The Other Place

Reflective Essay

The main reason I chose Mary Gaitskill’s “The Other Place” is because it is such a good story to work with and it is one of the short stories that I enjoyed working with. The process of coming up with a creative enough project to fit such a good short story was rather simple. I chose the type of project I wanted to do with it on day one and had no difficulties sticking with it.

The hardest part of my unit three project was coming up with a correct way to format the entire thing so that it looked enough like a newspaper page. Once the placing of the words went the way I wanted them and the pictures were put in everything went swimmingly from there on in. The newspaper article however, is meant to be a paper set in an earlier date before the main character grew up and had kids of his own. The main point of the story is to show what may have happened if the lady who picked him up hitchhiking as a teenager would have gone to the authorities with what had happened. An all-out investigation would spring forward and there would be more evidence coming from the neighborhood and sightings at the college of the young teenager starring at women and following them as close as he could but avoiding anyone walking his way. The two pictures in the story are supposed to be one of him as a police sketch and the other a picture of the ladies car on the side of the road. The ladies name in the newspaper “Lynda Caldwell” is completely made up. As far as the name of the county and the local fish fry that is being hosted: they are both also made up to give a more realistic feel to the newspaper article.

Unit 2 Comparative Paper

Cedric Harris
English 231
Professor Lucas
30 October, 2014
Comparison of Short Stories
In the two stories “Hills Like White Elephants” by Ernest Hemingway and “Black Man and White Woman in a Dark Green Rowboat” there is a common dilemma. Both deal with an unwedded couple whom are facing a life changing decision. Although the stories differ in a number of ways there is more to the problem at hand for the characters. Lives are at stake in both the stories: mostly the life of the unborn-child.
Both settings in the stories indicate change. One story takes place partially in a small trailer park but then transitions to a lake and rowboat while the other takes place at a train station bar. They could both very well signify a want for something different, a change to come, or even a means of escape. In each story within the issue of having a baby on the way for both couples there lies an even greater question, and for these two couples, a greater problem. A debate on whether to keep the child or, even though the words were never written in either story, to abort it. The word “operation” is substituted in the places where the word abortion could have been used in both of the short stories. Perhaps since the word abortion is never used it could signify that both characters in both stories are in some form of denial, as if they can’t believe they are having the discussion or even them being in denial of there being an unborn child to debate about in the first place.
Although both of these stories seem shockingly similar, there are quite a few differences that are obviously shown throughout the text. In Russell Banks’ short story “Black Man and White Woman in Dark Green Rowboat”, even though the time period isn’t stated when reading it one might not help but feel that it may be taking place in the earlier periods when segregation was the new next big thing. An example that may have helped give the reader that idea occurs during a conversation the dark boy was having with his pregnant girlfriend. The young lady spoke of how she had recently told her mother of the baby and their involvement with each other. However, when she mentioned her deceased father the words “Hated Niggers” reared it’s ugly head (64). The fact that the young man was able to hold in his anger might either mean that he’s one out of a million black people that is alright with that word or he knew that being with the white woman and having a mixed baby on the way that they would be frowned upon.
Unlike in Ernest Hemingway’s “Hills like White Elephants” the young lady is the one who wants to have the operation done. “Im going to do it” are how the young woman decided to let her baby’s father know that he would, in fact, not be her baby’s father fore there would be no baby after the operation (65).
In “Hills like White Elephants” the unborn child is put in grave danger before even getting a chance to breathe or see the world. The setting of the short story is set in a bar so naturally someone would be having a drink. In this case both the American man and his young pregnant girlfriend are having the drink. Unlike “Black Man and White Woman in Dark Green Rowboat” when the characters speak, they aren’t really having a conversation with one another. Their talking is more like making statements back and forth trying to get a point across to an audience that clearly doesn’t want to hear the message. There doesn’t really seem to be a stable relationship going on with the two characters. It is more like one character saying whatever he can to get what he wants and the other submitting to every word he has to say unlike in Russell Banks’ short story. Another difference between Russell Banks’ story and Ernest Hemingway’s short story is the role of which character wants the abortion and which one is against it. In “Hills like White Elephants” the young woman, “Jig” is the one who does not wish to have the ‘operation’ done. The older white man is the one who pushes for the abortion, and even though it may be the alcohol talking, the young lady eventually agrees to it. Of course after the man is finished saying all he could say to convince her; including the sensitive words “I love you”. He even makes promises that things would not change between them afterwards and that the operation is an easy one and that there is nothing to worry about at all. However, it is no surprise that Jig fell for his words. It is clear that the American man is the dominant partner in the relationship. This is portrayed in the scene where the waiter comes in and asks the couple what they would like to drink. The young lady could not answer for herself, neither could she use Spanish to communicate, thus leaving it up to the American man to order her drink and his own as well. As a result of some of Jig’s actions we see that she is clearly not as strong as the young white lady in Russell Bank’s short story.
In conclusion, we see that both stories are similar in many ways but they both have a number of differences also. Whether it be time period or strength in character. However, in the end one conclusion is destined to happen with both couples. Both weaker characters submit and the half dreaded operation would most likely take place, thus taking the life of the unborn child pre maturely.
Works Cited
Banks, Russell. “Black Man and White Woman in Dark Green Rowboat.” The Story and Its Writer: An Introduction to Short Fiction. 9th ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2003. 62-67. Print.

