2014 Sturgis Extended Essays

Congratulations Class of 2014!

By IB Coordinators Cindy Gallo (East) & Julie Carman Couhig (West)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis was an exciting year as the number of Sturgis Seniors doubled with the inclusion of the first graduating class from West! Needless to say, more Sturgis students than ever before chose to write an IB Extended Essay. The EE, as it is lovingly known, is a 4000 – word essay exploring an argument in the topic of a student’s choice. The hard work in research and composition is balanced by the opportunity for students to follow their own curiosity and delve deeply into a subject of personal interest. EE assessment focuses on the structure of the essay; the topic is the allure.

In college, our students employ the skills learned while writing the EE. Student feedback indicates that Sturgis Grads feel well prepared for college level work; The EE is a key part of this preparation. We are pleased that the IB now offers the Extended Essay as an option to all students, whether or not they choose to attempt the full IB Diploma.
Nearly two thirds of the class of 2014, 115 students from both campuses, submitted an EE in categories including History, English, French, Psychology, Environmental Systems and Societies, Business and Management, the Visual Arts, Theatre and ITGS (Informational Technology in a Global Society), and some new options: Human Rights, Literature and Performance, Politics, and Dance. The EEs were sent around the world for assessment to such destinations as Uzbekistan, Malaysia, Nigeria, Argentina, Germany, China, Australia, India, the UK, US and Canada.

EE Extravaganza: Photo courtesy of Marca Daley

EE Extravaganza

Congratulations to the class of 2014 for your perseverance and hard work! Your educational journey will continue as you head to college and careers. Graduating from Sturgis was just the first step in a life filled with challenges and opportunities. Remember the skills you have learned at Sturgis, the friends, and, of course, your teachers! Come back and visit next Fall when we have our Alumni day.

All the best –

Mrs. G and Mrs. C.

Advice from Seniors about Writing the Extended Essay

By Marca Daley, Theory of Knowledge – East

Students who opt to be Full Diploma Candidates often find themselves on the receiving end of well-meaning adults who offer advice and suggestions for completing the core requirements of the IB program: TOK, CAS and EE. With the Extended Essay, not only does the candidate’s EE supervisor offer help, but the EE Coordinator, the school librarian, the IB Coordinator and parents all work to keep the student “on track” with his or her research and the various milestones that are necessary to successful completion of this seemingly daunting task.

This year I thought that perhaps the advice that is so freely dispensed might be more relevant or appropriate to the juniors who are just beginning the essay if it came from their peers, the seniors who have only recently completed the process. With this thought in mind, I asked seniors to respond to a short questionnaire. They were asked five questions:

1. What was the best thing about writing an EE?
2. What was the most difficult aspect of the EE?
3. What, if anything, would you do differently?
4. In hindsight, what is the value of completing the EE?
5. What is the best piece of advice you would give to juniors?

Their responses were thoughtful and insightful:

EE Lunch Fair - Photo courtesy of Marca Daley

EE Lunch Fair

1. What was the best thing about writing an EE? (in order of frequency)

• The research process and skills “The research process can be fun (if you like your topic and want to learn more!)”
• Actually writing such a long research paper
• Going into depth in a topic of your own choice “I became an expert in an area not many people knew about. It was cool to do an investigation and eventually draw a conclusion.”
• The feeling of accomplishment (and receiving the gold star) once you have finished! “Honestly, finishing it was the best part for me because it felt really rewarding to finish something so big and so important.”
• The preparation & experience gained for college

2. What was the most difficult aspect of the EE?

• Time management (by far, the most common response!) “Managing my time and spreading out the work so it wasn’t overwhelming (along with college applications and IAs at the start of senior year).”
• Doing the actual writing “Actually sitting down and doing the writing and not getting distracted by the research.”
• Motivation (staying motivated and not procrastinating) “The biggest problem was self-created, as I had just procrastinated too long. If I had kept up with deadlines, then I would have been fine.”
Slay the IB Dragon - Photo courtesy of Laura CarahThe following were mentioned less frequently as difficulties:
• Choosing a topic
• Doing the research
• Structuring the essay
• Finding and Citing Sources in the correct form
• Making the Word Count

