Saturday, May 2, 2015


I'm so glad that I took humanities this year. It's definitley been one of the best choices of my high school career. Not only did I like the novels and material we read, but more importantly, I liked how we learned about them. I loved how the class was discussion based. I really enjoyed learning the novels we read through people's different perspectives, and I enjoyed listening to everyone's thoughts. Even when I didn't voice my opinion or comment, I felt so engaged and interested in what yall thought. I also liked how in depth analyzed the material. I didn't feel like read books just to get through them; instead, I felt that I was gaining a profound understanding of the novels. I liked many of the works that we read this year, but I think my all time favorite was One Hundred Years of Solitude. I really do consider that a life changing book, and it's changed the way in which I think of time and reality in my life. That book inspired me to read Love in the Time of Cholera for my independent study, and I want to thank Ms. King and Mrs. Quinet for introducing me to Marquez because I have developed a love and passion for his writing. I also wanted Ms. King and Mrs. Quinet for this year because I have learned so incredibly much, and my love for history and literature has truly deepened, and I look up to y'all very much! Also humanities wouldn't have be the same without everyone in the class, and I'm so thankful to have been part of  it. I'm truly going to miss every one of y'all, so thank you for making my senior great a memorable one. :)

Humanities Reflection

Humanities has been the most rewarding class that I have ever taken in my seventeen years of existence. Yes, I have genuinely liked all of the books that we have read this year, I am much more informed about art history, and I have experienced a college-like class in which English and History were combined; however, my favorite thing about Humanities has been the classroom discussion. The best part of an AP class is that everyone in the class is genuinely interested and engaged. I have been truly privileged to be able to bounce ideas off of all of you guys and hear your ideas for an entire school year. You are all incredible people (teachers, included!) and I feel so thankful to have shared this experience with all of y'all. I love you guys. Good luck in everything that is in your futures!

Unbearable Lightness of Being Quotes

Here are some quotes I found for The Unbearable Lightness of Being


  • “In the world of eternal return the weight of unbearable responsibility lies heavy on every move we make” (5)
  • “If the eternal return is the heaviest of burdens, then our lives can stand out against it in all their splendid lightness” (5)
  • “If we have only one life to live, we might as well not have lived at all”- Einmal ist keinmal (8)
  • “That is why the world ‘compassion’ generally inspire suspicion; it designates what is considered an inferior, second-rate sentiment that has little to do with love. To love someone out of compassion means not really to love” (20) 
  • “For nothing is heavier than compassion. Not even one’s own pain weighs so heavy as the pain one feels with someone, for someone, a pain intensified by imagination and prolonged by a hundred echoes” (31) 
  • Es muss sein” means “It must be!” (33)
  • “We all reject out of hand the idea that the love of our life may be something light or weightless; we presume our live is what must be, that without it in our life would no longer be the same; we feel that Beethoven himself, gloomy and awe-inspiring, is playing the ‘Es muss sein!’ to our own great love” (35) 
  • “It would be senseless for the author to try to convince the reader that his characters once actually lived. They weren't born of a mother’s womb; they were born of a stimulating phrase or two or from a basic situation. Tomas was born of the saying ‘Einmal ist keinmal’. Tereza was born from the rumbling of a stomach" (39)
  • “Chance and chance alone has a message for us. Everything that occurs out of necessity, everything expected, repeated day in and day out, is mute. Only chance can speak for us” (48)
  • “Lying neither to ourselves nor to others, was possible only away from the public: the moment someone keeps an eye on what we do, we involuntarily make allowances for that eye, and nothing we do is truthful.” (112)
  • “The criminal regimes were made not by criminals but by enthusiasts convinced they had discovered the only road to paradise” (176)
  • “Is a fool on the throne relieved of all responsibility merely because he is a fool?” (177)
  • “”Love begins with a metaphor. Which is to say, love beings at the point when a woman enters her first word in her poetic memory” (209)
  • “The main thing is to make the point that there still are a handful of people in this country who are not afraid. And to show who stands where. Separate the wheat from the chaff” (215)
  • “Love is our freedom. Love lies beyond ‘Es muss sein!’” (236)
  • “Kitsch is the absolute denial of shit, in both the literal and figurative sense of the word’ Kitsch excludes everything from tits purview which is essentially unacceptable in human sense” 