The Other Place

Cedric Harris

English 231

Professor Lucas

18 September, 2014

“The Other Place” Analysis

            In the suspense building short story, “The Other Place” written by Mary Gaitskill there is a tremendous sense of evil. There are bad deeds and corrupted thoughts throughout the entire story, but a thought comes to mind when reading it. “Is it really that abnormal to have certain thoughts or a place inside one’s own mind but outside of the reality we live in”?  Some would say it is abnormal to not have thoughts like that.

Right from the beginning of the story there seems to be a mood of darkness and negativity. The son is described as loving but, “He loves video games in which people get killed. He loves violence on TV, especially if it’s funny” (369). From the get-go the boy’s father, who is also the narrator of the story, expresses his own love for violence and murder. Most children enjoy their share of violence but not many find death funny like Doug does. However, Mary Gaitskill makes it clear that the boy is a child version of his father. The boy inherited his father’s speech impediment and essential tremors which cause the hands to shake uncontrollably. But despite his hatred for all other things Doug seems to find peace in only a couple of things. He enjoys fly fishing with his father and drawing crows. The birds aren’t the only things he enjoys drawing though. The kid also enjoys drawing men hanging from a noose and chainsaw wielding murderers.

Now on to the father. It is clear that all of Doug’s faults and psychopathic ways were handed mostly from his dad. However his mother also admitted to some of her crazy moments in college but nothing as intense as the father and Doug. As a child/teenager the father did what most kids around that age do: vandalism, theft, drugs, etc… but he deemed himself different than his friends and other kids. While hanging around and being up to no good he assumed that he was the only one with another place inside their mind to flee to when ready to. Who is to say his two friends don’t have thought of murder and torture while they are hanging out? Why does he thing they don’t watch girls through windows from time to time? It happens more often than not.

Most teenagers are daring. Most do crazy things: stuff they may regret later whether it be peer pressure, a bet, or out of curiosity. It is inevitable for youth to do stupid things. The father’s other place is nothing other than the thoughts inside his mind which we all share. They may be different from some others but probably not by much. He just happened to act on one of his thoughts when he went hitchhiking with a gun in his pocket and threatened that terminally ill lady. But like most people following an impulsive thought he couldn’t go through with it. And now as an adult he can do nothing but keep his son under his close watch and make sure that he is not alone in the other place.

So in conclusion, the other place is nothing but the mind. The thoughts that are inside the mind are what make up the other place and we all have a place in our minds we can go. It is perfectly normal to have that place. If one did not possess a place similar to that then he or she is the real psycho whom lost his or her mind.

Work Cited

Gaitskill, Mary. “The Other Place.” The Story and Its Writer: An Introduction to Short Fiction. 9th ed.

New York: St. Martin’s, 1983. N. pag. Print

The Evolution of Sports

Cedric Harris

Dr. Lucas

English 131

27 April, 2014

The Evolution of Sports

            The games we play around the world, today, require so much more from each competitor. Whether it is strategically, speed wise, or having a dominant physic. Playing the game is all about gaining the upper hand on the competition. Which, in the opinion of many, makes the games all the more fun to watch, and for some; to play. However, not everyone likes a challenge. “A devouring stare of slightly sour competitiveness can be fuzzy. Venus and Serena Williams, the game’s longtime dominant sisters, tend to look more abstracted, in a world closed onto themselves” (513). The more dominant players of the games such as Venus and Serena Williams, two superstar tennis playing sisters, are so full with pride and competitiveness that they see themselves as better than the rest. Just by carrying yourself a certain way can, in a way, strike a little fear into the less prideful and confident competitors. This has been another way athletes have changed the game. Fear is now a weapon that can be used on and off of the court, track, or playing field. “The sister of no mercy”, now doesn’t that sound a little intimidating (513)? Imagine being one of the lesser competitors and hearing that you are up against an opponent who goes by that name. That name was given to one of the more graceful and elegant female tennis players.

