Thursday, August 30, 2007

Halfway Home

Yeah so my room is still super messy and I'm only halfway set up, but I took pictures of it anyway! I'll straighten it up by the end of the week. This is a slightly mysterious looking view; I turned on the flash for the rest of them.

Oh yeah, I signed up for classes today, eek! 18.02 Calculus, 3.091 Intro to Solid-State Chem, 7.012 Introductory Biology, and 8.01 Physics. I heard from some that four technical classes is crazy, and a good idea from others because of Pass/No Record. I'm just worried about having Chem and Bio back-to-back, even for the final, but we'll see. People have been trying to convince me to do 18.022, but I think I'd better test the waters first. My adviser said I could change during the first week anyway.

Here's my unkempt hovel!

The closet, or the "Elephant," as I believe they call it here.

My African Pearl from the Terrascope exhibit...I think I might name it Arnold or Mufasa, it's a toss-up right now.

My bookshelf with a ton of food on top, if you open the door you can see Karishma's room all the way down the hall, the bathroom about 5 steps away, and the kitchen about 3 steps to the right.

My desk/window/bed; the colorful thing was a poster from the Academic Expo. You can also see the very edge of my Target modular navy blue foam floor-covering thing which I love love love.

Target lamp: $40. Hawaiian Breeze Desk Fan: $10. Ikea curtains: $5.00. Riverview: a heartfelt plea on my housing application. There are some things money can buy. For other things, there's begging, which my dog knows quite well.


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OMG. Chair racing was so ridiculous and fun.

FIRST...Okay this wasn't going to be first, but it just happened. So I'm sitting by my open window and this silent group of people walks by along the river. Suddenly, one guy is like "DUDE, LET'S GO TO SPAIN!" and the rest of them are all like "YEAH!!! Let's go to Spain!!" Lollerskates.

B (the original first), to do the continue reading thing, write <> before and after the hidden part. The first time, before the link, put: span class = "fullpost" in between them, and the second time, put /span to end it.

TRIANGLE, some people here call water fountains "water bubblers."

FOURTH (and nineteen hundredths), I can't believe I paid over 4 bucks for a freaking pair of scissors from LaVerde's. I'm gonna try to go to Target as much as possible, but I heard that the next group going is a Catholic group, and I don't even know how to say Hail Mary stuff. =( I guess they wouldn't kick me off or anything, but it'd be like O HAI i'm in ur bus, usin' u 2 get 2 target.

So last night, I went to the Boston T Party briefly at Stata; it wasn't that great but I got a free t-shirt, 2 movie posters, and some food. (Eric got strawberry-flavored lube and a condom, but I passed on those.) Then we chilled at Simmons for a while before this random upperclassman, Erik, randomly invited us for some ice cream. We (me, Eric, Jillian, and Michael) were all just like, "Okay," and we ended up walking down the Infinite and all around the buildings until we found this random classroom. Then we had ice cream. Did I mention it was all really random?

After that was the chair racing. Basically, we were underneath building number 66, I think, and there was a long ramp in the tunnel. We had a bunch of Athena cluster rolling chairs, and people just went down the ramp. The thing was, at the end of the ramp was a corner, so we were mostly watching people get owned by it. I remember people doing loads of scary stuff, like Superman style, or this one kid standing on two chairs at the same time, or hearing "You're a freakin' idiot!" I totally held out until the very end, when I caved in under peer pressure - plus it did look really fun. I saw this other girl do it before me, and she slowed down by braking with her sneakers a bit. However, when I tried to do the same, my flip-flops were not quite up to the task. Needless to say, I just went faster and faster and the whole time I was like OMGOMGOMG and then I couldn't get into the right position quickly enough to kick off the corner wall so I slammed into it (cue chorus of OHs from the spectators). Then I fell off the chair, skidded a couple feet, and got bruises on my hip, hand, elbow, knee, etc., but it's okay. Pain is temporary, glory lasts forever!

We all left for the sodium drop, but then it got postponed to Thursday because there was construction on Longfellow, apparently. (I just found a video of last year's - I like how the cameraman says "Oh shit, let's get the fuck out of here," and hangs around for the rest of it.) There was a pretty cool fire show at East Campus though - one of my counselors from FLP was in it!

