Should Grade 12 English be Mandatory for all University Programs?

The most sought out question high school students wonder is, “why is English mandatory throughout high school?” Students dislike the fact that English is a mandatory course throughout all the years of high school as it develops frustration and stress within a student’s personal

Student stressed out doing English homework

environment. Little do students know – is that reading the Shakespearean literature and novels truly let us obtain a wide variety of benefits we never thought we would have. Even though students venture into undergrads that do not focus on the study of literature itself, is it still important enough for it to be mandatory to get into all post secondary education programs?


Personally, I really dislike reading Shakespeare, poems and all of the rest of literary work we have to as I feel it is boring and exhausting. I used to believe that there was truly no reason that we read Shakespeare and his works but the fact that it was part of the curriculum. Little do us students realize that the reason we do read the literary works we are given because it improves our overall educational skills. Darla Himeles explains that our critical thinking improves, by analyzing literary works and discussing them as sometimes we need to read between the lines to decipher what is actually going on, which helps with other classes such as math (1). She also explains that our overall writing improves as well. The reason this is relevant is because we need to be capable of writing papers in numerous amounts of classes in university, so it is a must need.

critical thinking
Diagram of critical thinking in ones mind


A study from Stanford stated that students that are taught by a resourceful and good English teacher and excel in other subjects such as, math. (Parker 1). This goes to prove that learning English under a good teacher benefits us students in other classes, thus making it a must have for any post secondary program, as it will boost our chance of succeeding in the course.

Also, from personal experience I didn’t find reading Shakespeare out loud very useful – especially in grade 9 when I was very socially awkward with my peers. As the years have progressed I have become much more confident with reading Shakespeare’s work, and I have most definitely seen a larger change in the person that I have become as I’m not as socially awkward, or shy as I used to be. Now, I cannot contribute the fact of me not being shy just because reading Shakespeare made me more comfortable

Student reading aloud

around my peers, but it was most definitely a small stepping stone to reaching it.







Works Cited

Himeles, Darla, “Why is English Class Important” http://classroom.synonym.com/english-class-important-6088548.html. Accessed July 5, 2017.

Parker, B, Clifton. “Stanford research shows long run-benefit of English instruction”. http://news.stanford.edu/news/2014/february/math-english-teaching-022414.html. Accessed July 5, 2017.









Serial: Adnan Syed, an Innocent Man

The hit podcast series Serial, by crime reporter Sarah Koenig, has become quite popular again, not because of its interesting plot and the fact that it is a true story, but because Syed Adnan, the subject of the Serial podcast, has been granted a retrial. Over 80 million viewers have been drawn to this podcast “prob[ing] the details of Lee’s murder, the investigation, evidence, witness statements and the trial in a quest to see if, in fact, justice was done” (Finn). And the question still remains: Is Adnan guilty or not?

Eighteen years ago, Syed Adnan, was convicted of first degree murder by killing Hae Min Lee, but after listening to the Serial podcast and hearing all the information gathered by Koenig, along with more of my own research, I along with millions of others believe Adnan is innocent.

The most compelling argument for Syed’s retrial that leads me to believe he is innocent comes down to his former lawyer, Cristina Guttierez, not doing the proper job of defending her client. “His new defense team argued again that he’d been a victim of faulty counsel the first time around, Gutierrez not only having failed to call a possibly key alibi witness but also failing to properly question the prosecution’s expert about data gleaned from cell phone towers that claimed to pinpoint where Adnan was when Hae was killed” (Finn).

Cristina Gutierrez, Syed’s lawyer

Baltimore Judge Martin Welch explained that the court found Gutierrez’s trial performance “fell below the standard of reasonable professional judgment” (Staff THR) because she failed to cross-examine the state’s cell tower expert. How is it that a defense lawyer in a criminal trial is that inept at cross-examination? Surely Gutierrez believed her client deserved a fair trial as the old saying goes, innocent until proven guilty, otherwise why bother taking the case? Money? Fame? Both reasons fall short for at the time the case was going on, there was no local press coverage. It was, however, brought to the court’s attention by Syed’s new attorney, Justin Brown that Gutierrez was having all sorts of personal problems: “her health was failing, her family was in turmoil. What was happening at her business, it was becoming unwound” (Harrison). Obviously, Gutierrez was so pre-occupied, she was not capable of giving 100% to Syed’s. This leaves reasonable doubt in my mind.

