This I Believe

Original: My name is Audrey McEvoy and by no means am I a writer. I keep a journal that I write in when I’m feeling stressed just so I can get my thoughts out of my head, but even then my entries are few and far between. I enjoy writing short stories but I am a very visual person and I have difficulty translating what I see in my head into words. I draw a lot of inspiration from folktales, urban legends, and mythology. I own a medieval bestiary and several encyclopedias of mythical creatures and places. I use these books constantly in my artwork and fiction writing assignments.  It is safe to assume that nonfiction is not my forte. However, I do believe that writing is a good skill to have and I look forward to improving my work in this class.

Revisited: Although I believe I have improved as a writer since the semester began, I still struggle with writing when I’m not passionate about the topic. If I’m not excited about what I’m writing it’s a lot harder for me to put my thoughts into words. I’m still extremely visual and prefer fictitious writing to non-fictitious. I have more fun writing when there’s more room for creativity. As an artist, I like to create new things and tell new stories, which is why I think I have such difficulty writing about facts and social issues. I would much rather tell a story about monsters and adventures than discuss the inequality that exists in the real world. Overall, I’ve learned a lot from this class and a lot about myself as a writer.

The Effect of Video Games on Early Cognitive Development

Video games have been on the front lines of the entertainment industry for the past ten years. Their usage of violence and sexual content has caused a large controversy in the media, especially among younger consumers. However, recent studies suggest that gaming can effect more than a child’s social behavior. The way a child learns can be affected as well.

The Effect of Video Games on Early Cognitive

The Women of the Walking Dead

AMC’s The Walking Dead leaves no character archetype unexplored. The over protective father, the traitorous best friend, the sheltered farm girl, all are characters that exist in the zombie infested world of The Walking Dead. Though these characters are bland and overdone at face value, the writers of the series manage to fulfill these archetypes while simultaneously breaking stereotypes. Specifically, the women of The Walking Dead are gold mines of character development and complexity. The characters Maggie, Michonne, and Carol are especially good at breaking the stereotypical glass ceiling.
In Season 2 of The Walking Dead, the protagonist Rick and his rag-tag team of survivors happen across a farm inhabited by a small religious family. One of the men of the group, Glen, takes a liking to one of the daughters living in the farm house, Maggie. She is a good christian girl, a typical southern belle. She is feminine, friendly, and submissive to her elders. Glen and Maggie later go on a supply run together. When Maggie finds Glen fumbling around looking at condoms, she reacts by taking her shirt off and offering to have sex right there in an abandoned pharmacy. Maggie, a woman, has just taken control of her sexuality. Even more fascinating is that the resulting partnership is passionate and filled with emotional depth, despite the fact that it started as a casual sexual encounter. Later in the series, Maggie proves her worth as a gifted marksman and volunteers for dangerous scouting missions. She is deadly and intelligent but keeps her femininity and emotional vulnerability. The stereotypical southern belle wouldn’t stand a chance against Maggie.
When first introduced to the survivors in Season 3, Michonne is a loner. She is quiet, stoic, and incredibly dangerous. She wields a katana rather than a gun and shows no fear towards the undead. Her archetype is the stereotypical female warrior. When she impresses Rick with her skills and loyalty, he proposes that she joins his group. When meeting the survivors, Michonne says very little. She does not speak unless spoken to and takes nothing that isn’t given to her. Despite the fact that she chose to join the group, she keeps her guard up. However, as time passes, Michonne reveals her true colors. Despite her strong, masculine personality, she shares that she has a soft spot for children and ends up being close friends with Rick’s teenage son, Carl. Even though she came late into the group, Rick often goes to Michonne for advice. Interestingly, her suggestions are often times sympathetic and optimistic, showing that she still has faith in the good of people. Michonne fulfills the mysterious female assassin archetype, but unlike other woman warriors, she is caring, empathetic, and strays away from over-sexualization.
Carol has been with the survivors since the beginning of the series and develops more than any other character. She is introduced as a battered housewife. She is never found far from her abusive husband or young daughter. She is incompetent and emotionally unstable. This changes after both her husband and daughter die. Carol becomes an integral member of the group, proving herself with her cunning and quick thinking. Even when separated from her group, she manages to survive several weeks on her own with few supplies. When approached by untrustworthy strangers, she plays up her weaknesses to remain inconspicuous. When approached by enemies she doesn’t hesitate to protect her group by any means. The timid woman that appears on screen in the first season is replaced by a strong, independent, intelligent powerhouse of survival skills. Carol defies all expectations, breaking stereotypes in every episode she appears in.
The Walking Dead is a bounty of round characters. Every survivor has a back story and grows as the story continues. The women of the series, specifically Maggie, Michonne, and Carol, especially fulfill the quota for complexity. They each are competent, hard working women who manage to keep their emotional vulnerability realistic. These women perfectly represent what archetypes should be presented in television.

