Adnan Syed – Guilty With a Twist

 

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A young Adnan Syed, looking as pure as ever, depicted in his yearbook photo back in 1999.

Hi bloggers. Today’s post is a bit of a confusing one. I’ll be trying to tackle the Adnan Syed murder case from 1999. The story has been avidly followed by the criminal investigative podcast called “Serial” through twelve gripping episodes. If you are interested in listening to the concluding episode “What We Know” on the Serial website click here.

I would like to start off by expressing my own personal opinion on the whole situation. Adnan Syed is a guilty man simply due to the complications associated to his side of the story and all of the loose ends/coincidences that keep popping up with every piece of evidence that arises.

 

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A gloomy cover to the mysterious and gripping criminal podcast series “Serial”.

 

The first piece of evidence that I feel like works against Adnan is the whole scheme of the new boyfriend Don. When Sarah Koenig, the narrator of the podcast, finally got in contact with Don, he explained that his initial reaction when finding out that his girlfriend at the time, Hae Min Lee, went missing was to trace back his steps from that day, figure out who he talked to and who he came across in the given time frame. He knew that the police would come to him first being a male figure close to her at the time and so his logical response was to come up with a strong alibi for his case. On the flip side, I was highly disappointed with Adnan’s story because when he was approached by authorities and even talking to Sarah, he claimed he could not remember anything from that time. He was mostly in denial about the murder and I always had the impression that he wasn’t even making a large effort in remembering anything. Adnan could never come up with a strong alibi that played in sync with other data such as his cell phone’s call log or with other people’s stories.

Next the Nisha call plays out to be another reason why I believe that Adnan is guilty. According to Jay’s testimony, on that afternoon that Hae went missing, Adnan called his crush Nisha and handed the phone over to Jay so that he could speak to her as well. Meanwhile, Adnan’s story suggests that he did not have his phone at that time but it was rather Jay that was in possession of the device. Adnan’s call log specifically shows that Nisha was called for a duration of 2 minutes and 22 seconds on that afternoon. What works against Adnan is the fact that there is no reason Jay would be calling his friend’s crush since they did not even know each other well at the time. Adnan goes on to explain that It could have just been a misunderstanding and that he accidentally dialled her name on his phone since she was a pre programmed number but that seems very unlikely since AT&T, the service provider, would not charge for an unanswered call. In the fine print of one of their contracts it says that they would in fact charge for an unanswered call as long as its 30 seconds or longer in duration. What seems unlikely to me is that someone would go 2 minutes and 22 seconds of listening to their phone ring and not pick up therefore the story of an accidental butt dial seems highly unlikely. To me Adnan is just looking for a convenient way out of the situation and it would seem like the easiest alibi to come up with; something I can see right through.

 

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The cover logo of RollingStone Magazine; an extremely popular platform that has many regular readers and that talks about topics ranging from music to politics.

In an article by the RollingStone Magazine, it is mentioned that there is evidence coming from Hae Min Lee’s diary that suggests Adnan was a possessive and at times violent boyfriend while they were together. It also mentions that he was initially upset after the breakup (RollingStone 2016). When I first read this I was incredibly surprised since, I never heard about this through the podcast series and it could also be crucial evidence against Syed’s overall character, making him look like a very bad person. I think that if he was depicted as violent and possessive, there is no reason for me not to believe that he would have gotten really angry seeing Hae with another guy after Christmas holidays and that it could have eventually lead on to him killing her. Whether it be an act of jealousy or purely out of anger towards his ex-girlfriend, Hae’s diary would have most likely been accurate since it “is a place where you record events, experiences and other personal things that interest you” (Penzu 2017).

 

Something scary that was also mentioned in the article was that there is evidence that Syed had the words “I want to kill” written on the back of a page in his notebook. Now I know that I have no right to associate that directly to this murder case but I find it to be a pretty big coincidence that these two things are relevant to each other. I know for a fact, being a 17 year old myself that I wouldn’t just go and write something like that in my school notebook, no matter what drugs or substances were in my body… This shows me that Syed must have had something bothering him in the back of his mind and that he instinctively must have felt the need to write it out on paper. One thing is for sure, it definitely did not help his case out in the trial.

