Identity and Belonging Podcast-Aaron Watson-Sharer

I conducted a podcast with an immigrant from Burma who was a refugee in Thailand. My goal was to share his story and for many others to show what many immigrants go through in their life and adjusting to our society. I focused my question on his life in a linear fashion which he gave some bold responses to. Making the podcast I wanted to provide a real summary on his life and the difficulties attached with it.

Making videos and podcasts were nothing new, so what went well was producing a podcast. I believe the interview went well, it was a wonderful conversation with many stories that were unique. Some struggles I went through are with the audio, which was sometimes hard to use because we made this podcast in a Panera. I really learned about the life in refugee camps and life as a U.S immigrant in Philadelphia.

Identity and Belonging Podcast

My goal was to interview my mother who has an extensive background connecting to my theme of the assignment. “...being an African-American female in today’s society is challenging. There are so many expectations you are meant to uphold, foremost as you carry yourself can be a large factor in how you thrive in society. Today there are so many ways an African-American woman can be portrayed through so many different lens’.” There were so many ways that I could’ve made my piece flow, such as with one whole story or with multiple pieces. I chose to have multiple pieces strategically put together to describe a point that african-american women are more than just a stereotype. In my footage that I polished and finalize, I could connect to all requirements of the podcast (dramatic arc, story and background music).

As I worked on this project, I choose to take a different step during the process. I wrote my log and took away footage to shorten it and “make things easier for myself.” I think that it worked fairly effectively. There were some technical difficulties when I put some parts together. In addition to my final piece, there was a large spike in the sound during my first narration. I struggled with fixing it. Also limiting background noise in my house was a bit difficult because a part of our house was being constructed during the time I recorded. However, overall I think that my final piece is polished and great, despite the tech difficulties.

Gentrification Radio Piece

Our goal was to make a radio story about one specific example of how the mechanism of gentrification works. We wanted to represent the perspectives of people who have had to move in less than ideal circumstances, and the perspectives of the new families who are moving into houses in gentrified areas as well as anyone else involved in or knowledgeable about the process of gentrification.

Gent. Piece Take One

Gentrification Radio Piece

By Josh Berg, Aaron Block, Stephanie Dyson, Veronica Nocella, Anna Sugrue

Our goal was to make a radio story about one specific example of how the mechanism of gentrification works. We wanted to represent the perspectives of people who have had to move in less than ideal circumstances, and the perspectives of the new families who are moving into houses in gentrified areas as well as anyone else involved in or knowledgeable about the process of gentrification.

Gent. Piece Take One

McCarthy Unabridged: The Road, Page 283

The creative scene below was crafted in order to relay what in what my mind had imagined to have been cut from McCarthy's finished version of The Road

I am carrying the fire. But my fire is not the fire you carry. 
Your fire is different?
Yes. Everyone carries a different fire. Even your papa carried a different fire. 
Papa and I carry the same fire. We are both good guys. 
No you were your papa’s fire. He was carrying you. You need to figure out what your fire is. 
But we all have to carry the same one. That’s why we are god guys.
There are no good guys. 
My papa was a good guy. I’m a good guy. We don’t eat people. 
Eating people makes you a bad guy? 
How about killing people?
Did your papa ever kill anyone? 
Yes. But only because he had to. A bad guy tried to hurt me. 
Well doesn’t that make him a bad guy too?
I don’t know. 
It doesn’t. 
It doesn’t? 
No. There are no good or bad guys. Just guys trying to survive. Trying to protect their fires.
And my papa was protecting me? 
Yes. You were his fire. 
So it doesn’t matter that he killed someone? 
No because he had to. You were his fire, his reason to live and he couldn’t let his fire go out. 
So sometimes good guys do bad things. 
So you really can’t tell the difference. 
No because there is none. 
No good guys or bad guys?
Just guys trying to live. 
Just protecting their fires. 
Yes. Everyone is just protecting their own, sundry fires. 

Included below is a rationale explaining every choice made for the scene crafted above. 

The scene crafted tackles the theme of morality that lingers in such a deranged world. At this point in the book, the boy has met a man willing to take him in, but the boy is determining whether or not he can be trusted. The scene is placed on page 283, in which the book is almost through, in order to show how much older the boy has gotten by the end. It uses this boy’s development of maturity and understanding throughout the book to ease into one of the longest dialogues seen yet. This directly shows the growth of the boy’s character, but does as well entail a lot about the father’s, despite his absence. The man in this scene begins to explain more to the boy in one conversation about the world in which they live than his father had throughout the entirety of the book. This portrays the innocence his father wanted him to keep despite the world they’re living in. It shows the protectiveness his father had of not only his physical being, but of his uncorrupted mind. The addition of the new scene graffles with the question of whether or not there is a difference between good and bad guys in such a world by determining how this fire that everyone seems to be carrying affects their morals. This scene uses the recurring concept of “carrying the fire” to help prove that there is in fact no good or bad guys, just people trying to survive, and in order to survive they need to keep this fire alive. In the scene, the boy is forced to reflect back to a time in which his own father killed someone, causing for him to argue his own definition of what a good guy is. He knows his father was forced to kill the man in order to protect him, and so the man helps to explain that it’s because he was his father’s fire and so it was his job to keep him alive. By keeping the boy alive, he was keeping himself alive because everyone’s fire is their reason for fighting, reason for living. The man goes on to explain that everyone’s fire is different. Everyone is carrying their own fire in which they prioritize over anything else in order to keep themselves going, meaning that sometimes they will be forced to do things considered wrong. The man uses the word sundry to describe the fires. Sundry, meaning several, is most commonly used to describe ingredients, such a herbs, crafting the concept that everyone’s fire is like their own special ingredient. And so, without these fires, no one would be the same. 

Cormac McCarthy "The Road" Page 220

What am I going to say to him?

Don’t worry about that.

We just turn around and you leave that easily?

This is hard for me too. I didn’t want to bring him into this craziness.

You said everything would be okay but look outside. What do you see? I see an absence of color. No life. Just us. How can we survive this for any longer. You will be better off without the stress of me on your back.


The boy peeks his head out of his room, disrupting the man and woman.  

Come. Your mother has to talk to you.

The woman looks at the man.

Do you think this is not hard for me?

Look at me baby this is a little hard for me.

What is it mommy?

