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Emily Elott

How literature died for me

The seeming death of my passion for literature led to shame, anger, sadness, even a loss of self. The narrative I had told myself, of a potential PhD, of spending a life engaged with art’s infinite variety, of pushing my mind as far as it could go, disappeared. Literature had died for me. But who had killed it?

Hidden eating disorders

“Imposter.” That’s the word Kay* used to describe the way she felt while receiving treatment for an eating disorder at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital. “I was convinced the entire time in the hospital that I didn’t have to be there,” Kay said. “I was convinced I wasn’t sick because I knew people who had it…

Giving avant-gardism the bird

Okay, I know what you’re thinking. That mischievous three-year old got into the paint-set again. She dipped her fingers in a couple of different colors and splat them on the canvas in random twirls. You’ll probably buy a $10 bright blue frame using your Amazon Prime account and put this in it. That way, she can laugh at her artistic proclivities when she’s older and has moved onto drawing female nudes in exquisite detail.

The lyrical realism of politics

President Trump deployed troops to the border to stop a caravan of migrants from entering the country. While we don’t know if this was a ploy to energize his base for the midterms or a serious response to a growing problem at the border, it hardly matters. Regardless of any person’s political position on immigration,…

A playground for elitists

I must confess a dirty little secret: I absolutely love literary theory. That being said, I now recognize one essential fact: literary theory is incredibly elitist. We read books to better understand our own lives, to get at what it means to be human, to feel connected to those around us even as we are…

Sources and soundbites

When I first read “The Wife’s Lament,” an Old English elegiac poem from the 10th century, I did not think it would upend my thinking about our recent 2018 midterm elections. I glanced at the Old English words and saw nothing but a riddle. Some of the letters weren’t even the same. How could I…

Virginia Woolf and #MeToo

“So boasting of her capacity to surround and protect, there was scarcely a shell of herself left for her to know herself by.” – Virginia Woolf, “To the Lighthouse” I’d like to argue that the model of femininity sketched and critiqued by Virginia Woolf in her arresting novel, To the Lighthouse,” intersects with the provoking questions…

Brett Kavanaugh and the seven theses of monstrosity

Brett Kavanaugh is a monster. I know a statement like this one probably elicits quite a few different reactions. Some might just blindly agree with me because it aligns pleasantly with their political leanings. They might say “Of course the man is monstrous! That’s stating the obvious.” Others might approach the statement with skepticism: “Monsters…
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