This year, The Exemplar, saw a major redesign. Our primary focus for such an undertaking was to find a better way to showcase the exciting and new undergraduate research in the humanities produced at Dalton State. You may notice new logos or new content layouts, but most importantly, is a new emphasis on the ideas and arguments of our published essays. We will continue to roll out changes in the coming year to further improve our journal as a space for exemplary student research.
Our 2018-2019 issue focuses on ideas reconsidered, reimagined, or reexamined by DSC undergrads.
The first section, "Texts Reconsidered," highlights literary readings of works by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Anne Bradstreet, and Isabel Allende. All the essays in this section consider the value of their chosen literary works and how we, as readers and thinkers, might come to a better understanding of the world around us through the written word. In "Education Reconsidered," the published essays interrogate non-traditional education methods, like homeschooling, as well as the ever-growing problem of student debt. As a group, these essays ask readers to reimagine educational models for the 21st century. Finally, "Society Reconsidered" includes a collection of original research essays completed by DSC students that range in topic from medicine to technology to politics. Each essay in this section makes astute claims about social and cultural issues through a combination of original and secondary research.
Table of Contents
"Politics with a Woman’s Touch: The Quiet Subversion of Anne Bradstreet in “A Dialogue between Old England and New England” by Eddiemai Jallah
"Generational Feminism" by Hannah Badger
"A Wife's Inner Most Thoughts" by Kim Le
"Live in the Moment" by Ema Hodge
"The Underlying Value of Homeschooling" by Matthew Prus
"The 1.5 Trillion Dollar Question" by Gustav Dalsgaard-Hansen
"Effects of Technology on Child Development" by Chris Delmas
"Voter Confidence" by Christine Brown
"Making Sense of Migraines" by Michael King
"Interpretation of Text and Tone" by Brendan Price
"Politics with a Woman’s Touch: The Quiet Subversion of Anne Bradstreet in 'A Dialogue between Old England and New England'"
Laurel Thatcher Ulrich once wrote, "well-behaved women seldom make history.” Anne Bradstreet was a woman who opposed the austere restrictions of Puritan society. The presence of rebellion within Anne Bradstreet’s works remains a subject of contention within literary scholarship. The deference to male authority is a common theme in many of her works, often expressing her devotion to the traditional figures of authority within a Puritan society and submits to the ideological constructs of the Christian faith. As such, “work on Bradstreet remains split between critics who argue that she rebelled against the religious culture in which she lived and those who suggest that she submitted to it” (Hutchins 40). The rebellion within Bradstreet’s work is certainly less ostentatious than those of her contemporaries. Anne Hutchinson, a historical figure who contested the legalistic conventions of Puritanism and was subsequently put on trial, placed a direct challenge to the authority of Bradstreet’s father, who “emerged as Hutchinson’s shrewd and pressing questioner during her arraignment before the church” (Oser 188). A closer analysis of her work, however, will reveal an underlying layer of rebellion even within the poems that are deferring to male authority, demonstrating a tendency for Bradstreet to engage in a quiet subversion. An example as such of this subversion occurs within her poem “A Dialogue between Old England and New England,” where she uses anthropomorphous of the American colonies and the British metropole to represent two different ideological and political positions, turning them into women as to show the intellectual capabilities of the opposite sex in interacting with ideological debates and thought.
It is important to consider that a woman engaging in literary practice in the age of New England colonialism was fundamentally a rebellious gesture. Politics, literature, and educational refinement were duties upon the men of the society. This was the mode of thought within this age. Stanford goes as far as to include an excerpt from John Winthrop’s diary with regard to Anne Hopkins, writing she had “fallen into a sad infirmity, the loss of her understanding and reason, which had been growing upon her divers years, by occasion of her giving herself wholly to reading and writing, and had written many books…For if she had attended her household affairs, and such things as belong to women…she had kept her wits” (Stanford 374). This reveals much about the beliefs and social philosophy regarding women—that they did not possess the mental capacity for intelligent conversation or educational refinement as their male counterparts, and that engagement in such things would surely lead to the detriment of the women themselves. To have written in such an age was alone a sign of rebellion. Certainly, Bradstreet would have faced considerable opposition in continuing a literary career in the face of a civilization so much more patriarchal than our own. This rebellion, however, occurred through means of a sly and calculated nature, as “Anne Bradstreet was careful not to make the mistake of Anne Hopkins. She did not neglect her domestic affairs…[and] because she did observe in her conduct an exact conformity to the mores of her community, [she] was able to continue to write though the practice of writing by women was disapproved of by many in the community and by the governor himself” (377). Ironically, though literature was conceived as being the practice only of men, Turco notes that poetry in American, even from a historical context, “is matriarchal in every sense of the word, including the genetic: the mother of white American poetry was Anne Bradstreet; among her lineal descendants were Dana and Holmes. The mother of black American poetry was Phillis Wheatley” (Turco 1071). This provides insight to the form of subversion in which Bradstreet engaged—a more silent rebellion where she pretended to retain the semblance of a submissive women all the while practicing her own independent endeavors late at night.
This detail is an important one because it not only reflects how Bradstreet managed to create work in this age with as little opposition as possible, but it also reflects the personal style of rebellion within her poetry. Bradstreet’s work still has controversy regarding its degree of subversion as she very clearly acquiesces to the Christian faith and its doctrines. Chowdhury notes, “theology had an extremely strong influence over the American writings of that time” (Chowdhury 227). It is no small detail that Stanford notes Bradstreet’s reference to Greek mythology in countering arguments of women’s educational or literary endeavors, writing Bradstreet had once “[pointed] out that to the Greeks the Nine Muses were women and Poesy itself was ‘Calliope’s own Child” (375), as it reflects the literary style which she comes to use in “A Dialogue.” Both New England and Old England are turned into women having a conversation with one another, with Old England being referred to as “fairest Queen and best, /With honour, wealth, and peace happy and/blest” (ll. 1-2). Referring to Old England as a queen not only cements her as a matriarch, but it also takes note of the monarchal political institutions which distinguish the civilization, thus adding a greater dimensionality between the two characters representing the relationship between them: New England as subordinate to Old England as well as an extension thereof. This use of anthropomorphous, however, has its roots in the literary traditions from which Bradstreet found her inspiration, where she turns large, abstract concepts into women and placing women in the forefront of symbolic representation. This presence of women in literature is something which is in and of itself a quality which transcended the norms of the field. Even to this day, the abundance of presence of women in modern media is questionable.
The substance of the conversation between the two women is also worthy of analysis. Bradstreet adds more to the subordination of New England through the dialog between the two women. Old England tells her daughter is “art ignorant indeed of these my woes, /Or must my forced tongue these griefs disclose…And thou a child, a Limb, and dost not feel/My weak’ned fainting body now to reel? /Will bring Consumption or an Ague quaking…If I decease, dost think thou shalt survive” (ll9-19). Though Bradstreet indicates to have had much affection for her old land, the country of her birth does seem to present a rather presumptuous image of herself that the colonies will not survive without her. Through this relationship between mother and daughter, Bradstreet also highlight a complex international relationship between the colonies and the metropole of Great Britain, whereupon the latter thinks itself as being totally necessary for the survival of the other. New England, however, is much more perceptive than Old England thinks, pointing out “your state you much deplore/In general terms, but will not say wherefore” (ll. 23-24), and goes on to point out a number of maladies which plague New England, mentioning the several wars which it has undergone, going as far as to mention “the fatal jar, again begun,/That from the red, white pricking Roses/sprung?” (ll. 41-42). This is a reference to the War of the Roses, one of the older wars of British history regarding religious dominance. It is in this sense that New England acts as a political observer, witnessing and pointing out the conditions in Europe. New England demonstrates a form of subversion, concerning herself with the well-being of her mother, but at the same time questioning many of the actions she had chosen to undertake.
This dialog, however, also demonstrates the nature of Bradstreet’s subversion. This conversation between two women is one filled with political and historical references, with conversations that are generally ones considered to be for the realm of men. Stanford writes “in her determination to write and in her defense of the capability of women to reason, to contemplate, and to read widely, she showed herself capable in taking a stand against the more conservative and dogmatic of her contemporaries” (Stanford 378). By making the two countries anthropomorphic and having them engage in this conversation, it lends fruit to the idea women are more than competent to have these important conversations that relate to what is considered within the realm of men. Though Bradstreet does not necessarily reject the notion of women being less mentally competent, “admitting that men are superior, she asks them to ‘grant some small acknowledgement of ours’” (376).
To the audience of the modern age, these subversions must come across as deeply nuanced. Indeed, that was Bradstreet’s intention, as she wanted to sustain an image of following the rules all the while questioning them. Her act of writing in and of itself, however, seemed to have been a revolutionary act. After all, the entirety of her society, including the ones who were responsible for its maintenance, were strictly against the literary refinement of women. To have two women, to add to it, have a conversation of matters of politics and history, however, was a complete rejection of a patriarchal ideal.
Bradstreet, Anne. “A Dialogue between Old England and New by Anne Bradstreet.” Poetry Foundation, Poetry Foundation, www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/43700/a-dialogue-between-old-england-and-new.
Chowdhury, Mahfuz Hasib. “Diaspora and Ecclesiastical Dualism in the Works of Anne Bradstreet.” ASA University Review, vol. 9, no. 1, June 2015, pp. 227–232.
Hutchins, Zach. “The Wisdom Anne Bradstreet: Eschewing Eve and Emulating Elizabeth.” Modern Language Studies, vol. 40, no. 1, 2010, pp. 38–59.
Oser, Lee. “Almost a Golden World: Sidney, Spenser, and Puritan Conflict in Bradstreet's 'Contemplations'.” Ren, vol. 52, no. 3, 2000, pp. 187–202.
Stanford, Ann. “Anne Bradstreet: Dogmatist and Rebel.” The New England Quarterly, vol. 39, no. 3, 1966, pp. 373–389., doi:10.2307/363962.
Turco, Lewis. “The Matriarchy of American Poetry.” College English, vol. 34, no. 8, 1973, p. 1067., doi:10.2307/374896.
"Generational Feminism in Isabel Allende’s The House of the Spirits"
Isabel Allende’s novel The House of the Spirits is unarguably a story of family. The intricate, complicated tensions and loyalties which are inevitable in most families are described in the novel in all their uncomfortable glory. Allende’s novel is based on details of her own past and family which lends credibility to it despite its elements of magical realism. Allende herself stated that she believed her own family to be magical, so she did not fictionalize as much of the novel as is believed. She says that her family met all the requisites for magical realism (Correas de Zapata and Peden, 41). Allende also states that her grandfather believed that people only die when you forget them, so Allende keeps her family and characters alive by immortalizing them through her writing (Cox, 32). Because the novel is teeming with political elements, it is no surprise that feminism and discussions of equality are prevalent throughout. Four perspectives of feminism are demonstrated in three generations of women in the same family. In the characters of Nivea, Clara, Blanca and Alba, readers are exposed to a type of generational feminism. The core and definition of feminism seem to change slightly from character to character, but themes of equality and empowerment remain throughout.
When discussing feminism in any capacity it is important to establish a general definition of feminism on which to base the following research. Social topics such as feminism usually tend to break down into tension and negative emotion. Feminism is a theory and a movement, so it is difficult to limit it to one definition. This difficulty is exacerbated when one tries to define feminism in an internationally relevant way. Every culture experiences feminism or the lack of it in some way, but it varies just as culture does. This research will be based on the understanding that feminism is a political, social and an individual issue. In her article “What Brand of Feminism,” Kathleen Sprows Cummings gives her definition of feminism and the one she feels to be the most accurate. Cummings claims that there are essentially three components which make up the feminist theory, the first being that feminists believe men and women are of equal worth. She then goes on to discuss the second component which has to do with innate differences between men and women and how feminists seek to accommodate those differences without putting one or the other at a disadvantage. Cummings third claim is: “feminists recognize that oppression based on gender is intertwined with other forms of oppression, such as those based on race or class” (2).