This isnt mommy saying she doesnt love you. I have to go away for a while, don’t come looking for me. I am okay. You are going to spend most of your days with your father.

Why do you have to go?

You will find out later on in life.

I love you. Okay.

Okay. I love you too.

The man rolls over and looks at the boy.

Good morning papa.

Good morning.

Did you dream about Momma?


I miss her.


Do you miss her?


Do you think she loves me?



Okay. Go back to sleep now.


The man rolls over and pulls the cover and blue tarp over the boy.

Identity and Belonging Podcast

My goal for this project was to make an interesting podcast that shows how religion can be incorporated into a person’s identity. Though my podcast is different from my essay, it still shows the different things that add onto a person’s identity. SInce I had 45 minutes worth of raw footage, it took awhile to cut and edit everything down into an eight minute podcast.

While working on the podcast, there were plenty of pauses in the audio that took most of the editing time. Also cutting the story in places that made sense that still kept the flow was a bit hard. During the interview process, preparing enough questions to get 45 minutes was also hard to do so most of my questions came based off of what my interviewee said.

Q2 Art Portfolio

My overall goal for each piece of artwork was to challenge my ideas by not using the first the thought that comes to mind. Instead of my normal black, grey, and white color scheme, I wanted to use much more color and vibrancy in my pieces. I also wanted to include a feminist and peaceful mood for my pieces.

My first piece was my collage that is made with colored pencils, sharpies, and magazine clippings of flowers. I chose to draw a woman with flowers for hair, because I wanted to represent a woman's thoughts that bloom from her mind to create something beautiful and full of life.

For my fabric drawing, I chose to sketch a dress with a shaw in pencil. I wanted to include many folds and focus on shading to make the drawing have a three dimensional and realistic look. I used a dress to include a feminine element instead of just drawing a random piece of fabric.

As for my edited photo, I took a picture of my favorite ornament on my Christmas tree. I thought that it would make a nice photo, because of the glass, the shape of the ornament, the designs on the ornament, and the lights under the ornament. I wanted to use a black and white filter to try to accentuate the light, highlight the birds and flower, and make the picture look peaceful and elegant.

Lastly, for my illustration, I drew a picture inspired by the Divergent book series which I currently cannot stop reading. The circles with symbols represent the society's factions of society in the book. I chose to write Divergent next to the faction to make it clear what piece of literature the drawing is about. I also tried to blend the colors of the factions into the letter to have the word flow with the faction symbols.

What is the Benefit of Standardized Testing?

     Seniors at Science Leadership Academy, Hannah Nicoletti and Zoe Schwingel-Sauer are pressing the issue of standardized testing. They are stressing the frustrations of students that take standardized tests every year and don’t end up with results that accurately reflect their work ethic. As students currently going through the testing and application process Zoe and Hannah feel they are the perfect people to represent the rest of the class of 2016 as well as future generations.


The Hipster In The World-A Radio Story.

This radio work was done with having one goal in mind. That goal was to get people to think differently about hipsters and what they bring to the table. It's focused on how people define the term "Hipster" And offered a different perspective on the topic. I talked to various people in the SLA community, and gave an interesting idea on the whole idea. In the end, I'm proud to debut my piece.

McCarthy Unabridged


The scene below is what I imagined could have gone into page 174 of The Road by Cormac McCarthy.

The boy looked back at the old man. Slouched down on the ground. Like theyd found him. He was not looking at the boy.

Why did he call himself Eli if thats not his name?

His real name is all he has left. Its why no one else weve met has told us their


I like the way it sounds.

The way what sounds.





Does it mean anything?

The name?

Yes. Eli. Or is it just a nice sound?

A long time ago there was someone named Eli. He was pure and good in every

way, but in the end he got in trouble.

He was a good guy?

Yes. He was a good guy.

Then why did he get in trouble?

He didnt discipline his sons enough.

What does that mean?

He didnt punish them enough when they did the wrong thing.

Do you think youre like Eli?

What? How.

Because when I get into trouble or do the wrong thing you dont punish me.

No. I dont think Im like Eli. Im not as pure and good as he was.

But what about me?

What about you.

You dont. . .discipline. . .me.

The boy tested the word, worried to use it incorrectly.

No. I guess not. But the guy who got mad at Eli isnt around anymore.

Who was it?

It doesn’t matter.

The boy couldnt see the old man anymore. The man remembered a time when he might have been stricter with the boy. In his past life. Maybe he should be a stronger parent. The boys curiosity and compassion would kill him when the man was gone. But he couldnt bear it. The boy was the only good in the world and disciplining him would taint that. The boy was the last remainder of the one who got mad at Eli.

Google Doc

McCarthy's Unbridged: Page 27

The passage below is a continuation of what happens on and after page 27 of Cormac McCarthy’s, The Road.

(The Road 27) “We should go, Papa. Can we go?

Yes. We can go.

I’m scared.

I know. I’m sorry.

I’m really scared.

It’s all right. We shouldn’t have come.”

One night later, they trudged along the dark Eastern Mountain, hoping to find somewhere to sleep that covered themselves from the wet cacophony that had suddenly come.

How about here, Papa?

Okay. We will stay here. You hungry?


After the boy had shown no interest in eating, the man devoured half of what they had to eat. As the man ate, the boy made himself a place to lay and began to drift off.

Good night Papa, stay close.


Yes. StayClose.

Okay, good night.

The boy had fallen into a heavy sleep, though his sleep seemed to be a restless one. The man wondered if the boy was still on edge about visiting his old home.

Trying to sleep, the boy thought of his home, living with both parents. He remembered them bickering and never being content. Every time they would fight, the mother threatened to leave them. The man would beg her to not, but in the end, she did.

Mom don't leave, said the boy in his sleep.


Just then, after hearing his son say the word "Mom", he knew why the boy was acting the way he was. The boy didn't want to lose anyone else. He didn't want the man to leave him like his mother did. The boy told him to stay close before he went into his slumber, he was terrified of the house, and wanted to leave. The boy is always paranoid. The man now understood.


Throughout the whole novel The Road by Cormac McCarthy, they boy seemed to be very scared, on edge, and paranoid wherever he and his father went. In the very beginning of the novel, one specific scene stood out to me. This was on page 27, when the boy and the man took a visit to the man’s childhood home. I wanted to make the plot a continuation of the boy’s and the man’s conversation and an explanation of the boy’s feelings.  