 

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A snapshot of Adnan Syed’s notebook with the words “I’m going to kill”. Chilling evidence of a troubled teen that might be up to no good.

Finally the last piece of evidence that I would like to address concerning Adnan’s guilt is about Jay’s testimony. They were once considered to be “best-friends” but all of that ended quickly amidst the murder case. Jay was quick to testify against Adnan and basically throw him under the boat without any hesitation.

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Jay Wilds, Adnan’s ex-bestfriend, testifies once more against him in an interview given in 2014…

In an interview with Jay by The Intercept (to read more click here) many years after the murder, he claimed that Adnan was skeptical of Hae’s actions and that she might have been having affairs with other guys, which ultimately drove him to the conclusion of wanting to kill her (Daily Mail 2014). The two boys, according to Jay buried the body together even though Jay apparently didn’t want any part of it. His story to the police was inaccurate at times but was accepted because it fit well with the call log of Adnan’s cell phone, which ultimately put the two together around the time Hae went missing. Jay had a story, while Adnan was still trying to piece together his steps on that day of January 13th, 1999. This in my opinion is the biggest reason why the verdict is the way it is.

At the end of the day, even if Adnan Syed is truly innocent, the case is just far too messy to prove this theory. Too many of the situations and events that took place in Adnan’s life on that day are to be considered coincidences or unlucky happenings in order to be able to prove him innocent. What are the odds that Nisha’s number got dialled accidentally and that the call lasted 2 minutes and 22 seconds? How probable is it that someone like Don could actually retrace his steps on that day and that Adnan for some reason couldn’t remember anything? Not even on the day that his ex-girlfriend went missing… I don’t know about you but something is fishy there. These are all unfortunate events that might be true in all honesty but that nobody can factually prove, therefore I strongly believe that he is guilty under these circumstances. In 2016 Adnan did get the opportunity for a re-trial, which I also believe he deserves since the verdict of the first case was based off of sloppy evidence (CNN 2016).

To conclude my blog post and avoid the possibility of verging off topic, Adnan Syed is rightfully a guilty man under the given circumstances. Even though the evidence against him was not some of the most concrete I have seen in my life, it is still enough to put him behind bars. Until someone can come up with facts that prove his innocence, he should definitely be kept behind bars for the murder of Hae Min Lee.

Let me know what YOU think in the comment section below… This is truly a mess of a case that many are still trying to find out truths about. I am eager to read your responses!

Until next time bloggers!

Works Cited

Grinberg, Emanuella. “Judge grants new trial for ‘Serial’ podcast subject.” CNN. Cable News Network, 01 July 2016. Web. 28 July 2017. <http://www.cnn.com/2016/06/30/us/adnan-syed-serial-new-trial/index.html&gt;.

McDonell-Parry, Amelia. “‘Serial’ Subject Adnan Syed: 4 Key Pieces of Evidence.” Rolling Stone. Rolling Stone, 01 July 2016. Web. 28 July 2017. <http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/features/serial-subject-adnan-syed-4-key-pieces-of-evidence-explained-20160701&gt;.

N.a. “Episode 12: What We Know.” Serial. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 July 2017. <https://serialpodcast.org/season-one/12/what-we-know&gt;.

N.a.”What is a Diary and Why Should I Keep One?” Penzu. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 July 2017. <https://penzu.com/what-is-a-diary&gt;.

Snejana, Farberov. “‘He said I’m gonna kill that b***ch’: Key witness Jay from Serial podcast speaks publicly about the case for the first time and insists Adnan Syed is GUILTY.” Daily Mail Online. Associated Newspapers, 16 May 2016. Web. 28 July 2017. <http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2890837/Key-witness-Jay-popular-Serial-podcast-speaks-time-notorious-murder-Baltimore-teen-accuses-reporter-misrepresenting-him.html&gt;.