3. What, if anything, would you do differently?

• Manage my time better – “I would have procrastinated less.”
• Started sooner “I would have started the writing/editing process sooner (like the summer before senior year.”
• Chosen a different topic – “I would have made sure I was choosing a topic that could definitely work as a research paper in the subject area.”
Other comments:
• Nothing
• Chosen an advisor I knew well
• Communicated with my advisor more often
• Worked over vacation
• Used more sources / Done more research
• Not taken the Full Diploma
One comment summed up several students’ thoughts: “I would have started WAY earlier, used more teachers to my advantage, and used a greater range of sources.”

4. In hindsight, what is the value of completing the EE?

Responses to this question were interesting in that the students commented on both intrinsic and extrinsic value and often combined the two:
“This was a valuable process because it teaches a lot about time management and the rewards of hard work.”
“The value is in learning how to construct your own essay out of nothing!”
“The value is in learning how to research/analyze a topic completely in depth from all perspectives.”
“The value was in proving to yourself that you can complete a challenge even if you think you can’t.”

Students Explore Math at EE Lunch Fair - Photo courtesy of Marca Daley

Students Explore Math Topics at EE Lunch Fair

5. What is the best piece of advice you would give to juniors?

• Do it over the summer! (Do something!)
• Don’t procrastinate! “Meet your deadlines; they help keep you on track.”
• Choose an interesting topic! “Choose a topic that interests you but that you don’t know a lot about. Researching is more engaging when learning new information.”
• Take advantage of your supervisor! “They know what they’re doing and they WANT to help you!”
• Start Early!
And a final comment: “You can do it! It’s great practice for college and you feel so good when you hand in the final essay!”

The Role of Sturgis Libraries in the Extended Essay Process

By Laura Carah (West Librarian) and Kate Dunnigan AtLee (East Librarian) 

As librarians, the Extended Essay is one of our favorite pieces of the IB program. The EE allows students to explore their passions and learn research skills that will serve them through college and beyond. Our students are often both fascinated and terrified by this project. Most find it difficult to know where to start. Our role as librarians is to support, encourage, and give students the research skills and resources they need to be successful.

Students are allowed to spend a maximum of five hours with their supervisor but there is no limit to the amount of time they can spend getting help from their librarians. Because of the diversity of their topics we have the unique challenge of obtaining books and journal articles from around Massachusetts, the country, and occasionally the world.

Sometimes what our students need is a quiet focused place to get some work done. So, in addition to information literacy instruction, we also host several writing/research sessions. This year we are partnering with librarians at Cape Cod Community College’s Wilkens Library to provide research space and writing support for Sturgis students over the summer. Students will visit Wilkens Library with us on June 19th and after that are welcome to use the library at their leisure during the summer. We hope that many students will take advantage of this opportunity to have helpful librarians, resources, and a quiet work space ready made over the vacation, when we hope they will do the majority of the research for their papers.

A Sampling of Sturgis 2014 Extended Essays

Molly Brennan – History – East

EE BrennanResearch Question: To What Extent Did America Violate the Nuremberg Code From the Code’s Creation into the 1970s, and What Circumstances Allowed Any Violations to Occur?

Abstract: This essay examines the question of “to what extent did America violate the Nuremberg Code from the Code’s creation into the 1970s, and what allowed any violations to occur?” This is analyzed by examining accounts of the Doctors Trial that created the Nuremberg Code, accounts from American experimentation, and academic work written by historians on the subject. The scope of this is from the creation of the Nuremberg Code and Doctors Trials (1946) into the 1970s. First the adherences, violations, and partial adherences are identified. There were experiments that were violations, adherences, or a mixture of the two conducted after the Nuremberg Code had been created into the 1970s in America. This shows that America violated the Nuremberg Code to a partial extent. Secondly, the implementation of the Code that allowed for violation and partial adherences is analyzed. The reason that America was able to partially violate the Nuremberg Code is that the implementation of the Nuremberg Code was imperfect. The Code’s origins and nature contributed to the flawed implementation. The American origin allowed the creators of the Code to tailor it to fit American history even at the cost of effectiveness. Also, the demonization of Nazis, lack of press coverage, and international attitude weakened the very nature of the Code. Therefore, America partially violated the Nuremberg Code after World War II into the 1970s, and the origin and nature of the Code were mainly the reasons for this.