For this, I wanted to develop the boy’s character, and why he was always so scared, and attached to the man. I decided on making up the reason the boy feel so terrified at the man’s old house, because of his past experiences at his home when he lived with both his mother and his father. So I added that the boy just didn’t want to loose any one else, and obviously until the end of the novel, the man is all the boy had.

I added another short conversation, and more dialogue to page 27’s writing. I placed my writing here because the man and the boy were just having a conversation about leaving, and they did. So this was the perfect place to expand on the boy’s feelings at the house, and just throughout the novel. Creating a motif was very hard for me. I decided on “I’m scared”, which is what the boy would always say, everywhere they went.

I focused on two themes for my “made up” part of the book, and  I chose the short and to the point conversations the boy and the man always had, and the boy’s paranoid feelings. With these themes, i answered the questions of “Why is the boy always so anxious and very...aware?”, and “Why were all the conversations between the boy and the man so short?”. Basically, I wanted to have the answers to both be, again, the boy is always like this because of the way he was previously living with both the man and his mother before she left. The boy doesn’t want to lose his father like he lost his he is very cautious and on edge about everything. The conversations between him and his father are keep so short because they both don’t want to “mess things up” I guess you could say. What i’m trying to say here is they just don’t want to say the wrong thing that makes each other mad, or have bad feelings towards each other because they never knew the next time they would see each other. That’s why they were so close.

McCarthy Unabridged: The Road; page 172

This piece is something that I envisioned would have been incorporated within McCarthy’s The Road, if it were not excised before the Final edition’s release.

Creative Piece:

The boy approached the old man. The old man looked in rather excited confusion.

Eh? What is it kid?

Nothing, I just realized how poor off you are.

Whatcha mean?

You can’t see, it must stink, it must really stink.

Well, I see what god wants me to see, and hear what I wanna hear.

That’s the wanion mister because you miss seeing all the beautiful things of this world.

Not anymore.

I wish I could help you, but I can only do what the lord’s given me.

And what’s that?

The ability to sympathize, wist care and love.

My god. You are an angel, better yet, I don’t see your wings, so you’re a prophet! Sent from god, divine appointment, to save our desolate world.

The boy felt empowered.  You’re right about the angel part, cause if I were an angel, I’d already heal your blindness.  

I didn’t really believe you’re father when he said you were a god, but in my head, I knew you were some god-like concoction here to save us all.

I believe so, I wanna help as many people as possible. I don’t think it’s fair for people to be hurt. God loves them and so do I.

Kid, you’re the kindest I ever seen, never had anyone feed me or care for my blindness.

The boy rushed his palm on the man’s eye, with feeble-fingered delicacy. Can you see now?

Suppose I can kid, suppose I can. Thank you for your care.


My creative piece will be placed on page 172 of McCarthy’s The Road, and I am choosing this specific part of the book because this is where there is a heavy amount of discussion on the existence of a god, or something of a god. The boy has a habitual tendency to help other individuals, which is a large part of his persona. This is an explicit trait that the boy holds, especially when he is trying to give the man the ability to see in the scene. The boy is desperate and says his reason for wanting to help people is because he loves them and God loves them. As we see in page 163, after the boy and man encounter the Old man, the boy wants nothing but to aid this helpless and needy man. He is a consummate stranger to him, but the boy disregards this, despite warnings from his father to leave him alone. It is as if it's his divine duty to help the man. His bountiful generosity, so much to extend the man’s trust and advocate for him against his father says he has a divine-like love for his fellow man. His father completely dissents against interacting with the man at first, which is a normal human reaction, but the boy doesn’t really have a reaction to the old man that’s normal. It’s much more compassionate, and less hostile, more on the level of being preternatural.

This relates to the theme of faith, which is a primary allusion when discussing the possibility of the boy being a prophet. I chose this specific theme because on page 172, the man believes the boy to be a god, and the old man believes the boy to be an angel. If they didn’t have faith, if they didn’t believe that because the boy is a child in the midst of all this disparity, there would not be any real faith that the boy may be a prophet sent by god to help others. It brings up the essential question of how is a child living, and thriving so adequately in the world of The Road? The answer to that is simply the boy being there is no normal occurrence, he was sent there to help others, as he does with the Old man.

I decided to use two archaic words such as “wist”, and “wanion”. Wist means to know, and wanion means misfortune. I used wist to talk about how the boy has the given ability to sympathize, and know care and love. Wanion was used to say that the old man was missing out on not being able to see.

McCarthy Unabridged

This is a segment McCarthy may have written for his novel The Road, before final editing. This is a segment to be inserted after the alteraction between the man and the boy on page 211.

Creative Piece

Playing baseball or maybe fishing. The man would wheel him to friend’s houses and school events. The man would help the boy with his school work. In the time before the man knew math but now he only knows how to add and subtract cans from the ever lightening load of the cart.

The boy wouldn’t ever have to eat his food out of a can again. The man would cook fresh meals every night and he and the boy would discuss their day over their dinner.

Maybe the boy wouldn’t want to talk. He trusted the man fully now but maybe the boy would be resentful as some children often were. The world lacked normalcy yet the boy was showing signs of the mindset common in children who’ve begun to grow weary of their guardians. The boy would have grown up eventually, the man knew, but growing up isn’t something people did anymore. People were just grown.

The man was tired but if he became too tired, the boy would realize and his independence would grow. The man could not decide if this was a good thing or a bad thing.

Regardless of what awaited upstairs, the man had to go up and take a look. Regardless of the what the boy said, he expected it. And the man needed it.


A scene like this, a scene where the man reflects on what could have been, never occurs in McCarthy’s The Road. The man seems very in the moment, almost like he’s done all of his thinking in the years before this story takes place. This post apocalyptic world, as we know by the assumed age of the boy, has been around for a good amount of years. It’s very possible the man considered these types of things earlier on. However, I believe that if McCarthy had written a scene like this one, a whole different dimension could have been added onto the man’s character. The man would become an even more complex character, who was struggling with the guilt of the life he was forced to provide for his son opposed to the one he was planning on providing. The man’s character would struggle with his feelings on the boy’s inevitable independence and whether it made him feel worried that the boy no longer needed him or free to succumb to death and the ultimate freedom inherent with it.