 

Have You Eaten Your Serial Today?

Hi bloggers!

So recently I had the opportunity to listen to an investigative podcast. It was a really cool experience and I liked being able to take a different approach to a literary piece other than it being textual. Being able to listen as opposed to read and make connections all in my head was extremely fun for me. Podcasts give a different edge to your daily intake of news, comics or even entertainment all while being an absolute dream for audiophiles. Here is an article on what it means to be an audiophile. 🙂

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The two fundamental pieces of equipment for a podcast entertainer; the microphone and a pair of audiophile headphones.

Honestly in my opinion the whole book versus podcast discussion is worth elaborating further since they are both so special in their own way yet have many similarities. I think that I will from now on always be on the side of podcasts simply due to the fact that my attention span is incredibly low at times and I have great difficulties with sitting down for a couple hours and diving into a novel. With podcasts I really feel as if I have the opportunity to roam around and do other things while having headphones on my ears that are constantly playing someone else’s voice, talking about a given topic. With books you really can’t multitask and that’s the ultimate deal breaker for me. Podcasts give me freedom and they let me accomplish other tasks in my day while still listening to the information being presented to me in form of audio. Plus, I love a good excuse to use my comfortable over-ear studio headphones haha.

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The cover of the investigative podcast “Serial”.

Usually when thinking of a podcast, I would jump straight to talking about a sports talk show or even something in the entertainment business but the recent podcast that I listened to called “Serial” really changed the game for me. It was the first time I was presented with a criminal/investigative storyline in this specific media form and I loved every second of it. I feel as if the way it was constructed and the way Sarah Koenig, the narrator, delivered her message was truly unique and special. They added music to create a suspenseful ambiance and added different voices in the form of witnesses, friends of the convicted and even the convicted himself. This was done through specific interviews and the inclusion of tape recordings.

Normally I would see these kind of stories through a TV show or even movie documentary but I believe that now hearing it through a podcast could change the game forever. Instead of having to fully be immersed into a situation that involves sitting in front of a screen, people can get informed about these kind of stories on their daily commute for example. I see people listening to podcasts in the car on the way to work or using public transit as it would offer a good alternative to listening to music all the time. I feel like there is a lot of money to be made in that industry through advertisements in specific and all it would take for the mass public to start using podcasts more frequently is a better approach to convincing people of it’s benefits. This could be done through advertisements by radio stations or even by companies that produce audiophile equipment such as Sennheiser or Audio-Technica.

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One of the biggest audiophile companies in the world from Japan and my personal favourite; Audio-Technica

While listening to “Serial” in specific, I came across a possible problem that could be associated to investigative podcasts to come in the future. Since Sarah was able to get such a deep approach to the story by talking to the convicted himself for example this could possibly cause troubles with the families of people involved regarding invasion of privacy. Invasion of privacy happens when someone’s right to be left alone is violated (FindLaw). I’m assuming of course that Sarah got the permission of everybody involved before interviewing them or talking about invasive topics but it does potentially turn controversial once the side of the victim is involved. It was interesting to note that during the entire “Serial” podcast, none of the victim’s family or friends were involved in the interviewing process or through tapes. I think that Sarah was smart in doing so since it would have stirred up further tensions between both families way after the trial concluded. The fact that Serial has become so big as a podcast probably frustrated the victim’s family quite a bit. The way I see it, the more popularity the podcast gets, the more people are starting to think in the way Sarah is presenting her ideas; which I can tell is slightly in favour of the convicted. I think that is definitely annoying for the victim’s family since their daughter is dead and now people are doubting the credibility of the entire case.

Anyways, I won’t go off on a further ramble. It’s been a pleasure analyzing and listening to Sarah Koenig’s narrated podcast “Serial”. Although I’m sure there are many people in the world that would much rather sit down and indulge in a fine novel, I know for a fact that due to my personal traits, podcasts are perfect for me… “Serial” has brought to the table a new genre of podcasts and I am sure that it will have very much success in the future with other episodes and even other cases entirely. I’m excited to see what the future has in store for investigative and criminal podcasts, I think the options are endless.