Today...basically I woke up late -_- I planned on going to Core Blitz at 1:30, but I ended up sleeping until 2. I caught the end of it, then went to the Academic Expo where I picked up more free stuff. After a great dinner with my adviser, our dorm had a scavenger hunt instead of in-house rush. Tracy, Melissa, and I totally went crazy and ran around like maniacs, but it paid off because we won. No prize, just pride. Following our victory, there was a little Taste of Cambridge thing, then a Yoga and Fondue thing. I did the yoga, skipped the fondue, went swimming, came back and chatted, nabbed a load of graham crackers and milk, helped Joanne move her stuff out of storage, and now I am so going to bed. I'm going to have my Freshman 15 by the end of Orientation from all this free food - I'm probably halfway there already!

/*Edit: we never changed to Boston time, did we? I'm gonna do it now.*/

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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

In-House Rush

So a while ago when I first decided that MIT might actually be the place for me, I took a look at the website and read a bit about the whole choosing a dorm process. Actually, that might have been what really hooked me... so much freedom instead of the usual filling out a questionnaire and leaving the rest up to some committee. I read about the whole huge process, and I remember appreciating how much time you had to change your mind and then decide which entry/floor/whatever you wanted to live in. At that time, I thought it was cool.

I just finished going through MacGregor's in-house rush tonight, and it was so much better than what I had imagined. Better as in gave me a really good idea of where I wanted to live, not better as in, well, any other sense. It was a lot more tiring than I had imagined, though, so I'm not really sure I'm entirely coherent right now.

We got divided into groups, and then we toured all nine entries and spent a while with the Housemaster. Fifteen minutes in each place, I'm sure you can do the math. So by the fifth or sixth entry, everything started blurring together and I wasn't quite sure which questions I had asked and which I hadn't. And I didn't really plan out my stomach too well; by F and G entries, I was so stuffed that I couldn't take advantage of their pasta and Subway sandwiches, which made me immeasurably sad. Met a lot of nice (and social! I don't understand the anti-social stereotype) people, and I'm really excited about living here!

However, I am not excited about packing everything up again and moving tomorrow morning.

(And yeah, Grace, I'm also kind of surprised by the... attractiveness? trendiness? of people here. The Hollister to free tshirt ratio is a lot higher than I expected.)

And how come I still cannot figure out how to do anything with this "Continue reading..." thing? (Maybe MIT really isn't the place for me, after all...)

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

crank dat soulja boy

Watch me crank it watch me roll. Lolgangsta.

So the weather here in Boston is actually splendid to the maxxx right now!!! It's warmer than I expected really, even sometimes a little too much so. I'm sitting in my room with the door open (my tower's pretty quiet though, I've barely seen anyone), as well as the window. My Ikea LILL curtains flutter rather prettily in the breeze, and the music of passing cars floats up to my window. Ahahaha actually, I hate the cars, but that's okay.

Another pleasant surprise for me was that there are actually some really attractive guys here. Not that I thought they would be fugly or that I was planning on checking them out, but seriously, I wouldn't have thought that it'd be better than Plano. Most people are so normal, too! I can't wait for the year to start. Actually, my outlook might turn a little more dismal after I have 4 problems sets to do per week.

Today, I went to take the Math Diagnostic after less than 3 hours of sleep. It was still cool though, the diagnostic was pretty much as easy as the provided practice modules, only half of which I took advantage. I actually took the test in the very same room I started out in, 9 hours prior, for the Orange tour. It was pretty interesting, even though I couldn't hear a lot of the stories that the Jack Floreys were telling on the way to Baker since they had to whisper. The best part was definitely when we were in the Tomb of the Unknown Tool, and after squeezing in between these two guys by the wall, I managed to scribble my name on the wall behind my back with the keychain Sharpie I got from Course 20 (Biological Engineering, which is what I'm currently planning on doing) at the Academic Expo during CPW. HEHE.

Diagnostic over, I came back to McCormick and discovered some really good free food at the Women's Orientation. After stuffing my face and excusing myself hastily, I passed out on my bed for a couple of hours. Then I went downstairs, played the grand in the living room for a bit, did another 500 yards in the pool (hopefully I can make this a daily routine!), and now I'm back! I noticed on the way back from the Z-center a lot of yummy-smelling food in front of Kresge, and my Hitchhiker's Guide says the free food starts at six. Yay!

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Okay, so Grace is a lucky duck because she had a blast at her FPOP while I come back and my butt has bruises all over it and I have scrapes up and down my legs and I am pretty sure there was at least one living creature in my hair when I washed it for the first time after five days in the mountains...

