Monday, May 08, 2006

Style Summary 10

Lesson 10: The Ethics of Style

Stylistic attributes can create pleasing effects, but accuracy can be jeopardized when one's prose departs too far from the subject. On the other hand, an over abundance and anal attention to accuracy can jeopardize the writing in an entirely different way--in making it something that no one wants to read. Thus, Williams reviews a general rule that he identifies as one in keeping with the habits of responsible writers:

"Write to others as you have have other write to you."

It's a a golden rule of writing, so to speak. Unintended obscurity can occur if we, the writers, loose touch with what it is to be a reader--specifically a reader of our work. If we don't pay attention to what our writing looks like to the reader, we fall prey to unintended obscurity. Intended misdirection, however, is a more serious crime. When the writer purposely uses language in intentionally obfuscating ways, to either cover for a lack of understanding or to purposely confuse the reader into missing pertinent details.

When writers claim, though, that their style must be convoluted and complex because their ideas are accordingly complex, they are, states Williams, more often wrong than right, and that they are likely falling prey to the faults mentioned previously.

Our style reflects our purpose, and our purposes are shaped by our intention. Our writing tells the reader more than the words we put down on paper--the manner in which we lay them down communicates our ideas, our intentions, our opinions, and our purpose. Even the most lazy reader will recognize heavy-handed guile, and most readers will resent being led-around by the nose. Communicating our intention is no crime, but deliberately confusing the reader is.

Style Summary 9

Lesson 9: Elegance

Lesson nine calls for balanced coordination, a convergence of the sounds of words and the intentions of the writer. Visually, an aesthetic balance is helpful: one can balance one part of a sentence with another by coordinating them with "and/but/or/nor or yet" Much like children on a see-saw with the coordinating conjunctions as the fulcrum. A very distinctive phrase from Williams "How you begin a sentence determines its clarity; how you end it determines its rhythm and grace." This phrase meant to describe climactic emphasis, perhaps, summarizes the chapter as a whole quite well.

A major point is the use of elegant stress--ways to end a sentece with special emphasis. One is "of"+ nominalization, in which one uses what may be thought of as an older turn of phrase. An example of this would be something to the effect of "They told the tales of old." The next device would be that of Echoing Salience--a rhetorical strategy in which one echoes the sound of a phrase used in the beginning of a sentence at the end. The last is that of Chiasmus, in which the structure of the end of the sentence mirrors the first. Extravagant elements of the sentence can be introduced, but one should keep in mind the previous lessons in the book. The length of a sentence can be modified to great effect. A short sentence amid ones of longer length lends itself to greater emphasis, where as a longer sentence among shorter sentences can grant itself a sense of pomp and importance.

Metaphor is an excellent device, and one that allows the reader to show off his or her imagination, a medium through which a writer can express his or herself in even the driest of journal articles, and the metaphor used can shape the reader's understanding of a concept. If the metaphor is logically accurate, but invokes a stronger emotional response than that for which it is being used, the writer may want to choose another.

Style Summary 8

Lesson 8: Shape

I think William's opening sentence nicely summarizes the chapter: "If you can't write a clear sentence longer than 20 words or so, you're like a composer who can write only jingles." (22 words) This chapter is concerned with the formation of longer sentences. While previous chapters advised the editing-down of sentences for the sake of clarity, Lesson 8 details how to craft elaborate sentences without the loss of clarity or meaning. After all, not every complex idea can be communicated in short sentences. The short version of this process is to revise abstractions into character/subjects and action/verbs into sentences that are long, but do not sprawl.

The long of it is a process of diagnosis and revision. In diagnosing a passage, put a slash after every period and question-mark, then pick out sentences that last longer than two lines. When read aloud, if that sentence takes more than a breath to say, then it is in need of revision. The shapeless length of many a long sentences can be identified by several factors: 1.) It takes them too long to get to the verb in the main clause. 2.) After the verb, the reader has to slog through a shapeless sprawl of tacked-on subordinate clauses 3.) The reader hesitates at one interruption after another. In order to revise such long openings, there are two rules of thumb: 1.) Get to the subject of the main clause quickly--one must avoid beginning a single sentence with many clauses. 2.) Get tot he verb and object of the main clause quickly.

In order to reshape the sentence, one must cut such filler structures as "who/that/which + is/was". From then on, one must change clause to modifying phrases, such as resumptive modifiers, summative modifiers, and free modifiers. Also, one must Coordinate tacked-on clauses rather than multiple coordinates.

