Paula I Arraiza

Greyhound Strangers

Progym: Impersonation

“These were my thoughts as I looked at the other passengers and noted a woman wearing a bologna sandwich on her head. Was there really a bologna sandwich on her head? Yes, unmistakably. Also, she wore a blue Snuggie.” (in Savannah)

(from the woman’s point of view)

As time passed on my extremely long journey to God-knows-where, I felt myself begin to go more and more crazy. Being confined to buses for long days and nights, with nowhere to sleep comfortably or any real food has definitely taken a toll on me. At this point in the journey, I do not care how I act or what I eat or what I’m wearing, or who around me is judging me. As my stomach growled from extreme hunger, caused by consuming sugar-filled snacks and a tremendous amount of gas station coffee for days on end, I saw my salvation coming near me: a sandwich shop. I couldn’t believe what my eyes were seeing, I was so sleep deprived I could’ve cried from happiness. I skipped down the bus stairs like a kid coming down a bus to go into Disney World for the first time. With my blue Snuggie on for maximum comfort and not a care in the world, I went into this random sandwich shop to buy what felt like a gourmet meal. For some reason, my stomach decided it was craving bologna, so I obeyed and ordered a bologna sandwich. I happily walked my way back to the bus, which would hold me captive for a few more days before I reached my destination. I sat down on a random chair and decided, for some unknown reason except my craziness from this bus, to see how people would react if I held my beloved sandwich on top of my head. I got many odd looks, which were completely valid, but it was a fun time for me. At least I have this delicious sandwich and my comfortable Snuggie to keep me company for the rest of my journey.



Samuel E Evans

“Journey Into Night,” by David Sedaris, “Trespass,” by Paul Theroux

Progym: Impersonation

I love to travel, and I am lucky to be able to do so, or rather I like the parts of travel that don’t actually involve the process of getting there. I enjoy the destination or the activity, but there is little that is worse than sitting in an airport at 5:00 AM or trying to sleep on a stomach full of rest-stop food in the back of a minivan. Those are the moments that make you wish that teleportation existed, so you could snap your fingers and appear on the beach, at the trailhead, in front of Big Ben, at Grandma’s house.

One such experience for me occurred after the Christmas break of my Sophomore year of high school. My parents, sister, and I had spent the better half of the two-week holiday at our second cousin’s beach house in South Carolina, along with an assortment of uncles, aunts, and grandparents. All in all, there were over a dozen of us crammed into the house, which didn’t have a steady internet connection, on a gated island community that generally had no draw except for the beach. For that week, the daily high temperature never surpassed 65 degrees, and most days saw at least some rain and a whole lot of frigid Atlantic wind.

My one uncle, Pete, who, though we love him dearly, is known for being a little eccentric, arrived for the week already somewhat sick. He proceeded to cough, sneeze, and complain unincumbered the entire time, despite the obvious irritation and concerns of all others present.

“It’s just a cold,” he said in response to our unease, “don’t let me get in the way.”

Halfway through the week, we went into town to a highly-rated, authentic South Carolina barbeque restaurant for lunch. I, being a foolish and daring teenager, ordered a massive rack of ribs, of which I ate four-fifths before beginning to feel quite ill. While walking around the quaint downtown afterward, I quickly became aware that something was up. Sure enough, I subsequently spent much of the remainder of the week, including New Year’s, laid up with what could only be Uncle Pete’s mystery cough.

The week finally ended, and we said our goodbyes, gave out hugs and piled into our rented Ford Focus bound for the Atlanta airport. It was there, in the seemingly boiling hot leather backseat of that automobile that I felt the illness crawl like some animal from my abdomen up into my head over that three-hour journey. Suddenly I appeared, standing in the lobby of the airport in line with our family’s luggage, staring at the ceiling as some demon poured boiling water into my eyes and ears while I internally cursed my Uncle Pete.

And the airport, which I had thought at that moment to be the worst place to experience some kind of mutant full-body flu only paled in comparison to my experience on the flight. Each elevation change awoke me from my ill slumber by sending searing shockwaves down my ear canals. What joy that must have been for the man sitting next to me, having a noticeably sick teenage boy restlessly sleeping mere inches away from him.

