When An English Major Encounters A Rat

When An English Major Encounters A Rat

There is a story in everything.
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Early one morning, I left my car and approached the door of the “convenience store” where I often stop for tea before school. As I reached for the door, something in the nearby bushes caught my eye.

I took a quick step back in order to take a second look. I was shocked to see a rat in the bushes. It was not a cute rat like the one I used for this article. That was simply a ploy to encourage you to click and read the article. No, it was a dead rat - yes, dead as a doornail rat.

I stood for a moment before taking a giant step sideways toward the door. I wanted to be as far away from the cadaver as possible. My mind jumped to images of the rat suddenly springing back to life and running across my feet. I wasn’t taking any chances. After my purchase, I took an alternate door to return to my car.

As an English major, we are constantly analyzing, interpreting, dissecting or creating different styles of writing. My emphasis in school is creative writing which means I much prefer creating as opposed to the analyzing, etc. I began to laugh as I realized all the random thoughts and stories I had created around the rat.

The first story I created was strictly fiction. I first questioned why the rat had died. What if it had escaped from a nearby lab after contracting a new strain of virus that could migrate to birds, therefore, making it possible for the virus to attack humans. I began to ponder how long it would take for symptoms to appear.

I was getting over an upper respiratory infection, so questioned how I would know if any new symptoms appeared. The story went as far as all the English majors in my lit classes at Clemson being quarantined in one of the fallout shelter areas. I wondered how we would be able to find an escape path to allow us to get the food and water.

I soon switched into creative nonfiction. The rat must have a story of its own. He was a rather large rat so obviously had come from an environment of privilege. Why had he ventured away from his home and safety/security?

Had a beautiful young rat broken his heart? Perhaps the food source in his home environment was dwindling due to climate change and he had set out to find a new food source. Whatever his reason, he had encountered some difficulty leading to his untimely demise.

My next genre of thought was memoir. The rat obviously symbolized the people in my who had abandoned, neglected, hurt or simply pissed me off. The death of the rat represented the end of a period in my life that had been destructive or unfulfilling. The fear of the rat was, of course, my concern for the future.

I could take this one step further and attempt to find a way to integrate the story of the rat into canonical literature. Shakespeare certainly had a lot of “rats’ in his plays. Just read Hamlet to see an example. I don’t think I will pursue this line of thinking much further. You can see how far one might be able to go with this one.

People often question what one can do with a degree in English. I think I have shown that English majors are creative, intelligent, quick thinking and courageous people. The options for life work for English majors should be endless. Sadly, not everyone recognizes this potential. Perhaps this article will change their minds. The next time you see a dead rodent (or another carcass) and simply go on with your day, remember that an English major somewhere is giving new life to that lifeless figure.

Cover Image Credit: Max Pixel

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20 Of The Coolest Animal Species In The World

Animals that almost seem imaginary.
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The world is full of amazing animals. So amazing, that narrowing them down to 20 felt nearly impossible. To determine who made the cut for this list, I used very important factors such as, cuteness and how much some of them looked like Pokémon . I know, very official. So here are some of the coolest animals in the world.

1. Pink Fairy Armadillo

The pink fairy armadillo is the smallest and cutest species of armadillo. It is on the list of threatened species and is found in the sandy plains, dunes, and grasslands of Argentina. The pink fairy armadillo is a nocturnal creature that survives mostly on insects and plants.


2. Okapi

The okapi is an animal native to the Democratic Republic of Congo in Africa. Although the stripes make many people believe okapi are related to zebra, they are actually closer to giraffe. Okapi are solitary creatures and come together to breed. They are herbivores, mostly eating leaves, grass, and other plants.


3. Glaucus Atlanticus or "the Blue Dragon"

These little dragon-like creatures are often only about a few inches long and can be found in the Indian Pacific Oceans. The blue dragon floats upside down in order to blend the blue side of them with the water, and the silver side with the surface of the ocean. This tiny dragon feeds on creatures like the man o' war and can even deliver a sting similar to it.


4. The Maned Wolf

The maned wolf is often found in the grasslands of south, central-west, and southeastern parts of Brazil. It is neither related to wolves nor foxes despite its appearance and name, but is actually closer to dogs. The maned wolf hunts alone and primarily eats both meat and plants (about 50% of its diet).


5. Fossa

The fossa is a carnivorous animal located in Madagascar. Despite having many traits similar to cats, it is more closely related to the Mongoose. The fossa is only found in forest habitats and can hunt in either daytime or night. Over 50 percent of its diet happens to be lemurs.


6. Japanese Spider Crab

As the name suggestions, the Japanese spider crab inhabits the waters surrounding Japan. In many parts of Japan, this crab can be considered a delicacy but can be considerably difficult to catch. The Japanese spider crab can grow to 12 feet long from claw to claw. There is only one sea creature-- amongst similar species (aka crustaceans)-- that beats the weight of a Japanese spider crab: the American Lobster.


7. Pacu Fish

Look closely at the teeth, do they look familiar? This fish is found in the waters of South America. This fish, while related to the piranha, can actually grow much larger. They can also be found in rivers like the Amazon and is an aid to the fishing industry. Unlike the piranha, pacu mostly only eat seeds and nuts, though can still create nasty injuries to other animals if need be.


8. Slow Loris

The slow loris is a nocturnal creature found in Southeast Asia. While very adorable, the loris's teeth are actually quite venomous. The toxin on their teeth can also be applied to fur through grooming to protect its babies from predators. Often times these creatures forage and spend time alone, although can on occasion be seen with other slow lorises. Apart from their toxic teeth, the slow lorises have another defense mechanism, in which they move nearly completely silently in order to prevent discovery.