The long sentence can be identified by their faulty coordination, unclear connections, and misplaced modifiers. When in doubt, Williams suggests, trust your judgement.

Style Summary 7

Lesson 7: Concision

Chapter 7 is relatively simple, as Williams offers five principles of concision:

1.) Delete meaningless words.
2.) Delete doubled words.
3.) Delete what readers can infer
4.) Replace a phrase with a single wor d when possible
5.) Change neatives to affirmations.

The prinicples of metadiscourse state that sentences can be pruned to enhance their meanings. Much of this depends on the writer's confidence, what direction the writer intends for the reader, and the structure of the text. we are warned, though, that too much obfuscates the meaning of the sentence. A brief, but important point that Williams raises in reference to metadiscource is that one should not announce that one has no sources for a declaration.

Excessive hedging is a major issue in writing. A balance between caution and confidence is necessary to avoid hedging. For example, one would use "suggest" and "indicate" rather than "prove" or "show." Intensifiers, rather than hedge-words are useful for delivering one's point in a persuasive style. However, Williams warns that an aggressive style is not necessarily persuasive, and can come off as abrasive and pushy.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Style Summary 6

Style Summary, Lesson 6: Emphasis

It seems that a fundamental rule of human experience holds true in sentences. If you want peopel to remember you, go out with a bang! Williams advises writers to build momentum in their sentences for strong finishes. This is not just for tone, but for subject matter, grammar, and complexity. Grammar, for instance, should begin simply in a sentence, then swell towards a more complex finish. Complex terms, likewise, should be explained in the build-up. Technical terms should be moved to the ends of sentences rather than the beginnings. In this sense, a good sentence should be like its own tiny symphony, beginning simply and rising to a complex crescendo.

That crescendo is the stress of the sentence as Williams describes it. A sentence has stresses, (or can have them) much like a word has stresses. The last few words of a sentence are the stress of a sentence--the emphatic portion. Use the first few words for the point of view, and the last few for emphasis.

Limp-wristed sentences can be changed with a few tactical revisions. A quick trim to the end, a shift of peripheral ideas to the left, and a shift of new information to the right will have you all set with a nicely emphasized sentence. Williams provides six devices to emphasizing the right words. 1.) One may use passives to move the idea closer to the stress position. 2.) "There is" and "there are" can be used to help order information. 3.) Using "what" at the beginning of a sentence can shift part of the sentence to the right. 4.) A similar "It"-shift can move a long noun clause. 5.) With the formula of "Not only 'x,' but 'y,'" the y-portion is emphasized by the "but." 6.) Lastly, the exclusion of the repetition of a noun from the end of a sentence can prove beneficial; i.e using pronouns instead of regular nouns at the ends of sentences.

Style Summary 5

Style Summary: Cohesion and Coherence

Cohesion and coherence are deceptively simple subjects. On the one hand, the average reader can easily identify a choppy or incoherent paragraph, but when asked to define what part, exactly, is choppy or incoherent, they may have difficulties. Wilson's explanation of this is that the reader doesn't always know what makes a given selection choppy, but just that it feels choppy.

Wilson identifies, though, that it is the arrangement of a sentence that marks it as choppy or disorganized. Sentences are judges as cohesive depending on the relationship between the ending of one sentence and the beginning of the next. When a sentence flawlessly links to another, those sentences may be judged as cohesive. Aw, heck, even if it's not perfect, making a visual connection from one sentence to the next--as in ending one with an object that becomes the subject of the next sentence--works. Coherence, on the other hand, can be judged by analyzing how all the sentences in a passage culmulatively begin. How can this be, though? If cohesiveness is judged by the end of the previous sentence being the same as the next sentence but coherence is judged by all of their beginnings being the same, won't one end up with a paragraph that repeats the same sentence over and over?

Well, yes and no, apprently. There should be a common theme to all of the sentences, that provides coherence, and the structure of these sentences provides cohesion. We can use the passive form to better form transitions, as well as begin sentences with information reader are already familiar with. The latter is a technique similar to "reintroducing characters" in a story.

Incoherence is still a prime enemy of a well-written piece, and several factors contribute to incoherence. A primary one occurs when the subjects of sentences are entirely unrelated, creating a choppy effect. Given the previous discussion of themes, it is hardly surprising that another major factor of incoherence is when the sentences share no common themes. Also, a problem that was raised is one that has been plaguing me through my journal entires thusfar--a lack of a single point. How to solve this? For clarity, start a sentence with the subject and make it the topic of the sentence.

