Humanities is the class taught by Ms. Small at Mass Academy. The class centers around examining what it means to be human through different worldviews and texts. We began the year by examining Walden by Henry David Thoreau, a seminal text centered at Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts. We then read some of the works of Ray Bradbury and wrote an essay examining its premonitions for our contemporary society. We then began studying ancient civilizations, including the Indus River Valley Civilization, Ancient Egypt, Ancient China. In October, we started our unit on rhetorical and satirical analysis. We analyzed different pieces of satire and even got to create our own satires. Currently, we are in our unit studying the social construct of race, its history, and its retributions for our contemporary society.
For this essay, I used two of Bradbury’s pieces (“August 2026: There Will Come Soft Rains Again” and “The Pedestrian”) to examine the concept of a utopian society. I argued that in both pieces, Bradbury establishes ostensibly “utopian” societies with fundamentally “dystopian” characteristics, revealing the repressive mechanisms present in a society that achieves such perfection. Through the use of mimetic moods, allusions, and motifs distinctive to American society in the 1950s, Bradbury effectively constructs this dystopian utopia paradox to represent the greater period of disillusionment present in post-World War II America.
For my satirical analysis, I chose to further examine Saturday Night Live’s “President Barbie” and compare the video’s presentation of second and third-wave feminism through the context of a satirical advertisement. I argued that “President Barbie” effectively exposes the generational divide between old and new wave feminists through the distinct characterizations of their varying ideologies. The skit projects these contrasting depictions onto opposing commentaries widespread during the 2016 Presidential campaign, thereby enabling the unsolicited critiques against presidential candidate Clinton to emerge as a secondary satirical target highlighted throughout the video. Take a look at the video (its less than 2 minutes!) and my essay down below!