A Window into this Semester

LR Playmakers’ production of “Our Town”

During this first year English 131 course here at Lenoir Rhyne I was presented with a class that has an array of characteristics that makes it seem unconventional. I came into this class prepared to just read books and write papers, however, this class offers more than just that. One of the classes’ characteristics that aided me as a writer was the opportunity to see the plays that I was assigned to read, that were presented by the LR Playmakers. These plays allowed me to me to strengthen my thinking skills and helped me understand exactly what the author was trying to illustrate within the text, and its motif. Moreover, the writing process that implements planning, drafting, and revising is another portion of the class that truly aided my development as writer. The writing process allowed me to better my writing and critical thinking skills, and create my best work. The readily accessible plays and the writing process both helped me as a writer and also aided me in the process of creating my most significant work, “Our” Town.

While reading the play Our Town by Thornton Wilder I was confronted with a sense of confusion. I did not fully understand how the stage directions would be performed in the actual play, I was not able to envision it, and I did not understand why this play made use of a minimal amount of set and props. I was confronted with the lack of imagination and a confusion about the use of a minimal set within the first page of the play where the stage directions states that  “[n]o curtain. – [n]o scenery. – [t]he audience, arriving, sees an empty stage in half-light”(3). This was only the beginning of the confusion that I faced, later on, the stage directions stated that “[m]rs. Gibbs…pulls up an imaginary window shade in her kitchen and starts to make a fire in her stove” (7). I did not understand why this play uses a minimal number of set and props. Since I was not able to envision the play and had these questions, I was somewhat urged to attend the LR Playmakers’ production of Our Town. After attending this production I realized the importance of seeing words come to life.  I realized that Wilder makes use of a minimal amount of set and props to put more focus on the theme presented, rather than the setting. This made me realize that seeing the play performed helped strengthen my critical thinking skills. Moreover, I was able to see how the play was meant to be envisioned. Seeing the play in real helped me in the process of creating “Our” Town because it cleared up the confusion and questions that I was confronted with.

While writing the critical analysis on Our Town there was something I did differently compared to my high school writings, I used the writing process. One of the things that I never followed in high school was the writing process. However, after a few weeks spent within this class I realized the importance the writing process plays in higher level writing. The writing process allowed me to write more eloquently and fluid due to the stages it is derived of. However, I did not realize this importance until after my first critical analysis of Creature. While writing my critical analysis for the play Creature I was confronted with a lot of stress and wasted time since I did not do any planning or put in a lot of work during the in class draft. After writing my critical analysis of Creature I realized that I needed to actually use the writing process.

I made use of the writing process while developing my analysis on Our Town, and on many other assignments within this semester. While reading the play Our Town and attending its production by the LR Playmakers I took notes to help with the planning portion of the writing process. While in class, on the drafting day of the critical analysis, I felt more prepared and started to plan my analysis with ease. While drafting the analysis on Our Town I knew what I was going to write about due to the planning I did. Additionally, I did not waste time how I previously did on the analysis for Creature, and I put in more effort into the drafting time in class. The implementation of the writing process allowed me to better my writing and critical thinking skills, and called for my most significant work, “Our” Town, to be created.

The unconventional style of this class aided my development as a critical thinker and writer, and urged me to start a journal myself. Before starting this semester writing was one of my biggest enemies. However, after being able to see these words come to life on stage and allowing my writing process to undergo some changes I realized that writing is one of my favorite things to do now. Each assignment completed from day one of this class aided my development as a reader, writer, and critical thinker. Looking back, I see that this class did not only help strengthen my skills, but it helped strengthen me as a person through developing a greater confidence within myself.

Work Cited

Wilder, Thornton. Our Town. 1938. Harper Perennial, 2003.

Annotated Bibliography

Junod, Tom. “The Falling Man.” Esquire, Sept. 2003, http://www.esquire.com/news-      politics/a48031/the-falling-man-tomjunod, Accessed 27 November. 2017.

“The Falling Man” by Tom Junod reveals an insightful analysis of a photograph from the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the Twin Towers. The picture that is analyzed shows a man jumping from the North Tower. In this analysis Junod goes into great depth to analyze the picture, even stating that “His black high-tops are still on his feet” (Junod). Junod goes on to elucidate the photographers past and how that called for him to take this photograph.

