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Periaktoi Writing Post

Volume 49
Issue 1

Single Visual Art Post

  • Essay
The Ashes of an Education
August Weidlich
The Ashes of an Education

On a crisp summer afternoon, many moons ago, I found myself sitting upon a scarlet stool in Weeks 204. I hadn't been in that forsaken room for years, and I certainly was not delighted to be returning, for I was there to take my English exam. Mrs. Hill's English I class had been one of the worst experiences of my life. There had been hours of homework, dozens of irrelevant articles, and months wasted on Romeo and Juliet. Thankfully, it was all coming to an end on that revolutionary day. I had studied for hours and managed to earn myself an A despite her attempts to ruin my GPA. There was only one way to celebrate this glorious end of an era, and that was to burn the memories until there were no remains. I decided to invite my squad of colleagues to my humble abode, where we gathered around a scorching fire to do what we knew had to be done. With one spark from a chip of flint, I burned away a year of suffering. In this picture, taken by an anonymous photographer, one can notice many key aspects. Firstly, one might realize I happen to be in rather informal clothing. This is because the burning of the book is an occasion deserving of being celebrated. A small, seemingly harmless book is also in the picture, and it's certainly for the best that its being burnt. Looking closer, it is obvious that my expression is that of absolute glee and relief, for I knew I would never have to read, recite, or study anything related to that vile book ever again. This picture captures an incredible moment in my life, in which I freed myself from the evil clutches of absurd amounts of work and focus on women's rights.

It should be rather clear why this picture means so much to me. I became an entirely new person as the burning was taking place. As I stared mindlessly at the flame-encompassed tale, thoughts of the year rushed through my mind. I remembered the multiple times we laughed at Bennett's inability to read, watched videos about old people speaking in even older versions of English, and especially when we were rewarded with milk and nut-free cookies. I realized that Mrs. Hill's class wasn't solely a cell of fear and disappointment; it was a chance for me to become closer to the friends who really mattered. They were always there for me. In times of suffering, they suffered with me. In times of joy, they laughed with me. In reality, Mrs. Hill's class may have done more good than harm. However, none of this excuses the misery which was brought by Romeo and Juliet. Thus, I smiled as the book crumbled into ashes, where it could never hurt anyone again. In fair Verona was this story born, and in Signal Mountain was it finally destroyed.