Rip Van Winkle – The Rest Is History

Tania De Lira-Miranda


Whoever has made the journey to Merced has to remember Yosemite National Park. Located in the central Sierra Nevada of California, the park is a sight to behold with its features such as its waterfalls, sequoia groves, and granite cliffs. The tranquility and natural beauty make it a famous attraction that many come to see. Even with the change of every season, weather, and time, the park always manages to look absolutely divine if one were to wander through its trails.

Just a bit further away from Yosemite, if one was driving, one would be able to see a small city named Merced. The city is mainly filled by farmers since Merced is the fifth-top producing county in California so agriculture is a big part of the heart. It is this concentration of farmers that make the city be a conservative red town and so, it is here where our tale begins.

It was in that city and on one of the farms that a conservative, red farmer by the name of Brett Johnson. He, unlike his ancestors who for sane conservative figures, passionately agreed with a presidential figure who ran a campaign based on xenophobic, racists, and wall fantasies. He certainly was not a favorite among the people who lived in the city as he always tried to but into political conversations, trying to tell people about how they were being brainwashed by fake news alongside the deep state and the US government.
One day, after an afternoon of political arguments and discussions, Brett wanted to take a trip away from Merced and decided to go to Yosemite. It was in the national park that Brett took a walk through the trails walking deeper into the forests until the sky began to darken with rain clouds. Then he walked into a nearby cave and headed inside, trying to wait out the rain. A few minutes later, a band of drifters entered the cave. During their wait, the group offered Brett a cold drink and having finished his own supplies, he accepted. After finishing the drink, he began to tire and when he laid down to rest for a bit, he fell into a deep sleep.

Upon waking up, the cave was empty with only Brett inside, the rain had disappeared. Standing up to stretch, he noticed his joints felt stiff. Exiting the cave, he began to go back to Merced. Arriving at the city, he noticed how different it looked, the shops he saw every time he walked the streets changed and new stores had instead taken their place. Confused, he walked to his farm and was surprised to see it in decay. Entering the house, he saw it was empty and abandoned and become depressed. Walking back to the main part of town, he entered one of the shops and saw that the news was talking about the president’s speech, but instead of seeing a spray-tanned figure, the screen showed a Hispanic woman who was currently talking about her coming out story. Shocked, he asked the clerk his president and was met with a weird look as the clerk told him about how he was impeached during a time called the red drought alongside other prominent red figures like Barr, McConnell, Mnuchin to name a few. Asking for today’s date, Brett practically jumped out of his skin when he was answered with 20XX – 20 years had passed while he slept.


For my creative project, I chose to modernize the tale of Rip Van Winkle by Washington Irving. The reason for this is because I felt that the story would be the easiest to modernize and have it reflect the modern times of today. That’s the reason why I changed the story to take place in Merced since the town can be conservative. The story already has some political references in its plot since Rip Van Winkle, due to his sleep, missed out on the American Revolution and so missed the fact that America got out of Britain’s rule and began its own country and created its own form of government along with its new leaders. So it is because of these reasons that I decided that the political references that I wanted to mention in my imitation would be Trump and the conservative party. As I am on the left side of the spectrum, the event I wanted my Rip Van Winkle to miss would be Trump’s impeachment, along with other prominent conservatives. So just like Rip Van Winkle was a loyalist while everyone else supported was a colonist, my Rip Van Winkle, who I named Brett Johnson, was a conservative while the others were implied to be liberals and like Rip Van Winkle, Brett Johnson is on the wrong side of history.

But to review my writing, I think I could have added dialogue. My creative project is mostly details and general details, the point of view is from someone looking into Brett’s world. The thing that really restricted me was the word limit. At first, I thought that it was a lot to write about but it was once I started getting on a roll, I realized that the word limit was too short. I feel like I could have written more to further explain how much Brett lost while he was asleep but I had already reached the word limit. I still think I did a fair job but I do realize that there are things I could have bettered in my writing.


Victorville in 2019

Reckless, self-centered, stupid president;

Celebrities, useless to mankind, who go

Through the public eye looking down on everyone as insignificant;

The government neither cares nor knows what we all undergo,

Yet they all depend on the minorities to remain significant.

One day it will all be gone, and everyone will just outgrow.

