Photo by Tim Barber
Every year (or maybe just this year and never again), Vice pledges a giant "hello" to the magna cum laude of America's high schools. This time around, we'll be focusing on the English Literature classes of Queens and Brooklyn, motherfuckers.
Personal Narrative and Review are the names of the game here, two slippery genres that have been tackled with varying degrees of success by everyone from Jonathan Swift to David Sedaris. In personal narrative, the writer obeys that most basic of dictums: Write what you know. It is harder, some writers say, to know thyself than it is to know the hearts of others, but one must forage forward for that is the way of the scribe.
In a review, the writer is charged with the Herculean task of making his own heartfelt opinion be universally understandable (and, it is hoped, honeyed with persuasion). But enough of our rambling foppishness. Let's let the children speak for themselves. We hereby present—with magnanimous pride—some recent work by young essayists attending motherfuckers's public schools. We offer the work in its pure form, free from any editorial intrusion.
I believe that zodiac signs are full of it. They say so much junk bout things. They tell me I'm going to die twice. They also say that I am a good person but sneaky at times. They say I am compatible with a Leo, cancer, and Sagittarius, but I bump heads with Virgo's and don't get along with Scorpio's. That's not true. I am good with Virgo's and I can't stand Leo's. Maybe that's because my moms one. How can you label someone SNEAKY? It's human nature to be sneaky, you can't put it all on me. Everyone can be sneaky when they want to be. Also, whenever I hear my horoscope it never comes true. They say loves coming my way. NOT! They say, you're about to get a job. NOT! I think someone just sits around and writes these things and is jipping someone out of their money. I am considered a Gemini, and trust me, I'd be better off, off the zodiac chart because I believe that it's nothing but a jinx.
11th Grade, Brooklyn
It was Friday September 22nd 2000, last period. I received a page on my delta pager that read "call home Charee is at the hospital" Charee is my babys mother and was nine months pregnet at the time. So I ask coach Jones if I could use the phone to call my house, I talked to my Dad he said "Charee water has broke go straight to the hospital." I told my teacher the news he congradulated me and I was on my way. I walked down to the bustop a nervous wreck, Charee cousin was at the bustop she heard the news so she was the also on her way to the hospital. I stop downtown to get some ballons and flowers. Then got on the bus heading towards the hospital. When I got there Charee family was in the room with the doctors, she went through serval hours of labor I had beatiful baby at eight-thirty at night she was 22inches long and 6.9 pounds.
12th Grade, Brooklyn
In this next piece, the author was asked to record his reactions to a photograph documenting the atrocities of the Holocaust.
The holocaust was terrible thig at the camp 6.2 million Jews died at this point of time
The photo… had 1,500 people was dead in my photo none of them walking all of them Just laying there dead and one man Just walking around the dead body
My opionion on this is that it is terrible I never seen anything like this all of those people dead they killed more people that live in motherfuckers
When I saw this Photo I was like dam because all of those dead bodys I went crazy like all of those Jews gone for no reason Just for being a Jew
10th Grade, Queens
Another take on the Holocaust…
Dehumanization was done by the people that killed jews. It was wrong but yet still sined Meny jews last there lives by other sources. In this essay I will have 4 paragraphs explaining what Dehumanization was all about and why it was done. When you think of Dehumanization what pops into youre head? I' now the first thing you notes is human and then De . . and then zation. If I where you I would have no clue on what I means. Well people in the Halacousd had the same thing. I problem, something the didin't understand. When they were taken away from there Homes they did, not know why, or what was going on, later on they had a clue. But did not listen. finaly it was clear to them. They were being Dehumanizationed. All there rights were taken away every golden ring or enything worth was gone. I feel bad because when I'm reading this book it gives me pain. One part from the book said. The next morning the veteran prisoners treated us without brutality. I personally thing that if youre not respectful to someone then whats the poin in life. I mean life is what you make it. If you don't respect people its like disrispecting youreself in a way. Making youreself suffer for beang mean to someone. I hate the
10th Grade, Queens
Here we have one student's review of the harrowing Native American masterpiece True Son.
In this essay I am Going to Explaine how true son his change overe the Course of the Book
he changes By Thinking That his Indian soul was taking away From him
true Son has not Change That he still Likes the Indian way of Life.
Even if true son is white he still Thinks in his hart That he is Indian Because That's all he does Now
In concllusia I have Explain how true son Changez and not Change Thrau The Course of the Books
10th Grade, Queens
Speaking of book reviews, here are one student's ruminations on himself as a reader:
Things I like to read is action books because it has excitement and action Stories are not boring at all things I hate to read is Romantic stories because they're boring I don't Romantic Stories at all
I like is the crow and light and the forest those two books I love because the crow is very exciting like they kill him he come back to life because some crow bought hime and go and the people that killed him and he finds them one by one and kill all of the that's action and light and the is action to indians kidnapped some little when he was younger and the kept him until he grown up and the english went to find and they right that's action
a book I dislike is babysitter club and soup talk the babysitter is Just some girls talking and talk soup I don't get it sometime
10th Grade, Queens
Here's another young man on the same topic…
I really do not write or read books. I think is boring a waste of time and I really don't need It as get older. Hopefully this time I will try to change that and read some books. because if I don't its big problems with me at home. I like reading RAP magazines, Cause is interesting but no books, they get me sleepy and very tire. The only book that I actually completely readed in the buss was call to kill a mockin bird which I liked, hard but I liked since that moment I haven't touch another book or even try cause like I said before is a waste of my valuable time. Well there you know about my little story with books I don't think I am gunna Change my mind but I will try, seriously I will
10th Grade, Queens
Finally, we have one young Brooklynite on what he considers to be the best day of his life thus far…
The day was when I graduated from middle school. That felt like the best day of my life because I had to accomplish a lot of hard work in order to be walking that stage when they called my name. Also I had to hang in there trough the bad times.
It was a very good school, and I had great and funny times there with my favorite friends. I also had a great relationship with the teachers.
After the graduation we had went to Country Buffet to eat and celebrate my graduation from middle school and going on to High School. In the end we went home and rested and the day was over.
9th Grade, Brooklyn
Note: This is not a fucking joke. We didn't falsify any of the errors or grade levels here. This is really how high-school kids write.