Another argument that arises in the podcast is how innocent Syed does seem to be as his peers explain. In the Serial podcast, Syed is charming, believable – in fact he is so believable it is impossible to see him as cold-blooded murderer: “He was an honor roll student, volunteer EMT. He was on the football team. He was a star runner on the track team. He was the homecoming king. He led prayers at the mosque. Everybody knew Adnan to be somebody who was going to do something really big” (Rabia Chaudry).


Hae Min Lee and Adnan Syed

Lastly, there is Adan’s friend Jay, who was very involved in the case. Jay said that Adnan had shown Jay the body and had taken Jay with him when he went to bury it. But as told by the narrator of Serial, “Koenig would raise the question of why Adnan, who at the end of the day didn’t seem that close to Jay, would have enlisted him to help bury a body. She also spent a lot of time talking about the inconsistencies in Jay’s story between various interviews with detectives and his grand jury testimony” (Finn).I am not naïve in thinking that good people can’t do bad things, but after hearing what Adnan’s family and friends had to say about him, it is hard for me to label Adnan as a murderer. A person’s character says a lot about that person and Syed, in

Jay, Adnan’s friend and a witness of the case.

my eyes, is a role model for all. He is the type of person who thinks about others first like when he says, “he wished he had committed the crime because it would be easier for his parents to cope with having lost him for a reason” (Haynes). The pathos I feel for Syed is real, and I truly believe he got screwed.

After listening to Serial and reading the statements from Adnan’s current lawyers, his family, friends, and Adnan himself, there is ample evidence showing a reasonable doubt. I along with others are happy that Syed Adnan is getting a new and hopefully fair trial in hopes of celebrating in the future his new found freedom.Jay’s story was never the same, which raises the question, was Jay lying? The suspicious stories from Jay lead me to believe he is lying, and Adnan once again is NOT guilty.

Works Cited

 Finn, Natalie. “Everything You Need to Know About the Adnan Syed Murder Case.” E!                  Online. E! News, 07 June 2017. Web. 27 July 2017.                                                                           <http://www.eonline.com/news/859115/digesting-serial-everything-you-need-to-                    know-about-the-adnan-syed-murder-case>.

Harrison, Lily. “Serial’s Adnan Syed Granted New Trial.” E! News. E! News, 30 June 2016.             Web. 27 July 2017. <http://www.eonline.com/ca/news/777066/serial-s-adnan-syed-                granted-new-trial>.

Haynes, Natalie. “My highlight: Serial.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 05 Dec. 2014. Web. 27 July 2017. <https://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/dec/05/serial-sarah-koenig-natalie-harnes-my-highlight&gt;.

“Serial Podcast – Episode 1: The Alibi.” Genius. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 July 2017.                                      <https://genius.com/Serial-podcast-episode-1-the-alibi-annotated&gt;.

Staff, THR. “How ‘Serial’ Subject Adnan Syed Received a New Trial.” The Hollywood                    Reporter. N.p., 01 July 2016. Web. 27 July 2017.                                                                             <http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/adnan-syed-serial-new-trial-reaction-                  sarah-koenig-907974>.

Review on “Serial”

This first episode within the “Serial” podcast series, by Sarah Koenig, discusses the death that took part in Baltimore, Maryland on January 13, 1999 (Koenig). Her body was retrieved on Feb 9, 1999, and it was explained that she had been murdered by being strangled (Chaudry 1). After this, her ex boyfriend Adnan Syed was convicted of first degree on his ex girlfriend and suffered a sentence of more than thirty years (Chaudry 1). In this podcast, Koenig interviews numerous amounts of people including Syed’s friends and family.