Until next time bloggers, always keep positive and motivated!

Works Cited

N.a.”What is a Podcast.” International Podcast Day. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 July 2017.

https://internationalpodcastday.com/what-is-podcast/

N.a.”Invasion of Privacy.” Findlaw. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 July 2017.

http://injury.findlaw.com/torts-and-personal-injuries/invasion-of-privacy.html

Zeff, Stanton.”What It Means To Be An Audiophile.” Audioholics Home Theater, HDTV, Receivers, Speakers, Blu-ray Reviews and News. N.p., 04 Oct. 2013. Web. 21 July 2017.

http://www.audioholics.com/editorials/audiophile

Exploring Archetypes In Literacy Masterpieces

Hi bloggers! Recently I’ve started reading a very interesting book called ‘A Mercy‘ by Toni Morrison. So far it’s been a good read and it brought many controversial and serious topics to the table such as slave trade, physical abuse and the overwhelming power of illness/disease. Thanks to the unbelievably great writing skills of the Nobel prize winning author Mrs. Morrison, the novel was well structured and its plot was easily delivered and able to be understood.

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Book cover of the award winning novel ‘A Mercy’ by Toni Morrison

Here’s a short summary of the novel by BookBrowse:

In the 1680s the Atlantic slave trade was still in its infancy. In the Americas, virulent religious and class divisions, prejudice and oppression were rife, providing the fertile soil in which slavery and race hatred were planted and took root.

Jacob is an Anglo-Dutch trader and adventurer, with a small holding in the harsh north. Despite his distaste for dealing in “flesh,” he takes a small slave girl in part payment for a bad debt from a plantation owner in Catholic Maryland. This is Florens, “with the hands of a slave and the feet of a Portuguese lady.” Florens looks for love, first from Lina, an older servant woman at her new master’s house, but later from a handsome blacksmith, an African, never enslaved.

There are other voices: Lina, whose tribe was decimated by smallpox; their mistress, Rebekka, herself a victim of religious intolerance back in England; Sorrow, a strange girl who’s spent her early years at sea; and finally the devastating voice of Florens’ mother. These are all men and women inventing themselves in the wilderness.

A Mercy reveals what lies beneath the surface of slavery. But at its heart it is the ambivalent, disturbing story of a mother who casts off her daughter in order to save her, and of a daughter who may never exorcise that abandonment (Reading, 7 November 2017).

While reading the book, I noticed that Toni used many archetypes in her writing, specifically through different characters and through symbolism in various objects and names. An archetype is a character, symbol, theme or action that represents universal patterns of human nature (LiteraryDevices).They’re little subtle and hidden hints that if you were just skimming through the novel you wouldn’t pick up on. After re-reading some parts I was able to come up with the following analysis :

Archetypal Character Analysis

1. Florens 

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Typical representation in people’s minds of a “hero”

 

Florens’ character in the book can be interpreted as the archetypal hero. When I think of a hero I often portray a courageous, strong and likable character who fights off evil while saving the innocent. The hero is, in my opinion, the central character of the story; the one everybody roots for; and the one everybody loves. However, what I learnt while reading the story is that hero’s don’t always live a happy life and end up on the the best foot compared to others.

Florens’ character was found useful from the start and I feel as if Jacob Vaark saw the potential in her the second he laid eyes on her. The best description came from Lina when she said “who else these days has the hands of a slave and the feet of a Portuguese lady?” (Morrison 10-11). Florens had the best of both worlds in the eyes of slave owners… Of course I believe that Vaark was always of kind heart and was looking to save these innocent people from their slave masters but as for men like Mr. D’Ortega, a plantation owner, all he could care about was if she was beautiful enough to have sex with and if she could do work on the fields. Both of which Florens fit perfectly.