We've learned about Czechoslovakia to Colombia with polygamy and incest to Ancient Greece where more incest was real and killing your kids while riding on a dragon just happens. Let's not forget our adventures through Victorian England. We've traveled to Nigeria and the Italian Underground with the Underground Man right after. We learned that 2 + 2 = 4. We overcame sheep rot and the Jesuits. Finally, we finished strong in India, the land where monkeys fight. We dealt with infanticide, slavery, and the middle passage too. We turned into a cockaroach, no a beetle, jk I'll never know. Now our journey has ended and all I have left to say is: it's been real and it's been fun, but it hasn't been real fun. 

Jk it has been fun but it's also been a lot of work. Group projects and paper and presentations and that one time we sang. Thankfully, we all were willing to do the work and work with each other. This was probably the only class at St. Martin's that's truly been unique. Thank you Ms. King and Mrs. Quinet for an amazing class, and thank you peers, for inspiring me and making me feel comfortable to be myself.

One last music post... Mood music for leaving you guys

Alrighty folks, one last time. I am obsessed with a Rachmaninoff Prelude (Op. 3 no. 2, C# minor; it's a really famous one of his). I don't want to tell you anything about it because it's a really emotional piece for me, and so I want you to listen to it and let it effect you without me guiding you in any way. It's very short, so stop what you're doing for a few minutes and have a listen:

Humanities Review

Through the past year, we have had the opportunity in Humanities to learn from a wide variety of fields, including (but not limited to): literature analysis and composition, historical background and its influence on literature and the societal values, art, music, philosophy, science, and even some math. I have been impressed by the coverage, especially the learning through non-sequiturs on the blog (what other literature classes have featured discussions on quantum mechanics?). Whenever I describe the course to someone, they seem blown away by the amount of reading we do and by the breadth and depth of analysis. I think that the reason we are able to venture into this academic territory so freely is largely based around the composition of the class. We've got people interested in STEM, law, forensics, and more. We'be all explored our interests, which gives each of us something new to add to the collective intelligence of the class. The well-roundedness has been the most enjoyable aspect of the course (but also harassing y'all with my music posts :) ).
     Things I disliked were few and far between, though I suppose I didn't like how informal the blog got at some points.
     Keep in touch! Good luck guys.

OHYS Book Prep for AP

I am preparing Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude for the exam. Here is a brief outline of my preparations:

-magical realism (and its relation to legitimate history, and Marquez's points therein)
-memory (the first paragraph introduced this theme pretty well, with the references to the past, present, and future)
-fate (circular history, pig tails, the whole shabang; also brings to mind the motif of death and love at the same time regarding their wacky family tree).

"Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice."

"Thought the long history of the family the insistent repetition of names had made (Ursula) draw some conclusions that seemed to be certain. While the Aurelianos were withdrawn, but with lucid minds, the José Arcadios were impulsive and enterprising, but they were marked with a tragic sign."

"saw the epigraph of the parchments perfectly paced in the order of man’s time and space: The first of the line is tied to a tree and the last is being eaten by the ants. . . . Melquíades had not put events in the order of a man’s conventional time, but had concentrated a century of daily episodes in such a way that they coexisted in one instant."

Hope these help!

no exit from No Exit

Hey, so I'm just gonna list a few little things that struck me about No Exit.