After defining feminism as specifically as one can without limiting it to only one country or region’s experience, the idea of generational feminism comes into play. Society as a whole recognizes feminism as a movement and a school of thought, but often fails to see the impact of it throughout the generations of those whose lives are daily affected by a lack of recognition. Generational dynamics vary from family to family, but the idea of passing on information from one generation to the next is intrinsic. Whether information is passed on by way of taught values, emotional baggage, or situations that trigger either a negative or positive reaction, it is obvious that the previous generation plays a part in the actions of the next generation. This is true of any prevalent values in a family, whether those values are religious, political, or social, the idea of generational transmission remains the same. Feminism is a specific topic being viewed through the broad lens of family and generations. How does one feminist pass on her values to the next generation and how do those values translate? Often, a transfer of information from one generation to the next, happens through word of mouth, and through word of mouth, some details are changed, and some are lost.
The study of generational feminism is the study of what changes and shifts in feminism as it is passed down to the next generation. There are inevitably changes in the original translation of information, but what are those changes and what impact do they have on the overall, original theory of feminism? In her book on feminism, Deborah Withers says: “It is worth remembering that generation always produces a tension. The young may inherit a feminist legacy (whether they want to or not), but they are also expected to learn from their elders” (65). While generations are expected to learn from their elders and Allende’s book certainly displays this in action, the novel also depicts an inversion of this with the mothers learning from their daughters. Looking at Allende’s characters Nivea, Clara, Blanca and Alba, readers are given access to the perspectives of three different generations within the same family. Through these characters, readers see that each perspective is limited, but not just to her own experience. Alba is given access to the experiences of Blanca, Clara and Nivea, to an extent, which changes the way she reacts to certain situations. An analysis of each of these characters will aid in a better understanding of generational feminism.
The representative of the first generation of characters which readers are exposed to is Nivea del Valle. She is described in the beginning of the novel as a suffragette who has fought for the Chilean women’s right to vote for ten years. Her husband, Severo del Valle is a politician hoping to win a seat in Congress. Nivea hopes for this as well because having a powerful husband could mean advancing her own political cause (Allende, 3). Nivea has given birth to fifteen children but has maintained her involvement in the cause for women’s rights. Nivea’s character is not described in as much detail as Allende’s other female characters, but she is consistent in her beliefs about women’s rights and she is firmly planted in the social sphere of the feminist, equal rights movement. In the first chapter, Nivea recalls a conversation with her suffragette friends regarding the constraints of fashion, namely corsets: “they had all agreed that until women shortened their dresses and their hair and stopped wearing corsets, it made no difference if they studied medicine or had the right to vote, because they would not have the strength to do it, but she herself was not brave enough to be among the first to give up the fashion” (Allende, 7). This is the first mention in the novel of a possible weakness in Nivea’s feminist actions. More likely, Nivea is less concerned about the fashion aspect of the movement than she is about women’s right to vote. This is an example of Nivea prioritizing which aspect of the movement is most important to her and what she values above other aspects. In other words, Nivea is choosing her battles.
Readers are first introduced to Clara, Nivea and Severo’s daughter when she is ten years old and curses in the middle of a church service. Her disregard for the natural hierarchy where society is concerned is a foreshadowing of events which will happen later in her life. Clara remains somewhat childlike in her mannerisms all throughout her life. As a young girl, she is able to predict the future or “prophesy” as the novel calls it. Her family regards these character traits as somewhat odd, but they do not worry overmuch about them and assume that puberty will usher out the eccentricities of her childhood. It is safe to assume that the magical aspects of the del Valle family are inherited from Nivea’s side of the family. Chapter one of the novel says, “Clara was extremely precocious and had inherited the run-away imagination of all the women in her family on her mother’s side” (Allende, 4). Nivea’s brother, Marcos is described as a mysterious and magical person whom Clara adores. Clara predicts her marriage to Esteban and although Esteban loves Clara as much as a man of Esteban’s quality can, Clara calmly enters into the marriage because she feels it is inevitable, not because she loves Esteban.
Blanca is Esteban and Clara’s daughter. She grows up in Tres Marias which the hacienda Esteban owns and maintains. Blanca grows up having a close relationship with Pedro Tercero Garcia who is the son of Esteban’s overseer at Tres Marias. Due to the nature of the novel, all of the characters are deeply connected and intertwined. Although the novel is almost five hundred pages long, readers must pay close attention throughout each chapter because the plot and relationships are incredibly complicated. Blanca grows up in love with Pedro and the novel shows that she will do almost anything to be close to him. When Blanca is away at finishing school, she drinks ground chalk to develop a cough, so the nuns will send her home (Allende, 191). In the beginning of Blanca’s life, she does not seem to care about social norms and standards, doing anything to be with Pedro, whom she loves. Later in her life she becomes so comfortable with the independence which has been somewhat forced upon her that she begins to choose it for herself. Choosing not to marry Pedro because of his low social standing and because she is used to being alone.
Alba is Blanca’s daughter. Alba’s father is Pedro Tercero, but she does not know this for most of her life and is haunted by questions about her father’s identity. Blanca raises Alba in Clara and Esteban’s house and Alba becomes a symbol of unity for the family. Though the Trueba family is dysfunctional, they are all united through their love for Alba and her devotion to her family is what brings the eventual resolution to the story. Alba manages to be incredibly loyal to both her boyfriend, Miguel and her grandfather, Esteban, although the two men are devoted to opposite political parties. Alba’s uncles spend much of their time teaching her to be tough and withstand pain without showing emotion., which comes in handy when Alba is kidnapped during the coup.
Nivea, Clara, and Blanca are all examples of the unconventional wife, each depicting feminism in their ideas of equal worth and equal opportunity. Charles Rossman says that Nivea is, “clearly the antithesis of the conventional wife who, confined to the domestic role of mother, derives her status from her husband's achievements and social position” (Rossman, 54). Nivea is not interested in religion. The novel says she “preferred to deal with God without the benefit of intermediaries. She had a deep distrust of cassocks and was bored by descriptions of heaven, purgatory, and hell” (Allende, 3). It could be argued that Clara’s marriage to Esteban is the most conventional and socially acceptable due to outward appearances. From the outside Clara and Esteban have a long and faithful marriage which Esteban controls. However, Clara maintains control of herself during the marriage. In the beginning of the novel, Clara’s sister Rosa dies and Clara makes a vow of silence for the next several years: “Clara was ten years old when she decided that speaking was pointless and locked herself in silence” (Allende, 82). The novel also states that she “was silent because she did not feel like speaking, not because she was unable to” (83). From the beginning, Clara is strong willed. She continues to make radical, silent statements, even in her marriage. After Esteban slaps Clara, in a moment of rage, she falls silent and never speaks to Esteban again. Clara decides when and where she will forgive him, maintaining the control, despite what an outward perspective might show.
Blanca is the beginning of a truly different type of woman in the Trueba family. Rossman says that: “Blanca expands the family’s concept of womanhood in a new way—she is more earthy, sensual, and passionately sexual” (55). Rossman also discusses the way Blanca handles relationships with men in a nontraditional way: “In defiance of her patriarchal father, Blanca finds deeply personal fulfillment outside of traditional marriage and conventional social roles in a lifelong love affair with Pedro Tercero, her childhood playmate from Tres Marias” (55). Blanca marries Jean de Satigny when she thinks Pedro has died, but she soon leaves Jean when she feels threatened and disgusted by him. Blanca remains married to Satigny, legally, but she never sees him again. Alba is shown as the first woman in the family to achieve higher education. Like her mother, Alba has a sexual relationship with a man outside of marriage. Like her grandmother, Clara and her great-grandmother, Nivea, Alba focuses on enhancing women’s rights and seeking political and social justice.
Readers see that as feminism progresses down through the generations, it changes some of the mediums through which it is demonstrated but maintains its nature and main characteristics. Rossman brings to the reader’s attention the fact that Allende’s main characters’ names have the same meaning. Nivea means “snow,” Clara means “luminosity,” Blanca means “white,” and Alba means “dawn” (56). Rossman states that when the characters are viewed, all together, they “radiate an aura of freshness, of feminist renewal” (56). The societal need for feminist values remains the same throughout the generations. The suffragette organizations Nivea is involved in, pave the way for Alba to explore her own ideas of feminism. Rossman’s article states: “These are women imbued with an intrinsic, explicitly female agency that is apart from and counterbalances the authority of men” (56).
Generational feminism is demonstrated in the novel through the women in the Trueba family. Readers see each subsequent female character able to experience more freedom than the previous. The changes are subtle, but evident. Nivea devoted her adulthood to raising children and advancing in the fight for women’s rights. Clara was able to choose to marry Esteban and she chose when and how they would interact. Clara did not allow society to define her role as a wife and mother. Blanca has grown up watching her parents’ interactions and despite her father’s wishes is able to define for herself the type of relationship she wants. Alba is a bit less sure of herself and her beliefs regarding politics and social justice, but she has the freedom to explore her beliefs in a mostly safe environment. This environment for learning and exploring has been established by Alba’s mother, grandmother and great grandmother. Feminism from generation to generation in Allende’s novel progresses due to each one’s choice to stand up for herself and make her own choices.
Allende, Isabel. The House of the Spirits. New York, Atria Paperback, 1985.
Correas de Zapata, Celia and Margaret Sayers Peden. Isabel Allende: Life and Spirits. Arte Público Press, 2002. EBSCOhost, http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=nlebk&AN=577850&site=eds-live&scope=site. Accessed 25 2018
Cox, Karen Castellucci. Isabel Allende: A Critical Companion: A Critical Companion. Westport, Greenwood Press, 2003, EBSCOhost, http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=nlebk&AN=125601&site=eds-live&scope=site. Accessed 25 April 2018.
Cummings, Kathleen Sprows. "What Brand of Feminism?" Commonweal, vol. 136, no. 17, 09 Oct. 2009, pp. 2-4. EBSCOhost, http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=lfh&AN=44483264&site=eds-live&scope=site. Accessed 25 April 2018.
Rossman, Charles. "The House of the Spirits: A Twentieth-Century Family Chronicle." Critical Insights: Isabel Allende, Oct. 2010, pp. 50-73. EBSCOhost, http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=lfh&AN=57353762&site=eds-live&scope=site. Accessed 25 April 2018.
Withers, Deborah M. Feminism, Digital Culture and the Politics of Transmission: Theory, Practice and Cultural Heritage. Rowman & Littlefield International, 2015. EBSCOhost, http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=nlebk&AN=1080297&site=eds-live&scope=site. Accessed 25 April 2018.
"A Wife’s Innermost Thoughts"
Love is a very complex element of life. In Anne Bradstreet’s poem “To My Dear and Loving Husband,” Bradstreet eloquently describes the strong and deep emotions that a woman faces when she is in love. Many say it is difficult to describe the feeling of love. Fenchel even concurs by stating “relationships are molded by the present culture and society of a specific era” (Fenchel 2). Despite the fact that Bradstreet lived in the colonial era of American history, her words are able to express the feelings that women feel in this time. Bradstreet’s words can be felt across generations of love. Bradstreet uses the feeling of unity, figurative language, the significance of perseverance, and the love after death to illustrate the magnitude of love that one experiences.