Molly Brennan: Researching my topic and writing my EE was an enjoyable process. I originally planned on writing an EE in one of the sciences, but then I decided to look at science, biomedical research in particular, through the method of historical analysis. I am going into biological engineering, and the ethics behind human research is extremely important to my future career. The topic itself was disturbing, so I wanted to keep researching and figure out exactly why violations of the rights in the Nuremberg Code occurred in order to not repeat those mistakes. My EE felt more like an investigation in the hopes of conducting better research in the future.

Scott Glynn – History – West

Glynn - NBAResearch Question: To what extent was the 1971 Supreme Court ruling in Haywood V the NBA beneficial to players with financial hardships and their communities?

Abstract: This essay will look to investigate the possible benefits and failures of the Supreme Court’s ruling in 1971 that Spencer Haywood must be allowed to enter the NBA due to the fact that he would lose significant wages and would also suffer detriments to his social status. The investigation will use case studies of current and former players who have either claimed financial hardship or have used the earnings they have received in the NBA to help the communities they come from. It will also investigate the current NBA rule on the amount of time a player must wait until he may enter the NBA draft, and compare that to the rule established by the NBA immediately after the Supreme Court’s ruling. The investigation came to the conclusion that the Supreme Court’s ruling in Haywood’s favor has been beneficial to players with financial hardships and their communities to a great extent. This is due to the various opportunities it has presented to players over the years and the significant rule changes that it has influenced which have bettered the lives of current and past NBA players and subsequently, the communities of which they came.

Scott Glynn: “Knowing the details of the requirements of the subject is important. I learned part of the way into the process that I had to restrict my research to information over ten years old. You have to fulfill requirements specific to the subject you pick, so learn that at the beginning.”

Keith Gonzales – History – West

Gonzales WWILooking Through the Eyes of Many

Research Question: To what extent did British diplomacy, specifically the actions of Sir Edward Grey as argued by Niall Ferguson, cause World War 1?

Abstract: The causes of World War I, covered (separately) by Niall Ferguson and Fritz Fischer, will be examined to understand to what extent each differ in opinion. In this paper, the question, “To what extent is Niall Ferguson’s examination of the causes of WWI different than Fritz Fischer’s?” will be explored because it is essential to understand German and British aggression before launching oneself into the scholarly debate on the causes of WWI which has divided historians for nearly a century. This paper discusses both the prominence of military strength in Germany and its aggressive expansion, as well as its involvement in pressuring Austria-Hungary to retaliate against Serbia (blank cheque) which caused general war (later spiraling out to become WWI). Finally, more underlining information about German and British involvement in the creation of the “Great War” will be briefly touched upon. When examining the evidence, one comes to the conclusion that Niall Ferguson’s and Fritz Fischer’s examination of the causes of WWI completely differ, yet include both relevant and sound justifications for each nation’s involvement in the causes of WWI. Table of Contents: Introduction: -Explain Niall Ferguson’s belief that Germany posed no real threat to Britain, and the source of Britain fear of Germany was generated by irrational anti-German prejudices. -Explain Fritz Fischer’s belief that World War I was a war of aggression on part of Germany that necessitated British involvement to stop Germany from conquering Europe. Body: Section 1: Arguments of both sides Pose the argument Fritz Fischer made, about World War I being a war of aggression on part of Germany. Include information (important events) that back up Fritz Fischer’s point Include information generated by Niall Ferguson that argues the point otherwise. Section 2: Counterclaims Arguments that oppose the S.H.D. given from the other side. Arguments that oppose the S.H.D. given from the other side. Section 3: Other historians that agree that it was Germany’s fault Other historians that agree that it was Britain’s fault Conclusion: Give a brief look for each side of the argument (for Fritz Fischer and for Niall Ferguson) and determine to what extent Ferguson differed from Fischer’s thoughts on the cause(s) of WWI. Restate: When examining the evidence, one comes to the conclusion that Niall Ferguson’s and Fritz Fischer’s examination of the causes of WWI completely differ, yet include both relevant and sound justifications for each nation’s involvement in the causes of WWI.

