Did Piaget underestimate the preoperational child?

Piaget describes the two- to seven-year-old preoperational child as being able to perform representational thinking, in that the child is able to produce mental images of objects and use other symbols and signs to represent objects and experiences. For example, playing “pretend” is a favorite pastime of this age group. At my church’s children ministry, my young charges often like to pretend that a particular squeaky toy that happens to have a handle is “mommy’s suitcase,” thereby using one object to represent another. However, while the capacity to utilize representations may add a dimension of logic and organization to thought processes, the child’s thinking still remains limited in its logical capabilities. Piaget characterizes the preoperational child in terms of four predominant, limiting cognitive features: “egocentrism, rigidity of thought, semilogical reasoning, and limited social cognition” (Miller, 2009). Of these four concepts, I believe that Piaget underestimated the preoperational child in terms of egocentrism and rigidity of thought.

Egocentrism is defined as the child’s inability to recognize that another person may have a different perspective than his or herself. According to Piaget, this phenomenon results as a consequence of an incomplete differentiation of self from the surrounding environment and a perception of the world solely from one’s own perspective (Miller, 2009). Piaget demonstrated this concept experimentally through the “three mountains task,” in which children are asked to examine a three-mountain model and describe what they see and what they anticipate that their peers would see if they viewed the model from a different angle. Piaget reported that the preoperational child was only successful in describing the mountain scene from his or her own perspective and could not identify what another individual would see, which he considered to be an exemplification of the child’s egocentrism (Cognitive Development).

However, upon examination of follow-up experiments—specifically, the policeman-doll task conducted by Martin Hughes—I would venture to say that Piaget overestimated the extent to which egocentrism limited a child’s thinking and underestimated the preoperational child’s ability to take on the perspective of another individual. In the policeman-doll experiment, Hughes showed the child a model with a few walls and asked the child to hide a doll from the policeman. Even when including multiple policemen in the model, 90 percent of three-and-a-half to five-year-old children were able to position the doll in a location that would be hidden from the view of both policemen (Cognitive Development). Considering that success in this task would be dependent upon the child’s ability to take into account the perspectives of both policemen, the considerable success rate of the children in completing this task is consequently indicative of the preoperational child’s ability to decenter, which signifies that the child is capable of recognizing that other people may have different perspectives and identifying what those perspectives are. Therefore, this suggests that Piaget may have underestimated the preoperational child in terms of egocentrism.

The dramatic increase in success for Hughes’ policeman-doll task, compared to Piaget’s three-mountain task, may potentially be attributed to the child’s increased understanding of the task itself. For instance, Hughes deliberately sought to ensure that the child understood the intentions and the language used in the task, while the children faced with the three-mountains task may have been confused by the language involved, which may have interfered with their ability to offer correct answers. Additionally, the three-mountains task required the children to choose the other individual’s perspective from a set of images, which may have been challenging for the preoperational child, considering it required a greater level of mental manipulation. On the other hand, the policeman-doll task allowed the children to manipulate the doll in the model in a more hands-on manner. Furthermore, having lived in an urban setting, the children were likely more familiar with the concept of walls and policemen and less familiar with mountain scenery, thereby potentially influencing their success in the task (Cognitive Development). It would certainly be interesting to evaluate whether the same children, who were unsuccessful in the three-mountains task, would successfully complete the policeman-doll task, as this would further validate Piaget’s underestimation of the preoperational child as well as implicate his methodology in that underestimation.

Miller describes the rigidity of thought as the “frozen” nature of preoperational thought, citing centration as an example. Centration is characterized by the child’s inability to take into consideration more than one dimension or characteristic of an object. According to Piaget, a consequence of the preoperational child’s inability to decenter involves their inability to understand the concept of conservation and perform reversible mental operations. Conservation involves the child’s ability to comprehend that a particular feature or identity of an object—i.e. its volume or number—may remain constant despite a transformation in appearance. For instance, in the conservation of volume task, a preoperational child would be unable to conclude that the volume of water remains constant as it is poured from a tall, skinny beaker into a short, fat beaker. Piaget attributed the child’s lack of success in conservation to both centration, which reflects the child’s inability to consider both dimensions of height and width, as well as lack of reversibility, in which the child is unable to mentally reverse the transformation he had just witnessed (Miller, 2009).

As in the three-mountain task, a misunderstanding or incomplete comprehension of the language used may have played a role in the children’s inability to provide correct answers to the questions. For instance, critics of Piaget suggest that the child may not have fully understood what the adult had meant by “more” water, whether the adult was referring to “more” in terms of width, height or volume. This misinterpretation issue is further compounded by “social expectations” that the child may have, in that the child may offer a response that he or she believes the adult expects or desires to hear, rather than describe what he or she actually thinks. Since children likely operate under the assumption that the adult has some semblance of logic or rationale behind the questions that he or she asks, the child may assume that the adult’s repeated questioning indicates that the adult may be looking for a different answer than previously given (Cognitive Development). As a result, the child’s response is colored by his or her assumptions of what the adult expects. Consequently, the preoperational child’s inability to provide correct answers to the conservation task may be attributed to these inappropriate misinterpretations rather than the child’s actual inability to decenter and adequately conserve.

Evidence that Piaget may have in fact underestimated the preoperational child’s ability to perform conservation tasks is supported by the McGarigold and Donaldson study, which sought to determine whether a child could recognize that the number of objects would be conserved despite having been spread out further. However, a key difference in this study is that the change in arrangement of the objects was a consequence of the accidental actions of “Naughty Teddy.” Interestingly, in this “Naughty Teddy” scenario, the children provided the correct answers (Cognitive Development). It is possible that the ‘accident’ perpetrated by the “Naughty Teddy” provided sufficient justification for why the adult would ask a repeated question, such that the children were able to provide earnest, unbiased answers to the questions. Therefore, this would suggest that the preoperational child is indeed capable of comprehending the concept of conservation and signifies that Piaget would have underestimated the cognitive ability of the preoperational child in this respect.

