An Honor’s American Literature Fairy Tale

By: Stacey Titchenal

As a way of keeping my insanity, I like to look at junior year as a fairy tale, which of course has a happy ending. Sometimes though, I forget there is an ending where I don’t end up lying in a grave with my tombstone saying “It wasn’t worth it”. And so, for all you juniors out there whose sanguine attitudes have been sullied by raptly studying, this one is for you.

Once upon a time, there was a quixotic knight. This knight, Junior they called him, was on a journey few had attempted and none completed. Charles McNary, the king of the land, had appointed Junior to rescue his daughter, A, from Senior castle. A natural philanthropist, he acquiesced to the king’s request with alacrity. Whispers trickled about the people as Junior rode through town on his faithful stallion and crony, EC. The trepidation of being marked with ignominy for the rest of his life wasn’t enough to keep this knight from his quest. As the sun was striking its highest point, on a warm day in early September, he left his peers and headed into the land of the unknown.

Junior had meticulously mapped out his way, beginning with the Field of Electives. It wasn’t but a few days before he trotted into this relaxing oasis. No real problems fronted him, except for the occasional pesky fly and the urge to gambol about with volition. As Junior anticipated, the field was a piece of cake, especially compared to his next trial, the Chemistry Swamp.
Chemistry Swamp was inevitable if he wanted to be successful in rescuing A as soon as possible, though this didn’t make it any more tolerable. The abhorrent stench lingered in the air from miles away as any sign of life became more and more scarce. Grass turned to mud and mud to water until EC was practically swimming in it. The duo attempted to tread for long as possible, but not even EC could keep Junior afloat. Branches and thorns coming from every which way knocked the knight off his horse. Sinking to the bottom, he flailed his limbs in an attempt to break the surface, but this only made matters worse. Seconds before he was about to accept his dooming end, he came across a windfall, grabbed a hold of something, and started to be pulled out! It took him a few minutes to get himself together after nearly being blinded from the murky water stinging his eyes and choking on the foul swamp gasses. When he managed to catch his breath, he looked up to see his trusty sidekick EC, holding the vine that saved his life.
After the scathing adventure through the swamp, Junior was left with much ennui. He took a long two days to gain back enough of his blithe spirits to continue his journey.
Mathematical Forest presented itself as the next block in his path. However, this one was tricky. For some, this was their point of failure, but for others, it barely trumped their list of worries; it all depended on the weather. Luckily enough for Junior, mother nature was on his side. No terrible surprises ceased forward progress, though he did have to deal with countless annoying crows coming from the shadows of the trees. It seemed suspicious how cooperative his surroundings were, but he just brushed it aside and used the opportunity to give EC a much needed break.
Nearly five months had passed since he began, and the harsh, January air was beginning to pommel his high spirits. Two more obstacles laid in his way. One would be an uphill climb while the other was sink or swim. After much contemplation, Junior just couldn’t find a way around it; he had to go through the Sea of Literature.
It made sense now why he had been so lucky in the forest, for off in the distance, towards the end of the sea, was a terrible storm brewing. Junior did his best to assemble a make shift raft to row across in. Besides an extra pair of eyes looking out for oncoming waves, EC was unable to be of much help. The two braced themselves as they were tossed around in the eye of the storm. An exhausting twelve days of lethargic progress went by before they safely made it to the other side. EC jumped onto the shore and pulled the raft on land.
Darkness reigned over the duo, dimming their rejoicing spirits. A heavy shadow lurked ahead, cast by the final hurdle. Junior approached it with pure determination as he turned to EC and said, “Let’s conquer A-Push Mountain!”
Slow and steady, Junior and EC trekked up the foot of the mountain. Massive rocks came rolling down the side causing them to dive every which way to stay on their feet. The further up they got, the more the seething mountain retaliated with steeper ledges and larger rocks. About three fourths of the way up, the mountain succeeded in subjugating EC, and so forced Junior to complete the task at hand all on his own. Sweat clung to his brow as stress crept up his back.
“Just a little bit further, you can do it,” he goaded himself. “Don’t get distracted with the views or thoughts of home. You can do this; stay focused and out of la-la land!”
Inches away from the top, he summoned one last burst of energy to pull himself to the peek of the mountain.
“Huzza!” Junior shouted. “I’ve made it to Senior Castle. Now, where is Princess A?”
Junior stormed the castle with such fervor that it left the guards in consternation. Alas, he had avoided a malevolent fray, allowing him to free the princess.
“My fair princess, I have come to succor you.”
“You brave soul! I shall insist you receive the utmost adulation for the rest of your life!”
He had done it! He completed the unbearable task. Nine months it took him, nine months to complete his goal, but to him, all the dolor he suffered was worth it. Junior wasn’t like every other so called knight that tried the same journey. No, Junior was ameliorated and persevered through capitulation. His excitement, however, was interrupted when he realized that he was going to have to make the same journey back home.
“Don’t worry my civil knight, I know of a short cut,” exclaimed the princess. “And trust me, it’s all downhill and easy from here!”
And then begins the journey of Senior year.

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