BUT OTHER THAN THAT, it was well worth it. Because now I know that I am never ever going to hike the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine (omg you would not BELIEVE the number of people I met who are doing that... they've been on the AT since March. WHAT?!). Seriously, though, I'm glad I had the experience, because it was so hardcore and I definitely would not (could not, really) have done it on my own. I hiked with Eric and seven other people, and we got pretty close after five days of depending on each other.

And now I am in my dorm being very glad that I've finally set up internet and skipping out on some keynote address...

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Monday, August 27, 2007

MIT's the place to be!

So basically, I love it.

FLP was an incredible experience, and we are such a cult now with our games and chants. GO BANANAS!!! I can't really describe it all - it was mostly discussions, games, and such, but then again, it was so much more! Words are unworthy for the emotions and bonds it engendered. Actually, in the whole MIT crowd, we're sort of crazy and obnoxious but umm...yeah. Also, I got sunburned for the very first time evar =( My nose was all red and peeling. I always thought I was impervious! Now I know better.

Anyway, after we got back and parted ways, my parents and I took a taxi to Target and bought some food, a fan, a lamp, shampoo/conditioner, laundry hamper, Clorox wipes, and a memory foam mattress topper. The last one was definitely a great investment - it made for the best night's sleep I've had in a week. After they left, I was supposed to set up my lamp, get my internet working, put the sheets on my bed, etc., but I went to return some shoes.** On the way, I met some FLP folk, who lured me to the party at the Student Center. A lot of us FLPers ended up at there that night, so it was mighty fun. It's so great to be able to go anywhere and have someone who's ready to give you a hug and accept you. For most people, that's pretty much true anywhere, anytime, but especially at the beginning of college when you're fresh and eager to find friends, you want to fit in somewhere. I just have to remember to keep myself open to others and not let my mind become limited by what it already has.

My room is amazing, 4th floor east tower with a gorgeous riverview. I can always see people running by the bridge, and yesterday I even saw a family of ducks (or geese?). The only thing is, my room is pretty warm right now even with my fan, but if I open the window, I won't be able to sleep with all the cars passing by on Memorial Drive. It's okay though, I expect it'll cool down soon enough! I took pictures of my single, but that was before I moved the desk and the bed around, so I'll post pictures of it afterwards.

Yesterday, Orientation officially started so I went to the Convocation, our Dorm Brunch, and then basically started setting up my room. I'm glad I'm in McCormick, so I don't have to think about changing buildings or rooms. After Dorm Dinner, I went to the Orientation Kickoff (they had a really good R. Kelly tribute) and met up with Eric. When it was over, we decided to go to a party, but West Side party hadn't started yet. We walked over the East Campus, where it's soooo crazy. I can't believe they built all that in a week! They also had this laser graffiti thing, I don't even know how that worked. Maybe there was some kind of screen on the side of the building? Anyway, it was psychedelic. Walked over to Stata to check out Jazz Night, then the Marriott where my parents were staying. The rooms are soooo nice. I got like 9 hours of sleep on fluffy sheets, and now I'm back here in my room! I saw the admissions office while walking down the Infinite, as well as loads of people going to take their Math Diagnostic on my way back. Mine is tomorrow - I hope I haven't forgotten everything!

**Story: the night (read 11:30 pm) before we left for FLP, I realized that I'd packed my sports shoes into one of the suitcases that my parents were bringing and we needed them for the island! I totally freaked out and started frantically trying to find out where I could buy some or borrow some. I emailed my entire dorm, and my CPW host/Plano friend emailed Kappa Alpha Theta for me. I got up early anyway so I'd have time to go to Target if need be. I was so delightfully surprised when I got a whopping 6 offers in the morning before 7! This was when there was barely anyone on campus, too! I love people.

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Saturday, August 25, 2007



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Monday, August 20, 2007


OMG I'M HERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Saturday, August 18, 2007


Okay, so I know that I'm leaving for MIT in two days, but somehow the enormity of that has not sunk in yet. I still have a room full of stuff to be packed downstairs, and I think I'm trying to pack all of my clothing... even the however-many-pounds of superfluous summer clothing. Damn, I hate packing. And cleaning. And generally organizing myself and my surroundings. (Here I could say something about the second law of thermodynamics.)

I am also sad about how I am completely not taking advantage of tax free weekend.

Okay, packing is calling.

