Fall 2016

Dear Reader,

We are pleased to welcome you, our readership, into the second volume of The Onyx Review: The Interdisciplinary Research Journal at Agnes Scott College, a peer- and faculty-reviewed journal! Throughout this year, the desire for interdisciplinary research and academic dialogue has presented itself. This year, we are excited to present both a fall and spring issue of The Onyx. Although it was a challenge to carefully expedite the journal production to span one semester instead of the academic year, we are proud that more students may now have the opportunity to publish their academic work.

Special thanks to our director, Christine Cozzens, and our coordinator, Mina Ivanova, for their continued support and guidance. Moreover, thank you to our current committee members Abigail Biles, Michelle McGuire, Anna Tan, and Ciel Zhang. We would like to express our gratitude to the many faculty and student reviewers who contributed their valuable time and expertise. Finally, thank you to Stefen Howard for his technological knowledge and assistance in website development.

Happy Reading,

Abi signature signature

Abigail A. Camden and Zoë Howard


This is the journal for the fall 2016 semester. Below are the papers included in this volume, in alphabetical order by author.

  • Bring Forth the Blushers! by Caroline Barkley
  • Panoptic Patriarchy and the Gap Between Queer Lives by Caroline Barkley
  • “Berlin Meant Boys”: Christopher Isherwood in Weimar Germany’s Gay Culture by Zoë Howard
    • Abstract: Our collective memory of Germany in the 1920s and 1930s focuses on Adolf Hitler’s rise to power and leaves little room for much else; thus, we have overlooked—or passed over—one of the most incredible cultural scenes to have existed during this period in not just Germany, but also in history: Berlin’s extensive and internationally known gay culture. This paper examines and analyzes Berlin’s vibrant and thriving gay culture through the renowned British novelist Christopher Isherwood’s experience in Berlin and how his participation in this internationally known hub of social and sexual freedom changed his writing and boosted his self-confidence and self-esteem. This research explores the economic, social, and political conditions in which this culture was able to form in Berlin, the exact nature of the gay scene in the city, and Christopher Isherwood’s background and experience in this liberated culture and how it influenced him. In researching this largely unknown culture, this paper will contribute to the relatively small body of work on this subject and help bring awareness to this culture’s importance and its legacy through Isherwood’s writings, especially in a time that is still struggling with LGBTQ rights.
  • Lies of a Catholic Girlhood by Margaret Rose Hunt
    • Abstract: In her memoir Memories of a Catholic Girlhood (1974), Mary McCarthy interrogates what it means to tell the truth within a memoir. She questions society’s difference between truth and lie by critiquing her own memoir within the same memoir. Because of her identity as a woman, McCarthy is unable, according to some Western philosophy, to tell the truth. If her identity as a woman is ignored, the question then becomes which narrative is the definitive truth: McCarthy’s childhood memories or her critiques as an adult. The idea of a definitive truth is actually not able to be created in literature, especially in memoirs. A truth negates the fallibility of memory and one’s family history. In addition to being openly critical of her own memoir, McCarthy has been open with her criticism of Lillian Hellman, another memoirist, over Hellman’s truth-telling in her own memoir. Both memoirists see lying differently, something that is only possible and undefinable in the context of a memoir or autobiographical work. The inability to definitively describe lying or truth-telling in memoir is also a critique of authorial intent and lying within our greater society, for it is impossible to describe authorial intent and writing as usually held under separate laws than the ones that govern daily actions in society. Despite this impossibility, lying is still frequently described in terms of authorial intent and within the bounds of the morals set out by society. This paper investigates the balance between truth and lying within memoir while placing it in context with literary theories surrounding female authorship, memoir and the consequences of lying in a memoir.
  • Transgender Health in Relation to Public Health and Women’s Health by Sarina Juma
    • Abstract: Transgender health presents a public health concern given the lack of knowledge and acceptance by some communities. This paper will explore what it means to identify as transgender as well as how social interactions and healthcare access influence the health of transgender individuals. Stating the definition of transgender simply, a person identifies as transgender when one’s self- identified gender, behavior, and expression does not match one’s designated physical sex at birth. The prevalent discrimination and stigmatization of the transgender community results in inadequate health care access as well as increased risks of unemployment, unprotected sex, and substance abuse. Furthermore, the dysphoria of mental and physical gender that transgender individuals experience can result in the desire to seek physical changes in order to identify as one uniform gender. The medical procedures of these changes pose negative health impacts which have larger public health implications. Based on the healthcare obstacles and health risks identified, it is important to begin developing intervention methods that will improve the health outcomes of the transgender community. Several effective interventions will be analyzed and used as a basis to suggest the next steps that need to be taken in order to ensure the fair treatment and positive overall health of this population.
  • Through Oneness and Plurality: The Journay of Self-Reflection in “The Wild Swans at Coole” by Meiqing Xiong
  • Intellectual Self-care, Education, Happiness, and Life Satisfaction Among Employed Individuals by Meiqing Xiong, Jennifer L. Hughes, and Chanice T. Alexander