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essays from spring & fall 2011


Blood is Thicker in Oil
Jacqueline Brittain

A mother cries, her head raised to the heavens, over the dead body of her child. On the right, the burning pyre that was a building entombs a woman while she is still alive. In the center, a wounded Spanish horse shrieks in both terror and agony. A candle holder and a bull stare at the scene in horrified shock. The body of a warrior continues to scream in the agony that brought on its death. And, above all of this, a light illuminates the horror of both what is, and what was, Guernica.

Censoring Huck Finn
Mackenzie Spicer

It's a classic or better yet, a masterpiece. It appears on academic reading lists year after year, it paves the way for modern literature, and it can be referred to for nearly any literary analysis. This great work is Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. So, with so much applause for the novel, why has English professor Alan Gribben partnered with NewSouth Books to publish it in a new version? Simple. He wanted to remove the forbidden “n-word,” “nigger,” from its pages.

Experience Lost; Experience Regained
Richard Williams

[Walker Percy's] prescription for liberating ourselves from the prison of our preconceptions, for regaining our “sovereignty,” is simple: forget what you know; instead, learn again. No kisses, only Kiss. Forget the love on screen, the passionate embrace into the sunset, for it is not love, only a cheap illusion to sell tickets. Don’t accept that illusion as anything but fiction, for it will be the bane of your happiness, as it was mine. Liberate yourself, venture out, relearn your experiences. Seek new things, things you never imagined you’d try. Try them all.

"Healthy" Chemicals
Jennifer Fisher

Ah-ha: diet foods! We scan the packages looking for the golden words: “low-fat,” “low-calorie,” “sugar-free,” and within moments our cart is filled with 100-calorie packs and Lean Cuisines. We feel relieved, satisfied, and proud. Who said dieting was hard? Those ten pounds will be off in no time. I will feel thin and confident. I will feel healthy. I will be healthy, right?

The Humanities: What Keeps Us Human
Sarah Piper

Try to picture a society where the arts and humanities do not exist. There would be no music, art, or literature. Religion and philosophy would be nonexistent, the study of history would be nullified, and intelligent debate would never happen. Obviously, a culture like this would be dry, unimpassioned, and rather incomplete. However, this appears to be the type of world that is commonly depicted as ideal—a world where science, math, and technology reign supreme and the arts take a backseat.

I Know of a Woman
Emily Bennett

On Christmas Day, when I was thirteen, my mother was in a drug-induced coma. I remember sitting on the couch on what is supposed to be one of the happiest days of the year for a child, thinking, “Why does my mother always choose drugs over me?” I knew that my mother was smoking marijuana and drinking heavily night after night, but it was not until a few years later that I learned that she was also addicted to crack cocaine. I have often wondered what led her to drugs: being raped, getting divorced, or having cancer? To this day, I still do not know the answer.

Meet Montana: News from the Last Best Place
Jackie Brennan

A place doesn’t need a post office to be identified as a town, but it definitely needs a bar. Why a bar? We understand that our state’s winters are long and bitter, and that wayfaring strangers invariably need a place to unwind. A bar has notably greater social promise for a wanderer than a post office, and financially, it’s just a more practical investment. It’s only logical to turn a profit when furnishing accommodations in the middle of nowhere, which is essentially what the majority of Montana is.

My Manifesto Doesn't Fit on This Bumper Sticker
Jennifer Wernimont

The drive has turned into an opportunity for life lessons, and it seems true that “the best advice often comes in the smallest packages, and it doesn't get much smaller than the pithy sayings plastered to the backs of Toyotas and Kias” (Jasheway-Bryant 46). This person is actively engaged in road conversation. Does her road conversation translate into actual conversation with people she knows? Does she live this active and engaged lifestyle? Of course she does, because a whole life can be stuck onto a bumper.

Jennifer Wernimont

As Rudyard Kipling says in his poem “The Ballad of East and West,” “East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet.” In the battle between East and West, the swastika gets pulled and ripped. It gets rotated and flipped back and forth. The West was introduced to the extreme hatred of the swastika; the East embraces the swastika as a symbol of unshakable faith. Hinduism is Hinduism and Hitler is Hitler; the two shall never meet.

Pulitzer Prize Photograph Brings Awareness—At a Price
Catherine Witko

In 1994, Kevin Carter submitted a photograph he had taken during a trip to Sudan to cover the civil war that was ravaging the country. He had no idea at the time that he would eventually win the coveted Pulitzer Prize. He had even less of an idea that soon after receiving the award, he would succumb to depression. Although it brought about Carter’s untimely death, the photograph showed the world a tragedy occuring in Sudan. It shattered the complacency that existed among people generally walled off from such struggles. It was a disturbing call to action to help those in other parts of the world who truly needed it.

The Power of Images, The Horrors of Child Abuse
Danielle Pierce

[The advertisement] returns our eyes to the little girl, the focal point, and again forces us to focus on the cape of hands groping her body. The overwhelming number of adult hands are much larger than the child’s small ones. They seem to be crawling from the floor of the child’s home, indicating that her only possible sources of security and happiness are in fact part of the danger: viewers are witnessing an unthinkable crime happening in a place that is supposed to be sacred and comforting.

Steve Jobs: Transcending All Innovations
Jennifer Limburg

Upon Steve Jobs' death, President Barack Obama observed that "The world has lost a visionary, and there may be no greater tribute to Steve's success than the fact that much of the world learned of his passing on a device he invented." In this, e-Vision's first ever video, Jennifer Limburg shows and tells us how Jobs revolutionized technology and the ways we use technology, "giving us things we didn't know we needed quite as bad as we really did."

Too Soon?
Tracy Fey

The days and weeks following 9/11 were such a tense, confusing, and undeniably sad time, but most of us just wanted to laugh again without feeling guilty.... As America prepared for entertainment to return to normal, many wondered how quickly this was “allowed” to happen. In other words: could we be funny again? Even the most professional of entertainers did not quite know how to answer this question, but they certainly tried.

Transcend from the Depths
Erik Simmons

Once born into poverty, the goal is simple and finite: survive, and if the opportunity arises, escape. This life of torment and sorrow becomes a reality that only you and those around you can comprehend. Many just embrace the grind, accepting that there is no alternative. There is no reprieve, no relief; poverty is relentless and seemingly perpetual in the eyes of the less fortunate. I watch this beast swallow my family’s community whole.

With Liberty and Justice for Some
Emanuel Grant

Yes, I said it. Cue the USSR anthem and call up the retired McCarthyites to put me away for good. I think there’s a maximum amount of money you should be legally allowed to make. Try your best to swallow my words. Remain skeptical; don’t trust me yet. But, I beg you to keep an open mind. Remember, I am no politician; I’m not trying to trick you with some underhanded rhetoric. I have a bona fide, genuine concern for the majority of Americans who are fighting an uphill battle in their “pursuit of happiness,” and I will use the principles of Macroeconomics to fortify my argument and fight for you—the little guy.



volume twelve editorial board

Tate Burkholder
Camille Corum
Casey Coughlin
Erica Holsclaw
Meghan Lavin
Genevieve LeFranc
Paul Loman
Sam Patteson
Alicia Pettis
Chris Petty
Sarah Piper
Ryan Waldron
Jennifer Walker
Abby Ware

volume twelve faculty advisors

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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