Larson, Erik. The Devil in the White City. Vintage, 2004

In the book The Devil in the White City, Erik Larson makes use of the research he has done on Chicago during the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair to expose important events and people during this time period. Erik Larson takes a rather peculiar approach in the process of creating this past. Larson makes use of cross cutting to create the past of the important events and people’s life; moreover, Larson creates two different plots that are linked together. One of the plots revolves around the life of the architect who helped construct the Fair, Daniel Burnham. The other plot is based on H.H Holmes, a killer that uses his own hotel to draw in his victims.

Lucas, Guy. “Loss of Unwelcome Burden Devastates Me.”             guylucas.com/2017/10/05/percy/, 5 Oct. 2017. Accessed 27 Nov. 2017.

The “Loss of Unwelcome Burden Devastates Me”, by Guy Lucas, introduces a series of scenes that revolve around the life of a cat that was found under Lucas’ porch. The first seen that is introduced revolves around the finding of the cat. The second scene introduces the potty training that is done for the cat. The third scene exposes the temporary loss of the cat that Lucas faced. Moreover, Lucas ends by explaining how the cat was faced with many health problems eventually leading to it being put down.

Maslin, Janet. “Add a serial Murderer to 1893 Chicago’s Opulent Overkill.” Review of     The Devil in the White City, by Erik Larson, The New York Times, 10 Feb. 2003,       nytimes.com, Accessed 27 Nov. 2017.

“Add a serial Murderer to 1893 Chicago’s Opulent Overkill” by Janet Maslin gives an overview of the book The Devil in the White City written by Erik Larson. Maslin illustrates the lives and characteristics of the main characters H.H Holmes and Daniel Burnham within the book. However, Maslin also describes the process that Larson takes to create the book The Devil in the White City.

Schrek, Heidi. Creature. Samuel French, 2011.

Throughout the play Creature by Heidi Schreck, both Margery and John Kempe are greatly impacted by a vision Margery has. In the beginning scenes of the play Margery asserts that she had vison of Jesus Christ, Margery deduces that this vision was a sign that she needs to become a saint. Margery proceeds to practice a life of chastity in order to fulfill her belief that she needs to become a saint, however, her husband John objects strongly. Margery’s quest for sainthood through chastity prompts a variety of issues seen in in her own life, and her husband’s life.

Whitehead, Colson. The Underground Railroad. Doubleday, 2016.

In the novel the Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead uses Cora’s, the main character of the novel, journey as the core of the novel.  Cora and a fellow slave decide to make a run for freedom by going on the Underground Railroad; however, this Underground Railroad is an actual railroad. On this Journey Cora is faced with many problems seen throughout the various chapters that take place across America; one of which is the killing of a young boy in the effort to save her own life, and a slave catcher that is seen attempting to capture Cora throughout many parts of the novel.

Wilder, Thornton. Our Town. 1938. Harper Perennial, 2003.

The play Our Town by Thornton Wilder offers a window into a small town of Grover’s Corner between the years 1901 to 1913. Wilder revolves the play around the lives and interactions of Emily and George. Through Wilder’s breaking of the fourth wall and an omniscient narrator, he is allowing for the audience to feel as if they are part of the play themselves. This creates a deeper connection felt throughout all the individuals who are reading the play.









“Our” Town

The play Our Town by Thornton Wilder introduces a series of events that take place within a small town. The play goes on to revolve around the life of two families, later pinpointing the life of one person from each of these families. Wilder proceeds to use character interactions as a way to show the theme of time passage. From the beginning of the play Our Town, Wilder uses pantomime and a minimal number of props and set. Wilder does this to put greater focus on the theme of time passage, rather than the surroundings. Wilder also uses a stage manager who directly references the audience, breaking the fourth wall. This allows the audience to feel as if they are actually in the town, and allows for a personal connection to be made.