(And avoid "however," "therefore," "also," "hence," as they're used to fake coherence.)

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Style Summary Lesson 4

Abstractions can be characters as well, it seems. Using them as such personifies them to an extent, making them more exciting for the reader.

Another point raised was the fact that passive verbs, often looked down upon by academics as inappropriate, can be used to shift the object of a sentence to a more promient role in the sentence. However, the choice between active and passive is often difficult. Several questions must be asked in order to fully evaluate the necessity of passive verbs in a sentence. One: Do the readers need to know who's responsible for an action? Two: Does the existence of the passive verb help in the transition? Three: does is make the sentence more consistant? and Four: Is it appropriate?

What I enjoyed most though in the chapter, is the assurance that it is alright to use the word "we" in a scholarly journal. In fact, the first person can be entirely correct when used appropriately. Another random fact, or random tip, I liked was the "avoiding a string of nouns." In a situation in which a number of nouns are necessary to accurately describe a subject, they can be broken up with preposition so that the reader does not become lost in a quagmire of potential subjects.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Style Summary 3

Lesson 3: Actions

We began in this chapter to go over the principles of clarity. There isn't really a quantifiable number to go by to judge "clarity" and Williams states that it comes down to how the sentence "feels."

What was really helpful, useful, and just all-around entertaining to read was the interpretation of sentences into categories of "characters" and "actions." It was refreshing to think about my sentences asn paragraphs as minature stories, and it's an analogy I find very helpful.

Also helpful were the tips for identifying dense writing. Williams diagnoses dense writing as abundant in abstact nouns--that is to say, nouns ending in --tion, --ence, and --mat, especially when such nouns are the subjects of verbs. The process for diagnosing a sentence of this malady is to underline the first six or seven words in a sentence. If no verb has made an appearance by this point, the sentence is too dense. From this point, one must find the "main characters" of the sentence, so to speak, and identify their actions. After that, all one needs to do is eliminate the nominalizations and make the characters the subjects of the sentences.

The ultimate result of this process is a sentence that is more concrete, more consise, clearer, and more coherent. Williams reminds us, though that some nominalizations are in fact useful. He stresses that one shoudl strive for clarity but not simplemindedness.

Style Summary 2

Lesson 2: Correctness

According to Joseph M. Williams, rules of grammar dictate our writing and speech. These rules can be complex or easy, but there are indeed many of them. Williams identifies two responses tot he rules of grammar: The view that grammar is nothing more than a set of tricks to stigmatize language--to keep it restricted to the upper-crust. Alternatively, there is the view that grammar is based on a sound set of traditions, wisdom passed down through the ages.

According to the book, grammar is a historical accident--a set of borrowed rules and common usages that became tradition. Regional dialects came to be accepted as rules, and when influential speakers spoke with them, they became widely accepted. Further factors such as geography and economic power of areas helped to set what became "grammatical" and what became "incorrect."

3 kinds of origins dominate the rules of grammar. Real Rules come naturally to native speakers. Rules of Standard English distinguish standard dialect from non-standard. Folklore are the rules that grammaticians think we "should" observe.

Style Summary 1 (So behind it's not even funny)

In the first chapter of Style, the author outlines and details his purposes for the book. His primary points are as follows:

1.) It is good to write clearly
2.) Anyone can write clearly

He relates to his reader a brief history of the universe . . I mean writing. Williams ties the origin of unclear writing in English to the origin of the English language itself. It seem that just after the dawn of time, two weeks after dinosaurs ceased to roam the earth, residents of England sought to establish the legitimacy of their language. In order to do this, they attempted to write it down, and emulated the style of Latin and French writings of the time, viewing the complexities of these documents as a measure of their advancement and legitimacy. Thus, complexity became associated with style.

This unfortunate condition persisted to the modern age, where such writers as Thomas paine, James Fenimore Cooper, and Mark Twain saw fit to comment on the needless complexities. At the present, the author accuses the fields of social science, medicine, law, and science of perpetuating this unfortunate state of affairs.