Cognitive Development [motion picture]. (1995). United States: Films Media Group.
Miller, P.H. (2009). Theories of Developmental Psychology. New York, N.Y.: Worth Publishers.

Performance and deception in The Aspern Papers

Performance and deception in The Aspern Papers
By: Fernanda Price

In examining the role of theater and performance in Henry James’s The Aspern Papers, it is clear that the very nature of the novel is in itself a play. It’s as if all the characters are wearing theatrical masks and playing the roles they choose. Everything is theatrical- the way the characters behave, the dramatization of normal life and simple activities, and the set-like quality of the locations in which the story is carried out. The entirety of the characters’ behavior is a performance put on for each other and for the reader, which is evident in the deceptive nature of their interactions, and through the narrator’s hidden identity. Furthermore, the structure of the book itself employs theatrical elements in the writing style.

One factor that depicts the novel as theatrical is the locations in which the story takes place. Venice as a setting functions as a dramatic backdrop which exemplifies the artificial nature permeating the book. Italy also happens to be a common setting of dramatic theatrical pieces such as Romeo and Juliet, and the narrator often makes references to Shakespeare’s work, even comparing it to Aspern’s at times. The facades of the buildings described in deep detail (it’s possible to imagine a decaying set for a play) add to the exploration of the inner and the outer- the connection of what lurks beneath the surface and what is presented to the world, or the audience. This metaphor is most clearly expressed by Mrs. Prest, as she assures the narrator not to be fooled by the grandeur of the palace into believing that the Misses Bordereau weren’t in need of money:

“…big house here, and especially in this quartier perdu, proves nothing at all:  it is perfectly compatible with a state of penury.  Dilapidated old palazzi, if you will go out of the way for them, are to be had for five shillings a year.  And as for the people who live in them ­no, until you have explored Venice socially as much as I have you can form no idea of their domestic desolation.  They live on nothing, for they have nothing to live on.” (James 26)

The idea of social behavior as a theatrical act is suggested and it foreshadows the behaviors that will ensue once the narrator enters the palace.  The Bordereau women certainly demonstrate a need for keeping up appearances and acting out their part, as is demonstrated by their assumption that people have heard of them even though they never leave the confines of their palace.

The first sign of performance comes in the form of the narrative structure: First-person narration. Here is where the act of disguise begins. The narrator, unnamed, hides his true identity from the reader and doesn’t delve into any identifying characteristics of himself-not even his name. Instead, he absorbs his identity from his idol, Jeffrey Aspern, who he is obsessed with. His character, then, is defined by a performance that he is putting on for the reader and his actions and reasoning are then merely his own depiction of the events which transpired. His performance, however, doesn’t have just one audience, but two: the reader and his hostesses- Juliana and Tina Bordereau.  The narrator creates a false identity and deceives them in order to achieve his goal of attaining the coveted Aspern papers. He goes into the palace already having formulated this plan, even bringing with him a card with a fake name he has picked for himself. He is fully prepared to play a part and to perform for the Bordereau women, even without having met them or having any real knowledge of them. This orchestrated deception is something he states from the beginning, when he describes his plan to his friend, Mrs. Prest:

“I can arrive at my spoils only by putting her off her guard, and I can put her off her guard only by ingratiating diplomatic practices. Hypocrisy, duplicity are my only chance. I am sorry for it, but there’s no baseness I wouldn’t commit for Jeffrey Aspern’s sake. First I must take tea with her; then tackle the main job.” (James 26)

Throughout the story there is a need to remain faithful to the characters presented, to be consistent in the performance. The narrator is very careful about the way he acts and what he says, making sure to keep up his act by not revealing his true intention until the plot calls for it. Yet the deception and performance continues even later in the book when he eventually decides to come clean to Miss Tina, and tells her his real name, and he doesn’t reveal it to the reader, because he is still performing for him.

Another theatrical aspect of the story is the manipulation carried on by the narrator and Juliana Bordereau. They enter into a sort of conniving game in which they constantly deceive each other and withhold their true sentiments and intentions and instead put on a performance to gain something from the other. The narrator lies in order to gather information from Juliana and from Tina, while Juliana withholds information and extorts him to get large sums of money and to make him form a relationship with her niece. It is unclear throughout the entire story whether Juliana is aware of the narrator’s true motives and whether she actually owns what he’s after, all that is revealed is her performance and the way she uses it to get her way.

There is certainly no lack of theatrical elements and drama in the text. One type- the less explored one- is internal drama. The exposure to the narrator’s issues of morality and obsession presented with his internal struggles at how far he is willing to manipulate the women and what acts he is capable of committing to attain his goal. This type of drama serves as a background to the second type-external drama, the tension that increases throughout the book which is akin to the suspense of a theatrical performance that builds as the audience wonders whether or not he will get the papers, whether in fact there are even any papers to find, and if there are, whether Julianna will burn them. The novel even seems to follow the flow of a theatrical performance, as it build the tension throughout the story (much like a play), reaching a climax and not having a resolution until the end of the novel.  James even hints at the concept of theater and every character playing a part, every day, all the time in the scene in which the narrator has left the palace after Tina’s strange proposal and is wandering through Venice in his gondola, observing the theatrical aspects of the city and of its inhabitants:

And somehow the splendid common domicile, familiar, domestic and resonant, also resembles a theatre, with actors clicking over bridges and, in straggling processions, tripping along fondamentas. As you sit in your gondola the footways that in certain parts edge the canals assume to the eye the importance of a stage, meeting it at the same angle, and the Venetian figures, moving to and fro against the battered scenery of their little houses of comedy, strike you as members of an endless dramatic troupe.”(James 110)

The manner in which the narrator describes the settings could be seen as the setting descriptions at the top of a script; the descriptions he gives for the manner in which characters speak is similar to the stage directions, all of which helps the reader visualize the way a scene is “acted out”. For example, when Tina first mentions to the narrator that her aunt knew Jeffrey Aspern his remark was:

“Miss Tina gave me this information flatly, without expression; her tone might have made it a piece of trivial gossip. But it stirred me deeply as she dropped the words into the summer night; their sound might have been the light rustle of an old unfolded love-letter” (James 61)

This description sounds as if a script told the actress playing Tina to deliver the line flatly and expressionless. It further depicts the calculated way in which each character carries themselves, even carefully selecting the tonality of their voices when they reveal information. Everything is overly dramatized and designed to fit the performance.

