BR: Scarlett Epstein Hates It Here

Part of having an online presence is this weird isolation from real life, whatever that is. I remember growing up with the Harry Potter fandom, reading fanfiction, and not really being in tune with who was popular in school, or crushes, or friendships. I was kind of in my own bubble hovering maddeningly in a corner with occasional bursts of contact with the outside world. Reading Scarlett Epstein Hates It Here reminded me of these days. It was an accurate representation of coming of age under the Internet’s influence and the shock of the real life.

Unlike the fiction in Fangirl, here, the story takes on a dark commentary on Scarlett’s real life. The story reflects her difficulties in imagining Ashley and Gideon complexly. She simplifies them into these stereotypes, particularly Ashley, who is literally a robot in her story. The fact that her story garners quite a few fans is also telling because it is a testament to her ability as a writer, just like her father and his new wife. The parallels between her work and her father’s is also interesting, because, in both, they misjudge and misrepresent others.

Ruth and Dawn have this really interesting connection with Scarlett, because she assumes a lot about them, only to realize later on that she was way, way off. For instance, the story Ruth shares of her youth and her family shocks young Scarlett into seeing that perhaps her judgment of others is not entirely accurate or fair. Through Dawn, a strong feminist message is sent in a painful way as Scarlett realizes that she has been overlooking her mother’s value as a person because they value different things. Like her father, she assumes that Dawn isn’t worth much as she doesn’t function the same way. Books and imagination are hard to consider when you are trying to earn a practical living. To Scarlett, her mother is a source of embarrassment due to her profession, her lifestyle, her inability to find someone to appreciate her as a companion.

The losses Scarlett endures offer as a wake up call for her life. Avery and Scarlett lose touch with each other as Ave develops a relationship with her boyfriend. Her struggles to find a balance between her friendship with Scarlett and Ashley isolates her. It’s hard not to feel affection towards Avery, even though she’s not in the narrative for long periods of time.

This brings me to the negatives of the book: it’s very episodic and not much of a plot-driven story. It’s not very character driven, either. I wish we would have spent enough time with Dawn, or Ruth, or even Scarlett’s dad. Gideon is featured in snippets. I didn’t really like the story Scarlett creates, because it took over the narrative way too much. I feel as though the story was hijacked by this fanfiction.

Still, the story is very different due to its humor, its tone, its balancing of feminism, commentary on pop culture and Internet culture, and the exploration of growing up in a time where the Internet can skew one’s perception a lot. It’s a refreshing tale and a realistic one, too. Do check it out, if you’re ready to see a girl take on the world and be bold.

  After reading the Raven Cycle, Maggie Stiefvater became one of the most interesting authors on my
I have been thinking a lot about how much things have changed for me over
When I approached Since You've Been Gone, I slacked and hesitated. Then, one night, I

Anl. Community and Growth

communitygrowinapairCommunity is a show that is amusing, sure, but it is also about growth and development. All the characters grow up considerably over the course of six seasons (and a movie?). In particular, characters: Jeff, Britta, Troy, Abed, and Annie develop a lot throughout the series. They grow into their own identities. It’s not always perfect.
Jeff Winger
Jeff doesn’t quite go down the path we are told to expect of him. He openly admits that he texts all the time yet no one is on the other end. He longs for his father’s attention. He was bullied by Shirley when she was young. He is definitely not the cool and collected person we assume he’d be. He is competitive in the paint-ball matches. He fully embraces Abed’s movies and dialogues.

For his future, he defies what  he’d planned for himself. He wanted to get his old job back, but he’d changed too much. He’s unable to sustain the lifestyle he’d eagerly planned.

When he graduates college and gets his own office, his only case is related to Greendale. The school becomes the center of his world and he can’t get away. It is a community he cannot shake off. He participates in charades within the show. He joins Troy and Abed’s show, their dances, Glee club, the Save Greendale Committee.

Britta Perry 

Britta Perry starts out as a serious cynic. She is not impressed with the government, or politics, or Jeff. Out of everyone in the group, she is the least interested in connecting with Jeff because she knows that he sees her as a sexual conquest and nothing more. As the show develops, Britta becomes almost a caricature of her old self. Her lifestyle is held together by a facade as her parents are helping her behind her own back for the duration of the show.

She pretends to be a hipster out of choice. For example, she has CD player and knock-off phones. However, the audience learns that she can’t afford to be “cool” (whatever that means). This is presented as an-okay thing to be. It is a relief because, in college, there’s a pressure to conform to the rules of coolness.

Troy Barnes

 

He starts off as a failed high school football boy. Troy dons his high school jersey proud. Pierce tells him to lose the jacket. Annie reminds him that he’s not in high school any more. She tells him he’s not “prom king.” Jeff tells him that he’s deciding to keep it or lose it for other people. In conclusion: that’s not a way to live.

This football wonder then becomes attached to Abed. They go on adventures and do things together as much as possible. He goes from being a simple jock to a repairman prodigy. If you thought you saw this coming, remember that he becomes a young millionaire.

