Rose-colored Glasses - Novella Sample

The autumn winds were restless in the small town within the borders of Wilcox County, Alabama. The working-class families often walked or biked to their jobs once the gas prices skyrocketed preceding the pandemic. The warm colors of the leaves left satisfying crunches from bicycle wheels, flattening them in urgency. The streets were damp from the morning dew as the sun was just now waking up from her slumber. The bricks on the side of the buildings cried out desperately for a power wash, and the cars left abandoned on the side of the roads suffered from sun damage from the scorching reminiscence of Summer.
Marcelo Leal

The Drawer - Short Story

“Dr. Demisē, you have a patient downstairs needing your attention,” echoed an electronic voice from my radio. The voice came from my medical assistant, Miles. He has been aggravating me all morning. After twenty long years in the medical field, I hardly need a constant reminder of my daily tasks.
As I trudge down the sanitized tiles, fumes of bleach and alcohol fill my nose. My white, non-slip sneakers squeak as I turn every corner. My stiff, white lab coat gently blows behind me. As I approach the old elevator, I examine the circular buttons. After pressing one, a dim light flickers from the button with the down arrow.
Михаил Секацкий

Echo - Flash Fiction

This isn’t the first time I’ve seen her. She follows me inside my home every time I approach this wall. It is as if she is trying to tell me something, warn me of something. Perhaps she is just trying to scare me, make me freeze, paralyze me. Each time, she is successful in at least one of those. She copies my movements, an evil mime of sorts, a copycat. Lately, I’ve been trying to avoid her. Her wretched smile imposing on my thoughts. Her sinister grin relishing in the idea of catching me. Is that her plan, after all, to catch me? She looks so hollow, like she possesses no organs, no tissue, no blood. Her eyes translate longing—is that the right word? She must be longing for something, but for what? She never attempts to respond when I ask. She only repeats what I say. Mockingbird, she is. She never breaks eye contact, a sign of dominance, I suppose. They haunt me in my sleep, those eyes, bloodshot veins emphasizing her ghostly blue irises. They’re swollen as if she never sleeps. I assume she stays here, in this wall, waiting to pounce, like a deranged jungle cat. Deranged—that is what she is.
Annie Spratt

Mother's Dumplings - Short Story

“Elizabeth! Come downstairs for dinner!” A bellowing, deep voice erupted from the downstairs kitchen. Bloodshot eyes as blue as the ocean peer within a dusty, ornate mirror. Dark, mauve bags hang from her eyelids, contrasting from her porcelain skin. Thick, bushy eyebrows furrow in disgust. Damn, that man. Won’t he ever leave? She thought, sighing in frustration. She stood up from her desk, still looking over pictures of her late father. We used to be so happy. I’d give anything just to see him again.

Literary Analysis

The Truth in Areopagitica

John Milton’s speech, “Areopagitica,” on the surface level, opposed licensing and censorship. The Licensing Order of 1643 was Parliament’s threat to institute censorship on books prior to being publicized. This Act meant that the Parliament had to approve any and all books before they were allowed to be printed and published. Many readers believe Milton wrote “Areopagitica” to combat this threat the following year. Milton’s speech has been thought of by many as simply a commentary on freedom. However, Stanley Fish believes there is more to Milton’s argument, as Fish writes in his essay, Re-membering Milton. Fish points out that Milton’s “Areopagitica” has “almost always been read as a classic liberal plea for ‘complete liberty’” (Fish 234). However, Milton never explicitly says that he opposes censorship. Milton’s issue with this Act is that he disagrees with a law being passed that does not allow books to be judged before they are censored by Parliament. Fish argues that there is more to Milton’s speech than simply freedom of speech. Fish argues in his essay that Milton’s speech opposes intellectual idolatry, which is evident in the complicated and hard-to-follow text of the “Areopagitica,” and the speech is “unMiltonic” (Fish 236). Stanley Fish’s essay argues that Milton’s speech is not simply on freedom of speech and publication, but on a more complex opposition against intellectual idolatry.
Rick Lobs

Evils of Inheritance

Nathaniel Hawthorne is an American author who is best known for writing novels and short stories in the nineteenth century. His most famous works are The Scarlet Letter and The House of the Seven Gables, which were both published in the mid-1800s. Hawthorne lived a block away from the real House of Seven Gables in Salem, Massachusetts, inspiring his Gothic romance about the haunting history of the house. The story begins with Matthew Maule building a house on desirable land—so desirable that the wealthy Colonel Pyncheon wants to take it for himself. After several years, the Colonel is rumored to have been involved in the conviction of Maule for witchcraft, referencing the real-life event of the Salem Witch Trials of the late seventeenth century. Maule curses the Colonel, leading to the lasting curse on the Pyncheon family through the generations. In the preface of his work, Hawthorne explicitly tells the reader that his story is not a novel, but a romance. He also comes right out and tells the reader the theme of the story is the evils of inheritance: “the wrong-doing of one generation lives into the successive ones, and, divesting itself of every temporary advantage, becomes a pure and uncontrollable mischief.” (x). Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The House of the Seven Gables uses its imagery to show the lasting bad luck on the Pyncheon family, ultimately illustrating the theme of the evils of inheritance.

Understanding the Patriarchy of the Anglo-Normans

Finke and Shichtman’s essay “Magical Mistress Tour: Patronage, Intellectual Property, and the Dissemination of Wealth in the Lais of Marie de France” describe the two different systems for the transmission of property residing in the patriarchy of the Anglo-Normans: primogeniture and patronage. By looking at the examples and analyses in the essay, readers can see the connection between the historical context of twelfth-century Europe and Marie de France’s Lanval.
Primogeniture, or patrimony, is the custom of which property and wealth from the father are inherited by his first-born son. This system allows for the continuity of wealth in the bloodline; however, this same system limits social mobility. This patrimonial practice is still protected today with the social institution of marriage. Patronage is a system in which a patron and a client form a complex, private relationship that distributes wealth predominantly among men. “While primogeniture created fictions of permanence and continuity, patronage created elaborate networks of male-male relations that emphasized discontinuity, change, and mobility” (Finke and Shichtman 481). Patronage solidified relationships between men with their gain and exchange of women as their property. However, in Finke and Shichtman’s essay, the audience learns that Marie de France was involved in the patronage system; William Marshal being her most probable patron. The role of women in the patronage system was often equivalent to property; however, women could sometimes be a part of the institution as clients, and even as patrons, like Marie de France.