Our goal is to educate scholars about the academic pros and cons to reading or viewing the works mentioned. Hopefully our brief descriptions will shed light on the themes and topics that the works will explore. Whether movies, novels, or philosophical texts, the scholar will be informed about the academic journeys that await them before they read. 

The people of Oran, Algeria are taken by surprise when a deadly plague ruins their everyday life. At first resistant to accept the truth of the tragedy, the people do not respond with the proper amount of concern until it is too late. Following the main character, whose identity will be reveled in later chapters, the concepts of suffering and death are questioned. Can suffering be explained or given reason? What types of motives should people have to help their fellow human beings? Should death be scary when it is simply unknown? Are religion, love and philosophy meaningless in a plague society? Though these questions are subjective, the main character offers his perspectives. When people go through tragedies it is said that they get stronger and their beliefs change. This idea holds true for each of the supporting characters that grow, change, and risk their lives during the epidemic. How will you view life after this provocative tale of death? “The trivial ideals of society are wonderfully orchestrated tale. Religion cannot solve the meaning if life and displays people’s dependence on work to distract them from tragedy. Though it missed the opportunity to show men’s aggression under the collapse of civilization.” -Sigmund Freud, author of Civilization and its Discontent “The people’s confusion at the senselessness of suffering was realistic to human nature. People only derive pleasure from justified suffering but sine no justification is offered, most people suffer.” -Nietzsche, author of the Geology of Morals
On her difficult journey of growing up, a girl named Marji struggles to understand her nation’s corrupt politics and the cruelty of the world. When Marji is young she begins with innocent views of god and blind loyalty to her lessons in school. Eventually her innocence is lost as she begins to question the ideals of her country and the cruelty of the world. This leads her to become rebellious, which adds a relatable element for American youths. While, Marji considers herself completely grown up by age fourteen she soon learns that growing up is more difficult than just having strong opinions. The gruesome world is cruel to young Marji as she experiments with drugs and gets shifted around to different homes until she becomes homeless. Each of these experiences serves to make Marji more grateful to her childhood and youth. “I will raise shifgrethor and otherwise speak frankly, Marji Strapoli served as an excellent role model for women. She does not rely solely on seduction and trickery to get her around the way a women is normally depicted.” -Ursula K. LeGuin, author of The Left Hand of Darkness "The way in which Strapoli discuses gruesome and complex topics with descriptive information is flawless. Each image served to provoke the feeling Marji felt when she first experienced the events." -Philippe Andre (Hannah Donahue) , journalist for the Anges Times
“Now Gilgamesh is your beloved brother-friend... And after you he will let his body bear a filthy mat of hair, will don the skin of a lion and roam the wilderness” (Epic 59) . The gods believe that King Gilgamesh is too powerful so they create Enkidu to balance Gilgamesh’s power. Enkidu is innocent and pure, the exact opposite of Gilgamesh. However instead of clashing these unlikely friends develop a brotherly love for each other that makes them feel more invincible and powerful. They embark on many adventures against Humbaba the terrible, a lovesick goddess, and the wreath of a heavenly bull. Only after all of these trials does Enkidu struggle with his loss of innocence, a trait he gave up so that he could join society and find a powerful friendship with Gilgamesh. Meanwhile, Gilgamesh must grapple with his mortality and the inescapable nature of death. Even the most powerful of humans have to succumb to death. Find out this pair of friends fair against these physical and emotional trials. These are the two strongest humans in the world, they might even be able to take on gods, but what can truly defeat this power duo? “Its longevity is perhaps due to the timeless themes that even the modern man continues to struggle with. Perhaps we could even make the connection that modern society is like a Gilgamesh seeking immortality through science rather than through the gods. This tale could serve to remind us that this struggle is a losing battle.” -Albert Camus, author of The Plague “The tale is a classic yet it has a lot of surprising twists that kept me enthralled. It was similar to other ancient myths I read with the gods always meddling but the flow of the tale seemed unique. It quickly went from a story about love giving people the courage to conquer a god to a story about death being the great equalizer.” -Libby Library (Hannah Donahue), Literary Critique for Bookworms Blogs
"Unproof is the ground of action. If it were proven that there is no God there would be no religion. No Handdara, no Yomesh, no hearthgods, nothing. But also if it were proven that there is a God, there would be no religion…." A human named Genly Ai travels to an icy planet called Gethen in order to get the intelligent beings on the planet to join a trading/peacekeeping system called the Enkumen, which runs the galaxy. Not only does he have to convince the people of Gethen that it would be beneficial to join this intergalactic organization, he also has to convince them that he truly is an alien. Trying to figure out how to convince a planet whose costumes he doesn’t understand proves to be difficult. In order to complete his mission, he has to learn to trust androgynous people with strange biological functioning and complex cultural practices. Genly visits two cities on Gethen, Karhide, and Orgoreyn, both of which have different reactions to Genly’s mission. Between the cities however, he visits some people who practice a religion that is focused on asking the right questions as opposed to the wrong ones. Genly becomes so focused on trying to answer the wrong question that he does not realize the most important question staring him in the face. It is not a matter of “if” Gethen will join Enkumen; but of “how.” Often times, knowing the answer to a question can also be harmful. Will Genly learn to trust the right people to help him with his mission? At what cost will Genly manage to get the planet of Gethen to join the Enkumen? “The tales that described throughout the novel, provide interesting lessons about the meaning of trust and the value of the unknown. These mini stories in the main story added to Ai’s journey so that the reader could anticipate the author’s message. Also the mini stories within the main story added on to the entertainment and authenticity of the world to make a more exciting story.” - Megan Otzeltupitin (Hannah Donahue), Nightly Mightly Press “While it is fun to fantasized about a world in which people are not motivated by their base desires, it is simply impossible for a race like this to exist. People need sexual attraction to form their identities and motivate them. Furthermore there could never be a world without war since civilization grows from brutality. Still it is a nice fantasy the conjure once in a while in order to cling to a better form of humanity.” -Freud, author of Civilization and its Discontent
“Memory takes us where we need to go” An ex-Israeli solider named Ari Folman does not have memories of the disturbing events that took place during the Invasion of Lebanon. All that is left in his memory is a dream of him and a few other soldiers bathing in the ocean while a city burns. Since Folman recognizes a few faces from the dream, Folman’s psychologist friend suggests that he visits these people and ask them if they remember bathing naked in the ocean. While he visits the other men he starts to learn of all of the awful tragedies that took place during the invasion. Guilt is present in most of the solders’ stories and others also mentioned some delusions. Still each man seemed to be living his life normally with a family or hobbies. This normality shows the resiliency of humans. Each man that Folman visits seems to have a different way of dealing with his memories and delusions left from the war. Is Folman really doing something therapeutic by going on this journey or will he discover so much guilt that it ruins his life? “It is emotionally stirring, bringing out the worst of war and destruction from the eyes of a solider. When in the mists of an invasion or war, the lines between enemy and innocence are blurred. Only some of these men come to terms with what they have done and Folman gives them this chance with his movie. You will be moved to tears.” -Jane Smith, author of Pizza Ponies on the Pond “The reality behind this animated documentary makes the messages more powerful. There is a different lesson for everyone in this movie. It is a wonderfully dramatic film that is also very telling of the psychology involved with guilt and coping.” -Oliva Smells (Hannah Donahue), Director of Caged Inside’s Band Memorial Tribute
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