“Serial”: Thoughts on “The Alibi”

From the development of modern technology, students today are now exposed to new forms of media, which includes podcasts. Podcasts are just as effective as reading a book and are highly convenient due to flexibility. The podcast, “Serial”, connects with the listener because of its serious tone and haunting mood.  I am not familiar with podcasts, in other words, “Serial” was one of the few podcasts I have listened to and analyzed. Podcasts or audio books can be highly effective as they allow their audience to create his or her own imagery of the story. Thus, podcasts are able to reach a wider audience, specifically opening avenues to those who are not avid readers.

Image: Podcast Icon; Retrieved from: http://www.mattpaulson.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/podcast.png

Although it was the first episode, and granted that a story cannot go deep in plot during the first show, the podcast was vague and the story was repetitive. For instance, it was not clear why Adnan Syed was the reason for Hae Min Lee’s death. To be specific, throughout the article when the narrator, Sarah Koenig, was close to discovering the victim, new information emerges to contradict evidence leading to Syed’s crime. Therefore, the story brings the audience full circle, wondering who committed the crime.

Image: “Serial” Podcast Logo; Retrieved from: https://serialpodcast.org/sites/all/modules/custom/serial/img/serial-itunes-logo.png

Even though the first episode was vague, I enjoyed listening to this podcast because I think murder mysteries are thrilling. Furthermore, I enjoyed the dialogue because it was helpful to review the plot. The switch between the narration and dialogue helps the listener understand the story from another perspective. In addition, incorporating a dialogue helps the listener connect to the tone; the dialogue becomes less formal and the change of voices catches the audience’s interest even further. As a listener, I felt as though I was part of the conversation and that the characters were speaking around me. Ultimately, the change between narration and dialogue was innovative and effective because it was a simple change in voice and tone.

Image: Connection Through Dialogue; Retrieved from: http://www.evangelicalsforsocialaction.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/dialogue-exdez-istock.jpg

As a listener, I connect with the story because, in the beginning, the characters are the same age as I am. This connection resulted in creating one significant thought: how heartbroken Syed’s family must have felt. With no physical evidence, their own son was convicted for murder. Sarah Koenig, states that her Intel of investigation is from sheer memory that ranged from six weeks to fifteen years (“Serial”). This statement can be interpreted in that anyone can be convicted of a crime depending on the number of people and their stories. If Adnan Syed were my son, I would persist on fighting until the evidence appears and prove whether or not he is guilty. Crime is dealt with facts and evidence, not with a suspicion or from a memory.

Image: (Left) Hae Min Lee, (Right) Adnan Syed; Retrieved from: https://i.ytimg.com/vi/fWJ8VaJhJS8/maxresdefault.jpg

Including “Serial”, after listening to a few podcasts, I prefer to read books. I am a visual learning type, so having the physical copy of the book is very helpful for me, in comparison to an audio file. From the hard copy, I am able analyze the story more intricately. Visually, I can read in between the lines, and I can easily look for references whenever I desire. Personally, having to listen to a podcast with no physical copy of the script can stress me out because I can mishear words or, daze off and lose my spot. Books may be old-fashioned, but they are helpful to me. Similarly, with everything, there are drawbacks regarding hard-copy novels. To be specific, since there is no audio file, the tone of a character can be misinterpreted. Meaning that without a direct notation, readers could argue the type of tone a character is exclaiming in. Moreover, “Serial” provided a music recording which sets the article’s mood, which is a lacking feature in hard-copied novels. Therefore, the audience must decipher the tone and mood on their own. With everything, there will be different opinions on those items. While others prefer podcasts or an audio file, I prefer the physical copy of the books.

Living in the 21st century, I am curious to know if there will be any further discoveries or developments that could enhance literature and how media can be expressed. The podcast, “Serial” has revealed a new side of audio books and the ultimate idea of podcasts. Perhaps my perspective of podcasts will change in the future; maybe I will grow to enjoy them more than I have ever. As a listener, I am sure of one fact that this podcast, story and all, will not leave for some time.

Works Cited

Koenig, Sarah. “Serial: The Alibi.” Thames Valley DSB. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 May 2017.

“Season One.” Serial. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 May 2017.







“Wild”: Strayed, the Strong Feminist

No matter the gender, the use of feminism in literature will empower and educate the readers of the true potential and power women possess. Throughout Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, the subject of feminism is portrayed quite clearly. The author, Cheryl Strayed, stresses the capability of women whenever possible, and these situations are truly focused on when the protagonist deals with challenges. Ultimately, the author demonstrates the true power a woman has especially when she overcomes her obstacles.

Image: Equality No Matter the Gender; Retrieved from: http://www.clipartbest.com/cliparts/nTB/Eb6/nTBEb6Gbc.jpg 

The reader can depict Strayed as a feminist, not just based on her gender, but also she shows the character as willful and persistent throughout the trail. Surrounded by men and a few women, Strayed does not waver from a challenge even though she is a woman who is hiking alone (Strayed 88). To be specific, despite being the only single female hiker, Strayed finishes the Pacific Crest Trail alongside the male hikers (Strayed 309). The author portrays women as independent and capable people, as she demonstrates through the protagonist, showing that the character does not need the company of her ex-husband or friends on her adventure. In spite of being alone, Strayed illustrates that she has not lost her identity and continues to endure what her journey mapped out for her; Strayed came to realize that solitude was acceptable (Strayed 189).