Dramatic theatricality is seen most vividly in the climax of the story, in which the narrator is trying to find the papers in the secretary and is consequently caught by Julianna:

“Juliana stood there in her night dress, by the doorway of her room, watching me; her hands were raised, she had lifted the everlasting curtain that covered half her face, and for the first, the last, the only time I beheld her extraordinary eyes. They glared at me; they were like a sudden drench, for a caught burglar, of a flood of gaslight; they made me horribly ashamed. I never shall forget her strange little bent white tottering figure, with its lifted head, her attitude, her expression; neither shall I forget the tone in which as I turned, looking at her, she hissed out passionately, furiously:
“Ah you publishing scoundrel!” (James 95)

This segment is particularly theatrical in the way it builds tension, almost as if the audience were seeing Juliana creep up slowly behind the narrator, unbeknownst to him, creating dramatic irony. The way he describes her, as lifting “the everlasting curtain” is reminiscent of a mask, as if Julianna was revealing the real her for the first time in the story, the first moment in which she is not performing for him, or playing any games. That line:  “You publishing scoundrel” and the moment in which she falls immediately afterwards could be very easily followed by a curtain falling, ending the first act and building the suspense for what’s to come in the second. Uncertainty has built and the tension has reached an all-time high at this point, and it is overly dramatized making the scene all the more theatrical.

Overall, The Aspern Papers is a highly theatrical piece that has all the elements of a great play: dramatic suspense, interesting, cunning characters, and a plot ridden with moral dilemmas. Also, like a play, the audience is left to infer or imagine the motives behind the character’s actions, particularly Miss Tina’s – who turns out to be the ultimate performer-decision to burn the papers in the end. It is very dramatic and theatrical to leave it up to interpretation what led her to commit such an act, whether it be love, resentment, revenge, or pride. The reader is also left to infer the motives behind her character- whether she really was just a shy, demure woman who was used to being controlled all her life, or whether it was all an act and she was really manipulating the narrator the entire time. She was used to playing the part that was assigned to her for her entire life and it’s only towards the end that she starts to show another side to her character, although which side is the performance and which is the real her is up to the audience to determine. In the end, it is unclear who was manipulating who as it was all a performance and each character played their own part, hiding from the reader- the audience- all semblance of reality and instead putting on a play for them to decipher.

Works cited
James, Henry. The Aspern papers. New York, NY: Barnes and Noble Classics, 2003. Print.

The Stonewall Riots and their Influence on Workplace Discrimination

The Stonewall Riots and their Influence on Workplace Discrimination
By: Kelsey Murray

On the night of June 27, 1969, the Stonewall riots broke out in New York City at the Stonewall Inn. The Stonewall Inn was traditionally a bar that whose patrons were mostly homosexual or queer. These militaristic style riots caught widespread attention across the United States because it appeared to be sudden and those who were involved were part of an ostracized community. The ostracized community was the queer community. Many historians believe that the Stonewall riots were the first riots in which the queer community participated in as a whole and this created the first large gay rights movement. Although it is arguable whether Stonewall began the gay rights movement, was the first protest, or was the most important part of the gay rights movement, this is not what this paper will be discussing or arguing. What is not arguable, however, is the effect the Stonewall riots had on the nation and the gay rights and gay power movements. This paper will be discussing the effect Stonewall had on queer people in the workplace. This paper will argue that the Stonewall riots, created a less discriminatory workplace for the queer community than prior to the riots.

It is important to understand the discrimination that was directed towards the queer community in the pre-Stonewall workplace in order to see the influence and change the riots had on the workplace. In order to gain this understanding, this paper will address the discrimination that occurred in the workplace, prior to the Stonewall riots. In 1995, the National Association of Gay & Lesbian Journalists released a list of “the 100 Best Companies to Work for Gay Men and Lesbians.” On this list, a grand total of zero companies had anti-discrimination policies prior to 1974.[1] The lack of companies that had anti-discrimination policies prior to 1974 shows that although discrimination was an issue in the workplace, the companies did not take measures to prevent discrimination nor did they have measures to take action against the discriminators. The Stonewall riots occurred in 1969, meaning that no anti-discrimination measures were in place to protect gay professionals in the workplace. Prior to the Stonewall riots stopping or minimizing the discrimination against queer professionals in the workplace seemed like a far off hope for the queer community.[2]

When the Stonewall riots occurred, the nation took notice of the movement. The atmosphere, energy and attitude formed out of the riots were influential on the increase of awareness of the gay rights and anti-discrimination movements. The New York Times wrote about the riots shortly after they started. The newspaper article uses details about the violent “rampage in Greenwich Village shortly after 3 A.M. yesterday after a force of plainclothes men raided a bar that the police said was wellknown for its homosexual clientele.”[3] This quote shows that not only did The New York Times feel that the riots were important enough to report on the day after they happened, but that this would catch the public’s interest. The author of the article wrote the participants in the riot in a bad light, which shows that the media and the public were discriminatory towards the queer community. Police made five arrests during the Stonewall riots and four police officers were injured.[4] The scale of the riot caught many police officers, 26 of who were named in the police reports, off guard. In published police reports, the sergeant describes the chaos at the Stonewall Inn and the riots, which erupted on that night in June, as an “unusual occurrence.”[5] The police report includes a list of names of injured officers and the injuries they sustained. Rioters bit, kicked, hit the police officers which caused a majority of the injuries. The fact that Sergeant Atlas refers to the riots as unusual means that riots that were similar to Stonewall did not occur often, if at all. This statement means that Stonewall was obviously larger and on a different level than previous riots. The Stonewall riots were going to make a difference in the queer community.