Wilder’s use of the components previously mentioned within the acts mark this play as unorthodox for its time. A deeper connection with the play is made by the audience through Wilder’s little use of props and set. Readers see, within the first page of the play, stage directions that show the use of a minimalist set, “[n]o curtain. – [n]o scenery. – [t]he audience, arriving, sees an empty stage in half-light”(3). While watching the LR Playmakers’ production of Our Town, the use minimal number of props was seen on multiple occasions within the play. For instance, when George and Emily go to Morgan’s Drugstore to get ice cream sodas, they never get literal ice cream sodas, but they pretend as if they do. The use of a minimal amount of props and set almost forces the characters to pantomime—another unusual component during this time period, introduced by Wilder—which is first seen when “[m]rs. Gibbs…pulls up an imaginary window shade in her kitchen and starts to make a fire in her stove”(7). Wilder essentially impels the audience to focus more on the characters interactions, through the use of a minimal set and props, and pantomime. I deduce that Wilder presented this play, in this manner, to put more concentration on the theme being presented. This focus allows the audience to achieve a more personal connection with the play.

The entire play, however, did not make use of minimal number of props and set.  During the LR Playmakers’ production of Our Town, the use of a minimal number of props and set was readily visible when the LR Playmakers introduced different props and set pieces during the revisiting of Emily’s twelfth birthday. I reason that the LR Playmakers incorporated the use of set and props to put more emphasis on this scene that seems unconventional for this play. Moreover, while entering Belk Centrum, where the play was held by the LR Playmakers, I was confronted with the fact that the audience was allowed to sit on stage. I reason that the LR Playmakers incorporated this marvelous idea in order to allow for the audience to have a deep connection with the play. Furthermore, audience members on stage seemed to be used as props, being seemingly incorporated into the play as members of the town.

Through his use of a stage director who references the audience, Wilder is able to execute a deeper sense of connection that is felt throughout all who are attentive to his work of Our Town. Starting off, this idea is first seen through the title of the play, Our Town. Through naming the play Our Town, Wilder allows the audience to feel a part of the town depicted within the play. Furthermore, within the section of “[t]his play is called… delivering Mr. Webb’s Sentinel[,]”(3-7) the stage director gives  a depiction of the town. The stage manager addresses the audience by using “our” within the description. The use of “our” is first seen when the stage manager states that “[t]his is our doctor’s house”(5). The breaking of the fourth wall—this is what happens when character directly speak to the audience, moreover, this is done by the stage director when he addresses the audience directly—basically invites us into this town that is of  Grover’s Corner. This idea is further used when one of the audience members—which is also a member of the play—enters into dialogue with stage manager. Through the fourth wall being broken, Wilder is able to motivate the audience to imagine that they are in a real town. Moreover, Wilder allows for an emotional connection to be created by the audience through the stage manager who directly addresses them.

It goes without saying that the use of these elements that make the play seem different, achieve something greater than just the creation of an ordinary play. Through his use of little number of props and set and pantomime, Wilder creates a play that allows for its motif to be uncovered without much effort. Wilder insists that we should live our life to its fullest potential, and appreciate all the moments in life because time passes quickly. Though this play was created in the early 1940’s, it still applies to this day in age. The stage manager’s statement on how quickly time passes summarizes the idea perfectly when he says “[y]ou know how it is: you’re twenty-one or twenty-two and you make some decisions; then whisssh! you’re seventy”(62). In this way Wilder reveals that time is an important part of life, but frequently we take it for granted.



Works Cited

Our Town. By Thornton Wilder. Dir. Lindsay Weitkamp. Perf. The Rev. Andrew Weisner, Tom Townsend, Sophie Heller-Lee, Dr. Timothy Goldberg, Ariona Smith, Ashton Pester Field, Jack Verner. Et al.  LR Playmakers, Lenoir-Rhyne U., Hickory, NC. 10 Nov. 2017.

Wilder, Thornton. Our Town. 1938. Harper Perennial, 2003.

OUr Town pic

Fact or Fiction?

sssIn the prologue of the book The Devil in the White City, Erik Larson starts off in a peculiar way. Larson starts his dictation by introducing Daniel Burnham, a fellow man, and his family aboard the RMS Olympic. While on this ship, Burnham decides to send a message to Frank Millet, a friend that helped fabricate the Chicago world fair of 1893. While thinking of Millet, Burnham’s thoughts take an alluring turn into the past, commemorating the individuals who played a major role in the construction of the World Fair of 1893. Moreover, his thoughts carry him back to the time of “Darkness” that encompassed the World Fair of 1893, starting with the gruesome construction accidents, and furthered through the actions of a serial killer known as H. H. Holmes. In actuality, outside of the thoughts of Burnham, the Steward comes back to tell Burnham that his message was hindered by an accident that had occurred on Millet’s ship. Erik Larson’s Prologue of The Devil in the White City reveals a different style of dictation and  themes throughout the novel that keep readers intrigued.

