DAYDREAM Miscellaneous

My Daydream

By Cailin Perez

Daydreaming for me is running away from it all. I’m leaving the mundane day to day. I run away from a safe relationship, my best friends, my amazing mother. I run from my nice room, with my nice clothes, and my nice things. I’m running toward the greener grass. I’m daydreaming about passion, love, lust, excitement.

Usually, I am daydreaming about being “The One” in everyone’s life. I dream about  being “the one” best friend. The one you feel comfortable telling anything to. What makes you  happy, sad, that your parents suck, how scared you are of the future, and how you wish you  could love yourself more. Being “the one” best friend that after years you confess your love to.  Then you share the most effortless kiss and all tension releases. It’s Euphoric. In this moment, nothing in my life will ever feel as right as that. I daydream of meeting and being “the one” who I can love and feel loved by unconditionally. The kind that sweeps you off your feet  makes you nervous before date night and after a lifetime still takes the breath out of your lungs  with every touch. I daydream that I will run away and find that love in some exotic, unrealistic way. I daydream about the best sex with the best music. Hopefully at the same time in the  comfiest sheets with a coastal breeze flooding in the windows and the smell of sweat soaked  saltwater sunscreen in the air. I daydream about good food with good people. The meals you could still taste if you thought about it long enough. I daydream about the man I wish he could be, the friend I need him to be, the ways I want her to support me, and how great it would be if that one person was out of my life. 

In these dreams I’m forgetting everything there was before. Anything that ever mattered, doesn’t matter now. 

I daydream about so much because I’m so far from the moment. I daydream to take the  leaps I usually wouldn’t. I don’t have to risk losing everything just for the chance of something. I daydream to escape the issues I can’t seem to find in my relationship, the great friendships I’ve  formed, the endless support I receive, and the incredible life I’ve had so far. 

What an interesting concept a daydream is. Even when we have everything, we feel like we have nothing, so what we can imagine becomes infinite.  


No Fear

By Marvin H. Smith

The beauty of a typewriter is that there is no going back. Like recording with tape, once you put something down, it’s hard to correct. That doesn’t mean you don’t have to fix what you put down, you can always do that with a fine point pen. You can cross out phrases, add words, cut out words, or rewrite a whole damn paragraph. If you’re poor at spelling, like me, this is where the dictionary comes in handy. You can check all the words you screwed up on like “serandipodus”. A fine point pen is nice for these kinds of things. You say what you wanna say, even if it is screwed up, and you fix it after. Thinking about if our world worked the same way, we’d all be fools. No matter how smart you are, you’d be the same as anyone else who had a fine point pen. However, as we know, that’s not how the world works. In fact, people say things they don’t mean to say, but think it’s what they wanna say, and have to deal with the consequences later. Thinking about the quip “It’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission”, presupposes that we have a forgiving world. While that can be true to some extent, should everyone’s qualities lie in the risk of looking for relief in forgiveness? The truth is taught to be valued, but the one who cheats is the one who becomes successful in that moment. Is a person who cheats
and asks for forgiveness later a quality individual? The answers to these questions lie in our fears. It is the short term stability that a false action provides that makes it attractive to us. With how terrifying the world is, you can see why people would do such things in order to secure themselves. Our fears of the world shape us so that we can accommodate to it, and less to ourselves. Now we have a world that moves us by fear, creating false perceptions of ourselves. The world rotates on an axis of delusions, and expects much from people who can’t find their
place in it. To be truthful is to be used, and to be yourself is feared by others. It seems that in order to be a quality person, we must make our words and actions mean exactly what we want them to mean. No longer be afraid of permanency, no longer be afraid of the world’s definitions, and no longer be afraid of ourselves. No hiding, no cheating, no fear.


A Review of Useless Majors

By Ryan Cox

I’ve been off Tiktok for a while now. It hasn’t seemed worth my time and while I feel it is inevitably going to become the new standard for media consumption, I’d like to avoid the content sludge for as long as possible. But during my hiatus, I still find myself thinking about a certain creator whose videos always had the comments section busted up.

Enter Education Forum. His videos discuss higher education and the careers you can pursue after graduation. The motive behind his profile is to give advice to young students. While he does answer a lot of questions along the lines of “how do I choose what to study” and “what career can I expect with my major,” he has a markedly cynical view of college that dominates the narrative of nearly all his videos.

Not for any of the already long existing issues, such as inaccessibility to underprivileged groups, the massive turnover rate of university staff (buh-bye, President Kinzy), or the legitimacy of a college degree as a signifier of having actually obtained a certain set of skills, but out of a sheer distaste towards the increasing popularity of subjective, creatively-aligned, or so-called right brain studies, something he deems “useless majors.”  