The interaction preceding this inserted scene is simple enough, something common in today’s parent and child interactions. The man tells the boy they are doing something and the boy disagrees, protesting that the father never listens to him. To a modern parent, this is normal and probably unnoteworthy. To the man, this interaction meant the boy was passing into a realm the man was unfamiliar with. The boy had never questioned his father before and, if he did, he’d always concede to the father’s correctness. In this situation, the boy is unhappy with the decisions the man is making and calls him out for not taking his own opinions into consideration. The boy is showing signs of wanting to run his own life.

The motifs I used in my creative piece, the mention of cans and the phrase “Take a look”, are there to help the passage flow naturally with the story. I think it’s important to include the frequently occurring motifs in order for the passage to sound like it belongs. The motifs also add to the mood of the passage, creating the same dark and somber feeling present throughout the rest of the novel. The mention of the grey and hollow cans reiterates the coldness of the world the man and boy live in. The phrase “Take a look” adds to the complete uncertainty of the situation.

Overall, I think an inner monologue such as this one would have enhanced the story to some extent. It would add more humanity to the man’s character but it would also take away from the man’s sole purpose of caring for his boy in this world. If the man was reminenscing about the time before and what he could have had, then he’s more likely to lose hope in the situation he’s currently in. In the end, I can understand why something like this would be cut from the story, if McCarthy ever wrote it.

McCarthy Unabridged: The Road, Page 207

The following passage is a scene from one of McCarthy's earlier manuscripts of The Road that was originally titled The Path. *SVU Sound effect*

Are you hungry?

I dont know.

I think that you do know.

Papa can I ask something?


Can we sit down and eat?

Sit down?

Yeah sit down?

The man gave the boy a wide-eyed stare. His eyes were piercing into the boys soul. He began to daydream about the old world. He envisioned people laughing, and drinking wine intimately at a table. Suddenly, the room began to shake, the lights blew, and the people once laughing and drinking wine begin to look terrified.

Papa! Papa! Papa!

The man heard the boys call and was mortified. He instantaneously rushed over to the boy and hugged him squeezing him harder than he ever had before. There was a cold draft blowing through the room. The boy looked up at his father and they began to grin at one another. The man picked the boy up and put him on his shoulders. The man scanned the room in hope of finding table settings. Eventually, he spotted a candle surrounding pyroclastic residue. With his eyes locked on the candle the man took the boy off of his shoulders and placed him onto the ground.

I think we may be able to work something out.

The following is an explanation of the choices I made for my creative piece.

When reading Cormac Mccarthy’s ‘The Road’ there was a recurring motif of darkness that was essential to the reader’s vision of the setting, characters, and suchlike. However, that darkness stops in one scene in particular; on page 207 the man and the boy are in a house that they end up having a candlelit dinner in. In this novel, eating and having fire/heat are separate luxuries, but to have the intertwined creates an ultimate one. I found it incredibly ironic that they were on the road, living in obscurity at one moment, and then having a candlelit dinner the next. We associate dinners, (esp. Candlelit one’s) with normality and practical luxury; McCarthy never explains as to how this idea comes about in this text and this left me with a myriad of questions. The goal of my creative piece was to answer those questions.

For this specific scene, I wanted to focus on the theme of humanity. Throughout the text, we see various aspects of humanity. These aspects include Ely, who has lost his faith in humanity, the cannibals who have the smallest sense of humanity imaginable, and the boy who is incredibly humane and moral in all of his thought processes and decision making.

When reading ‘The Road’ you cannot help but constantly reevaluate the circumstances and question where they stem from. A major question that came to mind was “Do extenuating circumstances diminish fragments of our humanity.” We see that the circumstances for some characters have in fact diminished fragments of their humanity but the boy has faith in such humanity, and as a result the father does as well.. While they may be living in the same society they do not have identical circumstances. The boy has never experienced something that is so normal and humane. A candlelit dinner is a faction of humanity he had never known before. His circumstances hindered him from experiencing a fragment of humanity and normality.

I decided to go with the motif of luxuries because they recur rather frequently in the novel. Whether it be fire, food, or candlelit dinners the boy and the man always end up having the luxury of being well nourished, warm, and safe. While this may appear to be practical for us, it is something that most characters have no access to.

For the plot, I wanted a scene with significance that could provide reasoning for having such a dinner occur as well as to provide a gradual shift into the next scene. There is such a stark juxtaposition between the previous scene when they are on the road and the scene of the calm, luxurious candlelit dinner. The man having that daydream is a logical explanation for such, which is why I chose to go with it, (esp. since dreams recur in the novel as well)

McCarthy Unabridged: The Road, Page 251

​This is a section of the Road that gives the boy a memory. The parts in bold are that parts I added the parts with out bolding are MacCarthy's writing so that you know exactly how it fits.

He built a fire and propped the boy's wet clothes up and brought him a can of apple juice. Do you remember anything? he said.

About what?

About being sick.

Her voice came in clear as looking through a freshly cleaned window

Is it worth all this struggling? she said

The flaregun was lying on the ground illuminated by the fire that was especially lucent that night, giving the boy a brief sense of hushness. No sooner did the feeling occur to the boy did it vanish like that of an apparition. Arguing once more, He looked up at her. Why not just die now and be in a better place?

Stop it. He said

Why should I?

Because of a certain cognate boy. You’d want to orphan a child in this world?

That doesn’t matter. I’ve made up my mind. We have but one choice in this world.

And what better place? Is there no better place than with us?

She looked to the flaregun as if it were the answer.

I beg you please don’t.

Ephemeral caliginousness jolted the boy from his thoughts

Moving his hand away from the boy’s eyes the man peered into the boy’s eyes

You feel warm. Why don’t you go to sleep, he said



What’s wrong?

Remember when I wished I was dead.


She did too. She was like me.

Don’t say that.

I remember the flaregun

The flaregun

I remember shooting the flaregun.

Do you remember getting the stuff from the boat?

He sat sipping the juice. He looked up. I'm not a retard, he said.

I know.

I had some weird dreams.

What about?

I dont want to tell you.

That's okay. I want you to brush your teeth.

With real toothpaste.



The placement of this passage on page 251 is because this is the first time in the book that the boy’s body mirrors that of the the father’s. When the boy is sick the reader is informed of the boy’s first dream. The content of that dream is not specified. Keeping it that way is essential to the mystery of the boy, but by giving the boy a memory before the dream he doesn’t want to talk about strips away at some of the mystery for the reader but not for the father.