Psychologically Manipulative Grocery Shopping

There is much to be told about a person’s character through their shopping habits, and even more through their grocery shopping habits. The kind of man who does his shopping at Wal-Mart is not the same kind of man who shops at Target.  Does he appreciate a good value? Is quality his main concern? Does he need his products in bulk? These are just a few questions many consumers consider before choosing a grocery shopping destination. If a shopper values health and supporting local farmers, he would likely visit Sprouts Farmer’s Market, a chain of grocery stores that expands beyond the borders of Arizona specializing in organic and healthy foods.

The aesthetic of a store will often times set the mood of a consumer’s shopping experience. Unassuming on the exterior, Sprouts Farmer’s Market sports the same beige paint of the stores surrounding it, only highlighted by the large forest green text standing proudly above the entrance. The interior of the market utilizes a green and brown color palette. The fresh produce is stored in large wooden crates and barrels while grains are stored in wooden baskets. The store has an earthy ambiance while remaining clean and organized. ­­It is exactly the kind of shopping environment I want while looking for produce. The shiny brown floors are calming to the eyes, while the pops of green on the walls remind me of my healthy choices. Sprouts chose these colors to create the optimum shopping experience for its consumers.

The first thing that catches my eye as I enter Sprouts is the display of bright yellow bananas being stocked by a very tired looking worker. Behind the bananas I can see aisle after aisle of very shiny fruits and vegetables with slow paced shoppers littering the walkways. To my slight left there are nuts and grains in little baskets with metal scales standing guard at the end of each aisle. To the direct right, almost hidden, is the natural beauty department. Past the cosmetics is the vitamin and protein section. In the back of the store a line of refrigerators are filled with milk and juice. Directly to my left are a row a cash registers, past them I can see shelves of artisan bread. Next to the bread display there is a small café populated by four people sitting separately from each other. Each person is wearing work out gear and though their meals vary, they all seem to be drinking some form of smoothie.

After taking in the layout of the store, I begin my shopping. The first thing I add to my basket is a large bundle of bananas. Next I fill up a small plastic bag with rice and then another with granola. Afterwards I go back towards the vegetables, picking up bell peppers, tomatoes, and spinach. Then I start throwing strawberries, apples, and mangoes into my basket. Once I reach the back of the store I pick up some almond milk. I realize there is another row of refrigerators to my right that I couldn’t initially see. They hold ice-cream, popsicles, and other frozen treats. I pick up some impulse ice-cream and make my way to the vitamin section. I grab a tub of protein and trek across the store over to the bread. After picking out some fresh sourdough, I go to the register and check out. Overall, I would consider this a typical shopping experience for me, but then I started to analyze my actions. I looked at my shopping list and then into my bags. I didn’t plan on buying bananas, bell peppers, or ice-cream. Then I thought about how I always walk past the natural beauty section and want to explore it, but I never do. What is this store doing to trick me? I look back at the layout of the market. The fruit and vegetable displays take up the majority of the store, but their positioning doesn’t seem to have any rhyme or reason. They form unnecessary corners and bends in the walkway. Thinking back on my shopping, I realized I had made several loops through the produce before moving on. I looked at the back wall of refrigerators. Above them was a mural of a meadow and a large green sign that read “Sprouts Farmer’s Market.” Clearly the designers of the store wanted me to look at the array of cool, refreshing beverages underneath. Malcolm Gladwell describes this phenomenon in his essay, “The Science of Shopping, claiming that “destination items” are placed at the back of the store to draw the consumer further inside (1996). Thinking back to my shopping, rather than making a circle around the store, which would have been a very logical thing to do, I walked straight forward, then to the right, back towards the front of the store, and then all the way to the left. And why did I once again ignore the beauty department? I love makeup and face masks and homemade body washes, that should be my dream aisle. I look back at it. The beauty section is not as brightly lit as the rest of the store, the walkway is narrow and cramped. For reasons beyond my understanding, Sprouts does not want me wandering into that section. They were manipulating me and they were doing it well. However, I wasn’t the only consumer they were forcing their influence upon. Every customer seemed to follow the same pattern: forward, slightly left, straight back, hard right, then left again. Sprouts has found their formula to generate maximum revenue and it’s as simple as the store’s layout. Before leaving, I took one more look at Sprouts. I watched as young, fit shoppers made their way through the same loop that I had just minutes before. I saw their eyes be drawn to those yellow bananas. I saw them glance at the ice-cream once, twice, three times before picking up a carton. I saw them and I understood them, because I was one of them.

References

Gladwell, M. (1996, November 4). The Science of Shopping.