His content mainly consists of him picking majors in the arts or humanities to hurl jeers at the vague course descriptions and declining income outlooks. After backing up this data with proper sources such as Reddit threads or Kanye West lyrics, he will come to the conclusion that whatever major his face is superimposed over is not worth pursuing.   

This is not to say the creator is completely against going to college, in fact he advocates for a very specific type of education. There are many videos which display “good majors” to counteract his disparagement of pursuits like anthropology, sociology, or graphic design. The ones he actively encourages revolve around the principles of economics, business, or engineering. Very worthwhile endeavors surely, but all have a focus on objective or practical skills and yield higher incomes.

After viewing his content globally, we can paint a rudimentary picture of what commentary Education Forum seeks to engage in: only majors that make money are important.  This sort of opinion posits that our worth is defined by the physical impact of our work and how much capital it can bring in. The idea is that a more “useful” career will bring in more money due to its ability to contribute to the rest of society.  

So, then, what is the point of majoring in history, philosophy, or any of the other useless majors?  

Because these careers build how we communicate and interact with the world.  

Just as objective careers shape the spaces we occupy and develop technologies to make our lives easier, subjective careers shape how we look at our environments and how we use these innovations. What would these technologies be without unconventional thinkers to tinker with them, pushing the boundaries of how they can be used and paving the way for new technologies to be developed?  

The artists use them to create works that entertain, the historians use them to preserve pieces of the past, the writers use them to tell new and exciting stories, and the philosophers use them to argue for a better future. Above all else, what these useless majors have in common is a burgeoning need to communicate a way of life to hopefully inspire people and build a commonality for all humanity. We are social creatures, constantly creating bridges into one another’s psyches, and these careers utilize this ability to the fullest extent possible. Without anything to communicate, what are we? 

It is also true that certain careers are rewarded more than others. Education itself is a fundamental need for a functioning society, yet most educators live on a modest income at best. These people actively contribute to the betterment of culture while stockbrokers and entrepreneurs find loopholes to keep them forever rich. To Education Forum, the educators simply chose the wrong career. 

What exists is a subsection of people who argue for this kind of objective view, not understanding the different ways a person may find meaning in their life. They conceive of wealth as the end-all signifier of purpose, not realizing the systemic biases at play which leave the world of wealth inaccessible, let alone plain undesirable, to some seeking to nurture their understanding of how we communicate with one another. Do these people simply have nothing to contribute to society? 

Sometimes the medium we speak through removes any need for credibility. It’s easy to forget that we chose who we give credence to in a world where everyone has a voice. Let Education Forum have his followers, there are some of us who don’t see things so black and white. 

A person can bring wealth to society through channels we can’t even see. They move quietly through the crowds yet speak volumes through their work. It is these people who shape our culture into what it is and inform the builders about what to build. We owe it to ourselves to craft our own unique mark in this world, and the way we do it carries a signature of who we are.  

It is us. It is our own unique contribution to the flailing biomass of human experience.  

DAYDREAM Miscellaneous

Adventure of Mr. Trypt and Amine

By Amir A. 

Trypt: What? When?
Amine: Why? How?
Trypt: Distortion, huh? Mind, huh?
Amine: Initial input is spun by the senses a.k.a body functions, compared to the pile of previous
signals interactions a.k.a experiences stored subconsciously.
Trypt: Moral development, duh…
Amine: Oh Come on,
Soundpaper and Dune towel
To the rhythms of Cozy Powell.
Mathematician counting one, two
three, four, five, six…
Each dust piece.
To see and seize the whole puzzle of Osiris.
Music drifts, mind changes,
Mood swings and the whole generation sleeps.
Math cries and literature unwantedly screams too.
Mother can’t stand
Friends can’t stand
Helpers can’t stand
Very poor written text.
Can’t stand it.
Brown shit squeaks with a high pitch and explodes.
Slowly rebuilding the quietness of the jazz chambers.
Oooone and a twoooo and a oooone and a twoooo…(slowly repeat three times)
People are on something (on something), urinating
With the plasma of an Eternal Circle,
Feeling the warmth of the sounds produced with the words:
“Oh, Osiris!”
Trypt: Did you hear some White Noise, pal?
Amine: What is your name?
Trypt: Reflection.
Amine: Reflection of Madness, nice to meet you!
Reflection of Madness: Hey Hey, I got you today in my dream.

