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Abstracts of Recent Sophomore Essays

Paradise Lost and the Price of Moral Knowledge – William Paris ’10

Often the Fall of Adam and Eve is thought of as a tragedy, but in actuality the epic poem of Paradise Lost sends a different message: the Fall was, in fact, fortunate. Through the lens of John Milton’s life—the censorship he faced from Parliament—and the depiction of Satan, Adam and Eve—the fall appears to have been necessary for Eve and Adam to have complete free will. Without knowledge of good and evil, Adam and Eve could not honestly choose Good and earn their place in Heaven through their own choices and morality.


The Similarities Between Options Trading and Poker – Robert Miller ’10

The paper focuses around the concept that there are many similarities between Texas Hold ‘Em and options trading. This statement is supported by two main arguments. The first concerns risk management and the second concerns what variables effect both poker and options trading. For risk management there is are discussions about three common option-trading strategies and what their analogues are in poker. The second argument focuses on three variables pulled out of the Black-Scholes probability model. Vega (volatility), Theta (time) and Gamma (rate of return) are discussed; first in how they relate to options and then how they relate to poker.


Psychology of Music – Sarah Thompson ’10

Music serves many functions in everyday life that allow it to have an effect on a person’s mood. Because of this connection to mood, it was thought that music may be effective in helping to treat depression. Music therapy has proven to be especially useful in the treatment of depressed adolescents, who have historically been treated for depression in the same way as adults. There are many theories as to why music therapy has been successful in treating adolescent depression, but an ultimate answer has not yet been reached.


Actions of God in a Quantum Universe – Edward Hubbard ’10

In a world of ever-expanding scientific discoveries, there exists a need in the theological community for expansion and reinterpretation of certain religious beliefs. One of the most important areas in need of development is divine action. The goal of this essay is to provide a reasonable account of God’s actions consistent with modern science.  Through a discussion and analysis of several theories, I argue that the idea of God acting through an input of information in the apparent top-down causality between the divine and the universe, as theorized by John Polkinghorne, provides the best logical explanation to this pressing concern.


Textbooks on the American Revolution (And Why They’re Wrong) – Heather Cobun ’10

The American Revolution was a complex event involving pride, liberty, and victory—if you were an American. History textbook writers devote a great deal of time to the war, but when condensing the American Revolution into manageable chapters, especially for younger students, outside factors play into what they write. I used research by historians to prove that nationalism leads to oversimplified and misleading textbook accounts. I analyzed textbooks and found sections that use overly patriotic language or leave out information and examined how this can allow children to develop a skewed view of the Revolution.


The Evolution of Fear – James Grzejka ’10

This essay investigates how the focuses and types of anxieties utilized in horror film have evolved in order to best adapt to a corresponding fear in society. Particular attention is paid to paranoia as a dominant anxiety over the last fifty years, and how its ebb and flow in American society has affected the content and style of horror films. The final conclusion is that paranoia has reached a peak in contemporary American society, and that as a result horror films have improved to best exploit that anxiety, much like in their heyday of the Cold War era.


Her Unheard Voice in Occupational Choice – Catarina Manney ’10

For thousands of years women have faced discrimination from western patriarchal society, which is based in part on perceptions about cognitive gender differences in language, emotional decoding, mathematical, and spatial ability. Whether such differences are due to biology or socialization, the consensus among researchers is that certain cognitive gender differences exist, but are small, insignificant, and do not imply overall differences in intelligence or ability. These differences channel and influence occupational choice and result in the under representation of women in mathematical, science, and authoritative careers. This essay provides a variety of solutions to this under representation problem.

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