I found the proposed reasons for writings with crowded, unclear writing particularly fascinating: To impress, to fill space, because they think it's clever, because they are unsure of their subject, and, most importantly, ignorance of how others will read their writing.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The Anti-Mexican Mexican Mexican-Restaurant Owner

The character of Mercedes is an interesting study in race relations in John Sayle’s Lone Star. The Mexican Mexican Restaurant owner (redundancy intended) has so thoroughly embraced white culture as “ideal” that she has utterly rejected her Mexican heritage. This in itself is ironic, for her very livelihood is based upon serving up her heritage hot and spicy to her customers. Her disapproval of the Spanish language is emphasized in her sharp reprimands to her cooks and dishwashers, and yet, she still serves the food. This can be seen in several ways.
The situation is truly strange—Mercedes seems to loathe all things Mexican and her words, “In English, please! We are in the U.S.” seem to imply that to her understanding, Mexican culture is not acceptable in the United States. Why then, if her feelings are so strong, would she run a restaurant that serves Mexican food? One simple explanation is that it is an inherited job—a restaurant passed on the through the family. This is possible, but her feelings appear to be so strong that one might question why she continues to work there. Two other explanations may be more likely.
One is that perhaps she sees it as a necessary evil, so to speak—that there is no other place for Mexicans in the United States other than working in such establishments. In this explanation, the Mexican restaurant serves as a haven for Mexican culture, and as much as she may dislike it, it is the only place for her.
The other explanation is, perhaps, far more intriguing. It is possible that for her the Mexican restaurant is the expression of Mexican integration into United States society, a metaphor for the Mexican-American. The Mexican exterior is inescapable, always recognizable as Mexican. Likewise, the content is unavoidably Mexican. The style, however, Mercedes seeks to change—the language used is forcibly English.
Then again, perhaps it is simply Sayle’s analysis of and actual racial situation. The anti-Mexican Mexican Mexican Restaurant owner is simultaneously a caricature and a study in contradiction. Perhaps there is no message in particular, but rather, Sayle wishes to bring up the situation and have the viewer judge for him or herself what should be made of it.

Season's Grievings

Season’s Grievings:
Emily Dickenson, The Holiday Season, and a Death in the Family



The speaker’s relation to her family is the primary concern of Dickenson’s “’T was Just This Time Last Year I Died.” What is made specifically apparent is that relationship seen through the lens of the speaker’s hypothetical death. Placed against the backdrop of the holiday season, the speaker uses what would normally be festive imagery to juxtapose normal holiday sentiments with the powerful emotive forces of the poem.
Key phrases capture the tone of the poem and provide the reader with insights into the life of the speaker. Some phrases, such as the opening, “’T was just this time last year I died,” are more cryptic than others. From just this line alone, at the outset of the poem, the reader can determine that the subject of the poem is likely to be nonstandard, though it may be well within what could be considered “standard” for Dickenson. The conversational tone of the line mimics a phrase that could be heard in regular speech—i.e. “It was just this time last week I went out for muffins.” Rather than muffins, the speaker has chosen to remark on death, which already provides the reader with two essential elements of the poem. One, some sort of death occurred one year ago. Two, this poem is a retrospective poem—the speaker is relating the following events from her personal past. Line 3 brings another essential fact about the speaker with “When I was carried by the farms,” indicating that the speaker has not only spent a portion of her life on farms, but that elements of the farm will play a strong role in the rest of the poem. And indeed it does with continued metaphors relating life to farm produce.
Other facts involving the speaker are the fact that she has a family, as evidenced by the presence of her father (15), another entity named, “Richard” (6), and the presence of other settings at a table (15), that her family is in possession of Christian beliefs (18-21). What is not so readily apparent, however, is the speaker’s dissatisfaction with this life. In line 7, the speaker addresses the intention “to get out,” and in the following line, indicates that she is being held against her will. What follows is traditional harvest imagery, red apples and carts full of pumpkins. Visually, the reader is led into the Thanksgiving dinner. Without the overshadow of death, the poem could be easily interpreted as a “coming home for the holidays.” Even the final two lines, “When just this time, some perfect year,/ Themselves should come to me” (23-24) could be indicative of having the family over to the speaker’s house rather than the speaker, herself, making the trek.
However, the theme of death is not easily ignored—especially when it makes its appearance in the opening stanza, and then continues its way through the festivities. The speaker specifically wonders which of her family members would miss her least—not most, least. This critical distinction in line 14 makes it clear that she does not expect her family to miss her very much at all. The speaker wonders if her father would still set a place for her at the table—not out of a sense of sentimentality, however, out of a love of even numbers, or the convenience of an even sum. Verse 5, though, is rich with emotional exploration, and the hypothetical situation deepens, by the speaker’s wondering of what would happen at Christmas time is she were dead. She has no doubt that there would still be Christmas glee (19)—her death would not be enough to stop that—but she wonders if they will remember her. She wonders if the presence of her “stocking hung too high” (18) would remind them of her. The speaker incorporates a traditionally merry symbol of Christmas into her death analogy, claiming that even Santa Claus could not reach her after-life location (19-20).
The final stanza lends itself to two interpretations of the poem in its entirety, both of which hinge upon the “sort” mentioned in the first line of this stanza. It is conceivable that the speaker is saying that dwelling upon thoughts of death grieve her, and to alleviate such dark tidings, she turns to happier thoughts of her family visiting her in her own home rather than her going to visit them. This theory requires accepting the term “perfect year” (23) at face value and that the speaker truly considers her family coming to her as a component of a “perfect year.” The second interpretation of this is significantly darker, and considers the “sort” that grieves her so to be her family. Thus, the situation then becomes that thoughts of her family grieve her so and the “perfect year” would be one in which the speaker has been dead for a year and her family has come to join her in the afterlife.