Methanol asparagus

Smoothly bends
Over the shoulder
Creating a fractal of the never-ending rolls
Of daw that ends up as a strawberry pie (mmm)
The price of salt of one small rolling tear. Collecting a gram of that salt.
The price reflection pays upon entering The Cherub’s Palace.
No place for me in here, prophets are dead.
Who is a Human in the scene?
Only one is capable of carrying fish to be cooked
By the family, naked pure, and primitive.
While puffing plants and drinking funny potions, Feast.
What is the Profit of being thy Prophet?

Trypt: Will you marry me?
Reflection of Madness: Whitenoise is the witness.
Amine: Adults and kids will be scared, shall we proceed?

DAYDREAM Miscellaneous

Atomic Wizard

By Ben Swartz

About the Artist: Ben Swartz is a Bloomington, IL based artist working in several mediums to create images that blend lowbrow, pop, and folk art. Horror movies and literature, the occult, and music are a few major influences on his work. For more of his work, follow him on Instagram: @bens.wartz


Gossip Is Killing Our People

By Kyah Joseph

The words “tea” and “drama” could draw anyone in. It’s one of the first questions friends ask upon a greeting: “Any drama?” But is that something we should really be proud of? Do we want to die on a hill of only being entertained with drama and gossip?

Let’s talk about it.

When you hear the word “gossip” or “drama” or “tea,” do you typically associate it with something positive or negative? Why do we as a society thrive on the shortcomings of others and their problems? Why are we so fascinated by the bad things that happen to our friends and others? When did we become so entitled to knowing the ins and outs of complete strangers to the point of judging them for a situation we know nothing about?

Don’t get me wrong, I am well aware that friends talk about more than just tea, but what is it about drama that gets people on the edge of their seat? I think it’s because we as humans have to know all the information in the world about every single person we’ve ever come across. But surely our own lives can’t be that boring.


I mean, that’s the reason why we’re all so enthusiastic to share our own bad news with the rest of the world…wait.

Our insecurities make sharing any negative features about ourselves scary because we can’t imagine people talking about us the way we talk about them. And yeah, it might be embarrassing to admit that we’ve made mistakes, but that doesn’t give us the right to just talk about other people. 

I find it strange that we will jump at any chance to talk about ourselves in a positive light. A promotion, a good first date, that nap that just really hits different. But we don’t afford ourselves that same excitement when talking about the bad things that happen to us. The inverse can be said about us to others. We don’t really care about your baby’s first steps, or the really good Chipotle bowl you just got. What really matters is what made you stay up late at night crying and how can I learn more than you’re willing to share?

The idea of knowing something others don’t is compelling. Our only goal in life is to be part of the in-group and you know you’ve made it when you’re getting filled in on things others wouldn’t be.

I love a good secret, and I think everyone else does too, even if they don’t want to admit it.

So maybe it is just human nature, but a part of me still asks why. Why do we care so much, and why do we think it’s a personal attack on us when we aren’t told a specific piece of information?

I don’t have the answers, but I CAN tell you about this thing I just found out the other day…


Taxi Cab

By Sarah Levin

The Newlyweds

The woman in her lower canopy of white, hair falling out of her impressive braid, makeup smeared across her red cheeks like brush strokes on a romantic painting. Her lipstick is vacant, leaving her slightly unfinished and somewhat raw. The man, young, in his black suit with edges that meet in designated slants. Her large eyebrows are stuck high above his eyelids, in full shock and estacitity. He is visibly sweaty, as is the woman. 

Newlyweds; incredibly fresh ones, too. 

My wheels revolve and drag upon the hot asphalt in the late July atmosphere. The couple starts kissing. Please keep it at that. I already had a large sum of vomit plaque on my backside last week, I do not need any other human contaminants. Mister Rolph begins to speak, which is my cue to listen. 

“You guys just married, huh?” His southern drawl emphasized on every last syllable, something I’ve grown fond of. 

“Yes, sir! Right about an hour ago to be exact!” The woman exclaims, with a voice too young to fit her recent commitment. She is ecstatic, she can hardly hold still as she responds to Mister Rolphs polite conversation. Mister Rolph chuckles under his breath.

“Already heading to the station, I see it? Just like the good old days, a honeymoon quick and easy, still in your wedding’ dress and all.” Mister Rolph smiles and continues to laugh. He doesn’t need directions for me this time, I’ve taken him to the train station countless times before. My blinkers know when to come on, with Mister Rolphs help, of course. I would be nothing without Mister Rolph. Hell, I would be mere parts and metals without Mister Rolph!

“We didn’t wanna waste any time!” The groom shouts excitedly, then continues, “We’re taking the train right out West to Utah! Got some friends out there willing to help us get on our feet.” The wife clasps the arm of the groom, resting her head on his forearm with a bright smile shining from ear to ear. 

