Magazine created by students of the Department of English and American Studies at Masaryk University.

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The Real-Life Prison Break: Saving Evangelina Cisneros

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by Samuel Chalupka

It was late night on Tuesday, October 5, 1897, in Havana – the city finally seemed to be fast asleep in a serene slumber, perhaps only perturbed by the lingering specter of the Cuban-Spanish war. The sky was clear and incandescent, lulling the ambiance and lighting up every nook and cranny of the Cuban capital. Even the southernmost O’Farrill street, a street of infamously ill repute, received its share – this much to the dismay of one Karl Decker and his cohorts. These fine American gentlemen tacitly relied on the veil of darkness as their aide (Decker and Cisneros 87) in the hope of breaking into the Casa de Recojidas prison and freeing a revolutionary damsel in distress, Evangelina Cosio y Cisneros – a mission which they at last carried out the following night. 

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Heartstopper: Balancing Teen Entertainment with Education

in Current Issue/Reviews

by Tereza Šišková

With all the criticisms TV shows for young children and teenagers often receive from experts and the public for being too violent, sexual, or affirming stereotypes, the television and new streaming platforms which profit from teen audiences often get labelled as a social evil. Scalvini, in his analysis of the controversial show 13 Reasons Why, highlights the responsibility producers have to consider potential harms and heed warnings from counsellors. Being critical of what sort of shows teens are watching is not unwarranted. Recent inquiry by the British Film Institute shows children and teens see TV as an extension of their education and that it continues to play an important role in their lives for the “shared viewing experience.” This clearly indicates that teen shows are not mere entertainment, but they often form a crucial part in adolescent development. Therefore, since teen audiences expect to learn more about how things work in society and inter-personal relationships through watching shows, it stands to reason the shows produced for them should deliver on that premise. In this article, I present the queer high school drama Heartstopper as an example of a teen show that incorporates positively reinforcing important social skills into its narrative – particularly in the realms of finding one’s identity and building friendships.

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How Queen Influenced Individual Expression

in Current Issue/Views

by Kateřina Koprnová

The English band Queen was (and still is) perceived as a group of flashy, talented show-offs with catchy riffs and heartfelt lyrics by the public. However, how they actually encouraged generations of listeners not to be afraid of expressing themselves, whether it be through attitudes, deeds, or fashion sense, is a question that certainly has been asked by many, but the execution was not truly brought up. As the main vocalist Freddie Mercury was of Zanzibari descent, his experience of being an outsider was further amplified by the music industry, which comprised a small number of people of color (who were successful) and with the same flamboyant manners Mercury presented. At the same time, in the seventies people of the middle and lower classes were pushed to conform to normality, discouraged from individuality. Therefore, a large portion of people who took a liking to Queen’s music could additionally feel represented by Mercury’s extraordinary behavior added to his foreign origins. 

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‘First They Came for the Trade Unionists’¹: Unions, Reagan and the Lasting Impact of the PATCO Strike

in Current Issue/Views

by Erik Szabó

The role, purpose, and legitimacy of trade and labor unions have been the subject of seemingly never-ending debates and it is also undebatable that this status has undergone many changes throughout the history of organized labor.  The topic of present essay is the situation of trade and labor unions in the United States. The endeavor of current paper is twofold: its first undertaking is to examine the relationship between the unions and the Reagan administration, while its second intention is to draw and show potential parallels with the Reaganian notions and the present-day situation of organized labor. This will be accomplished by first exploring the historical significance of the unions, then scrutinizing the affiliation of the labor movement and the Reagan administration, while the last part of the paper will show possibilities about how the Reagan administration influenced the situation of present-day organized labor.

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Future After Roe vs. Wade Overturned: On the Nature of Abortion Laws in the United States

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by Nela Kolčáková

Abortion is a serious and complex issue. As a complex issue, it has many nuances and can be viewed from a myriad of perspectives. Hence, laws pertaining to abortion should handle the issue delicately. Since the decision from the case of Roe vs. Wade (1973), which practically made the right to have an abortion a constitutional right in the United States, was overturned on the 24th of June 2022, various states have adopted strict abortion laws. Having laws that regulate abortion is not an uncommon thing; after all, only four countries in the world have no laws restricting abortion (Shaw and Norman 50). Abortion laws are mostly about the balance between the rights of the pregnant person and the rights of the unborn child. Thus, making an abortion law too strict, tipping the balance in favor of the potential life too much, is likely to have a severe negative impact on the people who are already alive. On the other hand, the unborn child has a right to live which should be protected. Additionally, there are other effects of abortion laws that need to be considered. For example, lifting abortion restrictions may have a negative impact on birth rates (Levine et al. 202), which may be perceived as a problem by some. The complexity of this issue is why this essay shall take a closer look at the abortion laws in the US and what their possible consequences may be. Many of the state laws that restrict abortion in the United States have problematic wording and are the cause of many concerns and potential future trouble.