The characters in this scene bring a new light to the boy. By giving the boy a reason behind the hiding of his dream with this memory of his mother creates a depth to the boy for the reader without taking away the mystery he is to the father.

There is one sentence in the section that plays at the vocabulary that McCarthy has throughout the book. “Ephemeral caliginousness jolted the boy from his thoughts” Caliginousness is used instead of simply darkness and ephemeral is used as a replacement for brief. The more advanced vocabulary here suggests that the reader is no longer in the boy’s head.

The essential question that is prominent here is, how dangerous are memories? Why like the question isn't answered completely it is hinted at that they are very dangerous. Through the ending when the father pulls the boy out of his mind it draws upon the parallel that the boy has been doing for a lot of the book. This also plays at that role reversal that the reader sees shift in the second half of the book.

The memory is very prominent in this section of the story using the motif of dreams in a way that the reader has seen before but only with the father. The carrying of the fire is hinted at with the flaregun being a recurring symbol throughout this section. Themes that were in this section are survival using a clue from another part of the book when the father says that they have had this discussion many times before to the mother. The conversation itself however was never played out in the book therefore this section was created to fulfill that. The overwhelming theme of what is the point comes back into play in this section, as it does whenever the mother is in play.

McCarthy Unabridged: The Road Page 286


The passage below is what I think was cut from Cormac McCarthy’s The Road while he was writing the book.

The group passed through abandoned cities and towns and looked for things to eat and drink. Everyday the boy would talk to his papa so he didn’t forget about him. He would tell him about the things he was experiencing and the things he was learning. He would tell him about the different animals that he learned. He would tell him that he is still carrying the fire and that they would find the good guys.

After traveling for a while the group reached a submontane. They decided to climb for a while before making camp. The mountain was burned like a fire had happened. The man looked around to find anything they could use. There used to be many animals that would live in these mountains he said. The little girl was startled by something in a dried up stream.

Whats over there?

Its the remains of a deer.

Why is it there?

It must have tried to get away from the fire but got trapped.

The man then went over and searched to see if there was anything there. When he searched it he found that it had rotted down to the bone. He then turned and went back and they continued climbing the mountain.


The piece I have written will be inserted on page 286 right before the part with the trout. I chose this place because it is supposed to lead up to the part with the trout at the end which in the book just happened right after he joined the man with the shotgun. The piece is supposed to show a little of the boy traveling with the man and his family and how he is still talking to his papa. The boy in my piece however doesn’t have much of a conversation with the others that much. However I did have it so that that boy still had his curiosity. I made it like how it was in the beginning of the book where he didn’t talk much unless he was curious about something. The motif was animals since the man was remembering the animals that used to live up in the mountains. Also when the little girl finds the skeleton of a deer that had long been dead and decayed into nothing but bones. The theme I chose was memories. While they are climbing up the mountain I had it so that the part with the trout at the end of the book would be the man remembering what was in the dried up stream. I wanted to keep with the question about what happened to the world. In this book we were guessing what had happened that caused all of this so I wrote this in a sense that you would still be wondering what exactly caused all of this to happen.

McCarthy Unabridged: The Road, Page 145

​This passage is what I believe would have been cut from Cormac McCarthy's The Road

Creative Piece

The man wakes up and notices the boy is still asleep. He wakes him up and makes breakfast for him with the food they have just found. While eating, the man wants to see the boy happy and cheerful so the man tells funny stories to the boy and enjoys watching the boy laugh. The man was enjoying this moment knowing what they had been through so far and unsure how much more longer he had to live. It put a smile on his face. But the man heard something. It sounded like a floorboard creaking as if someone was walking up on them. The man quickly turned around and noticed a stranger with a gun pointed at them.

How did you get into the bunker?

Please put the gun down sir.

I ain’t putting nothing down until you explain yourself. Is that your kid over there?

Yes. We were hungry and we happen to stumble upon your bunker.

How much did you take?

Not much.

You're lying. Empty out your bag or I’ll shoot your brains out in front of your kid.

Sir please. We need some to take with us or we will die.

I don’t care! Empty that bag or I’ll shoot your brains out in front of your kid!

Fine. The man began to empty the bag filled with all the food that was taken from the bunker out on to the floor. There was nothing he could do. The pistol was to far away to reach and if he would have reached for it, both him and the boy would be killed. The man told the boy to come close to him.

Now this is what you’re going to do. You and your kid here are going to leave and never come back.

Sir can we please have one or two cans of food? The boy is really…

What the hell did I say! You’re not taking anything with you. And if you come back here and try to take something of mine again, I’ll kill you both.


Here is my rationale that explains my decisions on my creative piece

I chose to do this scene when the man and the boy discover the house filled with food and supplies because I thought was kind of too easy in my opinion and there wasn’t a conflict that happened in the scene. I decided to add in a conflict and dialogue between the man and the stranger who owned the house and the food that they were eating. I wanted to make the man sound kind of scared and somewhat obedient to the stranger to show a different side to the man that isn’t shown in the book. In the book, the man is portrayed as a strong person and shows a sign of someone who doesn’t listen to anyone.

Another reason why I chose this scene was because I wanted to change what would happen to the man and the boy on the road when they didn’t have any food and supplies with them. In the book, the man and the boy encounter an old man. After arguing back and forth with the boy, the man decides to give the man some of their food along with inviting him to eat dinner with them. If this scene was in the book, they would probably search the man for food and take any supplies that he had because in the book, you have to take risks to survive. Also, the man and boy get robbed of their stuff by another stranger when the man left in search of supplies on a boat and left the boy in the tent asleep with the things unattended. If my scene was in the book, just like with the old man, the man and boy would search the stranger for things (in the book, he has nothing). They could also bring him along with them as maybe someone to help them search for food and supplies or just to bring along with them.

In the book, McCarthey makes it clear that you have to do anything to survive. Everything you do will either have a good outcome or a bad outcome and nothing will come easy in this world that was created in the book.

McCarthy Unabridged: The Road, Page 286

​Pg. 286 
“The woman when she saw him put her arms around him and held him. Oh, she said, I am so glad to see you. She would talk to him sometimes about God. He tried to talk to God but the best thing was to talk to his father and he did talk to him and he didn’t forget. The woman said that was all right. She said that the breath of God was his breath yet though it pass from man to man through all time.”