Her name even fits the character type. Symbolically, her name means “flowers” which is a perfect representation of what she is like in the book. She is known as the young innocent girl with loads of potential and promise.  While the world remains in front of her, she is cursed with being born into the slave trade lifestyle.

2. Lina 

Lina’s character can be interpreted as the mentor or superior figure full of wisdom. I saw this since the moment she decided to take Florens under her wing at the Vaark plantation. On several occasions Lina was the voice of reason in Florens’ head, especially in situations where a young girl would not know how to react. Since Lina was of greater age, she’s been through things Florens hasn’t yet experienced and therefore could provide her own wisdom. An example of this came when Florens started learning for herself and said “I don’t need Lina to warn me that I must not be alone with strange men with slow hands when in liquor and anger they discover their cargo is lost” (Morrison 40). She was in a dangerous situation around men that were looking to take advantage of her but Lina taught her enough to realize the danger present.

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Older figure taking younger figure literally under their wing for protection and mentorship.

3. Sorrow

Sorrow is a perfect representation of a tragic figure. In my opinion a tragic figure represents someone that is just misfortunate throughout the storyline and that never seems to catch a break. She was brought up as an orphan, found as a teenager floating down a river with a severe head injury only to be brought into Vaark’s plantation as a slave. Also, she eventually develops some sort of mental illness and her final appearance in the novel comes when she contracts smallpox and dies. I was extremely sad to see the misfortunes associated to her character but at the end of the day I don’t believe that she had any other destiny.

Lina, being the wise one out of the bunch gave a good description about Sorrow as a person:

“The sawyer’s wife named her Sorrow, for good reason, thought Lina, and following a winter of feeding the daft girl who kept wandering off getting lost, who knew nothing and worked less, a strange melancholy girl to whom her sons were paying very close attention, the sawyer’s wife asked her husband to get quit of her” (Morrison 49).

I find that its ultimately important to add the symbolic meaning behind her name. A character with the name “Sorrow” isn’t expected to have the happiest life especially in a book of fiction and therefore I feel as if she had it coming for her from the very start (her death). Its just unfortunate that it had to be her.

Theme

One particular theme that I would like to touch upon, simply due to its educational value and importance is slavery and freedom. Slavery is the system by which people are owned by other people as slaves. (Harper Collins Dictionary) Freedom is known as the quality or state of being free and is a political right. (Merriam-Webster Dictionary). Two polar opposites that are both seen in the novel. What I found particularly interesting is the fact that this book took place in an era way before modern slavery as we know it. “A Mercy” is based in pre-America times where colonizers from Europe were first discovering the land. It’s unbelievable how in a time so premature, slavery was heavily relied upon in every day life. It was the foundation to how successful a white man could be. In the book I saw on many occasions examples of slaves and the slave trade through the eyes of Florens, her mother, Lina, Sorrow and many more but on the other hand I saw freedom through the eyes of a black man (surprisingly), known as the village’s blacksmith. Florens depicted him as “a free man” and that “he had rights and privileges, just like Sir [Mr. Vaark]” (Morrison 43).

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The chained hands of a human slave.

In no way do I support or endorse slavery and I believe every man and woman should be free. It remains unfortunate that our history has stooped to such a low and that such things were even possible. It still remains mind boggling to me how a human could own another human as property… Weird stuff…

Archetypal Symbols

Something I personally adore searching for when reading any novel really are the various hidden symbols that can be found in-between the lines or through objects and characters in the novel. It gives the book a different edge and allows for a deeper understanding of what’s going on which I find extremely helpful as a novice reader. Since I’m not the greatest, this helps me greatly.

1. Jacob’s House 

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Typical example of a southern plantation style estate.

The first symbol that I pointed out was Jacob Vaark’s house. It’s importance is seen throughout the book especially in the beginning after his visitation of the D’Ortega plantation. Jacob was so mesmerized by its size and quality that he pointed out he “had never seen a house like it. The wealthiest men he knew built in wood, not brick, riven clapboards with no need for grand pillars suitable for a House of Parliament”(Morrison 19).