            Another way athlete have changed the game, and probably the most important way, is through their physic. The body of an athlete is one of the best tools he or she can possess on the battlefield. One’s body is everything aside from the mind it takes to operate it. There are a vast number of body type combinations all of which fit to give a player an advantage over the competition that may not possess the same body type. A basketball coach would probably never put a five foot ten point guard against a six foot eight post man. It just wouldn’t work out too well for the little guy. There are the slim and tall guys, short and speedy ones, average sized fellas, and then you have your muscle bound cheaters. Over the years there have been athletes charged with cheating through drugs and performance-enhancing drugs. Players today would do close to whatever it takes to gain an upper hand on those opposing them on their own field of play. Few do it the honest way, some have cheated along the lines somewhere, but there are more than we know gaining their advantage the dishonest way through performance-enhancers. “Blogger William Moller equates Yankee great Alex Rodriguez’s much-publicized steroid us” (482). The steroid problem with athletes are quite obvious, so obvious that they are being talked about and disguised. Certain people are even being pointed out such as Alex Rodriguez. He became great the easy way.

            I am pleased to say sports have not completely changed from its seemingly lost glory days. There are still aspects that remain true even in today’s reformed versions. Some things just cannot be taken away from the world of sports. For example, the sportsmanship remains along with the competitiveness. You can almost always depend on a firm handshake from a true opponent whether it be in failure or success. Sports have always and will always serve as a joyful subject for people of todays time, the past, and the people yet to play or witness the joy that comes from watching others compete. One can always count on having something to talk about when walking into a barbershop or at a barbeque on a sunny day. Throughout the history of sports there have been a great deal of nail biters and neck ringers in which people probably weren’t able to enjoy unless they were surrounded by other people to join in the anticipation, joy, and heartbreak. To some people the success or failure of their favorite team or player is held near and dear to them. “The last inch of space was filled, yet people continued to wedge themselves along the walls of the store” (484). That quote comes from Maya Angelou’s “Champion of the World”, it is the opener of his entire article and is an illustration of how all of these people are gathering to not even watch a boxing match but to hear it on a radio. To me this is a great example that shows how a common interest in a sport can pack an entire convenient store with strangers who may have nothing in common but that one sport. “In the store the crowd grunted” they too share what the man on the radio is feeling. A connection between a group of strangers and a man who has more than likely never met any of them in his life was connected just through a tiny box with sound coming from the sides of it. This connection is common throughout every sport played still today. That one aspect of sports will always and forever hold true, the connection will never fade.

            Although not completely, sports have in fact changed from the way it used to be; mostly though the players and coaches. Change is inevitable. However, the old demeanor of sports is still in there somewhere. We just have to find it and hold on to it.



Works Cited

Angelou, Maya. “Champion of the World.” They Say / I Say: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing. 2nd ed. New York: W.W. Norton, 2010. 484. Print.

Kimmelman, Michael “Women Who Hit Very Hard and How They’ve Changed Tennis.” They Say / I Say: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing. 2nd ed. New York: W.W. Norton, 2010. 513-23. Print.

Graff, Gerald, and Cathy Birkenstein. “Why Does It Matter Who Wins the Big Game?” They Say / I Say: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing. 2nd ed. New York: W.W. Norton, 2010. 481-83. Print.


One Act Play

Lamiya Bennett, McKenzie Call, Cedric Harris, David Newcomer, and Emma Pope

Eng. 131.02

Professor Lucas

2 April 2014

Healthy Living in America

Character Guide

Radley Balko: “What You Eat is Your Business” Radley Balko is a senior editor at Reason, a monthly magazine that claims to stand for free minds and free markets.

Jennifer Goodman: Deputy Director of scheduling and events in the White House.

Michelle Obama: An assistant commissioner of planning and development in Chicago, the dean of student services at the University of Chicago, and vice president of community and external affairs for the University of Chicago Medical Center. This text comes from a speech she made to promote her, “Let’s Move!” campaign against childhood obesity at the NAACP national convention in Kansas City, Missouri on July 12, 2010.