Abed Nadir

Speaking of splitting the unlikely duo, Abed also changes a lot and finds himself throughout the show. He goes from being an isolated person to being part of a pair (whether it’s with Troy, Annie, Jeff, or Frankie). Quite the eccentric, he adjusts to the “real world” as much as he can: by infusing it with his interests in film. He often refers to his friends as characters, often reenacts shows and movies, comments on themes in Community. He goes from being the most obscure and seemingly socially awkward part of the group, to perhaps one of its most promising participants. He is the voice of reason, the meta narrator, and he is in fact what brought the group together. He assembled it. He takes in Frankie.

Annie Edison

She goes from being a young girl to an adult. What comes to mind is her appearance. She started out wearing cute dresses and cardigans. Her hair up and pinned, and by the end of the series, her hair down and relaxed, her clothes casual and less rehearsed. She openly tells Jeff to kiss her, not for her sake, but for his. And, Annie is in charge of her life as she interns for the FBI.

Your Turn:

Who are your favorite communities to belong to? Why do you like them? Share in the comment section!

For More:

–Community Wiki 

–Why Community was Canceled 

I watched The Force Awakens and I have been a fan ever since that late
For whatever reason, I was always under the impression that the Pirates of the Caribbean
Set in 1960, the film opens with the death of Ellie's mother as she prepares

Anl.: Pirates of the Caribbean: Find Yourself

For whatever reason, I was always under the impression that the Pirates of the Caribbean movies are about Jack Sparrow. But, what if the stories are actually about identity, across the board, not just for the pirate? The first film certainly focuses on the journey of all characters towards self-acceptance. I posit that perhaps it is not so much a funny story, too, despite of Disney’s attempts at mocking Jack Sparrow (and I know it gets worse as the movies progress. I remember, distinctly, Jack having multiple eyes drawn on him, and comical music playing the background, as he runs away from some non-white people…which, you know, isn’t offensive or anything. Please note my sarcasm).

So, anyway, the first film introduces the characters, obviously, and in a way, reintroduces them to themselves and to each other. For instance, we begin the story through Elizabeth and Will’s first meeting and the secret Elizabeth keeps from the world regarding Will’s background. From there, the film establishes the connections between the characters (particularly the main four: Norrington, Elizabeth, Will, and Jack). Norrington is hunting down pirates, especially Jack, who is the captain of the last successful pirate ship. The commodore is interested in Elizabeth and wants to marry her. He does not like Will since he can see him as a threat to his relationship with the governor’s daughter. Will is Elizabeth’s love interest. He is the son of one of Jack’s, uh, colleagues. Elizabeth is a means to an end for Jack. Will is Jack’s ticket back to the Black Pearl.
Yet, they are not what they seem. Jack assumes that he is a captain, yet he has no ship or crew. He is rumored to be captain of the Black Pearl, a fictitious ship with a cursed crew. No one believe that this ship exists at all. Throughout the film, Norrington comments on Sparrow’s quality (or lack thereof) as a pirate, calling him, “the worst pirate” he’s ever seen. In fact, the film proposes a question regarding piracy: the rules are complicated and even referred to as “guidelines,” and even the pirates are not all they may seem. I mean, literally: the pirates are the living dead; their identity only shown under the moonlight. Not only that, they break their codes to fulfill their own agendas. Barbossa and the crew’s mutiny is certainly an example of this. Another example of this bending of the rules is when Barbossa betrays Elizabeth (when he first meets her), and Will (when he asks for Elizabeth to be set free).
Jack’s identity as a captain is called into question so many times throughout the first film. An example that comes to mind is when he and Elizabeth are stranded on the Caribbean and Elizabeth asks him how he survived before on the island. He points to the rum as the source of comfort. While Elizabeth gets drunk with him on the first night, she soon realizes that Jack actually didn’t do anything heroic the first time he was left ashore. No getting on sea turtles. No sitting in the water for three days and nights.
Elizabeth pretends to be Bootstrap Turner’s daughter, which is another example of identity being misconstrued in the film. She struggles with being a lady throughout the story. She cannot wear the fancy dresses without gasping for breath. Referring to Will by his first name, and asking him to be referred to by her own first name, she breaks decorum often. In the beginning of the film, she sings of pirates and claims that she’d love to meet one. She is frequently told that marrying Norrington is a good move, however, her attraction to Will puts her in trouble, especially after he is revealed to be a pirate.

The most obvious  identity struggle is for Will–the son of a pirate, working as a blacksmith’s assistant, and yet he is doing all the work as the blacksmith, a fighter, an Elizabeth fan, and a civilian.

It’ll be interesting to see how Elizabeth in particular is treated in the narrative of the next films, because it is very rare to see women presented as more than love interests in pirate films. Wouldn’t it be nice if there were female pirates? Maybe that’s next in Hollywood. One can hope and dream, indeed.

Your Turn

Have you seen the Pirates of the Caribbean movies? Who are your favorite characters? What’s your favorite movie in the quartet? (I am watching them for the first time. So, try not to spoil them too much, savvy?).

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