The general attitude of the American society was that it was wrong to be queer. This general attitude transferred into the workplace as well as the medical field. This The American Psychiatric Association considered homosexuality a mental illness until the 1970s and the corruption of America’s soldiers into homosexuals was still fresh in the mind of many citizens. That being said, prior to the Stonewall riots, homosexuals were considered mentally ill and people believed they had they could corrupt others into becoming homosexuals. Equality did not seem like a realistic dream for the queer community in 1950. Slowly, the far off hope of an anti-discrimination workplace began to see the light of day. There were many reasons for the small steps towards anti-discrimination in the workplace including The Kinsey Reports, the formation of groups, and visibility. Alfred Kinsey, a biologist who focused on sexuality in the human male and female, wrote reports that were immensely influential in the gay rights movement and gave the gay community a sense of pride. These reports were incredibly impactful on the gay rights and gay power movements due to their overwhelming popularity among various different identities across the nation.

When Alfred Kinsey released his reports on sexuality, the number of people who identified as queer became public.[6] Kinsey concluded that 37% of males had at least one orgasm from a same-sex experience.[7] Males were not the only ones who had at least one same-experience orgasm. Kinsey reported that 13% of females had at least one orgasm from a same-sex experience.[8] These high percentages showed that over a third of males and more than one-tenth of women have had non-heterosexual experiences. These shocking statistics showed the public that non-heterosexual activities were more widespread and common than they initially believed. The Kinsey Report’s rise to the top of the non-fiction best-seller lists after its initial release shows the popularity of the publication. From January to July, the Kinsey Report sold over 200,000 and showed no signs of slowing down.[9] This demonstrates the widespread popularity of the Kinsey Report among more than the queer community but also the heterosexual community as well. If employers wanted to continue discriminating against homosexuals at work, they would have to discriminate against a larger percentage of their employees than originally thought. Kinsey’s reports created momentum for the gay rights movement wheel to begin turning. When the gay community began to feel not as alienated and alone, this gave them the knowledge that they were not, in fact, alone as well as the confidence to break into a riot at the Stonewall Inn in June 1969.

Although, Stonewall has not eliminated discrimination towards the queer community, it has decreased it. According to many people who identified with as queer, they believed that their workplaces would not allow complete domestic partners to receive benefits until more gay workers came out.[10] The Stonewall riots gave many gay professionals the courage to come out because they saw the level of power that activists had. A year after Stonewall, multiple organizations including gay rights activists and organizations came together to commemorate the Stonewall riots. The participants in this movement gathered in New York City in order to hold a parade. This parade was the beginning of gay pride parades, which is why gay pride parades occur in June of every year. The Stonewall riots began a movement, which in turn created a movement, which raised more awareness of the queer community. Employers needed to keep up with public awareness by becoming aware of the queer community as well.

In 1973, just four years after the Stonewall riots, the American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality off its list of mental disorders. When the APA removed homosexuality off the list of mental disorders, this action showed that the medical community and professionals were beginning to understand homosexuality more. This understanding was largely due to Alfred Kinsey’s reports that a larger number of people than was originally thought were not solely heterosexual. The medical community, as well as society in general, began to see homosexuality as more widespread when the small, local riot of Stonewall grew into a larger rights campaign and movement. When the Stonewall riots began, they put the spotlight on homosexuality across the nation. The Stonewall riots’ publicity influenced many individuals to come out which moved the underground gay rights movement to aboveground.[11] The nation experienced a shockwave due to the sudden increase of individuals coming out. The increase of the number of openly gay employees meant that employers needed to examine their policies if they wanted to retain their gay employees.

Within the workplace, gay, lesbian, and bisexual groups are a key part of an employers’ anti-discrimination policy. From 1978 until mid-1998, 69 new GLB organizations within the Fortune 1000 companies emerged.[12] Nicole Raeburn, author of Lesbian and Gay Workplace Rights: Changing Corporate America from the Inside Out, reported that there were possibly 98 GLB groups in the Fortune 1000 but could only contact 69 of them. With the total 69 GLB groups, the total averages out to be a grown of 3.37% each year. Before 1978, there were zero GLB organizations within the Fortune 1000.[13] While 1969 and 1978 are nine years apart, the increase from zero GLB workers groups to one GLB worker group is a huge jump. The Stonewall riots created the attitude that made this jump possible. This Stonewall riot attitude was one of self-reliance, action, self-confidence, and a want for equality. These attitudes allowed for the creation of the GLB groups, which were then able to insert themselves into the powerful world known as corporate America.

Companies were not the only institutions who had anti-discrimination policies. “By mid-February 2004, 14 states and 153 localities had prohibited antigay employment discrimination in the private sector,” which meant that before queer people received a job, employers could not be discriminated against them during the hiring process.[14] The fact that almost a third of the states prohibited discrimination based on someone’s sexual orientation shows that the gay power and gay rights campaigns had spread across the nation and was no longer located in just large cities with a traditionally high percentage of queer citizens. The gay power and gay rights movements had increased in popularity due to the Stonewall riots’ media coverage throughout the country as well as the dispersion of those who participated in the Stonewall riots. By bringing the militaristic style gay power movement to other states, other states began to realize the influence and the affect the queer community had on that particular location.

In addition to anti-discrimination laws, many companies have added domestic partner benefits for their employees. By 2003, 207 companies in the Fortune 500 offered domestic partner benefits.[15] This statistic, which was almost half of the Fortune 500 companies, shows that even most powerful companies saw the tides changing after the Stonewall riots. In order to maintain customer and employee satisfaction, and even perhaps avoid a Stonewall like riot, companies saw that they needed to focus on equality in the workplace. After seeing the scene that arose at Stonewall and the declaration of gay power, many citizens and employers were afraid of what could happen if they need not start appeasing the gay activists. The weekend of Stonewall, “looked like something from a William Burroughs novel as the sudden specter of “gay power”…’[16] The Stonewall riots were looked at as the start of the gay power movement by many of the spectators and the media who reported on the event. They had never seen a gay power campaign prior to this event, which sent shockwaves throughout the nation and especially the media. Gay activists showed that by being militaristic, they could not only grab the nation’s attention but also wield power across the city and the nation. This power was the catalyst needed to created changes in the workplace.