Keith Gonzales: “It’s strenuous and time consuming but worth it. It allowed me to learn about something that was interesting to me because the topic wasn’t assigned; it was all up to me.”

Gabrielle Healy – Literature – West

Healy For Whom the Bell TollsGive Peace a Chance: The Anti-War Message of Ernest Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls

Abstract: For Whom the Bell Tolls is a historical novel, set in Spain during the Civil War, detailing three days as an Robert Jordan, an American, attempts to follow orders and blow up a Fascist-held bridge. The novel was published in 1940, shortly after the Fascists won the war after an estimated 20 million casualties. These conditions beg the question: “How does Ernest Hemingway’s treatment of war in For Whom the Bell Tolls contribute to an anti-war message?”

The scope of this essay is limited primarily to the content of For Whom the Bell Tolls. However, there is also consideration of additional content from Joseph Campbell’s The Hero of a Thousand Faces, and various literary criticisms, and websites dedicated to helping students understand the novel to enhance comprehension of the novel and its goals. This essay is restricted because it does not examine Hemingway’s treatment of war over his complete body of work nor does it consider the factuality of For Whom the Bell Tolls in the context of historical events. Further research might include other primary literature and reporting about the Spanish Civil War, as Hemingway was part of the expatriate community and was highly influenced by other writers at the time.

The conclusions drawn by this essay are that although the fight against Fascism was meaningful and important, Hemingway treats war in a negative light, and thus conveys a message of peace. Through close analysis of prominent characterization, motifs, and the novel’s climax, as well as various other literary devices, Hemingway creates a novel depicting the his deleterious perception of war, even if it is , purportedly, the “good fight”. Hemingway’s work is a compelling testament to the importance of understanding and supporting war and the people involved in them.

Gabrielle Healy “It is really important to like your topic and hopefully be passionate about it. It was still stressful at times but since it was about what I really wanted to learn, I enjoyed the process overall.”

Samuel Kooharian – Music – West

Kooharian “All You Need Is Love”Kooharian “I Gotta Feeling” Research Question: To what extent do the elements of popular songs change in good and bad economic times?

Abstract: Music has a powerful influence over people emotions, and oppositely people often seek out music that reflects how they are feeling. Seeing this phenomenon could suggest a correlation between popular songs and the economy in America. The 1960’s were a time of great economic prosperity in America, specifically 1967, when the Beatles released the song “All You Need Is Love.” To contrast the year 2009 is a foil of economic hardship in America, when one of the most popular songs was “I Gotta Feeling.” For this investigation a musical analysis of both songs will be performed to compare their musical elements for similarities and differences. The investigation will be broken down into two sections, each two paragraphs long. In the first paragraph a brief synopsis of the time period and year will be written. This will include not only the economic state of the United States but the social and political state as well. The musical analysis of the song will be performed in the second paragraph, taking into account all aspects of the song. Finally in the Conclusion the musical analysis of the songs will be compared, and a conclusion reached as to how this supports or does not support the research question.

Samuel Kooharian: “Procrastination is not your friend. It really takes time to do things right with an essay of this size. You need to know your research.”

Hannah McLaughlin – English – East

McLaughlin -fairy-tales-from-the-brothers-grimmAn Exploration of the Brothers Grimm usage of the theme of the Seven Deadly Sins in Fairy Tales

Research Question: To what extent were the seven deadly sins prevalent throughout fairy tales and helped children with social issues?