Susie Orbach: Chair of the Relational School in the United Kingdom, is also involved in with Anybody, an organization “that campaigns for body diversity.” Orbach has worked as an author and a therapist for women’s health issues and even served as an advisor to Princess Diana when she was suffering from bulimia. Orbach has written several books on women’s health including Bodies (2009), On Eating (2002), and Fat is a Feminist Issue (1978).

Judith Warner: An author who has been featured in the New York Times and the New York Times Magazine, with her column “Domestic Disturbance” on November 25, 2010 (2010). In addition she has written four other books. Not only does she write but added to her achievements she also hosted the Judith Warner Show on satellite radio.

David Zinczenko: A successful man and writer who is editor-in-chief of Men’s Health magazine. Also, he is the author of several books and is illustrated in many big newspapers in the world and has made appearances on talk shows. David strongly believes that obesity in children is just as much the restaurants fault as it is the customer.

Michelle Obama hosts an afternoon lunch in the White House garden and a conversation starts on America’s Health.

Jennifer Goodman: Good Afternoon and Welcome to the White House. Mrs. Obama would like to thank you for being here for this lovely afternoon lunch. She will join us momentarily when the meal is served.

Jennifer walks to the doors and allows the waiters to bring out the meal.

Judith Warner: Oh wow this is a nice set up.

David Zinczenko: It’s a beautiful day too.

Jennifer arrives back with the First Lady, Michelle Obama greets her guests and sits at the head of the table joining the conversation.

Michelle Obama: Welcome everyone! I’m glad that you all can join me for this beautiful lunch that my staff has prepared.

Radley Balko: What? No cheese burgers?

Group laughs

Susie Orbach: No way! Us girls have to watch our weight!

MO: That’s a good point Susie. That’s why I really wanted you all to come here today! “There is an issue that I believe cries out for our attention and that is the issue of childhood obesity in America today” (420).

DZ: I agree. “By age 15, I had packed 212 pounds of torpid teenage tallow on my once lanky 5-foot-10 frame” (392).

MO: I know when I was growing up, “our parents made us get up and play outside. We would spend hours riding bikes, playing softball, freeze tag, and jumping double-dutch” (421).

SO: I believe obesity isn’t something only children battle. “Fat is a social disease, and fat is a feminist issue” (449).

DZ: Yeah “I got lucky. I went to college, joined the Navy Reserves and got involved with a health magazine. I learned how to manage my diet. But most of the teenagers who live, as I once did, on a fast-food diet won’t turn their lives around” (392).

MO: “But let’s be clear, this isn’t just about changing what our kids are eating and the lifestyles they’re leading – it’s also about changing our own habits as well” (430).

JW: “You need to present healthful eating as a new, desirable, freely chosen expression of the American way” (402).

RB: In all honesty, to me “the best way to alleviate the obesity “public health” crisis is to remove obesity from the realm of public health” (397).

MO: I agree. “We can offer people the best health care money can buy but if they’re still leading unhealthy lives, then we’ll still just be treating those diseases and conditions once they’ve developed rather than keeping people from getting sick in the first place” (424).

RB: “We’ll all make better choices about diet, exercise, and personal health when someone [EP1] else isn’t paying for the consequences of those choices” (398).

MO: “Look, no one wants to give up Sunday meal. No one wants to say goodbye to mac and cheese, fried chicken, and mashed potatoes forever. No one wants to do that. Not even the Obama’s, trust me. But chefs across the country are showing us that with a few simple changes and substitutions, we can find healthy, creative solutions that work for our families and our communities” (428).  And on that note, let’s eat!

Everyone begins eating.

Works Cited

Balko, Radley. “What You Eat Is Your Business.” “They Say, I Say” The Moves That Matter in

Academic Writing. Gerald Graff, Cathy Birkenstein, Russel Durst. New York: Norton, 2012. 395-98. Print.

Obama, Michelle. “Remarks to the NAACP.” “They Say, I Say” The Moves That Matter in

Academic Writing. 2nd Ed. Gerald Graff, Cathy Birkenstein, Russel Durst. New York: Norton, 2012. 417-33. Print.

Orbach, Susie. “Fat is a Feminist Issue.” They Say, I SayThe Moves that Matter in Academic

Writing. 2nd Ed. Gerald Graff, Cathy Birkenstein, Russel Durst. New York: Norton, 2012. 449-452. Print.