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Poor doggy =(

Here are some before and after shots of pauvre doobs. In the one on my bed, he's wearing the aforementioned shock collar that doesn't really work anymore. My mother insists it helps. I couldn't bear putting these on facebook and submitting him to the humiliation! As nobody reads this anyway, I can document his pitiful state here (and only tell people who are understanding and kind, and skyj).

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Post 156

o hai i made you a lolcat

So I finally managed to start cleaning my room (sans lachrymal gushing! thunderous applause). Now it looks somewhere between a war zone and a tornado-ravished office supply store. It turns out most of those boxes I shamelessly nicked from Karen Dillard's will be put to some other use - I've succeeded in transferring their contents to suitcases. Soooo...I'm taking some of my belongings with me as checked baggage, and my parents are bringing the rest when they go up. Still, I'm shipping 3 boxes of books (Surprise: I'm taking 11 non-academic books with me and 9 of them are written by a certain JKR), notebooks, paper, and cds by the USPS media rate. Then, if my room is too small, my parents will bring back some of my clothes. =(

I can't believe I am leaving this place for more than three months in just a couple of days!! I feel like I should be more excited, but this whole cleaning thing is getting me down. If only I'd done it last week and could spend my last days playing. Or if only my mother didn't insist that, in addition to packing up what I'll need, I also get rid of all traces of myself in my room in order to prepare it for the habitation of my hated sibling.

Now, if you please, you can amuse yourself with the following:
LOL 1 Lolcats and editorial fashion, together at last.
LOL 2 USNews and hokum, together as always.

/*EDIT OMG I FINALLY BY A LUCKY ACCIDENT DISCOVERED A WAY TO GET RID OF "CONTINUE READING..." AT THE END OF MY POSTS AWESOME BLOSSOM!!!!!! I'd forgotten to add the /span to the end of the html and it didn't show up. This serendipitous occurrence merits a Monty Burns "Exxxxcellent" replete with sinister skeleton fingers and shifty eyes. VICTORY!! Now to go back through my last couple of entries and fix it. TEDIOUS. Anyway, obviously there's more to read.*/

I just did the Big Sis/Lil Sis questionnaire for McCormick - I just hope they won't think I'm as banal as I sound on paper.

"In 100 words or less, please give a blurb to introduce yourself to your big sis:
I am: a packrat, a Potter fan, a procrastinator. I wish I were: fierce, fashionable and funny. I like: alliteration, lists, sleeping, Goldfish Guilty pleasures: dark chocolate, Veronica Mars, America's Next Top Model, Facebook, Draco/Hermione, Pepperidge Farm Pirouettes Slightly scared of: birds and fish

**Help us please!**
In order to give you the best first year at MIT, we are planning several events for you and your big sis.
Please give us suggestions of what you would like to do with your big sis:
Go see a movie, have a pajama party with others"

I also wish I were: more consistent with my punctuation and somehow able to stay inhumanly energetic at 4:00 am.

All right, I could try to squeeze out a witty paragraph about how lame epicanthic fold surgery is even though I secretly wish I had a fold on my right eye (to match the left) or the current state of affairs between America and the rest of the world, but I am feeling a general malaise and digestive discomfort right now, most likely due to the combination of
1) sleeping in too late
2) eating nothing but 2 Chipotle BBQ Wraps, broccoli and ranch, half a can of Neo Neo Pearls (what's happening to me? I used to love those things), and a couple of these really squishy small sweet potato things, also from Asia World Market, (read: nothing healthy) and
3) cleaning, my worst enemy.

Honestly, I don't think it's so much cleaning as having to go through everything in my overfilled room. In fact, I plan to have a steady supply of Clorox wipes and Febreze, as well as a Swiffer sweeper in my "coffin" at McCormick.

In other news, Dooby got almost all his fur shaved off because of the matted tangles, except a little on the top of his head and at the end of his tail. POOR BABY he seems so timid now. At first, he was even scared to jump on and off the couch. omgggg I'm going to miss him so much. I'll try to post a picture of his nekkid state. He's still cute to me and always will be.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007


Don't try to tell me that brill's not gonna happen. I'm gonna make it happen.

Anyway, I had a genius idea which I'm sure other individuals have had too, but still. I could be a SET card for Halloween.

Although...I did just find my Harry Potter glasses. I thought they had been lost forever, but they were actually wedged in between Prisoner of Azkaban and the side of the shelf. Huzzah!