Abstract: This Extended Essay will primarily cover the theme of the seven deadly sins presented throughout popular and non-popular tales of the Brothers Grimm. The sources I primarily used are The Witch Must Die: The Hidden Meaning of Fairy Tales by Dr. Sheldon Cashdan, The Owl, the Raven, and the Dove by G. Ronal Murphy, and The Brothers Grimm: From Enchanted Forests to the Modern World by Jack Zipes. There will be an investigation of the seven deadly sins hidden throughout the fairy tales, as well as the counter argument of the seven heavenly virtues also used in the fairy tales. I will also clarify who the Brothers Grimm were, why they wrote fairy tales and what was the meaning of fairy tales in the German culture. I will be using Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Cinderella, Hansel and Gretel, The Juniper Tree, The Fisherman and his Wife, Bluebeard, and finally Little Red Riding Hood. Each tale will primarily focus on one of the seven deadly sins: Vanity, gluttony, envy, greed, sloth, lust, and wrath. I conclude that the seven deadly sins are used primarily in the Brothers Grimm fairy tales for teaching lessons to children about knowing what’s right and wrong.

Hannah McLaughlin: Thinking back to the second semester of my junior year, I was nervous for the EE and had no clue what I would write it on. I wanted to combine my love for Theatre and Literature, so I was advised to do the topic Literature and Performance; I wanted to do something to combine my culture with something I love. At first I wanted to compare the Chinese Cinderella to the European version, but I realized there wasn’t enough information. My final decision was to identify the Seven Deadly Sins in the Brothers Grimm fairy tales.
Looking back on the process, I enjoyed it. I picked a topic that was interesting and something I was passionate about. The EE taught me how to manage my time. I strongly listened to the upperclassmen and took their advice. I feel that the EE helped me grow as a student and beyond. I learned how to research professionally and I feel that the EE has prepared me for college. The EE helped me gain knowledge and skills I will be able to use in the future. So thank you IB for giving me skills that I will have for a life time.

Haley Meaden – Chemistry – East

Meaden Cooling HeartThe Most Effective Antacids for Heartburn Relief

Research Question: To what extent is baking soda more effective than store bought antacids, such as Alka-Seltzer and Rolaids, relieving the symptoms of heartburn?

Abstract: This investigation was aimed at investigating different antacids, in hopes of discovering which of the three chosen antacids, Alka-Seltzer, Rolaids, or baking soda, would relieve heartburn the best. In order to determine the best heartburn remedy, this investigation will take into consideration to what extent each antacid neutralizes artificial stomach acid as well as the dissolvability of each antacid.
In order to try and answer the research question, it was necessary to perform an experiment and collect data. The experimental data included the pH of artificial stomach acid, after being combined with a fixed mass of each of the antacids.
The results showed that baking soda was able to change the pH of the stomach acid from one to nine, and the Rolaids and Alka-Seltzer changed the pH from one to four.
Although the baking soda changed the pH to a number closest to a neutral seven, it was determined that this would not be the best solution for heartburn because it changed the gastric fluid from acidic to basic, which is not good for the human body. Seeing as the Alka-Seltzer and Rolaids both changed the pH to the same value, in order to determine which would be the best choice for heartburn relief, dissolvability was considered. When this was taken into account, it can be concluded that Alka-Seltzer would be the best choice for heartburn relief. It dissolved a lot more easily than the Rolaids, which were nearly impossible to dissolve into both distilled water and artificial stomach acid.

Haley Meaden: I chose to do my EE in chemistry and it was the best decision I have made in the I.B. I liked it so much because I got to do a lab and my EE was basically a lab report with a really long intro. One thing that I wish I had done was do it a little earlier in the year.