Warner, Judith. “Junking Junk Food.” “They Say, I Say” The Moves that Matter in Academic

Writing. 2nd Ed. Gerald Graff, Cathy Birkenstein, Russel Durst. New York: Norton, 2012. 400-05. Print.

Zinczenko, David. “Don’t Blame the Eater.” “They Say, I Say” The Moves That Matter in                                      Academic Writing. Gerald Graff, Cathy Birkenstein, Russel Durst. New York: Norton,     2012. 391-94. Print.











Modern Day Pop Culture

Cedric Harris

English 131 .02

Professor Lucas

February 19, 2014

Modern Day Pop Culture

            The focus of which I based my biography is chapter sixteen, which deals with pop culture and if it is good for the average person or not. Some seem to disagree with pop culture being good in society but as always there are those who oppose their arguments.

The bibliography that follows will include brief summaries about a few articles I chose from a book we are reading in class that I thought dealt with modern day pop culture in the best way.

There will be quotations from the book and opinions of the authors. Some things may be re worded by me but I will also throw in a little of what I already know from being a television watching teenager in today’s culture.

Roz Chast’s, a cartoon for the New York Times, expresses her views on how teenagers use cell phones or instant messaging to communicate through the cartoon. She expresses her views of the way we as teenager communicate by reconstructing a classic everyone has more than likely heard of she in (2002). In her comic she cleverly devised a conversation between the two characters in a way that it would relate, somewhat, to a conversation a couple of teenagers would have in today’s time. She sets up the scene with the teenagers portaying Romeo and Juliet in a more modern time. One of them is using a laptop and the other uses a now out of date desk top. She shows how abbreviations are used to show how texting is made easier or perhaps to show that today’s youth have gotten lazy. The following quote is from the character Juliet in the comic. “Cardoza called home, sez im failing Spanish btw my rents hate you” (374). Those words serve a prime example of texting in present times (although her comic was rather entertaining I am still unsure of which side Roz Chast was taking on the issue of how technology corrupts the mind).

Chast, Roz. “I.Ms or Romeo and Juliet.” They Say / I Say: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing. 2nd ed. New York: W.W. Norton &, 2010. 347-48. Print

Dana Stevens is a movie critic but has also written for a few accomplished newspapers. She attended the University of California where she obtained her Ph. D in comparative literature. Stevens’ in “They Say I Say” is called “Thinking Outside the Idiot Box”, written in 2005,  it specifically targets Steven Johnson’s “Watching TV Makes you Smarter”. Throughout the article Stevens slanders the idea of television making the average couch potato smarter (she uses a sort of sarcastic tone through the whole article to perhaps show just how much she disagrees with Johnson’s theory). Stevens believes in Kalle Lasn’s “TV turn off week”, A week in which people are encouraged to shut off their televisions for a full seven days. Near the end of her article Dana Stevens invites people to turn off their televisions and see if they get any dumber. Her bet is that they will not get any dumber let alone any smarter from watching TV.

Stevens, Dana. “Thinking Outside the Idiot Box.” They Say / I Say: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing. 2nd ed. New York: W.W. Norton &, 2010. 295-98. Print

This third and final author that had input on this chapter on pop culture is a national merit scholar from London England. She came to America at age ten to live in New York. Antonia Peacocke is now a philosophy major at Harvard law school. Ms. Peacocke’s argument on the matter of pop culture mainly deals with a popular show called family guy; a popular adult cartoon show on fox. At one point she was against the idea of family guy even being aired on public television. However, over time, like some other critics or the show, she changed her mind about the show all together. It is still unclear  whether she thinks the show is beneficial or not but it is understood that it’s content is not for everyone but however, it is for her.

Peacocke, Antonia. “Family Guy and Freud.” “They Say, I Say”: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing: With Readings. 2nd ed. New York: Norton, 2012. 299-311. Print.


“They Say I Say”

Work Cited

Chast, Roz. “I.Ms or Romeo and Juliet.” They Say / I Say: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing. 2nd ed. New York: W.W. Norton &, 2010. 347-48. Print

Peacocke, Antonia. “Family Guy and Freud.” “They Say, I Say”: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing: With Readings. 2nd ed. New York: Norton, 2012. 299-311. Print.

Stevens, Dana. “Thinking Outside the Idiot Box.” They Say / I Say: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing. 2nd ed. New York: W.W. Norton &, 2010. 295-98. Print