Monday, May 01, 2006

THoughts on reality

“What?!” exclaimed Ihi.
“We use magic.You know what 'magic' means, right? It means–”
“Yeah, I know the word, but c'mon, you really expect me to believe that you all are wizards?” asked Ihi, disbelieving.
“No,” said Ariel, frowning, “wizards are another matter entirely, we are mages. It's a generic term for anyone with magical talent. You really aren't that dense are you?”
“What's density got to do with it?” asked Ihi, momentarily confused.
“Huh?” asked Ariel, thrown off track by his question.
“What do you mean 'magical talent'?” asked Ihi.
“Like what you do,” said Ariel. “What you do with majik.”
“Well said, Ariel,” sneered Dandrei.
“Can you do better?”
“Gladly.”
Dandrei stepped forward, shoving Ariel out of the way with a disdainful shove.
“Magical talent is an inborn ability that all mages are born with,” began Dandrei. “It allows the mage to perform tasks in ways that would ordinarily be impossible, or at the very least, extremely difficult for a normal person. Majik is the raw energy that is shaped by the mage's body and mind.”
A little light-bulb flickered on inside Ihi's head. “And you think that I'm a mage.”
“No,” said Dandrei, “we know that you're a mage.”
“How so?” asked Ihi, carefully. Somehow those warpers knew that he was meta' and had tried to grab him. He didn't want these weirdoes knowing about his talent either if he could help it.
“For one, you're lighting up this pendant like a miniature sun,” said Ariel. She pulled a small gem out from inside of her cape. The yellow-orange gem sparkled in the light, but when she brought it nearer to Ihi, it began glowing. No, more than glowing: Light was pouring from the facets cut into the jewel.
“The gem is Fool's Topaz. It glows in response to magic,” explained Dandrei, snatching the gem from Ariel. She brought it even closer to Ihi, where the light grew in intensity.
“Then couldn't it be responding to any one of you?” asked Ihi.
“We've been masked from this particular Fool's Topaz for the purpose of finding you,” explained Dandrei.
“Magic and majik and gems I haven't even heard of...How do I even know that you're telling me the truth?” asked Ihi skeptically.
“Haven't the events of today been enough proof that magicians exist?” asked the cloaked one, Proteus.
“Say what?” asked startled Ihi. “How'd you know about the rest of today?”
“As soon as you entered Jiah, we were able to divine your name. Or at least, Prospero was. To be honest, Ihi, we weren't really expecting anyone from your world. The last one to show up was from about a year ago.”
“How'd you know my name?”
“Hello? Anyone home? She just finished saying that you've been watched since you came to Jiah,” said Dandrei, annoyed.
“What's Jiah?” asked Ihi.
“This is Jiah!” said Ariel, twirling around dramatically. She spread her arms wide, indicating everything. “This entire world is Jiah, and you, O' lucky Journeyman, have stumbled into it.”
“Okay, where's Jiah?” asked Ihi. “Am I like in Origin or The Star-Sphere? You all talk like you're from the Milky Way. Is that where I am?”
“What's he talking about?” asked Ariel.
“He still thinks he's in his world,” said Proteus. “I'll explain it to him.”
“Explain what?” asked Ihi, indignant. “I'm not some chatter, hepped up on 'net scans, I scan the idea I'm localed far from tel-sirin. Just tell me where Jiah is, okay?”
“First,” growled Proteus, “Loose the dialect. You're hard to understand. You can speak normally, can't you?”
“Sure, I can speak formal,” said Ihi. “If you neg ling the prio 'lect.”
“Stop that!” snapped Proteus.
“Whatever,” said Ihi.
“You're in Jiah.”
“I gathered that.”
“But you want to know where Jiah is?”
“That's what I said.”
“Are you aware of the concept of other worlds?” asked Proteus.
“Duh, there are like a giga-million planets known,” said Ihi.
“Not planets,” snarled Proteus. “Worlds!”
“Huh?”
“Okay, you don't.”
“Don't what?”
“Don't know what a different world is.”
“Like I said, there are a giga-mil--”
“And like I said,” snapped Proteus waspishly. “Not planets, worlds.”
“I think we've hit some sort of language barrier here,” said Ihi, backing away from Proteus. While the hunched form was unnerving enough when indifferent, waspish, he was frightening. Proteus' eyes flashed from beneath his cowl and he paused to think.
“Okay,” the hunched figure said at last, “give me your most general and accurate definition of the word 'world,' okay?”
“Alright,” said Ihi, stopping to think. “It's any place in particular through the eyes of its inhabitants.”
“And what's your world?” asked Proteus.
“Guan Di,” replied Ihi, wondering where this line of questioning was going.
“Think larger than that,” said Proteus.
“The Horse-Head Nebula,” responded Ihi.
Proteus paused a moment to think. “Larger than that.”
“Okay, the universe,” said Ihi.
“So, your world, sequentially, is Guan Di, the Horse-Head Nebula, then the universe as a whole, right?” asked Proteus.
“Yeah,” said Ihi carefully.
“Can you think of a larger community than your universe?” asked Proteus.
“Not really, no,” said Ihi.
Proteus bent over and grabbed a handful of gravel from the side of the path. He held the small pile in his left hand and selected one stone from it and held it up. “Let's say that this is your universe,” he said, holding the pebbled at eye-level.
“Okay...” said Ihi.
Proteus dropped the pebble back with the others. “Here's the larger community.”