The Stonewall riots were sudden and caught the nation by surprise. The stunned nation then focused on the riots, which created awareness of the queer community. The Stonewall riots’ militaristic and unpredictable style caused many to worry about the repercussions of not working with the activists. With this awareness, the queer community created gay pride parades as well as gay, lesbian and bisexual groups within the Fortune 1000 companies. Just for years after the Stonewall riots, the queer community received one of their largest and most important boosts for anti-discrimination among employers. In 1973, the American Psychologist Association declared that homosexuality was not a mental illness. In addition to homosexuality no longer considered a mental illness, the number of companies who have anti-discrimination policies has increased. Prior to 1974, no companies had anti-discrimination policies. Five years after Stonewall, however, companies began installing anti-discrimination policies in order to protect their gay professionals. Observers and the media at the time of the Stonewall riots saw the riots as beginning of the gay power movement. With these changes occurring post-Stonewall, after discriminatory policies had been in place for centuries prior to the Stonewall riots, it is clear that Stonewall was a catalyst for these changes and created a workplace which discriminated against homosexuals and the queer community less than the pre-Stonewall time period. Without the Stonewall riots’ catalyst affect, little, if anything, would have changed in the workplace.

[1] The National Association of Gay & Lesbian Journalists, “The 100 Best Companies to Work for Gay Men and Lesbians.” (1995).

[2] Vern Bullough, “Discrimination Against gays, Lesbians, and the Highly Androgynous,” in The Psychology of Sex, Gender, and Jobs: Issues and Solutions, eds., Louis Diamant and Jo Ann Lee (Westport: Praeger, 2002), 148.

[3] “Melee Near Sheridan Square Follows Action at Bar,” The New York Times, 29 June 1969.

[4] Sergeant Tuilly, “Unusual Occurrence,” Police Report, 28 June 1969.

[5] Sergeant Atlas, “Unusual Occurrence,” Police Report, 28 June 1969.

[6] Bullough, “Discrimination Against gays, Lesbians, and the Highly Androgynous,” 146.

[7] Alfred Kinsey, Sexual Behavior in the Human Male, (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1975), 650.

[8] Alfred Kinsey, Sexual Behavior in the Human Female, (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1998), 475.

[9] Francis Sill Wickware, “Report on Kinsey,” Life Magazine (2 August 1948): 87.

[10] Annette Friskopp and Sharon Silverstein, Straight Jobs, Gay Lives: Gay and Lesbian Professionals, the Harvard Business School, and the American Workplace (New York: Scribner, 1995), 150.

[11] Bullough, “Discrimination Against gays, Lesbians, and the Highly Androgynous,” 145.

[12] Nicole Raeburn, Lesbian and Gay Workplace Rights: Changing Corporate America from the Inside Out (Minneapolis: The University of Minnesota Press, 2004), 24-25.

[13] Ibid., 24.

[14] Ibid., 114.

[15] Ibid., 135.

[16] Lucian Truscott IV, “Gay Power Comes to the Sheridan Square,” The Village Voice, 3 July 1969.

Case Study in Prepatellar Bursitis

Case Study in Prepatellar Bursitis
By: Julia Trimble


Surrounding large synovial joints are small fluid-filled sacs composed of fibrous connective tissue called Bursa Sacs.  They are found in any area that ligaments and tendons articulate with bones or skin.[1]  Some Bursae are superficial and they separate bone from the subcutaneous layer of the skin while thers lay behind or within synovial joints.  Bursae are lined with synovial tissue containing a viscious, nutrient-rich liquid called synovial fluid.1  This fluid acts as a slippery cushion that keeps surfaces from rubbing against each other but also to absorb extra pressure on the joints.

Prepatellar Bursitis


In the knee, there are only five major bursae surrounding the patella.[1]   Two of the bursae located near one another are the superficial and deep infrapatellar bursae.  The superficial infrapatellar bursa is located inferior to the patella and separates the patellar tendon from skin.  The deep infraptellar bursa, although is also located inferior to the patella, is behind the tendon.  It separates the Tibia from the patellar tendon.  Another bursa is the Suprapatellar bursa and it is located superior to the patella and separates the femur from the quadriceps femoris.  The pretibial bursa is located inferior to the patella and it superficially separates the tibia from the skin at the tibial tuberosity.2  Finally, the prepatellar bursa lies superficial to the patella and separates the patellar bone from the integument.2   As a group, all bursae function to disperse force and pressure on the knee joint and act as shock absorbers for the femoral and tibial bones.  They also reduce friction during the articulation of the patella, tibia, and femur.[2]  The prepatellar bursa is especially helpful in reducing friction between bone and skin when pressure is applied to the knee very often.  When stress occurs in this area too often, complications can occur.


Prepatellar bursitis is a disease that occurs when the bursa sac located anterior to the knee becomes damaged due to either a trauma or infection that causes an inflammatory response.3  In most situations, the body’s purpose for inflammation is to isolate or immobilize a damaged region of the body to either avoid further injury or the possible spread of infection.

Prepatellar Bursitis appears in two forms: septic or aseptic.  Each varies depending on its cause.  Septic bursitis is the inflammation of bursa as a result of an infection.  The infection usually occurs when the microbe Staphylococcus Aureus enters the body through a cut in the skin (most often around the knee). [3] The other form of prepatellar bursitis is the aseptic form that is caused by continuous stress or acute trauma to the knee.  Damage to this area causes the bursa to swell up, thus limiting the range of motion to the joint.  It is vitally important to distinguish the difference between septic and aseptic bursitis so as to administer the correct form of treatment.  In order to determine the difference, a sample of the synovial fluid can be extracted or “aspirated” from the bursa and cultured in a sterile environment if septic bursitis is suspected.4  During the culture, certain indications of an infection may include heightened levels of protein, lactate, or a white cell count.  There may also be a lowered glucose level and the presence of a gram-negative bacterium (Staphylococcus Aureus).4  To determine aseptic prepatellar bursitis, physicians can perform a physical examination or take MRIs and X-Rays of the knee to look for a distended prepatellar bursa.  In most cases, just the physical examination provides enough justification to diagnose chronic prepatellar bursitis, however if the physician isn’t certain, further investigation may be necessary.