Throughout the entirety of the book, Larson’s dictation takes a very dynamic path, as seen from the beginning of the prologue. Larson starts off the prologue by introducing Burnham’s character. However, the book takes a dynamic path when the thoughts of Burnham change from what is happening in the present time, to thoughts that go back in time to the environment of the World fair of 1893.  By doing this, Larson puts his eloquent writing style to use by allowing it to basically give an overview of the entire setting when he states, “[m]illet was never…alone offered sufficient proof” (4).  This writing style is considered to be cross-cutting; that is, when authors cut from one scene to another. Through the use of cross cutting, Larson is able to further elucidate the awe inspiring life of Burnham, and the deranged horrid life of Holmes. Larson uses this style as a way to keep the readers intrigued in a book that offers merely straight facts, by dictating his book in a novelistic way.

Through the implications of a brief overview of the lives of Burnham and Holmes, Larson allows for the theme of astonishment to be conveyed by occurrences that are employed throughout the lives of these main characters. The theme of astonishment is established when Larson states that, “[i]t had lasted just six months, yet during this time its gatekeepers recorded 27.5 million visits, this when the country’s total population was 65 million…That the fair occurred at all, however, was something of a miracle”(5). This indicates that many people were astonished to see the outcome of the fair, although many did not expect the fair to be ready in time for the opening day, leaving them awe struck and astonished when the fair was a success. Moreover, this theme does not stop here, but it is further strengthened by a creation that is “‘[s]omething novel, original, and unique”(156). The creation of the Ferris wheel toppled the extravagant design of the Eiffel tower in the previous World fair, further strengthening the sense of astonishment as evidenced by the crowd’s reaction to the Ferris wheel. The theme of astonishment further leads to a theme of death, through the depiction of occurrences that take place throughout the World Fair of 1893.

In addition to the theme of astonishment, the entirety of the book unveils the theme of death. It is first seen in the prologue where Larson reveals that “[s]cores of workers had been hurt or killed in building the dream, their families consigned to poverty. Fire had killed fifteen more and an assassin had transformed the closing ceremony from what was to have been the century’s greatest celebration into a vast funeral” (5). This excerpt shows that throughout the creation of “‘[t]he greatest event in history of the country since the Civil War’” (5), “[d]arkness too had touched the fair” (5). This theme is further developed through the revelation of Carter Harrison’s death, that is later said to have actually ended the World Fair, because, after his funeral ceremony, “[t]he fair remained open, informally, on October 31, and many men and women came to the grounds for one last visit, as if paying their respects to a lost relative”(333). Larson Further elucidates that “[t]he fair had begun with death, and now it had ended with death” (332), moreover, the theme of death can also be conveyed through the end burning of the World Fair of 1893. Additionally, the ending of the World fair of 1893 does not lead to the ending of the book.  Larson takes another dynamic path and reveals the life of a “[m]urdrer” that “[m]oved among the beautiful things Burnham created”(6), first, in the ending of the prologue. Larson then goes on to dictate a dual narrative, that includes a depiction of Holmes’ horrid life that revolved around the theme of death, moreover, the ending section of the book is on the revelation of Holmes’ horrid life to the public eye. Holmes has great significance because he serves as an agent of death after admitting “to killing twenty-seven people” (385) and is depicted to be the “[t]he most dangerous man in the world” (385) through Larson’s intriguing writing.

Larson’s is the epitome of a person that uses his writing style to keep readers intrigued into his work, by using cross-cutting as a writing techniques throughout The Devil in the White City. Larson further reveals the theme of astonishment through the life of Daniel Burnham, and H. H. Holmes; first seen in the prologue, and then further depicted throughout the book. Additionally, The Devil in the White City is written as a dual narrative revealing occurrences in both of these men’s life that lead to a theme of death.