   Isolation - kind of a big one since Garcin, Inez, and Estelle are all in a room together physically but are disconnected mentally and idealistically.
   Confinement - kind of goes along with the last theme, the characters are in Hell, the ultimate prison, also they are mentally confined by each other
   Suffering - remember that the torture in No Exit is unique, each person tortures one another
   Existence - this is a big one, remember that there are no mirrors in this Hell, they are unable to believe their own existence and must rely on the other characters to make their consciousness credible (to themselves)



ESTELLE: I ask no more. (412-16)
GARCIN: I'll give you what I can. It doesn't amount to much. I shan't love you; I know you too well. 
ESTELLE: Do you want me, anyhow?

GARCIN: Inez, they've laid their snare damned cunningly – like a cobweb. If you make any movement, if you raise your hand to fan yourself, Estelle and I feel a little tug. Alone, none of us save himself or herself; we're linked together inextricably. So you can take your choice. (351)

Ten Things I'll Miss From Humanities

  1. The fact that we always seem to go off on some random tangent for twenty minutes at a time and almost never get back to discussing the book/history.
  2. The incredibly detailed discussions we do have about books/history.
  3. The one desk I sat in all year (far side of the class room turn up).
  4. The interesting life advice that I received from Ms. King, Mrs. Quinet, and all of you.
  5. The connections we all made between different books, authors, and historical events.
  6. Projects! They were fun, I got to act at one point! We even sang that one time and that was cool
  7. Blog posts - not always informative, but often fun to read
  8. Henri, the Existential Cat
  9. Y'all
  10. Ms. King and Mrs. Quinet

What I have learned:
The simple answer to this equations is a lot. I have learned about different authors, about history, and about the creative mind. The last of those three was particularly interesting to me, and is something we did not explicitly talk about in class. The creative mind, I believe, is actually close to the scientific one, thank you Vladimir Nabokov and Pale Fire. An artist can't just pull things out of thin air and, even if it seemingly does, there is always some advanced, thinking process involved. No matter how spontaneous art may seem, the artist background or ideals always affect it and inadvertently formulate a step-by-step way for creation. Each artist has there own process. I found this idea of the artistic/creative mind interesting because I realized that everyone has one. Much like God (or the Gods) created a reality for us to live in, we humans have the ability to make our own realities through creation, whether that be literature, art, businesses, medicine, or life.

My point is that I never would have understood these things if I did not taking the humanities course. I am happy with my decision to take the class and have had an incredible and memorable experience. I would even go as far to say that it has been my favorite course throughout all of my high school career and I am sad that I have to leave it behind.

Class of 2016, if you're reading this, then take Humanities. In the short run, the course is unlike anything you've ever had before and you will most likely have a lot of fun. In the long run, colleges really dig these kinds of courses and it might even be a determining factor for you're admission.

Likes and Dislikes

1. Wonderful, constructive class. I would urge those who REALLY DON'T want to take it to not. You'll probably hate it. You have to WANT to do the work.

2. Accommodating teachers. I appreciate y'all being flexible with test dates and projects

3. Work Load. Manageable, but you must manage your time well. You're expected to read the material. You're a senior now, so they're might not be a reading quiz every day, but READ

4. Open discussions. You can really contribute anything to a discussion, if it pertains to it. Try to keep it on track, but the class will pass around your idea and it's super constructive

5. Helpful students. I love you guys. We all helped each other with notes and tests and we really camp to gather

6. Dante's Inferno paper

7.  Candide, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Dante's Inferno, Metamorphosis

8. Quinet powerpoint projects on music, art, photography, plays, etc

9. Sri, Joey, Alex, Iris, Ross, Isabel, Tiffany and Bre


1. Obviously, I didn't enjoy every single book we read. I did not enjoying Midnight's Children, but probably because I was getting progressively lazier (unfortunately)

2. Independent study, but that was my fault. I disliked my book (Slaughterhouse-Five) because the themes confused me. If you're reading this, maybe you'll understand the book better than me

3. I liked learning the history of the art and books (Mrs. Quinet), but reading Arts and Ideas confused me sometimes, and I liked hearing a verbal history better.

Oh, the humanity!