I instantly saw that there was a gap between the wealth of Mr. Vaark and Mr. D’Ortega. From that point on it was clear that Jacob wanted an estate of his own that resembled the one he’d just witnessed. I made out that in those times power was greatly attributed to the size of estates, number of slaves owned and the success of your crops etc.

The second Jacob got the chance to leave D’Ortega’s estate he had to stop by a village pub for a pint and find somewhere to stay the night. He immediately started envisioning his own house and it was even said that “his dreams [that night] were of a grand house of many rooms rising on a hill above the fog” (Morrison 36).

2. Florens’ Shoes 

The next archetypal symbol I was able to discover was the reoccurring mentioning of Florens’ shoes. She always complained about having tired feet and always asked to wear someone’s shoes. Her mother and friend Lina would tell her that her “feet are useless, will always be too tender for life and never have the strong soles, tougher than leather, that life requires” (Morrison 10).

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Worn out shoes… An example of what Florens would have likely put on her feet.

I always found it interesting how Morrison chose shoes as a way to anchor the reader in the novel. I feel as if she used them as a way to help whoever is reading to get a better grip on what’s going on especially since the story loved to skip from angle to angle.

Florens never cared who’s shoes she put on, as long as her feet were protected from the elements… They could be dirty, worn, heels, men’s work boots, anything goes with her.

 

3. Orphans

The last and final symbol I came across was the topic of orphans in the novel. Usually, when someone thinks of southern hospitality and stereotypical families in the United States, I know I certainly envision large get togethers for thanksgiving, families with multiple siblings running around the backyard playing and having their mothers call them in for dinner. The sad part to this is that orphans never get to experience such memories and this is surprisingly a reoccurring concept in Morrison’s book. I believe it serves a sort of “counterweight” to the whole discussion of motherhood and family that you experience otherwise.

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The sad reality that millions of children like this are without loving parents and have to survive amongst themselves. // Orphans of Africa

I found that to be really interesting especially since one of the slave owners and planation runners himself, Mr. Vaark was an orphan child. I believe that this is also partly why he has such a soft spot for the kids growing up on plantations, being ripped from their mothers and taken away. During his visit at the D’Ortega estate, he involuntarily negotiated the acquisition of a young girl as partial payment of a debt and this brought back bad memories. When she was brought forward he started to “feel a disturbing pulse of pity for orphans and strays, remembering well their and his own sad teeming in the markets, lanes, alleyways and ports of every region he traveled”(Morrison 33).

In the book Jacob wasn’t the only orphan, Lina and Sorrow both came from oprphanages and had unbelievably tragic youths. Even Florens can be somewhat put in that category since she felt that her mother just let her go off with Mr. Vaark without a goodbye, not realizing that her mother was saving her from a life of abuse and rape.

Until next time ladies and gentlemen!

Work Cited

BookBrowse. “A Mercy by by Toni Morrison: Summary and reviews.” BookBrowse.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 July 2017.

 

https://www.bookbrowse.com/reviews/index.cfm/book_number/2201/a-mercy

LitCharts. “A Mercy Symbols from LitCharts | The creators of SparkNotes.” LitCharts. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 July 2017.

http://www.litcharts.com/lit/a-mercy/symbols

“Archetype – Examples and Definition of Archetype.” Literary Devices. N.p., 11 Mar. 2015. Web. 12 July 2017.

https://literarydevices.net/archetype/

Cipriano, Rob. “What Is a Hero.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 08 July 2014. Web. 12 July 2017.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rob-cipriano/what-is-a-hero_b_5560441.html

“Florens.” Florens meaning | Latin Dictionary. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 July 2017.

http://www.latin-dictionary.org/florens

“Sorrow Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary.” Cambridge Dictionary. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 July 2017.

http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/sorrow

“Toni Morrison.” Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica, inc., n.d. Web. 12 July 2017.

https://www.britannica.com/biography/Toni-Morrison

Is English Class Really All That Important?