I have way too many boxes, and I've decided that I want to fill up some large cases of luggage before boxing up all my clothes. Unfortunately, I've already done the latter =( Everything fits so perfectly too! Now I'll have to undo all that work. Oh well, maybe the seventy dollars I'll save on shipping might be worth it.

I hope to find a really cute rug when I get to Boston. Less than a week!!

I am really reconsidering taking the bio and physics ASEs...maybe it'll be better just to take the basic courseload. I don't want to overwhelm myself in the first semester! In other words, I'm too lazy to have studied yet.

Things I want:
a ulexite keychain
I thought of two things earlier today, but I've forgotten them.

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Monday, August 13, 2007

Guess what?

My mom's coming home tomorrow...and I still haven't cleaned my room.

However, I have seen Rush Hour 3, The Bourne Ultimatum, and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (again). Should I feel ashamed of movie-hopping or vindicated for thwarting Cinemark's exhorbitant ticket prices?

Hilarious: Harry Potter and the COSATHSOWAW

Question: What is fmk?

Answer: Google it - really. The first thing that comes up is a Wikipedia article entitled Fuck, Marry, Kill - and that's exactly what it is! Get a random group of 3 people and you're forced to choose which to fuck, marry, and kill.

Now, if you're super bored, you can read my senior paper. It's not anything awesome, so I would suggest fourfour( if you want to laugh at Tyra Banks & Airheads) or HP fanfic instead, but not Night Zephyr - Points of No Return. I just finished it last night. It was horribly excruciating, but I couldn't make myself stop. Why do I do these things to myself?

(I named this something so awful and cheesy I'm leaving out the title.)

In the turbulent social zeitgeist of the twentieth century, many writers attempted to define ethics or clarify the delineation between good and evil amidst the pervasive moral confusion and prevailing psychological uncertainty. Using organic backdrops, they isolated humans in order to explore the nature of the mind without the constant influence of society. They found a primordial attraction to atrocity, or a sort of beast within the spirit, that becomes unleashed when faced with the unknown. Journeys into the wilderness often result in confrontations with the primitive fascination with darkness inherent in the human psyche, which must be willingly met but ultimately controlled.

Joseph Conrad explores this idea in Heart of Darkness, venturing to the Congo in a climate of ambiguity and doubt, where images of savagery and the horrifying vision of reality that Kurtz relays force protagonist Marlow to reevaluate his own values. Likewise, Barbara Kingsolver investigates the wickedness that surfaces in the character of pious Reverend Nathan Price as seen through the keen eyes of his family in The Poisonwood Bible. William Golding’s delving into the complexity of the subconscious is especially provocative in Lord of the Flies, as the individuals he takes into the jungle are young British boys who should be capable of “civilization” but quickly turn towards barbaric bloodlust and cruelty. All of these characters are drawn inexplicably into worlds of violence, hypocrisy, and death. Some embrace or succumb to the atavistic appeal of darkness, while others attempt to suppress or sublimate the repulsive attraction.