In the beginning of the poem, Bradstreet uses the unity of a man and woman to illustrate the undying love. The moment the poem begins, Bradstreet acknowledges that “if two were one, then surely [they were]” (line 1). Marriage symbolizes a man and woman becoming one. Rather than a couple being two separate entities, they unite their souls and love into one strong and eternal bond. Bradstreet states that if two people became one, her husband and herself would be the definition. She calls on others to “compare with [her]” (lines 4) in their love. Bradstreet’s love is the standard, and others merely attempt to get close to their abundance of love. Once one is in love, there is a realization that there is more power as a couple rather than being alone. Hemberg explains that “love brings new light to life which may provide strength for health and life” (Hemberg 629). There is a new-found sense of live developing while lovers fuse their bond and attraction. The fusing of lovers also illustrates the unconditional love that they give to one another. There must be more strength and love in order to care for the person as if they were themselves.
Following Anne Bradstreet’s description of her almighty love for her husband, Bradstreet makes use of figurative language to further depict the intense love that she has for her husband. The beautiful images that Bradstreet creates through her words displays the true attraction that she has for her husband. Bradstreet expresses that she “prize[s his] love more than mines of gold” (line 5). Often it is a challenge to find the words to convey the worth of one’s love. Hyperboles are exaggerations, but Bradstreet uses the exaggeration to express the worth of her husband’s love. The love that he gives her is her prized possession. The magnitude of Bradstreet’s love is further felt through the hyperbole of her insatiable thirst for his love. Even the “rivers cannot quench” (line 7) her overflowing love. Their love is compared to a river. Her love cannot be stopped, but it continues to flow fluidly and peacefully. Bianchi-Demicheli’s results from her study of love’s effects on the brain, she found that “intense romantic love mainly activates brain regions with high dopamine… and norepinephrine [which is] the chemical messengers closely tied to states of euphoria and craving” (Bianchi-Demicheli 92). Similar to the river, Bradstreet’s love will go on forever. Anne Bradstreet not only finds the words to communicate her love, but paints a lovely image of the love through her figurative language.
Anne Bradstreet further admits her undying love by exclaiming she will continue to love him. Her motto is to continue to love her husband no matter the obstacles. She tells her husband “while [they] live, in love let [them] so persever [sic]” (line 11). Many times, there are people who doubt one’s ability to love. Dr. Acevedo agrees by explaining that “romantic love inevitably declines… and evolves into some kind of friendship or compassionate love” (Acevedo 60). Bradstreet does not believe in this option; their love failing is not even a possibility. Bradstreet calls her husband to persevere which is a very strong and meaningful word. Despite anything that may happen during their marriage, she wants them to never give up. It may be difficult to endure, but their everlasting love will be enough for them to continue on. In their time on earth, they will pursue the dream of being happily married. Their love will not diminish, but it will prosper into a deeper and more passionate love as the years go by.
As the poem comes to a close, Bradstreet explains the love as life comes to a close. She beautifully states that “when we live no more, we may live ever” (line 12). Although death is inevitable, it does not mean that their love dies with their bodies. No matter what obstacles or difficulties they may face, she insists that they continue to love one another. The love that Bradstreet and her husband share is on another level. Bradstreet’s love shatters Acevedo’s and many others’ belief by expressing how their spark of love is undying. Their loving souls will remain connected even after they give their last breath on earth. It is the strong attraction that they have during their life in this world that keeps them together when their bodies no longer move. True love lasts a lifetime. When the couple moves up to heaven, Bradstreet is confident that they will meet again and love each other the same amount. Their souls will reconnect beyond this physical life and continue to prosper immensely.
Love is a four-letter word, but it is often hard to explain. Anne Bradstreet’s poem “To My Dear and Loving Husband” makes love seem blissful and everlasting. As a middle-aged woman, Bradstreet expresses the extent of her undying love for her husband. McCabe says couples that are “comfortable sharing their emotions… are more satisfied with their relationship” (McCabe 46). Bradstreet takes her true and genuine emotions from within to comfortably express her emotions. This love that Bradstreet puts to words is illustrated through the couple’s unity, hyperboles, the importance of never giving up, and the love beyond life. Through this poem, the reader gets more insight to what love truly is in simple words. If love can be defined, it is through the words of Anne Bradstreet in her poem “To My Dear and Loving Husband.”
Acevedo, Bianca P. and Arthur Aron. "Does a Long-Term Relationship Kill Romantic Love?." Review of General Psychology, vol. 13, no. 1, Mar. 2009, pp. 59-65. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1037/a0014226.
Bianchi-Demicheli, Francesco, et al. "The Power of Love on the Human Brain." Social Neuroscience, vol. 1, no. 2, 2006, pp. 90-103. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1080/17470910600976547.
Fenchel, Gerd H. "Marriage, Love and Other Relationships." Issues in Psychoanalytic Psychology, vol. 35, 2013, pp. 1-36. EBSCOhost, dsc.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=psyh&AN=2013-32578-001&site=eds-live&scope=site.
Hemberg, Jessica, et al. "Love as the Original Source of Strength for Life and Health." International Journal of Caring Sciences, vol. 10, no. 2, May-Aug2017, pp. 629-636. EBSCOhost, dsc.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=ccm&AN=124801482&site=eds-live&scope=site.
McCabe, Marita P. "Satisfaction in Marriage and Committed Heterosexual Relationships: Past, Present, and Future." Annual Review of Sex Research, vol. 17, no. 1, Dec. 2006, pp. 39-58. EBSCOhost, dsc.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=slh&AN=26258487&site=eds-live&scope=site.
Bradstreet, Anne. “To My Dear and Loving Husband.” Poetryfoundation. N.d. https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/43706/to-my-dear-and-loving-husband.
"Live in the Moment"
Henry Wordsworth Longfellow is known in history for his cultural and moral poems. He “contributed to the birth of comparative literature studies and the popularity of European authors in the United States,” according to Craig Belanger in his biography of Longfellow (1). He has written about history, war, and death, but, arguably, his most important topics were advice about living in the present. These poems contain useful advice that can still be used more than one hundred years later. “My Lost Youth,” “A Psalm of Life,” and even “The Song of Hiawatha” are examples of the works with Longfellow’s advice on living in the present.
First of all, Longfellow’s poem “My Lost Youth” contains his thoughts on where he grew up and his dreams as a boy. “Henry never lost his love for the city of his birth,” according to Bonnie Lukes in “Henry Wadsworth Longfellow: America's Beloved Poet” (1). He remembers his hopes as a boy, even when he aged and wrote, “And with joy that is almost pain / My heart goes back to wander there, / And among the dreams of the days that were, / I find my lost youth again” (lines 83-86). “My Lost Youth” is a poem about how fleeting youth is; one can never go back to the past, so childhood should be enjoyed while it still can. This thought of living in the present in this specific poem is aimed towards younger readers.
Another poem named “A Psalm of Life” has a main focus on losing materialism and focusing on the now. Longfellow earnestly stated, “Life is real! Life is earnest! / And the grave is not its goal” (lines 5-6). Instead of worrying about the future, one should enjoy the moment because while “Time is fleeting,” things can be done that will leave behind a legacy to be remembered (line 13). He says this himself; “We can make our lives sublime, / And, departing, leave behind us / Footprints on the sands of time” (lines 26-28). Charles Mackay, author of “It Can Be Done: Poems of Inspiration,” wrote, “Longfellow tells us … the past can take care of itself, and we need not even worry very much about the future; but if we are true to our own natures, we must be up and doing in the present” (1). Longfellow’s point in “A Psalm of Life” is that focusing on death is pointless, and, instead, it is more useful to focus on making an impact on other people’s lives.
A less obvious poem about focusing on the present is “The Song of Hiawatha.” The main idea of the poem is that Longfellow wanted to write down legends of the Native Americans, and the legends talk about the hero Hiawatha’s heroic deeds. According to Robert Arbour and Christoph Irmscher in their book Reconsidering Longfellow, “Longfellow refuses the Gothic convention of having words come from beyond the grave and instead focuses on words on the grave itself… this way even in urban Boston, the American has access to the natural American landscape, in the form of the graveyard that that sings into being the song of origin” (74). The legends Longfellow wrote down influence readers to focus less on materialism and more on doing good for others, and even to think about nature. He wrote, “Ye who love the haunts of Nature, / Love the sunshine of the meadow, / Love the shadow of the forest, / Love the wind among the branches, [etc]” to get readers to think about the beauty of the world (lines 67-80). Longfellow’s writings influence readers to go outside and really look at the beauty of nature, instead of ignoring what’s happening in the present.
Henry Wordsworth Longfellow was a great American philosopher and poet. He was known as great because “few poets of any age had shown themselves better able to articulate the values, beliefs, and aspirations of their readership,” according to Philip Woodard in his biography of Longfellow (1). He did write about history and war, but he also gave advice in his poetry; living in the present is the best thing that one can do. His poetry can still be very useful today- not only for its historical purposes, but also for the wisdom Longfellow shared.
Arbour, Robert and Christoph Irmscher. Reconsidering Longfellow. Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, pg. 74, dsc.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=nlebk&AN=709546&site=eds-live&scope=site. 9 July 2018.
Belanger, Craig. "Henry Wadsworth Longfellow." Great Neck Publishing, dsc.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=mih&AN=15316463&site=eds-live&scope=site. 8 July 2018.
Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth. “A Psalm of Life.” Poetry Foundation, www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/44644/a-psalm-of-life. 6 July 2018.
Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth. “My Lost Youth.” Poetry Foundation, www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/44640/my-lost-youth. 6 July 2018.
Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth. “The Song of Hiawatha” Maine Historical Society, www.hwlongfellow.org/poems_poem.php?pid=62. 9 July 2018.
Lukes, Bonnie L. "Henry Wadsworth Longfellow: America's Beloved Poet." Morgan Reynolds Inc., dsc.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=lfh&AN=9771217&site=eds-live&scope=site. 9 July 2018.
Mackay, Charles. “It Can Be Done: Poems of Inspiration.” Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Library, dsc.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=lfh&AN=22727627&site=eds-live&scope=site. 8 July 2018.
Woodard, Philip. "Henry Wadsworth Longfellow." Critical Survey of Poetry, Second Revised Edition, dsc.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=lfh&AN=103331CSP13700168000548&site=eds-live&scope=site. 9 July 2018.
"The Underlying Value of Homeschooling"
Although only a small percentage of students in the United States are homeschooled, homeschooling is a growing trend. There are many different reasons for homeschooling, including problems the parents have with the public schools and even religious reasons. Whatever the reason, homeschooling is still considered problematic and, oftentimes, inferior by many. On the contrary, many studies have shown that homeschooling typically greatly benefits the student. While many people would disagree, homeschooling is, and always should be, considered a valid form of schooling due to its many benefits, such as homeschoolers’ academic outperformance over formally-schooled children, homeschoolers’ sleep practices, the instilment of family morals and values, and the opportunity for closeness between parent and child.
Homeschooling is considered problematic for many reasons. One opinion is that homeschooling should be either disallowed or strictly regulated, so that homeschoolers cannot teach creationist science. In “Homeschooling Curricula Do Not Meet Academic Standards,” Steve Shives, a writing and media critic, says that “[a] high school diploma . . . isn’t a birthright.” He continues, “States have the . . . responsibility to award those diplomas only to students who have adequately completed their education . . . [and not to] anyone whose science studies omit evolutionary biology and include a credulous reading of the Bible . . .” (1). However, homeschooling science curriculum should not be regulated, for it would be impeding upon freedom of religion and educational liberties. This was decided in the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the law in Pierce v. Society of Sisters:
The fundamental theory of liberty upon which all governments in this Union repose excludes any general power of the State to standardize its children by forcing them to accept instruction from public teachers only. The child is not the mere creature of the State; those who nurture him and direct his destiny have the right, coupled with the high duty, to recognize and prepare him for additional obligations. (535)
These “additional obligations” would include teaching science grounded in the parent’s religion and morals. Therefore, banning or regulating homeschooling would be unconstitutional and should never occur.