We see with our bare eyes people starving and dying;

The military freely seeking their next innocent victims,

And for anyone who attempts to fight back, there’s no winning.

Hopefully one day we can open our eyes and realize all the chaos.

Hopefully one day someone can help the helpless.

I recreated the poem England in 1819 by Percy Shelley.

Carmen Ibarra



The City in Political Peril, 2019

For the blog post next Wednesday (4/24), students will rewrite ONE of the following poems for a contemporary audience: William Blake’s “London,” William Wordsworth’s “London, 1802,” or Percy Shelley’s “England in 1819.”  The goal of this mini creative writing assignment is to mirror or recreate the poem’s formal elements as much as the content, but written for the modern world and its modern readers (your peers as well as the wider online audience).  However, you should also remember that all parodies and imitations pay homage (in a negative or positive way) to an earlier historical and literary moment, and your work should convey the sense of its engagement with another time and place.

Title your recreated poem according to a city or town you’re familiar with, followed by “2019.”  Be daring, creative, and, of course, politically provocative!!!

Please categorize your post under “The French Revolution” and don’t forget to create specific and relevant tags.  The post is due by 9:30am Wednesday (4/24).  And please sign your posts so that your TA and I know who wrote what.

Warning: students who don’t submit their post on time or edit their blog post after the submission deadline, will not receive a grade (a “0”).

6th Email to Arabella

To:                                                                  Reply  ⇒    Mark as Spam  χ


Subject: I have no signal (that’s why I’m emailing you)

Hey, I had no idea how I would tell you all this information in one single text message, I tried but I had no signal (and I have AT&T why am I paying so much for zero signal)  so I decided to email you instead. Brace yourself for this will be a long email. I will be detailing my stay in the beautiful city of Los Angeles. The lifestyle here is truly basic so basic that I might even run out of things to write; there is no time for spa days, gym days or vacations in a place where day to day work is so important.

The family that is hosting me usually prepares breakfast at 9:00am. Since I can’t stand being alone I am waiting at the table at 8:00 am. I usually pretend to do homework but in reality have nothing to do. Mrs. Hartly is up to date on all the drama and I live for that. I am so glad that I have things in common which such respectable people. It is much different than the crowd you’re used too being around.

The fashion here begins with tank tops much like the city we are from  (by the way they do not wear waist trainers here) they carry large purses with those cotton candy like keychains attached to them and  huge sunglasses that cover about half their face they do however keep up  with all the new trends(highlighting, countering you name it):however, there is nothing more you can add. The fashion here deserves to be on the cover of the Daily Mail on Snapchat, this is expected though, once I tell you that in the morning the men here come visit at random times (they wake up early to ride their Chevy Cameros ). I cannot remember the last time we had breakfast without any visitors —they flirt so much they seem so honest it’s obvious they don’t lie and honestly they can warm any girl’s heart. I know few of them have noticed me, especially some millionaires. I expected them to be interested in a girl  with potential like me. Not, you, but a pretty girl dressed in a white maxi dress, jewelry, and all that good stuff that is super pretty.

You probably think, that, in this happy and draining place women don’t care about the industry: but guess what? you’re wrong because the women here are so into designing it’s their hobby.

At around noon we have brunch which basically consists of everything you’d see at a Thanksgiving dinner, after eating everyone does their own thing and gets dressed for the day. Every one here is important and wealthy it is unfortunate that you won’t be able to experience anything like this…thankfully you have me and I can describe it to you.

The hairstylist makes everyone look so good and those who don’t want to have their hairstyles wear cute caps that create a sporty yet chik look (caps are in style right now). Caps can be paired with denim, leggings and even shorts. In terms of hair color Ombre and Balayage are so popular right now. The transitioning of hair colors is so beautiful; in my opinion natural hair is better but considering hair styles change so quickly it would be impossible to keep  the hair natural. Since you don’t attend these social events it is easier for you.

When I first got here around 3pm which is the time I usually get here, the visitors where in the patio where the outdoor lights are set up. The place is furnished with expensive leather designer couches. I know you’re used to sitting in folding chairs, but here hanging out is a big deal. There are so many important people here. I got to meet many congressman who are very influential many of them own properties in different countries you’ve never even heard about.