The innate “fascination of the abomination” (Conrad 37) is undoubtedly embedded into the human consciousness: taboo is exciting and violation of rules, sadistically interesting. If not satisfied personally or vicariously, these deep-seated, often repressed or veiled yearnings, can lead to terrible consequences. Nathan Price’s desire for spiritual security, augmented by his insecurity arising from his survival in the war where his platoon died, starts out harmlessly enough. He, like the colonialists, manages to delude himself into believing that his task of converting all the people of Kilanga is purely altruistic, but an irrational obstinacy turns his drive into a destructive force. Already controlling and unyielding, Nathan becomes even more stubborn in the face of failure, attempting to bend the will of the village to his personal control. His family suffers for it, enduring his physical abuse as well as suspicion and isolation from a majority of the villagers. His method of dealing with his inability only exacerbates the problem: he fanatically refuses to accept it, fighting blindly but furiously against what he believes is wickedness in the villagers, even after his wife and daughters finally take the drastic action catalyzed by Ruth May’s death and leave him. The reader sees his desperate battle with this purported evil through the eyes of his family and never through his, just as any understanding of Kurtz comes not from a direct insight into his mind but is filtered through Marlow’s perspective. DeMarr points out the fact that Marlow is away from Kurtz during his transformation, and “so too the women are separated from Nathan during the time of his greatest change by Africa and are finally left with a mystery” (par. 18). Once his tenuous connection, the presence of his family, to his former life is severed, Nathan “penetrates deeper into the jungle, apparently sinking into madness, as he journeys farther and farther into his own ‘heart of darkness’” (par. 24). Like Conrad, Kingsolver portrays Africa as “a strong and ambiguous force,” simultaneously being exploited by colonial powers and “corrupt[ing] the agents of those powers” (par. 11). One such agent, of course, is Conrad’s enigmatic Kurtz. In the absolute freedom of the wilderness, Kurtz takes advantage of the natives without restraint, succumbing to the darkness within him. Almost paradoxically, this complete liberty forces Kurtz to recognize his kinship with the savages, spurring him to “gratify his primitive lusts to their absolute full” (Ridley par. 3). Without the external dicta of society, he cannot resist the temptations of darkness, instead surrendering to them wholly. Kurtz’s fall is triumphant in a way: he rejects the European façade of concern for the natives in favor of the dismal truth: that the imperialists are in Africa simply for selfish gain and profit. However, because he is hollow and has not even a fabricated ideal to support himself, this solipsism consumes him entirely. After entering the literal “heart of darkness,” the wild African tangles, he cannot help but discover that the latent darkness “lodged deep within him...[will] erupt due to intimate contact with the lawless wilderness” (Brown par. 12). Similarly in Lord of the Flies, Simon finds that the beast which frightens the boys is actually within each of them. The fly-ridden sow’s head explicitly says, “I’m part of you” (Golding 143), echoing Simon’s tentative suggestion to the others that “maybe it’s only us” (89). However, the other boys cannot accept Simon’s revelation, and when he tells the other boys that the beast is human, they murder him. Like the prisoners of Plato’s cave, they are trapped by their self-imposed mental limitations and “fear the bearer of the truth” (Hynes par. 24). Nevertheless, the beast within surfaces as more and more boys leave Ralph’s camp of civilization for Jack’s society of fear and violence, where the fascination of abomination goes unacknowledged but satisfied.

The collective fates of the characters point towards an uncertain path of treating this fascination. After Nathan’s family leaves, he falls deeper into the clutches of the Congo, ultimately dying in a “boss tower” with the reputation of being a “witch doctor” (Kingsolver 582). The boss tower is a fitting place of death for Nathan, who tried his best to subjugate others to his will. There, “the Belgian foreman would stand watching all the coffee pickers so he could single out which ones to whip at the end of the day” (583), just as Nathan closely monitors his family and Kilanga for any action he could deem heretic or undemocratic. The twice-removed reader only learns of Nathan through the shadowy rumors of the forest, passed along by his family, adding to a mystical sense of his dark destiny. This insulation can also be seen in the telling of Kurtz’s death: the unnamed frame narrator only relates what Marlow passes on, leaving Kurtz still a mystery. What the reader can grasp, though, is that Kurtz cannot fight his fascination with abomination. Too much freedom brings him to realize the ruthlessness and cruelty of which he was capable, and this knowledge consumed him in the end. His famous final words, “The horror, the horror!” perfectly describe the monster which overtakes Nathan, himself, and many of the deserted island boys (Conrad 111). However, the fates of the latter are different. The boys who die, Piggy and Simon, generally represent the intelligent, introspective facet of the human mind, whereas the abomination does not fully take over the boys who represent disorder, Jack’s crew. However, this ending is somewhat ambiguous as the appearance of the naval officer is clearly a deus ex machina, and if he hadn’t shown up, Jack would have killed Ralph. Chaos would have triumphed over society in their tropical microcosm, and sooner or later, the marooned boys would have turned on each other, leaving Jack dead or alone in the end.

