Reading in Tamagawa Garden

Rue Burgoyne-King

Rue Burgoyne-King, English 135, Best Essay 2017-2018

Rue Burgoyne-King

Exploration and creativity: these are the guiding lights for Rue Burgoyne-King, a second year student at VIU whose award-winning English essay provides an incisive and nuanced analysis of Marjane Satrapi’s graphic novel Persepolis

As Rue puts it, "I am very passionate about the arts and literature. I spend a lot of my spare time reading, writing, writing poetry, drawing, painting, and exploring new avenues of expression."

Given these interdisciplinary pursuits, Professor Paul Watkins' first year English course had an immediate appeal for her: "I love reading graphic novels. When I saw that this course offered the possibility to dive into them and engage with them at a higher level, I was very excited."  

And dive into them she did, with an essay that reveals the ways in which Satrapi's self-reflective memoir of her life in Iran provides a vehicle for readers to examine the narrative of their own lives as an complex weave of experience, perceptions, and memory. 

For Rue, too, Persepolis deserves to be celebrated for the way it challenges stereotypes. "This is very important to me," she writes, because "people continue to be dehumanized due to their different ethnicities, and the results can be devastating." 

Other equally strong influences for Rue include Paulo Coelho's novel The Alchemist, Mahzarin Banaji and Anthony Greenwald's Blind Spot: Hidden Biases of Good People, and the sci-fi/rom-com Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mindby screenwriter Charlie Kaufman and director Michel Gondry.  

Her advice for fellow classmates:

"Never be afraid of furthering your potential. Learn. Grow. If you find yourself struggling, surround yourself with passionate people and you will soon find that you have passion yourself."