XRay of Sagittal Patella

Although bursitis is best confirmed via procedural examination, the initial diagnosis is made by the presentation of a series of consistent symptoms and a history of trauma or injury to the knee.  A common cause of bursitis is prolonged stress on the knee throughout a long period of time.  Prepatellar Bursitis is often called the “housemaid’s knee” because it appears most in individuals that work on their knees, like maids, plumbers, and roofers.4  When the bursa is stressed, the thin tissue around the bursa begins to thicken to compensate for the added pressure.  When stressed too much, the bursa becomes inflamed and elevates to prepatellar bursitis.  Another cause of bursitis is damage to the bursa sac through trauma.  If a patient has had a recent fall or blow to the knee, they may have damaged some of the blood vessels located near the prepatellar bursa.  When this happens, blood can flood the sac causing it to swell up and become inflamed.[1]  Although the outward appearance may seem minor to the individual, the damage to the actual bursa can be damaging if not treated.  This can become a problem when patients downplay their symptoms because of what appears as a simple bruise.  In the septic form of bursitis, an infection causes the small amount of synovial fluid within the sac to be replaced with pus from the dead cells that are fighting off the ongoing infection.  Patients suffering from prepatellar bursitis may experience reoccurring knee pain followed by possible redness and swelling.5 They may also have difficulty with their range of motion in certain actions like walking, crawling, or kneeling.5  With septic bursitis, redness will be especially apparent and a fever may even occur if the infection is bad enough.  Patients with a lowered immune system may require immediate confirmation of diagnosis if they do not present the symptoms of an immune response.

The best way to begin diagnosing prepatellar bursitis is to start with a physical examination.  In doing so, you may find tenderness or inflammation above the knee.  When asked, the patient may also claim to notice a limited range of movement in the knee joint and pain during articulation.[2]  This is dependent on the amount of activity in the patient’s occupation or daily life.  The more stress that is put on the bursa, the more inflamed it will become.  Another very obvious visual indication of prepatellar bursitis includes a small or large bump above the patella.  This bump is the expanded bursa sac filled with excess fluid, blood, or pus depending on the type of bursitis.  In the instance of septic bursitis, you may notice redness and warmth on the skin.  Some patients may have healed over the cut in the skin that the infection originated from and developed a very painful abscess.6  In some more serious cases of infection, the patient may also present with symptoms of systemic problems, such as a fever or if serious enough, even tachycardia.  In which case, this can be a cause for alarm and the patient would then need emergency care.

Most patients are not greatly affected by their prepatellar bursitis.  As an aseptic inflammatory response, most people experience slight difficulty in movement and swelling that is no different than any normal injury.  The swollen bursa can cause minor pain in some patients while in others it causes no pain at all.  The amount of irritation affects people differently depending on their activity levels.6  For employees that develop bursitis through prolonged stress but have no way around occupational obligations will have greater difficulty functioning because the more they work, the worse their condition will get.  Without isolation, the patient can cause further injury to the bursa and risk lowering their ability to articulate that joint.  Patients with acute trauma usually experience an easy recovery and their condition will not greatly affect their life.  If they are able to treat the area as a normal injury, then the body will reabsorb the excess blood over time.6  This is similar to the process of fading an old bruise.  Patients with a poor immune system that have septic bursitis run a greater risk of systemic problems if their body is unable to fight off the infection.  If spread, the infection can lead to serious, sometimes life-threatening, complications.


To treat prepatellar bursitis, there are two forms of action:  Surgical and Nonsurgical.  These treatments can range between medication, therapy, and excision.   In minor aseptic cases, prepatellar bursitis can be fixed with bed rest, ice, and compression wraps.[3]  For patients who have no choice but to continue stressing the bursa, physicians often suggest knee pads or cushions to relieve stress on the joint during activity along with non-steroid inflammatory pain-relievers like ibuprofen and motrin.6  After doing so, physicians may also refer patients to a physical or occupational therapist to reduce any loss in their range of motion in the knee by increasing the flexibility of their surrounding muscles.  If persistent inflammation occurs, physicians may also administer anti-inflammatory steroids such as Hydrocortisone that restricts blood flow through the capillaries and Corticosteroids that affects the body’s immune response to infection.[4]  Such infections are first treated with an antibiotic medication like penicillin.  In chronic cases, however, antibiotics must be administered through an IV if the patient experiences systemic or immune problems.7