In the novel, the victimized boys represent the annihilation of others by those who fall into darkness. An alternate, optimistic scenario that could have happened on the island would have the boys continuing to follow Ralph, managing to maintain their human integrity and fighting against the forces of anarchy, but based on the natural inclinations displayed, the chances of that happening are inconsiderable. Of course, if the situation had changed (e.g. if the boys thought they were being watched by adults, if girls had been on the island with them), perhaps added inhibitions would have prevented the savagery perpetrated by Jack’s degenerate camp. Additionally, if they were older, implying more societal influence and further removal from basic instincts, they might have better seen the necessity of Piggy’s intellect. As it is, Piggy’s hard refusal to meet the darkness in any way leaves little room for compromise and therefore little room for him in Jack’s group. This rationalist in him “looks for logical cause and effect and [is] unwilling to recognize the inherent evil in human nature” (“Lord” par. 5). His unfortunate, prescient nickname makes dehumanizing him easier for the boys who treat him as prey, much like the sow they murdered earlier. Simon’s moral position is a little more ambivalent, but he also stays inherently good throughout the novel. However, he takes steps to understand the darkness, often taking the initiative to venture on his own in search of the beast. The darkness destroys him too, but this time it is not the darkness growing within him. On the contrary, it is the darkness externalized by the other boys and intensified by the wilderness, showing that the impulse toward savagery is stronger than the impulse toward civilization. Their externalized evil takes a physical form in the sow, and when they kill her, the boys “enjoy…a temporary cessation of fear” (Dick par. 7), for in the adrenaline rush of the hunt, they do not realize that they can never kill the true beast. After they kill the sow, they mount her head, “the apotheosis of evil” (par. 6), on a stake and offer it to the beast. Clearly, the boys in some way believe that “the sow is both the beast…as well as an offering to the beast” (par. 4). When Simon visits this totem, it is swarming with flies, symbolic of filth and darkness, reminiscent of the “continuous shower of small flies stream[ing] upon the lamp…so beastly, beastly dark” (Conrad 112) when Kurtz dies. Golding characterizes it as “a vast mouth… blackness within, a blackness that spread” (144). By confronting this evil face to face, Simon achieves “the embodiment of moral understanding” (Hynes par. 20), even though he ends up “inside the mouth” (Golding 144). As he is swallowed by the Lord of the Flies, the darkness consumes him, but his redemption comes in realizing the darkness for what it is: a part of everyone.
Marlow also confronts the darkness, trekking into the heart of the forest to meet its incarnation in Kurtz. Marlow, in a profound parallel to Simon’s vision, imagines him “opening his mouth voraciously, as if to devour all the earth with all its mankind” (Conrad 116). Soon after Kurtz dies, Marlow falls victim to illness and barely escapes, perhaps sustained by work or a “deliberate belief” (69) that Kurtz’s name should be kept alive. Additionally, Kurtz has an overwhelming effect on individuals somewhat analogous to that of the Lord of the Flies. While the latter causes Simon to have a fit and believe that the head was expanding, the former makes the Russian feel as if his mind was becoming enlarged (92). He also has the essential ingredient of belief, breathed out in his final cry, “the expression of some sort of belief; it had candour, it had conviction, it had a vibrating note of revolt in its whisper, it had the appalling face of a glimpsed truth” (113), but, as critic Florence Ridley argues, his lack of restraint consigned him to death. While he goes through the same recognition of humanity and understands the same temptations in a land where no external controls exist, “Marlow does precisely the opposite [as Kurtz], does not succumb, does not ‘go ashore for a dance and a howl’” (par. 3). He finds salvation in his deliberate choice to reject the primitive lust that is a “moral shock…altogether monstrous, intolerable to thought and odious to soul” (Conrad 105). In the macabre scene where he discovers Kurtz crawling to escape from the boat, he glimpses the intrinsic bestiality in man, mirroring the dehumanizing of a “dog-like” Jack, “nose only a few inches from the humid earth,” “on all fours,” crouching in “the semi-darkness of the undergrowth” (48). Although he recognizes the darkness, the fascination of the abomination within himself, he refuses to be seduced by it, demonstrating discipline and self-possession. In this way, he passes his “moral test” (Ridley par. 2), while the darkness devours Kurtz.