Another supposed problem of homeschooling is that homeschoolers do not receive enough social interaction; however, this is disproved in “The Role of Family and Parental Characteristics in the Scope of Social Encounters of Children in Homeschooling,” written by Oz Guterman and Ari Neuman. According to the authors’ reference to a popular study taken on homeschoolers, home-educated students, on average, receive more than a sufficient amount of social encounters (2783). According to the authors, many homeschoolers attend learning and study groups, leading to the trend found in the study: more hours of scheduled learning time tend to produce more social encounters for the student (Fig. 1, 2786). A final supposed problem with homeschooling is that the parents do not allow for sufficient encounters with people holding different opinions and do not promote tolerance of such people; however, no study has shown that homeschool parents, on average, do not teach their children about opposing viewpoints. Additionally, from another popular study referenced in “The Role of Family and Parental Characteristics in the Scope of Social Encounters of Children in Homeschooling,” it was discovered that homeschooled students receive social encounters with a more diverse group of people than the average public/private schooled student (2783), once again disproving this claim about homeschoolers.
In addition to the fact that the supposed problems with homeschooling are merely misconceptions, homeschooling also has many benefits. The biggest benefit of homeschooling is the student’s academic outperformance over public/private schooled students. This is shown from popular studies discussed in “A Comparison Between Homeschooled and Formally Schooled Kindergartners: Children’s Early Literacy, Mothers’ Beliefs, and Writing Mediation,” written by Dorit Aram, Inbal Meidan, and Deborah Deitcher. According to the referenced studies, homeschoolers outperform public/private schooled students in educational subjects such as math, science, social sciences, and reading (996-998). Another benefit of homeschooling is homeschoolers’ sleep levels and sleep practices. In “Start Later, Sleep Later: School Start Times and Adolescent Sleep in Homeschool Versus Public/Private School Students,” Lisa Meltzer, Keisha Shaheed, and Devon Ambler describe a study taken on homeschool and public/private school students and their sleep levels and sleep practices. The results were unanimous: homeschoolers, on average, receive more sleep and have better sleep practices instituted. The authors believe that this is due to the typical later start times of homeschooled students (149-150).
Another benefit of homeschooling is that it provides a customizable form of education and allows for more opportunities for parents’ involvement in their child’s learning and for student input in the type of learning. Homeschooling also allows for more opportunities to instill morals and values. Homeschooling leads to in-depth conversations with the students, often leading to moral lessons from their education. A final benefit of homeschooling is stated in “Reading, Writing, and Stifling Homeschool Regulations” written by Kate Moriarty. According to Moriarty, a homeschool mom, “Homeschooling has given our family the gifts of time and togetherness” (17). Moriarty then discusses their weekly schedule, further proving her children’s interests’ correlation to their learning and showing the tight bond between parent and student (17).
So, why do many people believe such wrong information? The reason for these misconceptions, such as the lack of socialization and instruction about tolerance, is through the many forms of media, such as television, social media, and works of fiction. In “Encouraging Educational Diversity Depictions of Homeschoolers in Middle-Grade Fiction,” Amy Forrester describes the negative portrayal of homeschoolers in works of fiction that have become commonplace. She then analyzes a list of popular middle-grade fiction that depict homeschoolers. This analysis reveals that homeschoolers are often depicted as social misfits or students who want to escape the supposed clutches of homeschooling due to a lack of social interaction outside of the family sphere. Forrester then explains her opinion that fiction should have a more accurate portrayal of homeschoolers (14-17), an opinion that is common among homeschoolers.
In conclusion, homeschooling should always remain a valid form of schooling because of the benefits and freedoms offered to the parents. Many will continue to believe such falsities as the lack of socialization, the lack of encounters with opposing viewpoints, and the insufficiency of homeschooling curriculum, but, hopefully, this information will help to dispel negative opinions about homeschooling.
Aram, Dorit, et al. “A Comparison Between Homeschooled and Formally Schooled Kindergartners: Children’s Early Literacy, Mothers’ Beliefs, and Writing Mediation.” Reading Psychology, vol. 37, no. 7, Oct. 2016, pp. 995–1024. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1080/02702711.2016.1157537. Accessed 29 Oct. 2018.
Forrester, Amy Seto. “Encouraging Educational Diversity Depictions of Homeschoolers in Middle-Grade Fiction.” Children & Libraries: The Journal of the Association for Library Service to Children, vol. 14, no. 2, Summer 2016, pp. 13–18. EBSCOhost, dsc.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=116802463&site=ehost-live. Accessed 14 Oct. 2018.
Guterman, Oz, and Ari Neuman. “The Role of Family and Parental Characteristics in the Scope of Social Encounters of Children in Homeschooling.” Journal of Child & Family Studies, vol. 26, no. 10, Oct. 2017, pp. 2782–2789. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1007/s10826-017-0773-x. Accessed 8 Oct. 2018.
Meltzer, Lisa J., et al. “Start Later, Sleep Later: School Start Times and Adolescent Sleep in Homeschool Versus Public/Private School Students.” Behavioral Sleep Medicine, vol. 14, no. 2, Mar. 2016, pp. 140–154. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1080/15402002.2014.963584. Accessed 16 Oct. 2018.
Moriarty, Kate. “Reading, Writing, and Stifling Homeschool Regulations.” Eureka Street, vol. 27, no. 8, Apr. 2017, pp. 17–19. EBSCOhost, dsc.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=123165601&site=ehost-live. Accessed 6 Nov. 2018.
“Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 268 U.S. 510 (1925).” Justia. https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/268/510/. Accessed 11 Nov. 2018.
Shives, Steve. "Homeschooling Curricula Do Not Meet Academic Standards." Edited by Noah
Berlatsky, Greenhaven Press, 2010, 1. Opposing Viewpoints. Opposing Viewpoints in Context, http://link.galegroup.com.dsc.idm.oclc.org/apps/doc/EJ3010697207/OVIC?u=dalt32105&sid=OVIC&xid=2d02315e. Accessed 21 Oct. 2018. Originally published as "Homeschoolers Who Don't Learn Science Shouldn't Receive a Diploma," American Chronicle, 8 Apr. 2008.
"The 1.5 Trillion Dollar Question"
The state of student loan debt in the U.S. has reached a point where it can no longer be ignored. As of right now, the total amount of student loan debt in the U.S. is about $1.5 trillion, and that number is rising exponentially. This number might seem absurdly large, and it is. To put the sheer gravity of this crisis into perspective consider that the CEO of Amazon and the richest man in the world, Jeff Bezos, has a net worth that is about one-tenth of the student loan debt (Carrig). So even if Bezos, by a sudden spur of philanthropy, decides to donate all his money to solving the student loan debt crisis, he would barely be able to make a dent in this ridiculously large amount of debt. A major reason that student loan debt has reached such an astronomical amount is the price of college tuition skyrocketing during the past decade, which results in a number of negative effects not only on the students who carry hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of debt for the majority of their adult lives but also on the American economy and society in general (Holland). Because the state of student loan debt today has an enormously negative impact on life in America, we should actively be trying to solve this crisis for the benefit of college students.
Having student debt can be incredibly harmful to the individual. As M.H. Miller notes in his article, “The Inescapable Weight of My $100,000 Student Debt,” student debt led to severe depression and many financial troubles for himself and his family. He wrestles with mental health issues and the prospect of remaining indebted until he reaches the age of 44, which means that he will be paying off the final remains of his student loan debt twenty-two years after he graduated (Miller). Thus, student loan debt can wreak havoc on not just a student’s personal economy, but on the economy of his or her entire family, severely decreasing quality of life. While students might eventually be able to pay off their student loans, that does not free them from years of torment. This situation poses a serious question about the state of education in America right now: Is having a higher education beneficial if it results in serious mental and economical harm to the individual?
Additionally, student loan debt has also started to have a serious negative impact on society in general. Currently, the birth rate is stagnating because people put off having a family until they are financially stable, which in turn leads to an aging population. This decisin can cause serious issues for the country’s economic growth (Holland). An aging population means a labor shortage in the future and an increase in healthcare costs. Simply put, this means less money earned to take care of this country’s citizens and more citizens who need taking care of. Another effect of student loan debt in relation to economy is that entrepreneurship seems to be on the decline since people do not have as much disposable income compared to just five or ten years ago (Holland). Having small and upcoming businesses in the American economy is an important part of the capitalist system in place today, so even the American economic system is threatened immensely by the rising levels of student loan debt. All of this indicates that student loan debt is a problem that impacts individuals as well as the American economy and society at large.
On the other hand, an argument also can be made that student loan debt is not as bad as it seems. In “Why Student Loan Debt Can Be Good,” Katie Brazis argues that college students acquire a set of useful skills from their education, so we should think of a college education as an investment. College graduates can earn much more money over their lifetime than they would have otherwise because they have more opportunities to get jobs with better pay (Brazis). While this is true to some extent, the current state of student loan debt creates problems that far outweigh the benefits of getting a higher education. How can someone be expected to make use of their full potential and of their skills gained in college if they are plagued by mental health issues and financial troubles for the next twenty years? The rising student loan debt may actually be prohibiting students from using their college degrees to the betterment of society. People like M.H. Miller from the previous article are a prime example of why Brazis’ reasoning might be well-meaning but rather naïve, considering the sheer size of the crisis we are faced with today.
After this evidence has been presented, a final, important question remains unanswered: How do we solve this crisis? One solution is to improve upon federally controlled loan services and to try to get students to use these services in favor of private loan services with high interest rates (Brooks 848). Placing the control of loans in the hands of the government would ideally make sure that the loan repayment plans would be structured as to benefit the student, not to make profits, which would make it easier for the students to repay their loans. Another solution could be the introduction of mandatory courses at colleges centered around financial literacy and other areas pertaining to the financing of a student’s college education (Ulbrich and Kirk 1-5). These options would not necessarily solve the problem of rising college tuition or the growing disparity between the cost of college education and the wages earned by graduates, but they could potentially help diminish the total amount of student loan debt in the nation today.
Whatever the answer to this problem may be, something should be done soon before not only the short-term but also the long-term harms of this crisis become too extreme to handle. A higher education has a lot of benefits and allows students to not just earn more money, but also to secure a prosperous life for their own family and for generations to come. It should be something that students look forward to or want to get, rather than something they dread because of the negative financial implications it will have on their lives. The negative harms of the current state of student loan debt can be negated by either improving financial literacy in schools or by restructuring the very way that the students secure the money to finance their education. The crisis of student loan debt in America needs to be addressed so that higher education benefits those trying to improve upon their own lives and the lives of their future children, rather than punish them with economic hardship.
Booth, Danielle DiMartino. “Student Loans Are Starting to Bite the Economy.” Bloomberg.com, 20 Aug. 2018, https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2018-08-20/student-loans-are-starting-to-bite-the-economy. Accessed 10 October 2018.
Brazis, Katie. “Why Student Loan Debt Can Be Good.” The College Investor, 21 July 2018, https://thecollegeinvestor.com/20183/why-student-loan-debt-can-be-good/. Accessed 11 November 2018
Brooks, John R. “The Case for More Debt: Expanding College Affordability by Expanding Income-Driven Repayment.” Utah Law Review, vol. 2018, no. 4, July 2018, pp. 847–865. EBSCOhost, dsc.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=130855080&site=ehost-live.