At the end of my Junior year, I automatically began to think about my courses for the next year. I had heard "horror" tales of those who struggled through the Humanities course, and I was unsure if I was ready to face the challenge. I envisioned confusion, dropping grades, and humanity-endused insomnia. I was terrified. I thought I would be so entirely over my head and out of my element. On the first day, I nearly even dreaded stepping into the first classroom on the left. Writing this at the end of the year, I've come to realize all my thoughts and fears were completely outrageous. I entered an environment of understanding teachers, interesting (and manageable) course work, and a fun loving environment full of people who desire to learn. What made our Humanities class so fantastic was the utter desire for knowledge. We would be chapters behind in books, because we would spend 45 minutes talking about one topic everyone kept adding too. Tangents arose, nonetheless (Yes Sri, I'm talking to you. You still can't breast feed. We probably know way too much about your moms love life) but, we loved everyone all the same. Then, I discovered BLOG POSTS *thunder*. I thought, "what am I supposed to write about? I'm not this smart. How can I think of these things?" However, as you read more, the more connections you can make. I would read and connect a character from the beginning and end of the year without even thinking about it. It takes time, but Humanities molds you into a comprehensive thinker and well rounded student. We would talk about Humanities so much in AP Biology, that Dr. Vaccaro would get mad. It was always on our minds. It was always that one 90- 135 minute class we had each day. The people we had in that class we go to know more than anything. We shared notes, made awesome presentations (panic at the discobolus, I'm looking at you), and bonded more than I have with any other class. Recently, I encouraged a Junior girl to take Humanities, when she came to me having the same fears I had had. I told her I had been wrong. I told her to urge students who didn't want to take it to not, because it causes a static environment and obstacles (glad we didn't have any in our class). But that she could really consider it. That it was fun, the teachers were accommodating and nice, and it was one of my favorite classes all year. I sincerely hope she takes my advice. Humanities was truthfully one of my favorite classes all year. I enjoyed doing the work, reading, and bonding with such a wonderful class. We had such a wonderful dynamic, and I really hope we keep our group message going (despite Sri's face swaps). I love you all endlessly, and thank you for making the 2014-2015 Humanities class such a wonderful experience for me.

An Open Letter to Humanities 2015

You all know that I'm not the most touchy-feely or sentimental person, especially not in our class (that honor goes to Izzy). However, I'm going to take this chance to say everything I never have about you all and our class.

Our Humanities class is fantastic. It has been one of the best classes I have ever taken not only because of the curriculum but because of the open and stimulating talk made possible by this specific combination of people. Each one of us brings something unique to the table.

Over the course of this year both the students and teachers of our class ave been challenged. Together we have faced pep rallies, screwed up schedules, triple test days, and sleep depravation. We have also endured emotional drama and personal tragedy as a community. Within the greater St. Martin's family  tree, we are a side branch. I feel like we have become so bonded as a class, probably due to the extensive amount of time we spend with each other both in and out of class (uber periods and the group text lol). That's not to say that we don't drive each other crazy. The singing, the Nicki Minaj @Sri, the Humanities art tests @MrsQ, Midnight's Children race to the finish, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera...

As a class, we have struggled through Kundera, been confused by Marquez, sobbed at Morrison, laughed at Voltaire, and cried tears of utter exhaustion while reading Rushdie. Joining forces, we have conquered every test Ms. K and Mrs. Q have thrown at us. We work together to ensure our success as a group--teamwork makes the dream work (hate that phrase but it applies well here).

Anyway... You guys have been there from the start (even Bre, though she abandoned us for a few years). We started from the bottom (i.e. lower school) and now we're here--one day out from Senior Chapel. We made it. We took all the tests, beat the clock, slayed the dragon (i.e. Beckman's final exam), and are finally graduating. I am so proud of you all and can't wait to see what you do next.

To our fearless leaders: Thank you for tolerating (and occasionally taking part in) our shenanigans and tomfoolery. I feel like I speak for all of us when I say that we could not have wished for better teachers and mentors. Thank you for everything.

