By Alex Andy Phuong

True Self

A person saw the people around. The world keeps on spinning around. The crowd was loud, yet
proud. The man knows his own reflection. He is like Disney’s heroine Mulan. He knows
himself, and accepts himself.

Historical Ballad

This is a story about the history of the world. The Earth was created one day. Some
people would say that God created the world. Other people would argue that the Earth is nothing
more than a giant rock floating in space. Ever since the dawn of time, people have speculated
who they are and why they are here. In fact, most of the greatest wars to ever occur on Earth
happened because of arguments over religion. Famous examples include the War of the Roses,
and the Thirty Years’ War. Indeed, debate has been prevalent throughout the history of the
world, but that is the origin of conflict.

The greatest stories of all time have conflicts that resonate with readers. Dorothy wanted
to return home in The Wizard of Oz, and the course of true love never did run smooth in plays
like A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare. It has been
said that great writing reflects the historical period that such pieces were written in.
Nevertheless, perhaps the greatest story of all time is the history of the entire world. Finally,
time might pass incessantly, but society will know what the world will be like as long as people
do what they do, and that is just the way of the world.

Essentially Artistic

In Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, a famous quote ends the preface of this particular novel—“All art is quite useless.”  Some would argue that art is not necessary for life because people need food and water to stay alive.  Nevertheless, art is actually about being alive.  Both Nicole Kidman and Viola Davis have emphasized the importance of art when both of these actresses won Academy Awards.  Specifically, Kidman openly spoke the sentence, “Art is important” when she won an Oscar for her leading role as Virginia Woolf in the celebrated film adaptation of Michael Cunningham’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Hours.  Kidman might be better remembered for playing the courtesan, Satine, in Moulin Rouge!, but she artistically captured the psychological complexity of Virginia Woolf, which helped her earn a Golden Globe and an Academy Award (along with the assistance of a prosthetic nose).  Over a decade later, Viola Davis earned an Oscar for her supporting role in the critically acclaimed film version of Fences, based on August Wilson’s stage play.  Viola Davis made a great point about how everyone will eventually gather together in the graveyard.  She expressed gratitude for winning an Oscar while also encouraging viewers to exhume the bodies of the people that had dearly departed, and to preserve their stories and memories.  Davis herself memorably mentioned that she became an artist because creative individuals are part of the only profession that celebrates what it means to live a life.  She is actually correct in many ways because artistic expression truly does add beauty and majesty to an otherwise bland existence.  Oscar Wilde might have been a controversial writer, and he might be more well-known to contemporary audiences as an LGBT icon, but art has an interesting way to enter the eyes of viewers while also impacting their souls.  Art might be a very subjective term, but that is because everyone is technically a critic.  People have their own opinions about what is art, beautiful, and the meaning of life.  Some would argue that life is meaningless, much like the soliloquy that Macbeth gave during the fifth act of William Shakespeare’s Scottish play.  No matter what one believes in, art actually does serve a purpose—to enhance the minds and imaginations of viewers of those masterpieces.  Since all people are critics, it actually is okay for people to say what they say (as long as such comments are not slanderous, of course).  Everyone has likes and dislikes.  People can express their opinions about what art is while paying proper respect to artists that create their work.  Without the art created throughout art history, the world actually would be very bland, boring, and bleak.  Because of the dismal truths that can make life difficult, art does serve the purpose of providing hope for the future.  The future is uncertain, but people can still utilize their imaginations to embellish reality through colorful creations.  Art is essential to beautify the world, and inspire people to celebrate life itself before they venture into the next great adventure.

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