Between the Pages: Refund: Stories (Karen E. Bender)

Refund: Stories Karen E. Bender

Refund: Stories
Karen E. Bender

I bought Karen Bender’s Refund because it was on sale at Barnes & Noble (and because it was one of last year’s National Book Award finalists and the excerpt looked interesting); it was only until after I arrived home that I realized how fitting it was that I had chosen this particular novel: on the first page were the words, “We think about it every day, sometimes every hour: Money. Who has it. Who doesn’t. How you get it. How you don’t.” Every decision we make in our lives, including my decision to choose the cheaper book on sale, seems to have some sort of underlying financial motivation, and the lengths each of us will go to in order to find a temporary happiness, to make sense of our situations or to fight our battles differs because of, once again, money.

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an understanding of human nature

bruhJust some thoughts — as well as the need for affirmation that neither am I invisible nor too short to see.

Or maybe I am one of the above. Or both.


Apple always told us that life was easier with an iPhone…

…and it’s not that far off from the truth.

Indeed, life is easier when instead of having to acknowledge people on the streets or in the stores, all it takes is good acting and luck.

Oh, is that a new text message?
No, but who will know?
Better go check it and avoid eye contact with that seventh grade teacher who may or may not remember you.
So you pull out your phone and stare at your home screen for a while, swiping back and forth between your pages.
Perhaps I should change my wallpaper…

But that’s only if luck is on your side and you remembered to bring your phone, or else your only other two solutions are to hide in an aisle or risk being recognized, or worse, spoken to.

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a woman’s place is in the house & senate

As I was scrolling through my Facebook feed today instead of doing homework (oh man, I feel like too many of my posts are started that way…not too sure if it’s a good or a bad thing, haha), I stumbled upon this picture that someone I knew shared:

this is some bullshit

Oh man, oh man. Yes, I know, every person has their own opinions about different issues, and I entirely respect that. But, but…AHH THIS HURTS ME A LITTLE TOO MUCH. Okay, okay, I’ll calm down now and let’s talk about this. Here’s why I think this post is wrong on so, so many levels.

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It’s that time again, where I get to read all these interesting things that my friends and fellow classmates have to say about plays,  poetry and art!
Longfellow’s poem seemed to focus more on the past, on all the achievements he’d missed in his life, while Keats poem emphasized the ephemeral nature of humanity, that we may never be able to accomplish everything we wish to do. Interesting analysis of the two poem’s structures, which helps to identify the tones of the poems. This author argues that Keats seemed more wistful and hopeful – represented by the strange position of the volta in the middle of the sentence, while Longfellow seemed to accept his depressing situation through his calm analysis.
Ophelia and Gertrude’s role, and together how their actions reflect Shakespeare’s subtle (or not-so-subtle) assertions about the roles assigned to women in their society and the ways  in which they are treated, are discussed in this blog post. The author argues that both Gertrude and Ophelia’s deaths are suicides as that would best fit Shakespeare’s belief that women shouldn’t be so oppressed by society, and the two are quite conscious of the fact that by committing suicide, they are exercising the one form of control they have over their disintegrating lives.
The author of this blog examines Jackson Pollock’s No. 1 and states that art is a projection of the viewer. It’s not as much what we see as much as what we feel by looking at these paintings. The size of the painting, then, also allows what the author calls “a primitive  unleashing of the inner self.” None of these paintings in the series have names and all look pretty similar, yet each one of them (with varying sizes and shapes) exudes a unique atmosphere, left for the viewers themselves to decide what exactly that is. On that note, here’s Pollock’s No. 10 that I found in the Boston Museum of Arts:

Jackson Pollock.

Jackson Pollock’s No. 10 at the Boston Museum of Arts.


It’s that time again, where I get to read all these interesting things that my friends and fellow classmates have to say about life, music and literature!
The author of this blog post questions our dwelling on the trivialities of life, such as debating the use of the Oxford comma, rather than the actual important events and aspects of our lives. The song that she analyzes, Oxford Comma by the Vampire Weekend, is one of my favorite songs as well, and the fact that I use it argue with my friends about the importance of Oxford Commas is quite ironic, as after further looking at the lyrics, it’s exactly that that this song is ridiculing.
The blog post explores the life of Nancy Jurgevich,  a Commander of the Women’s Army Corps Detachment in Saigon during the Vietnam War. After the war, she went on to work for the Pentagon. Her story is indeed very interesting, as she had to overcome her experience in the war AND the fact that she was a female.
My favorite blog post in a while now…The author applies the song “Born Again” to her own life, how she stood up for herself against the people criticizing her for quitting softball. It takes courage to fight societal pressure; it takes power and confidence to be able to tell everyone else around you, “I’m going to do what’s best for me,” and what she did is something that a lot of people –myself included (and O’Brien) — have later called ourselves cowards for not doing.


A new school year, with new friends and new blogs! Here are a few really interesting blogs that you should take some time to look at! 🙂
In this blog post, the author notes her habit of dwelling on her mistakes and her faults, and vows to get better at being able to move on and not let them hinder her from moving forward with her life. The way the cartoon depicts the solution to her problem was through the use of books, and she, too, believes that with books, she can come to terms with her feelings.
This author’s birthday coincided with the July 20, 2012 shooting at a Colorado movie theater during the much anticipated premiere of “The Dark Knight Rises,” and how we’ve started to avoid the truth, thinking that that is the quickest way to avoid the empathetic pain induced by the suffering of others. However, empathy is the only way to heal our problems, and we can no longer turn a blind eye to these issues.
With more and more rumors about Joe Biden joining the presidential election, the author of this blog divulges on his reasoning behind these theories. Additionally, he comments on the current presidential candidates and their scandals, noting that a Biden-Warren ticket, if it ever happens, would be the only scandal-free ticket that combines strong economical and social policies with an experienced political background.

My fellow bloggers (Part IV)

Here are some more of my classmates’ blogs. As they say, the world is giving you answers each day. Maybe you’ll find yours here. 🙂




My fellow bloggers (Part III)

Check out some of my fellow bloggers! Maybe you’ll learn something new, maybe not. But then you’ll certainly miss out on some of the best blogs out there. 🙂