As Strayed gains more hiking experience, her fellow hikers give her the name of the “Queen of the PCT”, as she was the only female to hike alone with no one to guide her across the Pacific Crest Trail (Strayed 296). Alone or with companions, the author proves that women are capable of survival on their own (Strayed 88).

Image: Hiking Image; Retrieved from: https://68.media.tumblr.com/48e4352582c62a792127c345ac0b5ca6/tumblr_njx4z3UD2H1tsa5o2o1_500.jpg

Although Strayed is a feminist, she recognizes her femininity more than ever as she is an unaccompanied female ringed by male hikers. As a result, Strayed not only acknowledges the powers that women have, but also the dangers that women face (Strayed 286 – 287). To be specific, Strayed does not coward to men, even if she feels particularly delicate.

No matter the gender, men and women all have there moments when they feel most vulnerable. Thus, despite the fact that the author shows feminist ideals, the author contradicts herself in relation to the exposure to sexuality. Perhaps that vulnerability is from someone’s sexuality being tested. Indeed the author portrays women as strong individuals, however, the character’s sexuality is tested due to her history with men in the past and her encounters with men on the trail. To be specific, Strayed has had many sexual encounters, where she can now disregard the feelings  – like many males – and she is “capable of being detached when it comes to sex” (Strayed 131). This situation can negatively impact how the reader views women, and how the reader changes perception about men. For example, the novel depicts males as sexual objects which contrasts other works of literature. That is to say, by symbolizing men as sexual objects does not redeem how women have been seen in literature in the past (i.e., women perceived as sexual objects). As an illustration, the author emphasizes the protagonist’s many sexual encounters to show that women can be as promiscuous as men. Ironically, although Strayed is a feminist, her views and actions regarding her sexuality, is one of retaliation rather than acceptance. Moreover, the author also shows women as fragile when it comes self-dignity, opposing her feminist ideal. To further explain when Strayed came across Jonathan, Strayed vowed that she would not have sex with him, in order to do so, she did not bring a condom with her (Strayed 255). Unfortunately, later that night, the two of them had sex (Strayed 257). As a result, the author contradicts her feminist viewpoints by demonstrating that women have no self-control.

Image: Empowered Females; Retrieved from: http://vitaminw.co/sites/default/files/styles/large/public/Rosie-the-Riveter.jpg?itok=MkYKdIzn

Although, the author opposes some of her feminist views, Strayed’s sexual encounters with the male hikers proves that even though women have power, they can face frailty. In the process, the character learns to accept her sexuality and welcomes that aspect a part of her new life. All-in-all, the author continues to portray women as courageous and uses weakness as a positive learning tool.

In literature, role plays and backstories enhance the quality of the overall novel. In Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, the readers are able to depict certain roles that men and women play. Whether the women are alone or with companions, these specific roles heighten how women are perceived. As previously mentioned, the author clearly demonstrates that the majority of the male characters play the role of sex objects. On the contrary, there are a few male hikers who help Strayed along her journey. To be specific, a man named, Albert, helped Strayed lighten her backpack, thus making Albert play the role of guide (Strayed 106). In the last blog, the protagonist, Cheryl Strayed, plays the role of an unwilling hero. Moreover, the role that Strayed’s fellow female hikers and the supporting female cast play is the role of support system. For example, Susanna helps Strayed by massaging her feet, an act of support and respect (Strayed 244). Thus this action reveals that the role of the female companion is one of sisterhood in order to help survive the wild together. Hence, feminism is the voice of all women and is meant to be passed on through all forms of communication.

Image: Role Play Image; Retrieved from: http://rice2016.vardhaman.org/images/g8.gif

Throughout the novel, Strayed reaches out to me not as a reader, but also as a female leader. That is to say, as I finished this novel, I was motivated by Strayed’s story and felt that I have the power to survive any circumstance on my own.  Cheryl Strayed, was able to use feminism in her novel to empower readers no matter the gender. As in the words of Gloria Steinem, “a feminist is anyone who recognizes the equality and full humanity of women and men.”

Image: The Cover of Strayed’s Novel; Retrieved from: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/8c/95/eb/8c95eb8c4a778b0b15ff6d94ee4dc47c.jpg

Works Cited

“Cheryl Strayed.” Biography.com. A&E Networks Television, 06 July 2016. Web. 12 May 2017. <http://www.biography.com/people/cheryl-strayed>.

Lundquist, Molly. “Wild (Strayed).” Wild – Cheryl Strayed – Summary – Book Club Discussion Questions. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 May 2017.

“Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail.” Pacific Crest Trail – Home. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 May 2017. <https://www.fs.usda.gov/pct/>.

“Quotes About Feminism (2829 quotes).” (2829 quotes). N.p., n.d. Web. 12 May 2017. <http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/feminism>.