The travel experience, and I mean the journey, not the destination, is nearly always bad. Clichés to the contrary which imply some great significance to the act of getting places are lies because I don’t know if I’ve ever really gleaned anything from spending time in airplanes and airports besides the knowledge of how much I hate it. This is, however, the common experience of the airline traveler. Whether you are on your way to a weeklong Mediterranean cruise or off to a business conference in Tulsa, you have to sit together on this speeding tin can for several hours, hating your existence. At least, that’s what I think everyone else is doing, because I am.

Phillip Wade Wilson

The Happiest Place on Earth – Impersonation

As I walk through the gates, I can already smell the scents being blasted onto Main Street USA. The confectionary shops, the sweet aroma, is drifting outside the park and into my nostrils filling me with the childlike wonder of going to the fair. It gives me this nostalgic feeling as if I’ve been here before, of course, I have as it’s my seventh time at Walt Disney World, but I mean it’s sending me to my younger memories, not of this place but others. As I scan my magic band and the mouse ears go from white to bright green, I’m able to enter.

The first thing I spot is these large mascots of famous Disney characters taking photos with all of the park guests. When I stop and think about it, it is so odd we know there are humans, most likely dripping in sweat because the heat index is near 100 degrees F today, inside of these costumes yet we are so excited to give them a hug and refer to them as if they were the real character. Not to mention those who pretend to be the princes and princesses who we can actually see, and while they do give a striking resemblance to the princes and princesses from the films it is still odd we put ourselves in this ‘Disney magic’ that should really be called ‘Disney make-believe’. Nonetheless, these characters, especially when they just pop into restaurants to take pictures with you while you eat, add an extra layer to how unique this theme park is to every other in the entire world.

I have never seen a large amount of trash, more than two ‘unhappy’ workers a day, or even felt unsafe while at the parks. The worst thing about them is the egregious lines that take up most of your day, and yet somehow, we are all ok with waiting 120 minutes for a five-minute ride… I can say in all honesty, I’ve waited in the same 120-minute line back to back. The sheer attention to detail that is present in these parks is my reasoning and my rationalization. While there is always construction going on or something being expanded, I just think about how much better it will be when I come back.

I tried impersonation here because I really the way David Wallace writes. He has this openness in his writing style through tone and diction that doesn’t hold back. He’s willing to tell every detail about something that occurred, even if it makes him look silly or strange. I enjoy the way he detailed his interactions (or lack thereof) with Petra and how he tried to see how they would know when to clean his room. I found this to be such a curious thing to do, but I see why he would do it because I too am fascinated by this process. Reading this part was what pushed me to try impersonation, I think I got some aspects of his writing, but it’s not fully realized yet. I attempted to compare his way of writing to one of the times I went to Walt Disney World two summers ago.

Samuel E Evans

“Shipping Out” by David Foster Wallace, pt. 2

Progym: Impersonation

“Every public surface on the m.v. Nadir that isn’t stainless steel or glass or varnished parquet or dense and good-smelling sauna-type wood is plush blue carpet that never has a chance to accumulate even one flecklet of lint because jumpsuited Third World guys are always at it with Siemens A.G.® vacuums” (45).

I’ve never been on a cruise, but two years ago I went, for the first time, on an all-inclusive resort vacation in the Caribbean. It was one of those package-deals where almost every tiny thing from the flight-in to the flight out is included: bussing, all-you-can-eat meals, two day-trips, four luxury dining experiences, and an endless cascade of mixed drinks.

Our trip set out from Montréal’s Pierre Trudeau Airport, a massive, bustling, disorienting place that I have come to know nearly as well as my city block, and flew on a cramped ultra-budget flight into the tiny airfield of Samaná, Dominican Republic. The airport there was truly tiny, small even compared to the various other minuscule airports I have seen in my life, and our vacation there began promptly with a 3-hour wait at Customs. The line, which completely filled the poorly-ventilated converted hangar and spilled out onto the tarmac near the planes, was a mash of Canadians from our flight, Russians from a Moscow-originating jet that landed immediately after us, and a smattering of Germans and Spaniards. It would turn out that this exact combination of people would inhabit the same resort as us for the following week, and we’d point each other out, either explicitly or through glances across the dining hall that read, “you stood behind me at Customs.”