The creative scene below is what I have imagined Cormac McCarthy would have added if he wanted to develop the boy’s views on women more thoroughly.

At times the boy would begin to cry. The woman always the first to hear his whimpers grasps his hand and reminds him its okay to cry.

Are you okay?


Is there anything I can do?


How about trying to talk to your Papa?


He let go of the woman's hand and walked behind the family. His sniffles trailing behind them as he spoke silently to his father.

An hour later darkness began to catch up with them and they searched for a resting spot. The boy no longer cried and instead mourned the absence of food in his stomach. The man directed the children into the woods, and they walked for ten minutes until they secured a spot. The man and daughter built the fire while the boys lay on the cold ground tired. Overhead the dark sky encases the smoke released by the fire and the boy holds back his tears. The woman prepares the food. She opens up three cans. Green beans. Peaches. Baby corn.

The family sits around the fire eating the rationed food. The boy sat gazing into the darkness with a blanket encasing his small bricky body.

Papa didn’t talk about my mom very much.

I’m sorry.

I think if she were alive she would be like you.

The woman smiled at the boy and the boy felt warm again. He could feel that she was carrying the fire. He just hoped she would not leave him like his mother.

Below is my rationale to explain the choices I made for my creative scene.

For my creative passage I created an expert that reveals more about how the boy views women. Through minimal dialogue and actions I was able to show the boy and the woman’s relationship. McCarthy did not create many dynamic female characters, however he also did not create very dynamic dialogue or scenes either. The scene begins with a short dialogue between the boy and the woman to present how the woman is “naturally” nurturing to the boy. She tells him it’s ok to cry and allows the boy to “talk” to his father. On page 286 McCarthy shows how the woman cares for the boy’s soul and essentially evangelizes to him, “She would talk to him sometimes about God. He tried to talk to God but the best thing was to talk to his father and he did talk to him and he didn’t forget.” I wanted to play off of this passage to show how the woman is like a mother to the boy and how she cares for and encourages him. 

My essential question was “What is the role of gender in the book?” This question kept popping up in my head when I was reading the book because McCarthy does not focus on women in the book in depth at all. Men are the focal point, and the boy seems to be pretty unfazed by his mother's absence. I addressed this question by showing how the boy views the woman. I showed her doing motherly things like hearing his whimpers first, holding his hand, and preparing food.

Then I decided as the family is sitting around the fire tired and silent the boy would randomly speak up. His mother pops into his mind because the woman seems very motherly so the boy associates her with his real mother. As stated before, McCarthy doesn’t make females very complex, so I didn’t make the boy think of the woman dynamically. He views the woman as a mother figure because being constantly with his father has created a disconnect in viewing women more dynamically. My motif of biblical allusions (specifically the betrayal of women) connects to the boys inability to see the woman separate from his mother because he thinks she will leave just like his mother. The wife's actions and betrayal can be compared to Eve being tempted by the serpent and eating the forbidden fruit. McCarthy paints the wife in a negative light, and depicts her as someone who is easily tempted and submits to death. I wanted to show how the boy equates all woman to his mother and expects them to eventually leave because he has a warped understanding of the role of women due to the lack of explanation from his father and presence of his mother.

Google Doc

Bricky - Brave or Fearless

McCarthy Unabridged: The Road, Page 116

The passage below is my own addition to improve The Road before McCarthy rejected it. His loss.

Creative piece:

The man and the boy walked amongst the dead forest with nothing but the gray sky lighting their way. Suddenly they saw a stranger in the middle of the path. He wore a dark dusty suit and a goatee around his face and hobbled on a farmer’s pitchfork. The eyes wanted to escape his skull and in certain light had a maroon color. His skin pale and burnt and like craquelure.

Hello friends.

Who are you? The man responded pointing his gun at him. What's your name?

What isn’t my name? The stranger responded, I have so many. You and your boy seem tired, would you like some bread and food? I have some in my home close by.

He could see the stranger’s long nails. No thanks.

You sure you don’t to even see where I am, kill me and take my food for yourself?

The man was taken aback. Why do you even suggest that?

Because you don’t seem like the man who’d do it, too good, yet anyway. His teeth looked like fangs when they smiled.

C'mon let's go. The man said to the boy as he took him away, keeping the gun on the stranger until he disappeared from sight.

The man and boy got lost in the forest for awhile and needed to retrace their steps. When they returned to the place they met the stranger he was nowhere to be seen, not even a trail of where he would have gone.

My rationale:

That rationale for this project is partially aimed to demonstrate its references the bible. In the Bible there is a passage of when the Devil tempts Jesus in the forest, and this passage is meant to reflect that. “The stranger” is meant to be the Devil and included various elements to what most people think of him as (goatee, pitchfork, suit, burns(to represent hellfire) and reddish eyes) and the boy and man simultaneously represent Jesus (in reference to how later the old man will wonder if the boy is god). Craquelure is a French word used to describe the crack on an oil painting as it ridges with age. Even if people don’t know the immediate definition (like other words Mccarthy uses, fitting into his narrative) it still creates a potential image in the reader's head that will stick with them. Since they have just come from the basement they are still a little shell-shocked from the events that transpired, so are acting out-of-character a bit by not exploring this potential route, especially as the stranger seemed particularly unsettling to them.

One of the larger themes presented in here is what does it mean to be good , and what does it mean to be evil where there is no law or large society to judge? In here it begins to raise that question with the stranger goading the man into a possible action that, while helpful to the man and boy, could be considered evil. And if the stranger gives the suggestion to kill him, does this take place in a part of the story where the man and the boy would be particularly desperate- after they see the basement of the cannibal’s. They would be starving but also pretty little mortally wounded after seeing their fellow man stoop to such low means to survive. They also had to wait to make sure no cannibal’s were chasing after them, so they would be especially tired and hungry from that. With the moral low and their stomach’s empty, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to have the stranger try take advantage of them. I don’t think the stranger has any real preference on whether he lives or dies, I think he’s more than a little mentally unhinged and might be trying to play what he would consider a “game” with people and in how they think.

McCarthy Unabridged: The Road, Pages 58 to 59

The following passage is what I have imagined would be included in Cormac McCarthy’s The Road: Collector’s Edition.