Removal of bursa

The other form of treatment, surgical, is usually administered after all non-surgical treatments have failed. These steps are taken as a last resort for patients who continue to experience complications with their condition. Some patients experiencing prolonged inflammation from an infection can have the bursa drained by making an incision in the skin above the patella and inserting a tube into the prepatellar bursa and allowing the pus to drain out of the sac for multiple days so that the antibiotics can take effect. Physicians can even insert a large syringe into the bursa sac to extract the fluid to relieve the extra pressure of the swollen bursa. This can only occur if an infection is ruled out. If all else fails and the patient is not cured by any other treatment, they can have a Bursectomy performed to remove the prepatellar bursa altogether. Although surgery always presents risk, this procedure actually has a very good outcome. During a Bursectomy, a surgeon makes an incision above the patella and cuts out the thickened bursa sac. Because the prepatellar bursa lies superficial to the patellar tendon, the surgeon doesn’t cause any muscle damage. After surgery, patients will be expected to rest, staying off of the affect knee, and eventually go to physical therapy to strengthen the surrounding muscles. Over time, the bursa sac often grows back in response to the body’s need to reduce friction between bone and skin. The new bursa often returns the quality of life to the way it was before bursitis.
Of course every treatment has its risks but nearly all procedures for bursitis have good outcomes. In nonsurgical treatments, you run the risk of worsening the condition by not taking further action. Through steroid injections, you can spread further infection if not noticed and there are always risk factors in surgery between anesthesia and sepsis however, the chances of any risks causing lifelong issues to the individual are very slim. This gives the pathology a good prognosis for most patients.
Prepatellar Bursitis can affect people of all ages but it often appears in young kids and patients with immune system problems. All treatments should be administered based on cause and activity of the patient. For example, an elderly woman in a nursing home would not receive a Bursectomy because with age, it would take longer to heal and lead to more risks to go into surgery. She would most likely receive antibiotics and rest. Workers that consistently put stress their knees should first try knee braces and cushions but as a last resort, may find continual aspirations necessary to relieve the pressure on their knees. If inflammation persists, they may benefit from a Bursectomy, however this would be based upon the patient’s ability to make time for recovery and post-surgical rehabilitation. Other patients, such as the young and immunocompromised have a greater difficulty fighting off the infection involved with prepatellar bursitis. With these patients, an aggressive treatment of antibiotics may be necessary along with a possible immediate drainage of the bursa to allow the antibiotics to take affect before the infection spreads and becomes a problem to their overall health.

Works Cited
Medical Multimedia Group, L.L.C. (n.d.). A Patient’s Guide to Prepatellar Bursitis. Retrieved from Houston Methodist Orthopedics and Sports Medicine: http://www.methodistorthopedics.com/prepatellar-bursitis
Chatra, P. S. (2012). Bursae around the knee joints. Indian Journal of Radiology and Imaging, 22(1), 27-30. Retrieved from http://www.ijri.org/article.asp?issn=0971-3026;year=2012;volume=22;issue=1;spage=27;epage=30;aulast=Chatra
Dr Michelle Wright, D. C. (2013, September 09). Prepatellar Bursitis. (D. J. Cox, Ed.) Retrieved from Patient.co.uk: http://www.patient.co.uk/doctor/prepatellar-bursitis
Kelly L Allen, M. (2012, August 29). Prepatellar Bursitis Treatment and Management. (M. Consuelo T Lorenzo, Editor) Retrieved from Medscape: http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/309014-treatment#a1138
Rodrigo O. Aguiar, F. C. (2007). The Prepatellar Bursa: Cadaveric Investigation of Regional Anatomy with MRI After Sonographically Guided Bursography. American Journal of Roentgenology, 188(4). Retrieved from http://www.ajronline.org/doi/full/10.2214/AJR.05.1466


Frida Kahlo Essay

Frida Kahlo
By: Heather Waldroup

Frida Kahlo was a female Mexican painter of mixed heritage, born on July 6, 1907 and lived 47 painful years before passing away on July 13, 1954. Within her short life, Frida was slightly crippled from polio, suffered from a serious streetcar accident that left her infertile, married famous muralist Diego Rivera, divorced, remarried Rivera, became a political activist and rose to fame through her oil paintings all before succumbing to her poor health. She was an intelligent female in a society that wanted women to be pretty, submissive wives and mothers. She struggled with cultural demands of her gender in a time when women were demanding a change in their role. All these aspects of her life, and more, affected her art. She was a modern woman but her art had an indigenous background. Her most common genre was self-portrait and through a dramatic views of herself, she was capable of showing her view of the world. Frida was an active member of global society and was a powerful speaker for her beliefs through her art. Her art was controversial and attracted attention. She gained global recognition of her work because it’s complex and provocative, demanding discussion.

Frida Kahlo’s art seems very closely tied to the ups and downs of her marriage and her health. Her and her husband, Diego Rivera, had an unconventional, rocky relationship. There was a lack of fidelity on both parts. Diego was a well-known womanizer and it is thought that Kahlo reacted in kind as vengeance. A struggle exists between an artist and their work, I can only imagine the battles that occur when two artist marry. Within the beginning of their marriage, Frida painted Frida and Diego Rivera (Figure 1). At the time, Rivera was already a well known muralist twenty years her senior and her painting was thought to be no more than a hobby for a quiet wife. Throughout the years they knew each other, they continually painted the other. Frida overlaid his face on her forehead in Diego on my Mind (Figure 2) within which she also wears a dramatic, traditional Mexican headdress. Often times, in her self-portraits she’s wearing traditional Tahuana dress, as in Figure 1. Their marriage seemed to deteriorate in time with Kahlo’s rising success (Lindauer, 1999) until they divorced in 1939. Often times she has been criticized for focusing too much on her work instead of being the docile wife expected of her. The two remarried later that year but it was a financial arrangement and they did not share a marital bed.

While her husband is a common theme so are issues of her health. She often depicted her physical pain and struggle with graphic self-portraits. She “usually located narrative impact . . . directly onto her own body.” (Zavala, 2010) During her accident, she was impaled by a metal pole in her torso that exited through her vagina, breaking her pelvis in the process. She had extreme pain and struggled with the aftermath of her accident. The Broken Column (Figure 3) shows Kahlo’s nude torso with nails in her skin and her torso torn open to reveal a cracked column. The cracked pillar could be representative of the “broken column” of her spine. She was told she would most likely never carry a pregnancy to full term and this turned out to be true, unfortunately. After one of her miscarriages, Kahlo painted Henry Ford Hospital (Figure 4). It depicts the once again nude Kahlo on a bloody hospital bed, crying and holding images of a baby and a pelvis. She went through over 30 surgeries to try to repair the damage and she was just left in more pain. She’d started to lose faith in medicine when she painted Tree of Hope (Figure 5) where a prone, assumed Frida lies cut up and bleeding on a gurney while another Frida in a traditional dress holds a back brace. These self-portraits were a way for her to process the pain she felt. “In Frida’s work oil paint mixes with the blood of her inner monologue.” (Tibol, 1993) They are disturbing images that invoke fear in the viewer. Her pain is so blatantly displayed in her blood and nakedness that can be felt so strongly by the viewer. She demands you feel it with her direct stare.