Olivia Milne – Literature – West

Milne Tender is the NightToo Much of a Good Thing: Fitzgerald’s Criticism of Jazz Age American Excess in Tender is the Night

Abstract: This essay is intended to explore the question of how Fitzgerald uses violent imagery in Tender is the Night to convey the message that the excessive lifestyles of Americans in the 1920’s were destructive. Fitzgerald’s 1934 novel is an account of the demise of Dick Diver, a prominent psychologist living on the French Riviera in the golden age of the 1920’s. Many see the fall of Dick as a symbol of the dangers facing Americans as a result of their excessive lifestyles. This paper aims to identify the ways in which Fitzgerald presents this criticism in his novel. The most common types of excess present in the novel can be split up into monetary, sexual, and alcoholic excess. The arguments of this essay will be split into these three categories of excess.
First, I will argue that images of violence often surround instances of monetary excess to convey the idea of money’s power to ruin mankind. Then, I will argue that Fitzgerald surrounds instances of sexual excess with images of violence to convey that sex is a seductive power with the capability to destroy the morality of the writer’s generation. Finally, I will argue that violence is juxtaposed with alcoholic excess in the novel to convey Fitzgerald’s warning to his generation of the dangers of indulgence in liquor. The scope of this essay is limited to the novel. It also considers secondary sources in its argument, such as the personal letters of the author, his published essays on the Jazz Age, and literary commentaries. This paper will argue that Fitzgerald’s novel is a warning to his generation against the extravagant lifestyles they pursue. This paper will conclude that Fitzgerald views money, sex, and alcohol as the primary indulgences that will ultimately destroy American morality.

Olivia Milne: “Change your topic if you find that you are not motivated because it’s not worth all the effort unless you are truly in to what you are doing.”

Sara Prygocki – Literature & Performance – East

Prygocki GWTWResearch Question: Which interpretation, book or film, emphasizes Scarlett O’Hara’s relationship to the land to the greatest extent in Gone with the Wind?

Abstract: The purpose of this essay is to analyze and comprehend the relationship that the character Scarlett O’Hara has in the book and film Gone with the Wind with the land to help shed insight on her character and actions. The cycle of subconscious love for Tara, to falsified love for money at Atlanta, to Tara at the end, is a main theme that shows the struggle for survival. Her interaction with the land is the most important relationship in the entire course of the story, and whether or not the film interpretation holds true to what Margaret Mitchell created is essential to the character development of Scarlett.
By providing in depth research of Tara and Atlanta themselves, both physical grounds and house, a study of the costumes and their colors which Scarlett wears in each of the places she lives in, and by summarizing the importance of her actions in each setting, it will be determined which medium paints a better picture of that special connection. Each shows a definite association between Scarlett and the places through use of description, colors, and story action with Scarlett’s character developmental arc. The movie uses description through visual and auditory means, but the book uses a variety of literary devices that contribute a definite effect, each using their means of communication in an effective way.
After a thorough investigation of both interpretations of this relationship, I have determined that Mitchell’s original piece encompasses more elements to that connection then the film did through use of descriptive language, symbolism, and the emphasis on the drastic contrast between Tara and Atlanta. Atlanta’s interpretation in the book is noticeably more monetary and egotistical than that of the film, and it only serves to solidify the book’s accuracy in confirming Scarlett’s natural connection to the land.

Sara Prygocki: “The hardest part of the Extended Essay is choosing a topic and teacher. The scope and possibilities are so endless that it, at times, seems bottomless. Once you narrow it down, finding research is a breeze. Knowing right off the bat what you’re doing makes everything so much easier—that and choosing something you like. Gone with the Wind had always seemed a large ‘staple’ in the development of books, movies, and my own tastes, so it seemed only fitting to use it for Literature and Performance in my own personal essay. My research went smoothly because I knew where to go, what to do, and was interested in whatever I found. Basing a question on the research is the next step—finding common links that can prove—or disprove—a thesis in 4,000 words! Going to the summer meetings was also a major part of my experience. Surrounding myself with other panicked individuals was encouraging and added humor to an otherwise stressful situation. Overall, the Extended Essay can be tackled if it is defeated one step at a time.”

Czarinna Shartle – Visual Arts – East

Shartle - The Garden of Earthly DelightsHieronymus Bosch’s The Garden of Earthly Delights

Research Question: What was Hieronymus Bosch’s intended message concerning the fate of the human race in his triptych The Garden of Earthly Delights?