“You’re movin’? Out West? Right now?” I’ve never seen Mister Rolph so stunned before in our years of partnership. His smile gleamed even more, and he began to joyfully tap my steering wheel with delight.  

“Well, sir, we have no reason not to,” the wife began,  “I’m not too close with my Ma and Pa over here and we’ve dreamed of dropping life and picking it up somewhere new. You know, if we can do that together, we can do anything together, like have babies!” Her youthful innocence shot back towards the end of her explanation, and her husband lightly tapped her thigh to signal a sense of calmness back within her bones. The husband begins,

“You see, money hasn’t been too good in this city, lately. Kansas City has been damn near crushed ever since the recession. I was a data engineer at some local bank, the head one, too! I was making good money, Pea over here,” he gestured to his wife, who now has a name, “she was working as a preschool aid, working on her masters.” Pea took over

“We bought a house, well, a condo, but it was supposed to be ours. Lost damn near everything after the stock market collapsed. Pete lost his job, I was let go, too. I couldn’t pay for my degree, we couldn’t pay our new mortgage, then he proposed.” Pea lost the gleam in the eyes as she talked. She ordered my back window to squeak its way open. Mister Rolph deeply sighed, two hands on my steering wheel and a frown plastered on his face. Silence washed over my interior, and Pete released Pea from his grasp. Mister Rolph, with wrinkles spread under his eyes and beside his mouth opened his mouth and closed it as a loss for words. 

“Oh, do I envy you two” Mister Ralphs smile returned, “the younger the hearts the fuller they remain, and I wish you both to stay young forever, even when you grow old.” 

Brothers & Sisters

I am parked at my pickup destination and Mister Rolph puts me in park as he routinely grabs their luggage from my rear.  

“Do you think Dad is gonna like my drawing?” 

“No, Carolina, he probably won’t care.” 

A boy, around fifteen with his little sister, appearing to be around eight, sat knee to knee in my backseat. The boy violently taps his heel up and down; jittery in a way that even makes Mister Rolph tense up. His eyes dart back and forth, from one of my rear windows to the other, as if he is checking to make sure a lane could merge. The girl wears two pigtails, ringlets covering her rosy face and large brown eyes glued to her older brother. Her small hand grasps onto a single loose leaf piece of paper with a pencil drawing of two stick figures holding hands. I’m directed to drive towards a bad side of town, a side that Mister Rolph usually refuses to take me. Before I was given to Mister Rolph, his taxi cab was stolen in this area of town. Ever since then, Mister Rolph declined any pickups or drop offs there. However, something about this boy and his plea to go see his father causes Mister Rolph to make this exception just once.

“But Connor, I made the drawing for him, ” Carolina pleaded to her brother, attempting to convince him to validate her longing for her fathers approval. 

“He didn’t even go to my damn baseball tryouts last week, Carolina. Do you really think he’d care about a dumb drawing?” Connor spits this out and furrows his brows to instantly show regret. Carolina began to silently cry. 

“I’m joking, ‘Lina, I’m just kidding. I like drawing!” The air was plagued with silence. 

 “Dad might not, though.” Connor placed his head in his hands and sighed deeply. I turned my wheels onto the street that began the bad side of town. Mister Rolph kept his eyes glued to the road, not wanting to intertrude. I braked at a red light, which made the commotion outdoors come to a halt. 

“I absolutely adore the drawing,” Rolph began, “I’d pay $100 for that beauty!” 

Connor raised his head from its position and looked bewildered at Mister Rolphs request. My front dashboard was filled with items left or given from customers. Necklaces, hairties, colognes, keychains. All of these things which are components to stories are left to lay in my frontside. I enjoy holding these possessions, it makes me feel like more than just a car. Hopefully this drawing with further make the collection. The girl mumbles with her speech broken into fragments. 

“Would you really?” 

Mister Rolph motions his right hand towards my backseat and expresses that he wants to grab the drawing. Carolina places it in his calloused palm. I’m stopped at another red light, so Mister Rolph is able to truly look at the drawing. 

“How about this; I keep the drawing and I refuse to accept any money from you both. This ride is on the house.” 

Mister Rolph is being generous again, generous in a way that worries my oil and gas levels. Does Mister Rolph know that I am low on fuel? I need an oil change too! He is insistent on not allowing this boy to pay, and although I am annoyed I admire his kindness. 

“No, sir, you don’t have to do that, sir,” the boy swiftly said, rolling his eyes at his sister. 

