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essays from spring & fall 2009


Aunt Jenny
Julia Rice

Every day Jenny is with us, my mother truly celebrates my aunt's Down syndrome. To my mom, it is a blessing, a condition that takes away all social barriers, all filters, and shows the real depth of the human heart.... By her example, I learned to celebrate Jenny as well. I learned that there is no need to feel embarrassed by her. I also learned that her condition is not one to be pitied. Jenny is a person of a whole different category: different, but worthy of admiration.

Crafting a Masterpiece: The Genre Mosaic of Harry Potter
Emily Keller

Harry's story is a global phenomenon, with the seven books in the series selling 400 million copies in sixty-seven languages and leading to the production of eight blockbuster movies. In a time when newspapers and other forms of print media are losing their readership, Harry Potter's enduring popularity would seem surprising if not for the array of genres that appeal to the series' diverse audience.

Forcing Women's Rights
Andrew Henchen

If the West truly wishes to spread the ideas of democracy to the Middle East, it must trust the people of the Middle East to make their own decisions. The history of the United States shows that a true representative democracy will face challenges and struggles and will oftentimes be divided on the issues. Yet ultimately these issues were decided by the American people; the people of Iraq and Afghanistan deserve that right, too. To force women's suffrage or any other Western ideals does not promote democracy, and it may fail to achieve anything other than increased distrust of the West.

Giant Emotion Meets Tortured Logic
Kinsey Blumenthal

The CIA is being destroyed and the United States sold out. Or at least that's the claim Patrick Haggerty makes in his article "The Passing of a Giant," which appeared in the September 8, 2009, edition of The Breeze, James Madison University's student-run newspaper. The piece, which starts out stressing the CIA's importance and arguing against investigations into the CIA's interrogation techniques, quickly deteriorates into what can only be described as a prophecy of doom and despair.

Let's Go Organic!
Brandi Suarez

The best thing to do when it comes to organic food is to be smart. Understand the truths behind conventionally produced food and the benefits to eating organic. Adjusting to a healthy diet does not mean giving up everything you love to eat, either on campus with the prepared and fresh options already available or coming soon, or off, where you can choose the most important items first, and then continue to work within your budget. Come on: let's go organic.

A Little Competition Never Hurt Anyone
Rachael Leffler

"Raise your hand if you're taking this course because you want to become a nurse." Seventy hands shoot up. Seventy. This is only one Chem120 class. JJ Leary, my chemistry teacher, was merely trying to demonstrate how important the knowledge of basic chemistry concepts is in many common occupations. What Dr. Leary did not realize, however, is that he sparked a certain degree of fear and anger in those students aiming to get admitted into James Madison University's nursing program. Immediately after the question was asked, eyes started darting around the room. You could feel other prospective nurses trying to discover your level of intelligence by the confidence, or lack thereof, plastered on your face. Yes, at eight in the morning on the second day of school, competitive sparks were already flying.

Mountaintop Removal Mining
Kristina Van

The Rocky Mountains look like paintings from above, with luscious green trees covering the lower peaks. Rivers snake through the valleys, beginning to carve their way down to the ocean. A light mist hangs between each slope with the tops of the snow-capped mountains jutting into the sky.... Unfortunately, an aerial view of the Appalachian Mountains provides a different and alarming sight. Rocks and rubble replace the green trees. The rivers are nowhere to be seen, hidden underneath mounds of dirt. A haze of settling dust from a long day of work leaves a black layer on the houses in the valleys. What was once a proud mountain is now a lifeless plateau. This is the horrific result of Mountaintop Removal mining.

The Silent Listener
Nicholas P. Christy III

Hip-hop has changed into something new; today's fan is different from those of old. Those on the vanguard of hip-hop were very much a part of the culture by virtue of living what many of the rappers talked about, but the new demographic of hip-hop is once removed from the subject matter. That is to say that most consumers of hip-hop music cannot relate to much of what is portrayed in the songs, which has made it less important for artists to convey a pertinent message to their audience.

South Park: A Public Service Announcement
William Ackleson

Each South Park episode leads viewers through a series of outrageous circumstances that culminate in an interesting and oftentimes profound conclusion. Whether Parker and Stone simply give Al Gore a little shove off of his high horse or make a bold statement about an important social issue such as whether or not we as humans should play God, they inevitably have something of consequence to say regarding a current social issue, and millions of viewers tune in every week to find out what it is.


volume ten editorial board

Eric Bock
Cody Callahan
Gina Gretta
Leslie Haase
Afroza Hossain
Michael Kern
Stephanie "Spike" Leffke
Paul Loman
Alana Massey
Christine Mulquin
Ashleigh Oszust
Cassie Potler
Chris Richardson
Elizabeth Short
Tori Starke
Martin Steger
Abby Ware

volume ten faculty advisors

Heather Comfort
Karen McDonnell
Kevin Jefferson


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All authors have granted permission for use in instructional purposes only.

Unless explicitly noted, all ideas expressed on these pages are not those of e-Vision Magazine or of James Madison University.

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