“You're talking a whole 'nother dimension?” asked Ihi, incredulously.
Proteus paused. “Yes, I think that fits.”
“Woah...” said Ihi, letting the information sink in.
“Okay, you lost me at 'worlds,'?” said Ariel.
“It doesn't matter,” said Dandrei. “The conversation wasn't for your benefit, anyway.”
“Witch...” Ariel muttered.
“I'll pretend I didn't hear that,” said Dandrei, sniffing disdainfully.
“You do that,” said Ariel.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Started to go in a different direction--thought the better of it

A change of pace

You’ll have to forgive me departing from my project of video games, but I have found myself less enamored with the subject and more concerned with a far more pressing topic of late, one that is currently weighing upon my mind; suicide. The original project was to weigh the importance of government regulation as applied to the buying and selling of video games, and to what extent states and the federal government should take part in regulating the sale of violent and graphic games to children. However, I have found myself unable to truly care much either way on the subject, unable to truly pick a stand. So, in light of recent circumstances and substantial personal losses, I have opted to instead, explore the concept of suicide, in regards to reasons for and against, including arguments from religion and a socio-economic perspective. The subject in question will be me, the writer, and it will be my personal views on life, the afterlife, love, and logic that I will be exploring throughout this paper. While the subject matter is quite personal, my arguments will be kept to the point and fairly dry in an effort to avoid anything overly maudlin. At the outset of this paper, I am in favor of suicide, and will take the reader on a journey through my thoughts, all the while providing supplemental material as to make for a balanced research paper. I hope this does not disappoint.
The realms explored in this paper will be primarily religion and finance, with an inclusion of suicide demographics in the United States and other countries. Christianity, it seems, holds the highest penalty for killing oneself, whereas many Eastern religions are far more lax in metaphysical consequences. As a person’s personal religion is often a conglomerate of personal belief, we shall study those particular to the subject. A cost-benefit analysis will be given to the subject’s financial situation, weighing the apparent gains from life-insurance to existing college debt, with concerns to next-of-kin and so on.
However, before one applies such drafty topics to an individual, one must first study the subject from a larger perspective. [Insert suicide demographics here, showing first, the world, then the United States, then the statistics for college students.]

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