“Don’t be ridiculous, boy! Your sister has talent. I don’t need money from two children.” Silence ensued and the boy placed his wrinkly dollar bill from his pocket back into his closed palm. The girl looked outside of my back window and pointed at their destination; their fathers shack. It was a small house with a yard full of outgrown weeds. Two porch lawn chairs and a plethora of empty beer bottles scattered its presence on the entryway of the home. A dog barked from a few houses down, echoing a sense of warning for the children. 

“Thank you, taxi cab driver,” Carolina whispered and I pulled my wheels into the dirt covered driveway. Mr. Rolph smiled back at her and she swifty cracked my door open and ran off into the depths of the small home in front of my muffler. Mr. Rolph then  quickly glanced at Connor before he had the chance to swing my other door open. 

“Son,” Mr. Rolph began, “I know you’re trying to protect her.” Connor suddenly gave Mr. Rolph his full attention, giving my rearview mirror a firm grasp on his appearance. Blond, young, eyes blue as ice and stoned on his head like pillars. 

“Your father seems to be enough of a scumbag to embody two people, don’t be one of the two.” Connor nodded, teary eyed, and opened my door. Before exiting he quickly murmured his graciousness. 

“Thank you for not charging us for the ride.”

“Of course, son, I was once just like you.”

Mom, Let Go Of My Hand

It’s a busy day. My destination is the airport, which is a far route for me. A mother, frantic and thin, and a daughter, covered with a hoodie and bangs, stand next to Mr. Rolph behind me. They are trying to fit their luggage into my trunk, and there is a lot of luggage. It is a hot August day, and the mother swings my passenger door wide open and plunges down. The daughter is timid as she opens my back door and sits while wiping the sweat from her forehead. Next to her lies boxes and boxes of college equipment. Bedding, a lamp, a guitar. All of the essentials. 

“Have everything, honey?” The mother voices quickly as Mr. Rolph starts my engine. It sputters, something I wish I had control over. The daughter nods. 

“Does this thing have any AC? I’m melting!” The mother lashes out before I even begin to move my wheels. 

“My apologies, ma’am. This baby is old, it is a windows down type of car.” Mr. Rolph exclaims. He still refers to me as his baby, even though my air conditioning is useless. I am getting old.  

“Are you kidding me? An hour ride with no air conditioning in this heat?” The mother starts again and Mister Rolph rolls his eyes, along with her daughter. The mother reluctantly rolls her window down and faces her head towards the scenery. 

“Mom, it’s fine. Don’t be rude.” The daughter sharply says, her words cutting her mother like a knife. The mother tore her eyes towards her purse, going through each item and satisfying her need to do something with her hands. She opens up a red lipstick and applies it to her lips, using her phone camera as a mirror, as if I don’t have my passenger mirror ready for her use. 

“I just can’t believe it,” the mother begins, “my baby is off to college, my baby is off to adulthood!” The woman squeals and reaches back to grab hold of her daughter’s hand and give it a squeeze. The daughter shyly smiles back at her mother and sighs deeply. Her black bangs floating backwards due to the breeze of the open front window. She’s a pretty girl. 

“I’m not a baby, mom.” The daughter croaks and she removes her hand from the grasp of her elder. Her mother immediately goes back to applying her lipstick. Mister Rolph has not said a word, to my surprise. His eyes stay on the road and his hands stay plastered onto my steering wheel. 

“We’re gonna make your room so cute, you’re gonna go to so many parties, honey! Maybe you’ll meet a guy and start actually dat-”

“Mom, enough!” Mister Rolph jumps as the daughter yells this from across my interior, which suddenly feels way too small. The mother keeps her head buried in her purse, eyes darting from side to side. The daughter has tears welled up in her ducts, and she leans her head on one of the luggages beside her. Silence. 

“Why do you have to be so hostile, Carolina?” 

Carolina. That name sounds incredibly familiar. Carolina. I’ve carried so many passengers in my interior, but for some reason I’m stuck on this name. Mr. Rolph glances at a dusty drawing taped onto my dashboard, along with a multitude of stickers and little toys and a new iPhone holder, something that is a recent addition. 

“Carolina.” Mr. Rolph mumbles to himself, attempting to not be heard by the small family. 

“Uh, yeah?” Carolina responded, unsuspectingly hearing Mr. Rolph’s whisper. Mr. Rolph gestured to the drawing on my dashboard, and suddenly it clicked. Carolina! The girl from a decade ago! The girl with the brother! The girl with the drawing! Carolina peered at what Mr. Rolph was pointing at, and she recognized her drawing instantly. The memory flooded back to her as her cheeks grew bright red. Mr. Rolph smiles and the mother contorts her face in confusion. 

“You’re the taxi driver that liked my drawing!” Carolina exclaimed, excitedly. She continued with her discovery. 