Well Arbella I have to go, I’ll text you later (if signal permits) I am sending a few pictures of the makeup, clothes and hair I saw here which I am assuming you’re unfamiliar with.

To Potential Readers,

This excerpt was my attempt of recreating some aspects of the novel Hartly House, Calcutta by Phoebe Gibbes. I focused on letter VI from Sophia to Arabella in the novel but also included various quotes that highlight Sophia’s feeling of being superior. I decided to add some humor to this letter to further emphasize the way Sophia overlooks all situations. Her sense of entitlement prevents her from looking at the “bigger picture” in every letter she writes.  Thomas De Quincey’s hypothesis regarding “the literature of power,” which, for him, cannot be reduplicated, imitated, or parodied without losing its force to move readers emotionally might be significant for some pieces but in this piece I challenge that statement by writing an imitation of Letter 6 in the form of a parody. I attempted to keep the same format and some of the “formal” language. Sophia uses a lot of run-on sentences and loves using commas. I did that in most of the e-mail. I believe that stylistic choice helps show how eager Sophia is to show off the lavish lifestyle she is living. My imitation payed homage to the letter and novel in a negative way because it shows how superficial  and arrogant Sophia is. For example in the letters she references people such as Shakespeare even though she do not directly engage or analyze his work. In my modern imitation I included refrences to congressmen and millionaires because they can be seen as important people in modern society. In my imitation Sophia simply mentions those important people but is not directly associated with them, but they still make her feel superior to Arabella. Stylistically I wanted to keep many similarities used in letter VI for example I looked up the definitions of “fashionable undress”, “clothing stays”,” “white muslin”, “repast”,  and”girandoles”. Once I looked at pictures and definitions of those words I tried to substitute them with words that are more common in modern time. I believe that including a close meaning of those descriptive words   helped keep some form of originality even though the imitation was a parody.


-Luz Zepeda

Flight of the Drunken Airliner

It is a flight attendant
And he questioned one of three
“By your chipper smile and charismatic voice
Now what for do you accost me?

The airlock doors swung wide open
And I am next to leave
The bags are got, I soon must jet
I hear the bag carousel weave and weave

But still he holds the passenger
There was a flight, said he
“Hey! If you’ve got a funny story,
Attendant! Come walk with me

The attendant speaks of a day past
Where the attendant lost his cool
A passenger was acting unruly
Truly seemed one great fool.

The attendant strolled the aisles
With the cart of goodies tall
Asking, “Would you like some nuts?”
For one man and the rest of all.

His day seemed to be going well
About as good as it could be
Some turbulence over Ohio
But blue, white skies to be seen

The attendant took his seat
When all his work was done
“What is that out on the wing?”
Is someone having a bit of fun!?

He peers through the porthole window
To catch a little glimpse
A strange figure runs from view
“Great… time to pass out the chips.”
A customer in row two said,
“Hey, brah? I want a beer.”
The attendant dawns a smile,
Trying hard to conceal the fear.

“What was that on the wing?”
The question panged his head.
He hands out the Coca-Cola.
While many passengers simply read.

“I must be going mad,”
The attendant quietly said.
He strolled off to the bathroom,
To cleanse his bowels instead.

He walked off to the stall,
Closed the door with a “clank.”
“This job…. It’s shearing out my soul
But, at least it’s money in the bank.”

The attendant cleans his hands
Suddenly—hears a strange sound
“Okay, what the fuck is going on.”
He searches the source like a hound.

He peers down the sink,
And, boy, what does he see.
A little green demon scurries down
The attendant is scared as can be.

The flight is soon to land
They’ve passed the Great Lakes
The attendant wants to leave,
He’ll do whatever it takes.

Some rough air as the liner falls
Through the open air
Some people suddenly awaken
Look out? The attendant doesn’t dare.
“I thought this job was easy…”
The attendant solemnly thought
Customer service was impossible
When in his mind fears were wrought

As JetBlue Flight 1052
Descended to the ground,
The attendants brow was furrowed.
His face: it possessed a frown.

“If anything else goes wrong,
Today will be my last.”
The future did not look rosy,
And certainly not the past.

The plane taxied to the terminal,
And a passenger got up too soon.
“Miss, could you please sit down?”
The phrase, it meant his doom.