Kahlo invoked such strong reactions to her work because they challenged traditional values with modern ideas, mixed with often violent and sexualized imagery. She used her art to bring attention to the mistreatment of women and to aid the feminist movement. A Few Small Nips (Figure 6) was painted after she read in the newspaper about a man who stabbed his cheating wife. Frida was herself a sexually promiscuous woman who’d had affairs with both men and women (Lindauer, 1999) so she would feel invested in how such women are viewed. She fought against the expectation of the meek female dressed up in lace and bows. She painted Self-Portrait with Cropped Hair (Figure 7) in which she’s wearing a man’s suit and has sheared her hair off. Men felt extremely threatened by this and took it as an assault on all males after her divorce from Rivera. They insinuated her to be a fallen woman and their fury further showed the social imbalance (Lindauer, 1999).

There was an excess of disparity in her art between the traditional and the modern. This is shown most clearly in two of her pieces: My Dress Hangs There (Figure 8) and Self-Portrait on the Border between Mexico and the United States (Figure 9). Both paintings have clear American references, as well as other global iconography, as drastic comparisons to traditional Mexican culture. In Figure 8, the US capitol is centered and the Statue of Liberty is in the background. Capitalist iconography is represented by the billboard of a well-dressed woman and the gas pump, all placed in a metropolitan setting with the populous barely noticeable at the bottom of the painting. The artist’s Tehuana dress hangs in the center, offering the juxtaposition of the two. Figure 9 shows the inequality between the two nations with the artist straddling the line separating them. On the Mexican side there are symbols representing ancient Mexican religion and flowers are growing out of the dirt. The American side is completely urbanized. The paintings are considered her most politically explicit because they “portray the corruption, alienation and/or dehumanization” of Americans (Lindauer, 1999). Both of these pieces would’ve sparked discussion in the early 1930’s when they were painted. Nothing makes a topic more well known than controversy.

Frida Kahlo’s harsh life produced provocative images that challenged society. She was wise beyond her years and was a fiery, rebellious spirit. She was a member of las pelonas in college, a group of young, Mexican women who cut their hair, learned how to drive cars and wore androgynous clothing. While consulting a specialist on another serious spinal surgery, she told her physicians to send him every, to write him letters describing her character, so he would understand that she’s a fighter (Lindauer, 1999). She taught painting to youth across Mexico, affecting hundreds of lives with her mentorship. In her final days she left the hospital, despite doctors’ orders, to participate in a political protest. She was in a wheelchair, having lost a leg to gangrene, sickly thin, with colorful yarn tied into her hair. The things she saw and experienced led to the dramatic works that flowed from her brush. She hadn’t planned to follow in the artistic footsteps of her photographer father and grandfather. Yet, look at the silver lining of the tragedy of her accident. Instead of becoming a doctor, she painted pictures that made people talk and discuss. She is now recognizable worldwide for her unique self-portraits.


Zavala, Adriana. Becoming Modern, Becoming Tradition: Women, Gender, and

Representation in Mexican Art. University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State UP,

2010. Print.

Lindauer, Margaret A. Devouring Frida: The Art History and Popular Celebrity of Frida

Kahlo. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan UP, 1999. Print.

Tibol, Raquel. Frida Kahlo: An Open Life. University of New Mexico Press, 1993. Print.

Shakespeare in Love Essay

Shakespeare in Love
By: Fernanda Price

Shakespeare in Love explores an inside- albeit fictional- look at the great William Shakespeare’s method of coming to write one of his most talked about works Romeo and Juliet. Through this insider’s view, there is another topic that comes to light; if perhaps one that is talked about today even more than his works. This is the issue of authorship.

As a playwright in a time period not bothered with copyright laws, or ownership of intellectual property, citations and such, William Shakespeare took a lot of liberties with his work, as is demonstrated time and again throughout Shakespeare in Love. There are several instances throughout the film in which issues about legitimate authorship are raised, but not addressed directly.

Perhaps the main example of this is the scene in the bar when Shakespeare is conversing with fellow playwright Christopher Marlowe. In it, Marlowe aids Shakespeare’s creative juices by feeding him ideas, even throwing out names (such as Mercutio) which Shakespeare takes as his own and incorporates into the final play.  This raises the issue of ownership of intellectual property, as well as what constitutes an author. Can Shakespeare be said to be the true author of Romeo and Juliet, even though he used Marlowe’s ideas and thoughts to compose the storyline? In fact would the story even exist without Marlowe’s contributions? In this aspect, Marlowe could be said to be as much an author of the play as Shakespeare, or at least a very generous contributor/collaborator. Yet, Shakespeare never acknowledges this fact. This happens again towards the end of the film, when Viola gives Shakespeare, once again a starting point to his next play, The Twelfth Night.

Another issue is that of rights over a piece of work, at least in terms of usage. In the beginning of the movie, Shakespeare promises two different theater owners the same play. One of them even goes so far as to paying Shakespeare two shillings for his first pages. However, he never receives said pages. In fact, Shakespeare relinquishes the entire play to the other producer in its entirety. In a case such as this, would the theater owner that was promised and paid for the pages in advance, have a right to take them away- since they were supposed to be written for him in the first place?

And the final issue seen in the movie comes about when Shakespeare throws away his original draft- written for Rosalyn- into a street trash can. If someone had found those pages, would they have a right to use them, since Shakespeare disposed of them? Would an act such as this relinquish ownership of the work?

Although there are many instances of authorship issues throughout the film, the larger implication and overarching theme can perhaps be said to be the renown for a piece of work. William Shakespeare will continue to be known as one of the greatest playwrights throughout history whether or not he deserves the extent of the credit and renown for his works. In the long-run, all that can be done is to continue to explore and learn from not only his works, but his lifetime and how those works came to be as well. In this way, the implications of his authorship will set an example for generations of writers to come.