9. Angora Rabbit

These cute, fluffy rabbits are among the hairiest breeds of rabbit of both wild and domestic types. These rabbits originated in Turkey although managed to spread throughout Europe and was even brought to the United States in the 20th century. These rabbits are often bred for their soft wool which can be made into clothing, and often get rid of their own coats every 3-4 months.


10. Axolotl

The axolotl or "Mexican salamander" (who looks like a Pokémon , if you ask me) is often spotted in lakes in various places around Mexico. These little salamanders are amphibious although often spend their adult lives strictly in the water. However, the population of these cute creatures is dwindling due to non-native predators and the continued urbanization of Mexico. The axolotl eats small worms, insects, and fish in order to survive.


11. Liger

The liger, however made up it sounds, is a real (and cute) animal created by a lion and a tiger mating. Ligers only seem to exist in captivity or zoos because the lion and tiger don't share the same habitat in the wild. Unfortunately, these animals don't live very long or are sterile despite being bigger than both the lion and the tiger. While these animals are cool and unique, they are not strictly natural or sustainable.


12. Bearded Vulture

I don't know about you all, but this vulture reminds me of a phoenix which was initially why I looked into the creature. These vultures inhabit a range of places from southern Europe to the Indian subcontinent, to Tibet. This vulture, like other vultures, typically eats dead animals, although it has been documented that the bearded vulture will attack live prey more often than other vultures.


13. Goblin Shark


This unusual shark is also known as a "living fossil" because they are the last representative of sharks that lived about 125 million years ago. It is a deep sea shark that can grow between 10-13 feet if not longer. The goblin shark has been caught accidentally in every major ocean. The goblin shark is not a fast swimmer and relies on ambushing its prey.


14. Red Panda

This cute, small panda lives in the eastern Himalayas and southwestern China. The red panda is rather small, only about the same size as most domestic cats. Its eating habits range from bamboo, to eggs, to insects, and several other small mammals. The red panda is primarily sedentary during the day and at night or in the morning does whatever hunting it needs to do.


15. Blobfish

This blobfish is, in a way, so ugly that it is cute (although reminds me of a certain Pokémon ) This fish lives in the deep waters of Australia, Tasmania, and New Zealand. The blobfish has a density only sightly above that of water. The fish primarily hunts by just floating along and letting creatures wander into its mouth, rather than expending any energy.


16. Leaf Deer

The leaf deer is usually found in dense forests in the northwest region of Putao. The adult leaf deer only stands at about 20 inches high and the males and females are nearly identical except for an inch long horn on the males. It is called a leaf deer because hunters could wrap the deer in a single large leaf.


17. Tiger

While tigers are a more common animal than many others on this list, it is still one of the coolest animals in the world. Tigers are the largest of all cats and once ranged from Russia, to Turkey, to parts of Asia — almost all over the world. These animals are fierce, powerful creatures, although they are on the endangered species list.


18. Narwhals

Narwhals are a species of whale that live in the waters around Greenland, Canada, and Russia. The narwhal's diet changes depending on the time of year: in the spring the narwhal will eat cod, while in the winter the narwhal will eat flatfish. Narwhals can live up to 50 years and most frequently die of suffocation from being trapped under the ice.


19. Cheetah

Cheetahs, while more commonly heard of then some of the other animals on this list, are still incredibly cool. They often inhabit many parts of Africa and Iran. These amazing cats can reach up to 60 miles per hour in three seconds and use their tails to make quick and sudden turns. These amazing cats also have semi-retractable claws which helps with speed. The cheetah, however, doesn't have much besides speed to defend itself.


And finally....


20. Superb Bird of Paradise

This GIF demonstrates the mating dance used by male superb birds of paradise. Typically females reject about 20 mates before selecting one they want to mate with. They are often found in New Guinea although it is unsure just how many of these birds there are. As far as scientists know, the population has remained stable.

Cover Image Credit: Tumblr

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The  Symbology Of Flowers: A Guide To The Perfect Spring Bouquet

Find the perfect flower color to radiate good energy in your home!

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The best time of the year is the spring when flowers bloom and soft dew fills the mornings. Buying flowers for your house becomes increasingly tempting as beautiful bouquets pop up around farmers markets and grocery stores, so here is what each flower color means!

Red Flowers

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Red flowers historically symbolize passion. They demand a room's attention and usually are representative of romance, however, red can also symbolize power, respect, and courage. If you are looking to create thing energy in your house, red roses are a great option (although sometimes pricey)!

Blue Flowers

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Blue is a classic symbol of peace and prosperity. To create a serene and open feeling to your home, try buying a bouquet that has hydrangea or cornflowers in it!

White Flowers

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White flowers symbolize humility, innocence, sympathy, and purity. They create a gentleness to any bouquet and can radically bring out the colors of other flowers. Some great white flowers to look for in a bouquet are lilies!

Pink Flowers

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Pink symbolizes happiness and love, whereas red is passion. A mix of red and pink flowers can be the perfect gift to give to a romantic partner. However, they are also a symbol of grace and sweetness. There are a ton of great pink flowers, but some of the best for bouquets are lilies, roses, daisies, tulips, or snapdragons.

Lavender Flowers

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Lavender flowers symbolize elegance, refinement, and youth. Lavender is a great option to have around the house because not only is the coloring bold and beautiful, but it has a great scent!

Orange Flowers

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Orange flowers are bold and passionate. They can add life to any room and put a smile on anyone's face because they radiate excitement. Marigolds, poppies, and strawflowers look great in a vase and brighten the whole atmosphere of a room.

Flowers can definitely be pricey, especially around holidays. Another way to receive the benefits of the energy flowers exert is to plant a garden! This way you are able to have flowers year-round and can cut them to place around your home. Pick a vibe, pick a color, and get going on decorating!

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