After finally escaping the airport, we acquired our “Bahia-Principe” wristbands from a smiling resort staff member and piled onto a bus packed with our comrades from the Montréal flight. The 20-minute drive to the resort consisted of hairpin turns through barely-paved roads without a stop sign or traffic light in sight, while resort staff provided enthusiastic commentary in French over a partially-functional sound system. The 90% of riders who understood French seemed to enjoy it very much.

The week at the resort that followed can best be described as amazingly, though enjoyably, uneventful. Each day consisted of some ratio of oversleeping, reading by the pool, overeating, reading on the beach, and sunburn. The nights consisted of scheduled events, various creative beverages, and plenty of people making fools of themselves while trying to navigate the resort’s thousands of staircases in the dark, often while intoxicated. Of our four allotted luxury dining passes, we used three before deciding the other food options were equally oversalted and fattening, but required less hassle.

Besides two included and pre-arranged trips, we hardly left the resort all week. The first, a choppy whale-watching venture, was just about what I expected as someone who doesn’t enjoy boats much. The second was a little more bizarre, as it was sold as a “donkey trip to a spectacular waterfall,” which is already a strange premise. Afterward, I would describe it as “uncooperative donkeys, underwhelming waterfall, very nice beach, acquired souvenir dominos.” Could be better, could be worse, but the staff certainly made sure everything went smoothly.

Having gone on a wide variety of vacations, and this being my fourth to the Caribbean, I would say that going to a resort has to be one of the weirdest. Resorts are among the most idealized facets of the imagined American vacation, though I can’t personally say they are my brand of holiday. I had almost no access to the outside world during that week, and I mean that in multiple respects: I hardly left the premises, and I had no outside communication at all. The latter was quite relaxing, apart from receiving multiple angry voicemails from my boss upon returning to cell service back in Montréal.

As for not seeing what lay beyond our little view of the bay and the town waterfront, I felt somewhat shortchanged. I was able to go for runs in town for the first half of the week, but I reconsidered this decision after I required two local gentlemen to scare off several stray dogs who began chasing me. Still, I felt the vacation was not real, almost an illusion by being holed up in our little castle by the sea. This may be where my view of the ideal vacation differs from the norm. I would greatly prefer, for instance,  my previous trip to Jamaica, which provided both relaxing hours on the beach and wild backcountry escapades and spicy street food. A resort, while not quite as secluded and ultra-luxury as a cruise, still seems not the thing for me.

Aongus Mui

Tourism and the Semiotics of Tourism by John Frow

Progym: Impersonation/Description

I took a seat on the third step of my front door. I felt the soft chills of the wind push the top of my hair over my eyes. I looked into the distance, into the red leaves of october. A single leaf, bright red, floated sided to side gently landing atop the grass. I was instantly reminded of autumn and all the joy that it brings with it; the crisp air, the pumpkins, and the caramel apples. The autumn season has always had a special place within me. I recalled my previous memories in autumn, walking through a road of leaves with the warmth of a cup of coffee in my hands, it was the perfect way to clear my mind. Just me, alone with my thoughts on a walk through nature. I remembered the air being so perfect, not too cold or too hot. I reminisce on all my autumn memories with the sight of a single red leaf.

I tried to impersonate John Frow’s writing on page 124 about the time he reminisced upon a pine tree. “I was immediately reminded of the Priest Noin who had grieved to find upon his second visit this same tree.” This is an example of when Frow got a sense of nostalgia about something that he had seen before. I tried to impersonate what he had done in the poem. Frow’s main point was that nostalgia not only helps us become better tourists but it also helps us in our daily life. “For the perspectives of our everyday life, the unique heritage object has aura.” Frow explains that seeing certain objects from our past helps remind us of how simple our life might have been. In the passage that I wrote i wanted to show how something as simple as a leaf could bring me back to the times where happiness was easily accessible, where I was stress free.

Lucas Enrique Fernandez

Breaking Down An Image

Progym: Impersonation

In our daily lives, we see a wide array of images, however while we do see these images we rarely take the time to analyze and understand them. The visual rhetoric hidden behind images hold power over people that create certain meanings and arguments based on the context and audience which surround the image. Take for example this advertisement on men’s deodorant:

This is a great example of Visual Persuasion in Advertising because in this  photo, the company Axe Men's body … | Spray print, Print ads, Background  for photography



The audience is the intended target by the creator of the advertisement, which in this case is men. You can see this from how the background is of a man. The company is also known to sell men’s products, and the design of the body spray is black.


