A Little Life – Book Update

Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life, is a story about four friends from college navigating their way through life, overcoming their past traumas, and the one special person that connects them all. It’s very hard to get into the details of the book without spoiling it, so sorry if that explanation is very vauge. I’m nearing the end of the book and I’m loving it so far. I personally enjoy character-based novels a lot more than those focused on plot, but I can see the writing being very tedious for others. Rather than following one specific storyline, the story instead jumps around throughout the characters’ lives over decades describing their life experiences. The author takes her time setting the details of the story, making sure to describe every little detail as thoroughly as possible. I don’t think I’d recommend this book, despite how much I’m enjoying it, to anybody who thinks they may get turned off by this long, slow, and descriptive writing style. It also gets into some incredibly upsetting and disturbing content later on, and I cannot exaggerate enough how much I recommend looking into it before picking it up.

Coming of Age in “Be Cool for Once”

In “Be Cool for Once”, the author makes Shirin a dynamic (though still very cliche) character, by using the difficult decision coming of age trope. Shirin is at a concert for her favorite band when she sees her crush, Jeffery. At the beginning of the story, she is terrified of having to speak to him because she lacks confidence in herself. “And that’s when he caught Shirin staring. Shirin jolted, then froze, an electron trapped in the beam of a microscope. Her location known, she couldn’t move.” (57). This establishes Shirin’s fearful attitude about Jeffery at the beginning of her character. Without this anxious starting point, there wouldn’t be room for the growth that comes later.

After talking to him for a little bit, Shirin builds up the courage to confess her feelings. However, she still isn’t fully confident in herself. “‘Jeffery I have been in love with you since forever.’… ‘I’m going to leave, and you’re not going to follow me, can you do that?’… Shirin didn’t turn around as she left, because she didn’t think she could bear it.” (66). Here, Shirin starts to grow by confessing her feelings to Jeffery, but she still hasn’t completely overcome her fear, because she left as she was too scared to see what Jeffery would say. This marks the halfway point in her evolution as a character.

Finally, at the end of the night, Shirin finally overcomes her fear and summons the bravery to talk to Jeffery after confessing her feelings. She learns that the feeling is mutual and ends up kissing him. “Jeffery smiled from ear to ear. Shirin returned the grin. She took his hand and pulled him outside… ‘Come on,” she said. ‘We’ve got a date with a band.’” (70). Shirin has fully completed her arc of growth through a difficult decision, as she kissed Jeffery and held his hand confidently, without any of her previous fear. Through making a difficult decision and overcoming her fear, she was able to become confident around Jeffery and leave behind the stress of her previous self. The difficult decision trope allows Shirin to develop as a character, making her a dynamic protagonist.

Music Poetry – “Sarah” by Alex G

Sarah is the 15th song on Alex G’s 2012 album Trick. This song seems to be about feeling guilty about an ex. Lyrics like “Every day I’ll make promises that plague Sarah’s heart” and “Did I make a mistake?” make it feel very regretful. That first line feels like an especially regretful reflective statement about the empty promises he wishes he hadn’t made. In the opening verses, he paints a very abstract but evocative picture of Sarah and his memory of her. The metaphors used are very powerful while remaining interesting and fresh from a lyrical perspective, but also in their own context as poetry.

Stereotypes in Aladdin

Disney’s Aladdin features many stereotypes, such as a culturally appropriated Middle East, man-dependent women, and class ideals. While these stereotypes aren’t as noticeable as the ones in earlier Disney films, they’re still present and could potentially create a dominant narrative about these groups.