“I’m going to school for art, sir! When you told me I had talent, I decided to never stop. I never stopped drawing, sir,” she continued. Her mother was shocked at her daughter’s enthusiasm, as if it hadn’t been shown for a long time. She discontinued looking through her purse, and was now examining the taped drawing. 

“How’s your brother? I remember him from that car ride so long ago. How’s your father?” Mr. Rolph’s tired face lit up with passion and joy, as if he’s watched his own daughter grow. The mothers face dropped and Carolina retreated back to her solemn hood. 

“My brother, Connor, do you remember him?”

“Yes, I do! Blonde boy, right? Very protective over you, if I recall.” Mr. Rolph said with glee. Carolina looked at her mother for help. The mother now had her hands clasped together, and her lips tightly shut. It was obvious that Mr. Rolph had said something wrong.

“Connor passed away a few years ago,” the mother began, “his father was a successful data engineer. He lost it all right around the time we got married. I didn’t know that I was pregnant with Connor at the time. We moved to Utah; me, Pete, my husband, and my pregnant belly. We moved back to Kansas when Connor was two. Money was tight, and it caused a lot of trouble. Their father and I divorced when Connor was seven. Connor didn’t take it too well, especially because Carolina was just a baby.” 

The mother poured her soul out onto my glove compartment. She nodded as she talked, coming to the realization of her history, her past. She grew more and more accepting with every word that flew through her lips. She paused. 

“When Connor was sixteen, his father committed suicide. It really brought out the ugliest demons in my son. Connor lived with a lot of pain, a lot of guilt. He turned to drugs after his father’s death and battled with it for a long time until, you know.” 

Mr. Rolph listened carefully, he opened his mouth to speak but closed it again. His rough hands felt my steering wheel with kindness. He grazed his eyes to the road before him. He listened. He spoke. 

“My deepest condolences, Pea.” 

Carolina looked up with confusion. Her mother, Pea, smiles. I pull towards the airport terminal and halt to a stop. Carolina dismisses her confusion and begins emptying her luggage. Pea stayed behind for a minute. 

“I knew I recognized this taxi cab, and you. I always remembered what you told Pete and I on that ride.” 

Mr. Rolph nodded and smiled at her as he began to exit my interior. He stood beside Carolina and emptied her luggages from my trunk. Pea clung onto Carolina’s arm. Once the last luggage left my premises, Mr. Rolph turned to Carolina. 

“Hey, kiddo. Some advice for you before you go. Remember to call you mother, keep on drawing, and I wish for you to stay young forever, even when you grow old.” 

Pea looked back at Mr. Rolph and mouthed a quick thank you. Mr. Rolph waved his goodbyes as he opened my door and reclined into my shape. 

“Alright, buddy,” Mr. Rolph says to me,  “let’s go find another ride.”


How the Trope of the Madwoman Evolved into Feminist Horror

By Hannah Yale

Hysterical. Lunatics. Madwomen, embittered by exploitation, that have turned against the society of men.

The stereotype of the “madwoman” was developed by the oppressive ruling class of white men to dehumanize real women in society. The trope describes a woman with a history of trauma and exploitation by male authority figures that have caused them to become bitter and disobedient. Ultimately, the madwoman is an outcast from the society of men– not only because she is a woman, but because she refuses to submit to her patriarchal oppressors. 

In this context, madness is a cultural construct that has been specifically constructed as a tool to delegitimize and villainize women. This cultural construction of madness is separate from medically diagnosed mental health issues because the concept of madness specifically undermines women’s autonomy by emphasizing irrationality and being unable to control one’s emotions. However, those women who are labeled as “mad” often do have mental health issues related to the trauma and ostracization they have faced at the hands of the same men who call them insane. 

Most literary scholars trace the beginning of the madwoman trope in literature to the racially prejudiced portrayal of Mr. Rochester’s first wife in Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre. It is important to note that high-society European men created the idea of feminine madness and the madwoman, and in the early days of its conception it was used primarily to describe white, educated women who were viewed as emotionally and physically weak. The trope of the madwoman spread with colonization, and it began to take on a new shape as women living in their indigenous lands were forced to assimilate to the violently patriarchal European cultures of their oppressors. In the 19th and 20th centuries, madwomen of color were specifically viewed as emotionally erratic, promiscuous, and prone to anger. This is reflected directly in how male authority figures treat these “mad” women in novels of that time period, such as the aforementioned Jane Eyre.