Carrig, David. “Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' Net Worth Tops $150B As He Becomes Richest Person In Modern History.” USA Today, 16 July 2018, https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/nation-now/2018/07/16/amazon-jeff-bezos-richest-person/790289002/. Accessed 14 November 2018
Holland, Kelley. “The High Economic and Social Costs of Student Loan Debt.” CNBC.com, 15 June 2015, https://www.cnbc.com/2015/06/15/the-high-economic-and-social-costs-of-student-loan-debt.html. Accessed 17 October 2018.
Miller, M.H. ”The Inescapable Weight Of My $100,000 Student Debt.” The Guardian, 21 Aug. 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/aug/21/the-inescapable-weight-of-my-100000-student-debt. Accessed 9 October 2018.
Ulbrich, Timothy R., and Loren M. Kirk. “It’s Time to Broaden the Conversation About the Student Debt Crisis Beyond Rising Tuition Costs.” American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, vol. 81, no. 6, July 2017, pp. 1–5. EBSCOhost, dsc.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=125158839&site=ehost-live.
The Effects of Technology on Child Development
The purpose of this study is to research the possible effects, positive and negative that technology can have on the developing child physically, cognitively, and socially. The study will explore what parents, present and future, know about these effects, and if they will make efforts to counteract the potential negative effects. The researcher aims to do so with the use of a ten question survey, an intergenerational survey, an interview with a human behavior professor, as well as research from various peer-reviewed journals.
Keywords: technology, development, child development, cognitive
The Effects of Technology on Child Development
In a span of 30 years, children have gone from playing outside to playing on their I-pad, from walking to their friend’s house after school to video chatting from the next room. People often find themselves wondering what childhood would have been like without such luxuries. It can make one debate if children were better off before technology made its way into their lives. The researcher will be attempting to understand how technology has changed the way parents are raising their children, as well as the way technology has changed how children are developing, and what the effects of this can be. Does having access to this modern technology have an effect on the way children are choosing to spend their time? Does this technology effect how the children’s minds develop? How aware are parents, current and future, about the effects of technology? This study plans to answer all of these questions.
This study used both primary research and secondary research to better understand the topic. The topic of how increased usage of technology effects developing children was chosen because of both prior knowledge on the topic and the pursuit of understanding more about this problem. The survey constructed by the researcher is comprised of ten questions, and had been distributed to a class of “Writing for Education and Social Sciences” students at Dalton State College, in Dalton, Georgia. This English 3000 survey, administered to twenty participants, contained five demographic questions which were unrelated to the topic, as well as four multiple choice and one open response question related to the topic. The purpose of the demographic questions was to determine any differences and similarities between the participants; the purpose of the five questions relating to the topic was to gather as much information from different participants as possible about current and future parenting methods as they relate to technological exposure.
There was a second survey, also constructed by the researcher, that was administered to six individuals. Three of the participants were between the ages of 19 and 21, and three of the participants were between the ages of 41 and 46 (English 3000 survey, personal communication, 2018). This intergenerational survey contained the same five demographic questions, as well as four different open response questions related to the topic. Each open response question was designed to better understand the differences between the two generations childhood habits.
Following this second survey, there was an interview conducted with a professional in the field of social work who teaches class “Human Behavior in the Social Environment” at Dalton State College. The interview with this human behavior professor contained the same five demographic questions as both of the surveys, as well as four different open response questions. Those four questions were both more in depth and focused on specific elements of human behavior in the social environment. The researcher also gathered information from various peer-reviewed journals to provide specific and detailed information.
The change in how children are spending their time has been swift, but real. The way developing adolescents are playing and using their free time have changed and are still changing today. In a study preformed in 2016, it was found that classic leisure activities, which consist of “outdoor sporting, playing music, and other cultural experiences” (Bohmann & Schupp, 2016), were usually the “number one leisure activity enjoyed by adolescents” (Bohmann & Schupp, 2016). However, since 2014, “internet and IT based leisure activities have taken priority” (Bohmann & Schupp, 2016) over classic leisure activities. The study did determine some outliers to this change in leisure activity. While the sex of the person partaking in the activities didn’t matter, the socioeconomic status did (Bohmann & Schupp, 2016). More affluent families tended to enroll their child, or children, in more activities associated with high-culture, to “broaden the sense of understanding and cultural education of their children” (Bohmann & Schupp, 2016). Essentially, there is a growing difference between leisure activities of past generations and current generations. It isn’t just that there’s a switch in leisure activities. It is that the leisure activities are being moved inside and technology is leading the way. Which is leading to children getting less physical activity than generations before.
Apart from physical inactivity and the moving of leisure activities towards internet and IT based products, there are possible effects on a child’s cognitive development as well. There are two ways internet and IT based activities are effecting children’s cognitive development. The first is the awareness of social cues around them (Mills, 2016). In Mills 2016 study, the researcher found that “the processing of social cues goes down with more internet use over personal conversations” (Mills, 2016). This means that because the way children are communicating are different, and more technology based, their processing of others social cues and emotional displays are being diminished. The second way these leisure-based activities are effecting children socially is the idea of “constantly being evaluated by their peers across social media platforms” (Mills, 2016). This is effecting children’s ability to display themselves as who they actually are to the world around them. While this study found that these “cognitive changes in development are taking place, these changes are not necessarily impeding their ability to become a productive member of society” (Mills, 2016). So, while technology can bring forth some negative side effects, there isn’t just one possible negative outcome.
One final study, preformed in 2014, found that sixth grade student without exposure to technology “were significantly better at reading emotions than those who had regular access to phones, computers and other technology” (Summers, 2014). At the beginning of a five-day period, students were shown pictures of 50 faces and were asked to identify the emotion displayed (Summers, 2014). By the end of this five-day period, the students without connection to technology scored significantly better at “reading facial emotions and other nonverbal cues” (Summers, 2014). The study continues on to talk about how much screen time is too much for adolescents. Summers found that screen time, when limited to two hours, was the best amount of time to “take advantage of the many uses technology has, while at the same time avoiding negative side effects of the same technology” (Summers, 2014). It would be wrong to demonize technology, as it does play an important role in an increasingly globalized world. Technology has brings forth much good, such as increased educational opportunity and the ability to communicate with people almost at will, but people should be cautious.
English 3000 Survey
Question 1: What is your age?
Of the twenty participants in the survey, a majority of them were aged 18-24. 13 participants (65%) were between the ages of 18-24, 3 participants (15%) were between the ages of 25-34, 2 participants (10%) were between the ages of 35-44, 1 participant (5%) was between the ages of 45-54, and 1 participant (5%) was between the ages of 55-64 (English 3000 survey, personal communication, 2018).
Question 2: What is your sex?
Of the participants in the study, 16 out of the 20 respondents (80%) were female; the remaining 4 respondents (20%) were male(English 3000 survey, personal communication, 2018).
Question 3: What is your ethnicity?
15 participants (75%) were White or Caucasian, 2 participants (10%) were Black or African American, and the remaining 3 participants (15%) were Hispanic or Latino(English 3000 survey, personal communication, 2018).
Question 4: Which of the following best describes your current relationship status?
A majority of the participants, 12 (60%), classified themselves as “single, never married”. Of the remaining respondents, 5 participants (25%) classified themselves as “married”, 1 participant (5%) classified them self as ”widowed”, 1 participant (5%) classified them self as “in a domestic partnership or civil union”, and the remaining 1 participant (5%) classified them self as “single, but cohabitating with another person” (English 3000 survey, personal communication, 2018).
Question 5: Which of the following best describes your employment status?
5 of the 20 participants (25%) stated that they were “employed, working full-time”, 11 participants (55%) stated that they were “employed, working part-time”, and the remaining 4 participants (20%) stated that they were “not employed” (English 3000 survey, personal communication, 2018)..
Question 6: Do you believe increased usage of technology by children is a good thing?
Of the twenty participants in the survey, 2 respondents (10%) said yes, 7 respondents (35%) said no, and 11 respondents (55%) said both yes and no(English 3000 survey, personal communication, 2018).
Question 7: I will monitor the amount of time my children (current or future) spend in front of a screen.
The participants were asked to state whether they agreed or disagreed with this statement. 13 participants (65%) responded that they “strongly agree” with the statement, 4 participants (20%) responded that they “agree” with the statement, and 2 participants (10%) stated that they “somewhat agree” with the statement. Only one participant (5%) did not agree with this statement, stating that they “strongly disagree” (English 3000 survey, personal communication, 2018).
Question 8: I will monitor the quality of content that my child that my child (current or future) is watching and/or using.
Again, the participants were asked to state whether they agreed or disagreed with this statement. 14 participants (70%) responded that they “strongly agree” with the statement, 4 participants (20%) responded that they “agree” with the statement, and 1 participant (5%) stated that they “somewhat agree” with the statement. Again, only one participant (5%) did not agree with this statement, stating that they “strongly disagree” (English 3000 survey, personal communication, 2018).
Question 9: How long do you think is an appropriate amount of time for a child to engage with technology at a time?
Of the participants, 6 respondents (30%) stated that they felt “less than 1 hour” was appropriate, 8 respondents (40%) stated that they felt “1 hour” was appropriate, 4 respondents (20%) stated that they felt “2 hours” was appropriate. The remaining 2 respondents (10%) stated that they felt “5 hours or more” was appropriate(English 3000 survey, personal communication, 2018).
Question 10: What do you think are some positive and negative effects that technology can have on children?
This question was the only open response question, allowing the participants to elaborate on their answers. Every respondent, in some way, stated that one positive was “the immediate access to information through technology” (English 3000 Survey, personal communication, 2018). The second most popular response was that technology gives people access to communities of people they may not normally be able to reach or interact with (English 3000 Survey, personal communication, 2018). The participants negative responses were more varied. Participants detailed “lack of social awareness” (English 3000 Survey, personal communication, 2018), “exposure to material children may not be ready for” (English 3000 Survey, personal communication, 2018), and “cognitive brain development” (English 3000 Survey, personal communication, 2018).
The following graphs depict important findings from this English 3000 Survey.
Graph 1. Participants on if they will monitor the amount of time their children
spend with technology.
Graph 2. Participants on if they will monitor the content of their children’s technology.
Intergenerational Survey Interviews
As stated, the researcher used the same five demographic questions as the previous survey (English 3000 Survey, personal communication, 2018). There were also four open response questions, each specific to aspects of the participants childhood and their use of technology. The following questions were asked: 1) What is your age, race, sex, marital status, and employment status? 2) When comparing raising children today to raising children of past generations, what do you think has changed? 3) How/where did you spend time playing throughout your childhood? 4) How much time per week did you spend playing outside as a child? 5) Did you have much face-to-face interaction as a child? With other children as well as with family? Explain.
Millennial Participant 1:
The first millennial the researcher interviewed is a single 21 year-old African-American male, who is currently enrolled full time in college and works part time. When asked question 2, his response stated the biggest difference is the “level of awareness and fear of the outside world. Parents are monitoring their children more, letting them go smaller and smaller distances from the house” (Devin Hammonds, personal communication, November 20, 2018). In response to questions 3 and 4, he stated that he spent most of his time playing video games with friends at either his or their house, averaging around an hour per day outside. When asked question 5, he had face to face communication in school and with family, but other than that “it wasn’t really pushed to communicate in person. When [he] wasn’t in school, communicating with friends was done through games or on a cell phone” (Devin Hammonds, personal communication, November 20, 2018).
