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Ma Mise En Scene

Illustration by Frank T. Merrill

There’s such a strong tie between film and the way we experience our lives. As we talked about the technicalities of cinema this week, we even learned how cinema has adapted itself via aspect ratio to be more true-to-life. As we’ve learned about mise-en-scene, I’ve started to consider how I set the scene to my own life, so to speak. How do I dress myself? How do I frame the scene? In what light have I cast this, either figuratively or literally?

As a kid I would refer to live action adaptions of movies as the “real version.” I’d ask my mom “May we watch the real version of Cinderella?” Now I hear my nieces and nephews do the same thing. This tie to real life is what makes cinema so magical. It takes something like Alcott’s story, which is relatable for other reasons on the page, and brings it to the movie-goer in an immersive way I’m sure Alcott and her contemporaries never dreamed of.

How lucky we are to be alive during this time, experiencing the magic of cinema.

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Playing Pilgrims

Illustration by Frank T. Merrill

I never dreamed of being an English major. It would have been of little use, anyway, as all of my dreams that have become a reality I’ve walked away from. I much prefer the moments that resonate in my bones, that paradoxically make perfect sense while taking me by surprise. I never knew I wanted to be an English major until the opportunity presented itself.

This class has confirmed my decision. I think of myself dressed in my sisters costumes, coaxing the neighborhood kids to put on a play with me in the attic. I think of the way I felt seeing Jo spread the sheets of her manuscript on the floor, hands smeared in ink. I remember the goosebumps I felt during that final moment in the recent adaption as Jo watched her book being printed. I know I’m not the only one who sees their own journey as a writer mirrored in Alcott’s story, no matter the medium or adaption.

Reading this story so soon after leaving home for the first time is bittersweet. I relate deeply to the ache to return to childhood and family while embracing the future. I look forward to observing Jo’s journey alongside my own, gaining further insight into what it means to leave home and create a place for yourself in the world.