Strayed, Cheryl. Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail. New York, NY: Vintage , 2013. Print.

“Wild”: The Unwilling Hiking Hero

When analyzing, Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, from an archetypal perspective, this novel follows similar patterns as many other story lines. Among the archetypal genres found in novels, Strayed shows herself as the main character of the story and an archetypal unwilling hero, based mainly on her hesitation and doubt. Furthermore, the protagonist must continue on her journey, however, needs to be motivated by others in order to overcome over her obstacles. Later in the story, the protagonist changes her perspective of the adventure and commits to the challenge.

Image: Archetypal Hero’s Journey; Retrieved from: https://thefirstgates.com/2013/08/22/two-views-of-the-hero-myth/

Strayed hikes along the Pacific Crest Trail, and illustrates indecisiveness as she screams her doubts about the hiking journey (Strayed 50). The author constantly questions her  own decision to hike such an endless trail, thus leaving her doubtful about the overall odyssey. Her hesitation continues to grow until the feeling becomes regretful (Strayed 71).

Fortunately, during the journey, Strayed met fellow hikers that helped and motivated her throughout the hike, namely Greg, who guided her on the way to Kennedy Meadows (Strayed 89). One of Strayed’s bigger challenges was her hiking bag, and luckily another hiker, named Albert, was kind enough to help lighten Strayed’s load , thus allowing the hike to be more bearable (Strayed 106). Aside from Greg and Albert, there were other characters who assisted Strayed’s hiking adventure, hence allowing the character to feel more confident in her hiking abilities. This support that helped lead to Strayed’s courage allowed her to gradually commit to her journey.

Image: A female hiker; Retrieved from: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/a0/30/46/a03046a30d118afbef5408e78acc8bfa.jpg

It is the human condition to face challenges, and in turn, these challenges eventually become routine. To be specific, according to the novel, Strayed’s sudden hiking life caused several disruptions within her life, however, as she slowly becomes accustomed to the patterns of hiking, Strayed begins to commit to hiking as a privilege. This commitment to the journey is evident when Strayed is determined to arrive at Kennedy Meadows before the two men (Strayed 95). In spite of her regret of her hiking journey, she decided to persevere in order to reach her goal (Strayed 95). At the beginning of this second section, Strayed has been longing to contact her family, specifically her ex-husband, Paul. Now, as she walks along the trail she states that even though she might be more alone than anyone, “that was okay” (Strayed 189).

Even though many novels tend to follow similar patterns, the unwilling hero in this story is completely different from others I have read in the past. Thus the comparisons and contrasts between other novels and Wild allow me to connect and make references, in regards to archetypal heroes.

In addition, there is extreme symbolism throughout the novel, particularly, the backpack, the Pacific Crest Trail, and the water supply; these symbols represent the obstacles Strayed must face in order to overcome her objective. The common patterns that are found in many novels are the ideas to overcome hardships that are given to the protagonist. Another familiar pattern found in novels, as well as this one, is that the protagonist grows from their innocence to gain experience. At first Strayed felt incompetent compared to the other hikers, however, as time passes and as she gains experience, she later states she is equal to them; she considered herself an “Amazonian queen” (Strayed 202). Moreover, the protagonist would never have gained the experience needed, without her fellow hikers to assist her. That is to say, the people who helped Strayed, served as archetypal guides. To be specific, Greg and Albert were Strayed’s mentors as they motivated her to continue and lightened her load (Strayed 106). One pattern that is almost always shown in media is the descent into danger. For instance, in the novel, Strayed’s life was in jeopardy when she was dangerously dehydrated and the next water tank was miles away (Strayed 193 -194). In order to stay hydrated, Strayed went to the nearest reservoir and drank the “questionable liquid” (Strayed 195). Hence Strayed learned to avoid carelessness, which was the case of drinking all of her water and not measuring future consequences. These patterns of symbolism are only a few of the many that are found in Wild and in many other novels.

Image: An image of a backpack and boots, two significant items in Wild. ; Retrieved from: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/3f/0f/70/3f0f705bd55023351f58ed8a85b32d30.jpg

Due to the archetypal patterns, the reader will be able to predict what will happen in what remains in the book. I believe that I will expect to see Strayed adapting herself to hiking even more, as a result allowing herself to enjoy the Pacific Crest Trail journey to a greater extent.

After reading the first two-thirds of Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, I am anxious to read about how Strayed’s journey ends and what obstacles are before her. The patterns found in an archetypal response can always be altered to the author’s favor.

Image: The cover of Strayed’s novel; Retrieved from: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/8c/95/eb/8c95eb8c4a778b0b15ff6d94ee4dc47c.jpg

Works Cited

Lundquist, Molly. “Wild (Strayed).” Wild – Cheryl Strayed – Summary – Book Club Discussion Questions. N.p., N.d. Web. 01 May 2017.
http://www.litlovers.com/reading-guides/14-non-fiction/8839-wild-strayed >.

“Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail.” U.S DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE. N.p., N.d. Web. 1 May 2017.
< https://www.fs.usda.gov/pct/ >.

Strayed, Cheryl. Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail. New York, NY: Vintage , 2013. Print.