Many students across Canada often question themselves in their final years of high school when it comes down to English class. I know for a fact that my friends would be first to complain about completion of university prerequisites because depending on the program that you wish to get accepted into, schools can become very picky quickly. To put it simply for you all, a grade 12 English credit is not going to determine whether you are properly fit and ready for university. I strongly believe that it should not be a prerequisite for science and math based programs, although, those looking to go into something like Sociology/Anthropology/Psychology should definitely need to take English class into count during their final year of high school.

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Western University campus grounds.

Lets look at an example… Western University in London Ontario is a school that has no secrets when it comes to its admissions every year. Here, in this PDF file we can see that every single program at this particular university is asking for the completion of an ENG4U credit in order to be accepted.  I really don’t see the point, especially for programs such as Engineering or Medical Sciences, where the least of your worries would be focused on grammar and punctuation per say.  If the student has passed his/her literacy testing in grade 11 of high school I don’t see why they would need to be hassled with another year of education of the English language.

This brings me to my next point; literacy testing.

Every ministry of education throughout the nation has their own rules and regulations related to literacy testing of their students. In Ontario, secondary school students complete this government assessment in grade 10 and it ultimately determines whether they can graduate or not. In my opinion, if you can show that you are fully capable of passing the literacy test that the government standardized, you are fully capable of conversing and writing in the language proving that there is no need to complete a grade 12 English course. I don’t see why students looking to get accepted into electrical engineering for example would need to go through another year of reading poetry and learning how to write in a creative manner when their future will consist of algorithms, equations and problem solving. It just doesn’t add up.

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Ontario Literacy Test Booklet Cover

Maybe a common ground or a settlement to the whole situation could be the incorporation of multiple types of literacy testing. In order to bypass this mandatory English credit in grade 12, students would have to go through a more complicated process related to literacy assessment. Once they show that they can pass this elaborate test, then they are cleared to avoid English class in their final year of high school. On the flip side, students looking at social sciences, or music as a pathway in university do not have the option of bypassing a mandatory English grade 12 credit. Since their program is heavily influenced by writing and research reports they should need to have developed great literacy skills in high school. There is always a common ground available to every solution of any problem.

2011-06-15-Graph-Board_Province 5 Year Highlights OSSLT Fully Participating March 2011 (FTE) Results

Local community in Ontario literacy test results depicted in orange compared to the province’s overall results in blue.

The stats even depict that Ontario’s province in particular is consistently showing that over 80% of students are always successful in their literacy testing, meaning that the remaining are most likely those who are not possessing marks high enough to make it into university programs in the first place. This just supports my point even further in saying that there is absolutely no need for universities to be so strict in demanding that all applicants have a grade 12 English credit completed when it has already been proven that they are completely literate and fluent in the English language. The government has a very specific and standardized rubric and it is constantly revised through the years to make sure that students are being properly assessed with the evolution of the English language. When time comes and the students are in their university lectures it is completely up to them whether they will comprehend the language used by the professor and whether they will go that one further step, look up and research unknown terms. The have proved their basic knowledge with the literacy testing and therefore should be considered fit for further schooling.

It’s just a massive shame that students who have no interest whatsoever in domains that involve the creativity associated to the English language have to watch their marks suffer in high school and create added pressure when applying to the program they want in university. I have a close friend that unfortunately didn’t get accepted into medical sciences at his university of choice because his overall average was not high enough. This was directly accoladed to the fact that his grade 12 English mark was incredibly low. He never had an edge for that course and of course in his final year when it really mattered most, he was not able to get a good enough mark despite huge efforts. All of his other science and math courses were within the threshold but the gap was far too big due to English that he did not get accepted. I want to see the suffering end, everybody should have the choice of taking grade 12 English in high school and it should definitely not be mandatory for those looking into programs that don’t involve the creative ideas of literature.