Millennial Participant 2:
The second millennial the researcher interviewed is a single 21 year-old Caucasian female, who is a college student and works part time. When asked question 2, she claims the difference between this generation and past is that “children are spending less time outside and more time engaging with screens, resulting in less physical activity and less social interaction” (Allie Loder, personal communication, November 21, 2018). When asked questions 3 and 4, the participant siad she spent time playing tag and other games outside as well as playing video games with her brother, in total she spent on average 1.5 hours outside every day. Her answer to question 5 was yes, as she almost “exclusively communicated face to face with her family” (Allie Loder, personal communication, November 21, 2018) but as technology advanced she spent less time face to face communicating with friends.
Millennial Participant 3:
The third, and final, millennial the researcher interviewed is a single 19-year-old Latino female, who is a college student and unemployed. When asked question 2, she said the difference is a “certain level of imagination and work ethic that is much less desired today than in past generations” (Nancy Wells, Personal Communication, November 21, 2018). When asked questions 3 and 4, she says she spent most of her time either in school or extracurricular activities such as band or chorus, and when there was time to play, it was “spent at sleepovers and days at friends’ houses hanging out” (Nancy Wells, Personal Communication, November 21, 2018). She says she spent on average 1 hour a day outside throughout her childhood. To question 5, she responds with a yes and no. She states that “there was always face to face interaction” (Nancy Wells, Personal Communication, November 21, 2018) with her family, but not with her friends the older they got.
Generation X Participant 1:
The first generation X participant the researcher interviewed is a married 41 year-old Caucasian woman, who is employed full-time. When asked question 2, she stated that “technology is a defining factor in the difference between past generations and current” (Daniela LaCelle, personal communication, November 23, 2018). She continued on to speak about about the “instant gratification of technology producing more and more impatient people” (Daniela LaCelle, personal communication, November 23, 2018). To question 3 and 4, she told me about her time spent in youth clubs and community parks throughout her childhood where she would typically spend upwards of three hours a day on weekdays, and upwards of six hours on weekends. When asked question 5, her response was yes. She stated that “face to face communication/interaction was the only way [she] had to interact, as talking on the phone cost money” (Daniela LaCelle, personal communication, November 23, 2018) when she was young.
Generation X Participant 2:
The second generation X participant the researcher interviewed is a married 46 year-old Caucasian male, who is employed full-time. His answer to question 2 was that “discipline and respect standards of children by which they’re raised in today’s world have significantly declined, as well as the amount of technological gadgets that have changed the way children behave and act” (Steve Ryan, personal communication, November 23, 2018). When asked questions 3 and 4 he says he “did everything except eat, sleep, and school, outside, because there were only three television channels” (Steve Ryan, personal communication, November 23, 2018), it was his only option, spending at least 4 to 5 hours or more outside per day. To question 5 his response was an emphatic yes, as face to face communication was the “only way [he] had to communicate with others” (Steve Ryan, personal communication, November 23, 2018).
Generation X Participant 3:
The final generation X participant the researcher interviewed is a married 44 year-old Caucasian male, who works full-time. When asked question 2 he responded that “children these days have everything too easy, as if they’re all pampered” (Ross LaCelle, personal communication, November 23, 2018). He also believes, just like the third interview, that work ethic and respect have decreased significantly. When asked questions 3 and 4 he says he played outside from sun up to sun down, unless school got in the way which amounted to around 4 hours on weekdays and as much as possible on weekends. Again, he had the same reasoning for playing outside as the third interview, because “there were only three television channels” (Ross LaCelle, personal communication, November 23, 2018). To question 5 he responded yes, he played with his next door neighbor every day and always “had family dinner to talk about all of his family members days” (Ross LaCelle, personal communication, November 23, 2018).
The following graph depicts important findings from this intergenerational interview survey.
Graph 3. The amount of time spent outside between the millennial generation and generation x participants.
The interview administered to Jodie Pack, a professor of social work at Dalton State College, contained the same five demographic questions as the survey administered to a “Writing for Education and Social Sciences” class at Dalton State College (English 3000 Survey, personal communication, 2018). The following questions were also used in the interview: 1) From a social workers perspective, what are some of the positives and negatives of technology in children’s lives? 2) How is cognitive development affected by increased technology usage in developing children? 3) What kind of affect can increased technology use have on a child’s mood? 4) How important is it for the general population to be aware of the affects (positive and negative) that technology can have on future generations? Jodie Pack responded as follows:
My name is Jodie Pack. I am 32 years old. I am a female. I am white. I am unmarried, and I work full-time as a lecturer of social work at Dalton State College. From a social workers perspective, there are many positives, and negatives, to increased use of technology by children. As we know, the world is more connected than ever, and technology gives us, and them, the ability to be somewhere and learn about populations and cultures previously inaccessible to many. Once we start looking at the negatives, the most important is cognitive. Children need social interaction to grow and to develop to their fullest. While social interaction can still happen with technology, it isn’t the same as personal communication. Technology, if not monitored, has been known to alter sleep patterns in people, limiting the amount of time for bodies to rejuvenate. Stress can build up from constant interaction with technology and no “me time”. Losing the ability to read social cues, facial expressions, and communication, which can lead to increased social anxiety. This depends on the child really. What kind of social interaction are they missing or obtaining through technology? What social media platforms are they involved with? How do these social media platforms effect each child specifically? All these are things that need to be taken into account, and while there most certainly can be negative effects on a child’s overall mood, it may not be the same case for all. I believe it is imperative that both the positive and negatives are well known and studied, and that goes for just about everything. A large part of social work is advocacy, and we cannot advocate for what is best for populations of people if we do not know the impacts both positive and negative and what the best solution is going forward.
This study has implications for both the scientific community and the everyday lives of individuals. For the scientific and social sciences community, this study demonstrates the similarities between research and the general public. This study also demonstrates the level of cohesive, and mutual, understanding between the scientific community and parents, both current and future, about the issues. The survey administered to a class of “Writing for Education and Social Sciences” students at Dalton State College (English 3000 Survey, personal communication, 2018), was used to determine how much understanding the general community had with research regarding this topic. Researchers determined that technological use should be limited to two hours at a time to enjoy the positives, but evade the negative effects (Summers, 2014). This survey confirmed that parents, current and future, have a general want to monitor the amount of time their children use technology, as well as a want to monitor the technological content (English 3000 Survey, personal communication, 2018).
The intergenerational survey, administered to six individuals, was used to understand the differences between two generations and how they spent their free time (Intergenerational Survey, personal communication, 2018). Additional studies have determined that leisure activities in activities have changed from classic leisure activities to It based activities (Bohmann & Schupp, 2016). The intergenerational survey saw these same results, with the participants of the older generation, on average, playing outside and spending more free time outside and in contact with their peers face to face than the younger generation (Intergenerational Survey, personal communication, 2018).
Overall, the study did produce quantifiable results that confirmed that parents, present and future, are aware of the possible effects of increased technology and are actively making decisions to maximize the positive effects and minimize the negative effects. However, because of the small population size, and small population range, further research with a larger sample size will be required for a conclusive study.
Bohmann, S., & Schupp, J. (2016). IT and communication technologies dominate adolescent downtime. Adolescents and IT, 6(48), 558-567. Retrieved from http://eds.a.ebscohost.com/eds/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=4&sid=86122c75-dde5-4ed8-bf24-0baa925a71f6%40sessionmgr4010
Mills, K. (2016). Possible effects of internet use on cognitive development in adolescence. Media and Communication, 4(3), 4-12. Doi: 10.17645/mac.v4i3.516
Summers, J. (2014). Kids and screen time: What does the research say? National Public Radio Education. Retrieved from https://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2014/08/28/343735856/kids-and-screen-time-what-does-the-research-say
The democratic voting system in the United States serves as the vehicle for the American people to voice their opinion. The integrity of the election and the validity of the votes are integral in the continuation of the democratic process. The system is not without flaws, leading to an undermining of the merit in our electoral process. Machine malfunction, long lines, voter ID policies, uniformity of voting experiences, bias in election volunteers, and polling location availability can affect the confidence of the voting citizen. America has a past riddled with voter disenfranchisement and disputes over the legal winner in both local and national elections at a cost of voter confidence. Recently, in the state of Georgia, the election for the next governor led to almost two weeks of contentious word fights and disgruntled voters. This research paper will seek to identify what factors harm voter participation and how policies affect voter confidence. The impact of voter confidence will be studied as it relates to voter participation.
Keywords: voter confidence, election, election process, state election policies
The American people speak up about the leadership of their nation through the systematic process of individual votes in a public election. America is a nation of people who want their voices heard, and, therefore, cast their ballots as though every vote counts. In fact, every vote does count whether the election is for state governor or for the next president of the United States of America. The 15th, 19th, 24th and 26th Amendments to the Constitution gave the right to vote to those above the age of 18 without regard to their ability to own property, their skin color, or their sex (Voting Laws, 2018). There have been many embattled elections stirring angst among the people. This research paper serves to prove that despite the inconsistencies and drama of election night, the lack of voters’ confidence will not sway their decision to participate in the next election. What causes voters to doubt the election process? What motivates them to return to the polls despite uncertainties in the process? If lack of confidence in the process does not stop them from voting, does anything alter voter participation at the polls?
The question stands, what provokes a member of society to step out and cast his or her vote, even with a murky past such as the one in the United States’ election history? Is it a sense of civic duty (McMurray, 2015)? McMurray (2015) questions the motivation of a voter whose individual vote has such little impact, resulting in answers such as civic duty and desire to be heard. McMurray (2015) reveals a correlation between voters who seek knowledge about the candidates and issues and the voter turnout. By his theory, the polls are filled with politically educated voters. In this research, voter uncertainty is countered by increasing his or her knowledge base.
In the article, “Uncertainty Increases the Reliance on Affect in Decisions” (2017), there is an assertion that when people are uncertain about a decision they will fall back on their feelings and emotions (Faraji-rad). In the case of voters’ lack of confidence in an election process, it can be inferred that they are more likely to vote based on a deep- seated feeling toward a political party, not on a “general reliance on all available information” (Faraji-rad, 2017, p. 16). People do not like feeling uncertain because it causes a threatening feeling to their way of life (Faraji-rad, 2017). The election results in Georgia, from the November 2018 midterms, may have left many people feeling uncertain as they look ahead to a runoff election in December 2018. The research in the article would allow a reasonable conclusion that says those voters will vote along the same party lines as they did in the November election because of the uncertainty of the outcome of their votes.
The privilege to vote is more than a civic duty; it is the conduit in which all citizens can voice their values and beliefs. The right to vote gives the common man power to effect change in society. The idea that irregularities or inconsistencies in the voting system can cause lack of voter confidence is concerning. This paper proposes that despite the lack of confidence people will continue to execute their right to vote.
The researcher utilized a personal survey, an interview given through a survey, and a poll on social media in order to learn more about the American voter. The surveys were designed to be short but specific in nature in order to combat respondent fatigue and partial responses. There were fourteen questions including the demographic questions in the online survey. The survey was designed to elicit basic information and specific criteria that influenced their voting habits. One question asked if they voted in the recent midterm election (Voting 101 Survey, personal communication, 2018). Another asked, “With regard to politics today, do you consider yourself a Republican, a Democrat, an Independent, or another category?” (Voting 101 Survey, personal communication, 2018).
There were two polls with one question each, and they were offered on a social media website. They did not elicit a large response but provided a small-scale insight into voter behavior. The last study done was an interview of an individual who has almost 50 years of voting experience. She was asked 10 questions, including demographic questions. This individual offered a long-range historical view of her voting habits and her motivation to vote.