The boy resembles her vastly. But his eyes were the man’s. Dark and sullen. When he asks him questions the man is often reminded of her. He gives the same inquisitive expression that could only come from her. The night she left he fell asleep rather quickly, and to the man’s surprise he did not cry. It was the first time the man felt that the boy was starting to outgrow their relationship. He couldn’t help but think about where she went as the boy slept. He knew he would never see her again but could not help but wonder if she was trekking the same bleak road as they were. Walking and surviving. He’d taught her that much at least.

.     .     .

In his dreams he felt her. He was alone and walking toward a stark gray house with its door slung open. The beads of sweat rolled down his temples as he approached. Cautiously. As he stepped past the porch, he knew something was bizarre. Everything in the house was completely untouched. As if everything that happened hit everywhere on Earth except here. Opening the door to the basement he heard her. The wooden steps creaking with every shift as he came closer. She called to him. When he reached the bottom, he turned around anxiously, searching for her. But waiting for him was the boy.

The following is my in depth rationale explaining the reason for any literary choices I may have made for this project.

In my project, I chose to address the mother a bit more and explore some of the effects of her absence. I split my passage into two different scenes. The first being the man’s thoughts about his son after his wife left and the second being a dream he had. I chose to place this between pages 58 and 59 right after the man explains the mystery and silence of the way she left.

My overarching theme centered around personal growth. The essential question I found for this novel was “How has tragedy altered the development of the characters’ strength?” It seems as though every time something bad happens to the father and son, the son matures more and the father weakens. Though some might think the father persevered throughout the story, I think McCarthy shed light on his weakening spirit during the whole story while the son however became gradually less fearful.

On page 58, the mother has just left the father and son and the only thing the boy chose to ask was, “She’s gone isn’t she?” and nothing further. This stood out to me a lot because the boy is often very inquisitive of his father, and for something so monumental and sad in both of their lives, he only posed one question. So I chose to talk about that through the father’s perspective in my passage. I included that the boy did not cry the night she left, another sign of growth in his character. This wasn’t something he feared.

Along the passage, I used small familiar description words or phrases used along the book to best match McCarthy’s style of writing. Some of these include “Dark and sullen”, “the same bleak road”, “He’d taught her that much at least”. I also tried to avoid saying “the man” and “the boy” too often and instead used “he”; McCarthy often purposely uses “he” even though there are two male characters because he assumes readers will know who he is referring to in the story. For my McCarthy-esque vocabulary word, I chose “trekking”. He is a fan of using words that describe something long, vast, or dragging. I felt like the word “trekking” captured that because it describes going on a long arduous journey which is the basis of the entire novel.

The second part of my passage is a dream the man has about his wife the night after she left. He thinks he’s found her and when he reaches his destination there is only his son waiting. This is the reality he now faces, and he is coming to terms with it here. I also made the dream parallel to the scene later where they find the bodies calling for help because this could be something that happened to her when she left.

Identity and Belonging: Advanced Essay #3

A young dark skinned black girl logs into her daily fix of social media. Endless tweets of pictures of brown beauties smother her laptop screen; pictures of black women embracing their radiant melanin, kinky fros, broad noses and thick lips. Their eyes glow with delight as they espouse their confidence of inner and outer beauty. The young girl smiles to herself and finds her insides warm up with happiness with the sights of uplifting comments and compliments towards these women. Comments like “YASSSSSSSS!” and “Black girl magic” and in simpler terms, “Beautiful”; comments that’ll make any girl feel good about herself.

But the young dark-skinned black girl continues to scroll down her screen and the compliments slowly drown into a deep pit of hate and disgust:

“Dark-skinned bitches will never be attractive lol.”

“She’s pretty for a dark skinned girl”

“She’d be better if her skin was  one shade lighter and had a smaller nose.”

“Yeah she’s nice looking, but I’ll never marry a dark girl. She gotta be light so my kids will be pretty”

And the young black girl as well slowly drowns into a deep pit of hate and disgust, but with herself.

A young black girl who momentarily began to break free from the cage of detestation but got the chance to soar, was abruptly struck by the bullet of indignity, killing her self confidence and security.

Unnerved, the dark-skinned black girl slams her laptop screen, while sparkling tears cascade down the curves of her cheeks, dripping onto the sheets of her bed. Tears that hold sorrow, rejecting the love for herself.

That young-dark skinned black girl could be you. That young-dark skinned girl was once me…

Once a dark skinned girl who wasn’t in love with myself. A girl who couldn’t see the beauty in my features. A girl who was constantly reminded by society that she wasn’t attractive nor wanted by the world, yet her entire physique is copied by everyone. A girl who was constantly reminded by her own men that she was no longer needed for love and instead, lusted over her light and white counterparts. A girl who was constantly reminded that her complexion will never go away and that she could do nothing but accept the foundation of her being that she didn’t appreciate.

Growing up, there was always a sense of paranoia attributed with my skin. Countless days worrying if a guy will find me pretty, only to find out that he was only interested in my light skinned friends. This was something that I got used to, as I thought that this was a routine that I would have to accept for the rest of my life, however, I did not want to accept this fate. There were constant thoughts of the perceptions people would have of me because of my complexion. Would they think I’m ghetto? Ugly? Loud? Dumb? Not capable of achieving a higher level in life?

If you look up the word black, more specifically darkness, you find words like, misery, disaster, evil and wicked, anger and etcetera; all words that can be attributed with pessimism, and that is what I felt like. I was a vessel that contained nothing but despair, angst, and negativity but also a void that longed for firm trust in myself and confidence. And I wasn’t the only one.

One day, I had came across a statement by rapper, Andre 3000

                               “Across cultures, darker people suffer the most. Why?”

I took it upon myself to evaluate this quote and apply it to myself. In this case, I fell victim to this declaration. I was the dark person who was suffering in this white washed culture, but why? When I was born, I certainly did not automatically hate myself. But I was conditioned to do so. Subtly, through the media, I was told that my appearance was not wanted. I was told this with the lack of representation of dark black woman in media, and if there was representation, it was minor and/or often did not shine the best light upon us. I was told this through Covergirl and Maybelline commercials, where peach flesh toned models graced the television screen but not one looked like me, hinting that darker woman could not be beautiful.