Amor Towles

After attending Amor Towles presentation I realized the importance of outlining your work before you start on it. Amor addressed how outlining work can help reduce writers block, and allow for the writing process of the different types of works to be easier.  In addition, I found it very interesting how Amor actually came up with his writing ideas. Amor explained how most of his work came from different small ideas that were developed over time; this led me to understanding the importance of a creative imagination.

The War Within Relationships

Throughout the play Creature by Heidi Schreck, the lives of Margery and John Kempe are impacted by the vision Margery has of Jesus Christ. In the opening scenes of the play Margery claims to have had a vision of Jesus Christ, Margery believes wholeheartedly that this vision was a sign that she needs to become a saint. When Margery begins to pursue a life of chastity in an attempt to become a saint her husband John objects strongly. Margery’s pursuit of sainthood through chastity leads to the temptation of both characters. Heidi Schreck’s Creature reveals how the pursuit of a goal, despite another person’s objections, can cause strain on a relationship as seen in the lives of Margery and John.

Throughout the entirety of the play John and Margery’s conflicts with temptation is visible. After being told about the dream that Margery has of Jesus, John Kempe seems to convey a sense of disbelief; he takes it with a grain of salt and states that “[y]ou tell them it was just puerperal fever” (20).  This indicates that John believes that Margery is having a psychological breakdown. Throughout the play, John wants Margery to give up her pursuit of chastity, but Margery remains firm in her belief that she needs to remain chaste in order to become a saint. This difference in opinions leads to strain in the relationship, ultimately leading John to temptation. John entertains the thought of cheating on his wife since she is not having a sexual relationship with him. The audience catches a glimpse of John’s temptation when John tells the Nurse “Why don’t you sit on my lap”(31)? This indicates that John is hindering his quest to win Margery back by lusting over another woman. This temptation is brought about by Margery’s pursuit of sainthood, causing strain on their relationship. Although, Margery and John’s relationship is strained through John’s struggle with temptation, Margery also is affected by temptation.

Margery’s temptation is first disclosed through the interaction Margery has with a young man named Jacob. Throughout the scenes where Margery and Jacob converse, Jacob always tempts Margery to fall in love with him. Jacob first tempts Margery when he talks to her about the way he feels when he sees her crying. Jacob states that “[w]hen I put my hand on my chest, it was actually hot to the touch. And then I took off my shirt and there was a red mark in the shape of a heart on my skin. Has that ever happened to you” (33)? Additionally, later on Jacob states that “[i] would endure anything for the sake of your love” (35), openly admitting that he desire her love. This demonstrates that the mode of Margery’s temptation was similar to John’s. Once again the relationship between Margery and John is strained due to an attempt brought by Margery’s pursuit of sainthood above all else.

Schreck’s exposé of how relationships are stressed when a person pursues their goals above all else is seen in the lives of Margery and John. Schreck furthers this idea through when she introduces Juliana the Anchoress. In the closing scenes of the play, Margery converses with Juliana about her vision of Jesus Christ. Margery goes on to reveal that after having this dream she was assailed by “[t]emptations of flesh” (70), and Juliana adds that she dealt with similar challenges, stating “[t]emptations of flesh. Why do you think I lock myself in here” (71)? Juliana’s pursuit of sainthood above all else causes her to forsake all relationships, as evidenced by her isolation from society, reinforcing Schreck’s message that a pursuit of a goal above all else causes strain to relationships.creature.jpg

Weight Training Changed My life


Hello, my name is Mitchell Stoian and I am a freshman at Lenoir Rhyne University. The thing that I derive the most pleasure from is weight training, but it has not been like this for a long time.

From a young age, I started to have problems with my weight. As time progressed so did my health problems. Around 15 years old I was told by my doctors that I needed to lose weight in order to have a long and healthy life. This is when I realized that I needed to change my life around.


At the age of 12 I started to have health problems



When I first started my health transformation it was really tough, it involved a lot of hard work and time. After a few weeks in the gym, I started to see results and this became my motivation. After a few months in the gym, I realized that working out started to be one of my favorite hobbies, not only did it help me lose over 70 pounds, but it allowed for new relationships to be created.





I believe that weight training has changed my life around quite a bit, I do not know where I would be today without weight training.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