Though this trope was originally used to undermine and delegitimize women’s autonomy, women have gained control of the narrative by giving a voice to women who have been deemed “insane” by a failing patriarchal society. This representation in literature encouraged more empathy and validation towards women who have faced violence at the hands of the patriarchy and was highly beneficial to feminist political movements over the past couple of centuries. In recent years, the madwoman has appeared in film, specifically in the emerging feminist horror genre.

The evolution of the trope and cultural acceptance of the madwoman can be looked at through the timeline of the Western feminist movement. Wide Sargasso Sea— a novel written from the perspective of Mr. Rochester’s “mad” wife from Jane Eyre— takes place at the beginning of the 19th century, a little before the first wave of feminism really took off. During the first wave of feminism, Charlotte Perkins Gilman published The Yellow Wallpaper, a first-person novella that tells the story of a woman who is confined to bedrest by her husband when she falls ill after pregnancy and the death of her newborn child. She shares all of the traditional characteristics of the madwoman, and is eventually driven insane by the isolation, dehumanization, and gaslighting she faces during her confinement. 

Nawal El Saadawi’s Woman At Point Zero, a novel featuring an Egyptian prostitute named Firdaus, takes place during the second wave of feminism, which specifically emphasized issues like financial independence, female sexuality, reproductive rights, and combating domestic violence. Alternatively, Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar, shows the perspective of a white, upper-class American woman during the same time period who is institutionalized and undergoes electric shock therapy. Throughout the novel, the main character’s needs and wants are continuously ignored, and this dehumanization causes her to feel paranoid, isolated and trapped. 

Novels like these telling the origin story and perspective of the madwoman have continued to develop over the decades and in correlation with the Western feminist movement– paving the way for today’s fourth-wave feminist manifestation of the madwoman in the feminist horror film genre. 

If you haven’t heard of feminist horror, I highly recommend you watch some. A niche, emerging genre, it has produced some of my favorite horror films ever, such as Jennifer’s Body (2009) and The Fear Street Trilogy (2021). 

Jennifer’s Body is largely considered a cult classic in American alternative culture, following the story of Anita “Needy” (Amanda Seyfried) and her boy-eating best friend Jennifer (Megan Fox). While it is certainly a campy, nostalgic masterpiece, Jennifer’s Body can be also interpreted as the story of a modern, teenage madwoman. The movie begins and ends with Needy narrating from inside a mental institution. A traditional interpretation would suggest that Needy has made up the entire story about Jennifer’s possession or is delusional, but I think that’s boring. Instead, we can choose to believe the story that Needy is telling, and recognize that she underwent a supernatural tragedy only to be blamed and labeled insane by her community. 

Within the feminist horror genre, it’s been observed that there are two main sub-genres: alternative tellings of Final Girl horror stories, and tales of women revenge-killers. The first sub-genre doesn’t usually include components of the madwoman trope, but if you’re looking for a contemporary horror movie with a badass Final Girl, I suggest Evil Dead (2013). 

Movies about feminist revenge killers have become increasingly popular in the last decade, and the majority of them depict the madwoman trope, as their characters are driven to violence after enduring some kind of severe trauma. Many are stories of women who take to killing sexual predators, abusive husbands, or other corrupt men– such as A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014), Promising Young Woman (2020), and Teeth (2007).

One of the original female revenge killers of the horror genre was Carrie White from another cult class film, Carrie (1976). While facing abuse from her ultra-religious mother at home, 16-year-old Carrie is also ostracized and bullied by her schoolmates. After a malicious act of public humiliation at the prom, Carrie uses her telekinetic powers in a blind rage to kill everyone at the school. Carrie was not a girl who seemed predisposed to any kind of violence– in fact, she was quite timid and naive. However, after years and years of being worn down by the neurotic criticism of her mother and the cruelty of her peers, Carrie snapped. To me, it seemed that Carrie no longer knew how to keep living as this person, surrounded by these people. It was a cage that she had to break out of, with fire and blood. 

Hopefully, while taking you down this rabbit hole of “madness” and feminist horror, I’ve given you some killer movie recommendations and inspired you to look for the madwoman in the stories around you.



By Elizabeth Urban

All at once, the world went quiet for Daniel. He just stood there frozen, bathing in the bright, yellow lights.

And then color began to rain down around him. Pulling his eyes away from the lights, Daniel turned his attention to the thousands of rainbow dancers spinning around him. Strips of blue, yellow, red, pink, and purple pieces of paper fluttered from the sky, twisting and twirling until they gently hit the wooden floor.

Daniel dragged his eyes across the floor, watching the lines in the floor slowly be covered by the never-ending streamers. Despite the blazing lights burning a hole in his scalp, his face felt cool. The floor seemed to give off a breeze similar to one on the ocean. Perhaps the multitude of colors across the floorboards was similar to what a coral reef looked like.