Adnan Syed and Hae Min Lee

Koenig opens the podcast in an intriguing wayby interviewing her nephew, and some other teens. She proposes the exact same question to each of them, “[w]hat did you do last Friday” (Koenig). Most of the teens respond stuttering because they truly do not know where they had been. Only one seemed to have exactly remembered what he did. If this question was ever raised upon me I would find it truly difficult to remember what I did last Friday, because I would not be phased by it since it was a normal day of working. Pam Wilson, of ABC Health and Wellbeing explains, “forgetfulness is very common. We tend to remember things that are out of the ordinary,or things that satisfy us” (Wilson). This was a very intriguing way to open up the podcast because it gives the reader a little more insight on what is to come. This also allows the listener’s brain to start working in full power mode. The listener can begin to ask themselves what the point of that question was, which draws them in to listen to more of the podcast. I believe Syed’s family gains an advantage from Koenig and her podcasts because it raises awareness to their son’s case which was dropped almost a decade ago. I think they would be truly delighted too because, this podcast gives their son another chance. Before this, no one wanted to listen to this case, but Koenig is the one that picks it up because as she explains it was “something brought to me” (Koenig). Then,digging into all the information she finds that Syed could be innocent after all (Koenig)

Sarah Koenig spreading awareness of the case at Boston University

Using a podcast to discuss this case can be a little difficult to follow. Different accents of the different people involved in the podcast can make it extremely difficult to understand. On the other hand, if it was just written out on a newspaper or novel, it would be far more easier to understand because we read in a voice which ourselves comprehend. Although, this type of journalism does allow you to broadly imagine what is going on, when books on the other hand, can be limited to that fact as the details of characters are so precise. I would rather listen to something like this because it allows me to broaden my mind to far lengths. I can imagine what each different character looks like, and the podcast continuously leaves you hanging, always wanting to listen to more. I think it is also a great idea for journalism to be presented in this way because it is available to almost everyone. There is no need to purchase a thing, as long as you have WiFi, you can listen to the podcast for free, which is a bonus for the listener.

In the end, I can truly say I really enjoyed this podcast. As an individual I love crime stories. What really got me addicted was the fact that a random journalist picked up this case. Sarah Koenig does a great job as acting as a detective to really uncover the truth behind the death of Hae Min Lee. She provides the podcast with so many elements like the interrogation audio of Jay, and the suspenseful phone call she has with Asia McClain. This gives the audience a deep look into the details we would never have our hands on. In the end, we finally learn that in fact, Adnan Syed could be innocent, which leaves us viewers with a suspenseful cliffhanger as all good shows do (Koenig).


Works Cited

Chaudry, Rabia. “Adnan Syed Is Innocent. Now Find Hae Min Lee’s Real Killer | Rabia Chaudry.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 6 July 2016, http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/jul/06/adnan-syed-new-trial-hae-min-lee-rabia-choudry. Accessed 21 July 2017.

“Judge Orders New Trial for Adnan Syed.” Serial, serialpodcast.org/posts/2016/07/judge-orders-new-trial-for-adnan-syed. Accessed 21 July 2017.

Laskowski, Amy. “Serial Host Talks Shop at BU | BU Today | Boston University.” BU Today, http://www.bu.edu/today/2015/serial-host-talks-shop-at-bu/. Accessed 21 July 2017.

Corporation, Australian Broadcasting. “ABC Health & Wellbeing.” Memory and Forgetting – Health & Wellbeing, 2 June 2010, http://www.abc.net.au/health/features/stories/2010/06/03/2917004.htm. Accessed 21 July 2017.






“The Glass Castle” Through the Lens of Feminism

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Works Cited
Walls, Jeannette. The Glass Castle: A Memoir. New York : Scribner, 2005. Print.

Kirkova, Deni. “Mothers Gets Just 17 Minutes of ‘Me Time’ to Themselves Each Day… and          STILL Take on the Lion’s Share of the Chores.” Daily Mail Online, Associated                          Newspapers, 5 Feb. 2014, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2552188/The-average-            mother-gets-just-17-minutes-time-day.html. Accessed 21 July 2017.

“Women’s Human Rights and Gender Equality.” Global Fund for Women,                                        www.globalfundforwomen.org/womens-human-rights/#.WXKPMNPyuCc. Accessed            21 July 2017.