The first study was composed of 52 individuals who completed an online survey accessed through their email account and social media accounts (Voting 101 Survey, personal communication, 2018). The purpose of the study was to discern the makeup of a voter and issues that impacted his or her voting habits.
The survey respondents were 94% white and 6% black or multiple races, and 88% of those surveyed voted in the most recent midterm election (Voting 101 Survey, personal communication, 2018). The majority of the respondents were over the age of 40 at 55%, but the largest age bracket was 21-29 years old at 25%, followed by 50-59 years old representing 23% of those polled (Voting 101 Survey, personal communication, 2018). Of those polled, 62% stated they were Republicans, and 74% stated they earned less than $100,000 per year, but it was unknown if the groups were one and the same (Voting 101 Survey, personal communication, 2018).
Furthermore, in this study, the respondents were asked to establish if they believed that their vote mattered, and 92% believed it did matter (Voting 101 Survey, personal communication, 2018). Of those who voted in the Georgia elections or followed the news after the election, 40% said they trusted the election process, 27% said they did not and 31% said they might trust the process, but were unsure (Voting 101 Survey, personal communication, 2018). In particular, 82% of respondents felt the election process should procure a winner within 24 hours of the close of an election (Part 2, Voting 101 Survey, personal communication, 2018).
One question asked, “When it comes to national political news, which of the following national television networks do you trust the most?” (Part 2, Voting 101 Survey, personal communication, 2018). The survey results were almost evenly split between left-biased news outlets and right-biased news outlets. The designation of right or left bias was found on the website, www. mediabiasfactcheck.com. For this survey, a left bias represented a more liberal or Democratic view, and a right bias was considered more conservative and along Republican party lines.
The second study was a small-scale poll in order to ascertain who was likely to return to the polls for the runoff election in Georgia in December 2018. Six people, who voted in the November 2018 Georgia midterms, pledged to vote in the runoff next month (Facebook Poll, personal communication, 2018). Three people, who did not vote in the midterm elections in Georgia in November 2018, said they intended to vote in the runoff (Facebook Poll, personal communication, 2018).
The final study was conducted via a private interview survey for an individual with over 40 voting experience. This individual was a white female over the age of 65 and is a registered voter (Voter Confidence, personal communication, 2018). She has almost 50 years of experience voting in local and national elections (Voter Confidence, personal communication, 2018). Mrs. Templeton stated that she “was excited to vote the first time [because] her parents taught [her] the importance of voting and participating in our democracy” (Templeton, N., personal communication, 2018). She encourages others to vote by asking them if they are registered and telling them that she voted (Voter Confidence, personal communication, 2018). Templeton said that there was very little that would prevent her from voting, except a hospital stay or severe physical illness (Voter Confidence, personal communication, 2018). She spends time researching the candidates, and she votes according to her personal values (Voter Confidence, personal communication, 2018).
The studies delved into the demographics of an American voter. The survey revealed that eligible citizens of all ages voted in the recent midterm elections (Voting 101, personal communication, 2018). Those voters spanned all socioeconomic categories, but more voters who identify as Republican answered the survey. The survey may have been more valuable if the party affiliation was more balanced. The majority of the respondents, 94%, were white, which is representative of the North Georgia population. The survey answers would be more useful if they represented the demographics of the entire state of Georgia.
Respondents were asked how confident they felt in the Georgia election process as a result of the almost two-week wait for a clear winner in the governor race. Those who answered “not at all confident” and “not so confident” they represented 57% of the total people surveyed (Voting 101, personal communication, 2018). The remaining 43% said they felt “somewhat confident,” “very confident,” and “extremely confident” (Voting 101, personal communication, 2018). Figure 1 reflects four other criteria that the respondents answered.
Overall, the survey respondents appeared to be active participants in the election process. They believed that their vote counted, and they did not rely on the media as a barometer for choosing a candidate. When asked how they felt about the fairness of election after Brain Kemp was pronounced the next governor of Georgia, the respondents gave an even number of “yes” answers and “no” answers. One respondent said, “Yes, extra time was taken to make sure that all votes were counted,” and another said, “Kemp manipulated the system to his benefit. He should have recused himself of all responsibilities related to [the] election” (Voting 101, personal communication, 2018). While the respondents were conflicted about the fairness of the election, 82% said they expected a decision within 24 hours (Voting 101, personal communication, 2018). If the election had not taken two weeks to conclude, then it is probable the respondents would not have felt so divided about the fairness of the election.
Moreover, King (2017) says that election policy plus the election administration combined with citizen confidence forms the “cornerstone of a successful democracy” (p. 672). The election policies in America were given to the individual states through the edicts in the Constitution (King, 2017). States determine the overall policies regarding elections, including the manner in which elections occur, how they are administered and implemented, and the scope of management (King, 2017). It is the variance between states that causes a decline in voter confidence. When there are problems directly associated with the voting process, voters may doubt that their vote will be counted as intended and that there might be a systemic flaw in the voting process (King, 2017).
The online poll, while short in respondents, verified the researcher’s claim that voter confidence does not influence attendance at the poll. The five respondents who said they voted in the midterm elections admitted that they would go back for the runoff in December 2018 (Online Poll, personal communication, 2018). There were also three people who did not vote during the midterms who decided to vote in the runoff election (Online Poll, personal communication, 2018). The researcher does not deny that there are many issues that can discredit the election process, either a real or an illusion of deceit, but the result of uncertainty does not appear to change voting habits. Further research might reveal a correlation between uncertainty and increased voter participation. Deeper study will be needed.
Furthermore, the final study was a private interview conducted in survey form. The respondent, Templeton, revealed that voting behavior is consistent even in the midst of turmoil. She has participated in almost 50 years of elections at both the local and national level (Templeton, personal communication, 2018). Her experience allowed the researcher to evaluate the long-term behavior patterns of a frequent voter. She acknowledged that there was very little that would dissuade her from making her voice count. This information also serves to confirm the researcher’s theory that voter confidence does not impact voting attendance as might be expected. Templeton claims that her sense of civic duty, which she learned from her parents, is what draws her to the polls each election (Personal communication, 2018).
In conclusion, the researcher evaluated the demographics of an American voter in order to ascertain the compulsion to go to the polls in the midst of uncertainty. The use of surveys, polls, and an interview with a voting expert shed light onto voting behaviors. The study was limited by the party affiliations and race demographics compared to the overall state of Georgia. Further research should be done to locate more correlations between lack of voter confidence and poll attendance by broadening the demographic scope of the respondents. The researcher proposes that with further research there might be a stronger correlation between voting attendance and uncertainty than noted in this study. The current state of the election process is fraught with doubts and wild claims of fraud, but that has not stopped individuals from going to the polls. The researcher predicts that the 2020 presidential election will reveal even more claims that undermine the voter’s confidence, which will create a larger voter turnout than ever seen in modern history.
Faraji-rad, A., & Pham, M. T. (2017). Uncertainty increases the reliance on affect in decisions. Journal of Consumer Research, 44(1), 1–21. https://doi-org.dsc.idm.oclc.org/10.1093/jcr/ucw073
King, B. A. (2017). Policy and precinct: Citizen evaluations and electoral confidence. Social Science Quarterly (Wiley-Blackwell), 98(2), 672–689. https://doi-org.dsc.idm.oclc.org/10.1111/ssqu.12303
McMurray, J. (2015). The paradox of information and voter turnout. Public Choice, 165(1/2), 13–23. https://doi-org.dsc.idm.oclc.org/10.1007/s11127-015-0288-1
Voting laws and Constitutional amendments. (2018, October 31). Retrieved from https://www.usa.gov/voting-laws
"Making Sense of Migraines"
This paper is a study on migraines. The researcher delved into the subject of migraines to make knowledge more prevalent in hopes of inspiring further study. Migraines are a common ailment that affect hundreds of thousands daily. These people must go through their days feeling awful because of migraine side effects. As of yet, the knowledge of where migraines originate from is unknown, but there are studies being done to try to find the answers. This paper uses a survey, as well as two interviews, to ask the important questions about migraines such as: What are they? Where do they come from? How do they affect people? Is there any help? Are they hereditary?
Keywords: migraine, headache, effects, ailment
Making Sense of Migraines
Nearly everyone has heard of someone who has had a migraine. It is an incredibly common ailment that affects more than thirty-five million Americans every year (Starling, 2018). Doing a simple search on quotes about migraines can provide thousands of quotes that are centered around how migraines make them feel. Migraines can completely debilitate those who have them for hours or even days. Migraines are quite often misunderstood as “just a headache,” but they are much more than that to anyone who has ever experienced one. Lives and careers can suffer as a result of a single migraine. Migraines are described as a severe throbbing or stabbing pain located somewhere in the head. Due to the commonality of this issue, there are many studies on migraines that will give rise to knowledge that may not have been known before. Migraines can cause extreme pain to those that suffer from them. This pain has no time limit and is never the same for any two individuals. There are also those that experience sensory disturbances that are followed by the migraine. These sensory issues can be anything from sensitivity to light, sound, or nausea and vomiting (Spout, 2017). Migraines do not have an age limit.
This researcher conducted the following study. The topic was narrowed down to migraines based on personal experience in the researcher’s family. The researcher believes that more information on this subject will lead to more research being done to help those afflicted with this condition. There was a survey given randomly, held open for two days to allow a variety of people to respond. In total, about twenty college students responded anonymously. The survey was provided online and was in a multiple-choice answer type format. The ages, genders, and employment statuses were varied. All of them answered that they had been afflicted with a headache before. The first two questions were asked to determine age and gender to see if migraines were more prevalent at a certain age or in a particular gender. The next questions asked if the one being surveyed had ever had a headache. 100% answered yes, which then led to the next question, “Have you ever had a migraine?” This question was important because there is a consensus that everyone knows there is a difference between a headache and migraine. While twenty-one out of twenty-one had been burdened with a headache, only sixteen of them had ever experienced a migraine (English 3000 survey, personal communication, November 21, 2018). See the graph below for the information gathered on the people surveyed who reported having a migraine.
There are two distinct types of migraines, classic and common. A classic migraine is the type that will affect vision through color, along with the typical sensitivity to sound, light, and stomach problems; a common migraine does all of that without the color distortion (Roundtree, 2014). There is no known reason why migraines happen, but there is quite a bit of speculation. Scientists say that they have studies showing that there are changes throughout the brain and nervous system, both physically and chemically. They say the blood vessels change, and these things combined can cause a migraine to begin (Medhurst, 2017). They theorize that there is a defect with how the vessels contract and restrict. This defect can lead to a confined blood flow in the vessels.
While there is no conclusive rationalization for their occurrence, scientists have found links in the chain for things that will trigger a migraine. Food, hormone changes, additives, caffeine, alcohol (wine), changes in routine, and stress are just a few of them (Kalidas, 2017). One respondent in the survey stated, “I can’t eat chocolate or cheese because I will always get a migraine. I will be in the bed for three days with no end in sight, and not enough medicine will make the pain stop” (Making sense of migraines, personal communication, November 21, 2018). There are many different reported triggers for migraines. Not all people who experience them will have the same trigger.