His eyes widen as his hearing began to return. It was just his breathing. In and out. The bursts of air were shaky and almost raspy. Daniel wondered if he always breathed this loud. While his eyes continued to follow the rainbow paper strips, Daniel could hear soft voices behind him. High pitched screams, but not those of pain. They were happy screams. Daniel closed his eyes and pictured people hugging and crying tears of joy. He hoped he was right.

“Daniel! Daniel open your eyes!” A real voice at last, loud and clear. Daniel opened his eyes to find a girl staring at him, her hands on his shoulders now shaking him. Her eyes were the color of trees, not the leaves but the trunks. A strong, sturdy brown that Daniel didn’t expect to make him feel safe as they did. Even though her back was to the harsh lights, her eyes still gleamed as they looked up at him.

“You did it Daniel! You won! You’re the winner!” If it was even possible, the girl’s smile shone brighter than her eyes. She shook Daniel one last time before pulling him into a hug, her arms wrapped tightly, but comfortably around his shoulders. He slowly moved his hands to her back, trying his best to return the embrace while also attempting to make a mental image of everything happening to him. The embrace, the setting, the sounds, all of it. Somehow, he couldn’t help but feel that he would remember this moment more than the real competition.


The Writer

By Reece Wright

When he was 15, he believed he could be a writer. He believed Shakespeare was fake and he, himself, was an incredible writer. There were no doubts in his mind until asked if the work he was submitting was good. He believed it was good because he wrote it; he wrote it to anger his parents; he angered his parents by writing about them. So, he sent his work to every magazine he could find. Thinking they’d be lucky to read his work. After contacting over 30 magazines, the responses came back within a few months. Every magazine he had emailed had said no. He wondered if they were reading his work or lying and saying they were. He wondered, he wondered. He stopped sending his work to magazines, stopped trying to be seen. The pieces he wrote were gorgeous and meaningful, so he stopped writing them. ‘If they don’t want it, why should I?,’ he thought. 

When he was 16, he stopped being a writer. The articles he wrote had never gotten published and felt meaningless. His school’s literary magazine accepted the most powerful piece he had ever written. He brought his $7 to school and went off to purchase a copy, only to realize his piece was not there. That afternoon, he emailed the editors and never received a response. 

When he was 17, he was getting ready for college. The thought of being a writer again and making his parents angry was appealing. After one attempt at using his favorite pencil to write, he gave up. Instead, he dated a girl named Amber. Amber angered his parents without him having to try. Amber didn’t require him to write or be a writer. His parents got so angry that Amber left, so angry that she moved out of town. 

When he was 18, he went to college. He studied to become a doctor at a community college. There he met a girl in his class, who wasn’t really in his class. She snuck in because she was bored and needed something to occupy her afternoon. With a look over his shoulder, they made eye contact before security bursted in and forced her to leave. After class, he skipped down the steps to walk to his dorm and there she was, waiting. He looked at her and grunted, 

‘Do you usually break into people’s classrooms?’ 

‘You’re angry… understandable if you’re studying to be a doctor.’ 

‘How’d you know that?’ 

‘I think the quote “Incoming Doctor!” on your backpack gave it away.’

‘Oh… right.’ 

The two of them reached his dorm before she asked, 

‘Do you wanna go out?’ 

‘We are out.’ 

‘No, like on a date, I mean.’ 

‘Oh, well- uh.’ 

‘Actually, I should go I-’ 

‘Yes… yes I would.’

‘Cool, I’ll pick you up at 8.’ 

They filled their date with laughter and smiles before she finally mentioned the pending question, 

‘What made you wanna be a doctor?’ 

‘My parents.’ 

‘Oh okay, are they doctors?’ 

‘No, they aren’t… they uh- made me because… I couldn’t decide what to do.’

‘Well… what makes you feel passionate?’ 

‘I guess uh… writing?’ 

‘Oh! You’re a writer?’ 

‘Please don’t call me that… I’m not.’ 

When he was 19, he quit medical school to become a writer. He had been dating the girl that appeared in his class for a year. She encouraged him to write, not to make his parents angry, but to tell stories he wanted to tell. One day, he had spent an entire day fixing and perfecting his pitch to his dream magazine. If they turned him down, then he was going to be embarrassed to call himself a writer. When he told her that the magazine had rejected him, she held his hands and said, 

‘You’re a writer, so write and if people don’t like it, that’s okay… that’s what it means to be a writer.’ 

‘… I’m a writer.’ 

‘Yeah… you are.’ 

When he was 20 years old, he knew he was a writer.