“Dad Stats.” National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse,                                                            www.fatherhood.gov/content/dad-stats. Accessed 21 July 2017.

An Archetypal View on The Glass Castle

I’d like to begin this post with my insight on the book. When first choosing The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls, I didn’t think I would have thoroughly enjoyed the novel. I have now progressed through more than half of the novel and I can confidently say I was really happy with my choice, as it has left me wanting to keep reading on. I realized that the experiences Walls speaks about, are true and occur in very many American families nowadays, but are disregarded in today’s society.

To begin with, when analyzing The Glass Castle from an archetypal point of view, many things are connected to this theory of literary criticism. To start, Jeannette (main character, also 2nd youngest of the family) possesses a good amount of hero traits in this memoir. Jeannette seems to show a lot more potential and understanding than anyone in her family, which sets her out to be the hero of the story. Her telling the story from her point of view also gives me a better understanding of her being

Glass Castle house
An example of what one of the houses the Walls lived in would look like

a hero as she describes the experiences she faces and how she feels about them, and how she acts towards things.

Secondly, her siblings: Lori Walls (oldest), Brian Walls (second oldest), Maureen (the youngest), and Rose Mary(mother) are seen as the helpless/innocent characters in the story. There are certain events that outline how innocent they are for example when Brian is being inappropriately touched by his own grandmother: “I saw Erma kneeling on the floor in front of Brian, grabbing at the crotch of his pants, squeezing and kneading while mumbling to herself and telling Brian to hold still […] Brian, his cheeks wet with tears.” (Walls 92). Brian is seen as an innocent child because he is clearly being inappropriately touched by his grandmother, yet all he does is stand there and cry instead of standing up for himself and doing something. Lori’s innocence is displayed when she keeps getting bullied at their school they attend in Welch. Unlike Jeannette and how she stands up to the bullying, Lori does not have the confidence to do such a thing. On the other hand, Maureen is just a baby, and Rose Mary constantly gets abused by Rex, but always end sup forgiving him.

The villain of the story can be identified as Rex Walls (father of Jeannette). Rex is constantly consumed by alcohol, and his delusional dream of finding gold to become rich. He goes through numerous jobs eventually getting fired from them intentionally as he forms excuses that each of them are run by the mob, and they are a waste of his time. Rex can be identified as a villain because he constantly puts the family in a bad state which is why they’re so poor, limits future opportunities for his children because of his gambling and alcohol issues, and also mistreats their mother (Rose Mary) by abusing her and cheating on her. After Rex tried to stop his habit of drinking, it comes back and he absolutely loses it on his children and Rose Mary: “When we tried to help him he cursed at us, and lurched at us, swinging his fist […] ‘Rose Mary where the goddamn hell

A city in which the Walls lived in for a short period of time

are you, you stinking bitch?’ […] They fought their way into the dressing room, and he knocked her to the floor.” (Walls 78). It is easy to tell that Rex clearly is a bad father and husband as his bad alcohol habit leads him to abusing his own kids and their mother. A man who possesses traits like these clearly cannot provide a good life for his own kids, which makes him a villain to Jeannette as he holds her back from the opportunity of living a good, and having opportunities to excel in life.

I also identified that Jeannette’s quest is much alike to a

An example of what Jeannette’s current apartment room looks like


rags to riches story. The book first begins with describing how Jeannette’s present life is like, “The taxi pulled up in front of my building, the doorman held the door for me, and the elevator man took me up to my floor,” (Walls 2). It is quite easy to assume that Jeannette lives a good life as she has her own apartment building. After this, Jeannette starts to dig into her past and how bad her life was, “I was three years old, and we were living in a trailer park in a southern Arizona town,” (Walls 3). Jeannette’s life clearly wasn’t that great because she was living in a trailer park but also lived a poor life, with an alcoholic father, and an innocent mother, who were always moving around, not really leaving Jeannette with any real opportunity to succeed.

Works Cited

Walls, Jeannette. The Glass Castle: A Memoir. New York : Scribner, 2005. Print.