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A postmodern critique of relationships and gender roles in Ruben Östlund’s Triangle of Sadness

in Current Issue/Reviews

by Karin Nestešová 

Even if you are not a regular cinemagoer, chances are you have heard of the 2022 movie Triangle of Sadness which has been a hit not only in the European cinemas but also at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival where it has won the Palme d’Or award. This most recent satirical black comedy film written and directed by the Swedish director Ruben Östlund, whose previous movies Force Majeure (2014) and The Square (2017) have also been critically acclaimed, deals with the themes of beauty standards, gender stereotypes, and predominantly social and class inequalities. Although to some, the satirical poke at the wealthy’s incompetence to survive without reliance on their wealth and the lower- and working-class service workers can seem too obvious, the reversal of hierarchy and social roles in the third act of the film shows how even in a situation, where survival is at the top of the priority list, rather than creating an egalitarian system, the community replicates the capitalistic patterns of the default society. However, perhaps the most prominent way the themes of class and social hierarchy are explored in the movie is through the relationship of the two main characters, Carl and Yaya, reflecting how modern relationships, gender, and capitalism are closely intertwined. This portrayal of post-modern relationships mirrors the capitalistic patterns of society and the inequalities that Östlund criticizes through the wealthy guests’ interaction with the middle- and lower-class crew. 

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Fighting the Good Fight: Review of Netflix’s Grand Army

in Current Issue/Reviews

by Linda Krajčovičová

“We’re still here”. “I need to do something”. “I’m marching into a battle.” The intro of Grand Army’s first episode immediately hints that the show will attempt to address more serious issues than might be expected from a TV show about teenagers. The very first scene, showing Joey, one of the protagonists, helping her best friend take a condom out of her body, only supports the argument that the series is there to make people uncomfortable by pushing boundaries and talking about things that others avoid. 

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Victoria Hislop: The Island. A Beach Book or a Source of Societal Questioning?

in Current Issue/Reviews/Views

by Eve Filée

“A society is defined by what it rejects”, asserted Michel Foucault. This sentence is perfectly illustrated in the case of Spinalonga, a Greek island located east of the Cretan coast of Elounda. This small island of barely eight hectares has become the main scene of Victoria Hislop’s novel entitled “the Island”. The British author’s novel has been a bestseller since its publication in 2005, and two years later has won the Newcomer of the Year award and was shortlisted as the Book of the Year at the 2007 British Book Awards. This paper aims first to analyze Victoria Hislop’s writing style and the way in which she develops her plot, and secondly, the manner in which The Island leads the reader to ruminate questions of the societal organization through subjects of marginality and social exclusion. Drawing on theories of famous philosophers, we will conduct a discussion on the important themes addressed by the British author and compare them with our recent actuality. Indeed, Victoria Hislop’s novel is reminiscent of the pandemic from which we have just emerged. Themes such as epidemics, quarantines, civil, public and media responsibilities have also lived, after COVID-19, at the heart of our daily lives. Let us explore together how this humble book goes beyond simple holiday reading by turning itself into a mirror that reflects society in a perhaps unflattering way.

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Just a Small-Town Girl in a Land of Feminist Opportunities

in Current Issue
Me being all cocky in front of the Drottningholm Palace in Stockholm which is the King and Queen’s private residence.

by Jana Záhoráková

I guess I should have done my homework before applying to this university, but I probably would not comprehend its importance without having a first-hand experience there. The truth is that Lund is something like a Swedish Harvard or Yale. It is a university town near bigger cities, Malmo and Copenhagen, and historically, the university is one of the oldest universities in Sweden and continually ranks among the top 100 universities in the world. In other words, it can be very intimidating, so perhaps it was better for me to go in blind and without fear.

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The Prague Orgy:
An American Writer’s Take on Communist Czechoslovakia

in Current Issue/Reviews

by Bryan Felber

“What good is socialism if when I want to nobody will fuck me?” (Prague Orgy 37). Biting one-liners like this are packed tight into the novella, The Prague Orgy, penned by the irreverent yet reputable Jewish American writer, Philip Roth. The book, which has recently been adapted for the screen by Czech filmmaker Irena Pavlásková, is inspired by the real-life visits Roth made to Prague during the mid-70s. In the fiction, the essence of his many yearly visits is distilled into a single dramatic journey behind the Iron Curtain where Nathan Zuckerman, Roth’s alter ego, is attempting to rescue the unpublished manuscripts of a dead Yiddish writer from the clutches of its maniacal keeper, Olga Sisovska, and past the ever-looming surveillance of the communist authorities. In real-life, Roth was meeting with writers like Ivan Klíma, Milan Kundera, Bohumil Hrabal, Ludvík Vaculík, and Karol Sidon, compiling the works of these Czech dissident writers to be published in America. So the idea of saving literary talent from obscurity was an actual feat Roth successfully performed, but his visits did not leave him unscathed.

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