One very debilitating effect of a migraine is for a person to miss work. A nurse practitioner, Melody Halloran RN, BSN, NP, which the researcher interviewed for this study, stated that loss of work due to a migraine is a very real problem for those that suffer from them. She states that missing out on work or other family activities is the number two complaint for those suffering from a migraine (personal communication, November 21, 2018). In the survey conducted, students were asked if having a migraine cause them to miss work. While the previous sixteen of the twenty-one had experienced a migraine, only six of them answered yes to this question. That is roughly thirty-three percent of those taking the survey. People who have migraines frequently miss work or family events because of the paralyzing effects. Some of these people can experience a simple headache for a brief period of time or have a three-day migraine bender and be confined to their bed with the curtains closed. The hours lost due to a migraine can add up and this can mean huge financial implications due to missing work. The financial implications can in turn add more stress to the sufferer. Beyond that, there are emotional connections that become strained. In the survey, when asked how long their migraines persisted, the answers ranged from one to over four hours. While the six answered that their migraines typically last from one to two hours, three people answered that theirs lasted anywhere from four to six hours (English 3000 survey, personal communication, November 21, 2018)! This loss of time can affect personal relationships too. The American Academy of Pain Medicine reported that nearly 150 Million workdays per year are missed due to migraines (Medhurst, 2017). That is certainly a big concern.
Many of those with migraines will seek out medical treatment due to the intense pain that is caused during one. They will typically try the basic over-the-counter pain relievers or headache reducers or with a cold rag in a dark room, but, eventually, branch out for actual help. Of those that completed the survey, six of the sixteen have already went to seek medical attention from a professional (English 3000 survey, personal communication, November 21, 2018). Some medications can help at the onset while some are just to treat the symptoms; Axert, Frova, and Amerge are just a few of them (Roundtree, 2014). Though these medications may help, they come with their own lists of side effects like any other medication. The medications that are taken are to make the pain stop by lessening the severity of the migraine. Some of them are for prevention and will make sure that a migraine never has the chance to affect the one taking it. Just like any other medication, people with migraines can develop a tolerance to their medicine, which limits their options (Medhurst, 2017). In an interview with a nurse practitioner, she seconded this, “Choosing the right medication for each patient is hard. There is much trial and error, most of it revolves around the side effects from the medication, or how fast the patient can develop a tolerance” (Making sense of migraines, personal communication, November 24, 2018). This the backbone of why the research into migraines and how to cope/treat them must continue. In the survey, three of the six have seen a professional for treatment and regularly take medication for their ailment (English 3000 survey, personal communication, November 21, 2018).
Can migraines be passed genetically? It is a question that cannot be answered factually, due to the theory of why migraines occur not being complete. In a study done on females and whether they had a family history of migraines, those that had a family history of them usually had an earlier onset of the first migraine and more frequent migraines based on their cycle (Dzoljic, 2014). In the survey conducted online, eleven out of the twenty-one people who were questioned replied that someone in their family had suffered from migraines. “My grandmother had them, and my uncle gets them as well. I don’t feel like it is any coincidence” (English 3000 survey, personal communication, November 21, 2018). Though this may not be absolute proof, but the theory is there, and the research is available to see a clear link between the two. A local nurse practitioner even stated, “When someone comes in for an exam to seek medication for their migraines, I always ask about their family history. The family history is relevant because most of the time, if one of the parents has migraines, one of their children will” (Making sense of migraines, personal communication, November 23, 2018). There are also studies that have been done to see if race and ethnicity are connected to the incidence of migraines.
Migraines are more than just a headache. They are a frequent ailment among millions of people both young and old. They can last an unknown number of hours and affect the lives of those who suffer from them tremendously. Migraines can hurt financially with missing work and paying for medications and doctor bills. They can damage familial ties through the inability to socialize. Migraines are simply draining, and they require willpower to move or be in the light. They have the ability to cause vision and hearing to heighten, creating a pain that is so incomparable that all one can do is lay in bed, in the dark, by oneself. They devitalize and isolate those that have them. Many people seek medication, and, for some, medications may work, but the cause is still unknown, so pinpointing any exact cure is improbable. Migraines may very well be genetically linked, and the surveys say there must be some sort of connection. There must be more research done to answer the how’s and why’s of migraines. To those that have never had a migraine, it is just a bad headache, but, to anyone, who has ever experienced it, it is a nightmare.
Dzoljic, Eleonora, et al. “A Survey of Female Students with Migraine: What Is the Influence of Family History and Lifestyle?” International Journal of Neuroscience, vol. 124, no. 2, Feb. 2014, pp. 82–87. EBSCOhost, doi:10.3109/00207454.2013.823961.
Kalidas, K. (2017). Migraines in women: Fluctuating hormones play a role in migraines, making it important to consider hormonal milestones and factors when formulating a treatment plan,. (cover story). Contemporary OB/GYN, 62(8), 12.
Mannix, S., Skalicky, A., Buse, D. C., Desai, P., Sapra, S., Ortmeier, B., … Hareendran, A. (2016). Measuring the impact of migraine for evaluating outcomes of preventive treatments for migraine headaches. Health & Quality of Life Outcomes, 14, 1–11.
Medhurst, R. (2017). Migraine headache: A clinical primer and homeopathic options in treatment. Journal of the Australian Traditional-Medicine Society, 23(1), 22–24.
Rountree, R. (2014). Roundoc rx: Migraine headaches: an integrative medicine approach to management. Alternative & Complementary Therapies, 20(5), 230.
STARLING, A. (2018). Crack the Migraine Mystery: It’s Not Just a Headache. Today’s
Geriatric Medicine, 11(5), 26–28.
"Interpretation of Text and Tone"
In today’s society, text communications are a necessity for functioning in day-to-day life; and, most of our thoughts, feelings, and perceptions become a fundamental commodity that incorporates itself into our messages. Because of our empathetic connection to text, we are vulnerable to misinterpretation. Because of these misinterpretations, we set ourselves up for the deterioration of relationships and conversations; and, it is up to us to be aware of how people could perceive our texts. Our interpretations beg questions such as: “Why do we perceive texts the way we do? What is our initial perception of our messages? Does punctuation affect the tone of a text?”
As we know, perception is subjective from person to person. What this tells us is that people might perceive a message in an unintended manner. Because texts are not face-to-face, it is up to the reader to determine the tone of the text. The researcher became aware of this through their own social media experiences. Having to question that the texts he received did not contain a subliminal message, the researcher contemplated the mentality and interpretation process of fellow text-communicators. It seemed that in the researcher’s own mind, particular messages would come across sarcastically; but, the messages were not intended to be sarcastic. According to Albert Katz, “...people can mentally invoke a sarcastic tone of voice during silent reading...” (Katz para. 1). This indicates that as people can manifest any type of tone when reading a text, regardless if it coalesces with its intended tone. Because messages can be so open to interpretations, we sometimes rely on the implied emotion of an emoticon to express our feelings. Because of the lack of facial expression and tone of voice, you can never really be sure how the ‘sender’ legitimately feels. After a study on the clarifying nature of emoticons, conducted by Dominic Thompson, he stated that, “These findings highlight the significant role emoticons play in clarifying message intention, compensating for the absence of nonverbal cues in written communication” (Thompson para. 1). In the study, participants were instructed to produce a sarcastic message without altering the text provided by the researchers. As a result, participants resorted to using emoticons to express their intent.
To conduct the study, the researcher created a mock conversation between him and an associate. In the artificial exchange of messages, the associate texted the researcher “Hey, I passed my math test today!” In response, the researcher said “congrats” with no punctuation or capitalization. The exchange of messages was then incorporated into a survey, in which participants focused on the researcher’s response of “congrats.” The participants would then be instructed to answer a series of related questions. The first and most significant question of the survey was “How did you perceive the message?” The participants would then determine whether the messaged has a positive or negative tone. Following this question, the participant was asked to explain why they perceived the message the way they did. This was to determine the participant’s mentality in determining an interpretation. Other questions such as their current mood and inquires of recent arguments were asked to determine any relation in perception and temperament.
The researcher contemplated that if a person was in a bad mood, would it determine how they read the message in their mind? The major and minor of each participant was questioned to determine if academic field of study played a role in determining an interpretation. Would language majors be more emotional and understanding of each message? Would math majors be prone to an apathetic interpretation? Asking for one’s major could determine these sub-questions. The targeted participants were questioned in an English 1101 class at Dalton State College. Since younger generations are more susceptible to tone misinterpretation, the researcher felt they were the most appropriate individuals to survey.
As a primary source, the researcher interviewed a professor at Dalton State college. When inquiring about interpretations, Ms. Mendes, a professor in communications, stated that “Text communication can be difficult because it is open to interpretation. A person’s mood or experiences can affect how they interpret the text.” (Mendes 29 November 2018). Her thoughts on how people interpret texts align with that of the researcher’s. According to the surveys, 58% of participants perceived the researcher’s message as ‘positive.’ The other 42% of participants involved interpreted the message as negative/sarcastic. As you can see, there is a significant difference in the perception of the text. This just shows how many people can interpret a text incorrectly if it is not clarified properly. Also, 63% of participants that interpreted the message as ‘negative’ gave a “3 or lower” when asked to label their mood on a scale from one to five. Although more people would have to be surveyed to strengthen the data, this could show a possible correlation between mood and interpretation. The survey itself has been used as the researchers second primary source.
After stating the participants interpretation, they stated why they perceived the message the way they did. One participant who thought the message was positive stated that “it says congrats” (ENGL 1101 Survey 29 November 2018) . This indicates that the word ‘congrats’ in itself is a positive word. Another participant stated that “...it sounds positive” (Participant ENGL 1101 29 November 2018). This indicates that, when reading the message, the tone of voice in their mind is positive and cheerful. Alternatively, one participated who thought the message was sarcastic stated “[they] read it like the other person didn’t care” (Participant ENGL 1101 29 November 2018). Although there was no indication of an intentional negative tone, it was still perceived as such. Several participants perceived the message as negative, due to the lack of emoticons. This strengthens the claim that emoticons help in clarifying the tone of a text.
As shown by the collected data, there is a significant difference in which we perceive our texts. Although one may have positive intentions, it may not always be perceived that way. This is why people must always clarify their intentions in text-communications, especially since texting is a major form of communication for society. Without clarity, we set ourselves up for miscommunication and unintentional “sass.” To truly see significant results of this study, more people need to be surveyed. Participants should be diverse in age, gender, and even nationality. One weakness of the survey would be the researches “are you pessimistic or optimistic?” question. Participants will be inclined to choose optimistic, as they do not want to put themselves in a negative category. So, what causes a person to interpret messages the way they do? The answer is clarity. How clear you are in expressing your emotions will determine how a person interprets a text. It appears as time moves forward, simple unpunctuated texts will decline. The use of an emoji and punctuation stresses the positivity or negativity of a text. We must not let ourselves be open to interpretations. Clarity is the key to communication.
Katz, Albert N., and Karen Hussey. Do People Hear a Sarcastic Tone of Voice When Silently Reading Sarcastic Text? Metaphor & Symbol, vol. 32, no. 2, Apr. 2017, pp. 84–102. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1080/10926488.2017.1297621.
Thompson, Dominic and Ruth, Filik. Sarcasm in Written Communication: Emoticons Are Efficient Markers of Intention. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, vol. 21, no. 2, Mar. 2016, pp. 105–120. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1111/jcc4.12156.
Mendes, Amy, Personal Interview 29 November 2018.
Participants of ENGL 1101, Survey 29 November 2018
- Do you interpret the message in BLUE in a positive or sarcastic/negative tone?
- Why did you perceive the message the way you did?
- What is your current mood (Scale 1-5)?
- Have you recently had an argument?
- What is your Major/Minor?
- How often do you use ‘text’ to communicate?
- Do you use punctuation often in your texts?
- Does the use of punctuation drastically change the tone of a text?
- Do you describe yourself as optimistic or pessimistic?
- What is your gender?
58% Positive. 42% Negative.