Abstract: Hieronymus Bosch is one of the most complex and variously interpreted artists of the fifteenth century. His triptych, The Garden of Earthly Delights, is a piece that has sparked discussion and controversy throughout the centuries. The aim of this essay is to investigate and analyze The Garden of Earthly Delights by Hieronymus Bosch and to answer the question: What was Hieronymus Bosch’s intended message concerning the fate of the human race in his triptych The Garden of Earthly Delights? To answer this question I will analyze the triptych, panel by panel, using the impressions of art historians as well as my own interpretation. I will consider how knowledge of the artist’s life and historical context affects possible messages of the piece.
This essay concludes that The Garden of Earthly Delights portrays Bosch’s true fear for the fate of the human race, and is not intended to be satiric. Bosche believed that humans hold power over each other and their own fate. He also believed in the misogynistic concept of “the power of women.”

Czarinna Shartle: “My Extended Essay was easy for me to write because the subject was one that interested me. I love art and I was excited to find a painting that had enough complexity that I could write 4,000 words about it. I found sources with various interpretations and was able to compare them to my own initial interpretation of the triptych. The experience was stressful at times, but overall I’d say it was enjoyable. Some advice I would give to those beginning the Extended Essay process would be to begin your research during the summer. Start by researching a general topic that you are interested in, and then let the information guide you towards a specific question.”

Christina Wahle – English – West

Wahle Mary OliverResearch Question: How does Mary Oliver use the imagery of nature to explore the theme of life and death within her poems “White Owl Flies Into and Out of the Field” and “When Death Comes”?

Abstract: In order to carry out this study, I first acquired two of Mary Oliver’s most acclaimed works titled New and Selected Poems and House of Light. After a brief reading of each work I detected the threading theme of life and death throughout some of Mary Oliver’s poems. I decided that “When Death Comes” and “White Owl Flies Into and Out of the Field” best embodied the theme of life and death. I took extensive notes on these poems, analyzing the imagery that Mary Oliver used to convey her view on life and death in order to formulate a reasoned argument. To strengthen my argument I then gathered secondary sources in the form of criticism. With the help of librarians and search engines I found a variety of literary criticism and even a poetry handbook written by Mary Oliver herself. These external sources contributed to my understanding of the two poems in question, in particular the effect that Mary Oliver’s techniques of imagery have on meaning. I reached the conclusion that Mary Oliver uses the imagery of nature to convey the allure of life and death. In addition, the imagery of nature leaves a lasting impact on the reader because it introduces a new approach on how to truly exist in this world and envision the next.


Christina Wahle: “Picking a manageable topic and starting early is the key. If you do that, it can be a rewarding experience.”

Ali Waithe – History – West

Waithe Mary MagdaleneMary Magdalene: “The 2000 Year Old Wrong”

Abstract: Mary Magdalene, Mary of Magdala, The Woman with the Alabaster Jar, the first and only female apostle in Jesus’ group of followers. She has been the spark behind the fire that has been raging for almost two thousand years, simply because of one possible profession choice, prostitution. However, this one small trait that defined a woman to the Christian faith for centuries is now coming up to not be accurate after all. How can it be that two thousand years, one trait of one’s background can define her as a character associated with lust and all that man, under God’s law can go unsupported and seen as truth by so many without question? The blame can be spread over many people, but two people stand out as the main reasons for Mary’s damnation in history; Peter the Apostle and Pope Gregory I or Pope Gregory “The Great”. These two men, out of all organizations and people through the years seem to be the most opposed to Mary as a person and for what she brought to the Church. Even though the Gnostic texts and the majority of the apostles did not support any ideas that she was a prostitute, her image remained. This injustice that has been done to this woman is now being investigated by leading Theologists as well as the Church itself. Finally, religious world is “trying to make up for a 2000 year old wrong” revelation that these two men are two of the main reasons for why Mary of Magdela is known as she is.

Ali Waithe: “Ms. Robinson really helped me – she was very knowledgeable about the topic and helped direct my research throughout the process. It’s an independent project but it really helps to have a supervisor who is into the topic as much as you.”

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