She accosted him madly,
Trying to grab her bag.
“Miss, you’re breaking the rules….”

The attendant was at wits end,
For a damned good reason.
He made his mind up now,
Because madness was in season.

He grabbed two cans of Coors,
For the jolly road.
He pulled the emergency exit,
And shouted with a goad:

“I quit, I quit, I quit.
I thought that you show know:
This flight has been the worst,
So, now, enjoy the show!”
He slid down the chute,
And ran from the terminal gate.
He sure had a blast,
But criminal charges soon await.


“Flight of the Drunken Airliner” is a parodic rendition of “Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” using the trope of a forewarning tale, themes of travel, and questions of sanity. While my parody lacks much of the Romantic quality of Coleridge’s original work, I’ve decided to use the generic plot as a skeletal structure to outline critiques of modern capitalism. The poem is intended to be a hybrid of antiquated and modern diction, with colloquial dialogue that punctuates the regular flow of poetic language and poetic rhyme pattern. I’ve used the same rhymed stanza format to tell the story, but, instead of being divided into parts, it is a simple long-form prose poem.

The narrative is a hybrid between the “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet” episode of Twilight Zone and the news story of JetBlue Flight 1052. By combining both fiction and fact, I expound on two stories which represent the anxieties of post-war capitalism. In the Twilight Zone episode, William Shatner’s character Robert Wilson takes a flight where he experiences psychological trauma, and, in the JetBlue flight, flight attendant Steven Slater claims to face emotional abuse from a passenger, causing him to quit his job in a hilarious flare of commercial rebellion. By layering these two stories on top of one another, obscuring the differences between the two, I hope to represent the insanity of commercialism, technological fetishization, and the soul crushing nature of customer service work.

To some extent, I believe that humorizing the poem has done away with much of its historical, literary bite, but I’d argue that situating the poetry within a contemporary context is a useful act in and of itself. Where “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” is wholly a ghastly story of naturalistic revenge within the context of a moralistic tale, “Flight of the Drunken Airliner” is meant to be far less proselytizing. With the modernity of the rendition comes the indeterminacy of a moral lesson, and I hope that I’ve left enough for the reader to digest and make their mind up for themselves.


—Nathaniel Schwass

Heavy Metal Poetry

Iron Maiden’s version of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” is a depiction of Romantic poetry. However, when I first heard the music, I did not immediately consider it to be any sort of Romantic poetry. I was automatically disinterested because it is not the genre of music I normally listen to. Which is why it was important for me to separate the lyrics from the instrumentation in order to focus on the words. Once doing this, I found the lyrics had a deeper meaning that helped me see the connection to “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.

“The mariner’s bound to tell of his story
To tell this tale wherever he goes
To teach God’s word by his own example
That we must love all things that God made.”

These lines from Iron Maiden’s song portrays the natural and spiritual characteristics of Romantic poetry. Romantic poets had a great respect for the natural world and expressed interest in the supernatural or mystic worlds. Despite seeming very different than Coleridge’s poem, the only difference in Iron Maiden’s version is the way it is carried out. The Iron Maiden version of “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” holds many characteristics of Romantic poetry, just in a more modern form that appeals to a different audience.

-Natalia Alvarado

Bacon and the Modern Day

Sir Francis Bacon has been one of the most influential figures in 17th British colonization of north America. Bacon was a royalist, philosopher, statesman, scientist and even published author. His work, From The New Atlantis, focused on the marriage of theology and science. These ideas of the marriage between science and religion was the basis for the creation of the Royal Society. Bacon writes about this connection in From The New Atlantis. Bacon shows the necessity for this connection to reach his version of a perfect society. He states that “God bless thee, my son, and god bless this relationship give thee leave to publish it for the good of other nations” (Bacon 1627). To Bacon, a utopian society is theological and scientific. Science is the explanation for God’s actions. 17th century British colonist culture revolved around their religious faith.when comparing these colonists to modern day american, it’s apparent that the colonist wanted religion to be mixed in with government. This mixing of religion and government is also found in england during the time when Bacon wrote. The idea that government needs to be married with religion and science is not found in modern day America. In fact the cultural importance of a person’s faith has faded over the last 400 years. This fade is due inpart to the lessened importance that religion plays into the average American’s cultural identity.