Nathan Price’s family also passes the moral test, while Nathan himself festers in an even more pathetic state than Kurtz, who at least is worshipped by the natives. The African villagers reject Nathan outright, but he cannot accept his failure and belligerently marches on, vehemently believing himself to be a vessel of God. His chauvinistic, egomaniacal need to dominate perpetuates an uncomfortable spirit that invades his home, and the women in his family seem to be simultaneously languishing in the heat of the jungle and on edge in fear of his wrath. Indeed, his pride and ignorance blind him from letting any human be equal to him, let alone be near him. Even Orleanna, his once-devoted wife, feels disillusioned and distanced. His personal quest for salvation, redemption for surviving the war while his comrades did not, even leads him unabashedly to take advantage of the sky crying at his youngest daughter’s funeral, where he baptizes Kilanga’s children in the rain as he was utterly incapable of leading them to the river. His family, even Rachel, the oldest but least astute of his daughters, realizes what he is too obstinate to accept: “You can’t just sashay into the jungle aiming to change it all over to the Christian style, without expecting the jungle to change you right back” (Kingsolver 619). Her particular belief – “stick out your elbows, and hold yourself up” (620) in a crowd – serves her well, and even though she continues to live in the literal heart of darkness, it never manages to get a grasp on her. Adah perhaps embraces the darkness in her soul more than the others do. Like Kurtz, she recognizes hypocrisy in the supposed bringer of light, the savior “Our Father,” but unlike Kurtz, she stays grounded, never “kick[ing herself] loose from the earth” (Conrad 107). In fact, she stays closer to the ground than many for most of the book, as her limp causes her to drag one side of her body. Her way of seeing things slant brings shrewd, incisive observations about her father, and despite her cynicism, she gives the most accurate portrayal of Nathan. Leah also chooses to remain in the heart of darkness, but after observing Nathan’s deterioration, she develops her own strong beliefs, filling herself with the light of knowledge and renouncing the darkness represented by her father. Orleanna and the three of them watch his decline with distaste while accepting their complicity, knowing “they are responsible in some way for the horrors…and they seek forgiveness” (Ognibene par. 14). By observing his moral decay, they avoid the same fate, walking consciously away from sorrow, from Nathan, and from darkness. The figure who does not leave with them has already been liberated from darkness in a quick strike of a sky blue mouth: that split-second gaping abyss again recalls the voracious aspect of the Lord of the Flies and Kurtz. Ruth May “would have made mistakes caused you pain eaten the world in one bite” (Kingsolver 641), but because of the darkness in man’s heart, she never had the chance. Her obsession with the green mamba snake and the resentment of the local witch doctor for Nathan throughout the novel foreshadow her fate, and when the innocent daughter finally encounters the serpent, she releases herself and her family from the captivity of horror.

Under societal pressures, self-awareness offsets the inherent devolutionary tendencies, but even without any constraints, humans must maintain their convictions and stay in command of their psyches. They must accept the fascination with abomination but cannot let themselves be consumed by it. Instead, they must fight it with self-restraint, with a belief, and with the light that dwells side by side with the darkness in their hearts.


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Friday, August 10, 2007

UPDATE! Still have not cleaned my room.

So I'm going to make a list of things I do/places I go to avoid doing things I don't want to do:
make lists
random clothing sites
play f/m/k with dgo's and my mutual friends on fb
random home decorating sites
read HP fanfic or look at HP fanart
google delicious things like crepes and chocolate

Setting: 2 am Central Time, August 1st, 2007, Grace's room

Grace has not received, to her knowledge, any mailings, postal or otherwise, about a statement or negative balance so she has no idea fall term tuition is due. She is, as usual, procrastinating and trying not to clean her room. Of course, Facebook is there for her in her dark time of need.

Ok I give up attempt at writing a short play, 3rd person me is not fun and the whole thing sounds idiotic. Anyway, I randomly decided to check up on the MIT 2011 Facebook group and BAM! Something like **FALL TERM TUITION DUE TODAY** falls under my glance. OH MY GOD. I LOVE FACEBOOK!!! Anyway, got my dad's credit card and used MITPAY omg so convenient and fast. <3)

/*Edit 8/15: I just saw a brochure today in the heap of mail from when we were in Taiwan that described how to view statements, etc. -_- */

Since I am hosting a party tomorrow, I probably should unpack my suitcase from two and a half weeks ago...we'll see if that ever gets done. Back to f/m/k!

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Wednesday, August 08, 2007

I don't want to clean my room.

Jes sayin. However, I have put it off for years, and the inevitable day when it becomes unavoidable fast approaches. In other news, I've been scheduled for work like 5 days a week every week, plus I'm tutoring this girl for extra cash whenever I can. Busy bee me. I'm going to miss Dooby sooooo much!!! =( He's so cute and furry, but the neighbors who took care of him didn't groom him very well so we might have to cut his fur really short because a lot of it got horribly tangled in terrible little messes.

I have rediscovered the pleasure of HP fanfic/fanart!!! I pretty much love and all the fic it links to and The Sugar Quill and all the characters especially Draco and the Weasley Twins and Harry and Ron and Hermione and Sirius and Remus and Severus and James, just to name a few. (How's that for polysyndeton, eh?)

Now, I'm going to finish Corner with Love, possibly pack books and journals (how much bubble wrap should I use to protect my HP books?), read a couple of short fics, and facebook a bit - my true love. Also, it's now Wednesday so xkcd. What a fascinating life I lead! There's nothing to continue reading...I should really find out how to vanquish that when I don't need it.

/*Edit: Speak of the devil!*/

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