as a Biology major. In fact, I definitely would not have gotten here without the two subjects clashing together. Continue reading “My Happy Place”

Following the Flow of Fulfillment

In my last blog post “Supply and Demand,” I wrote about how an individual’s environment severely affects their rights and, therefore, their identity.  Depending on the environment, certain behaviors and actions are either stimulated or repressed because of their social and/or economic standpoint. Some areas restrict/control an individual’s ability to marry whoever they want, live wherever they want, work whatever job they want, etc.  However, a person’s reaction depends on what they define their identity to be made of after these influences have affected them. In this case, will the backfire effect help or prevent positive progress from being made? Continue reading “Following the Flow of Fulfillment”

Supply and Demand

Throughout this semester, I have also been taking Professor Melanie Blood’s “Brecht & Descendants” course which focuses on the socialist playwright Bertolt Brecht. As expected from a socialist, a lot of his works focus on class differences in socio-economical terms. Due to the overpowering influences of society created by these different statuses, the characters’ identities are often muted, especially in the 1900s. Different classes have different rights taken away and/or determined for them. On one hand, the daughters of the bourgeois might have no say in who they can marry depending on their parents’ wants. On the other hand, the working class have limited working opportunities and specific living areas based on the government. Keeping this in mind, a similar situation can be found in the world of voluntourism. Continue reading “Supply and Demand”

Only As Strong As The Weakest Link

As students, our knowledge is restrained and sometimes even limited by the structure set in educational institutions. Essentially, the basic foundation for the power structure in educational institutions is that the more knowledge you have, the more authority you own. In this system, epistemophilia and epistemophobia work hand in hand in the authorities of such institutions. On one hand, they crave more knowledge in order to gain more power. On the other hand, a fear of those “under” them expanding their intelligence is developed. In other words, an inferiority complex is found in the system. Of course, not every institution has this environment but, to me, it is usually seen in primary and secondary schools, where this philia often turns into an addiction of being in control of the youth’s education. Continue reading “Only As Strong As The Weakest Link”

A Dose of Hope

       Continuing Sakshi’s conversation in “Is Hope A Bad Thing?” on Zone One, I think that hope is a necessary component for change and transition. In Sakshi’s post, she discusses Mark Spitz’s connection between hope and the pre-apocalyptic world, in which Mark Spitz views hope as the equivalent to a “gateway drug” (222) because of the duality of its effects. While enveloping yourself in nostalgia may be a nice temporary reprieve, it is also dangerous to hold onto hope so tightly that it affects your safety in the situation you are currently in. Mark Spitz’s perspective is understandable, as hope is defined as a very risky precipice for his fellow survivors. However, I see hope as more of a middleman between the past and the future. Rather than feeling as if you are constantly on the brink of things, hope is an agent for a certain rite of passage. In Zone One, this rite of passage is named Post-Apocalyptic Stress Disorder (PASD). Continue reading “A Dose of Hope”

“Understanding” Your Place

It’s true that the human population is full of unique individuals, for we are not a species that are meant to be carbon copies of each other. Despite our status as one species (or more like the remaining one after evolution) for hundreds of thousands of years, a deeply rooted xenophobia still exists in today’s modern world. Lately, the term “species” still un/conconsciously equates to “race” despite all the scientific evidence that says otherwise. Not everyone may have grown up in the same conditions as everyone else but that doesn’t mean we can’t be aware of these differences as a society and handle them in a respectable and appropriate manner. Continue reading ““Understanding” Your Place”

Breaking the Hero and Villain Canons

In fiction, villains are often flattened into two-dimensional characters who do nothing but wreak havoc and cause evil. People often do not realize that not all villains or to put it more lightly, bad characters, are immediately recognizable at first glance. Personalities are complex; just like their roles and purposes, they’re not as clear as black and white. This was hard to understand as a kid who was [is] an avid fan of Scooby Doo, Totally Spies, and other similar, classic weekend cartoons. Every new episode features a different villain with which we are told little to nothing about except their evil scheme for the day and that we must focus on conquering this wicked being by the end of our twenty minutes. Continue reading “Breaking the Hero and Villain Canons”