This world tries its best to make sure we, as dark skinned black people, hate ourselves. When we arrived in this country, from the minute we stepped off that slave ship, whites made sure with there own obligation, that we hated ourselves. We were stripped of our names, language, culture and religion, and forced to adapt to theirs. They told us we were ugly, savage beasts that deserved no life. They plotted dark-skinned and light-skinned slaves against each other so that there could be no unity. We had lost everything we knew about ourselves and with that, we also lost who we were as a people and thus lost our connection and pride. Why did they do this?

Because they know that when we, as a people are one, we unite! We gain too much power in our knowledge of self and beauty. So they did that, to make us weak to this world. And when I finally recognized this corroboration, I made it my duty to diminish any thoughts of hate, and replace them with admiration.

It wasn’t easy. I had to learn to love and at many times, I felt like giving up. But I remembered that one day, I was to bear dark-skinned children into this world, and that possibly, they would face the same problems that I, at the moment had with myself. That was not what I wanted; I want my future children to grow with love for their complexion, but how could I expect them to love themselves, if I couldn’t? So I pushed myself to love myself.

I went on social media and looked at beautiful black woman that resembled me; that adored themselves. Looked through hashtags like “#blackoutday” and”#melaninmondays”, with refreshing pictures of dark woman. I read articles of woman like me, who too, faced similar problems like me. I looked and examined myself in vain, until I appreciated myself in full.

And now I do.

Self love is a long journey; it does not happen overnight. It takes deep thinking to realize where the problem with yourself sprouted from and when you recognize that problem, the rest is just a matter of striving to end what you no longer want.

I love my prominent features of my face; how pronounced they are. I love how my naturals kinks and zig zags of hair defy gravity, winding up towards the sun, as if they are reaching for its light. I love how my melanin absorbs the sun’s rays, mimicking the glow of honey and brown sugar.

I am magic. I am light. I am a goddess, a queen.

I am Jaiye and I am now that dark skinned black girl who loves herself. And you can too.

Identity and Belonging Podcast- Juliana Concepcion

From the moment we were assigned this project I knew that I wanted my Podcast to tell a good story. I wanted it to be engaging, interesting, and maybe even a little humorous to make it even more enjoyable. Instead of having a very structured interview, I had planned for more of a conversation to take place, for my interviewee to tell their stories and experiences with identity and belonging. This was something that I wanted to be proud of, and be able to look back on years from now and still say it wasn’t that bad of a podcast. I was determined to work very hard to achieve these goals, and so my ideas started flowing right away.

The first step I took with the project was finding someone to interview. I wanted someone who I knew would have a lot to say about identity and belonging. It just so happened that my friend and I were talking about how her professor at the time told many interesting stories in her social work practice class, and so I realized that he would be a great person to interview for my podcast on identity and belonging! Once the idea was brought up to the table, it didn’t take long at all for her to set up an interview for me, and so I’m really lucky for that part to have gone well for me. I’m also lucky that the interview went very smoothly, and he gave me a lot of material to work with. The hardest part was editing, as I figured it would be. I had multiple hours worth of footage, though the interview didn’t actually seem that long. GarageBand gave me many problems, but in the end it all worked out and I was able to create a podcast that I can say I am proud of.

Identity and Belonging Podcast

My goal for this podcast was to to try to make something that I was proud of and something that would keep people  interested. I also trying to make something that could show my idea in well enough that even though when there would be times when you listen and seem like the topics did not relate they actually do.

I think what went well during the recording process was trying to get a story out of the person. I thought that the things that the person was telling me was really good as well it was interesting to hear and ask questions about. The stories that my interview as telling me went well with my thesis .and I think I did well connecting moments when It did not seem relevant together because it actually fits together.
Aldo Podcast

McCarthy Unabridged: The Road, Page 161

The dialogue piece below is what I came up with and I believe that if Cormac McCarthy was to have an unedited version of The Road that this would be apart of it...


They both settle in for the night.

Lay down with me Papa.

You know I’m not always going to be around.

Don’t say that.

It’s the truth.


Life isn’t always what it seems to be. Not everyone is who them seem to be.


I understand you want to see the good in everyone but you can’t.

But aren’t we good too?


So why can’t we believe others are good too.

Because it doesn’t work that way.

Why not?

That’s just life. Things don’t always work the way you want it to.

Are we still good?

Yes, do you not think so?



I don’t know.

Okay, I just want you to understand that not everyone is like us.

I know.

You don’t.

I do, but I don’t think people like us should suffer.

Someone’s intentions are not something you can see. You can’t know if someone is good or bad by looks. Say you see someone in danger... do you help them or keep walking?

Help them.



Do you know them?


Okay so how do you know if this person has good intentions.

You just know.

It doesn’t work like that.

Why doesn’t it.

Because that’s not how life works. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

So you would just keep walking?


That’s terrible.

That’s life.

Neither of them say another word to each other. They slowly begin to fall asleep.


Here is my rationale on what I wanted to express through my creative writing piece was that the boy was still clueless and innocent as to what was good and bad in the book. I decided that I was going to add a dialogue piece that would come before the father and son’s encounter with the old man. The old man in this book is someone the father and son had a dispute about. The son’s innocence was shown through this section because of his intentions on wanting to keep someone. He wanted to take someone in without even knowing who they were or what they were capable.

The section of the book I worked on comes right before that scene with the boy offering the old man a can of food. It was also right after the father announces that “it’s getting dark.” This part of the book was perfect because it was night and at night sometimes people have short talks about what’s going on and life. The moment suited well with this conversation I had the father and son undertake. Their conversation basically was the father trying to get the boy to understand that not everyone can be trusted. That he won’t always be around to help him differentiate good from bad.

Something that really sparked my attention while I was reading the book “The Road” by Cormac McCarthy was how the boy struggles to understand that not everyone can be trusted. That things are not always what they appear, especially people. The boy’s true character in the section of the book I chose to focus on perceives him as someone who still has their innocence. The boy believes that there is good in everyone without even second guessing whether or not this person could be a threat.

So in my section for my creative piece I chose to write a creative piece and I feel as though the dialogue discusses the dilemma of the boy not being to identify and differentiate good from bad. The conversation also brings to the boys attention that the father won’t always be around and that he will have to face risks alone one day. All in all I believe that the content flows with the rest of the part of the book.It addresses and brings to the reader's attention the character’s true growth overtime without pushing it too much or over exaggerating it.