The company Axe sells body sprays, which are predominantly marketed to supposedly turn geeky guys into confident hunks that can get women. This is displayed by how the text asserts that wearing the spray will make the wearer more appealing.


The purpose of this advertisement, as with any other advertisement, is to sell their product to their audience.


The tone of the ad is based on the author’s perspective of the subject, which seems to be that the body spray is a magnetic product that will attract anyone to those that buy it.

Arrangement (Location and Scale):

In the background is the largest scaled image of a presumably naked man, then closer in the foreground is slightly smaller text, and most predominantly in the foreground is the image of the body spray. All of these are centered in the middle of the ad. Both the body spray and the text are more focused than the man in the background and the light blue text immediately draws the eyes of the audience, showing what the message of the ad is supposed to be.


The words included in the ad are “spray once seduce a thousand” of which the underlying meaning is that the wearer will have a quick way to attract lots of women.


The font size is fairly large and dominant in the image and the style is more serious as opposed to comical, which makes sense given it is supposed to be a serious ad targeted to men about increasing their chances with women.


The color featured the most is black, which is considered more masculine which should interest men in buying the product. Blue is also added for contrast to make the text stand out.


The splash and icy blue letters have the connotation of coolness, a feeling that is both refreshing and a way that a man wants to feel when approaching someone.


The contrast between blue and grey/black makes the image easy to read.

Paula I Arraiza

The Solitude of Traveling

Edward Hopper, Morning Sun (1952)

Progymn: Impersonation

 “His figures look as though they’re far from home, they’re in search of work, sex, or company, adrift in transient places. And, yet, they seem to hint that there might be something consoling, glamorous, sexy, even, in traveling alone. Far from home, in the road to nowhere in particular” (de Bottom 30:49)

It’s the first time in my entire life I’ve had the courage to go somewhere by myself. The road took me to this big, wide, city where I don’t know a soul. It’s all so new and different, so exciting yet nerve-wracking. I look outside the window as a slideshow of old memories replays in my mind. All of my friends, family, and happiest moments echo inside of my head as I sit on a bed inside a nearly empty hotel room. I left everything I knew behind for a quick break from reality, wanting to get in touch with myself. I ended up somewhere where no one knew my name. I’ve been alone with my thoughts for the first time in forever, making me feel as if I don’t know myself anymore. I’m not the same person I was a few days ago and will never be her again. In a city full of strangers, it feels like I am the biggest stranger of them all. I came here with one goal, and that is to find myself. I’ve barely even been here, and I have already discovered more about myself than I had during my entire life. As the hours pass while I look out into hundreds of skyscrapers, I slowly begin to understand myself. I realize there is no way I’ll go back home being the same person I left.


I decided to do an impersonation of the woman in Hopper’s paintings, based on de Bottom’s description of his style of painting. I tried to capture what I felt when looking at the image and made a story to go along with it. When looking at the woman in the painting, it feels as if she’s staring out into the city with hope and excitement, yet there is still a sense of nostalgia involved in the picture. These feelings evoked by the image inspired me to write a short description from her point of view, basically writing what I feel like she would be thinking as staring outside that window.



Samuel E Evans

A selection of poems by Wordsworth, Readings by Iyer

Progym: Impersonation

I stand upon the sandy shore
Friends around me, I need not more,
Looking at the starry night
Those distant points, so bold and bright.
We gaze upon the milky way
Our travels are done for that day,
We’re tired and sore, but still prevail,
Tomorrow we’ll continue on down the trail.

The night is cold, chilling to the core,
But no coats or hats we wore,
We almost enjoyed the elements,
For it seemed they were heaven-sent.
The glory of the world, creation,
Mother Nature’s many children,
Upon the sky, the Earth, before us now,
How beautiful, we only wonder how.

This is why I long for travel,
To watch with wonder as nature unravels,
To see before me all I do not know,
But can come to learn, I hope so.
Through adventure we leave behind
Certainty and comfort, we unwind
By letting go and casting forth
Into unknowns, we go headfirst.

And there I stand on the beach,
So far from home, I cannot reach,
All the amenities that it contains,
Until I long for them again.
But that is the essence of this all,
We hear travel’s beckoning call,
For new discoveries, we seek backcountry,
Now time for bed, we’ll wait and see.