I know I snark a lot about how I'm ready to go and I'm not getting sentimental but, fact is, in my own way I am. Instead of getting sad, however, I'm just so happy to remember the past we've had together and look toward a bright future for each and every one of us. I truly do hope that we all remember our bond, even over time and distance. While I have attempted to do so here, I cannot express in words how much I love all of you. Thank you for the past ten years. It's been a pleasure serving with you.


Unbearable Lightness in Review

  • Themes
    • Lightness v. Weight
    • Body v. Soul
    • Sex v. Love
    • Fate v. Chance
  • Symbols
    • Bowler hat
    • Anna Karenina
    • Karenin
    • Suitcase
    • Photos
  • Quotes
    • "'Not at all,' said Tereza. 'They're the same.' Neither the editor nor the photographer understood her, and even I find it difficult to explain what she had in mind when she compared a nude beach to the Russian invasion."
    • "He had gone back to Prague because of her. So fateful a decision resting on so fortuitous a love, a love that would not even have existed had it not been for the chief surgeon's sciatica seven years earlier. And that woman, that personification of absolute fortuity, now again lay beside him, breathing deeply."

Friday, May 1, 2015

A time capsule

Dear Class of erhmm, what year is it now?

I assume the Class of 2016 has the best shot at viewing this post but ya never know, I scrolled back through some old posts earlier this year (I mean around the conception of the blog old) {I'm talking Mrs. Scandurro was still an English teacher old} [I'm talking about like 2007....woah 8 years ago]. However, this blog is a giant archive which I think is really cool. Much like a great spiritus mundis, everything from every humanities class for the past 8 years is on this thing. As a class we have added to this collection, these pages of history, this collective knowledge that we all have access to. I am graduating this year - 2015 - and I have seen changes; however, there's one thing that does not change, no matter how much we want it to - literature. Authors often use immortalizing conceits that affirm that they will live on through their works since they will survive. So long as their works survive, they survive. So, as a senior that has just risen a bell, I have decided to make an immortalizing conceit of a sort. However, I've been writing it the whole year without even knowing it. Now when I say I, I should rather say our class. While the years might endlessly fly by with the unrelenting tick of the clock, our work, our jokes, our laughs, our sorrows, our panicked states before tests - those all stay behind on this site. This is a modern world, and we've been keeping a collective diary with all of these things. With unique thoughts that may have never been thunk before, we type on a greenish-blue screen. We jot down what comes to mind, whether it be literary or societal observations, we type. There are no rules here, there are only minds. Consciousnesses{all intertwined with one another. This isn't a place where we are concerned how many likes or retweets we receive, this is our classroom, an automated representation of the discourse of this course. So, with a click of the publish button I send to you, the St. Martin's (or global) Spiritus Mundis, my opinion of the blog, and a little bit of my high school spirit.


Candide (the division of booty)

Alright-y folks, here's the low down on Candide:

We've got some themes here like...

  • Philosophy (Optimism)
  • Society's class structure
  • Religion
  • Suffering
  • Love <3
  • Fortune
  • War

These themes get expressed through some of the following recurring symbols and motifs:

  • Resurrection - seriously, everybody comes back to life
  • Rape
  • The garden
  • The Lisbon Earthquake
Here are some kinda important quotes:

"When they were not arguing, the boredom was so fierce that one day the old woman ventured to say: —I should like to know which is worse, being raped a hundred times by negro pirates, having a buttock cut off, running the gauntlet in the Bulgar army, being flogged and hanged in an auto-da-fé, being dissected and rowing in the galleys—experiencing, in a word, all the miseries through which we have passed—or else just sitting here and doing nothing? —It’s a hard question, said Candide. These words gave rise to new reflections, and Martin in particular concluded that man was bound to live either in convulsions of misery or in the lethargy of boredom"

"That is very well put, said Candide, but we must go and work our garden."

"It is clear, said he, that things cannot be otherwise than they are, for since everything is made to serve an end, everything necessarily serves the best end. Observe: noses were made to support spectacles, hence we have spectacles."