Bacon’s ideas on how science affects goverment rings true even in the modern today. His thoughts on how important scientific development is  on the fabric of society was a major influence for the creation of the royal society. Bacon wrote that science is the basis for state power and economic growth; also, that it benefits the social progression and technological development.
-Conor Morgan

Evolution of The concept of American Exceptionalism

John Whiston and other puritans sailed over on the Anella to the new world to escape religious persecution of the Church of England. On the Ship, Winthrop proclaimed to his people that there colony will be viewed as a “city upon a hill.” in essence, that there failure to survive and thrive will result punishment from God. this sermon form Winthrop is the dawn of American Exceptionalism. Winthrop uses this concept to motivate his people. Over time the concept of American Exceptionalism has changed.  As America developed culturally and socially how Americans perceive of their nation changes. The reason for using this concept has changed drastically from Winthrop’s time to the modern era. In the modern era, American exceptionalism has been used reinforce that the purpose of government is to safeguard life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness and American strength abroad. Even though they differ, Both Winthrop and Ronald reagan refereed God when talking about American Exceptionalism. For example Winthrop used American exceptionalism as a From a motivation for his people to in survive the new world, but now politans use the same concept to justification American military strength.

-Conor Morgan

The City Under a Microscope: Christian Charity in Modernity

In John Winthrop’s sermon, A Model of Christian Charity, Winthrop creates a working model for Christian love (i.e. charity), which will serve as a functional model for the moral moderation of colony life in Winthrop’s Massachusetts Bay Colony, a colony of which he lived to be a leading member.

In his sermon, Winthrop expresses a need for communitarian solidarity, saying that “every man might have need of others, and from hence they might all be knitt more nearly together in the Bonds of brotherly affection” (34). This sense of warm togetherness is devoutly Christian, as Winthrop asserts the pertinence of the command which asks one to “love his neighbor as himself,” notably because the neighbor is “the same flesh and image of God,” being “a brother in Christ allsoe” (35).

In Winthrop’s view, the Massachusetts Bay Colony is ordained by God, protected with spiritual essence endowed by a holy covenant, enshrined in Christian love and charity. If a failure is to occur, it is a spiritual one: “but if wee shall neglect the observation of these articles which are the ends wee have propounded, [we] shall fall to embrace this present world and prosecute our carnall intentions” (46). If blight and suffering is to come, it is because “the Lord will surely breake out in wrathe against [them]” (46). For Winthrop, the safety and security of this colony is dependent on the adherence to the Christian ideology of self-less love. In this way, the failure of this ‘Christian experiment,’ properly denoted as the “city upon a hill,” will echo throughout the world, given that the “eies of all people are uppon [them” (47). For Winthrop and his guild, their failure would not only be a failure for themselves, but for Christ and all of Christendom.

In this way, I do not believe that Winthrop was “expressing a faith in American exceptionalism;” rather, I think he was cautiously wary about what might happen in the case of failure. For the colony, Christian ideology works as a binding gel, drawing together the people as one collective force for their mutual survival. Winthrop’s portrayal of a city upon a hill is a collectivist one, united within a Christian moral framework and the sacking of the city on the hill, created and structured by Christian love, would resound throughout the world, Christian or otherwise.

In modern American society, we would like to be united—in the same extent—under our nationality, our statehood, or our Bill of Rights, yet representation, respect, and collectivism is an uphill battle, especially in modern American politics. The use of this phrase within politics, such as Obama’s and Reagan’s application, is an interesting rhetorical choice, given that the political arena has been reduced to a binary: red/blue, conservative/liberal, terms which for some mean right/wrong, good/evil. We are not collectivist, united in Christian charity for our fellow American. In reality, modern politics would have us think the opposite is true.

One comparison to Winthrop, however, has a clarity that is almost crystalline. We are a city upon a hill in that we are still a nation on the world stage: a brave attempt at creating some form of populist democracy—the extents of which are of course debatable. We have made a path towards unity when our nation is defined by difference: geographical, religious, ideological, and cultural. Although we are not a nation binded by the romanticism of Christian charity, we are a nation glued by the shakiest, uncertain form of nationalism ever imagined, and for that, we are a nation on the tallest hill imaginable.

—Nathaniel Schwass