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Tutor profile: Alexandra B.

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Alexandra B.
Fordham University Journalism Major Offering English/Writing Tutoring Services
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Questions

Subject: Writing

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Question:

Examine Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 through a religious lens.

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Alexandra B.
Answer:

Science fiction author Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 takes place in a dystopian, futuristic society, but contains many allusions and references to a much older text: the Bible. The main image and Biblical story that persists throughout the novel is that of Adam and Eve and the Tree of Knowledge. In the Garden of Eden, the world’s first man and woman are free to do as they please; the only restriction God sent upon them was that they cannot eat the fruit that grew from the Tree of Knowledge. However, when the Devil appears before Adam and Eve in the form of a snake, they are both tempted to take a bite. They are cast out of the garden for their sin, and into the harsh realities of the real world. In Fahrenheit 451, Montag is faced with a temptation as well: the knowledge that forbidden books hold. He, too, is living a life of blissful ignorance in his sheltered society, but when he disobeys the rules and begins to read, he is led to a world outside of his state of oppression. Learning of a past where people were free to express their thoughts drives Montag to escape his old society and embrace a new world, living with the Book Keepers. Essentially, Montag “takes a bite from the apple”, acting out against society’s will. However, from Bradbury’s perspective, although Montag was disobeying societal rules, pushing past the boundaries resulted in a positive outcome for his protagonist, differing from Adam and Eve’s consequences following their classic sin.

Subject: Psychology

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Question:

Name two learning psychologists that used classical conditioning in their experiments, and describe the corresponding experiments.

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Alexandra B.
Answer:

Ivan Pavlov is well-known for his experiments with dogs through which he used classic conditioning to cause salivation to innately occur as a reflex at the sound of a bell ringing. In classical conditioning, a response is elicited by a previously neutral stimulus that has become associated with the unconditioned stimulus. In Pavlov's experiments, prior to the conditioning, the food was the unconditioned stimulus, and the salivation the unconditioned response. During conditioning, the ringing of the bell was paired with the introduction of food to the dogs, which in turned caused salivation. Prior to this conditioning, the conditioned stimulus was the bell ringing, and salivation was the conditioned response. John Watson was the creator of the Little Albert experiment, through which he used classical conditioning in order to condition a fear of white, furry objects through loud noise. 9-month-old Albert was exposed to a variety of stimuli and was observed. When a white rat was paired with loud noise, the child was conditioned to associate these two factors and therefore began to fear this particular creature, as well as all objects similar in appearance, even without the presence of the loud noise.

Subject: English

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Question:

How does the novel Lost Children Archive by Valeria Luiselli tackle the concepts of both literal and physical borders and boundaries?

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Alexandra B.
Answer:

Lost Children Archive deals with both physical and figurative borders, and the weight these borders carry. We see the family embark on their trip from bustling New York City on the east coast of the nation, and cross state borders that lead them to more rural and rustic areas. Eventually, they will reach the desertland of Arizona; all three of these climates and environments exist within one nation’s border. However, ways of life, scenery, even political views, vary, separated by state borders. The narrator and her spouse seem to have some emotional borders that are causing a rift in their relationship, related to their personal ambitions and passion projects and their precarious future together. Additionally, as a blended family, there are borders separating the four family members, as neither parent is a biological parent to both of their children. The narrator herself states that the past relationships that produced the Boy and Girl are unspoken about and brushed over. Then there are borders discussed politically, as they pertain to the South and Central American immigrant crisis that the narrator is interested in researching. These young children who are turned away in the U.S.-Mexico borders, or made to defend their reasoning for their immigration before being thrown into detention centers, are suffering the effects of the politically-charged cultural and political borders. This is a primary example of borders and the idea of sovereignty over certain pieces of our earth’s land being used to justify mistreatment and abuse of the “other”, the “outsider”, in cruel and inhumane ways. Lastly, there are historical borders being dealt with and explored in the novel, as the narrator’s husband sets out to research the Apache peoples, who once inhabited the land which is now the Southwest United States. These borders were quite literally redrawn when the land was seized and boxed off as new state land; there are power dynamics at play when we look at who took whose land.

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